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  1.  

    Karen Lynn Allen

    I entirely agree that SFPD should focus on the dangerous behavior of failure to yield, both for car drivers and bicyclists.

    At a four-way stop near my house, I sometimes watch the cars while waiting for the bus. I’ve observed that if there are no other cars at the intersection, 9 out of 10 cars do not come to a complete stop. Half slow to under 5mph. Another 3 slow to 6 – 8 mph. And 1 out 10 blasts through at 10-20 mph. However, if there are other cars in the intersection, almost all cars will stop or slow to less than 2mph. (This is why car drivers do not realize the amount of rolling through stops that goes on. In addition, they experience their own deceleration as a stop when it isn’t.) When I’m crossing the street, 8 out of 10 car drivers, even if they were obviously intending to roll the stop, will immediately stop as soon as they see me. 1 out of 10 won’t even glance in my direction. Another 1 out of 10 will accelerate after seeing me to show they have no intention of letting me delay them a fraction of a second. (This can happen even when I’m nearly in the center of the crosswalk.)

    Why do we have a law requiring complete stops at stop signs?
    1) To create structure to make it clearer whose turn it is at the intersection, and
    2) to create enough dwell time so that motorists are able to make an adequate visual survey of the intersection so that they don’t hit other cars/run over people in crosswalks etc. Both issues are about yielding. (Sometimes there is also a third desired behavior, that of slowing vehicles down, but stop signs are very poor forms of speed control.)

    Bicyclists can perform tasks 1 & 2 quite easily without stopping. On a bike, it is a simple matter to yield by slowing down. I do this all the time, and even cars do this when approaching a pedestrian in a crosswalk that is separate from a light or stop sign. Slowing down works. Sure, sometimes there is enough traffic/ enough pedestrians that a complete stop is necessary to properly yield. But the yielding is what matters.

    On a bike, it is a simple matter to survey and assess an intersection without coming to a full stop because bicyclists do not have blind spots like car drivers and generally approach intersections at much lower speeds. As a bicyclist, I have an entire four way stop surveyed and assessed many seconds before I arrive. (Daylighting intersections and crosswalks helps this analysis, both for car drivers and bikes.)

    The dangerous behavior on a bike is:
    1) approaching an intersection too fast (>10 mph). Bicyclists must slow down at intersections so they have a chance to see and yield to pedestrians as well as other bicyclists and cars that have arrived first.
    2) failing to yield pedestrians that they clearly have had time to see. This is just selfishness and deserves a big hefty fine.
    3) failing to take your turn. This is also selfish and deserves a fine, though less hefty than failure to yield to a pedestrian. (I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve stopped at an intersection to let a car go through that had arrived first, only to have a bicyclist behind me swoop through, forcing the car to slam on its brakes, and delaying my trip even longer.) Roundabouts instead of 4 way stops would significantly reduce taking-turn conflicts.

    If SFPD did a series of failure-to-yield to pedestrian stings for both bicyclists and car drivers, actual dangerous behavior could be addressed. Focusing on behavior that makes no sense to bicyclists is a losing battle. Rolling through a stop sign at 5 mph on a bike (once the bicyclist has ascertained there is not another soul in sight) is not only not dangerous, and it significantly makes biking easier and more pleasurable. The rules of the road, SFPD enforcement of those rules, and our road design should reflect the realities of biking to encourage, not discourage biking because every trip biked saves us all money (fewer Muni or personal car trips to subsidize), it improves the economy ($ spent on autos leave the local economy), it doesn’t destroy the planet or sicken fellow human beings, and it makes the bicyclists making the trip healthier, wealthier and happier.

  2.  

    murphstahoe

    Santa Clara’s problem now!

  3.  

    murphstahoe

    Eating take out food IS a mess

  4.  

    murphstahoe

    Interesting. How many commuters who don’t find a parking spot take BART to work?

    If we make the lots FREE it won’t get more people on BART. We can only serve as many drive-to-BART riders as there are spots. Setting the price so that the lot “just fills” is appropriate.

  5.  

    coolbabybookworm

    That would be nice… unfortunately the last I heard, the money from Oracle’s Howard street shut down goes to pay for the free 4th of July fireworks display. It was either in an sfist or sfgate article.

    For sports events I don’t know.

  6.  

    94103er

    Uh, strawman argument much?

  7.  

    Jamison Wieser

    The way you got me thinking about it here is the city makes a lot of money, but is the money being used to mitigate the problem the event creates?

  8.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    New here? Howard has been closed for Whoracle Whirled for some years.

  9.  

    jd_x

    This is what I feel like anytime there is a Giants game or any other big event in the city bringing mostly outsiders in. Sure, it creates revenue for the city and I’m happy people want to visit, but it’s not worth it when they turn the city into a car-congested madhouse. It’s time that we starting finding ways to get people out of cars and onto public transit for big events. And of course, that will include making our streets safer and more accessible for pedestrians and cyclists and massively improving public transit, things we already know we need to do. So this is just more incentive to do those things.

  10.  

    jd_x

    “I find it ironic that in this day and age of big data and fighting crime by reviewing statistical models of where and when criminal activity takes place that the police still handle traffic enforcement by responding to “complaints” rather than looking at safety data.”

    Well said. I’ve actually been thinking a lot about this, and it’s amazing the bias the cops have against cyclists and pedestrians. They will say that, when called somewhere, they have to enforce the laws. But that is such BS because I watch cops ALL the time ignore double-parking, illegal U-turns, “gentleman” speeding (5-10 mph over the limit), etc. They try to play the we’re-unbiased-and-must-enforce-the-law-equally card whenever it involves punishing cyclist or pedestrians, but when it comes to enforcing laws against motorists, suddenly they are able to make all these judgement calls and decide which laws to enforce. The cops are just so car-centric (which isn’t surprising since they spend their whole time on the job behind the windshield) that they can’t even think straight and make rational choices about how to use limited resources for the greatest societal good. This is a real problem that must be addressed if we want to get serious numbers of people cycling. My 65 year old mother-in-law who is the slowest most cautious cyclist I’ve ever seen rolls stop signs when nobody is there, and for cops to busting people like her while pedestrians and cyclists are getting run over by completely reckless drivers is a travesty.

  11.  

    CamBam415

    Funny, I’ve never had that issue. Sounds like user error to me: I simply carry the bag from the bottom or bring my own flat bottom reusable bag on a bigger order.

  12.  

    voltairesmistress

    As a resident, I found it absurd today that a multi-lane, major street like Howard was closed for Oracle et al. Felt more like the Mayor had put the City up for sale. And why? So that people attending did not have to cross the street at either end, or walk underground from one part of the convention hall to another? Traffic and transit delays for many blocks all around.

  13.  

    Gezellig

    Yup, though you’re getting pretty off-topic for this site.

  14.  

    jd_x

    Funny to read these comments. It’s all econ 101: supply and demand, externalities, etc. Ultimately, I agree that we need to charge more for parking at Bart because the actual costs to society are externalized in the current price (making the price to park artificially low). But as @jeffreybaker:disqus pointed out, the true cost of roads (driving) are also externalized, so you really need to increase those costs as well. Then, parking at Bart, though more expensive than now, would still be cheaper than driving.

    It’s amazing how distorted our society has become because of all the externalities. Because of these externalities, people are unable to understand the consequences of their actions (e.g. that drinking soda is exacerbating the obesity epidimeic, that plastic bags are clogging our waterways, that driving is leading to climate change and killing the livability of our cities, etc.).

  15.  

    SF Guest

    Has anyone ever brought home hot take-out food in a paper bag? It’s ineffective and invites a mess.

  16.  

    CamBam415

    Yes, excellent point. Parking should absolutely be paid. Other public transit lots charge people to park and it doesn’t impact use (other BART parking lots and GG Ferry in Larkspur, come to mind).

    Additionally, how dumb were the suggestions that BART should text or email drivers that parking is full? Um, hello… distracted driving is dangerous, so why would BART encourage people to ready email/texts while driving?

    The few times I drive to public transit (I typically bike), I know that if I am not there by X time, I need to go straight to an alternative parking lot. I mean who does the same thing at the same time every day and expects a different outcome?!

  17.  

    SF Guest

    I understand this methodology. Not so sure Jeffrey Baker does however.

  18.  

    CamBam415

    Oh no… we tax bad things to discourage their use, that sounds awful (sarcasm). And, to make your point even worse, both soda and plastic bags have high costs to society that isn’t reflected in the purchase price.

    As for what’s next, I am hoping it is fast food, roads and parking lots! Fingers crossed.

  19.  

    Gezellig

  20.  

    SFGuy1930

    I wasn’t saying that “we should have improved bike infrastructure to the exclusion of transit.” I was saying that “Murphstahoe” diatribe about my post being “just a catchphrase of bkie-haters” and “demonizing cyclists as being anti-transit” was uncalled for.

    From the gist of your post, I’ll take away that you agree that MurphTahoe’s post was an unnecessary non-sequitur flame, which I agree with.

  21.  

    Timsmith

    Pricing is designed to ensure lots are about 90% full — enough so you can still find a space, but there aren’t so many empty spaces it reduces ridership (especially since pricing can give people more reason to carpool). If you get too empty, you simply lower prices. Not so complicated actually.

  22.  

    Timsmith

    What? People who use Howard are voters in many cases, so there are certainly major impacts on constituents.

  23.  

    SF Guest

    There’s already a soda tax proposal and a statewide plastic bag ban on the way which means we’ll be paying for paper bags. What’s next?

  24.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    That would only happen because the roads are _also_ underpriced.

  25.  

    SF Guest

    Here’s the issue with overpricing — more commuters won’t take BART and will drive to work instead.

  26.  

    roymeo

    I listened to it again, he did just say “after getting numerous complaints”. I thought I heard neighbors in there, maybe cause of the guy saying bicyclists never stop immediately after. So I recind “neighbor”.

  27.  

    gneiss

    Right. Complains by motorists that people on bikes aren’t stopping at stop signs, like, you know, they have to. As if stopping at stop signs was divinely inspired on a set of stone tablets and culturally taboo. None of the comments by the police office in that video had anything to do with pedestrian issues. In most cases, the officer was admonishing cyclists for their *own* safety. Like somehow people who ride bikes aren’t already acutely aware of the vulnerability they face on city streets.

    The car traffic often backs up on this end of Arguello because of those stop signs and the volume of people trying to get to the bridge. I would bet dollars to donuts that the complaints are largely based on the anger motorists have over the fact that bicyclists slide by all those people stuck in traffic on this stretch rather than any perceived right of way violations that take place.

  28.  

    davistrain

    Regarding the complaints about convention congestion downtown, as someone who occasionally visits SF, and sees hotel taxes added to the room rate at my temporary abode, I don’t blame the city government for its “the more the merrier” attitude toward conventions. Sock it to those out-of-towners, “Visitors aren’t voters” [in local elections].

  29.  

    roymeo

    They did say they were there because of neighbor complaints. Not saying it’s effective policing and I’m not sure how dangerous those intersections actually are. Gotta start calling in the trucks parked in the bike-lane, the intersection always blocked, etc. I guess.

  30.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    There’s also this gem http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Infuriated-drivers-go-in-circles-as-BART-parking-5795134.php

    “BART’s parking problem: Maddening search when lots are full”

    Article doesn’t mention underpricing as the root cause.

  31.  

    gneiss

    Once again, SFPD gets it wrong on traffic enforcement. This time, focusing on the relatively quiet and safe end of Arguello Street and admonishing cyclist for not coming to full and complete stops at three of the most useless stop signs for cyclists in the city. I find it ironic that in this day and age of big data and fighting crime by reviewing statistical models of where and when criminal activity takes place that the police still handle traffic enforcement by responding to “complaints” rather than looking at safety data. These signs, more than most others in the city should be yield signs for cyclists given the relatively low volume of pedestrian traffic in the area.

    I feel quite sure that if this area wasn’t used as a cut through for car drivers getting to and from Golden Gate Bridge, there never would have been three stop signs within a block. Two of them are for T intersections (lets face it, the gated community is *not* part of the street grid) and the third is for the entrance to the Presidio golf course. All in an effort to slow down car drivers who would bomb down this hill if it wasn’t for the stop signs.

    If the police focused more on dangerous behavior and less on compliance, they could make a much bigger difference in safety on city streets and probably not engender such enmity and contempt from people who ride bicycles.

  32.  

    Idrather Bebikin

    Raul makes some interesting points and I welcome his example!
    Sam once again criticizes Dave Cortese – repeating the fallacy that Dave is against those bike lanes. The fact that Sam thinks constructive criticism is a bad thing says more about Sam then it does about Dave.

    Dave’s comments made sense – make sure the bike lanes and the traffic lights and everything associated with that project (or any project by extension) should be executed properly so at least we’re not completely pissing off all of the motorists due to very long (multiple waits) at each traffic light.

  33.  

    Gezellig

    Total side note: I like that shade of green on Hedding (at least I think it’s green–I’m colorblind). It seems less common than the Kermit-the-Frog green which is a bit more vomitty.

    As with many a “buffered” lane, though, it’s not clear to my why it couldn’t just be a protected cycletrack. Took a look at Cyclelicious’s awesome photostream and found this one of Hedding:

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3708/9320877277_0d61610d78_m.jpg

    Is there any particular reason it couldn’t have been like this?

    http://la.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Temple-City-10-14May18.jpg

    (Rosemead Blvd in Temple City, CA)

    http://revitalizingamericascities.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/bikeway-detail2.jpg?w=300&h=224

    (Cully Blvd in Portland, OR)

  34.  

    Cyclelicious

    That’s a bold promise by Peralez. Little known fact: his campaign’s field director, Matt Savage, is recently moved to San Jose from Portland OR and really knows his stuff regarding transportation and planning issues.

  35.  

    Gezellig

    When I lived on a super steep and tall hill in the Ingleside area I definitely used that trick…bike downhill to my destination (this was great for getting to Balboa Park BART–over a mile away–in like 7 minutes), take the 29 home.

    Transit+bike is a beautiful thing!

  36.  

    gneiss

    So, in San Francisco, all the buses are equipped with bike racks that hold two (and soon three) bikes. There have been times where I have to pick up my daughter in the Presidio and need to get to upper Haight. Taking the bus works out to be the best solution in those cases, as trying to use a trailer bike up the hills from the Presidio is a bear. There’s no reason why you couldn’t bike to school and then take the bus home.

    Also, if you’re getting sweaty riding downhill from the Sunset to SFSU, then you should re-assess how you ride. There’s no reason for hammering hard to get to school on a downhill. My daily ride in the morning is from upper Haight to 3rd and Townsend. By moderating my speed, I can easily show up at the office in dress clothes without working up a sweat.

  37.  

    Vegetal

    It seems you don’t know what fascism or anarchism actually means.

  38.  

    Gezellig

    Yeah, depending on where you live hills can definitely be an issue. Not everyone can or will bike them. But there are large swaths of SF that aren’t that hilly. These even includes many of the neighborhoods within a mile radius of SFSU where a lot of students live off-campus. For example, a lot of students who live off-campus live in the Ingleside area, through which Holloway is a key (and mostly flat) bike route (see attached image from Hillmapper).

    Yet the city squanders Holloway’s potential to be a truly great east-west bike route by using copouts such as sharrows (aka ignorrows), conventional Class II lanes (aka Second-Class lanes) + “buffered” bike lanes (aka Double Parking/Driving lanes). Paint is not infrastructure, and it’s not necessarily a pleasant or inviting experience to the many Interested but Concerned people who’d otherwise bike in SF.

  39.  

    murphstahoe

    Peter has been robbing Paul for a long time. Now Paul wants it back and it’s theft. SMH.

  40.  

    SF Guest

    I do not support Prop B since it raids $22M from vital city services.

    The Council of Community Housing Organizations explained, “Without a new revenue source to offset such an increase in MTA expenditures, the measure is tantamount to “stealing from Peter to pay [more] to Paul. Prop B was put on the ballot with little involvement of transportation advocates, transit users, or the city’s communities and neighborhoods. This is not how good policy should be developed.”

  41.  

    Gezellig

    Streetsblog very much advocates holistic improvements to how we live in our cities. Many of the posts are about transit and ped improvements. There’s very much an outcry here for better transit–it’s definitely a consistent theme.

    This particular post had to do with bikes, so naturally that’s what people are mainly talking about. However,
    even there you’ll notice how several people mentioned the necessity of bike improvements vis à vis transit ones (Martijn’s proposed protected bikeway from BART to SFSU, for example).

    I’m not sure why you’d take this as an interpretation that people here are saying we should have improved bike infrastructure to the exclusion of transit. I haven’t seen that anywhere.

  42.  

    Gezellig

    Yeah, I don’t get how the occasional comment on here seems to falsely pit bike vs. ped vs. transit improvements against each other…as if they were somehow mutually exclusive instead of hugely overlapping and interconnected needs. Or as if people who bike never walk or take transit, which is of course absurdly far from the truth.

  43.  

    murphstahoe

    There is PLENTY of call to improve MUNI. There are two huge ballot measures in place to add massive chunks of funding to MUNI. There is a ballot measure that would be DETRIMENTAL to MUNI and the vast majority of commenters on this blog support A/B and are against L.

    This is an orthogonal problem to improving conditions for cycling. And I consider improving conditions for cycling to be very important because so many people are actively trying to hamstring improvements to MUNI – ironically while claiming that the problems with MUNI are the reason we need to have free parking, more parking garages, etc…

  44.  

    gneiss

    The story about the Novato bike crash is an absolutely maddening failure at several levels of government. Failure by traffic engineers to protect the children who used that road around the horse stables. Failure by local politicians to prioritize safety on local roads. Failure by the police to properly investigate the crash (he was traveling 65 mph on a 45 mph limit road). Failure by the District Attorney prosecutors to more vigorously collect evidence and build a negligent manslaughter case against the driver.

    And since all parties settled without accepting liability, it is unlikely that anything will change on that stretch of roadway, despite the $1.12 million settlement. If I may editorialize here, any community where adults abdicate their responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us in order to promote “convenience” has a serious sickness. The leaders in Novato should be ashamed of themselves.

  45.  

    danfinger

    If you’re not a cop, you’re little people!
    ~Deckard

  46.  

    Eddie_Snowden

    why did you mention your fish aquarium?

  47.  

    maaaaaatttt

    The infrastructure is fine. It’s the hills dammit! from where I live in the sunset i can safely get to SFSU in about 20 on a bike minutes because it’s mostly downhill. But going back home, it would take me 45 minutes because Its uphill. furthermore, If i bike to campus I get to class tired and sweaty. Even still, the 29 can get me to SFSU in roughly the same time as it would take me if I rode my bike, and it can get me home 20 minutes faster. Therefore, even though muni has it’s weaknesses, it’s better for me to take the 29 than it is to take my bike.

  48.  

    coolbabybookworm

    How is that irony? The article mentions studies and efforts to improve transit to SF State, and says that despite unreliability, transit is highly used, and not just the M line, bus routes that serve the university are also heavily used. Where do you get the notion that there is no outcry or push to improve the M line? SFCTA is looking into long term improvements.

    As Henderson says “there’s got to be another way [to mitigate traffic impacts of the university and growth]. MUNI and BART are a huge part of that, but so is walking and biking, especially for students who live close to the university. I’m not sure where you found the irony in that or the dismissal of transit.

  49.  

    sfsoma

    Special privileges for special interests. Cops and Fire get to park for free, guaranteed wherever they work. They are exempt from the We Hate Cars laws in SF, just like the politicians who enact them.

  50.  

    SFGuy1930

    You really seem to have a chip on your shoulder given the theme of all your comments.

    All I said was that in addition to helping students have an easier time biking (my parenthetical phrase, in case you are reading-impaired), it’s ironic that there’s no outcry/push that Muni M line needs to work more effectively for the students trying to get to school (and that Muni has a whole needs to be brought to the level that would be expected for a world-class city, which hopefully is the standard that San Francisco aspires to).