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    Well after dark last night while riding NB on Potrero Ave I was exposed to an “Ernst” situation: At the T intersection of 19th St and Potrero an officer had his car pulled across the northbound bike lane with lights on, extending a foot into the regular traffic lane on the left. The officer was having a conversation with a cyclist in one of several open parking spots. There were two (well lit) cyclists in front of me and we all carefully made our way into the regular traffic lane after a lot of checking for the fast moving bus/truck/auto traffic.

    As that’s a T intersection, my guess would be the cyclist had run the red light because there is no cross-traffic danger there. I don’t do that myself, but I know it happens.

    I’m not sure if that infraction warrants endangering the lives of the other 3 cyclists, especially where there was plenty of room for the officer to pull over. The other cyclists were having a conversation about it as well when we stopped at the red at 17th St.

    (Unfortunately by bike cam battery was low and I didn’t get the cruiser info.)

    Is that “I was Ernsted”, “He pulled an Ernst Maneuver”, or “I was exposed to an Ernst situation”? ( Ernsting: )

    The lane was Ernst-Blocked?



    Not to justify the terrible design, but why not divert to Capitol and turn left onto Sagamore to get to Alemany?



    I think the idea was not to have an elevated freeway looming over Market St. IMHO the touchdown should have been brought further back (south / east) and have a boulevard crossing at Market.



    Since I live up the hill in Merced Heights, my usual path is Orizaba to Alemany to get to Mission. There is no good way to traverse it.



    I can imagine.



    It’s also terrible as a pedestrian. Blatant and widespread disregard for crosswalk laws by people in cars.



    Yes, I traveled through it about two weeks ago on my bike to get to the nearby Habitat for Humanity jobsite. Left turns from Brotherhood to Sagamore are rather daunting on a bicycle.



    Exactly. Complete Streets have never been about only one mode:

    Also, as for the specific mode of biking, claiming low bike percentages on a street poorly designed for biking is like pointing out low percentages of people on a freeway are going by transit.



    That intersection is a nasty combination of poor geometry and freeway offramps and other comparatively high-speed traffic. Sagamore meets Brotherhood, Alemany, and Orizaba, making a spread-out 5-way intersection. Sagamore carries most of the traffic from a southbound 280 offramp 2 blocks away (and the 54-Felton and a bike lane in each direction), this stretch of Alemany is in between a southbound 280 onramp and a northbound 280 onramp, Brotherhood is essentially a high-speed expressway to the Sunset/Lake Merced Blvd. The traffic speeds on both Alemany and Brotherhood are high in part because there are no houses or businesses for most of this stretch, and the number and width of lanes encourage people to speed, plus there’s a 280/Bart underpass. Finally, compounding all that, the crosswalks are lacking: there are no signals or control devices other than paint, and you have to sometimes have to zigzag across various streets (e.g. turning left from southbound Orizaba onto eastbound Alemany).

    I think it’s probably my least-favorite intersection in the city, beating out the nearby 19th Ave/Junipero Serra mess. It’s very obviously engineered entirely for cars, with little regard to pedestrian traffic. Or for bicycles, for that matter, despite Sagamore’s lanes – routes 98 and 198 go through this intersection, but bicycling on Alemany from that point on to Crystal is terrifying and dangerous.



    This is also a poor intersection. I think large part of the issue is that a lot of these shared walking/bicycling paths were originally intended for leisure/recreational bike traffic. Now such paths are increasingly being used for utilitarian trips and commutes. Now is the time to rethink such missing links and hot-spots, thinking ahead to what we’ll have to accommodate in 10-20 years.



    Interesting. Those protesting the change claim that the changes will increase congestion.



    If you were being honest with yourself, you would know that trying to drive someone to Polk Street with the expectation that would be able to find ready curb side parking is a fools errand. No one who knows the neighborhood would actually do that, because it is almost never available.

    If you are going to discharge a passenger curbside with the new design, you would expect to double park, just as you do now.

    Bicycling improvements will make the street safer, as study after study and real world experience has shown. This will make the street more family and elderly friendly more than anything else.



    A protected bike lane would fix all of these issues with double parking. Most if not all of the delivery vehicles can park in alleys.

    My 9 year old can easily cycle the Polk Street grade, she routinely bicycles from Noe Valley to Glen Park BART.

    We shouldn’t design the street to fail before it even starts, which is what the current plan guarantees. No one is going to decide to start bicycling that didn’t already ride because of the new Polk Street design, because the sharrow zone is too intimidating to new riders. The few extra blocks of door-zone bicycle lane are just a bone thrown in an attempt to appease us. They do not advance Vision Zero or 20/20 goals.



    I think your number obscures the issue more than Aaron’s does. One side is claiming a critical need for parking — yet 85% arrive without a car — relevant to know. The other side is claiming a critical need for a safe travel lane where they won’t get injured or killed, on a main north-south route that can lead to many destinations other than Polk itself. Why would the fact that fewer people arrive (i.e. shop) on Polk by bike be relevant to the need for safety for those who travel on it?


    Karen Lynn Allen

    There is so much truly egregious traffic behavior endangering all of our lives in San Francisco, and the SFPD chooses to focus on this? Tax dollars are spent stinging bicyclists who roll through a stop sign and crosswalk in an intersection so poorly designed as to be unfathomable to any bicyclist who uses it?

    I rarely use Octavia anymore now that Polk has the three blocks of contraflow lane, but this “correct” way of negotiating this intersection appears both dangerous and stressful for bicyclists, and I would refuse to do it myself. The last place a bicyclist of any sense wants to be is next to speeding traffic on what is essential a freeway on ramp. Noise, toxic fumes, powerful heavy cars intent on getting their vehicle up to freeway speeds–these are the kinds of nastiness I try to keep as far from as possible when biking. Whoever designed this intersection to place bikes at this confusing chokepoint on Octavia should not only pay for all the tickets given out, they should pay for any injuries to bicyclists that might be incurred here as well as treatment for future cases of heart disease and lung cancer that result from bicyclists having to breathe the horrendous toxic fumes.

    The traffic behavior SFPD should focus on, both by bicyclists and by vehicle drivers, are those actions that endanger other street users. And the two most important behaviors that endanger others are, by far: 1) failure to yield to pedestrians and bicyclists, and 2) reckless behavior in the vicinity of pedestrians and bicyclists that endanger them. (This would include speeding! Making turns too fast! Accelerating too abruptly! Parking in crosswalks! Parking in bike lanes! Racing past bicyclists and then turning right in front of them forcing them to brake hard or die!) This is the behavior that needs to change; this is worth SFPD’s time and attention. All the rest is silliness and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

    Bicyclists absolutely must yield to pedestrians and to other bicyclists who have the right of way. Bicyclists absolutely must not whip through a busy crosswalk at 20 mph and come within inches of an elder with a cane. The pedestrian must be sacrosanct, and this kind of behavior is worth setting up stings for. A bicyclist rolling through a stop sign (as 95% of motorists do) or coasting through a largely empty crosswalk under 5mph endangers no one, and it is a complete waste of SFPD limited time and resources *that we all pay for* to “correct” such behavior.



    “While the people who are protesting the loss of parking are complaining that these measures are ‘anti-family’, ‘anti-elderly’, or
    ‘anti-disabled’ they are exactly the reverse.”
    This does not make sense.

    Many people with mobility impairments use walkers, wheelchairs. Everyone does not use mobility scooters. Today a driver can take a family member, friend to Polk, take out the walker, wheelchair, help them a short distance to visit a merchant, doctor, restaurant.

    With the new raised cycle track there is no stopping on Polk St. The driver cannot drop off a person with mobility impairments near their destination as before.

    How does forcing people with walkers, wheelchairs to travel further make it “pro-family”, “pro-elderly” and “pro-disabled” as you claim?



    “Eighty-five percent of people on Polk arrive without a car”
    is misleading.
    MTA’s survey has the breakdown of people arriving to Polk St. by
    foot – 58.0%, transit – 17.3%, car – 15.1%, bicycle – 4.9%, other – 2.7%,
    didn’t respond – 2.0%.

    When the pie is sliced differently the result is -
    95.1% of people arrive to Polk St. without a bicycle.

    Every time A Bialick obscures the data, people are reading false information.


    Anthony R

    If your opinion is so humble why bother sharing it?


    David Baker

    I’m confused at what’s the legal way to ride this intersection. You go through the crazy narrow shoot and then ride next to the speeding traffic heading for the on ramp, or possibly about to hook right and kill you, that’s OK because there is no stop sign like there is on the frontage road (combining a stop sign and a green light which I have always found a bit odd) and then across Market but if you ride into the crosswalk when turning to ride north on Market that would be illegal? And they had an enforcement sting here to bust people for doing this the “wrong” way?



    He was going straight off the NACTO website (see the supersharrow in Long Beach CA on the top pics)



    Important to get the positives out of a bad situation and ask, ‘What good is there in this that I can work on?’ And there is. Alot. And see above.



    Create the change you wish to see in the world. We’re getting that block back #Pine2CAOnPolk @Hiura_Optometry @SFMuniverse.



    Nah, its just a poor design that doesn’t provide separate provision for cycling, and then the police ticket people for using it as it is marked to be used.

    The city spent money building it but if its gonna be any good they’re gonna have to jackhammer it and start over.



    Amend that to: ‘It’s a very nasty B__d who forces people to plant their faces into the asphalt on which a protected bike lane could have sat.’ (note: edited for P.C. ;-)



    That’s what this really involves – stewardship of our future. Not only re. infrastructure but the process of how that infrastructure is decided, whether people use the agency they have, and how we engage. FFP’s catchphrase: ‘Not just about a street. Advocating healthy infrastructure of both public space & public discourse. Making it happen through the Polk Street initiatives.’



    I’m sure the pols didn’t want to, but the public outcry! Some people did want this—at least enough for the politicians to listen (which in the Bay can often be quite few). That’s not to say it was a good idea, of course.



    Evidence counts, right? As if. Anyway, let’s get into gear for the next round.



    And the rest of the stretch will be as pretty as possible with no angry bullies to stand in the way.



    It’s getting repaved at the same time as the lower portion. At first, they had no plans to stripe it immediately after construction but we pressed them on it and got a verbal agreement that they would. Up to us to make sure that happens. folks@folksforpolk.



    See above. Help us make it happen, Mario.



    We’re going to get that block back.



    Why don’t you ask them to, gneiss? @Hiura_Optometry.



    I’m certain that they didn’t understand that what they did was wrong, if not illegal.



    The dividing line was CA and uncontested for a very long time, if not from the start. A big reason for that was that the Middle Polk Neighborhood Association staked their boundary there (yes, srsly). But that didn’t stop them from frequent aggressive incursions south of the border.



    Ah, that’s you! Bravo! You’ve got them on the defensive. Keep it up, we intend to get that block back. @folksforpolk



    As I’ve written ad nauseum, there have always been plenty who supported the best but they were lied to and understandably intimidated. It’s late in the game, but you can help Folks for Polk engage them in the next phase. We have nice big stickers all ready for their windows…



    Appalling the lack of moral hazard on this; shattered lives are seen as just the cost of doing business. Opponents never have to experience the consequences of their stance – unless they or someone they love is hit. Otoh, if a business closes, you can bet they’ll scapegoat the design.



    SF, City of Interest Group Silos.



    And we intend to make the design such that it will be a no-brainer once everything else in place.



    Yes! Easy to forget that political leadership is not just the mayor. As I pointed out above, there are still many design decisions ahead that can influence safety, etc. We can’t fall prey to the media’s proclivity for wars. Perseverance is key; we’re over the hardest part now. Thank you, Cheryl, for *your* perseverance, vision, eloquence, and courage!



    Engage him and Julie C. at our pub talk:



    It wasn’t strictly the same individuals but protesters gotta protest. At meetings for every issue, you see the same people with too much nonconstructive time on their hands who are angry at the world.



    Another consideration is the number of people with families holding down two or more jobs and who have to get from one to another not only safely but quickly and at times that public transit aren’t running frequently.



    - ‘There’s going to be a preview of this at the northwest corner of Broadway and Polk…’
    Bulbouts and other measures force drivers to slow down.
    -‘it’s kind of wait and see how all of these interfaces work out.’

    No ‘wait and see.’ *We* can influence how all those issues are resolved.



    Cmr. Brinkman did an excellent job pointing out the equity issues. If we lived in a culture where equity and lives were given more than a lip service, that might have swayed the other members. But we don’t. We live in a broader culture that drinks the KoolAid that business – even the smallest, most poorly run, least informed business – calls the shots. We need to work within that current reality to change it on a local level.



    Especially important through intersections.



    ‘There needs to be some way to more strongly visually reinforce that it is a bike route’

    Yes there are. Take a look at the many ways to craft sharrows in the NACTO guidelines, Gezellig



    There are still a lot of lower profile decisions that will have a huge impact and won’t galvanize the opposition. SEE: They include options like sharrows, curb colors, landscaping, striping…It’s akin to building a custom home; one doesn’t stop designing once the floor plan is decided. And, working on detail has a way of ‘informing’ the bigger plan again. So I’ll continue to work on these options – let’s crowd-design! FFP works by many each pinch-hitting a bit. Write us to pitch in: I haven’t gotten any answer as to why the MTA spares paint so that, and #Pine2CAOnPolk, are good starting points.

    Join the conversation with Julie C. and Scott W. at our next pub talk 18 March



    I was wondering that, too!

    I’m wondering what you’re “supposed” to do if you’re going from SB Octavia to SB Elgin Park. If not through the crosswalk (which leads *directly to the bike stencil*!) you would go through the winding channel + bike lane + unmarked crossbike across Market and then upon reaching the actual freeway entrance either:

    1) turn right and briefly go the wrong direction on the Market St bike lane to get to the bike stencil + channel leading to Elgin Park


    2) dismount and become a pedestrian (where those people with luggage in the image above are) very briefly and then hop back on once at the channel leading to Elgin Park?

    What a bizarrely designed intersection and even more bizarre to ticket people who are clearly confused about what they’re “supposed” to be doing there.

    If you ask Google Maps how to get from First Baptist on Octavia to Elgin Park on a bike it tells you to cross the unmarked crossbike across Market and then at the literal start of the freeway somehow magically veer right (against the Market bike lane?! Through the pedestrian crosswalk across the freeway?!):



    Also, this view is awkward. Doesn’t the little bike stencil on the far end imply one may bicycle through the crosswalk? I’d fight the citation if I received one.