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    Jamison Wieser

    If anyone’s going to borrow anyone else’s rhetoric, SF could follow Seattle’s lead and reduce the speed limit for traffic, but not for transit.

    This link refers to a segment of Seattle’s light-rail system where the trains have a dedicated right of way in the median and I can imagine something very similar here where Muni lines have their own, separated lanes like the N-Judah on some of the surface or Van Ness BRT will have.


    Jamison Wieser

    Vision Zero is being adopted by cities around the world to reduce the “number of injuries and deaths caused by reckless, careless drivers.

    Were motorists more careful (just this last Friday a mother and child were hit by a driver in an SUV running a red light) and were not the leading cause of death for children under 5 for four decades then Cities like SF, New York, San Mateo, Seattle, Portland, Boston, San Mateo, etc. wouldn’t need to adopt a Vision Zero policy.

    The most cursory of Google searches turned up this site stating that the three states which have decided to take safety seriously have seen a significant improvement.

    The three U.S. states that have adopted the model – Minnesota, Utah, and Washington – all have experienced a 40 percent or more reduction in traffic fatalities.



    They got priced out in part by taking thousands of dollars and lighting a match to it by buying a car.

    Oh – but the car enables them to get a better job? You say these are “lower-middle class folks” – if so then that car has not enabled them to get a job worth the thousands they spend on car related expenses, they would be better off with a job that pays 15% less but does not require that they spend 30% of their take home pay for transport. Having a car is what keeps them in the underclass.



    Cool story bro


    Upright Biker

    It is not. I have no idea how you could make such a leap of logic.

    Bicycling can and should be safer, but as an activity, it is not dangerous. Bicycling in unsafe conditions is more dangerous than bicycling on dedicated/protected lanes, and that’s why we need more of them.



    If you’re focused and paying attention, you can actually spot that maniac lurking between the parked cars getting ready to dart out. If you’re daydreaming while eating a bagel, not so much.

    “Did he dart out?”
    “Yes, officer. There was nothing I could do! Hey can I borrow a napkin?”


    Nicholas Littlejohn

    These electric buses actually save communities tens of thousands of dollars apiece in diesel and related noise, health issues. Stanford will soon have 23 electric buses.



    It may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t drive a car and I voted no on L. I draw the line at penalizing drivers for actions over which they have no control. Such talk only serves as red meat for hardcore activists.



    Show me where I said there should be 100% driver impunity. You can’t because I didn’t . In fact, I began by sayimg punishments for negligent drivers should be increased.


    Anthony R

    What if in your fantasy scenario of 100% driver impunity said driver was speeding or impaired by drugs or alcohol, still no penalty?


    Andy Chow

    For more than a decade I have involved professionally and non-professionally in advocacy and encouraging use of alternative transportation. But I also not pretending that the automobile culture has been thriving because it has been a very profitable one: for automakers, oil companies, governments that invested in building more parking and roads, and businesses providing free parking for employees and customers.

    The user fee may not be paying for all the costs (let’s face it, there’s no user fee at all for ped and cyclists), but governments and businesses believe that increased businesses and tax revenue help cover the extra cost for providing it. It is kind of like free shuttles offered by Indian casinos to bring customers from urban areas. The casinos lose money on fares, but make up by extra revenue from gamblers.

    While there are externalities, but there’s no political consensus on their recognition, whether it is global warming, environmental impacts of fracking, road injuries, oil wars, etc. Values are also subjective. You may think that road safety is important, but others believe in mobility and access to jobs and education.

    In the United States, we generally don’t like to nickel and dime people, so certainly policies that encourage people to make economically rational choices (like paid parking) very difficult to implement. In one sense, while environmentalism itself a liberal value, measures like congestion pricing go against other liberal values of keeping the cost as low as possible and not making profits from public goods.

    I think there are many reasons to support transit, cycling, and ped improvements, even for those who drive. But I don’t agree with the assertion that cyclists are subsidizing drivers because the cost of streets and roads are not completely user funded.



    Slowing down doesn’t happen because people cry out to “slow down” or because campaigns are run to lobby drivers to slow down. Drivers slow down when they are severely punished for not slowing down (even when they don’t actually hit somebody) and the roads are designed so it’s really difficult to speed. This idea that we can keep saying “slow down” and it will make a difference needs to end. This is just a cop out to avoid the systemic problem we have where we have designed our streets so that motorists can move quickly at the expense of everyone else, that pedestrians and bicyclists are overexposed to thousand-pound vehicles with hundreds of horsepower and distracted drivers, and that there is weak punishment, if any, of motorists when they act recklessly.

    Finally, it’s not just about speed but about distracted driving and intentionally reckless/aggressive/selfish driving. All these things need to be addressed in a systemic way; we don’t need more people opining for drivers to slow down. That has never changed anything and never will and deflects attention from the underlying root cause of anachronistic, car-centric urban design. We need city planners and SFPD to actually do something.


    Andy Chow

    Cities get some road monies from the state’s fuel taxes along with other funding source. Auto dealers may be a large sales tax generator but not every cities appreciate having these kinds of businesses.

    For some fun reading, take a look at this from Caltrans on transportation funding:



    You neither represent nor speak for ‘all but the most rabid activists.’ Your anti-bike extremism and Internet trolling places you squarely outside the San Francisco mainstream, as shown
    at the polls in November.



    While the punishment for negligent drivers should be increased, I find it unconscionable that you could suggest penalizing drivers with the loss of their license because they killed a pedestrian who darted out between two parked cars on a dark street or a bicyclist who blew through a late red. It shows the inherant unreasonableness of your position and your deep antipathy toward automobiles. It only serves to discredit you among all but the most rabid activists.



    Congrats to San Mateo! Let’s hope they can see this through relatively quickly!


    Karen Lynn Allen

    People run red lights on Geary with astonishing frequency. I can think of no other street in San Francisco where I’ve witnessed more red light running than the stretch of Geary from Arguello to 34th Ave or so. (And I don’t even live in the Richmond.) I am cautious crossing Geary even when driving a car, and triply so when riding a bike.

    Street design is a factor, enforcement is a factor, but the lack of consequences to drivers involved in crashes is also a factor. If every driver involved in a crash that resulted in fatality were to automatically lose their license for six months *no matter who was at fault* (double that for a professional driver) then people would drive with a great deal more caution around those not encased in three thousand pounds of steel. Yes, pedestrians and bicyclists do crazy things at times, but they generally have a high incentive not to get themselves killed. Drivers, however, have little incentive beyond basic morality not to kill.

    On a recent trip to Stockholm, I was amazed at how careful and considerate drivers were of pedestrians and bicyclists. The second they saw you, they slowed down and gently rolled to a stop, and then waited patiently while you crossed. (As opposed to San Francisco where drivers accelerate to stop signs and red lights, slam on the brakes the last ten feet, if they stop at all, and then roar past the second you are no longer in front of their car or make turns nosing through streams of crossing pedestrians.) Drivers in Stockhom never ran red lights, they never even made a turn faster than 8 mph. We walked four to five miles a day there, and not once did I ever feel threatened by a car. Not once. When I walk or bike in San Francisco I feel threatened by a car at least once every twenty minutes.

    Stockholm had some separated bicycle infrastructure in places (more than San Francisco) but not everywhere. They also had more than a mile of lovely pedestrian-only streets which were filled with a huge number of pedestrians. But the basic design of their main arterials was not that much different from San Francisco, and there were tons of people out and about walking at all hours which presumably gives lots of opportunity for car/pedestrian collisions. And yet the crash fatality rate in Stockholm is one-seventh of San Francisco’s. I am pretty convinced that it is their driver behavior that is the true difference. Not to mention the courteous drivers made Stockholm a stress-free pedestrian paradise even in the depths of cold, dark December. It’s amazing how relaxing and pleasant not having to constantly fear for your life is. The sun setting at 3pm and having to pay $15 for the cheapest glass of a wine in a restaurant were a little daunting, but the walking was a fabulous.



    Sometimes I like to try my hand at comedy ;)

    Though, hey, there *is* a GGT>Muni Clipper transfer discount!






    As for SMART Clipper plans, I wonder if there will be discounts for switching to/from GGT lines (whether ferry or bus).


    Dark Soul

    75% Away from being an excellence on performance….One example, one time there was 5 – 29 Sunset`s in the same direction, while opposite direction have a huge wait time.



    Just because flying is comparatively safe doesn’t mean we ignore known measures to make it even safer.



    I thought he said that about Valencia St back in the late 90s.



    You’re saying that a cyclist having to pass cars (double-parked, picking up a fare, exchanging insurance information) isn’t dangerous except when it is in a soft hit protected bike lane? Or I suppose I can read that as the bike lane should be more protected than it currently is…


    SF Guest

    Here’s my train of thought — a segway scooter mishap resulted in BART banning segways; if there’s a bike mishap does it mean bikes should be banned from BART? Of course not.

    It’s tragic a pedestrian was killed by a negligent tour bus driver, but does that mean we need to close the street to all vehicular traffic?

    I love walking and see no problem with the proposed traffic light.



    They aren’t closing the block. They are opening it to people who walk rather than those in cars. Do you have something against people who walk?



    I fail to see how “pedestrians would barely have enough time to get through the intersection” if the light cycled yellow then red when they pressed the button and the white walk signal started and then gave an appropriate timer.

    Your concerns seem to focus on how this will inconvenience motorist, not pedestrians. This is *exactly* the point I was trying to make, which is that the light will simply degrade the pedestrian environment and make those pedestrian who cross outside of the light cycle into law breakers.

    As it stands currently, it’s the law that motorists are required to yield to pedestrian while they are in the crosswalk here. They can’t seem to do that and a person was killed at this crossing. Why should we inconvenience the people who currently have the right of way just to satisfy those motorist that break the law?



    The “bike lane” portion of this is essentially unusable. While they have directions for bikes to go down where the bike lane is, it’s almost always blocked by construction vehicles/workers/debris. It’s easier just to take the center lane of traffic. I took take this route daily. I don’t see this as a problem they will address until they finish.


    Jeffrey Baker

    Awesome! The two are equidistant from my home but 19th has more trains, so I think I’ll switch to it.



    “causes accidents” is usually code for “causes me some minor inconvenience”



    What percentage of sales tax is derived from car sales in San Francisco? I can see how it might matter a little more for places with auto malls like fremont or wherever Putnam auto dealer is, but it’s less than a drop in the bucket for SF.



    The Oakland 19th Street BART Bike Station is open for business as of today: It’s a very cool facility, on par with the Downtown Berkeley Bike Station but with even more merchandise and apparel.

    The official grand opening of the Oakland facility will be this Wednesday at 10:30am, Broadway and 19th Street.


    SF Guest

    If “bicycling is not dangerous” it’s equivalent to saying cyclists don’t need dedicated or protected bike lanes to make it a safer ride.


    Karen Lynn Allen

    I am looking forward to this. Perhaps only 1 trip in 10 right now am I able to go and return on Oak/Fell between Scott and Baker without at least one parked car/truck in the bike lane in one of these six blocks, forcing me to merge into speeding traffic. I expect we’ll still have cars queuing at the Gas Station From Hell on Fell/Divisadero blocking the bike lane (even though they have their own lane to queue in.)

    Next step: make the southbound portion of Scott from Oak to Page bikes only (no vehicles) and replace the huge slick manhole cover right where the turn from Oak to Scott is with some surface that is a little less dangerous.

    I will point out that although this is significant progress, it still falls far short of 8 to 80 infrastructure (especially because of the mixing zones at Divisadero), and the vast majority of my contemporaries (women over 50) would still refuse to ride it.


    Jym Dyer

    What an odd attempt at a retort. I didn’t take the earlier message as an “attack,” though ad hominem surmise about my view of the world and accusations of hypersensitivity do qualify.

    As for accusations of myopia, my point is simply to take a closer look, which is the exact opposite. Quibbling about “some” benefit doesn’t alter the big picture.



    I own 1 car. I own 2 houses.



    I don’t think a bike lane going downhill on such a steep slope on Ocean and Geneva would be a good idea. The sidewalk juts out at the Ocean railyard entrance too, so bicyclists might hit it if they are going too fast. Better to just let them merge with traffic in this case.



    Ugh! Try understanding traffic lights first before spouting out lies. If the light changed every time a pedestrian pushed the button, no one would ever move because every green light would barely have enough time for either driver or pedestrian to get through the intersection. Drivers would then start running the red light more often knowing this.

    Please stop the lies.


    Ziggy Tomcich

    Thanks for the clarification!



    Yet the new design brings more road users into conflict and causes accidents like this one all the time.

    Perhaps I’m just being an armchair skeptic, but you are likely flat-out exaggerating this claim. Really, do you have any proof whatsoever that Market St.’s road diet has caused more conflict than ever and there are more accidents? Really???



    Nothing is moving. :-) The bikeway will continue to be on the south/left side of Fell St and the south/right side of Oak St.

    I think what you’re noticing are the rain gardens and sidewalk extensions which are being installed on the north side of Fell St.



    This is impressive. Are one side of both Fell and Oak already without street parking? What will be the total extent of partitioned bike lanes when this construction is complete?



    There will always be some people who want/need a car for various needs. However, the point is that the more and better alternatives offered, the more people don’t *need* a car for as many trips or for any at all. This is especially important to people of lower socioeconomic strata.

    It’s interesting to compare Richmond and Vallejo. These fairly close cities both have about the same population (110-120k people) and broadly comparable demographics. Though Vallejo has long had a slightly higher median income than Richmond, it was hit even worse than Richmond was by the foreclosure crisis (and *that’s* saying something).

    Check this out:

    Simply put, Richmond has comparatively better non-car options (notice how 15% of all commutes there are by public transit as opposed to Vallejo’s 5%).

    It’s well documented that low-income areas with better non-car options help shield that many more people from financial disaster.


    Ziggy Tomcich

    I’m confused. Why are they moving the bike lane to the right side of a one-way street? Now will bike riders coming from the Wiggle to GG park have to cross Fell Street 3 times? Protected bike lanes on one-way streets belong on the left hand side of the street, because it’s a lot harder for drivers to left-hook a cyclist from left-side bike lane than it is for a driver right rook a cyclist from a right side bike lane. NYC has already proven this and that’s why they already use left side protected bike lanes on their one-way streets. I really hope this new design isn’t that boneheaded!


    Dark Soul

    Remove residual parking spot just for bike lanes.


    Dave Moore

    You seem to view the world through very myopic lenses, looking for attacks where are none. My claim is simply that money spent on non cyclist related expenses has some benefit to cyclists, albeit less than for motorists. I never said anything to indicate that I thought the spending on other things (like cycling improvements) was disproportionate. But you assumed it, with typical hypersensitivity.


    Jym Dyer

    It’s not clear how a program from Sweden that stresses data-driven iterative enhancement and has been adopted in multiple cities is “San Francisco rhetoric.”

    If you need a crash course in what the word rhetoric means, using examples actually from San Francisco, you should review the campaign literature for last November’s massive failure known as Prop L, and try to find any shred of actual substance in it. The part that’s not substance (including an endorsement by an Internet blog commenter’s anonymous handle) is what’s known as rhetoric.


    Jym Dyer

    More phrasing that says nothing of any substance: “not 100% equitable” and ” pretty much all.” The point is to discuss the equitability (which Matier has portrayed so dishonestly) and improve it. Quibbling over the damage inflicted on behalf of the 30% of carfree households as if it’s in the same league as the much greater damage inflicted on behalf of the other 70% is sidestepping the bottom line.


    Dave Moore

    It’s not bunk. It was specifically mentioned in response to the statement “The 30% of San Francisco households with no automobiles pay for the infrastructure that only car drivers use. ” to indicate that this 30% derives benefit from the roads (as do the 70% of households that have cars). That 30% might get less benefit than the 70% but it’s not $0.

    But I think the arguments that the roads are mostly paid for by large scale taxes (as opposed to user fees) is valid. We all pay for them, and some of the money goes to cyclist specific uses but most of the money goes to things that benefit all road users (street lights, road maintenance, etc…) It’s not going to be 100% equitable but that’s true for pretty much all government funded things.



    Yup. And judging by lunch’s portion of the culpability in the whole 1:7 Heart Disease thing, it’s really dangerous.

    We as humans are inured to the dangers of everyday mundane activities if we ourselves regularly participate in them, but tend to irrationally overreact on the basis of perceived dangers for activities we’re less familiar with, even if the data show they’re far less dangerous than the activities we ourselves regularly partake in.

    This is nowhere more evident than in the beliefs of the pro-mandatory-helmet-law crowd, which are creeds not based on facts or data but emotional and cultural beliefs (especially strong in the Anglosphere for some reason, but hardly anywhere else).