Skip to content

Recent Comments



    My point was, in this instance, it’s really not double TEP. That being said, there also isn’t any real reason why you couldn’t put a crossing, at least on the east side of the intersection, or a mid-block crossing just east of Lyon St.



    Thanks for “Yes, that is a fair assessment.”



    Yes, that is a fair assessment. Of course, with TEP, it’s also a maximum of 1000 ft, 500 ft to get from your origin to your entrance stop, and 500 ft to get from your exit stop to your destination. :-/


    Mario Tanev

    So 500 feet to either Presidio or Baker, then another 500 back to Lyon, makes what? 1000 feet. So, 1000 feet to cross the street.



    It is actually far harder to divert people from driving for their regular commute. They have less tolerance for waiting and making connections than if they’re going to a ballgame…

    It is true that people have less tolerance for waiting when commuting, but this applies to both transit and driving. Reliability is a major factor in people’s mode choice for commuting, along with cost and speed. If you make transit more reliable, cheaper, and faster than driving, people will flock to it.

    and many individual employment locations aren’t dense enough to have direct transit service.

    This is absolutely *not* the case in Hayes Valley, or anywhere else in the northeast quadrant of SF.

    I don’t disagree with your criticisms of SFMTA and how they handled the concert, but that’s not the issue here.



    Actually, what you’ve just cited is incorrect. If you are at Lyon Street, it’s 500 feet to either Presido or Baker. The 1000 feet quoted in the article is between Presidio and Baker, so similar to TEP, it’s a maximum 500 ft walk to the nearest crosswalk.



    Gezellig writes

    –> the city has a goal of 20% bike modeshare. It’s currently at about 3.6%.

    The logical problem with your statement is the word “goal”.

    Mayor Newsom said in 2007 the city’s goal is to use bicycles for at least 10% of all trips. The goal wasn’t met. Goals cannot be enforced by law.


    Dave Moore

    Ah, I never said that removing a lane of cars and replacing it with a lane of bikes resulted in a net increase in cars. I said that some of the claimed benefits of reducing congestion by removing drivers and replacing them with cyclists were possibly offset by this effect.

    So yes, if you add cyclists without removing drivers you would likely increase the tax base. But the things we typically discuss here are not that.



    Your counter argument in the end is countered by your own original argument. If we add cyclists and get no net loss of drivers, we then get a net addition of people going to work and increase the tax base. Jenga! I mean, if you can count 3rd order benefits… :)

    One could argue that the additional traffic capacity of Doyle Drive and the Bay Bridge will make it so much easier to get *into* the city, that it will overwhelm city streets and parking, a disadvantage to *drivers*. We can go on and on. Which we do because it is certainly a vexing problem. grist for the mill, my friend.


    Dave Moore

    and while there is a claim that loss of a lane or installing a crosswalk has a negative impact on drivers, there is also a positive one that I believe outweighs it.

    I only disagree that it *always* outweighs it. I believe there are times when it does and other times when removing a lane has more negative impact than the positive one you describe.

    Also some of that benefit is likely undermined by the very same Braess Paradox that is frequently mentioned here. Just because a driver becomes a cyclist doesn’t mean there is a net loss of drivers.



    While you’re right that drivers benefit more from these things I don’t
    think you can claim that non driver residents (although I don’t believe
    you are one anymore) of the city get zero benefit.

    While you are right that cyclists benefit more from bike improvements than drivers, I don’t think you can claim that non cyclist residents (which I never was) of the city get zero benefit. Cyclists do not add to congestion or pollution. More people still commute into SF than out of it, and many of them do it by car, and this is eased by any increase in people cycling to work and not using up downtown parking spaces. So yes, you can’t drive or double park your car in a bike lane (legally, anyway), and while there is a claim that loss of a lane or installing a crosswalk has a negative impact on drivers, there is also a positive one that I believe outweighs it.


    Dave Moore

    At certain choke points there are far more drivers than pedestrians, no matter how walkable that local area is. I believe that to be true of the intersection in question, because of the number of drivers needing to access 101 or travel from south of Market to the west side of the city.

    Also the delay is not proportionate. The changes proposed could cause cars to have to wait through multiple light cycles that they otherwise wouldn’t have to. This no-crossing area results in pedestrians having to cross the street. Sometimes they were going to need to do that eventually anyway. Other times they can wait to cross back at a time when they have the signal down the road. Once in a while they have to cross back immediately because they need to go somewhere on that block. It’s a minor inconvenience to some to increase throughput at a critical junction for many more. Maybe there are innovative solutions to deal with that but unless there are it seems to me to be the wrong tradeoff.

    As I mentioned earlier, it might be fine to block pedestrian crossing only during rush hours.


    Dave Moore

    While you’re right that drivers benefit more from these things I don’t think you can claim that non driver residents (although I don’t believe you are one anymore) of the city get zero benefit. Goods get delivered that they buy. More people still commute into SF than out of it, and many of them do it by car. That leads to a higher tax base. Tourists come in, mostly by car, also adding to taxes. The police and fire departments use them. So yes, you can’t ride your bikes on those roads and while there is negative impact as well on residents there is also a positive one that I believe outweighs it.



    I wouldn’t count the Bay Bridge as part of this…we’re mostly talking
    about city streets. Doyle Drive perhaps, but it’s also about getting in
    and out of the city…. unless you are riding a bicycle.



    How much was spent on reconstructing the onramps to the Bay Bridge. Those exist in SF but construction was done by the state. Don’t forget that this also applies to work on 19th Ave, Van Ness, Lombard, Doyle, all places with zero bike infrastructure but funded by the state and feds as they are state and federal highways.

    Then consider that we all pay state and federal taxes, and that is used by the state and federal government for highways and roadways that are prohibited for bicycle usage. This doesn’t even get into running the CHP which serves and protects the motorists on those restricted access freeways.



    The person biking testing out the 3ft law with a stick seems a bit misleading in the video. It seems that the person is riding his bike in a bike lane in the Embarcadero Waterfront which in most cases or entirely no cars are trying to pass him, those cars are already in the adjacent lane, I like to see what happens when you do that in an active lane of traffic with cars behind are trying to pass him, that’s the REAL TEST


    Mario Tanev

    Somehow we hear a lot of complaints about stop consolidation in TEP, which mostly changes the spacing from ~500 feet to ~1000 feet. To put it in perspective, ~1000 feet stop spacing means it’s a 500 feet walk to the nearest stop.

    Yet here you have 1000 feet (double that) just to cross the street and I only hear victim-blaming (read the comment sections of other publications).


    Dave Moore

    Maybe it’s what I see below:

    “I’m not sure where it’s budgeted, I believe for DPW, but street repaving (which benefits all users, but primarily cars) is handled by DPW, and other large projects that are in the billions such as Doyle Drive and the new Bay Bridge are outside of the MTA’s budget”

    I’d love to see the amount spent on street repaving. It’s likely a large number, some but not nearly all of which applies to other users of the streets as well. I wouldn’t count the Bay Bridge as part of this…we’re mostly talking about city streets. Doyle Drive perhaps, but it’s also about getting in and out of the city. The pedestrian count doesn’t matter for those. I’m sure others would disagree.


    Dave Moore

    far more money is spent on auto infrastructure wayyyy disproportionate to its modeshare

    Are there different funds going into auto infrastructure that aren’t included in the above report?

    There wasn’t much targeted at autos. The biggest area was transit.

    Perhaps you’re referring to the $300M from “Total Other Funds”. Is that all auto? Even if it is, it plus the other auto specific funds would be less than the approximately 50% commuter mode share.


    Andy Chow

    There were other events at Candlestick before Paul McCartney. It is just so the attendance for this is higher than all other ones. It is clear that SFMTA has under-prepared for that show, both for managing traffic and providing transit.

    It is less packed during off hours because the travel demand is lower, with far fewer cars on the road. Because of the high latent demand, Caltrain was able to run faster more frequent service during rush hours, and able to compete with the congested freeways. But during off peak and weekends, Caltrain has a harder time competing with the uncongested 101. If all those baseball crowds are not in a relaxed mode and drinking, but rather going to work at that time, a lot of them will drive.


    Alex Brideau III

    I guess the question I have is why *must* 3 turn lanes exist at this location in the first place? If traffic engineers can make certain streets one-way thoroughfares and others bi-directional, then surely this street’s traffic flow can be engineered so that fewer turn lanes are necessary at this location. If this causes car congestion, then drivers will elect to take alternative routes … in some cases on the fly and in some cases they will rework their commute route. That’s what I do when I encounter a congestion while driving.



    the 49ers is not a one off event. Paul McCartney played Candlestick this month – the last time he played there was 1966. The 49ers have already played 2 home games in the past 10 days.

    It is actually far harder to divert people from driving for their regular commute.

    Interesting. Is that why Caltrain and BART are mostly packed at rush hour, and less packed on off hours?



    There are currently a couple orders of magnitude more sidewalks than bike lanes in SF.



    My mention of the Folsom @ 3d St. example is intended to illustrate the
    prospective safety hazard created by having a pedestrian crosswalk
    directly in front of multiple turn lanes for motorists. Convenience
    should be secondary to safety on that basis

    Get rid of the multiple turn lanes! They are very convenient, but that is not as important as SAFETY!



    Some percentage of car traffic may indeed switch to alternative routes but some may just disappear altogether due to mode switching. It’s not everyone but for the percentage of people who are “on the fence” at any given time about a certain mode for a certain trip, if one mode comes to exceed their convenience thresholds some will switch to other modes.

    Lots of (though obviously not all) car traffic is quite local–people driving to go get coffee or the ATM or whatever just because it’s easy enough and there’s parking. When the ease (or perceived ease) of driving everywhere is diminished there’s less incentive to drive as often for as many trips.

    Also, Braess’s Paradox has not just been observed during temporary closures but permanent infrastructure changes. In fact, I think it’s more associated with permanent changes.



    Talking around, there is a clear factor that tips the balance in favor of the shuttles vs driving or Caltrain.

    They are free.

    How easy is it to get FREE good transit to happen?


    Andy Chow

    If planned properly, traffic for one-off event can be managed, the traffic situations at the recent 49ers games in Santa Clara weren’t too bad because various agencies including transit agencies put all the resources and planned for the capacity.

    Transit ridership jumped sky high during the Giants World Series Parade.

    Nobody was in charge (and nobody gave a shit) for planning and managing the traffic for Paul McCartney. SFMTA could’ve done better with all their experiences with the 49ers. Caltrain and BART could’ve make sure to run trains late enough to connect with Muni to make sure people can get home so they don’t drive.

    It is actually far harder to divert people from driving for their regular commute. They have less tolerance for waiting and making connections than if they’re going to a ballgame, and many individual employment locations aren’t dense enough to have direct transit service.

    Whatever SFMTA’s official policy is, their outcome is half-ass. There may be some sort of “rapid” Muni here or there, but forget about any direct express bus to the East Bay or Silicon Valley if you don’t work for Google or Apple, or any reliable transit to Caltrain for that matter. If you’re an employer or a transportation company that wants to provide more options, do not expect SFMTA to be your partner either.



    reading the rest of this thread – apparently it is still closed because that would inconvenience cars, and that is a no-no. Because there will always be cars. And they can’t back up. And you can take a 3 way crossing detour, so man up.


    Andy Chow

    Not really going away but shifting traffic on different streets. The Braess Paradox can be better explained the situation between the freeway and the local roads. Most people tend to prefer the freeway even when it is jammed while the local roads maintain a predictable (and sometimes faster) travel time. But if the freeway is gone, the traffic would have to be spread on multiple local roads. The story is that there will be consequences elsewhere. Do we want more traffic on streets like Hayes, Page, or Haight streets?

    Sometimes temporary closure of road or transit end up to have less traffic impact than first predicted (like carmageddons or the BART strikes) partly because media coverage help lower traffic demand (like people staying at home rather than going to work on that day) and that there are travel alternatives being promoted. Some BART riders become a permanent AC Transit riders after the strike has ended because they discovered that the transbay buses to be better than BART, but people in general are far more familiar with BART like the freeway.



    A great example of the mindset holding sustainable transportation back…A closed crosswalk can cause a pedestrian up to 2 minutes of delay (sometimes less, but also sometimes more in extreme circumstances). A 2-minute delay affects pedestrians’ accessibility as much as a permanent 2-mile detour on the highway would affect motorists. Can you imagine the outcry? We engineer roads to shave precious seconds off travel time for that mode, why don’t we at least do the same for pedestrians?



    Received a notice the other day about finishing construction on Oak and Fell by the end of the year, presumably the bulb-outs and hopefully the planters to separate the bike lane. That reminds me that I need to dig that out and take a closer look.

    T&A’s does have vehicle storage inside that building. But they pull out the trucks in order jockey them around and prepare for the day or return them in the evening or on shift changes. They do not store there trucks on the street for extended periods of time that I have noticed. They also will pull them out and use the DMV lot for this purpose. Not saying it is right, just an observation from living around the corner from them.



    …and it extends beyond the specific case of Braess’ Paradox. Anthony Downs has written extensively about the triple convergence when we try to engineer our way to greater capacity. None of the analogies mentioned above are applicable.



    “Tough on crime” measures such as the death penalty are rarely effective because consistency of enforcement has a much bigger effect on compliance than the size of the penalty. For example, if murder had a 2-year jail sentence but you were guaranteed to be caught every time, far fewer murders would be committed than the current situation. The time penalty of traffic calming affects every trip you take, so your analogy is completely spurious.

    Similarly, transportation choices for a one-off event like the Paul McCartney concert are completely different to the transportation choices people make for regular trips such as their commute. Very few people would have driven to that concert if they had known in advance what the gridlock will be like; very few people who went to that concert would choose to drive again if they went back to another concert of a similar size at the same venue and alternative transportation options were available.

    When people commute, which is primarily what we are concerned with here, they will generally try all the reasonable options until they find the one that works the best, and then stick with it. If we ensure that driving is always the option that works the best, people will always choose that option. If we help sustainable transportation modes become more convenient, people will be more likely to use them.

    People adapt to whatever you put in place, so it makes sense to put in place whatever is best according to your values. San Francisco has an official policy to promote walking, cycling, and transit, so that is what should be prioritized.



    It speaks to the general mismanagement of public street space in the city. Businesses should, of course, be able to operate here, and many of them use the street in various ways– to store work vehicles, to store vehicles under repair, to set up shop in a food truck, etc. Which is fine– the streets exist to be used, and all these are useful functions.

    The problem is that the city promises anyone and everyone that they can use as much space as they want for a nominal or no cost, save for a limited number of metered spaces. The result is that parking is always packed, and people still feel entitled to free storage, so they just start storing vehicles wherever– traffic lanes, bike lanes, etc.

    It makes no sense to crack down on parking in the bike lane without addressing the underlying issue: the city’s total abdication of responsibility when it comes to effectively managing the (very large) supply of legal parking spaces.

    Fat chance of that, though. In the short term, maybe some planters and physical separation will help.



    Actually, making driving less convenient can indeed make some or even a lot of it quite literally go away, due to Braess’s Paradox:'s_paradox

    Why is this? Because transportation demand does not come just from static unchanging figures of who lives/works in the area but how convenient each mode is relative to your situation and the broader city situation as a whole.

    At any given time for any mode a certain percentage of people is “on the fence” about which to take–at any given time a large chunk of car traffic is not necessarily a foregone conclusion, but is a response to the built environment around it.

    For example, if someone owns a car and wants to go to Walgreens a half mile away and it looks like this:

    Then driving is pretty likely. Why? Multilane road + plentiful free parking + infrastructure hostile to most other modes = “I’ll just drive.”

    But imagine if it were retrofitted like this:

    Sure, there will still be cars. But a certain percentage of people will elect to bike and walk instead (after all, even walking–while technically possible in the first– looks far more pleasant in that second one) who never would’ve before. Imagine if every big intersection looked more or less like that, and the effect grows exponentially.

    By the way, this is true amongst other modes, as well. Honestly, I take Muni a lot less these days than when I lived in SF without a bike. Why?

    –> At the time bike infra wasn’t as good or in most cases evident at all so biking never occurred to me
    –> I realized I often beat Muni on my bike
    –> Muni Metro does not accept my bike on board, as it’s not a folding one.

    Conclusion: the decreased convenience of Muni leading to my mode switches for many of my trips is analogous to the decreased convenience of driving leading to other mode switches for many.



    Let’s not forget that the city has outsourced the maintenance of most pedestrian facilities to homeowners and property owners, who are responsible for upkeep on the sidewalks in the frontage adjacent to the street.



    There are some logical problems here:

    –> The “no one bikes, why build stuff for them?” argument is logically akin to saying we shouldn’t build a bridge because only small percentages of people currently swim across the water.

    –> the city has a goal of 20% bike modeshare. It’s currently at about 3.6%.

    –> btw, those trips that switch to bike will take away congestion from other modes…transit, driving, yes, even pedestrian…this is all interrelated. This false pitting of “pedestrian vs. bike” makes no sense and helps neither.

    –> while certainly not anywhere near perfect, keep in mind walking has had decades of investment and support in the construction of pervasive infrastructure such as sidewalks (even during the craziest auto-centric of eras). Bike infrastructure has been almost nil until quite recently historically speaking. There’s a catch-up game.

    –> far more money is spent on auto infrastructure wayyyy disproportionate to its modeshare. This should be the truly enraging thing.


    Andy Chow

    Slowing traffic down, therefore making driving less convenient, resulting in less vehicle trips… this works just as effectively as death penalty and other “tough on crime” measures… Longer and tougher sentences, therefore increase risk and reducing reward for potential criminals, resulting in less crimes.

    Transportation and traffic is something that can be planned for, but cannot be ignored thinking that somehow “calming” measures can make it go away. Transportation demand is largely driven by the residents and employment in the area, along with other factors (like games, and concerts, etc), and can be controlled with good planning that includes multi-modal accommodation. If you don’t plan for it then you get what happened at Paul McCartney concert not too long ago, and traffic jamming almost on every street.



    $3.7 million of SFMTA’s 2015 budget will go to pedestrian projects. There are more pedestrians than bicyclists. But SFMTA will spend 7 times more on bicycle projects than pedestrian projects.



    Amusingly, we get soft hit posts to separate bike lanes. Meanwhile, on CA-35 above San Bruno there are some pretty damn hard hit posts with a solid plastic curbing that separate the exit from a gated subdivision from the CA-35 roadway, because the drivers exiting the subdivision are afraid they will get hit by the traffic on 35. This of course results in there being zero inches of shoulder and nowhere to go for cyclists riding on 35, speed limit 55 MPH.

    Those hard hit posts would discourage the hell out of drivers messing around and make some serious dents in the car of any driver making a mistake. But really that’s the point, the soft hit posts sort of “show” the driver where they aren’t supposed to go, but if they screw up, the cyclist pays the price, not the driver. Because we can’t you know, make things harder for drivers – see the Hayes Crosswalk thread. This is a “better balance”, right? We can’t put obstacles out there that would be detrimental to the person screwing up.



    Tell Ted and Al’s that the city will stop using their services if they don’t stay out of the bike lane. That should do the trick.



    While cycling through Daly City recently I spotted a Ted & Al’s tow truck parked in the driveway of someone’s house. If their drivers have to store the trucks at their houses when they are not working, that strongly suggests that Ted & Al’s don’t have space to park them all on their property.



    This is something worth bringing up with the new captain of Park Station during the monthly community meeting. The next one is on September 9th.



    Your swimming analogy breaks down when you consider that pedestrian conditions are entirely under the control of city engineers, whereas “no swimming” signs are posted in places where swimming conditions are determined by nature. Building a street that is unsafe for pedestrians to cross is like building a swimming pool that is inherently unsafe, posting a “no swimming” sign, and saying “hey, that’s just how it is!”

    Traffic isn’t a zero-sum game. The decision to make a trip by driving, and the route to take when making that trip, is based on a number of factors of which the primary are cost and convenience. If you make the streets safer by slowing down traffic, you make driving less convenient, and so reduce vehicle trips. You can also push at the cost factor, and introduce congestion pricing to reduce vehicle trips. Both options are safer than allowing traffic sewers on city streets, and much cheaper for the city than paying to underground traffic.



    My guesses:
    1. Ted & Al’s doesn’t have enough space in their property to house all their trucks and are “externalizing” those costs by storing them on public property.

    2. Have you noticed that basically no bike infrastructure projects in San Francisco include real, physical separation (perhaps excepting the ugly fence thing on Cargo Way)? Soft-hit posts are a joke… within a couple years, most will be destroyed, removed, or crushed. This is the MTA sending a message to the cyclists of San Francisco: Your crushed bodies are worth less than dinged fenders or scratched paint on the private automobiles of this city.

    We should be relentlessly haranguing MTA, DPW, your local supervisors for the city to commit to actually finishing the Oak/Fell protected bikeway. It has been delayed to oblivion already. Finish the project!


    SF Guest

    I never stated that pedestrians’ convenience doesn’t matter. My mention of the Folsom @ 3d St. example is intended to illustrate the prospective safety hazard created by having a pedestrian crosswalk directly in front of multiple turn lanes for motorists. Convenience should be secondary to safety on that basis which is why the DPT never opened up that crosswalk since its inception.

    If you really feel a need to have a crosswalk in front of multiple turn lanes then the solution would be to have only one turn lane and/or a dedicated pedestrian-only signal similar to what Chinatown employs.


    SF Guest

    Without a dedicated pedestrian-only signal as aforementioned I would not cross with kids in front of multiple turn lanes with cars for safety reasons. Getting the SFMTA to install a new crosswalk with a dedicated pedestrian signal — good luck with that one.


    Master Flash

    The reason for raising rates id=s to exclude those who won’t.can’t pay the rate. For lower income people this means they’re paying for this infrastructure but can’t use it. Making the poor subsidize the wealthy is draconian, at best. As if the division of classes and abuse by the wealthy weren’t bad enough, this program exacerbates the social dilemma and should be outlawed.



    “…blocking traffic, ignoring traffic lights and stop signs, and generally any other law that they feel like doesn’t apply to them…”

    It’s hilarious that you don’t see how that description applies perfectly to all drivers. They block the box in droves every day in SOMA, they roll through stop signs and red lights (especially on right turns), not to mention speeding, changing lanes without signalling, and texting and driving. (That law doesn’t apply to them ;)

    Every driver breaks multiple traffic laws on every single outing. Is it a problem? Sometimes. Often not. Just like when cyclists roll through deserted stop signs. It works out.



    Walking is new. I see