Skip to content

Recent Comments

RSS
  1.  

    lukebc

    “matt chamber” I’m not going to beat around the bush: YOU SIR ARE A MORON. “Density” HAS NOTHING to due with whether or not a parklet should exist AND WORK. There are parklets in the western side of San Francisco that exists in commercial districts with far less pedestrian traffic than what College Avenue gets and yet the parklets are thriving. I KNOW that you have no clue where or what Noriega street is in San Francisco given you are an imbecile, but at where Noriega street almost meets the ocean, a small bakery built a parklet that is mobbed pretty much every day during operating hours of the bakery. And yet the commercial district on Noriega has about as much pedestrian traffic ALL THE TIME as Broadway and 12 on a Sunday morning. Before the parklet was built there people would go to the bakery and get what they got and then disperse out (presumably home), but now persons get what they get and go out to the parklet where they end up conversing with strangers. IN FACT the parklet on Noriega has become a defacto community neighborhood location. On weekends mom and/or dads bring their children to the parklet to let their kids play at the parklet. THAT IS WHY THE PARKLET THERE IS SO POPULAR AND CROWDED. Another parklet BEING built in the western side of San Francisco is going up in front of a popular cafe where there was already sidewalk seating. The parklet is NOT even finished (probably around 80% finished) AND YET PEOPLE ARE ABANDONING THE SIDEWALK CHAIRS AND USING THE *UNCOMPLETED* PARKLET. ALL of YOUR BULLSHEET about “people in Oakland are different from people in San Francisco” is JUST THAT: PURE BULLSHEET. Part of the reason that SFs parklet program is more successful is that SF laid out VERY careful guidelines to would be parklet builders as what criteria has to be met JUST TO *CONSIDER* INSTALLING A PARKLET. So would-be parklet builders in San Francisco read those guidelines and right away determine that “yes we meet the criteria so parklet for us” while the “we don’t meet the criteria so no parklet for us” AND THE NOTS DON’T EVEN BOTHER GOING ANY FURTHER. It’s pretty obvious from what was written here that Oakland didn’t lay out very specific guidelines for installing a parklet and thus when persons applied for parklets, Oakland didn’t study what was going on at the location for the would-be parklet and said yes to the applicant and the end result is “the problems” arose when said applicant started the footwork to building the parklet. It’s IDIOTS LIKE YOU “mattchambers” that come up with IDIOTIC STUPID MORONIC TOTALLY REMOVED FROM REALITY “reasons” that ARE completely STUPID. Try THINKING in SIMPLE LOGICAL TERMS and YOU won’t end up making yourself the fluckwit that YOU make yourself out to BE.

  2.  

    lukebc

    YOU NEED to work on your sarcasm.

  3.  

    Gezellig

    That’s definitely true–each setup can bring its own problems, but there are also ways to visually and physically calm one-ways to mitigate the speeding issue.

    In addition, the wider sidewalks and protected cycletracks would be a net huge boon to ped/bike safety on the corridor in general.

  4.  

    Larry Gordon

    This proposal is an improvement but still a horrible design that still puts the cyclists in very dangerous situations. Cyclists have to watch out for right turning vehicles that cut the turn too close and or don’t look/yield to cyclists to the right of their vehicle. Cyclists going northbound will have to evade opening car doors from parked cars, pushing the cyclist out into lane traffic. Cyclists get pushed into traffic by taxis and other vehicles when they park (double parking) on top of the designated bike paths because there is no protection of the path (curbs or plastic bollards) from vehicles, only paint. There is also no safe way for cyclists to do a left hand turn. In order to do so a cyclist must cross into the ongoing traffic lane (be hopeful that a vehicle behind them sees them stopped in the intersection), and negotiate a left turn across oncoming traffic, while negotiating pedestrians that are in the cross-walk. All of these scenarios are very dangerous to the cyclist and to potential pedestrians in crosswalks and to drivers entering and exiting their parked vehicles.

    Most cyclists that I know of and that I see riding around in the city, tend to ride fast in order to stay ahead of the cars. The only way to stay safe in this city is to stay ahead of the traffic, because a driver is more likely to see you in front of them then behind them or in their blind spot. Ask anyone that rides a motorcycle and they will tell you the same. Motorists can tend to be pretty rude when a cyclist takes up a lane in order to protect themselves from opening doors of parked cars. I’ve had times where I’ve tried to take up only a third of the right side of the lane in order to stay safe from opening doors from parked cars when a car will dangerously pass me to my left because they are in a hurry. In my experience most car drivers do not respect cyclists in the street as they would motorcycle. So in order to protect myself I will sometimes have to take the whole lane in order to protect myself and anyone else around me. The last thing I want to do is to hit a pedestrian crossing the street or one that is trying to enter or exit their vehicle.

    After some very quick research there are ways of providing a very safe environment for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers that have been proven to work and that have been implemented as a standard. This proposal seems to care more about the retailers and not the general safety of those commuting to/from/through the community. The additions of the bulb outs and street scape improvements only increase the amount of danger that a cyclist must go through. You can view this video to see what safe bike lanes and intersections should look like: http://youtu.be/FlApbxLz6pA. You can read more about it here:

    http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/state-of-the-art-bikeway-design-or-is-it/

  5.  

    Guest

    This is an improvement but still a horrible design that still puts the cyclists in very dangerous situations. Cyclists have to watch out for right turning vehicles that cut the turn too close and or don’t look/yield to cyclists to the right of their vehicle. Cyclists going northbound will have to evade opening car doors from parked cars, pushing the cyclist out into lane traffic. Cyclists get pushed into traffic by taxis and other vehicles when they park (double parking) on top of the designated bike paths because there is no protection of the path (curbs or plastic bollards) from vehicles, only paint. There is also no safe way for cyclists to do a left hand turn. In order to do so a cyclist must cross into the ongoing traffic lane (be hopeful that a vehicle behind them sees them stopped in the intersection), and negotiate a left turn across oncoming traffic, while negotiating pedestrians that are in the cross-walk. All of these scenarios are very dangerous to the cyclist and to potential pedestrians in crosswalks and to drivers entering and exiting their parked vehicles.

    Most cyclists that I know of and that I see riding around in the city, tend to ride fast in order to stay ahead of the cars. The only way to stay safe in this city is to stay ahead of the traffic, because a driver is more likely to see you in front of them then behind them or in their blind spot. Ask anyone that rides a motorcycle and they will tell you the same. Motorists can tend to be pretty rude when a cyclist takes up a lane in order to protect themselves from opening doors of parked cars. I’ve had times where I’ve tried to take up only a third of the right side of the lane in order to stay safe from opening doors from parked cars when a car will dangerously pass me to my left because they are in a hurry. In my experience most car drivers do not respect cyclists in the street as they would motorcycle. So in order to protect myself I will sometimes have to take the whole lane in order to protect myself and anyone else around me. The last thing I want to do is to hit a pedestrian crossing the street or one that is trying to enter or exit their vehicle.

    After some very quick research there are ways of providing a very safe environment for cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers that have been proven to work and that have been implemented as a standard. This proposal seems to care more about the retailers and not the general safety of those commuting to/from/through the community. The additions of the bulb outs and street scape improvements only increase the amount of danger that a cyclist must go through. You can view this video to see what safe bike lanes and intersections should look like: http://youtu.be/FlApbxLz6pA. You can read more about it here:
    http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/state-of-the-art-bikeway-design-or-is-it/

  6.  

    Jym Dyer

    Top pic is SF, bottom pic is Oakland.

    Parking cars is not a culture.

  7.  

    Jym Dyer

    @Gezellig – One-way streets have their own problems, though. The lack of adjacent oncoming traffic is taken by some motorists as a cue to speed.

    That treatment works better in Manhattan, sorta, but there are additional factors such as a much greater number of pedestrians, no right turn on red, and signals on every block.

  8.  

    Stew javy

    all you hipster white folks need to go over to the deep east and start doing something for Oakland and not just for your own neighborhood. Was good with a pancake breakfest for underprivlaaged kids? or protection from the OPD? naw all ya’ll care about it parklets…you all sound like congress…TOTALLY DETACHED FROM REALITY…. help me raise my fellow towners outta poverty revitalize traditionally ethnic neighborhoods WITHOUT MOVING WHITE PEOLE IN…and then I might help you with this damn parklet rubbish…i cant even beleive parklet is a word now…i feel like a loser even saying it.

  9.  

    Stew javy

    get em!

  10.  

    Stew javy

    Matt is onpoint!

    ~30year old Oakland Native

  11.  

    Stew javy

    at least sideshows are original…outsides always tryn to tell us how do do us…

  12.  

    Stew javy

    you ol knuckle head…these flicks are from SF which in the end proves my point. You all are trying to make Oakland in SF or LA. Its not. One day you may succeed but then people will look around and say “where did all the culture go?” Its like mcdonalds…you want to go to any city and have it look exactly the same as all the other cities in the State. Thats lame brother. Look at Oakland’s history before you try to pound YOUR ideas of what Oakland should be down the throats of those who tradinonally have no voice and no capital to protect THEIR OWN CULTURES!!! ITs like White conquest all over again. if you history you would feel what I am saying homie.

  13.  

    Jym Dyer

    @Prinzrob – Here’s my photo of the (stolen) parklet, but it’s a bit blurry. There are detail pics that follow in the stream:
    https://flic.kr/p/9JSMqu

  14.  

    Jym Dyer

    @Prinzrob – Actual’s expansion was more the establishment of a different (and successful) restaurant. Of course this brings more people to the block and a parklet can only help there.

  15.  

    Jym Dyer

    Whatever you say, chief. I’ll just leave these here and be on my way.
    https://flic.kr/p/9JPY72
    https://flic.kr/p/gj2eq1

  16.  

    Mom on a bike

    That’s supposed to be the site of an upcoming sleek Richard Meier tower. Curbed SF says plans are ‘working their way through environmental review,’ so take from that what you will.

  17.  

    Bing Wu

    What’s the deal with that wedge shaped building at the corner of Van Ness & Market? It’s kind of undersized and there’s a surface lot there taking up valuable real estate. Hello, this city has a housing problem!!

  18.  

    Mom on a bike

    Yeah, like Murph said it’s Campos…I knew there was a good reason why I put a Campos sign in my window. Screw that guy Chiu. Let’s see how far he gets if we all rally against him on the Polk thing alone.

  19.  

    GC

    Along with the rest of the USA.

  20.  

    Jamison Wieser

    This is the same majority argument used to defend laws prohibiting gay marriage. In this case there are plenty of car lanes, but a majority of whiners are car owners who feel the ability for them to get around in motorized vehicles is so important that not even one of the dozens of northbound lanes can be given up so cyclists have a SINGLE northbound lane.

    Even a majority in a poll answered by 100% of San Franciscans favoring parking over bike lanes is disregarding a lot of laws placing tighter and tight restrictions on emissions and a long-term demographic shift away from driving. It is not a matter of opinion that baby-boomers (the largest cohort in the population) are retiring and every year the number who stop driving for one reason or another, children under the age of 16 cannot drive themselves, and generation y/millennials are buy cars and driving at rates I’ve heard a few places are around 2/3 of even generation x. There’s a worldwide moment towards urbanization which will mean an ever greater number of visitors not able to drive either. We are already seeing this happening at accelerating rate, illustrated well by the significant increase in bike trips during the four-year injunction.

    Bay Area Bike Share is only going to encourage more cycling and a single lane isn’t that much to ask. Or just take the selfish view: the more people who bike instead because of safer conditions open up parking spaces for drivers.

  21.  

    Gezellig

    Not only is there an absence of a protected N/S corridor there, Polk is pretty much the only flattish (by SF standards) route.

    Had yet another reminder last night of why protected lanes matter…vehicular cycling not only requires someone physically able (and willing) to perform that way, but even amongst the physically able/willing also requires an utter lack of mechanical issues at all times to keep up.

    Despite triple-tied and tucked-in shoelaces, every once in awhile they still come undone. This happened to me last night as suddenly with no warning I discovered my shoelace was entangled in the pedal mechanism, totally immobilizing me within 2 seconds and forcing me to stop cold in the middle of the street. Good thing I wasn’t on a busy street!

    Another time my bike light suddenly loosened and fell off while on the sharrows (which are a huge joke) on busy Ocean Ave. The fall didn’t destroy the light but it’s not like you can just stop and go get it on that road in the middle of traffic. Of course the speeding impatient car behind me immediately drove right over it, crushing it.

    I mean, that’s life, but my point is that despite taking good care of my bike sudden mechanical problems can and do happen and they’re way less of an issue on protected infrastructure.

    No wonder the Interested but Concerned won’t touch even conventional buffered lanes/sharrows/etc. It’s just too high-stress too often.

    And that’s how you have 3.4% modeshare, as opposed to 20%.

  22.  

    Gezellig

    Absolutely. Looks like SF is still waiting for its “Stop de Kindermoord” moment, sadly.

  23.  

    Karen Lynn Allen

    While I love Sadik-Khan, what made her work possible was that Bloomberg backed her up. It’s not like NYC didn’t have howling NIMBYs who predicted the world would end with every single one of Sadik-Khan’s proposals. The difference was Bloomberg was willing to take the political heat and let her experiment. I see Lee willing to take political heat for a few development projects (such as the Warriors arena) and that’s about it. Without significant reinforcement and support, even the most visionary Sustainable Streets director will achieve little.

    In cities, the mayor matters.

  24.  

    M.

    Schadenfreude indeed. Staying in the game also requires a deeply uncomfortable level of obsessive grit. The only thing more uncomfortable is the thought of selfish, know-nothing bullies scuttling our future – and our lives.

  25.  

    Jake Wegmann

    Hang in there! If you decide to hold the local politicians accountable, you’ll carry a lot of weight because you both understand the issues in detail AND have put in serious time. And if you’re done with this particular issue and would rather spend your time on other things, I totally get that too. This stuff can burn a person out.

  26.  

    Jamison Wieser

    Between all of the north-south running streets there are dozens, upon dozens of lanes dedicated to cars (that Van Ness example, Polk, Franklin, Larking, etc.) you would think one single bike lane wouldn’t be too much to ask.

    But why should drivers have to give up a single lane when absolutely all of them are needed for cars. Cyclists can easily take some other route like riding all the way around the Embarcadero since it takes so little effort for those of us on bikes to add a couple extra miles to a trip while cars are so fragile they cannot possibly be asked to drive on another street.

  27.  

    Jamison Wieser

    I was on the SFMTA advisory council, chaired the planning committee throughout the TEP process, sat through many public meeting, collected signatures and campaigned for Prop A.

    It all turns out to have been a waste of time and a massive waste of SFMTA money, so yes, the SFMTA can go fuck itself and the truly skilled employees should find jobs with an organization that doesn’t give a shit about anything but parking.

  28.  

    Jake Wegmann

    Precisely. That seems to be the fundamental dynamic in American local democracy: the process is set up such that the minority who REALLY hate something usually trump the majority who would benefit from something, but don’t really know it because it doesn’t exist yet and therefore it seems abstract to them. So the path of least resistance is to do nothing, or at least nothing that really does anything substantial.

    And in San Francisco, where public participation is a civic religion, the dynamic is even stronger.

    Until we change our processes so that the people who live immediately next to a proposed improvement are no longer effectively given veto power over it, we’re going to keep being frustrated over and over again.

  29.  

    Jake Wegmann

    I get your frustration with the whole process, and I share it myself. But I just think that you should focus your informed outrage on the right target, so that it has maximal impact. At the end of the day, it’s the politicians who run the show, end of story, in any case that becomes as high visibility and political as Polk Street. Ask any staff person, at virtually level, who works in city government.

  30.  

    Jake Wegmann

    Your explanation makes a lot of sense.

  31.  

    Jake Wegmann

    I get my information from Streetsblog. And I’m not talking about voting on the TEP, and I’m not talking about the CEQA process. Those are the formal mechanisms, the small-bore details. I’m talking about the bigger picture, which has everything to do with intangible leadership qualities: Ed Lee and David Chiu banging their fists on the table, saying GODAMMIT we WILL build quality bike infrastructure on this street, and we will have the MTA planners’ backs to make it happen. THAT is what’s missing with San Francisco livable streets planning. That’s what it’s all about at the end of the day: someone with political power who is prepared to stand up and incur the wrath of a room full of shrieking NIMBYs. If the city’s leadership is not prepared to do that, then they should stop talking in the abstract about San Francisco’s wondrous livable streets innovation, and expend their political capital elsewhere.

  32.  

    Jake Wegmann

    OK. What north-south street that is near Polk would you suggest?

    And besides, the cities in the world with the most biking somehow manage to put quality bike infrastructure on the liveliest commercial streets.

  33.  

    M.

    Greg – Kudos to you for wading into this debate. We’ll assume that you’ve done so not only to troll, but to see different points of view. So here’s a scenario to try on: Let’s say you commute on Polk St. in your car 10x/week min. and a few people in the Corridor randomly decide they want no traffic lights, no traffic signage, no median stripes, and no speed limits, despite irrefutable evidence and standards of practice confirming that those measures create safety and order on the road. Still, the minority insists that a few lives and the $ costs of the ensuing crashes are a small price (for others) to pay for unencumbered driving freedom. That minority are entitled to express their opinions and the City may even be obliged to hear them. However, the minority may not misinform and spread panic and the City is not obliged to act on their misguided demands. And I’d reckon you’d be very happy they didn’t. Walking and cycling amenities included in the SFMTA’s original proposal are being put in place rapidly all over the US and the world with very good reason – they work for everyone.

  34.  

    sebra leaves

    Don’t know where you get your information. The Supervisors have not had vote on the TEP yet. There is a pending CEQA appeal that they should honor, since it was filed within the 20 day time limit.

  35.  

    sebra leaves

    Bike lanes on one way streets without buses and big trucks would be a safer solution for everyone.

  36.  

    Gezellig

    I’m all for enforcement but to a huge degree the double-parking problem is so rampant because our infrastructure status quo highly encourages it basically everywhere. Including by these guys:

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/2014-01-21-17.45.46.jpg
    (http://sf.streetsblog.org/2014/01/23/whos-parking-in-the-fell-street-bike-lane-today-oh-its-sfpd/)

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/DSC_0088.jpg
    (http://sf.streetsblog.org/2013/08/21/at-safe-streets-rally-sfpd-blocks-bike-lane-to-make-point-of-victim-blaming/)

    Especially when we keep on building crazy-wide “buffered” Class II bike lanes that are the perfect width (and more!) for double parking in. After all, they’re not truly “buffered” by anything but easily ignorable paint.

    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gPwLneUNLQw/TxtE37HZyYI/AAAAAAAAAHU/8tDzD-9uqB8/s640/IMG_4107.jpg
    (http://sf.streetsblog.org/2012/01/23/caltrans-slims-the-sloat-boulevard-speedway-with-buffered-bike-lanes/)

    We’ve got to get more and better physical separation of bikeways. Anything less on these roads has long since been proven to be unacceptable.

  37.  

    voltairesmistress

    After the six year old girl was killed on Polk, I thought the merchants there would feel ashamed, that Supervisor Chiu and the mayor would fear a voter backlash, and that the substandard Polk plans would get a re-thinking. Would things have been different if the girl’s parents were professionals with good incomes and fully conversant in English? Kind of like how things changed after Amelie Moullac died on the now re-worked Folsom Street? Increasingly, I think we need to organize a response team to protest egregious pedestrian and cyclist deaths by drivers. Critical Mass for the dearly departed. Because for me, our politicians are guilty of depraved indifference.

  38.  

    Gezellig

    Absolutely!

    Was this even considered? I mean maybe some of the car-first crowd wouldn’t be happy with it but c’mon they’d still be retaining TWO parking lanes, a car travel lane and it’d free up space for truly top-notch bike and ped infra. Plus, since all/most of the nearby streets are one-way it’s hardly a radical thing–drivers in SF are used to it and the grid can accommodate it well.

  39.  

    disqus_e4qPyvtwW2

    yeah our little racetrack :) I’m sure it’d be complicated due to state/county trying to figure out what’s what – I’m just saying it’d be a much more straightforward arrangement and have a better traffic calming affect (two way vs one way traffic)

  40.  

    coolbabybookworm

    The PCO’s already dedicate much of their resources directing traffic around Market and other downtown intersections at rush hour to try and avert gridlock and collisions.

  41.  

    coolbabybookworm

    Plus one-waying (but keeping it narrow) can simplify intersections and narrow the vehicle lanes making pedestrian crossing easier and reducing conflict points.

  42.  

    Gezellig

    Another thing Polk could’ve become is a one-way (southbound) for its entire length. After all, it already is this way south of Grove and neighboring Larkin is one-way northbound (in addition, Van Ness is of course two-way).

    By making it one-way you could remove a traffic lane while keeping parking to appease the parking trolls while still retaining space for a true protected cycletrack and other ped/bike improvements.

    There are just so many things SF could be doing it’s not.

  43.  

    sforick

    You’re right. I can dream :). They could be given more authority by the city, but I won’t hold my breath. Can’t they even focus on the double parking problem??

  44.  

    jonobate

    You linked to someone’s Masters thesis and an article that notes that three different studies on pedestrian countdown signals came to three different conclusions. If I were uncharitable, I might think that you were cherry picking your sources.

  45.  

    jonobate

    We don’t need double fines, we just need enforcement. A small fine enforced regularly and consistently is far more effective than a large fine enforced infrequently and inconsistently.

  46.  

    jonobate

    And what would they do? Unlike police officers, they can’t even legally force someone to stop and talk to them.

  47.  

    murphstahoe

    It’s established the SFPD cops don’t know the laws regarding bicycles and pedestrians, now we expect to have the meter maids get it right?

  48.  

    sforick

    Double parking is not going away in SF – there’s just too much
    delivery and commercial need. But enforcement will help raise awareness. Maybe double fines for double parking within 25 feet of a crosswalk or something like that would help. I see a lot of unnecessary double parking (cars picking up kids at the school on De Haro – double parked while a huge white zone go unused, seen that too with taxis around town). I did see a smaller fed-ex truck the other day that could actually fit in a yellow zone or parking space – encouraging.

  49.  

    c2check

    Fortunately there is a very car-focused street quite close to Polk, namely Van Ness. Wouldn’t Polk be a great option for a bike-ped focused street, then?

  50.  

    sforick

    They don’t need to issue traffic citations, but If SFMTA is really serious about safety, it should task a portion of it’s army of parking control officers to educate and enforce the pedestrian and bicycle problem, and free up SFPD to focus the motorists. The PCO’s are already along the sidewalks and bicycle lanes in small vehicles perfect for the task. And they are already on city payroll.