Skip to content

Recent Comments

RSS
  1.  

    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.

  2.  

    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?

  3.  

    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.

  4.  

    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.

  5.  

    Alicia

    False dichotomy. How about we try to do both?

  6.  

    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.

  7.  

    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.

  8.  

    Coco

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

  9.  

    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.

  10.  

    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.

  11.  

    Manish

    Most (if not all) of the no-left turns are to facilitate greater vehicle flow. Left turns on much of Van Ness would mean blocking a lane of traffic as there is no room for turn pockets having Van Ness by 3 lanes in each direction. They don’t tend to serve a sustainable transportation need.

  12.  

    Gezellig

    Yup. That’s why if we’re dreaming of outlandish and expensive things I’d rather have the BART system built out as originally planned than undergrounding lots of thoroughfares in SF. But, sigh, ’tis but a dream. Though it was seriously planned at one point:

    http://grommit.com/blogs/ranga/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/bart_plan_1957.jpg

  13.  

    RoyTT

    Honking is illegal? What do you mean by that? It’s certainly not illegal to use your horn to let someone know you are there. Indeed, I thought that was the sole purpose of a horn.

    That said, horns do get over-used, e.g. to express annoyance or to let someone know you have just pulled up outside their home. Is that what you mean?

  14.  

    RoyTT

    Robert Levitt states “If this was a bottleneck delaying cars, I think they’d probably get on it.”

    Actually there are a far greater number of “no left turn” signals in the city than crosswalks that are disallowed in this way. And they are invariably exactly the streets you would most want to be able to turn left onto. And nobody expects those to be “fixed”.

    This is a problem with urban living for all types of street users, and not just pedestrians.

  15.  

    RoyTT

    That’s a good question because there are a few issues with doing this.

    Most of these buildings are regular residential buildings and so their owners have not consciously chosen to be commercial landlords, and that is a different set of skills.

    The good news, however, is that a commercial space in a residential building is not subject to rent control. If the owner rents out the garage to tenants in that building, the garage comes under rent control. Much better to let it commercially if you can (or at least let out the parking spaces to people who do not live in the building, because rent control then doesn’t apply).

    While if the flats are owner-occupied, the chances are that the garage is shared, and the owners may not all agree to give up their parking.

    Many garages lack the necessary height clearances to put in a business. Mine is about seven feet, for instance. In those case it would not be possible or desirable to change the use of the basement. In any event, the city would have to be willing to approve the change of use from residential to mixed, so all relevant codes would have to be met.

    The owner may need to evict tenants from that garage, and that might be tough. Some buildings also have an in-law home behind the garage, and that may have to be declared and condemned to proceed with the change.

    All that said, I think it’s an attractive idea to many building owners in those cases where the above problems do not apply.

  16.  

    cafeguzzi

    not in 3 lifetimes!
    for us a dream, for other countries realities.
    23 years to get a bridge built (partially w/ chinese involvement) in california;
    2.3 years to get a 23 mile subway line built in kuala lumpur, malaysia.

  17.  

    Jamison Wieser

    Yes, what @murphstahoe:disqus and I have here would be a change to bike plan and has connection issues that would need to be worked out, this was is just a “what if concept” to me. I’d argue against such a change after all the work done figuring out the plan with there now. Just one example of the complications:

    17th is a good eastbound route for anyone coming down Market because it takes them right to the dedicated bike lanes east of Church. Running parallel, crossing the tracks is the issue and, but the turns to get down to 18th go those several block with traffic and the 33 bus, and then to jog back up is complicated and involves crossing the path of more cars and busses that the current situation (can anything be done to make 17th and church less scary on a bike? good on the signs/stencils for making the safest route, but is there more?)

    Likewise the westbound routes follows 16th, hitting market to get to the wiggle or up 17th to the west. This would be an inconvenience and have impacts I would think on traffic, transit, and and a worst bike safety with the zig zag.

  18.  

    highroller

    Just as The Government wants its citizens to look upon bicyclists as a subculture, it also wants bicycling to look dangerous in an effort to curb usage of bicycles in favor pumping big oil and lining their own pockets promoting the American dream; owning a new car.

  19.  

    Andy Chow

    “Calming” is more like police in riot gear trying to control an angry crowd.

  20.  

    Jeffrey Baker

    Balance!

  21.  

    murphstahoe

    Calming is cheap. Really good transit is expensive. Doing nothing is unacceptable.

  22.  

    voltairesmistress

    You are an ass.

  23.  

    njudah

    He never was Mr Nice Guy when it comes to Muni. He never has given a hoot about Muni and its owner/riders, and never will. Maybe it’s time people woke up and didn’t vote for him in 2015 and sent someone else to Room 200 at City Hall who does?

  24.  

    djconnel

    Worst is when there’s painted crosswalks on some directions, not on others, but no sign. Without the sign, the crosswalk exists (“unmarked”) whether painted or not as long as it indicates a continuation of a sidewalk. Yet drivers are likely to not recognize this. Vermont/Miraposa (Potrero Hill), at a 101 exit, is like this: virtual suicide trying to cross here even if pedestrians have right of way, which they do.

  25.  

    Andy Chow

    All of those “calming” is more like trying to treat the symptoms but not addressing the cause. What about really good transit to start? Not just some “rapid” Muni here and there given that a lot of those traffic going to the freeways tend to go beyond the city limit.

  26.  

    Gezellig

  27.  

    Jass

    Honking is illegal. Ticketing is needed.

  28.  

    jd_x

    Great article.So glad to see this issue getting some attention. Nothing says “motorists first, pedestrians second” like a side of an intersection where pedestrians are banned from crossing. All these signs should be ripped out, but more importantly, the traffic sewers that prioritize the car and make it so dangerous for pedestrians (which is why these signs were put it) need to calmed using all the tools at our disposal.

  29.  

    jd_x

    No, the solution is not undergrounding: that is horribly inefficient use of limited funds. Instead, the cops need to enforce a no-honking law. I have always maintained that horn-honking is one of the most under-rated problems with city living that can *easily* (literally, overnight) be fixed. It makes no sense to spend billions when we can just enforce some really simply laws that ask motorists to respect the neighborhoods they are driving through rather than continuing to act selfishly like it’s 1970 and cities are for cars instead of people.

  30.  

    murphstahoe

    For that money we could have high speed rail to LA and a London level subway

  31.  

    extra

    Yes! And the horrible Cyril Magnin Street, which connects the hotel and theater zone west of Union Square with Hallidie Plaza and Powell Station! It has two of these closed crosswalks in a row, at Ellis and O’Farrell! Unacceptable.

  32.  

    Sanfordia113

    Have you ever spent time in Mid-Market/SOMA? This is unfortunately the norm.

  33.  

    Sanfordia113

    I live on that corner. As much as I disdain the no-pedestrian crossing streets, I dread even more the thought of non-stop car horns honking as they get backed up onto market street for 3 cycles that previously took only 1. Sure, the “make traffic bad enough so people will not drive here anymore,” strategy is appealing to some extent, but not at the expense of Manhattan-like horn honking. We need to start undergrounding N/S traffic and E/W traffic along these corridors:

    1.) Gough/Franklin/Van Ness
    2.) Geary
    3.) Howard/Folsom/Bay Bridge approach
    4.) 101/Potrero Ave
    4.) Cesar Chavez
    5.) 19th Avenue
    6.) Lombard
    7.) Continue building the new tunnel on Doyle Drive so that it covers the entire span from PFA to GGB (with parkland, housing, schools, etc., on top).

  34.  

    Craig

    It looks like they’ve now torn this out. Did they realize already that it was a terrible idea to have people go right then cut in front of other people to turn left?

  35.  

    StatesStMichael

    Jamison is pretty close to nailing it. With some small refinement you’ve connected the Mission to the Castro and created a livable enjoyable street.

    Although I’d support this plan 100% the idea of getting parking reduced to only one side of the street already gives me a headache. Given what we saw with the misguided Polk parking “reduction” this fight would probably drag on for years.

  36.  

    Gezellig

    I’ve wondered about those absurdly car-centric intersections for years–thanks for the updates! Those can’t go soon enough.

  37.  

    Rainer

    You might be right actually.

  38.  

    Bruce

    Can anyone explain to me why the crosswalk on the west side of Marina & Laguna remains closed? There isn’t a safety issue or a substantial number of cars turning or anything, so I don’t get why it was even closed in the first place. That area is heavily trafficked by pedestrians (especially during special events like Off the Grid) and I would like to see that crosswalk reopened.

  39.  

    GetHubNub

    You are dealing with demonic spirits who love to torment who are incompetent and highly ineffective at earning their large salaries and pensions. They prefer to do their jobs tormenting through entrapment. They’re thugs in uniform generally who want an easy life at the SFPD with a nice pension who want to stay alive to enjoy it. What they are in general as a whole are a huge tick sucking the life blood out of the tax payer.

  40.  

    GetHubNub

    They don’t want to work so they set traps for people to catch them. They should assign more bike cops to man the streets but are just plain too lazy.

  41.  

    GetHubNub

    That will get you nowhere, nothing but trouble.

  42.  

    Rainer

    I oversensationalized the graph in my head when I saw it. After reading, I’m not surprised at all.

  43.  

    Jamie Morganstern

    Really like this a lot. Do the owners of these buildings become commercial landlords? How does the business model work ?

  44.  

    94103er

    Oh yay, don’t we all feel safer that tech buses with PROFESSIONAL drivers are being pulled over by the CHP for doing 7 miles/hr over the speed limit? While single-passenger, non-professionally-driven cars whizz past, cutting off other drivers, with drivers texting, eating, putting on makeup?

    The witch hunt continues on the Peninsula, it appears.

  45.  

    david m

    there’s an awesome conversion of three spots to commercial on larking street at post. i love it!

  46.  

    JJ94117

    Maybe if they’d just install “no left turn” signs… or perhaps 3-way lights with arrows where only one direction has a green and green arrow at a time. Then they would not have to widen the street.

  47.  

    Guest

    (Second try at including the map)

  48.  

    murphstahoe

    Re: Santa Clara story.

    I use that Benton/Monroe intersection. Very strange – they aren’t exactly what I would call high speed arterials.

    Note that there is a bike lane on Monroe and the only way they could add turn pockets would be to remove them. It’s a key bikeway as the nearby parallel streets *are* higher speed.

    His assertion that the roadway needs to be widened/curved at the corner to make turns “easier” would just make them faster – which is counter to safety.

  49.  

    Jamison Wieser

    I sketched out what you described, with some of my own suggestions for north-south connections that I’ve annotated.

    Green represents the existing network. Solid are bike lanes, dashed are sharrowed, orange is the Muni tracks and blue are our suggested changes.

    The black dashed green is what @murpstahoe suggests for elimination.

    1) eastbound only coming from Market and runs parallel to the tracks so there’s no crossing the tracks unless turning north until hitting Church. Hartford is a very quiet residential street where that eastbound bike traffic could turn south without any Muni track conflicts at all.

    2) Sanchez sharrows run north from here to where it meets the Wiggle at Duboce Avenue. Moving the bike lane to 18th and continuing the sharrows another block means crossing the tracks perpendicular.

    3) is where the track makes a T and I’ve gotten my bike caught in the tracks. boo!

    4) is one place where the 18th bike lane can connect to the 17th Street bikes lanes a block east of the tracks, and it’s a pretty gentle grade on a wide street.

    5) would be the new bike lanes on a pretty busy street with parking on both sides and the 33-Stockton presents a hazard. It would take a lane of parking to add bike lanes, if that could be done, a two-way cycletrack might be worth exploring: physically separated, and lets commute traffic going mostly one-way pass each other without entering car lanes.

  50.  

    Gezellig

    Yeah, exactly! There’s lots of potential there. Great to hear the Planning Dept is looking at reclaiming that oddly shaped yet large side street/de-facto-parking-lot as true public place. I wonder if any proposed renderings have been made public yet?

    I bet as landlords realize that they can suddenly monetize the ground floor garage space more will be happy to do these kinds of conversions. Some owners of these types of soft-story apartment buildings complained about the costs involved in the SF Mandatory Soft Story Program but, hey, some may find a new stream of income from former deadweight space helps.