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  1.  

    timsmith

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

  2.  

    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.

  3.  

    Greg

    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?

  4.  

    Gezellig

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

    Yes.

    http://www.sf-planning.org/index.aspx?page=1713

  5.  

    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.

  6.  

    Greg

    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.

  7.  

    Gezellig

    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:

    http://s3-media4.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/r1DrMMMHRr9R7bppRpfU4w/ls.jpg

    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.

  8.  

    murphstahoe

    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.

  9.  

    murphstahoe

    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.

  10.  

    J

    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.

  11.  

    murphstahoe

    giving 5 seconds thought – Doyle Drive.

  12.  

    Gezellig

    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:

    http://img.sfbay.ca/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/bike2-750×563.jpg

    Instead of this:

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/polk.jpg

    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.

  13.  

    Gezellig

    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.

  14.  

    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)?

  15.  

    peternatural

    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

  16.  

    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.

  17.  

    Jym Dyer

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

  18.  

    Gezellig

    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:

    http://www.nsc.org/news_resources/injury_and_death_statistics/Documents/2014-Injury-Facts-43.pdf

    –> 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:

    http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/intersection-after.png

    Instead of this:

    http://bikeportland.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/intersection-before.png

    Or more of our streets looked like this:

    http://img.sfbay.ca/home/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/bike2-750×563.jpg

    Instead of this:

    http://sf.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/polk.jpg

  19.  

    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.

  20.  

    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.

  21.  

    p_chazz

    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.

  22.  

    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.

  23.  

    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.

  24.  

    timsmith

    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.

  25.  

    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.

  26.  

    murphstahoe

    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?

  27.  

    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.

  28.  

    gneiss

    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.

  29.  

    gneiss

    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.

  30.  

    GetHubNub

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

  31.  

    GetHubNub

    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.

  32.  

    Justin

    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.

  33.  

    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.

  34.  

    coolbabybookworm

    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.

  35.  

    manhattanize_sf

    “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.

  36.  

    EastBayer

    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…

  37.  

    roymeo

    Honking in anger is, which is was the type of honking that Sanfordia was catashrophising: “non-stop car horns honking as they get backed up”.

    You’re certainly allowed to use the horn to say “hey, I’m here (if you have adequate hearing and aren’t blocking it with something)” but not to say “You, taint-face, are in my way.”

  38.  

    Greg

    “I hope some day we look back and think how crazy it was that only cars were able to go down the crooked street.”

    Lombard is closed to peds?

  39.  

    roymeo

    Really?

  40.  

    murphstahoe

    No kidding. What will they think of next – a Hartford to Market train line cutting through Jane Warner plaza?

  41.  

    murphstahoe

    “People driving cars on sidewalks is not a common occurrence by any account. You know this. Cyclists blocking traffic, ignoring traffic lights and stop signs, and
    generally any other law that they feel like doesn’t apply to them (make up your minds, do you belong on the sideWALK or the street?), however, are all common occurrences.”

    With this plague of cyclists riding on the sidewalk, and a vanishingly small number of people driving their cars onto the sidewalk, one would expect that we would be reading daily accounts of sidewalk diners being sent to the hospital by cyclists. But that doesn’t happen. Because a bike is a substantially less dangerous object than a car.

    There are more FATAL car accidents not because there are more cars. It is because it is trivial to cause a fatal accident with a car, and quite difficult to do so with a bike.

  42.  

    TempestGuy

    As expected now that schools have started back up, the northbound San Jose Ave. off-ramp now backs up significantly more than it used to…often all the way back to the small underpass that comes in just before Bosworth. I’ve been commuting this way for over 15 years, and I have never seen it like this before…fortunately, I turn onto Bosworth so the brunt of this mess I can avoid, but I do feel sorry for those folks stuck in this traffic who have to go all the way up San Jose Ave. now :(

    So be eliminating one lane of traffic in favor of a bike lane that hardly gets used, the City and bike lobby has 1) Added significantly to the traffic congestion at this location, 2) Added significantly to the “stuck in traffic/idling times” of vehicles thus contributing to increased emissions adding even more harm to the environment, and 3) Add significantly to people’s commute times, and 4) Pissed off/increased the possibility of “road rage” incidents.

    I’m with “Equalize” on this one…I have no problem with trying to make the City safer for bicyclists, but the need must be balanced with the needs of commuters who simply cannot use the bicycle or public transportation routes. Creating worse congestion for 1000s of commuters to accommodate probably <100 bicyclists at a location such as this one is NOT an appropriate cost/benefit ratio.

    I know it's probably futile to wonder, but how does one go about trying to "persuade" the City to try a different strategy here?

  43.  

    Jamison Wieser

    It doesn’t seem like it’s that much of a problem right now. The existing bike route I’d marked in green has an eastbound bike lane splitting off Market at Castro and running through the channel between the sidewalk and the row of planters that mark out the edge of the streetcar stop.

    Few pedestrians mill about in this area so it’s generally clear and the only point of congestion I notice is at the awkward gap between in the sidewalk between the new planters and the old sidewalk and that seems to be entirely from pedestrians fanned out waiting for a walk signal without realizing (since it’s not marked) that bikes might be riding through there.

  44.  

    p_chazz

    A Hartford to Market bike lane would cut right through Jane Warner Plaza and conflict with the heavy pedestrian traffic at this location. Not a good idea.

  45.  

    Alicia

    False dichotomy. How about we try to do both?

  46.  

    Coco

    I guess we’ve found the unreasonable cyclist who holds up traffic, disobeys traffic laws, and feels superior to not only motorists but also pedestrians. I’m not unfamiliar with the discussion at all. Sorry you don’t like what I have to say, but that doesn’t take away from its validity. It’s never been debunked, just argued about by delusional cyclists with inferiority complexes. So I’m only allowed to ask questions around here? I’m not allowed to state points and make arguments (just like you are doing)? Who made you the moderator here? Oh, I get it. It’s easier just to dismiss my comments than admit that there’s a cyclist problem in the city. I’m sure I’ll see ya at Critical Mass, wreaking havoc on the streets, bud. Keep up the “good” fight.

  47.  

    Coco

    People driving cars on sidewalks is not a common occurrence by any account. You know this. Cyclists blocking traffic, ignoring traffic lights and stop signs, and generally any other law that they feel like doesn’t apply to them (make up your minds, do you belong on the sideWALK or the street?), however, are all common occurrences.

    But I guess it’s easier to just ignore all that and criticize my use of referring to “people driving cars” as simply “cars.” I guess I shouldn’t have assumed I was having a conversation with someone intelligent enough to understand that.

    I don’t think the two things you’re discussing are even comparable. There are more car accidents because there are more cars. Cyclists refusing to follow laws causes plenty of problems. Just because car accidents happen does not detract from that fact. Follow the laws for driving on a street (including the one that says if you’re holding up traffic and have a line of cars stuck behind you, get out of their f-ing way, the one that says you have to stop at stop signs, the one where you can’t squeeze into a lane with another vehicle, and the one where you actually have to stop at traffic lights instead of blowing through them) and we’re good.

  48.  

    Coco

    There are plenty of routes with dedicated bike paths you can take instead.

  49.  

    Ralph

    Nice that the business people are concerned about safety but want to keep the parking which keeps the road dangerous for cyclists. Study after study has shown that removing parking and adding cycling adds to business and cuts down on cars speeding past the businesses on the road.

  50.  

    Terry

    Even the mayor should obey the law. Don’t tell me it is the driver’s fault. He works for Mayor Lee. Do you think he does anything that he is not told to do? Come on. This is just another example of the old saying “do as I say, not as I do.” Mayor Lee is not entitled to any special considerations. But he obviously thinks he is. The Mayor does not want to deal with the traffic problems he creates with his backward policies. But he doesn’t have to — he is the Mayor and obviously above the law.