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    You are again operating from the status quo is by default good, and is innocent until proven guilty. That’s a recipe for keeping a lot of bad crap. This is because you – as “also people” who are in their cars – benefit the most from the status quo as is. So you try as much as possible to put the highest barrier on changing the status quo.



    It is not that hard to get good transit to happen. Google and some of
    the hottest, most profitable Silicon Valley companies are doing it

    As a person who has such a shuttle, everybody complains that the shuttles suck.



    And remember – Doyle Drive money came in large part from outside SF but solely benefits motorists coming to or from SF – cyclists are not allowed on Doyle Drive. I ride up to the bridge all the time, Doyle Drive would save me a mile and be at a lesser gradient. With a decent shoulder it might even be more appealing as Lincoln is frequently stuffed up with non-moving traffic belching exhaust and blocking the shoulder such that I have had to get off my bike, walk around the car on the dirt embankment, then start riding again.



    The previous numbers are lower (for 2013 and 2014) which is where the 1% figure comes from. And, as Murph pointed out below, the problem isn’t the totals going to each percentage of commuters so much as catching up to the 21st century as well as complying to the transit first charter amendment and the city goal bike mode share of 20% by 2020.

    The SFMTA overseas street right of way, but are not responsible for funding all projects that impact cars. 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. The health impacts of driving such as asthma and collisions come out of our public health budget rather than MTA as well.


    Dave Moore

    So this is the approved budget for 2015, right?

    I’m not sure if I’m reading it right, but on page 9 they list a summary total of all funding sources. There they show approximately $25M out of $860M going to bicycle only programs, or about 2.9%. But several other programs impact bicycles (Traffic Calming, Traffic Signals) to at least as much degree as cyclists are a percentage of traffic. That would also go for things like Communications / IT infrastruture, facility, etc…

    If people are comparing the percentage of people commuting by bicycle to this number, it doesn’t seem out of whack. Perhaps it was different in previous years. There’s not much that’s automobile only (Parking for $22M and the lion’s share of signals for $14M), even though in the same comparison private cars represent about 50% of commuters. The biggest numbers here are all about transit (Fleet, Facility, Central Subway, Optimization add up to about half the total).

    If there’s a better source or deeper analysis please let me know.




    Chortle. Adding to lexicon.



    The number comes from the SFMTA capital budget. It is a slightly misleading figure in that some projects that have bike infrastructure components are funded through other sources, but generally that means that the focus of the project is on something else. Regardless, bike projects are still underfunded, especially considering their relative low cost compared to other projects such as Doyle Drive or Central Subway.


    Andy Chow

    It is not as if pedestrians cannot access a certain block of the street. It is that one side of the crossing is closed and require pedestrians to make a longer trip.

    In a way it is no different removing bus stops to speed up transit, or prohibiting left turns on Van Ness or 19th Avenue to make traffic flow better. There’s always somebody that uses the bus stop located at every block, and always somebody that wants to turn left from 19th Avenue, and we also ask them to walk or drive further for the sake of everyone else.

    The difference is that those who benefit the most from closing crosswalks are in their cars. I know that this blog like to make it us versus them, but they are also people.

    If the added burden to traffic isn’t significant or can be mitigated, I think opening it up is good, but planning for such things need to take various modes in mind and cannot expect traffic to somehow just disappear without creating problem elsewhere.



    Just glanced at the comments and didn’t see anyone defending the aunt so much as seeing a misdirection of blame from the driver to the Aunt. Last time I checked using your cell phone as a pedestrian is legal. It’s definitely looking like the aunt was negligent and facing charges, but that doesn’t exonerate the driver nor does it make our streets any safer.


    Dave Moore

    I’ve seen the 1% figure quoted before, but I can’t find the source. How is that number calculated?


    Luce Morales

    Now that we know auntie was on her cell phone when she abandoned a toddler in the middle of oncoming traffic, I wonder what all her defenders here think.


    Dave Moore

    I didn’t mean to imply that I considered the current state to be preferable. I agree entirely that you figure out the net end state of each and decide which is better.

    I also agree that at some point pedestrians could probably cross in all directions. I don’t see it as relevant though. It either happened when the freeway was removed (greatly changing the status quo) or some time after discovering there was a problem.

    The question is which is more important in this specific case. Pedestrians having the ability to cross on all 4 intersections or to have that additional time for the right turn onto Fell, to handle cars approaching from the north on Gough (and from across Market, which routes people through Gough). The intersection is always very busy in the evening. Maybe a compromise would be to add a pedestrian cycle at other times of day.



    Presumably, though I couldn’t find the details on how the NSC calculated those.

    It’s definitely also interesting to compare activities’ comparative risk per [unit of measurement]*[capita].

    For example, how dangerous X activity is per person per minute compared to Y activity per person per minute. When comparing biking vs. driving:

    “…the accident risk per hour of the two activities is roughly equal.”

    By the way, this is with our current national status quo of very car-centric infrastructure, which we are now gradually moving away from in fits and starts. Compare to the Netherlands, which is about 6x safer still both because of decades of a virtuous feedback loop of more and better infra capacity and safety which encourages more ridership which encourages more and better infra capacity and safety, etc.:

    Needless to say, it’s pretty clear that as a society we rather irrationally pick and choose certain activities to brand as Very Dangerous when those don’t necessarily square with the facts, even in our current status quo.



    Greg, why not look a few comments down – you’ll see that many people on this site also advocate for better public transit (in this case BART) along with better access for pedestrians and people who ride bikes. Let’s also point out that the transit challenges of the city are a direct result of the over-reliance on automobiles. It is not people on bicycles who are blocking MUNI buses and slowing them down, but rather car drivers. Considering that less than 1% of the budget of SFMTA is spent on bicycle improvements (despite the fact that over 3.4% of people commute to their jobs by bicycle), you can hardly say the city is focusing on bicycle infrastructure at the expend of public transit.

    Anyway, how did talking about improving pedestrian access in Hayes Valley turn into a screed against people who ride their bikes?



    Hilarious comment given that this isn’t a story about bikes.


    David D.

    The Market & Octavia Plan lists Oak & Franklin as a low priority intersection for traffic calming. There is some general language in there about pedestrian facility continuity, but I don’t see anything about opening up the crosswalk in question. If there is, please point it out for me. Thanks.



    Walking is more dangerous than biking? That chart also says that walking is more dangerous the riding a motorcycle. Really? Or is that just because more folks walk than those other activities?



    “Is there a Hayes Valley vision or master plan?”



    David D.

    This is not short-term thinking. What you have missed is that there is no vision for circulation in this area. Should pedestrians be able to cross all four legs of any given intersection? Probably. But there is not a vision here. Is there a Hayes Valley vision or master plan? What else will the City do to improve circulation in this area? Clearly SFMTA is picking single crosswalks here and there that can be installed with a negligible impact to the overall transportation infrastructure in the area, but there is not a single thing in this article to suggest the City has a holistic approach to implement in this community.



    Streetsblog’s agenda is anti-car and pro-bike, period. Not sustainable transportation. The push for more bikes and biking infrastructure is not sustainable transportation. It’s fine as an a fun little addition to our city, but to focus on it misses the point of sustainable transportation (see NYC, DC, Paris, London, etc. – places where there are lots of bikes AND an actual subway system). We can’t all bike all our lives. We need workable public transportation – not the present Muni mess. Streetsblog’s focus solely on bikes takes away attention from what is really needed – and the City/SFMTA/SFBC are only happy to go along since it’s a cheap way for them to shout out to the world how great they are since everyone is biking here – look how green and cool we are! Meanwhile, car trips are not being reduced in SF and Muni still sucks.



    SF/BART could even do better making BART easier for residents!

    Despite years of taking BART just today again I was faced with that momentary panic…”uh-oh…am I at 24th or 16th St already?!” The signs are incredibly small–you have to really crane your neck and scan and sometimes the signs are still not there. Any audio announcements (within the train or outside) are often garbled, even if English is your native language (“we’re now arriving eruh wopeiiifopwa-gsHZXHJK asdjhsdf station to transfer to qwehj-kweuio-weuhiwerhjk make sure to sdhfjksdgfh”).

    –> As for visual improvements, it really could be as simple as pasting some huge ’24TH ST STATION’ decals on the walls. Or, kinda like this:

    But inside the station.

    –> As for audio improvements, I think BART could even take a lesson from Muni Metro. As quirky-fun as the garbled BART robot voices are, Muni Metro’s “Next stop…..Forest…Hill…Station” inside the train or the platform announcements “Approaching…outbound…two-car…N..N…followed…by…” are always way clearer.



    a lot of those folks come in with their cars. A lot of walking movement is to and from their cars.

    No more anecdotes. Please give us some statistics. What percentage of those walking through Hayes Valley got there in a car, and what percentage got there walking, biking, or public transit.



    And here is the problem with your line of thinking that I take great issue with.

    Your perspective that this is a change that would negatively impacts drivers comes from looking at the problem of everything relative to the current status quo. “This makes things harder for drivers”. You fail to consider the position that the status quo might be completely out of wack in the first place. That things have been put in place to benefit motorized traffic in a manner that is very detrimental to pedestrians, that this new status quo has been so normalized that pedestrians just don’t count.

    I will assume – and I would bet a large sum of money on it – that at some point in time that intersection was crossable by pedestrians at all 4 crossings. At some point a decision was made to close it. That decision moved the status quo from what it was to what it is now, and that negatively impacted pedestrians and moved the bar to a new status quo.



    This is precisely the kind of short-term thinking that got us into this mess. If you base all your decisions on short-term traffic impacts, you can justify ANY car-centric project as being pro-pedestrian (and block any walk/bike/transit improvement).

    Good planning looks beyond the short-term and bases decisions on an overall vision for the city. Short-term planning to “improve the ped network by reducing auto delays” will result in projects that create short-term reductions in auto delays and small degradations in the pedestrian (and bicycle, and transit) network. Over time traffic delays will grow (as walking, biking, and transit become incrementally less convenient and more people drive). As delays increase, we would then create more “improvements” which continue to degrade the ped network and induce more driving, which creates more delay, which spurs more “improvements”, which cause more ped/bike/transit degradations, and so on. This is basically what we did in every US city and town from the 1930s-1990s, and the results speak for themselves.

    A liveable streets vision is for a direct and convenient pedestrian, bicycle, and transit network. While each improvement may increase auto delays, over time these auto delays decline as other modes provide convenient options. Cities all over Europe have adopted this model and it looks to be working quite splendidly.

    It’s not anti-car, it’s pro-people, pro-place, and pro-mobility.



    giving 5 seconds thought – Doyle Drive.



    There’s an infrastructure problem in this city.

    You may be confusing people on this site with Vehicular Cycling advocates (= “bikes should act just like cars”), which is pretty much the opposite of what most feel here. Bikes aren’t cars. Pedestrians aren’t cars. Cars aren’t trains. Trains aren’t planes. Etc. So infrastructure and rules should be catered to each.

    When you have infrastructure specific to the mode, compliance goes up. This is true no matter the mode. As for bikes, when infrastructure looks like this:×563.jpg

    Instead of this:

    You’ll notice pretty much everyone uses the bikeway. Cuz it just makes sense. All of this is really that simple.

    Nah, no real complexes or delusions about it–that sounds kinda projection-y.



    That can work. But this becomes a problem if your destination (store…post office…your house?) is on or along one of those thoroughfares. Doesn’t help merchants, either, who tend to make more money when people aren’t avoiding commercial corridors.


    Dave Moore

    It seems like again it’s about tradeoffs. Is the current impact on pedestrians great enough to warrant the new impact on drivers? Some say no. You I believe say yes. Having a difference over it is fine. But I ask: is there such a tradeoff that you would support that benefits some number of drivers yet has some smaller negative impact to some smaller number of pedestrians? If not, then the discussion seems pointless.

    Note: I understand that there are secondary and tertiary impacts of things like this. Perhaps such a change could bring about calming that is beneficial to more than just the pedestrians directly affected. All of those should be considered. The question is still valid. Has there ever been a proposed change where you felt that we should benefit drivers (or fail to negatively impact them)?



    The problem is that you don’t know how local streets are paid for. It’s via property and sales taxes, which everyone pays, even cyclists. Have some familiarity with the facts before launching your rants. kthxbai


    Andy Chow

    While some streets are traffic sewers, it frees up traffic on other streets in the area so that those streets can be more walkable, bikeable, or be more prioritized for transit.


    Jym Dyer

    @Coco – Your argument was invalid in the first place, adding ad hominen nonsense isn’t going to improve it any. Bud.



    True, but you have to admit life is full of potential risks in everything we do, even staying home and hiding under the covers in bed. From the National Safety Council, check this out:

    –> Biking (‘pedalcycling’) as a whole is statistically much safer than being a pedestrian or occupant in a motor vehicle. This may surprise some as our society has gotten used to the weekly carnage of car and pedestrian “accidents” as “normal” background noise, despite the constant tragedy.

    –> All of said activities are far less common still than cardiopulmonary disease and even car deaths are slightly less common than suicide. Even sitting on your couch in the living room statistically carries some risks. Fires can break out. You can bang your head on the coffee table. An earthquake can make the bookshelves fall on you. etc.

    The question is:

    1) how comparatively common are these incidents, and

    2) are there smart ways we can reduce those statistical risks?

    One way which does make bike lanes safer is by physically separating the bike lanes from moving traffic, especially at intersections where the great majority of conflicts occur.

    Imagine if more of our intersections looked like this:

    Instead of this:

    Or more of our streets looked like this:×563.jpg

    Instead of this:


    Andy Chow

    I don’t think crossing the Bay Bridge everyday is either cheap or easy. It is not that hard to get good transit to happen. Google and some of the hottest, most profitable Silicon Valley companies are doing it already. The reason that why more good transit isn’t there or why only those companies have to pay for their own is that we really don’t have anybody responsible for getting it done.

    SFMTA is all about their little domain in their city. Anything else that isn’t Muni using the city street is an “intruder,” and that Muni doesn’t run much outside SF. BART and Caltrain all have their domains with their rail corridors. So if there’s a potential for transit service to and from SF that is outside the rail corridors, who is going to advocate it, plan it, fund it, and operate it? Not SFMTA, not BART, not AC Transit, not SamTrans, not Caltrain, not MTC.

    Google says fuck it and run it themselves. If all those companies ask SFMTA for permission first (like all the other transit agencies would have to do) before they operate they know that SFMTA is going to say hell no, before sticking them with EIR and such. Like Uber, like Lyft, they just have to run it and force SFMTA to accommodate them.

    While SFMTA have a good vision, everyone mentality regarding their own domains is actually a barrier to get good transit implemented.


    David D.

    I don’t care if the cars back up. What I care about is that the cars will back up to such an extent that they will interfere with pedestrians elsewhere. Also, because traffic volumes are especially heavy at the intersection in question, the opening of the crosswalk will unnecessarily endanger pedestrians. P_chazz’s swimming analogy is apt: Just because swimming is a healthy activity doesn’t mean it should be done everywhere. Should we encourage swimming at Ocean Beach? No. The rip currents are a serious risk. Same holds true for this scenario.



    I regard closed crosswalks like no swimming signs. While swimming is generally a healthful activity, there are some places where it is inadvisable because the current is too swift.

    While I appreciate Streetsblog’s efforts to slow the current of vehicle traffic, the simple fact is that some corridors will always have heavy traffic that make unsafe for pedestrians. The Hayes Valley intersections once had the Central Freeway to carry vehicular traffic above street level, but since it was put out of commission, the traffic must move on city streets.

    Since we are unwilling or unable to construct grade separations for through traffic, we must accept that some streets by their nature will become “traffic sewers” especially since the Golden Gate Bridge is disconnected from the freeway grid. While the term “traffic sewer is intended as a perjorative, just think of how unpleasant a city without sewers would be.


    Andy Chow

    Honestly these walkable neighborhoods attract a lot of out of area crowds as well and a lot of those folks come in with their cars. A lot of walking movement is to and from their cars.


    SF Guest

    BTW, David D. it was the Department of Parking & Traffic (DPT) before it merged with the Muni that was instrumental in closing off crosswalks to pedestrians. The DPT was a much more efficient department at facilitating traffic flow. When DPT merged with Muni and became the SFMTA they abandoned the use of PCOs directing traffic at all but a select few intersections which resulted in hazardous traffic conditions throughout SoMa.



    Streetsblog’s agenda is pro-sustainable transportation, not anti-car. In practice, reducing the utter dominance of the automobile is necessary to achieve more livable, sustainable streets, and cities such as New York and Amsterdam have certainly taken bold steps in that direction.


    SF Guest

    I dread to read what readers will write when a pedestrian fatality occurs once these crosswalks are reopened. (Of course, the idea of traffic calming will be brought up for the umpteenth time.)

    I once resented and didn’t understand having to walk to the other side of the street to cross Folsom @ 3d St., but shortly thereafter concluded it was for my own safety to cross the other side of the street without multiple auto lanes making left turns.

    Has pedestrian rights become that ‘territorial’ whereby someone feels terribly inconvenienced to walk to the opposite crosswalk? I certainly don’t feel that way.



    Clearly you have an ant-pedestrian agenda. You believe that cars backing up is a bigger problem than pedestrians being forced to make three crossings instead of one. Cars still exist, but you want to pretend that pedestrians do not.

    “it doesn’t unnecessarily exclude one or another.”

    What part of “no ped crossing” isn’t exclusionary?


    David D.

    I know Streetsblog has an anti-car agenda, but this article is ridiculous. Some crosswalks should remain closed when their presence would place pedestrians in danger. SFMTA does its homework on this sort of thing, and it sounds like the Oak & Franklin crosswalk would cause problems. If the crosswalk is opened anyway, would Streetblog follow this up with an article about all those cars backing up to Market Street, interfering with pedestrians there?

    You may not want to accept this fact, but even in “ultimate” non-motorized havens like Manhattan and Amsterdam, cars still exist. Your car-free utopia is just that–a utopia. Back here in reality, transportation planners understand that we have a long way to go with our transportation infrastructure, but good transportation infrastructure balances travel modes–it doesn’t unnecessarily exclude one or another.



    GetHubNub – What you ask is unreasonable. It’s like saying that we should ban walking because people get killed walking across streets in crosswalks.

    My wife and I take our daughter and return home from school on a trailer bike almost every day of the school year. It’s faster (15 minutes) than walking (40 minutes) using a car (20 minutes in morning traffic) or MUNI (40 minutes). If you aren’t just trolling, please tell me why you think our daily commute should be unlawful.



    That happens if you are driving in a car as well. Being in a car doesn’t prevent you from getting killed by any of those conditions either.



    They do make the roads safer ,but nothing’s full proof. Some drunk or texting distracted person can still veer off and hit you.



    I believe there’s no such thing as a safe bike lane and that it should be unlawful to place children on the back of bicycles. I also believe those pet on wheels that trail bicycles hooked to the back should be banned as cruel and inhumane due to the condition of our roads. It’s one thing to take your pet to the bike path to enjoy a day at the beach, quite another to ride your bike in major traffic and bad roads in San Francisco.



    It would be great to see these bike lanes GENUINELY PROTECTED, which would really attract more people to bike, people of all levels, and that would not only become more of an attractive mode of transportation as well as make it safer, but it would also be better for the businesses as well. Secondly it seems like the number of parking spaces that would be removed in this proposal seems to be a drop in the bucket.


    Idrather Bebikin

    Tom, I like what you were saying…. lower speed limits make sense. The businesses were looking for this.

    With all due respect the rest of you are missing the mark – by a large margin.
    I’ve been called a “bike nut” and I indeed prefer to bike over drive. ParK Ave is a very popular road to take between downtown SJ/Diridon CalTrain station and Santa Clara. Users of all types use this road, especially advanced users.

    The much busier road north and south of here are “The Alameda” and San Carlos St, which turns into Stevens Creek. They both have regular and express bus service, with BRT coming to The Alameda first, followed by San Carlos some time later.

    1000 parking spaces remain? That’s over several miles. It seems most of these comments are conceptual and do not come from knowledge of Park Ave, nor of the specific small business district in question.

    I invite you to bike and walk this very short area and see on a typical night how few parking spaces are there. And how there are at least two businesses that are vacant. This skews the traffic count as well as the summer time situation that changes the amount of people attending these businesses.

    As far as parking being removed increases safety. That is not necessarily true. Parking in some certain cases can actually be either neutral or beneficial. It depends on the road, the speeds, the quality of the bike markings on the streets, signage, etc.

    Yes, SJ has a drive everywhere mentality with a higher percentage of high speed arterials and wide freeways.

    To say that the business owners are the ones that need to education campaign sounds a bit harsh to me. Yes, there is a communication problem here. But this communication problem started with San Jose as the team did not explain the process here – how many meetings, how feedback will be turned into modifications, approximate fime frames for follow up meetings etc.

    Both sides need to come together and hash out the differences. The burden of change was put squarely on the businesses and some nearby residents and that didn’t seem fair to me.

    San Jose has a spotty record at best when it comes to supporting small businesses – especially in a timely or low cost manner. These business leaders will mention how they have essentially had their concerns ignored for decades. Yet these issues are their fault. That’s both incorrectly placed blame and a harsh assessment for those that are simply trying to survive, much less thrive in this hit or miss economy.

    Lastly, I was at a meeting with a completely different subject and the main speaker lamented the fact that the City of San Jose has largely missed out on this economic recovery. So if you’re from SF, Palo Alto, Mt View, Sunnyvale or Santa Clara the viewpoint may be a bit different.

    In the coming months I presume and hope that all the stakeholders will get together and genuinely come up with a solution that’s a good compromise.



    You’re right, although the MTA justifies this kind of action by saying a backup onto Market delays transit (which it also does since we don’t have adequate transit infrastructure so our buses and trains get stuck behind cars). By always trying to appease vehicle access and speed we end up ruining the pedestrian environment and with chronically delayed transit.



    “Opening the crosswalk, or removing a turn lane, would ‘result in traffic backing up into Market Street,’ he said.”

    this again represents the car-centric nature of San Francisco. Safety and pedestrians is always sacrificed if traffic slows down.



    I know it’s not a “nice” reality, but really good transit gets built and used precisely because driving is a PITA. If you build an amazing transit system, but also make it cheap and easy to drive, that’s what people will do.

    I can’t think of almost any places with great transit that aren’t also awful places to drive. Good transit requires density.

    This is also why people that say they would take transit but it isn’t convenient for them are lying…