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    Mario Tanev

    An interesting tidbit in the Central Subway article. Every holiday season they reopen Stockton to cars (but not buses). This holiday season they plan to reopen it to pedestrians only. This is great news and I hope they really make it happen. This is precisely the time to experiment with this.

    “So Stockton Street is going to be back open?”
    “Open, but not for traffic. They’re going to make it a ‘winter walkway.’”



    Turn about is fair play.



    If pedestrians are to align with bicyclists then bicyclists need to show a little respect to pedestrians. Don’t ride your bikes hell bent for leather down the middle of the sidewalk, don’t be a jerk taking your bike on BART, don’t blow through stop signs. Until you do, you are just one more wheeled vehicle.


    SF Guest

    Thank you for clarifying this.



    No. I was quoting you and then used that metaphor to point out that buses do NOT contribute to congestion. The number of buses on our streets is trivial compared to private vehicles. And any argument that a street without a bus is less congested than one with a bus neglects to consider that buses are a net negative for congestion because the passengers of the bus are not in private vehicles. Unless you try to make the point that buses generate trips that would otherwise not happen, which is easily refuted in that private vehicles do the exact same thing, many times over.


    SF Guest

    “buses also contribute to congestion”

    Right! That was my point to SF_Abe, but some other readers interpreted my comment as being pro-car and anti-Muni which isn’t the case.

    I didn’t know there are deer on the GG Bridge, but I’ll take your word for it.


    Don't Ever Change Ever

    The driverless car article has this gem: “I could sleep in my driverless car, or have an exercise bike in the back of the car to work out on the way to work.”



    buses also contribute to congestion

    So do deer on the Golden Gate Bridge.

    24th Street in Noe Valley is congested all the time. The buses run at most one every what, 8 minutes?



    I found this interesting:

    Between that and the (mythical) Van Ness BRT construction, sounds like Van Ness will be impacted by construction for years.



    I got your point. I don’t think im being “sensitive” just because your comment was pro-car.

    There are not enough busses on the streets to cause congestion by themselves. It is only when you add private autos (trucks, cars, taxis, etc.) that there is an appreciable amount of congestion.

    Since private autos would be stuck in traffic, even if there were no busses within city limits, I made the assertion that “congestion” is solely due to private autos.



    Where I live, bicycling on the sidewalk is prohibited, period. Allowing bicycling on the sidewalk with a speed limit of 5 mph sounds like a good compromise between the safety of bicyclists (in places where the streets are unsafe) and the comfort of pedestrians (who are alarmed when bikes pass them at high speed).


    SF Guest

    I agree it is not the ideal metric to demote Muni service.

    The only point I attempted to make is when you make the quote “Cars can sit in their own mess– they’re the vehicles causing congestion.” buses also contribute to congestion. Bus-only lanes can arguably be only installed on select streets so the vast majority of streets buses must share the road with autos.

    My comment wasn’t intended to infer buses are a hindrance and more of a nuisance than a benefit. Since I’m now aware of how sensitive the bloggers on this site are sensitive to any pro-car comment made I should have spelled out what I meant. I made this comment for you to see autos are not the only source of congestion.”

    “they’re [cars are] the vehicles causing congestion.”



    17% of Chinatown residents own cars. There are so few cars on Stockton for a variety of reasons. Mostly because it is slow. Perhaps there is more of an inconvenience for a very few drivers, but the population density is 75,055/Sq.Mile (wiki). 100,574 people live here. Every few inches of that (public) street space is important – shoppers are crammed into a narrow sidewalk, almost climbing over each other just to walk down Stockton street. I think for the good of Chinatown a few drivers can be moderately inconvenienced. So few come anyway. Greatest good for (the overwhelming) greatest number. Wide open car access is not suitable for every place. This is an exceptional street in practically the whole country.



    Ummmm, there’s a busy sidewalk on both sides of that tunnel. It, by my estimation, carries way more peds than personal ‘vehicles.’ (I’ve used this tunnel for 20 years daily). There’s a bike path in there and 3 of the busiest bus lines go through it. The attraction to this tunnel is great and is the same* for all users, It beats the alternative going up and over the Stockton hill. Please open your perspective beyond the windshield. “Sole purpose” – c’mon. Please be smarter than this.

    *except motorists don’t need to literally carry themselves over the hill – so some of the other modal users need it more.


    Dark Soul

    When it comes to sidewalk revamp.. Muni is always blaming the drivers.


    Dark Soul

    Sidewalk beautify is more important than Muni 49-Mission/Van Ness



    No, pchazz. I take each closure on a case by case basis. This one caused a lot of problems for non- participants on a workday and seemed excessive — days long and with existing walkway connections between large convention spaces, and also a major 4 or 5 lane street. Just don’t see the reason all these cons do not outweigh the pros in this case.



    No, friend. Born here.


    alberto rossi

    In a more just city, instead of spending all the Open Space Acquisition funds on protecting the views from the Wells Fargo CEO’s penthouse, we’d be buying the Persia Triangle to create a real plaza, not just a bit of painted asphalt on the edges.




    Yet again, cars, i.e. THE PROBLEM, benefit when non-motorized users turn against each other to fight over table scraps.

    Pedestrians should align with bicyclists to work for dedicated cycling facility rather than spending that effort trying to effectively ban bicycles, resulting in even more cars, which doesn’t help pedestrians at all.

    It’s perfectly clear that the future of cities is less car-centric. Anything that attempts to push that reality off, yet again, is backward revisionist thinking and needs to be soundly resisted.

    There is no possible way to accommodate the number of cars that would accrete in a city that encourages their use. The past–what 50 years?–ought to be sufficient evidence of that to just move on, yank the band-aid off and get it over with.


    Gallups Mirror

    That isn’t the stupidest proposal I’ve ever heard, but it’s close.
    Cyclists have every right to use a full lane, but fear of unsafe
    motorists drives some cyclists onto sidewalks where they endanger
    pedestrians (and themselves). So rather than address the unsafe motoring
    that causes the problem, the city goes after the victims who are too
    intimidated to ride in the street where they belong.

    If the city was genuinely concerned about pedestrian and cyclist safety they could lower the city speed limit to 20 miles per hour, and pass ordinances
    protecting cyclists against motorist intimidation. Honk at, yell at, cut
    off, tailgate or unsafely overtake a cyclist who is obeying the law?
    First offense: ticket and $5,000 fine. Second offense: misdemeanor and
    $10,000 fine. Third offense: felony, $20,000 fine and seize the motor
    vehicle. Post signs throughout the city giving public notice. Do that
    and watch how carefully people drive when they’re around cyclists in the

    But of course, that’s not going to happen. It’s inconceivable that cyclist and pedestrian safety should be elevated above motorist convenience and impunity.



    You sound just like ENUF saying we can have metering on Potrero Hill when there is world class bus service on the hill. I’d say no bikes on the sidewalk is appropriate regardless, then we push hard for better streets as well.



    Spoken like a true moderate pragmatist



    What a ridiculous statement. As you well know, people who ride bikes are at just as much risk in a collision involving someone walking as the person walking. Are you also going to ban joggers as well? After all, they are traveling at speeds greater than 5 mph in most cases.

    Lets figure out how to address the behavior that is dangerous – passing people to closely going too quickly rather than saying “bicycles are dangerous”. A more nuanced enforcement could be much more effective in the long run than a simplistic ban on sidewalk riding, particularly in place that lacks adequate infrastructure to support safe bicycling.



    Cool development! I wonder if it’s been looked into to make the short block of Persia between Ocean and Mission a permanent pedestrianized zone?

    The Excelsior Action Group’s Persia Triangle page ( shows example planters used in a pedestrianized street in NYC. The intent is to demonstrate planters, but it also is a great example of what that block of Persia could aspire to in terms of pedestrianization:

    If you’ve ever been to the area you may have noticed there’s a lot of potential for integrating with neighboring minor walkable streets. Ruth, for example, reminds me of a good candidate for Elgin Park-like treatment:



    “Yeah (maybe), but congestion is not the ideal metric. There may have been less (automobile) congestion, but fewer people moving through any given point.”

    Yes. This.



    Bicycles on the sidewalk create a hostile environment for pedestrians and should never br permitted in densely populated areas. However, the ban should be implemented in conjunction with street improvements that make streets safer for bicyclists.



    Just another bicyclist who is rooting for pedestrians to get hit by reckless bicyclists on the sidewalk.



    You do know that percentage wise more car drivers run stop signs than bicycles do. Right?



    Just take out the parking. Or make the street transit and delivery trucks only. There are many municipalities that do the latter, I would like to see San Francisco start to experiment with some of them here.



    I’m a little lost about this. What about the #49 Mission-Van Ness?



    I still think of myself as a moderate pragmatist. It’s just that everyone else tends te extremist idealogues.



    Having attended the second public workshop on 9/17/14, I want to comment on the testimony expressing shock at the angry and disrespectful responses seniors received from bicyclists who were flagged down and asked to walk their bikes. Personally, I’m amazed anyone thought this could possibly improve sidewalk etiquette and produce positive behavioral change and mutual support. How do you think motorists would respond in the Pedestrian Priority Zone (PPZ) if we could flag them down and ask them to drive at bicycle speed regardless of whether bikes were on the street or not? Many motorists already are profane, hostile and aggressive toward experienced bicyclists who are fast and ride streets legally, and it is more than likely that the 60% population of potential cyclists who are “interested but concerned” will choose to use sidewalks after encountering such automobile rage and/or inattention. Please be aware that any sidewalk ban will likely impede the progress San Jose is making in trying to lure these 8 to 80 year olds out of their cars, and will make it less likely San Jose will achieve the bicycling mode share goals that have been targeted.

    After reviewing the Memo from Hans Larsen dated 9/19/14 regarding Downtown Sidewalks Bicycle Riding:
    1. I think we agree that pedestrians, especially seniors, need to feel safer on sidewalks.

    2. I think we agree most experienced cyclists prefer to be on streets, as long as they are REASONABLY safe.

    3. However, the memo ignores that sidewalks offer a SAFER haven not only for children, but for all inexperienced cyclists 8 to 80 years old, until they learn how to negotiate increasingly less safe street environments. Within the PPZ, only the newest buffered bike lanes on San Fernando, 3rd, and 4th offer sufficient reassurance for most new riders. Older bike lanes which have gutter debris, car door openings, and cars within 3 feet are NOT reasonable options, and Sharrows are helpful only for giving experienced cyclists more legitimacy when negotiating traffic.

    4. The memo also fails to observe that San Jose’s PPZ sidewalks are not congested most of the time. Even HOV Lanes recognize that they are needed only during times of highway commuter congestion. Telling cyclists to walk on sidewalks during periods on non-congestion when the space could be safely shared with pedestrians was short-sighted and punitive to the huge majority of responsible bicyclists. The current proposal to ban them from sidewalks is even more egregious. Bicyclists and pedestrians should be problem solving together for the safety of both groups, as the danger from the far more lethal automobile is far greater to both. Why has there been no community task force charged with finding solutions that have us working together rather than in opposition? Similar to signage on many multi-use trails, I think a good starting place of agreement would be that within the PPZ, Pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way, requiring Bicyclists yield to Peds, and requiring Motorists yield to both Peds and Bikes.

    5.Technically, the 6 step pilot project of 6/25/13 to encourage bicycle riding on streets and walking on sidewalks should not yet progress beyond Step 4 given the still inadequate implementation of reasonably safe on-street bikeways.

    6. Thus, the Staff Suggestions for Ordinance go too far, too fast. Given the mis-steps of the past 15 months, please try something more positive and collaborative. To empower police, cyclist, and pedestrian efforts to educate and enforce the law, please DO implement 1.a. (5mph or less speed limit depending on congestion)and 1.b. (3 foot safe passing/yield). Please consider adding a 1.c. (when bicyclists approach pedestrians from behind, they must use a bell or horn and announce that they are passing on the left or the right). Please work with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition or other appropriate groups to develop a diversion programwhere first offenders can opt for a bicycle-pedestrian safety class in order to minimize their fine. Lastly, urge both senior and bicycle communities to report ALL bicycle-pedestrian accidents in a way that allows ongoing future comparison of data to determine the effectiveness of these efforts, and any needed next steps.

    7. The proposed de facto expansion of the PPZ to the Greater Downtown Area reflects no justification for doing so, will dilute enforcement and education efforts, and will encourage defiant cyclist behavior. Please continue your focus on the PPZ only.

    8. Prohibition of sidewalk bicycling is unreasonable on streets with unbuffered bike lanes for the reasons noted.

    9. Instead of prohibiting sidewalk bicycling on Santa Clara Street, why not figure out a way to divert cyclists during times of congestion to San Fernando’s buffered lanes? If they try it, and they see it’s faster and safer for them than the sidewalk, they will be on their way to further street cycling adventures.

    In my efforts to convince my wife she can bicycle on San Jose streets safely once she retires, I can guarantee she will be scared off all but the buffered lanes, even if I ride with her. If she is banned from riding slowly but safely on sidewalks to access anything else downtown, instead making her have to push her bike to do so, do you really think she, as an interested but concerned cyclist, is going to leave the perceived comfort, utility and safety of the car? Why give her one more reason to avoid downtown altogether?



    So you are saying we should not have the bus stop because drivers will block the box. By your metaphor we should get rid of stop signs because cyclists will run them



    Just another local government that is rooting for cyclists to get hit by reckless drivers on the road. SSDD.



    I like your thinking chazz! I remember when you used to be the moderate here, what happened to you?



    We had a nice little discussion, she said that nothing she was going to say would satisfy me. Which is true, since she misstated the truth and won’t retract it. I think I will give another $100 to the No on L campaign now.



    Jym, I’ve lived in Noe and the Haight as well. That “thriving” Real Foods on Stanyan is notorious for having super-high prices. Hardly a model for the city unless your vision is that only the rich can live here. Or those who have all the time in the world and don;t need to do one huge shop once a week.

    Why is it so expensive? Maybe because there is no parking? Ditto for the one on 24th Street. Real Foods makes WholeFoods look cheap.

    And I don’t get why WF’s re-do of Stanyan was so controversial when that McDo is the biggest waste of space I know of anywhere around that area, and that is saying something. Where’s the outrage?

    The east side of that block is chronically under-utilized with surplus parking. Why not integrate the two?



    She might not read it if she can’t find parking.



    Yeah (maybe), but congestion is not the ideal metric. There may have been less (automobile) congestion, but fewer people moving through any given point.

    Those busses carry LOTS of people.

    Point to one street that is congested with busses. Market has the most bus traffic, and if there were no private autos (trucks, cars, taxis, etc.) things would still pretty much flow smoothly.



    Carole Isaacs states:

    “A simple fact of life is that in order to get to work and make a living, many people must own cars. “

    I emailed her, let’s see if she replies.



    If closing a street for one day is a good thing, then closing a street for 10 days should be 10 times better, right?

    I just think it’s odd that someone who forcefully advocates for pedestrians and against cars makes a 180° turn when said peds are Oracle conferees.


    Andy Chow

    I dont think it is a good idea to engineer something that can create a safety issue even with the law. I wonder which is more realistic? Drivers not block the box or cyclists stop at stop signs?



    The buffered lanes are OK, but if people were comfortable with them they wouldnt be riding on the sidewalk. Or else we need better education, which hopefully this ban can sort of accomplish.



    There is comfortable infrastructure on most of the streets subject to the ban, with the main exception of santa clara.



    Come on now. The danger bikes pose to pedestrians is real, and should be taken as seriously around here as the danger cars pose to bikes. A “reckless biking” law isn’t sufficient — it’s too ambiguous. If I’m biking at a moderate pace in a straight line down what looks like an empty sidewalk, is that “reckless”? But I’m still a danger to a pedestrian coming out of a store or around a corner. The best way to protect pedestrians is to make the rule clear cut. The best way to protect bikers is to improve infrastructure (which they have been doing, on 3rd and 4th and san fernando). I’ve had several near-misses in DTSJ and none of them looked like riders who were “afraid” of going on the road — in fact, typically they were weaving on-and-off the road, cutting corners, going against traffic, etc. The only thing I have an issue with is that santa clara street is very dangerous for bikers and desperately needs buffered lanes.



    I’d personally like to have a 3-foot passing law for bicyclists passing me on my bike on the trail or in the street. As for the 5 mph limit, does that apply to runners? That’s 12 minute-miles which is slower than average.



    Ban it in 6 months when they’ve built out comfortable infrastructure on the streets. Oh, they aren’t doing that? So basically they’re just banning cycling for all but the most assertive riders?




    I haven’t found that in any documents dating back to 2011 when the project was approved (see for an example). Was it discussed at community meetings?


    Jym Dyer

    @Bruce – The SFMTA proposed replacing two parking spaces with two more from a removed bus stop, but people screamed about losing “their” spaces.