Skip to content

Recent Comments


    Liz Brisson

    This concept has been already for sometime, and at, first it seemed like an obvious win. But upon reviewing the study prepared a few years ago and hearing it presented several times, I (speaking as an individual not on behalf of any agency) am now convinced it is not the right solution to a real need (the real need being maintaining fast reliable travel time for AC Transit buses).

    The simplest way to explain my concern is that to think about this as adding one more travel lane on the Bay Bridge, so we have 6 lanes instead of 5 lanes of vehicles entering San Francisco every morning. There are not frequent enough buses to use the entire capacity of the contra-flow lane so carpools and/or trucks would likely also get to use it. There also would no longer be buses in the upper deck so there would be more capacity for cars up there. SF already bears negative impacts from the level of regional traffic on local streets, and the contraflow lane enables 20% more and could therefore induce more vehicle travel to SF. That means also more traffic queuing up in SoMa in the afternoon peak to get back on the bridge.

    The westbound direction of the Bay Bridge is typically operated for maximum throughput by using metering lights at the toll plaza to only let cars get onto the bridge at the most efficient frequency. Carpools and buses get to use the special queue jump that gets you past the metering lights, so when you get to the bridge, you are not stuck in traffic. However, on some occasions, particularly on weekends when traffic is less peaked but more constant, the Bay Bridge metering lights back-up past the MacArthur Maze and begins to gridlock all the freeways feeding the bridge (880/580/80/24). In these scenarios, Caltrans turns off the metering lights to try to flush out the system and Bay Bridge travel speeds slow down such that even those with the special queue jump experience slower speeds.

    The premise of the contra-flow study was that at some point in the future there would be more vehicle travel than today, such that the situation that sometimes exists on the weekends would become the regular morning situation. By building the contra-flow lane, the net increment of additional traffic would be served such that the buses could still get to the bridge and then have freeflow conditions in the contraflow lane once they got there. By doing so, there are more private vehicle trips as well as bus trips served. And the upper end of the cost estimate- $177 million- to build the new ramps needed is actually quite pricey .

    I believe the solution that is really needed is to re-purpose general purpose lanes to carpool/bus/express lanes on each facility feeding the Bay Bridge such that a fast reliable bus trip is enabled while not allowing the total number of vehicle trips to increase. It is more politically challenging, but otherwise we are just doing a slightly more sophisticated version of the freeway widening mistakes of past decades.

    In addition, even though things are worse in the morning, and the buses have a direct bridge on-ramp for pm eastbound, we also need a solution to better manage afternoon eastbound Bay Bridge traffic, that leaves such a nasty impact in SoMa.



    I wonder what will happen with the SF Bike Coalition voter candidate slate for 2015.


    Dark Soul

    What about Enforcing People Safety by removing bike people running stop signs.



    In San Francisco, property tax income goes mainly to the Educational
    Revenue Augmentation Fund, Bay Area Rapid Transit District, the San
    Francisco Unified School District, City and County of San Francisco, the
    San Francisco Community College, and Bay Area Air Quality Management
    District. Other expenses may be added to your property tax bill too. In
    San Francisco, these include the Rent Board Fee, the School Facilities
    Safety Special Tax, the Apartment License Fee, and refuse and water



    Can you point me to details on that incident Jym?



    You poor babies will have to make due with 98% of the road surface dedicated to you instead of the 99% you have now.

    Most funding for city roadways comes from property taxes. I already pay a very hefty fee yearly in property taxes, probably much more than you do. DMV fees to to State highways, which are subsidized out of the general fund, since DMV fees and the gasoline tax are not sufficient to pay for the costs. Anther freebie you get.



    I simply do not see someone in a Tux riding public transit or riding a bike to an event. I cannot see buying a flat screen tv and placing it a bike rack, much less riding Muni. Transit Planning needs to incorporate all modes of transportation period. Additionally transit riders and bikes should have to pay taxes for the fees involved with road maintenance, police funding, and state funding just like people who pay for auto registrations each year.

    DMV fees go to:

    Local government (cities/counties) 40.7%

    CHP 25.7%

    DMV 13.9%

    State highways (Caltrans) 13.0%

    Air Resources Board 1.7%

    Other state agencies 4.3%

    State General Fund 0.7%



    What the MTA promises and what the MTA does are often two different things. And even if we get all the things promised we will have what? 16 blocks of protected bike lanes, by my count. This is pathetic. We helped get Prop A passed and all we get is a few blocks.

    Are Masonic and Potrero going to include fully protected bike lanes? Last time I heard Masonic is going to have an elevated lane, but I remember how Polk Street got watered down. I am betting that delivery trucks will still double park in it.



    Here is the “I Drive Alameda” Facebook page:


    Jym Dyer

    @Lee Ross – Dunno what your use of the capital-P Progressive is supposed to mean, but the cycling community is no monolith and contains a fair number of neoliberals. The cycling political insiders have for the most part supported all of the Mayor’s bond measures.


    Dexter Wong

    Ah, Bob are you willing to pay for another bridge?


    Dexter Wong

    This idea sounds a little like the Bay Bridge was in 1958-61 when the Key System tracks were removed but AC Transit still used the lower deck to go both ways as the roadway had a divider in the middle.



    Contraflow bus lane? Why not a regular direction bus lane? It’s many times more inexpensive, and will reduce the # of cars coming into SF to decongest local streets as well.


    Ziggy Tomcich

    A contraflow bus lane is a great idea, but making it happen in our bureaucrat mess would take a miracle. It would involve getting AC transit, the SF county transportation authority (separate from the SFMTA), Caltrans, Bart, and the San Francisco and Oakland Mayors and BOS to all get into the same bed together. If this ever happens, it would take decades and involve multiple voter initiatives in order to force these entities to do something that’s against their own self interests but will be a huge benefit to everyone else.


    Greg Costikyan

    A few months ago, I drove outbound through the Lincoln Tunnel in NY during in-bound rush-hour — which has a contra-flow bus lane through the tunnel, to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC during those hours. It was amazing, seeing bus after bus after bus driving down the lane, carrying (literally) hundreds of thousands of commuters from New Jersey into New York. The normal inbound lanes were clogged with car commuters waiting to pay the tunnel fair; the buses moved at a steady clip.

    Another BART tunnel is a great idea, but will take a decade or more. This can be done now, with obvious and potentially enormous benefit for bus commuters from the East Bay.



    I love pictures like this. Remind us what bridges and roads were originally built for. Love the old pictures of Market street with 4 lanes of cable car tracks too.



    Hmm, new bridge on/off ramps for the buses, eh? Sounds like a good opportunity to include a bike/ped path ramp in the same project, similar to what is being constructed as part of the east span landing onto Yerba Buena Island right now. That would certainly cut out a lot of the cost of the pricey west span bike/ped gap closure.



    Well, if the bridge is the problem, we should build some kind of structure to get across it.


    Aaron Priven

    Well, the last one only cost $6.4 billion. What’s a few more?



    Maybe we could put the Key System back on the lower deck while we’re at it…


    Bob Gunderson

    Is this somehow suggesting that cars aren’t the answer to our congestion woes? Can’t we simply widen the bridge, or make another one?



    *sigh* I had a similar experience whilst in a crosswalk a police cruiser was waiting for me to cross. The driver behind the cop had enough of that waiting-for-others bullstick and gunned it, accelerated around the cop and thankfully slammed on the brakes before running me down. The cop had a front row seat for the whole thing, at least 3 citations worth of violations, yet she did jackdiddly.

    In the sage words of my last SuperShuttle driver, “Management don’t give a s**t whether you live or die!”



    Your contention that it is only “possible” future traffic patterns is deliberately misleading. It was quite clear from traffic modeling that the SFMTA has done that allowing left turns from Divisdero on to Haight and the other streets along Divisdero southbound would cause unacceptable delays which would force people to not use that street but instead attempt other routes. They cannot move forward with any changes on Scott or along with wiggle without making sure that traffic will not back up along Divisidero and that it becomes the preferred route for people going south along this corridor.

    In addition, it is quite clear that only a handful of residents who can’t imagine adding a few extra turns into their commutes from the north has hijacked the LoHaMNA. You are absolutely responsible for the delay. Stop trying to set this up as a non-NIMBY position when it absolutely is. If you were responsible, you would let SFMTA make their changes with reservations and then see if you were having problems. Instead, you are throwing up roadblocks that stop any alteration to the existing pattern because you don’t want change to your commute. That is a absolutely a NIMBY position.



    I like Amy Weiss, but there’s no way she’s going to get elected. She’s not even on the rader of most voters, and if it ever gets to the point where she is on the radar, the ‘progressive’ anti-development forces of Campos et al will organize to keep her out.



    Just to be clear, LoHaMNA is supporting the Scott St. diverter and is in favor of bike & ped access. We are only asking that the left turn ban at Divisadero & Haight be removed from the plan, not all the others. This is a critical distinction. Actually our community org is made up of merchants, neighbors, even an ex-SFMTA employees who all support removing the turn restriction on Divis @ Haight. SFMTA engineers rely on “possible” future traffic patterns to rationale shutting down all these lefts. We are asking for a reasonable real world scenario to justify removing the left at Haight when & if backups are realized vs. future traffic pattern conjecture. For example, the engineers do not account for the possibility of people turning to other forms of transportation as a result of the Scott St. diverter and getting out of the car, biking, walking or taking public transportation. Their solution is a narrow engineering only paradigm and assumes the same # of cars will remain or increase after the Scott St. diverter, which is not necessarily true. What we put forth is a balanced argument, not NIMBY, not bike vs. car vs. pedestrian, just balanced and reasonable for all stakeholders – how about we try that tack for a change and find some common ground vs polarizing the issue?



    Kinda like the ~96 people who die each day in the US due to motor vehicle collisions.

    In 2013 ~35k people in the US died in a motor vehicle collision.

    This ongoing and largely preventable massacre gets comparatively little media attention, especially considering its tragic scope.

    By comparison, about ~7k people died of HIV-related complications and about ~41k people died of breast cancer.

    While these of course are also very worthy causes to work on, there are sadly no yogurt cup campaigns with ribbons reminding people about traffic deaths. And as far as I’m aware no annual celebrity galas which raise money to help prevent traffic deaths.


    Jym Dyer

    @Gezellig – Right around the same time that a very rare bicyclist-caused fatality happened in San Francisco, there was another fatality in which a pedestrian killed a bicyclist. The former got five weeks of daily coverage and was followed up to the bitter end. The latter got no media coverage at all.


    Jym Dyer

    @Jimbo – Ooh, a new menace right up there with “almost hit,” now it’s “grazing.” Moo.



    “Given Lee’s unpopularity and general voter apathy”

    You’ve just contradicted yourself. Nobody is unpopular with the apathetic.


    Louie Louie

    I was a pedestrian for 20 years in SF.. now I have to drive into the city from Marin. Pedestrians should always come first. Now that I sometimes use Divisadero to get to the Golden Gate Bridge, it makes perfect sense to keep traffic moving on Divisadero for Muni and to relieve congestion. It sounds like a win-win for everyone. There are many different way to reach the Lower Haight if you just stop and think for a minute before you get behind the wheel.



    The SFPD are beyond useless.



    Driver behavior is implicated in pedestrian injuries and deaths in vehicle collisions over two times as much as pedestrian behavior (64 percent vs. 30 percent in 2007-11)

    In from 2005-2011, 41 percent of violations where drivers were found at fault in pedestrian injuries and deaths were by drivers not observing the pedestrian’s right-of-way.

    Go to Montgomery Street at noon and watch hundreds of peds walk against a red walk light.

    And go to practically any intersection in SF and watch scores of drivers zoom through the crosswalk even when a pedestrian is present.

    Illusory correlation is fun!



    I agree with you. We should design our cities so that when pedestrians mess up and do something careless like not look before crossing the road, their punishment for that mistake should be death or serious injury. Yep, that’s the kind of city I want. I definitely think that seems fair and we should place equal burden of responsibility on those walking or cycling versus those driving 2-ton machines with 200 hp available at the twitch of a hand or foot. I mean, what kind of precedence is there for making those with the most power have the most responsibility? I can’t think of a single example anywhere in our society. So yep, totally agree with you: pedestrians and motorists are the same and I can’t possible begin to discern the difference between them.


    Ziggy Tomcich

    Amy Farah Weiss is running for against Mayor Lee. Given Lee’s unpopularity and general voter apathy, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Weiss manages to pull off a win.



    I did enjoy the occasion, though, to look up David Cameron being hit by an errant jogger :D



    Ignore this troll





    People who live or work near Sunset Boulevard on San Francisco’s western edge were saddened when a 78-year-old man was fatally struck by a car last week while traveling across the street in a crosswalk. But they weren’t surprised.

    Those who have walked along the 2 1/2-mile corridor that runs parallel to the shore are familiar with the dangers that come with negotiating the busy six-lane thoroughfare – where 44 pedestrians have been struck from 2005 to 2011, according to city records.

    Those people need to get over it! After all, it hasn’t happened to me so I don’t see what the problem is.


    Lee Ross

    Give credit to the Mayor. With no opposition in November, save for that always Pesky fellow in District Three, Ed Lee could tell the Progressive cycling community to get lost. But, given the passage of Prop B last November and the huge number of cyclists in The City, The Mayor does not want to be thought of as the Grinch who stole the Bike Lane.



    I’ll believe it when it has been built. It’s convenient to say all this on Bike to Work Day. A whole other situation to actually DO what you say you’re going to do.

    And building a block here or there of bike lanes is not a real strategy. We need actual safe arterials to navigate SF on bike.



    Awesome! I didn’t realize that. Well, that settles it then: Jimbo feels safe so everything is all good in the City by the Bay. Nothing more to do here in terms of improving pedestrian safety. Thanks, Jimbo, for not letting us waste more time setting policy by statistics instead of anecdotes, especially with your vast, incredible experience walking (so rare!).






    i walked about 20,000 steps per day all over the city. been doing it for 20 yrs. never felt unsafe.



    walkers don’t run over people or graze them on graze cars with their handlebars.


    Mesozoic Polk

    I, for one (and I may be the only one), found today to be a wholly miserable experience. And I even tried to stick to wide, fast-moving, parking-lined arterials like Geary Blvd and 19th Avenue. Imagine those poor souls on Market Street dealing with some 26,000 cyclists until 3:00 pm (according to one planner type on Twitter).

    Tomorrow, hopefully the car-dominated norm — a world filled with sweet-smelling pollution and cheerful honking — will return, and we can all forget about this miserable day.


    Anon Y. Mous

    License plate, please?


    Anon Y. Mous

    In New York, she would have been left owning one less side window.



    Or 12 if we make it a double-decker!

    Because endlessly more cars = endlessly more profits for merchants. It’s science.

    Just like the vibrant restaurant and food scene that used to exist along the Embarcadero:

    In those days, people would flock to the waterfront and public plazas:

    They *especially* enjoyed flocking to–well, more like alongside and around–these lively public gems by car.

    Actually…all by car.

    After all, staying too long in the area might rudely congest the sensory experience for others.

    We have a lot to learn from the wisdom of our forebears!



    Hah, well they’re not my pics (thanks, Google Image!) so no credit necessary to me but as long as the original images don’t have copyright limitations on them I’d say go for it. Have fun with the post!



    You’re right, it should be 6 lanes if we take out the sidewalk.