Skip to content

Recent Comments

  1.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    The press has it wrong on the Super Bowl street closures. Not only did they fail to snarl traffic, they dramatically improved traffic all over SoMA. These streets should be closed to cars at all times.

  2.  

    gb52

    SFMTA/DPW are willing and able to design smaller projects, but I feel the largest impediments is the fear of change from neighborhood groups and especially merchants. I hear the parking parking parking chorus everywhere, without any understanding of where people are coming from. From neighbors i’m dismayed how much they are looking for car storage in these areas. When they return they want to take up commercial space for their personal car storage.

    There used to be a time when people used their private garages for storing cars. But I understand that as rental rates have gone through the roof that we have more people living at these properties… But not every person NEEDS a car. If there’s no parking, learn to share.

    Anyway, back to the core of things… because these groups oppose change, they bully SFMTA and threaten lawsuits and all those regressive tactics that harm the process, water down projects, and overall waste taxpayer money rather than use it for productive discussions. However if SFMTA makes too bold a move, the whole house of cards may come tumbling down. SO it takes some finesse to get things done, but I think they can hold a harder stance representing those who have been pushed into the shadows for far too long.

  3.  

    RichLL

    The mileage tax credit works because only a relatively small percentage of drivers claim it. And because it is claimed by the tax payer via a self-assessment of the miles driven, and only a small percentage of those are audited.

    The idea here would impose a tax on all drivers and presumably self-assessments of mileage would be under-stated, just like they are over-stated when claiming a credit.

    You have solved the implementation problem – self-assessment and trust. You haven’t solved the enforcement problem. You’d need an army of mileage auditors and a methodology for who to choose for audits.

  4.  

    Roger R.

    Fixed. Thanks.

  5.  

    Greg

    “You’re a self-important angry prick!”

    “Well you’re a self absorbed loser!”

    Great discussion here.

  6.  

    shanand

    I agree with your observation about SFMTA being set up for large scale, expensive projects. I think the city would be so much better served by empowering field leadership to try stuff on trial basis. We started this with parklets, and seemingly stopped this with parklets.

    Liveable streets needs cultural change to try and make the facts on the ground better and safer, and quickly and cheaply.

  7.  

    mx

    “Solution Found for Munis Locked Bus Seats?”

    I’m convinced that the exposed metal brackets on the floor from the locked seats are more dangerous than the collision risk the seats were locked to prevent.

  8.  

    PaleoBruce

    > I’ve never understood how a “mileage tax” could be implemented and enforced.

    This is a little funny. Because we presently have an [income tax credit for several types of driving](http://www.efile.com/tax-deduction/mileage-rates/), that is measured by the mile, which seems to be enforced with no sweat.

  9.  

    murphstahoe

    “An audience member brought up that she doesn’t like angled parking, because it’s hard to see oncoming cyclists”

    That’s why the angled parking is supposed to be back-in angled parking, but she probably doesn’t like that because socialism

  10.  

    gneiss

    If there’s any cow more sacred than free on-street parking spaces in this city, I haven’t seen it yet. The city is deathly afraid of being sued over EIR deficiencies by community groups, and it probably ranks up there as the second biggest “quality of life” concern that oldster residents write letters and file complaints to their city politicians.

    During the last on-street parking space removal project on Oak and Fell, the city was quite successful in placating the north of panhandle neighborhoods by adding additional angled parking and helping them create additional RPP zones to make up for losses on those two streets. They are simply following from that playbook preemptively, knowing that this will forestall a last minute community group lawsuit.

  11.  

    SFnative74

    If ever there was a good time to raise the gas tax, it is now, with the super low gas prices and growing strain on our infrastructure needing funding. The state gas tax for CA is already among the highest in the nation, but the federal gas tax hasn’t been raised since 1993 and has lost 64% of its value due to inflation.

  12.  

    david vartanoff

    No TIDF??? Either a 50 year requirement to pay themonthly transit costs for every employee, or sell the site. We don’t need your development if you can’t play by the rules. Oh, and forget the parking spaces.

  13.  

    Ziggy Tomcich

    I get. So the logical alternative when the city has constantly refused to install protected bike lanes because of car-first interests would be to put 20mph speed limits downhill and 5mph speed limits uphill on all those streets with sharrows, and enforce that with speed cameras on every block? That would probably keep drivers from yelling at cyclists!

  14.  

    DragonflyBeach

    Apologies, my positioning was off. I forgot its proximity to Market Street.

  15.  

    Austin Bennett

    Isn’t this the part where they tip their hat?

  16.  

    Austin Bennett

    OH BURN

  17.  

    Austin Bennett

    If you read my comments below, you’d know that my statement wasn’t really about females, but by bicyclists in general.

    You’re in a car. You can press the gas pedal and ZOOOM you’re gone. The threat is behind you, literally. There’s no point in spraying the bicyclist with pepper spray because they are not a threat.

    Even if the bicyclist had a gun, the worst they can do is shoot out a window.

    You’re giving bicyclist more power than they deserve.

  18.  

    Judas

    I feel threatened by anyone who bangs on my windows and screams at me. Do you think females cant be violent? Do you think females dont pose a threat to you?

  19.  

    Timothy53

    The question for you to answer was: “How is knocking on a window an attack?” You answer was a question which is not an answer and it suggested that the question was something that it was not in the first place. billdav did not ask “Why was the cyclist attacked for a friendly knock.” Your return query suggests that he did.

    So I ask again: “How is knocking on a window an attack?”

  20.  

    Timothy53

    And what precipitated that reaction? Surely it had something to do with aggressive driving by someone who was certain they could getr away with it.

  21.  

    Timothy53

    How, from that article can you possibly THINK happened due to anger hostility and loud words. None of that bullshit is in evidence. You can believe it. You can fell it. But you cannot possibly THINK it. Add to that you are an unthinking troll,, well, that closes the loop.

  22.  

    RichLL

    I guess the question is this. Do drivers yell more at fit fast cyclists who keep up with traffic flow? Or yell more at older nervous drivers who do not?

  23.  

    RichLL

    Too long to review in detail but the conclusions drawn in section 8.0 reinforce the notion that there are several practical, privacy and financial issues with such a proposal.

  24.  

    murphstahoe

    The simpler solution would perhaps be to just change the stop signs to yield for everyone…

  25.  

    RinSF

    It doesn’t matter what the facts are, it FEELS like it’s an exorbitant tax which must pay for all the roads, probably with some waste leftover to pay for soccer leagues for vegan unwed Latino mothers.

  26.  

    p_chazz

    That’s racist!

  27.  

    wave9x

    Closing Hayward Park is not an option anymore, there are massive housing and office projects being built nearby right now.

  28.  

    wave9x

    In case you haven’t noticed, there is a crapload of housing and office development going on at the Hayward Park station

  29.  

    SF_Abe

    “The highest benefit to society is not movement, but human interaction.”

    Yes! This!
    I’m glad the LOS metric is being phased out (supposedly) but there are still countless laws that enshrine swift vehicle movement as the ultimate goal of any street and road network. The result appears to be long trips at high speeds, compared to short trips at human speeds, and not much difference in the time it takes to commute or run errands.

  30.  

    Volker Neumann

    I absolutely want to get a group of bike commuters to just hang out in the right most “main” lane of Howard or Folsom in SOMA during the commute hours. But only as long as some car is parked in the bike lane on the same block. When the cops show up (as they will) tell them to go make the the car move first since the driver had been there longer. ‘twould make a great video the way it plays out in my head.

  31.  

    jd_x

    It’s not an either-or: we can (and should) have both a mileage tax (because no matter how efficient your car is, how much you drive causes the same damage to the roads and the same damage to health via collisions) and a gas tax (because how efficient your car is has an effect on air pollution.

  32.  

    Chris J.

    Does this also explain why car drivers consistently “drive” at 0 mph (aka park) in the middle of bike lanes?

  33.  

    Chris J.

    Not only that, they also feel entitled to park in and completely block the bike lane for minutes at a time!

    Can you imagine what would happen with the reverse, say a bicyclist stopped in the middle of a car lane while texting / using their phone, etc? Drivers would be outraged and wouldn’t stand it for a second.

  34.  

    Christopher Childs

    If all of the Caltrain accidents are any indication, people aren’t happy with the gates either.

  35.  

    murphstahoe

  36.  

    murphstahoe

    I was simply explained why you guys are being yelled at. It’s not because you are a bike but because you are going too slow for the prevailing flow of traffic.

    Not any more proper a response than the cyclist on Panoramic who flipped off the driver.

  37.  

    thielges

    Rich – it is more than just slowing down drivers. If that were the case then drivers would be yelling at other impediments that slow them down like stoplights, traffic jams, and train crossing gates.

  38.  

    Gezellig

    Also, as a reminder the SF Streetsblog happy hour is on Monday!

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2016/01/15/meet-roger-rudick-at-the-first-streetsblog-sf-happy-hour-of-2016-on-jan-25/

    It’s not on the calendar so figured I’d give it a shoutout here.

  39.  

    RichLL

    Alicia, I gave the freeway rule as just one of several examples of how the law supports the notion that a road user can go too slow, as well as too fast.

    Ziggy and thiegles, I understand all that. I was simply explained why you guys are being yelled at. It’s not because you are a bike but because you are going too slow for the prevailing flow of traffic.

    I’d agree the solution is separation of different classes of road user, where possible. We already do that with pedestrians because we do not want all traffic going at 4 mph

  40.  

    RichLL

    I’ve never understood how a “mileage tax” could be implemented and enforced. Would you have to declare the odometer readings with your 1040? Would a “Mileage Inspector” perform a yearly check as part of smog? And how would you stop people tampering with the odometer, which still happens despite allegedly tamper-proof odometers?

  41.  

    Gezellig

    Btw a bit more on the width question:

    The standard width for one way cycle paths in the Netherlands is a minimum of 2.5 m ( 8′). Wider ones are not uncommon. For bidirectional use the minimum is 3.5 m (11 ‘), but most modern cycle paths are 4 m (13 ‘) or more.

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

    You will occasionally find some older bikeways in the NL at 2m (6.5′) width but this is considered subpar/archaic and would not be built today. Older designs in the NL have been steadily replaced and upgraded wherever possible to favor greater width and greater separation from motor vehicles.

    Also note that 2.5m (over 8′) is the *bare minimum*.

  42.  

    murphstahoe

    “I would favor eliminating the gas tax in exchange for a vehicle mileage tax, the rate set by what was actually spent, per mile,”

    This removes the incentive for more fuel efficient cars. And the simplest way to make a car more fuel efficient is to make it lighter – and lighter cars cause less road damage. I understand you compensate for this with the carbon fee, but the whole mess seems more convoluted to get through our political system than simply raising the gas tax.

  43.  

    Karen Lynn Allen

    Americans are bombarded with advertising persuading them that cars make them powerful, safe, desirable and even virile. (Most car ads are directed at men.) 10% of all advertising dollars spent are to sell us motor vehicles. We then borrow enormous amounts of money to purchase a vehicle that depreciates the second we drive it off the lot. The unwritten social contract is that the price of the car includes the right to park it pretty much everywhere for free and drive it in a quick, pleasurable, carefree fashion. Because bicyclists and pedestrians obstruct this unwritten privilege, they violate the contract, an act the driver experiences as both illegitimate and unjust. The congestion that other vehicles cause violates it, too, but that can’t be helped because those drivers paid the same price of admission and so deserve to be on the roads just as much. So pedestrians and bicyclists get all the anger and frustration created by congestion vented at them, or almost all of it.

    While bicyclists and pedestrians annoy drivers, drivers endanger and kill pedestrians and bicyclists. (Basic physics means bicyclists don’t come close to endangering pedestrians the way car drivers do. See “The Best Tool for the Job–SUV, Bicycle or NFL Linebacker.” http://karenlynnallen.blogspot.com/2015/11/best-tool-for-job-suv-bicycle-or-nfl_27.html )

    I realize from behind a windshield, it appears the primary function of streets is to move cars around as efficiently and conveniently for drivers as possible. This is false. Streets add value to a society by allowing communal passage on public land. But it’s what people do outside their cars, not in them, that is valuable. Trips made by car are not only valueless, they’re negative due to inflicted externalities such as road damage, pollution, and health impacts. Car drivers believe allowing them to pass quickly and efficiently represents less of their time wasted, a benefit to society. But this is also false. The highest benefit to society is not movement, but human interaction. The faster cars move, the less human interaction there is per block. The greater the volume and speed and noise of traffic, the less neighbors know each other, the less children have range of movement, the greater the asthma and cancer rates, the less people get out and walk, the less people visit local businesses, and the more dangerous a neighborhood is. The more people walk in a neighborhood, the safer, healthier and economically resilient it becomes. Drivers have no inherent right to destroy neighborhoods to get more quickly to their own. The time a driver saves adds little value to the common good, especially if it discourages others from walking or biking. In fact, slower private vehicle speeds would probably encourage a driver to drive less and to walk and shop and visit service providers more in his/her neighborhood, benefiting society.

    After a clean water supply and a functional sewage system, access to safe walking is the number one public health measure a city can take. Next would be designing streets to encourage walking and biking and actively discourage driving for trips under two miles. Walking or biking 30 minutes a day significantly reduces occurrence (by 40 – 60%) of heart disease, a
    half-dozen forms of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, depression,
    osteoporosis, stroke, and high blood pressure. It boosts the immune system, helps the average person fall and stay asleep, and combats arthritis and lower back pain. It’s the best wonder drug there is, and it’s free to all, if only we didn’t design our streets to make walking and biking stressful and dangerous under the premise that car drivers have a greater right to our streets than anyone else.

    Remember, as a taxpayer, every pedestrian and bicyclist you see saves you money. Every car and even every transit rider you see costs you money.

    This should be the order of precedence on our streets:
    1) Sidewalks wide enough to accommodate all pedestrian traffic comfortably.
    2) For any street with a speed limit over 20 mph, protected bike lanes wide enough for two bikes to ride simultaneously. If your grandmother wouldn’t ride in it, it’s not protected enough.
    3) If there’s room after 1 & 2 are met, one lane of vehicle traffic.
    4) If there’s more room, another lane of vehicle traffic.
    5) If there’s room after 1-4 and it’s a major transit route, one or two transit-only lanes.
    6) Before any kind of parking is considered, all intersections should be daylighted with no parking possible within 15 feet.
    7) If there’s room after 1 – 6 are met, enough commercial loading zones and passenger pick up/drop off zones so that no delivery truck or taxi *ever* needs to double park.
    8) If there’s still room after 1 – 7, in commercial districts metered parking until 9pm for up to 4 hours.
    9) If there’s even more room, private car storage via Residential Permit Parking 9am to 11pm, priced to reflect actual market rate. (Allow non-residents to easily purchase a day pass for $10-$20, depending on neighborhood parking demand.) Spend all money from residential permits and day passes on local neighborhood amenities. (Neighborhood parks, community gardens, public plazas, etc.)

    I would favor eliminating the gas tax in exchange for a vehicle mileage tax, the rate set by what was actually spent, per mile, the previous year on all federal, state and county roads, and 80% of what was spent on local roads. Local municipalities could cover the other 20% from local taxes. (There should also be a carbon fee on all fossil fuel combustion, but that shouldn’t go towards roads–rather rail, transit, energy efficiency, etc.) I would favor eliminating the vehicle license fee in exchange for cities and towns being allowed to set all curbside parking prices at market rate (for RPP zones, by auctioning off only as many parking permits as there are actual parking spaces) and being allowed to tax surface parking lots at the average rate that improved property is taxed in their jurisdiction. This wouldn’t capture all the pollution, climate change and health impacts that cars inflict, but it would be enough to cut car driving in half.

  44.  

    Ziggy Tomcich

    The problem is that there is never any place to safely ride a bike while “keeping to the right” because riding in the door zone of parked cars is incredibly dangerous! Zigzagging a bicycle between the driving lane and loading zones where there aren’t parked cars is also very dangerous. When there’s not room for a car to safely pass a bicycle in the same lane, then biking on the right side of the lane only encourages drivers to try to dangerously pass the bicycle. We need more bike lanes, and protection barriers for those bike lanes because bicycles and high speed vehicles riding in the same lane is inherently dangerous.

  45.  

    San Francisco Market Street Ra

    Much can still change regarding the Better Market Street Project streetscape details, but the strong feeling among city staff is that bricks are really expensive to maintain and the plethora of mortar joints pose a bigger trip/liability hazard than other forms of paving.

  46.  

    PaleoBruce

    In addition, many feel that they are entitled to store their automobile for free in a lane of the public road, while simultaneously saying that bicyclists should stay in their bicycle lane (that couldn’t be built because the public road lane is reserved for free storage of their cars).

  47.  

    murphstahoe

    I disagree.

    Look at this video. Cyclists go through these conditions – with buses and cars parked in the bike lane on Townsend every day.

    https://vimeo.com/148396510

    Just prior to this stretch, there is a 3 way intersection of 5th/Townsend. The cops have done numerous enforcement of cyclists rolling that stop sign. Every cyclist who gets stopped points at the double parked buses and says “Can you do something about that” and the cop says “We are doing targeted enforcement based on complaints”. The cyclist then says “Then I would like to complain about that bus parked in the bike lane.”. The cop then says “You need to file that with SFPD”. Hundreds of hours of videos have been sent to SFPD, and about the only thing we’ve never captured on video was police doing any enforcement.

    Note that at the end of the video, just past a line of buses parked in the bike lane – there is a DPT officer playing Candy Crush on his phone.

    What I want is for the cops to focus on dangerous behaviors, not ridiculous targeted enforcement of things they have a bias against for no good reason. If I get a ticket, whatever, but it really rubs me wrong that the behavior on townsend has “a guarantee that they would not get a ticket” in practice.

    Apparently the people complaining about cyclists at 5th and Townsend are the people walking to board their illegally parked buses.

    Maybe the proper framing shouldn’t be “rolling stop signs should be the lowest priority enforcement” but instead “double parking and parking in bike lanes should be a specifically targeted enforcement area”

  48.  

    farazs

    I guess that if those supporters actually understood the nature of the legislation, they would not bother supporting it – at least not as vociferously. Most cyclists want a guarantee that they would not get a ticket for rolling stop signs.

    Ironically, if it did not get too much attention from the cycling community, it might just find wide acceptance. That cyclists as a group are overly interested makes everyone else more suspicious.

    FTR, the world *IS* doomed. People are either dumb or dishonest.

  49.  

    thielges

    Heh, yeah. Willful ignorance: the superpower of religious fundamentalists, conspiracy theorists, and bullies.

  50.  

    thielges

    Rich – I’m aware of the “pull over if you are obstructing traffic” rule. In practice it never happens in during my urban bicycling. (and rarely occurs when bicycling in rural roads). That’s because the streets where I take the lane are either multi-lane in each direction (where the obstructing traffic rule does not apply) or on street segments that are too short to accumulate a tail of traffic behind.

    Still motorists are enraged that a little bicycle is taking the whole lane. And seems just too doggone hard to change lanes to the left to pass safely. Much easier to lay on the horn and shout. Auto-catharsis?