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    No surprise that the MarinIJ article was penned by “mostly symbolic” journalist Dick Spotswood. Also no surprise that Marin development obstructionists are opposed to the removal of one of their main tools for obstruction, and it’s unfortunate that they are dragging us all down with them.



    The hotels haven’t just “managed”. Their tax returns indicate they’re at max occupancy most of the year. You use “bait-and-switch” a lot, but that would imply this was all some master plan conceived over a decade ago – to go against a ‘promise’ that was never made. As stated earlier – different interests pushed for a subway, and during construction, the businesses affected by the construction found that a pedestrianization of Stockton helped their business by trying it out for a few years. It’s not a conspiracy, it’s just different groups of people responding to what they’ve witnessed over the past few years.



    “Logic says that it must.” Explain your logic. There’s a growing body of evidence from dense cities like New York and European cities that removing some links from the road network improves traffic congestion. gneiss points out that SF data also supports this conclusion in the case of Stockton St. Traffic is bad now, but what makes you think it wouldn’t be worse if the connection between Stockton and 4th were reestablished?



    Ah – the ad hominen attack. Tell me – who is an anti-car zealot? Is it someone who drives 2,000 miles to Yellowstone and back in a week? Because oddly enough, that’s what I did 2 weeks ago.



    That’s true, but the amount of traffic increase elsewhere has been lower than expected. That’s what SFMTA has been saying. Again, vehicle access is not restricted to those hotels.



    No – that’s not being proposed. First of all, three blocks is not “taking Stockton St. away”. Secondly, they are making it transit only with pedestrians. There’s no loss of access here, simply put, one mode of travel is deprioritized. You simply cannot equate lack of access by car to “taking a street away”.



    Another weak analogy.



    The data doesn’t support that blocking a street doesn’t increase traffic elsewhere?

    Logic says that it must. How else do we access those hotels by vehicle? Or don’t you care, as I suspect?

    And when a cyclist or pedestrian is killed on those adjoining streets because a driver was delayed and frustrated?



    The data doesn’t support that. Again, the SFMTA has shown the current closures haven’t adversely impacted traffic.



    Just because traffic is bad is no reason to make it worse. The Central Subway has given non-vehicular users a $1.5 billion way of bypassing Stockton Street.

    And now you want to take Stockton Street away anyway?



    And obviously you don’t think the burden of poof has been met because you think the only way to get around in the city is by car. Let me give you a newsflash. San Francisco doesn’t work well for private cars, particularly in the downtown area around Market St. So long as we have high density it never will. The only way it would work, is if we radically changed the city to be like San Jose, which is to say, razed whole city blocks and lowered height restrictions to reduce density.

    To suggest that opposition to the change being proposed will make things better for drivers is laughable on it’s face, because there’s just no way to do that. Even in the 70’s, people were complaining about traffic before all the changes that have been made.



    Yes, it’s fascinating to me that we can give transit riders a $1.5 billion investment and all they do is whine that it’s not enough and they still want to remove cars from the streets.

    Even though the entire point of putting transit underground is to free up the streets.

    There really is no making these people happy. They want it all.



    Ah yes, back to the “well, you’ve managed for the last 5 years” argument.

    How about we take the Wiggle out of commission for 5 years and then argue that obviously it is no longer needed. It’s a bait-and-switch argument of the worst kind



    But vehicles accessing those hotels would typically use those blocks so you are greatly increasing the congestion on adjoining streets



    There are no hotels on the blocks being considered for creating a pedestrian and transit space.


    SF Guest

    You hit it right on the noggin! JD_X’s argument is “What about the hardship of transit riders that have to deal with routes clogged by motorists, or that of bicyclists and pedestrians who continue to be routinely hit by motorists in this city?”

    With the forthcoming subway there is no hardship on transit riders along Stockton Street. Any opportunity to permanently close off a public street to private vehicle use will be supported by 99% of this blog’s constituents regardless of its economic or commercial effects.



    It’s clear you’re just grasping at the nearest ‘issue’ that you think will support your position, without looking into them with any depth. None of the hotels you mentioned are on the closed portion of Stockton St – in fact the Ritz Carlton is on the Stockton St above the tunnel and couldn’t possibly be affected. The other hotels are members of the Union Square BID, so ostensibly they’ve had some say in the BID’s position to request the change, and have been operating with the closure in place for the past 5 years. Hotel tax data reported to the city shows their occupancy has never been higher.



    Obviously YOU think the burden of proof has been met because you don’t care a hoot about cars and would support anything that diminishes their rights of access and usage.

    The fact that drivers have managed to adapt to the temporary loss and inconvenience doesn’t mean that they are happy with the current situation nor that they don’t want Stockton back as they were promised.

    Why not make Powell car-free instead? It’s half way there already and doesn’t link directly to a major north-south tunnel?



    Yes, I don’t think anyone here seeks to ban buses from Stockton Street, even though the Central Subway should lessen the need for them.

    Another issue that hasn’t been mentioned here is that there are at least 5 hotels on Stockton Street, including the Ritz Carlton, the Grand Hyatt and Taj Campton. Hotels need a lot of vehicular access for cabs, shuttles, Uber, food and linen delivery and so on.



    I support having a transit lane on Stockton St.



    What a weak analogy. That’s not at all what’s being proposed here. Property is not being taken. In fact, access is not being denied. All that’s being proposed is to create more pedestrians space and a transit only lane where currently it doesn’t exist. There are numerous examples of streets like this that work well from all over the world.

    The “burden of proof” requirement has been met. Traffic studies by SFMTA show that the closing of Stockton St had less of an impact on surround traffic patterns than they expected. The opening of the street to pedestrians was a rousing success for the merchants on that street. There – that’s it. Now it’s just political will and a desire to remake the city for people rather than cars.



    The problem with that argument, jd_x, is that you could use it to justify banning cars from any and every street in SF. There is nothing there that is specific to Stockton.

    Now maybe that is your opinion anyway. But even you should recognize that you need to make that argument case-by-case, street-by-street, rather than use a blanket argument that could apply anywhere.

    A more realistic goal is that we need to share the streets, and that means pedestrians, cyclists and buses. But it also means cars.



    jd_x, so if the city came along and suggested that your home be demolished to make way for a car parking garage, are you saying that there is a burden of proof on you to show that should not happen?

    Of course not. The default option is always to change nothing. Those who want a change need to convince the rest of us.



    “The burden of proof should always be on those who seek the change.”

    What?! Where did you get this idea from? Is this some new city policy we’ve never heard of? The burden of proof is not just on those who want to change things. Both sides should have to present their evidence and the planners should make the best decision incorporated that info.



    What about the hardship of transit riders that have to deal with routes clogged by motorists, or that of bicyclists and pedestrians who continue to be routinely hit by motorists in this city? Or the hardships faced by bicyclists with a completely inadequate bicycle network which often puts them in danger, let alone considers what’s convenient to them.

    There’s no doubt that making Stockton St car-free will impose hardships on some motorists, but as made clear (at least in principle, if not in practice) by our city’s own Vision Zero and Transit First policy, many other street users currently suffer not just inconvenience but serious injury and even death.



    Gotta love the social engineering. :-(



    So am I. Everytime I see a bunch of people getting off that bus and getting on the train, they are cruise passengers headed back to Sacramento.



    Both can be true. Local residents can oppose this street closure AND city-wide people value their ability to navigate the city by car.

    But yes, I think greater weight should be attacked to the residents and merchants of ChinaTown because they are the most negatively impacted ny this proposal.


    Ted King

    No, he’s referring to the Amtrak / Thruway shuttle bus that runs between S.F. and Emeryville (EMY).

    EMY station info at


    Earl D.

    It’s been shown over and over again that merchants in SF vastly overestimate the number of people who reach their shops by automobile. Mission merchants for instance are up-in-arms about the Rapid Project and the addition of a bus lane, even though more than 8 times(!) more people take the bus than car (65,000 vs. 8,000 trips). That ratio is almost certainly higher in Chinatown.

    Pak’s short-sighted advocacy (like so many SF progressives) has hurt her own constituents over and over again. Chinatown like Union Square is fighting a strong headway with the rise of Internet shopping and the stratospheric, rent based cost of living and doing business in SF. Instead of advocating housing to off-sets those costs and try and get more pedestrians into Chinatown she fought to get the Doctor ‘no’ of development into office to throw a monkey wrench into city planning and working to make her own brainchild, the central line, less effective in bringing in shoppers. It’s madness.



    “a handful of wealthy car drivers”

    Karen, you’d make a better case if you didn’t stereotype drivers as wealthy or few in number. As most people know, SF is the opposite of most US cities in that the wealthiest people live close in and the poor live further out, where housing is less expensive.

    So the irony is that it is often the poor who cannot rely on public transport because it is much weaker in the further out areas. While hedge fund managers who live in Nob Hill r Russian Hill get the luxury of walking or biking to work.

    Make the health case that people should walk more if you wish, but dismissing drivers as “wealthy” is insulting to the many lower-income people who are forced to drive because of a lack of options. About 90% of households in the Bay Area have cars. I guarantee you that the vast majority of those are not “wealthy” at all, just as 90% is not “a handful”.



    Maybe not, but if all Eric has is an obscene rant, then it’s fair to assume that he has no counter-argument



    If the intent was to turn Stockton Street into a public plaza at the end, then I think someone would have a citation for that. The assumption was that as much as possible, the streets would revert to how they were before construction.

    It is YOU that needs a citation to prove we agreed to a car-free Stockton,



    Nonsense. If you are going to most of the city then you are going to change to either another bus or a streetcar anyway. So better to change earlier and get on a faster train.

    The Central Subway adds a second dimension to the streetcar network and makes it a network rather than a line. Many people will get on or off at the end of the lines, and take buses as necessary. The result should be that we can reduce the buses through the Stockton tunnel and other downtown bottlenecks.



    We agreed to out up with 5 years of Stockton being closed with the proviso that we get it back again at the end.

    I don’t believe this. Do you have a citation?

    Also who is “we”? Do you live in Chinatown? Union Square? Otherwise, your voice doesn’t really matter, does it?



    Wait, you want the only vehicles in the Stockton tunnel to be buses? So once every ten or so minutes there would be a vehicle in the tunnel? I am fairly sure that NOBODY agreed to that when the CS was approved.

    More generally the point of the CS s surely no different than the point of undergrounding transit everywhere in the city, and every other city. It’s much more efficient to ut mass transit underground, freeing the streets up for both vehicles and people.!

    So you don’t go to great trouble and expense to put transit underground and then also ask to ban cars from the streets abive



    Laughable. The Central Subway station is 9 stories underground. Unless someone is going all the way to Bayview, it’s a net time loss.



    The point of the Central Subway is to pacify Rose Pak



    If you can’t rebut him, clearly you are wrong!



    That “And” word there is crucial. It performs as a conjunction, enabling one point to be added to another.

    So in this case it was stated that in ChinaTown both residents oppose the street closure AND merchants do as well.




    I think that bus only exists for people getting off cruise ships.



    Both sides have “facts”. But the question of values does arise as well.



    I was providing some background and context as to the motives and intentions of some advocates of this street closure. Whether you specifically fall into this category or not doesn’t matter – there are some anti-car zealots here who are motivated only be their hatred,



    It was a package deal that we the people effectively accepted. We agreed to out up with 5 years of Stockton being closed with the proviso that we get it back again at the end.

    Now you want to change the deal.

    If you want a closed Stockton that is a new deal which we the people, and particularly the local people, need to agree. You seem to want to just railroad this through without debate or approval.



    Wait, you said the people who should vote on this are the local residents, who have the lowest car ownership of anyone in the city. Why are you bringing up a city wide statistic then?



    It’s not buses that clog up streets, it’s cars and trucks. If we only had buses on Stockton there’d be no need to build the Central Subway. The point of the Central Subway is to have additional capacity for people to get in and out of Chinatown using public transit which is woefully slowed down by the car and truck traffic.



    “Right now these buses take a long and inefficient detour”

    Do you finally acknowledge transit riders suffered a great deal from the closure?

    The same follows for cars and trucks. There is no short detour.


    Ted King

    Here’s a better combination for a run to Sacto.:

    BART to either Richmond or the Oakland Coliseum and transfer to a Capitol Corridor train for the leg to Sacto.



    it’s possible my aim is bad:
    Post starts: “I said residents rather than merchants.”
    And then says: “And evidently ChinaTown merchants oppose this closure as well as the residents.”