Skip to content

Recent Comments


    StrixNoctis .

    Here in SF, the present-day motorists even drive fast through the narrow streets and around the corners that are sharp turns, and I can’t fathom why! Back in the very early 90s and prior, when SF was less populated, very few motorists drove so fast & recklessly through the residential areas of SF. Now this city is more populated, but motorists drive fast when they should be driving slower or the reasonable speeds that SF motorists used to.


    StrixNoctis .

    In recent past months, there was a rash of reports of motor vehicles crashing into buildings here in SF and other Bay Area locations, so it’s possible a person could even get injured by a Bay Area motorist while sitting indoors on the toilet reading the newspaper!



    My problem is not the review timeline. It’s the completion timeline of the original project :(



    It will be up to the MTA Board and Citizens to hold us to the 12 mo review timeline. I intend to bring it up 12 mos past project completion.


    Anthony R

    Stockholm syndrome, car culture so pervasive cyclist blames himself for riding. Doesn’t even mention driver.



    Agreed. If biking safely in close proximity to pedestrians was truly not possible then multi-use paths would be hugely dangerous, and open streets events would be disasters.


    Mario Tanev

    The shock that we feel is due to an over-promise and under-delivery. Before the whole opposition started there was a plan for a pilot protected lane, that has never happened. City officials shouldn’t have promised a complete Polk. Then the outrage on our part would have been way less.



    That being said, in order to get from the right-turn only lane on Octavia to the crosswalk across Market one has to either go up onto the sidewalk or ride against the flow of traffic briefly, while also going straight from a right-turn only lane, all of which are technically illegal.

    I personally don’t see how using the bike channel is any more or less safe that using the right turn lane and crosswalk, but if the police must cite people they should at least be doing it for actual violations. And that “must” is highly debatable.



    As an ex-SF-er, I remember streets like Polk & Haight, with their slow traffic, narrow lanes (and, yes, even double parkers) seemed much safer to me as a cyclist BECAUSE of the congestion. I now live in Brooklyn, between two such streets, and would much rather cycle on them than the ‘clearer’ in between streets where cars travel faster.

    In a way, I think adding bike lanes to narrow streets is unnecessary and counter-productive.



    I would be curious to see what code section the crosswalk cyclists were written up for, since as far as I know there is no specific ban on it. The SF city code (section 1007) does ban sidewalk cycling for anyone aged 13 and up:

    “Bicycling riding on any sidewalk is prohibited except that children under the age of 13 may ride a bicycle on any sidewalk except as otherwise posted.”

    But it does not say anything about crosswalks. Since the state code does differentiate between the legality of biking on sidewalks and crosswalks in CVC 21650(g) this implies that a city would need to ban each specifically in order for them both to be illegal:

    “This section does not prohibit the operation of bicycles… on any sidewalk… or along any crosswalk or bicycle path crossing, where the operation is not otherwise prohibited by this code or local ordinance.”

    Beyond that, biking in a crosswalk that connects to a bike path, like the McCoppin Street connector, is specifically legal, also via CVC 21650(g).



    If you don’t realize that what murphstaho means is ‘free TO THE FAMILIES,’ I feel for your reading comprehension.

    And, what earthly reason could a group protest that?


    Richard Rothman

    WE want BART to the Beach


    StrixNoctis .

    You sound like you’re trying to blame cyclists, but here in SF much fewer cyclists get into collisions with motor vehicles than motor vehicles do with each other. The significantly highest number of collisions being between motor vehicles screams where the major fault is.



    By your “logic,” you know who else are cocky? Anyone who leaves their home thinking that they shouldn’t get hit by a driver. And by your logic, if something bad happens to someone, they made a bad decision to be in that spot at that moment. Got jumped? You made a bad decision for walking down that sidewalk that day. Hit by a car even though you were doing everything predictably and safely? You shouldn’t have been in front of that distracted driver. By taking your logic a small step further, you shouldn’t leave your house, otherwise you’re asking for it and are to be blamed for whatever happens. And if you think walking around and being in fear of death is a healthy way of living, you have a twisted approach to life. As a society, we are so quick to blame the victim that I am starting to think of it as a societal psychosis. In this case, you may be the ONLY person blaming the victim, which says a lot about you.



    Build the infrastructure (crossbikes + crosswalks and protective refuge island for both people on bike and foot) and it will be a problem of vanishing frequency:



    This is a very good point. I’m sorry to say I didn’t push my rep (the transit and infrastructure-focused Scott Wiener). I don’t even know if he had an opinion on the project. However, he’ll likely have to when the parking-focused folks appeal the Cat-Ex and the Board of Supervisors must affirm it… wish we would have brought him aboard sooner.



    Dashed could work!



    Sure, but the decision has already been made to not have a bike lane on NB Polk from Pine to Union and that it will be sharrows.

    One solution Sprague mentions below is having dashed supersharrows.

    There needs to be some way to more strongly visually reinforce that it is a bike route and that people on bikes aren’t to be expected to hug the doorzone.

    Btw, these types of supersharrows are not unknown, even in the Bay Area (the pic above is from Oakland).



    Both 14th Street and Folsom have bike lanes at this location. By design, bicyclists are encouraged to ride here. Unfortunately, too many motorists disregard the safety of others (especially those more vulnerable – pedestrians and cyclists) and fail to recognize their potential to kill and maim.



    Please do not blame the victim. He and his family and friends have already suffered too much. Also, if I understand you correctly, this bicyclist would not have been killed if he was younger??!?? The more people (of all ages) that get out and bike the safer it will be.


    Michael Morris

    I think a lot of motorists would interpret the second picture as a bike lane. The problem with sharrows is that no one understands exactly what they mean, this wouldn’t help confusion, bike lanes are the only way a layman can understand the streetscape.



    I know that. You know that. The optometrist probably knows that, but people have had a lot of luck convincing others by repeating the same ‘problems’ over and over.



    I agree except it might not be a good idea to enable/require motorists to drive on what has such a close resemblance to a bike lane. This may indirectly result in more motorists driving in (and blocking/double parking) bike lanes. As it now stands, bike lanes often feel more like shared space (often driven in by cars) than exclusively for bicyclist use.

    Maybe the green line you suggest should be dashed or otherwise modified.



    Never have I said that staff at SFMTA are not talented nor committed to their mission of running and improving a complicated transportation network. Who I fault are the political leadership who consistently meddle with their funding and impose specific requirements on streetscape redesign work and MUNI effectiveness that favor political expediency over safety.

    Far too often, the fingerprints of this meddling are removed leaving the SFMTA holding the bag for bad political decisions, as the politicians merely deflect any attention to these problems back to the agency.


    Mario Tanev




    At the point that a client decides that they’ll take on a very protracted headache and a lawyer decides there’s money in it.



    macular degeneration takes a long time to create blindness.



    I do this most mornings. Traffic on Octavia is speeding up to take the freeway as fast as possible and I don’t really want to merge next to them to go across the street. Furthermore, since I’m obviously not taking the freeway, my only other option if I take the bike channel is to enter the crosswalk and wait to take NE bound market on the other side.

    Also, from the other direction, the channel up McCopin dumps you and your bike on the crosswalk. Are cops busting people for that too?



    The issue is police priorities. Sure, it may be “annoying” to walk around a bike in the crosswalk, but that’s not going to kill or even injure anyone. Not appropriate in a Vision Zero environment, unless we’re already ticketing 100% of motorists who speed and fail to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks.

    Bicyclists are just easy to pick on, regardless of the actual safety impacts.


    Sean Rea

    Well, it feels unpopular given the degree to which this site editorializes the headlines: “Ticketing Cyclists in Crosswalks: Police’s Sure-Fire Vision Zero Strategy at Market and Octavia.”



    Here’s a question I have–for the sharrowed stretches of Polk, is there some design flexibility in terms of how the sharrows will actually look? For instance, instead of these:

    I think green continuous supersharrows at least would be an improvement:

    This would actually approximate bringing Polk closer to being a Bike Street on such stretches.



    What’s unpopular about that?



    I love this diagram. I well remember this from my OSHA 40 hour training course. We have made incredible strides in this country reducing workplace injuries and airplane crashes. If we could only get the NHTSA to adopt Vision Zero and take the same approach to traffic safety as do OSHA and the NTSB we would be able to reduce our death and injury rates as effectively as those other agencies have been able to.


    Upright Biker

    True, Grasshopper. But is a very unwise man who plants his face into the asphalt on which a protected bike lane may never sit.




    Perhaps I missed something, but didn’t earlier versions of the SFMTA plan have Pine Street, not California, as dividing point between the two designs? That block always naturally seemed to be a part of mid-Polk. Is Dr. Hiura being credited with something he didn’t effect?



    Absolutely true about the financial burden of muni fares for families of limited means. But I don’t think any iteration of the SFMTA plan, even with the original Brinkman amendment, is going to make Polk an 8 to 80 bicycle route. The grade is something of a limitation (you have to weave a bit going up the slope from Broadway to Jackson) and the delivery trucks are not going to go away (see Chan photo above).

    Each morning and early afternoon the street is populated are multiple beer trucks (which can’t unload on uphill side streets in mid-Polk), restaurant supply delivery trucks, FedEX, UPS, utility and service vans. If they can’t park on the east side of the street, they’ll double park on the west and block the more heavily traveled southbound bicycle path. They’re almost a force of nature that won’t go away.

    Plus there is likely to be much more automobile traffic on Polk Street due to the concurrent Van Ness Avenue BRT road diet (unless SF, like London, charges a stiff downtown access fee). Cars not going to be able to turn left on VN, so they’ll be making an impatient series of right turns on and of Polk to reorient themselves, crossing and recrossing the new green bicycle lanes. (There’s going to be a preview of this at the northwest corner of Broadway and Polk where the proposed bulb-out will force right turning cars and bicyclists into the same few feet of space.)

    Solutions to these problems are only lightly sketched in the SFMTA plan – so it’s kind of wait and see how all of these interfaces work out. But no matter how many improvements are made, Polk Street is never going to have the sort of broad based bicyclist appeal that Valencia Street (level and not a state highway surrogate route) has.



    Free MUNI passes aren’t ‘free’. They impose a cost elsewhere on the system by reducing the potential farebox recovery rate. That shortfall needs to be made up somewhere, most likely from taxes that we all pay, including the poor, where it ends up as a burden with either higher rent or sales taxes. All we’re doing, is just shifting the costs from daily fares to an increased tax burden.

    Giving people an alternative to taking MUNI that doesn’t impose the enormous costs of car ownership would in the long run help the city and our citizens financially far more than giving out free passes.



    Children in lower income families get free MUNI passes. Of course, the same SAVE POLK STREET people protested that too.



    What appears to be generally under represented in the conversations and comments both too and from the SFMTA board is the economic calculations that families with limited means are making who live in the city. MUNI fares are become more of a financial burden. If both parents work and a family has two children in school, the total monthly MUNI bill (if you get and maintain passes) is now $182. While that doesn’t seem like a lot to owners of businesses and people who own newish cars, for the 30% of people who live in the city and don’t own cars, that represents a significant financial burden. And for many who own cars that need frequent repairs, this limits their options further as they can’t afford those bills along with MUNI costs.

    Just think – if that hypothetical family could believe that their children would be safe riding on the streets by themselves (as the Dutch do) and they could similarly get to their jobs without a car or spending $68/person/month on MUNI, ($23/child/month) they would be better positioned to continue to live in the city. MUNI then wouldn’t need to offer so many free passes, because those of limited means could ride bicycles as well as take MUNI.

    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. Making a street network safe for people riding bicycles and mobility scooters opens up a transportation network that will help the most vulnerable among us, the working poor and their families. Failure to do so will continue to constrain their ability to get around on their own and impose an increasingly expensive financial burden on them.



    Is it self-righteous is most people coming to the neighborhood aren’t driving. Who is being self-righteous? Bike advocates are very visible and vocal.

    They also do a poor job of framing how more biking benefits other road users, and ensure proposals benefit transit and people who walk on the corridor.

    There is a lot of myopia in many of our neighborhoods, about figuring about which people use it, how, and how they travel there. Until people feel like “people like them” walk, take trust or bike over to the neighborhood, it will be difficult to get these projects approved. People view themselves and aspire to be drivers, that is what our culture tells us.



    I don’t have a problem with that given that in the video the cops were primarily tagging motorists doing much worse.


    Jamison Wieser

    I got what you meant, just didn’t want to leave it uncorrected for others who might skim passed. :)


    Sean Rea

    I don’t have anything against ticketing people in a crosswalk. It isn’t a hard law to understand, and it’s damn annoying as a pedestrian when you have to weave around disrespectful cyclists.



    That’s exactly what I mean, sorry if my statement was misconstrued. My point is that even if you follow the rules, our infrastructure is so bad that people who are doing nothing wrong still get hurt.


    Jamison Wieser

    I think you mean @hiura_optometry should tell than to Mr. Vinson’s relatives.

    At Muniverse we believe in the City’s Transit First policy and parking comes somewhere below pedestrians, cyclists, Muni/transit riders, safe and accessible pick up/drop off pockets for cabs, car-share, and para-transit users, loading zones, safe traffic lanes for through and turning traffic, emergency vehicle access, and not necessarily in that order, but all of those come before tax-payer funded on-street parking.



    Cheryl -

    My problem with incremental progress is this. “the northern stretch is reviewed 12 months after completion of the project”.

    In my experience this means the northern stretch will be reviewed some time in 2020. If projects that are incremental were implemented in a timely manner, I’d be happy with incremental progress. Otherwise, I start to believe there will only be one bite at the apple in the foreseeable future so I want to get a good bite.

    How can we expedite the implementation of projects?



    I understand that they are hesitant to step in on projects in a district not their own.

    Interesting theory. Was that true with respect to 8 Washington? Will Eric Mar be opining on Campos moratorium on housing in the Mission? Were all but Mar and Tang silent on the Golden Gate Park soccer fields?

    If they don’t see personal gain – it becomes “another district’s problem”, but if they get PR or whatever, suddenly it’s a city wide issue.



    If you’re riding a bicycle SB on Octavia and want to make a left onto EB Market – and use that narrow, poorly-designed bike channel like your’re supposed to – you have to enter the crosswalk to get into the bike lane on Market. The raised island installed to discourage people driving from making that illegal right turn onto the freeway is directly in one’s path. I’m not sure officers were issuing citations for this movement, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    It appears in the video, one person was issued a citation for riding down Waller, and then going around the curb and through the crosswalk to the other side of the intersection – hardly a dangerous maneuver, if taken slowly.



    the fact that the optometrist is engaging with you is pretty much proof they aren’t the sharpest tacks in the box – well, I might consider that opposing the bike lane proves that but the twitter war is more conclusive proof.



    it’s a wise man who plants a tree under whose shade he will never sit.