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  1.  

    Nicholas Littlejohn

    City Car Share is your local nonprofit and the one to use, Zipcar is now owned by Wall Street.

    Our local carsharing group especially should put up temporary security cameras in case a wing nut messes with the new cars shared there.

  2.  

    ladyfleur

    A sober driver arrested for hitting and killing someone walking across the street, on the day it happened? Pinch me, I must be dreaming. Thank you, SFPD, for standing up for people who are vulnerable to death and injury from careless drivers, especially our elderly and children.

  3.  

    Whitewolfe

    QUESTION: How are you gonna know if the Bicyclists are going 5MPH or slower..? That’s the Speed Lightrail does in Downtown. 5MPH is still fast. Just watch the Lightrail sometime……!

  4.  

    Shawn

    People don’t want to hear this, but just remove curb-side parking on Santa Clara and make those dedicated bike lanes.

    The Bike lane on San Fernando looks solid. I don’t know if I’m completely wrong, but they just need to expand bike lanes past just San Fernando street.

  5.  

    Justin

    I think it’s time and I think past time for cities like Mountain View to allow for tech companies to build new housing to accommodate their workers if these communities want them to be in their towns. Towns like Mountain View need to contribute in taking in some of the growth and not bear all of it to SF. Here are some other great ideas
    http://www.citylab.com/housing/2014/02/heres-what-it-would-look-if-all-silicon-valleys-employees-actually-lived-there/8429/

    http://www.citylab.com/housing/2013/10/facebooks-company-town-looks-lot-smart-growth/7139/

  6.  

    Justin

    In my entire life being a fan of both the SF Giants and 49ers, I’ve never seen a single sports team attempt to slowdown mass transit service to move more cars faster. It seems pretty stupid at most as I’m glad to see VTA stand their ground and hope they continue to do so. Can the 49ers understand that cause of that traffic congestion is too many cars and too many people driving(not to say that everyone has that option to avoid driving)????? I just don’t understand that if the mass transit options are better at Levi’s Stadium as opposed to the old retired Candlestick, why wouldn’t they build a plan to encourage better use, seems like right towards the completion, they focused too much on acquiring as much parking as they can, rather than accommodating and improving alternative modes of transportation that would balance out. If the 49ers focused on improving the alternatives and encouraging more people to use them perhaps maybe the congestion can be mitigated a little bit, yes I understand there will be congestion no matter what after any big sports event

  7.  

    Lego

    Thank you! Very important (and arcane) insight. Who would’ve known this?! Good people here :)

  8.  

    Reynolds Cameron

    We are spending $100 million (or $5 million per year into perpetuity) on the suicide net, to prevent 20 deaths per year. That is $250,000 per life of people that don’t even want to live. Last year, 25 pedestrians and cyclists were killed by motorists. Not to mention the hundreds that were sent to the emergency room with broken bones, road rash, etc. These innocent victims did not choose to die or be maimed. We should be spending at least 1000 times as much to save innocent people from dying than restricting the freedom of people who want to die from carrying out their will. If it only costs $100 billion to build these tunnels, it will be a good bargain.

  9.  

    Michael Antonio Downs

    its more dangerous when a car is passing a bicycle going 40mph 3 inches apart than a bike going 8mph passing a parked or stopped car.

  10.  

    Justin

    I would say it should be done ASAP whenever possible. I occasionally visit the area at times and have never seen any sense of allowing motor vehicles to travel on that part of Powell St given to how crowded that place is and how narrow it is. It only creates more unneeded congestion there and slows down cable car service in that area as well as creating a hazard to pedestrians when these cars block intersections that cross Powell St. I think this should and must be done, and chances are that the adverse impact to the surrounding businesses will be little to none

  11.  

    JimthePE

    Why not set a 5 mph speed limit for any vehicles (bikes, Segways, or whatever) on sidewalks?

  12.  

    Lego

    Grant Ave. (by Shreve) is the closest we have and, sadly, it’s choked with cars (car storage and/or car gridlocked). I’m not confident about the future of lower Powell becoming a luxury corridor, but I don’t want to air/debate my future theories here as it seems moot.

    What these two lower blocks of Powell when converted to walking streets won’t become is dangerous; as in loiterers, gangs, scofflaws, because of the incredible mass and flow (up to 100,000 daily) of middle-class local and tourist pedestrians using the corridor. I can, however, foresee it upscaling a notch or two.

    It’s certainly not blighted now, but it IS hostile to people (and commerce), aesthetically/functionally way below-potental and an insult (and injury: see Rick Laubscher’s comment) to our iconic cable cars.

    Cable cars stuck in automotive gridlock: Yeah, that’s really showcasing how cool they are :(

    Europe?! Really?

    “I just returned from Europe, and they have walking streets everywhere,” [Flood] said. “I know that other cities have large pedestrian-only areas,
    so I know that works well.”

    Someone actually travels abroad and sees something that works well “everywhere” and believes that it could improve the (already ‘perfect/awesome’) SF/USA?! Give this woman a gold star! And a green light!!

    As ~40-120 (triple-fare-paying-Muni-supportin’) people wait.. wait.. wait.. in queue, a dozen lost motorists are clogging up and inching down an almost useless path.

    And these small number of cars are also managing to gridlock cross-traffic on vital automotive and Muni arteries: see pic 2,3,4 above, causing delays for 6.5 miles (x2) of Muni riders along the 38 Geary – the busiest Muni line. (Source: Wikipedia)

    And to what degree is the car-exit for those few lost southbound motorists at Ellis (by the Apple store) hindering/complicating the progress of Central Subway construction?

    Not to mention causing a hazard and delay to a thousand (many there to spend!) pedestrians an hour at that intersection. And then this motorist has to endure another pedestrian laden crosswalk, (the eighth since Geary/Powell) on the SOMA side of Market by Old Navy, racking up some (my estimate) dozens of pedestrian/car interactions similar to the pictures above.

    Lost because there are much better alternatives to get to their destination, they just took this one because it is open to automobiles, they don’t know better and as a result, they effectively lose time, fuel and some sanity. Can we do them a favor too?

    To continue to keep this pair of rich multipurpose city blocks open to motor vehicles sustains an absurd squandering of precious urban resources used by thousands each hour for a questionable ‘benefit’ (2mph to nowhere) for a relatively few trapped motorists.

  13.  

    p_chazz

    Art Agnos was a failure as a mayor in several respects. “Camp Agnos” in front of City Hall came to symbolize his unwillingness or inability to deal with the homeless. He lost the support of the neighborhood groups who helped elect him in 1987 with the largest majority in the 20th Century up to that point. It’s a measure of Agnos’ ineptitude that he was swept out after one term, and it’s a tribute to the wisdom of the average SF voter that no progressive mayor has been elected since–once bitten, twice shy.

  14.  

    Upright Biker

    Get rid of the cars, and I guarantee that all of those blocks will be home to nothing _but_ luxury retailers. Ever been on Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich?

  15.  

    RoyTT

    Lego, you remember correctly, but also incompletely.

    ChinaTown did oppose tearing down the Embarcadero Freeway, and that opposition may well be seen retrospectively as being on the wrong and paranoid side of history.

    But that tear-down has been widely attributed as causing Art Agnos to narrowly lose his fight to be re-elected as mayor in 1992. Chinatown turned out massively to support Frank Jordan, who campaigned aggressively in ChinaTown on how they had been disrespected and ignored by Agnos.

    SF Progressives have never won back Room 200 since that day 22 years ago. And, as much as they hold Agnos in a historically favorable light, they also remember how that one act probably cost them the highest office in the city, never to be re-taken.

    Winning a battle doesn’t always win you the war.

  16.  

    p_chazz

    Good idea. I was thinking of a community service bus, but you are suggesting a crosstown line. I like that better.

  17.  

    surfsup

    If Buenos Aires can take control of their downtown traffic, almost overnight, so can San Francisco. It’s whether they have the will and desire to make it happen. http://vimeo.com/102005674

  18.  

    Nicholas Littlejohn

    We have to consider that drivers make it feel incredibly unsafe when riding on the streets. We have to get better facilities and enforcement as well as allow pedestrians their safe space. We are allies.

  19.  

    Idrather Bebikin

    SVBC has it right! Don’t criminalize. Work with the laws that are already on the books!

    Another option: Bring business downtown and replace those empty storefronts with restaurants that can have dining outside and there won’t be room for bikes to ride. To do that SJ needs to be friendlier and cheaper and a ton faster to small businesses.

    But you still need to make riding in the streets safe. Many people simply are not comfortable riding downtown, especially on Santa Clara Street.

    Kudos to the SJ DOT for finding times when the sidewalks were full. Most of downtown SJ’s sidewalks are not. They are nothing like SF. So if you’re a SF resident, you may not understand.

    You’ll also not understand if you’re from SF, because the bike lanes are in general so inferior to the SF bike lanes. Even most of the “good ones” put you right in the Deadly Door Zone, so that’s not great either!

  20.  

    Guest

    SVBC has it right! Bring business downtown and replace those empty storefronts with restaurants that can have dining outside and there won’t be room for bikes to ride.

    But you still need to make riding in the streets safe. Many people simply are not comfortable riding downtown, especially on Santa Clara Street.

    Kudos to the SJ DOT for finding times when the sidewalks were full. Most of downtown SJ’s sidewalks are not. They are nothing like SF. So if you’re a SF resident, you may not understand.

    You’ll also not understand if you’re from SF, because the bike lanes are in general so inferior to the SF bike lanes. Even most of the “good ones” put you right in the Deadly Door Zone, so that’s not great either!

  21.  

    Lego

    Thanks for the postcard! Great visual.. And on a rainy/snowy day, walking over a half a kilometer with luggage (and kids, etc) must really be pleasant. And this is Berlin, the nation’s capitol?!

  22.  

    roymeo

    It certainly took him a lot of balance to keep from getting knocked off the hood of that car.

  23.  

    William F. "Bill" Bailey

    “…were trapped in their lots for up to two hours as a constant stream of pedestrians and trains blocked their paths.”

    You’re kidding me, right?

    Recall that this is the same San Francisco 49ers front office that solemnly promised that they wouldn’t DREAM of holding Monday Night Football or Thursday Night Football until they had achieved “their” goal of 26% mass transit use in Santa Clara.

    The 26% was total BS when they made that claim. What, more than what SamTrans, A/C and SFMTA were achieving at Candlestick?

    Horse apples.

    What we’re hearing now is something even more ridiculous:

    –> That the 49ers actually want the VTA to STOP operating mass transit as efficiently as they were, just so that automobile drivers can jam-pack their way out to 101 and 237, spewing exhaust the whole way.

    Hell, no: We shouldn’t be letting up on mass transit to Levi’s Stadium.

    Not for minute.

    Not one bit.

    Regards,
    William F. “Bill” Bailey, Treasurer,
    http://www.SantaClaraPlaysFair.org
    http://www.SantaClaraPlaysFair.Blogspot.com

    -=0=-

  24.  

    Lego

    I see her trying to find (or at least communicate) a balance. But those clients are not on those three blocks, there are no luxury stores there anyway. And these clients would enjoy the civilizing effect of a promenade/parkway there. They can still drive Geary/Post, park under Union Square (or Stockton/Sutter, etc. etc. etc.) and saunter to Tiffany, Neimans, Gumps or their favorite jeweler/spa on Maiden Lane, etc. etc. Maybe I’m missing something, but i don’t see any effect to the carriage trade in those three blocks. Perhaps hotel access could be compromised, but the status quo doesn’t make those hotels very accessible. The valets/porters could guide guests from Geary and O’Farrell white curb loading zones. These guests would also enjoy the civilizing effect of a promenade/parkway rather than the rapids (as in a tumultuous river) of bottlenecked pedestrians there now. It would actually be a free business-extension (similar to parklet) to those hotels.

  25.  

    Lego

    I always believed (anecdotal basis) that it was the Chinatown merchants who opposed the removal of cars/parking. I’m confident the details of this: true or false, are well known, just not by me. In a similar way Chinatown merchants actively protested (Fact-googleable) the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway in 1991 for fear of losing business/relevance. They were clearly on the wrong (the paranoic) side of history. And what incredible benefit to the city that demolition has been for almost a null detriment!

  26.  

    94103er

    “There still are people that prefer to drive, and need to drive, for whatever reason,” [Karin Flood, president of the Union Square Business Improvement District,] said. “A lot of our luxury retailers are really wedded to their clients that do come in by car.”

    Sometimes I’m amazed this city can even function at all. People like Karin Flood get to keep us stuck in the 1950s and our politicians just lap up this nonsense like it’s gravy.

  27.  

    Rick Laubscher

    The congestion on lower Powell costs SFMTA a LOT of money, both by delaying the cable cars and from forcing the cable car gripmen to crawl uphill to Geary through the gridlock. Operating slow uphill is very difficult to do, and the gripmen deserve a ton of credit for their skill. Even with skill, though, it wears out both the dies that grip the cable and the cable itself much faster than normal. It’s an unpublicized problem, but a real one. There’s really no reason automobiles forced off Stockton by the Central Subway construction couldn’t be diverted to either Mason or Jones. Start with better detour signage and add some “no turn” signs to keep cars off Powell.

  28.  

    Mario Tanev

    Yeah, that’s why I think someone made the political decision to not improve Stockton in any way for the next decade, in order to make the subway clearly seem better.

  29.  

    Lego

    2. Closing Stockton to cars
    In Chinatown if that would have happened, I believe many think that Central Subway could have been averted and those massive funds could have been applied to other, more worthy, projects

  30.  

    David Baker

    Time to get serious about “don’t block the box” in San Francisco. This crawling between bumpers is stressful!

  31.  

    Mario Tanev

    I meant mostly the Chinatown Grant and perhaps North Beach grant. Union Square Grant has different characteristics.

  32.  

    Lego

    3. Which blocks of Grant?
    Chinatown Grant is almost 100% (one-side) lined with disabled placard parking (to my amazement). Union Square Grant has few parking spots (ez to remove?) but may have loading zone issues and North Beach Grant is a parking lot that happens to have some shops along it (credit: Mike Sonn), is congested, unsafe and ugly but it does seem to serve many (well, a small percent) residents’ addiction to subsidized parking – so it may be a tough nut to crack.

  33.  

    Lego

    Those are some common scenes of ped-car conflicts. On Powell within those three blocks, such interactions happen once a minute, by my estimation. I work very near here and see it constantly. It reminds me of scenes from my visits to ‘developing’ nations, except cars honk less here. But there is the same action to push on (and intimidate) pedestrian traffic to gain yards down the road.

  34.  

    murphstahoe

    Doesn’t capture the center of Noe or West Portal and Miraloma. Run it down Clipper.

  35.  

    p_chazz

    I haven’t threadjacked anything. The discussion is about ped safety amirite?

  36.  

    p_chazz

    They do it all the time from EB Market to NB Front.

  37.  

    Karen Lynn Allen

    Love Mario’s three proposed projects below. (They’ve been on my “this is obvious” list, too.) Time to put them all in as pilots. Trials. Low cost, low risk, see how we all like it. If they’re awful and the world comes to an end, rip them out, put them back the way they were until pedestrian density increases even further.

    Come on, SFMTA, if New York could do this kind of stuff, we can, too.

  38.  

    p_chazz

    Make the streets safe for bikes and the sidewalks will be safe for peds.

  39.  

    p_chazz

    The route could start at 30th and Church and run via 30th, San Jose, Cesar Chavez, Pennsylvania to 22nd. Return via 22nd, 3rd, Cesar Chavez, San Jose, 29th, Church to 30th. It would connect the J, 24, 36, 14, 12, 67, 9, 48 and the T. Call it the 34 Cesar Chavez.

  40.  

    Mario Tanev

    I don’t worry about Central Subway ridership. Our population will grow, development patterns will adapt. It will be successful.

    I worry about it resulting in cuts to the existing bus lines, increasing the budget hole the Muni is in, and especially being this crutch that somehow prevents any vision in the city for something truly transformational.

  41.  

    Mario Tanev

    It’s topics like these that make me question the sincerity of the SFMTA.

    If you asked me what projects are so obvious San Francisco should have done them yesterday, the following three come to mind. They would be projects a world class city would do in a heartbeat that don’t require a lot of funding. They are not only justified, but necessitated by the sheer volume of pedestrians and transit use that is unparalleled elsewhere in the city, and there is really no legitimate argument against them:
    1. Pedestrianizing Powell St. Allow bikes, cable cars, and taxis but nothing else (no Uber, only specially marked vehicles). Pedestrians vastly outnumber clueless drivers who hog the streets. Cable cars are the most expensive to operate and are always full because of lower frequency, and instead we slow them that for this? Do more runs, make more tourists happy, instead of making them suffer behind exhaust.
    2. Closing Stockton to cars. Only Muni and deliveries should be allowed. It’s the only street in San Francisco where buses are back to back and take 30 minutes to clear a few blocks.
    3. Making Grant pedestrian (bikes yield to pedestrians) only. It’s such a tiny street with so little available parking, with pedestrians squeezed on the narrow sidewalks, that it makes no sense to have any traffic. Have early morning delivery hours. Over time Grant can be repaved to cobblestone, or brick, or some nice elevated pavement that merges with the sidewalk, and perhaps with some planters.

    The fact that Central Subway is used as an excuse not to pursue this project is the main reason I hate the Central Subway. I don’t mind the subway, I mind the crutch that it has become that doesn’t allow us to do anything in the next 10 years that will reduce the need for the subway.

  42.  

    MrEricSir

    Even before this construction, all the sidewalks around Union Square were too narrow for the crowds in the area. Just walking from one store to another is uncomfortable.

    At the very least SFMTA should look at taking out more street side parking spots.

  43.  

    94110

    “SFMTA officials said they currently aren’t looking seriously at car restrictions on Powell, but that they could in the future, once the Central Subway is completed.”

    It’s amazing how many problems can be blamed on the Central Subway. The sooner it finishes, the sooner it can show disappointing ridership numbers, have it’s headways cut, it’s LRVs put into service somewhere useful, and the entire tunnel mothballed.

    Or maybe it’ll find the funding to go to Pier 39 quickly and actually do some good.

  44.  

    Clarence Eckerson Jr.

    Those are some scary shots of ped-car conflicts!

  45.  

    JulesKelworan

    I am trying to figure out exactly how the dotted lines for the bike lanes work. A lot of the ones I see don’t become dotted until almost right before a turn, and the law says that I can merge into the bike lane starting 200 feet out, so I want to know exactly which one is right (i.e. I want to make sure I can break the solid white line, because frankly if I can’t, there are some ridiculous turns on my daily commute, where there is no dotted line until *right* before the turn, or no dotted line at all, and I’d probably contact the local safety people about extending the dotted lines).

  46.  

    YWHYKNOT

    Why are the officials so against removing a travelling vehicle lane on Telegraph? I live on 55th and Telegraph and their really isn’t that much traffic on that street anyway. It even surprised me.

    Also I am so happy that my fellow neighbors came out and blasted this watered down plan. While I do not know them personally, I believe the the planners working with the city in this case caved in without anyone even complaining this time.

    To be honest every time I’m on Telegraph I see a world class street just waiting to be exposed. It honestly reminds me of many of the boulevards in Barcelona. Here’s hoping we get something close to that in reality

  47.  

    teflonrobg

    The buses in the middle of the road will work better because it works well in the REST OF THE WORLD!

  48.  

    murphstahoe

  49.  

    BBnet3000

    The unhealthy obsession with parking on urban commercial corridors is ridiculous. Most storefronts are only wide enough to have a single space in front. That’s insignificant compared to the improvements that can be brought through better biking and transit, and people who want to access these businesses by car can still park on a side street, which most probably do already.

  50.  

    murphstahoe

    I’ll say this for the advocates in SF. The Central Subway started construction and the focus of people who think that project was ill-advised switched to making lemonade out of lemons.

    In Sonoma and Marin, SMART has laid dozens of new miles of track – this project will actually launch this decade – it would not be shocking at all to see trains running in 2 years from now. Yet there is non-trivial energy trying to stop a project well into construction.

    Perhaps because the Central Subway was opposed by transit activists who considered it a poorly designed project and bad use of scarce transit dollars, and SMART was opposed by a more tea loving faction.