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    There is a very justifiable reason why cars get their fair share of the blame for congestion in a city:



    You’re going to have to go over $3 (or $5) to even approach effective demand-responsive prices at BART stations, I’d think.



    730,000+ trips are taken on Muni each day. During the sickout, transit stops were packed with people waiting for the bus that never came. On that day, maybe there was less congestion on Market because there were fewer buses, but what if just half of all those people stranded that day decided to drive? Market St and many other streets would have been worse than ever.



    Except that traffic congestion is a major driver of delays to buses.

    If you could have dedicated bus lanes everywhere then that might not matter. But in practice bus-only lanes only make sense on major muni thoroughfares like Market Street, on bridges, tunnels and freeways, and in isolated cases like the two cited here.

    Less traffic congestion would be good for drivers and for good for transit. It’s all about “balance”. There. I said it. Again ;-(


    Upright Biker

    Lincheid and the SF Chamber are talking out both sides of their mouth. They support Prop A, and they also support the anti-transit Prop L.

    Can’t have it both ways, folks.


    SF Guest

    Don’t get me wrong. I totally agree and understand the need for bus-only lanes. I merely do not like to read excerpts where cars are blamed for everything.



    I mentioned biking down Market street, it’s been part of my commute for years.

    Also in regards to cars sitting in their own mess, that is exactly why buses need their own lanes, especially at critical bottlenecks and transit spines like Market.


    SF Guest

    I don’t drive on Market Street, but I do walk.


    SF Guest

    No I”m not saying my anecdotal evidence is better than yours since my observations pertain to the Market Street corridor and yours pertains to California & Geary. You and others probably did experience more congestion during the Muni sickout, but there are also many who experienced less congestion.

    “Cars can sit in their own mess– they’re the vehicles causing congestion.”

    This statement isn’t entirely true in cases where buses must share the road with cars.



    To be fair to BART, they have instituted a demand-based parking pricing program at all parking facilities. Unfortunately, the systemwide cap is $3, except at West Oakland ($5).




    Your argument is invalid.



    On a side note, the last photo in the posting is more evidence of how ugly the new 8 Octavia building is from pretty much any angle.



    Clearly nothing can stop drivers from being idiots, therefore we should all bend over backwards to make sure that they are allowed to do whatever they want.



    For those complaining about how a bus will slow down traffic, keep in mind that you often have 15-40 people on each bus, so you can thank them for not choosing instead to be in 15-40 cars. The least we can do for them is shave 3-7 minutes off their trip by not sending them on a circuitous crawl through Irving. (Irving at 19th will be less congested by this change, BTW).



    So you’re saying your anecdotal evidence is better than my anecdotal evidence? Market street which has 50% of bus routes running for some part of their route on it may have been less congested, although I don’t know if that’s true as I biked along it and had to deal with a lot of car drivers, more than the usually lost tourist. Either way, many other main streets such as California or Geary were a mess because of induced car trips. The surcharge pricing on Uber was crazy and trying to get a cab downtown was impossible.


    SF Guest

    Absolutely true for Market Street and I was there, but thanks for trying! Market Street features the most Muni lines of any major thoroughfare so any drastic reduction of Muni buses will inevitably result in less congestion on Market Street. There’s no question those who relied on Muni experienced more congestion but most if not all other modes of transportation experienced less congestion during the sickout. The transformation of Market Street with less Muni buses was extraordinary. During those few days I could barely see any Muni buses along Market Street and there was less congestion as well.

    Before you continue, NO, I do not advocate for less Muni service since that would be a detriment to the majority of SF including those who drive. However the observations I and several others made are accurate. However I do prefer walking over taking the Muni since it’s not much faster than walking.



    Absolutely not true but thanks for trying. Anecdotally, at my office the people who live in SF (and don’t bike) were an hour or more late due to traffic and/or having to walk much more of their trip. Many other people stayed home although the East Bayers had no problem since BART was working fine.



    It would be much better if you could actually see these crosswalks. I drove through the intersection yesterday and the crosswalks were barely visible. To boot, I drive an SUV – it sits up high – and I still couldn’t see the crosswalk very well. This was at 4PM on a very sunny day. For safety reasons I’d recommend they lose the pin stripes (hard to see against the dark pavement) and paint each color in full. I understand people voted on it, but let’s be safe here.


    SF Guest

    Funny thing (and I’m not trying to make a point out of this) is I recall there was less congestion during the Muni sickout because there were substantially fewer Muni buses in service.


    Mario Tanev

    That’s possible and is used elsewhere, such as at Market and Clayton for the 33 bus. There is a manual button somewhere on a poll in case the TSP fails to activate.



    First, I stated quite clearly that I was not advocating for the abolition of car parking at BART stations, so I’m not sure why you brought that up.

    Second, it’s wrong to assume that with increased transit demand due to reduced car parking capacity that AC Transit and VTA wouldn’t be able to respond by increasing service to BART stations, and that BART wouldn’t also beef up the bicycle and carpool parking capacity to help meet the need.

    I don’t have anything against parking garages at suburban BART stations, per se, and also prefer them to surface lots in terms of space management. But unless you can figure out a way to build garages without the expense being absorbed by lower-income riders and/or those who are trying to do the right thing by walking/biking/busing to stations then I simply can’t find it justifiable.

    In a way, BART basically set themselves up for this kind of problem by building suburban stations in car-centric, highway median locations, instead of more expensive but more walk/bike/bus friendly locations closer to suburban centers. Now they are digging themselves even deeper into this hole with the planned Livermore extension station.



    In general, I think that too much of this city is turned over to cars. Nowhere is this more clear than in SOMA, with its hundred-foot-wide streets. Repurposing a street for people is a good thing, even if that’s done in the name of money (then again, I have no real issue with the city earning money by using the streets more productively than usual, any more than I’d have a problem with the city using a parking lot for a farmer’s market instead).

    Of course, transit delays are a problem, and the city should figure out how to make everything function well without the closed street. But, on the whole, the transportation infrastructure exists to serve the city, its people, and the activity in the city– it’s not an end in itself. If we can have a functional transportation network, which uses less land than it currently does, and use that land for better things– that’s fantastic.



    I can’t remember the last time a street fair closed a street for 10 days, but sure, why not. Any chance to use your signature “so by your logic” line.


    Andy Chow

    Overall it would be safer just because the new routing avoids Irving (slow moving traffic waiting for parking + pedestrians). The in-lane bus stop in Golden Gate Park can be a problem though. Since it is also used by line 28, that there will be cars behind that bus and may either stop inside the intersection or trying to merge left when the bus stops. I don’t know how long that sidewalk is but the MLK intersection is pretty close so if the bus stop is located closer to MLK the impact may not be that big.



    I do not care about private vehicle congestion if it reduces trip times for transit users.

    There. I said it. Again.



    I love the idea of never giving private vehicles a green right turn arrow, except for the bus that eventually gets stuck behind them.



    Finally, they put a left turn lane for buses for the 29-Sunset. Going around the block really sucked. I wish they did this many years ago while I was attending City College and SF State.

    Also, that’s good they put the red lane for the 6 and 71 lines; I wondered why contractors was repaving the road and the 6 bus was forced to go on diesel over the weekend.



    Why didn’t they include a boarding island for eastbound buses before either Laguna or Octavia? The inbound stop spacing (on a steep hill no less) will now be a staggering 1,400 feet from Buchanan to Gough. There should have been plenty of room if they took away a few parking spaces on the south side of Haight.


    Dark Soul

    I dont blame bus driver or car drivers is the way how the bus stop over there is made without proper space to relief congestion that would speed up the buses and flow to make it safety overall. There was plenty of room to make a sidewalk. (Ok with the bus stop being there)




    Le sigh. Americans just get dumber and dumber.



    Does the left-turn signal at 19th only activate for buses (TSP), or for any vehicle in the lane? Because if the latter then the lane will be abused, no matter how red the paint.


    Amanda Clark

    For stations like Fremont, its quite simple (based on extensive experience) that AC Transit and the VTA simply couldn’t handle the people who’d be left out in the event you completely got rid of parking. Its a shitty fact, but for far flung stations like Fremont (and the Warm Springs Extension) you’re going to need parking.

    Now, I tend to believe such parking should be in the form of a garage and not spread out a lot, but that’s another story.



    and it only took SEVEN YEARS of talking and “studies” to do an obvious fix like the one on 19th. SEVEN YEARS



    Then the drivers should not be breaking the law by speeding through a yellow light. If drivers make appropriate use of their turn signals and make a proper, safe lane change, they have nothing to worry about.


    Raphael Knapp

    It’s a no left intersection so cars have no reason to cut left… My point is that cars need to leave some space for other modes of transportation if we want to improve our beautiful city, make it safer for everyone. Utlimately it reduces traffic congestion as well. Road made only for cars is very 1980s. We have to look at the long term here, not the short term issues. People need to get used to change, otherwise progess can’t ever happen.



    We must compensate for drivers incompetence, don’t cha know



    Bus drivers put on their hazards prior to approaching every stop. If that doesn’t tell car drivers that there is a stop coming up, then they should retake their driving test in SF. Car drivers should not be entering the intersection anyways if they cannot clear it. Those drivers are the ones putting everyone else in danger.



    Wrong, it’s a lot more dangerous, because that particular spot is just where everyone is trying to make the light before it turns red by speeding up. With a bus stopped there, the drivers behind the bus will try to cut left in front of oncoming cars creating a dangerous situation in a already tight intersection. Cleaner with more visibility? you must be kidding.



    Yeah? Are you a professional engineer or planner? No? You’re just a random self-centered driver who can’t see past their steering wheel? Ah, okay, cool, because we totally need more people like that.



    Because the whole point is to speed up the busses. Cars can sit in their own mess– they’re the vehicles causing congestion.



    So, by your logic we shouldn’t close streets for the street fairs on Castro, Folsom etc., or for Sunday Streets



    Xenophobic much? Maybe you should move to someplace less congested like Montana.


    Dark Soul

    They did not bother reducing the area for buses to allow traffic flow..instead they sort of slapped in the sidewalk were the bus stop…causing congestion and danger to others drivers that are behind the bus


    Raphael Knapp

    Why would be it more dangerous? You are not providing any reasoning. It does make the bus turns safer and saves riders a lot of time. It also makes the intersection cleaner, with more visibility.



    That bus left turn lane and loading zone just inside the park on 19th will greatly add to the congestion and danger. Bad idea! What idiots.



    In our Bike East Bay education classes, I’m trying to move the focus from “always stop at stop signs and red lights” to “look and yield to other road users with the right of way at every intersection and crosswalk”. Not only is this a more reasonable ask which more people are likely to comply with, but it also covers a lot of situations that “stop at signs and lights” does not.

    For instance, a pedestrian at an uncontrolled crosswalk has the right of way, but if a person (bicyclist or driver) is only focused on stop signs and signals they are likely to fail to yield. Drivers at a two-way stop do not always realize that cross traffic doesn’t have a stop, but a bicyclist who approaches this intersection with a “look and yield at intersections” mentality is prepared to stop, even though they DID have the right of way.

    I’d much rather people look and yield but not necessarily stop than stop but not necessarily look and yield. In an ideal world, police efforts would reflect this.



    Thanks for calling me out, that’s a very good point! I was thinking of lots (in this case, in Fremont with terrible ped and bike infrastructure and a sea of parking) that potentially have been paid off in terms of construction cost. they could in that case be a source of revenue, though meager and not enough to offset garage loss. As you correctly pointed out, parking is a net loss for BART.



    I would be surprised if any BART parking lots actually make money, considering how much even a surface lot costs to operate, maintain, police, etc. The parking garages BART is building are even worse. The new one at the MacArthur station will take 30 years to just pay off the cost of construction, even if it is at full capacity every single day. Add in the fact that BART could be making tons more money by repurposing that space for housing or retail, and allocating so much space for parking looks even worse.

    I’m not necessarily arguing that there should be no car parking at BART stations (although the parking free ones in Oakland and SF seem to do just fine) but let’s not kid ourselves that what is provided is a HUGE subsidy to riders who drive to the stations at the expense of all other BART passengers.


    Jym Dyer

    @gneiss – I’ve made many pedestrian complaints to the SFPD, but have seen no evidence that even one of them was taken seriously.



    Although it would likely be diverted elsewhere, the money raised from parking fees can also go towards badly needed projects like improving pedestrian and bike access to the stations, bike parking, etc.