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    Yorick Hawk-Zucker

    As expected, this pilot has failed miserably. Fortunately my commute goes the other way, but I’ve seen traffic back up to a horrifying extent on San Jose Ave. It often goes ALL THE WAY TO 280!!! Are you kidding me? This “road diet” is even slowing down freeway traffic a mile away! How ridiculous is that? Those people must be waiting 20+ minutes just to get through that light. Sucks for them.

    Here is an easy solution that makes everyone happy and even keeps the bike lane:
    MAKE THE LIGHT LONGER FOR NORTHBOUND CARS ON SAN JOSE. Especially at commute times. That will increase traffic flow through that intersection and should have minimal side effects. One or two lights ahead of it (such as 30th St. and the left turn onto Dolores) may need to be made longer as well to prevent traffic from just backing up ahead.

    This should have been obvious to people running this pilot, but unfortunately the shortage of people with an IQ over 70 in the organizations that plan these things often prevents these things from happening.


    Richard Mlynarik

    So we are getting a park then? That hasn’t been cancelled like the glass walls then?

    If only!

    The (wildly overbudget) structural steel supporting the batshit insane celestial park enclosing The Big Bus Station in the Sky is why the Transbay Terminal cannot and never will function as a remotely useful rail terminal.

    America’s Finest Transportation Planning Professionals of ARUP North America, Parsons Transportation Group, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority and Caltrain: death is too kind a fate for any of them. $2 billion down the crapper.



    Might be difficult, but definitely NOT impossible at all, it’s doable. I can understand maybe the concerns of doing it on graveyard shift and so fourth like the safety concerns at night. However one would still be able to get their things in before sunrise and have it ready to go. Though yes probably not all businesses can or would want to do it, as I said if they did though just imagine how less stressful it would be and the reduction there would be in double parking that screws up traffic flows especially during rush hour, and probably no parking tickets, who doesn’t want that, don’t know of any DPT officers that patrol in the early morning hours I know of. It’s just one big solution that can be beneficial to freight, businesses and all transportation users in reducing congestion, just saying…

    Oh and maybe to make it more interesting or as an incentive those who make deliveries during the grave yard shift can be paid more to do it just like and I’m assuming that people who work the night and graveyard shift of any job gets paid more generally I think


    Dark Soul

    There always free parking spaces when its free. There no parking spaces when parking spot are paid which allow them roam around more.


    Jamison Wieser

    I don’t understand why this is such a hardship for their business.

    Especially when there are so many businesses who are able and willing to make an honest living. If the towing company has a business model that depends on breaking the law, they shouldn’t be in business at all.


    Jamison Wieser

    D5 Supervisor London Breed said that her staff came to an agreement with Ted & Al’s owner Larry Nasey and Raj Vaswani, the new SFPD Park Station captain. “Both were very responsive and helpful, and we are optimistic that this dangerous, illegal parking will not continue,” she said.

    Does our new captain intend to negotiate which laws apply to every business individually? Ignorance of the law does is not a valid excuse for other violations, but knowingly blocking a bike lane because it would be inconvenient to drive around the block is an acceptable excuse?

    What other laws does captain Vaswani see as optional? Is there a list available of what laws Park Station doesn’t enforce?



    Fees that are expressed as a percentage would not need to be CPI-indexed. Only fees expressed in absolute dollar terms need indexation. Percentage fees self-index.

    More generally, there is always a potential problem with taxes (let’s call these fees by their more appropriate name) when they are based on valuations rather than transactions.

    Taxes in this country generally apply only to transactions. And this makes sense because there is actual money changing hands and we know that the money is there. Income tax, sales tax, property transfer taxes, estate taxes and capital gains taxes all apply to transactions.

    The one exception is property taxes because they are essentially a tax on wealth and, as such, there is never any guarantee that the money is there to pay the tax. A good example is with asset-rich, cash-poor people, like seniors who own a big home. Public policy generally supports the idea that they should not be forced to sell their home to pay their property tax, and there are various programs to help people in that situation.

    Likewise, a big part of the basis for Prop 13 was to avoid such situations arising.

    Property tax is really the only good example I can think of where this nation has a wealth tax – something which is otherwise specifically banned by the US constitution (although Florida has an Intangibles Tax, which targets that state’s large number of affluent retirees).

    Anyway, this special tax assessment is a de facto tax on implied but unrealized wealth. Just because the properties may have doubled in value over the last few years does not mean that the cash is lying around to pay twice the taxes. And do we really want the developer cutting corners to find the cash to pay the extra tax? Would that signal the end of the mooted rooftop park? Safety compromises? Quality of finish?

    Point being – this isn’t just a simple good versus evil situation. Imagine, for instance, that we were in a bad real estate market and these valuations were declining. Would Kim and Wiener be arguing that the city should take less in taxes? I don’t think so.


    Jamison Wieser

    Nasey said he couldn’t promise a complete end to tow trucks stopped in the bike lane, since the driveway there is the only entrance they have to the building, and truckers must often wait for others to make room first.

    I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure traffic laws still apply even when they are inconvenient.



    The Ted & AL scumbags should get the f*** out of SF. Don’t let the door hit you in the a**.


    Jamison Wieser

    In exchange for the city allowing them to increase the height and density of their projects, the property owners agreed two years ago to be assessed up to $400 million to help pay for a Transbay Transit Center rooftop park and other public improvements to the area.

    So we are getting a park then? That hasn’t been cancelled like the glass walls then?


    david vartanoff

    If they don’t want to contribute, cancel their building permits. As to Willie, who would be surprised? The fee percentage should be CPI indexed. If the speculators don’t like it, tough.



    I guess we will find out just how corrupt our politicians are. There is absolutely no reason to change the agreed upon fees after the upzoning to over 1,000. A deal is a deal…. Less than 1%, and they have audacity to hire Willie Brown to try to change the rules? Appalling. Pass the CFD with fees as is.



    I hope he will be able to contribute his experience and expertise to an agency that desperately needs someone who isn’t afraid to take chances and try new things with innovation and think creatively and think outside of the box unconventionally if need be. Though I really hope that he will be able to do that and NOT allow narrow minded, obtuse hostile people who aren’t opened to much needed change or don’t get it, get in the way politically as well, this is always my concern as I’ve seen in the past, well see what happens, i wish him the very best!



    Not-quite-stale comment thread so I gotta let off steam on this 9-day-old one.

    I can’t take both of my kids on my bike at the same time.

    Awww. You can either cry us a river, or Google ‘cargo bikes’ or even ‘biking with kids’ to get a shred of a notion of what one can do on a bike.

    I can’t carry the 150 pounds of little league coaching gear on my bike.

    a) False. b) How nice for you. No one said you can’t do things like this. Go ahead and sit in traffic! Hopefully you’ll get passed up by a few of these en route:

    The city refused to allow my kids to go to any school near my house (I picked the nearest 7 and got none)

    Whoa, wait wait. LOL, so ‘the city’ is to be blamed even though you know so little about our public-school system that you don’t even realize ‘the city’ doesn’t run it and don’t understand how the student-assignment system works? (A bit simplistically, you have to list a lot of choices or the type of algorithm it uses cannot rank your choices against others’ choices and swap until everyone gets a satisfactory choice.)

    The bus between my house and my kids’ school (thru the ‘loin) is filled with meth heads and crazies

    OK, this is just too easy. I’m just gonna leave that there.

    You, sir, are a world-class piece of work. A piece of work who needs to consider living in some mythological bucolic suburb and leave the city for the rest of us who know we’re not entitled to any mode of transit we please. If you want to overschedule your kids and drive them around everywhere, great, but there’s no earthly reason why the city should roll out the red carpet and make it easy for you.



    What is the “problem with the law” that bans vehicles from parking in bike lanes other than that it inconveniences Al and Ted’s Towing? You’re right that enforcement is always limited, but enforcement should prioritize violations that put safety at significant risk, like for example a tow truck company regularly parking its trucks in the bike lane on a busy street.

    Based on his latest statement, Captain Vaswani seems to get this, and we’ll have to make sure he follows through.


    Mario Tanev

    Can’t a 4-way stop-sign be replaced with a 4-way blinking red light? Those are equivalent in terms of rules. Then, when a bus approaches, it can switch to green for the bus and to red for the other directions. Pedestrians can get a countdown as soon as a bus as somewhat near in order to allow switching to red.

    Will this be considered confusing or technically challenging to implement? It seems to have the benefits of transit priority while also not blocking pedestrians in times where there is no bus.


    Mario Tanev

    I was the coordinator for the SFTRU campaign for all-door boarding. Comparing to the battles of today with ENUF, Prop L, MPNA, BRT, TEP and so on, all-door boarding turned out to be a piece of cake. The only group affected by all-door boarding were transit riders, and they tend to be a reasonable bunch. Whenever you touch on people’s god-given right to parking, well then, you’re in a world of hurt in San Francisco.


    Mario Tanev

    Whereas transit priority in Zurich works like a charm. Perhaps it depends on the competency and discipline of who implements it.



    The bicyclists were coming from *one* direction. And they were all respecting the primacy of pedestrian right of way by not interfering with their walking. And news flash p_chazz – if they hit a pedestrian at the speeds they were going, the only injuries would be minor. Not like with drivers of cars, where even low speed collisions can cause extensive injuries.




    Aaron Bialick

    The tone of the new captain is bodacious.


    Jym Dyer

    Every bike that passes by is one less customer for the towing business.



    Upzoning and density bonuses up front, fees that can bring public amenities second, lower than intended, or not at all.

    I guess they are taking a page from New York’s playbook.


    Jym Dyer

    ≎ Trying to get past Al & Ted’s Bogus Parking has been most heinous.

    (Some of their drivers, despite being clearly identifiably marked, also have a penchant for impatient and contemptuous maneuvers when making the left turn onto Fell alongside the bike lanes.)


    Jym Dyer

    The question underlying the question is, How does L.A. get “near-infinite funding” while the state’s economic powerhouse goes begging?



    I saw typical bicyclist disrespect of pedestrian space. It is extremely disconcerting to see bicyclists coming at you from all directions out of the corner of your eye. It makes for a hostile street environment for peds.



    The short answer is that I can see five violations just by sticking my head out the window. There are problems with the laws, and one way these problems are dealt with is through a lack of enforcement (see also, for example, bikes at stop signs). Of course, I don’t think parking in the Fell St bike lane is a good solution, so hopefully they’ll figure something out.



    which is clearly strictly enforced by SFPD at places like 24th/Noe



    [citation needed]



    You forgot your narrative. “All cyclists run stop signs”.



    What if there are no free parking spaces, but lots of drivers looking for them? That’s more the case of what we have in San Francisco. I think that increases the danger on the streets more than the other case you cite.



    What “zero” percent? What a ridiculous thing to say. The mayor gets around in a car. Most city officials travel by car. The Fire Department, Public Works Departments, DPW, Social Services, Park Serivces, heck, just about every department except for MUNI bus drivers and LRT operators gets around by car.

    It is patently false to say that there is “no representation” given the truly pervasive nature of car use in city government. If you asked the SFMTA board members if they had drivers licenses, I’d bet all of them do. And I would imagine that the ’4 members who use MUNI regularly’ also drive, just like almost every adult in California.


    Richard Mlynarik

    Caltrain MASSIVELY, MASSIVELY pads every single capital project and engineering contract with huge quantities of unspecified and unspecifiable overheads which are used to keep the staff and the army of perma-temp in-house consultants rolling in it.

    A million for “staff”? (To do … umm .. we’ll get back to you on that. ) That’s nothing?

    A signal project for a tiny little 50 mile shuttle line with no junctions? Anywhere else in the world, under $100 million. At Caltrain, more than $250 million.

    An electrification project coming in at nearly three times comparable projects in expensive first world locations? MMMMMM … somebody’s making out.

    Feed the beasts!



    Not true. They have backed down on many of their initiatives based on the feedback they received from community meetings. And they have patently *not* ignored the outreach program, they continued to have many meetings throughout the process. The fact that you didn’t like their proposals doesn’t mean that they didn’t engage in community outreach.



    The problem is that private auto supporters don’t want 50% of the space, or 80% of the space, they want 100%.

    And I’m not sure what city you live in that 50% of commutes are done by private auto.



    Streets are not pipes. And people are not molecules of water. You can’t possible think that the same number of people will continue to drive someplace the same way where the streetscape gets changed.

    When the Embarcadero Freeway was removed, we didn’t suddenly have a ‘deluge’ of cars on the surface streets, because people adjusted to the new reality of the space and transport options and used other means to get to their destinations. And if you prioritize one mode (say transit) over another, suddenly, it becomes more attractive to use that mode then another.

    Finally – tell me – who is the person mandated on the SFMTA board that must be for the specific interests of anyone? The board is made of up of 7 people who are appointed by the mayor. No one is ‘mandated’ to be anything. And, I’ve venture to guess that all of the board members have drivers licenses and probably own cars and maybe a bicycle or two. That means they can walk, take MUNI, bicycle, jog, drive, and heck, maybe do all of those in things in one day.


    Dark Soul

    Free Parking decrease numbers of drivers roaming the block finding a parking space. While Paid Parking increase numbers of drivers roaming the block finding a spot to park without having to pay. Which increases danger to the streets



    Anyone who has a car automatically is Mr. Money Bags? That’s an interesting generalization. Many of them are struggling to make ends meet. Here’s another one. Anyone who rides a bicyclist is from the Midwest and just came to SF a year and a half ago and loves to tell everyone who based their mostly modest lives here in SF on being able to operate a motor vehicle what they can and can’t do. But those people don’t count very much to you, do they? Clearly they are all Republican dirt bags! No one is suggesting that we don’t try to get off the gasoline using car. What we are suggesting is that you can’t marginalize 50% of the city’s voters because you don’t like the cut of their jibs.



    Taking away traffic lanes at only particular points means the overall flow of the street is reduced. If you take a pipe, and constrict it to 1/2 or 2/3 of its original diameter at one point – guess what? You have reduced the flow along 100% of that length, even though you only constricted it at a single point. So calculating the impact based on square footage is skewing facts at its best. Here’s another fact for you to skew: Less than 4% of commutes are done on bicycle, greater than 50% of commutes are done by private auto. How many motorists are mandated to be on the SFMTA board?



    You’re right, the measure also calls for equal representation in SFTMA’s decisions for the 50%+ of SF residents that use a private auto to get to work. Versus the 0% representation they have now in city government.


    Matt Laroche

    Sounds like you know more than I do about the current shape of the Metrolink trains. Do you have a link for them still being serviceable?



    Probably the legal “you can’t go if anyone’s in the crosswalk at all” definition.



    Some of that looks a bit like a Right on Red, after stopping.



    Caltrain could save a bundle skipping or seriously trimming back that $6M rehab item. The MetroLink cars are currently serviceable. Maybe they don’t have all of the Caltrain-specific bells and whistles but does that really matter? This is just a stopgap measure until electrification comes on line. Riders won’t care if the cars aren’t painted Caltrain red and white.

    When Caltrain borrowed Chicago Metra cars a few years ago they worked just fine without needing extensive mods. Good thing because they went back to Metra after the loan.



    Agreed. Some of them get a little closer to the peds than I would, but it doesn’t look like any of them break stride at all. Stanley seems to have in mind some specific meaning of “yield” that I don’t get.



    Yet SFMTA has already had proof-of-payment and all-door-boarding on ALL bus and streetcar routes for a couple years now, right? Half the battle of SBS seems to be already implemented on every route in SF.



    Also – when the cyclist runs the red, 2 pedestrians do the exact same thing right in the frame.



    Watching the Stanley Roberts piece again points out the absurdity of treating people riding on bikes as if they are car drivers. In each case where he scolds the person on a bike for failing to yield to pedestrians there was absolutely no danger to them. These people riding bikes were interacting with the pedestrians the same as if they were on a multi-use path, with slow, deliberation motions that didn’t interfere with them by waiting until there was a gap and moving through it. What Stanley fails to recognize, is that hitting a person walking carries just as much risk of injury for the person on the bike as well. How many times do we need to say this – bicycles are *not* cars and can treat interactions with people walking differently than if you were driving a car.


    Upright Biker

    Why add shiny, new, high-tech, oh-what-fun-for-traffic-engineers-to-get-to-overengineer-something traffic signals when you could simply eliminate stop signs and add low-tech traffic calming instead?

    Why indeed.


    The Colonel

    What’s next for Sean Parker? Provide funding to the Islamic State? What a buffoon. This fool proves that no amount of money can buy you credibility.