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    It would be reasonable to parse my comment as “Merchants opposed to the changes to Polk I prefer to see”



    ‘The Merchants’ are only a very few instigators, not All Merchants.



    The Oakland hit-run fatality reported in the ABC story occurred just hours before a community meeting about how to make Telegraph Ave more bike and pedestrian friendly, and yet there are STILL some business owners and city officials trying to water down the plans.

    Anyone who wants to help push back and create a meaningful transition of this important thoroughfare can join Bike East Bay at their upcoming Telegraph Walks series ( and speak up at one of the city’s community meetings coming up in September (



    Some of you may recall that I’m the founder of Folks for Polk and was involved in the online discussion of boycotts. We’re the ‘partners’ of the SFBC – as well as WalkSF, Vision Zero SF, SFTRU, et al – who host the Pub Talks on Polk that Leah refers to. FFP has worked hard to inform and forge ties with businesses that do want change and there are plenty of them.

    What you don’t know is that I took the heat for your call for a boycott. A year ago, The bully ringleaders tried to spread that rumour about me. Some merchants would yell at me on the street or in their shops and I was physically threatened. I publicly challenged them at City Hall to go ahead as I was on public record as having offered an alternative, thanks to SFStreetsblog’s archive. Further, I pointed out that their accusations outed them for the liars they are. The rumours stopped.

    I visited businesses to determine which are our allies and got many to agree to write letters of support, despite the fact that they were rightly fearful of revenge by the bullies. I read one of those letters at the first joint meeting of the Small Business Commission and the MTA Board.

    Six months ago today, I was cycling and was hit by a driver. My hip was broken and my efforts were curtailed considerably. We certainly could have used help enlisting even more supportive merchants. If we’d had more boots on the ground, this stupid accusation would have been impossible. Maybe more visible solidarity amongst us could even have prevented Prop L from having any legs despite Big Money.

    Enduring the disgusting behaviour of the bullies has been leavened by great contact with sympathetic merchants and other terrific advocates. FFP continues to forward the best that can be on Polk and yes, there has been progress. But you can’t outsource engagement by hitting ‘Post’ and personally, I’m exhausted from the heavy lifting of trying to save the City from itself.



    If someone makes a claim about an organization that should really only apply to staff and elected board members. Bike coalition members (or those of any organization) are allowed their own opinions and actions, but those shouldn’t be considered an official stance or a reflection of the organization as a whole.



    A boycott wouldn’t make a dent and any drop in sales, if perceived at all, wouldn’t necessarily be associated with it.



    otoh, VM, as I recall, you treated all merchants on Polk as a faceless block and felt too intimidated to ask individual merchants what they really felt. We did, and many were too busy, misinformed, intimidated, etc. to put their heads up in resistance – just like you.



    ‘…considering how much overlap there is between the two groups…’ The SFBC has ~10K members. There were maybe 10 commenters calling for a boycott. You privy to how many of those 10 are paying members of the SFBC? You gonna take responsibility for all commenters who agree with you, p_chazz?


    Andy Chow

    AC Transit doesn’t provide service in Alameda anywhere as frequent as Muni in San Francisco, so saying that it can fine other buses using its stop is a display of arrogance (and why companies are choosing to run their own buses rather than working with transit agencies to develop routes). If I were one of those companies I would have its riders to speak at an AC Transit board meeting since they pay taxes to support AC Transit (with no service usable to them) and can vote in and out AC board members.

    VTA doesn’t provide service like Muni either, but they’re cool with other buses stopping as long as it doesn’t interrupt its operations (like just picking up and not waiting there), and that’s the attitude that all transit agencies have regarding other buses using the stops. In reality, the transit agencies really don’t own bus stops per se. It is just that the cities have allocated street space for buses to use.

    The “cost” to the transit agencies to allow private buses to stop at their stops are far lower than the cost to public school districts to accommodate charter schools. They need to be thankful that the private companies are paying the rest of the cost rather than trying to get direct public subsidy like charter schools.



    My eight year old bicycles the streets with me all the time!



    Bowman knows that Prop L has no chance in hell of passing, so he is just going 100% negative and lying about everyone and everything he can in hopes that this will confuse voters enough to vote for it.

    The jokes on him though, because confused voters tend to vote “No.”



    I was at the DCCC meeting. As far as I am aware, nobody from Yes on L spoke in support. In addition, the DCCC voted to endorse No on L as follows:
    -Yes: Campos, Chiu, Avalos, Cohen, Leno, Wiener, Jung, Dorsey, Dufty, Dunning, Mar, Prozan, Smith, Ammiano, Ting, DeJesus, Kelly, Rosenthal
    -No: Migden
    -No Endorsement: Fazio, Mandelman, Hsieh, Ma, Anderson, Levinson
    -Abstain: Pelosi, Feinstein, Speier, Harris


    Jessie Jewitt

    Let my beautiful daughter not be forgotten on this anniversary of her death. Please communicate to readers to find justice for Amelie in loving the children of Haiti:

    “Have a great day!” – Amelie


    Jessie Jewitt

    Let my beautiful daughter not be forgotten on this anniversary of her death. Please communicate to readers to find justice for Amelie in loving the children of Haiti:
    “Have a great day!” – Amelie



    Generalization alert, but… It’s a lot like compulsive liars thinking everyone else is a compulsive liar. Or crooks justifying criminality by assuming everyone else is a crook. In this particular case, RTB is a symptom of ignoring – or simply being unable to recognize – existing privilege and seeking to defend the status quo against policies that are viewed as anti-common sense. Unfortunately, “common sense” is usually wrong — especially when it hasn’t been updated to account for new scholarship or expanded to include others’ views as well.



    Count me in.

    The merchants are by their very nature trying to flex their muscles and foment policy. The only foil to that is to point out to them that if they foment policy that their customers dislike, they will lose customers.

    Should such merchants stop lobbying the city for bad policy, there will be no need to make it clear to them via the cash register that said lobbying is against the interests of their customers.

    Charles – I assume since you have a problem with this boycott, you’ll be heading over to Chick-Fil-A and filling your belly? And taking your time machine back to 1980 and buying copious South African products? Maybe you can write Obama and tell him that putting sanctions on Russia is anti-liberty.



    Leah is taking the high road, but a boycott has been proven time and time again to be the most effective form of politics. Money talk, BS walks.



    it’s no joke. and if it gets a serious beat down, the joke will be on them.


    Aksel Kargård Olsen

    In the 1980s the upset was with building office space because it created commuting traffic associated with the new jobs and the demand for housing from the hordes of lawyers and financial analysts working there. Now a relatively small amount of residents do the reverse commute to the peninsula, equally bringing their salaries if not their jobs to the city (although there is plenty of tech here). Either way, job growth causes much upset. But it seems to me that the solution to evictions is not to cut transportation options for all the software engineers (and lawyers, for that matter, who typically make more). Transportation is a part of an open society. It is the evictions regulations that need adjustment, not the mode of transportation. So far the state legislators, however, have begged to differ, at least with respect to reforming the Ellis Act.



    Who’s imposing their lifestyle on whom? Sheesh.

    Freaking weirdos! (Republicans ;)



    Who is the Smith person referred to in the article? I can’t find any reference, editing error?



    SFBC staff:
    SFBC board:

    Any other confusion we need to clear up?



    It wasn’t the SFBC calling for a boycott of Polk merchants, it was Streetsblog commenters. Chris just got his facts a little bit mixed up, which is easy to do, considering how much overlap there is between the two groups.



    Ballot initiatives are simply about spending enough money to buy the laws you want. There’s no penalty for lying.



    Absolutely APPALLED, my concerns could be and are becoming a reality, this is absolutely unacceptable in every ways, and I feel there could more to this garbage from the proponents of this ballot measure and wouldn’t be surprised if there is, especially if these allegations remain consistent and true



    There are real, logical reasons for not wanting to build pedestrian overpasses in cities besides the amount of money that they cost. Building such an overpass at that intersections would have been a hideous design decision. It was far better simply to restrict traffic turning right and direct traffic onto other highway entrances as one of the previous people commented.



    I attended those Polk meetings and was appalled at many merchants and residents’ expressions of contempt for bicyclists as a faceless class of weirdos. Since I was dressed in nice clothes, these haters assumed I did not bike. Surprise! My own private action has been to avoid patronizing or reduce my patronage of all Polk merchants who posted anti-improvement posters. I have replaced them with other stores and restaurants on or beyond Polk and increased my online shopping. Ironically, the only reason I go to Brownie’s Hardware now is to buy SFMTA parking cards. No organization suggested to me to boycott the bike haters, but I find it personally repugnant to provide sales to people who don’t care if I or my children are endangered on our nearest commercial street — Polk.



    Sigh. How can you be so foolish? This is decidedly *not* an ad campaign. Simply put, a single private person has photoshopped pictures of parking garages onto well known streets. To suggest that this has been organized by the “No on L” campaign is completely ridiculous. Please. Get your facts straight before making baseless accusations.



    Republicans who lie? WHO TOLD?

    seriously, this thing is a bad joke. As an Advisory Measure it has no power to do anything it claims. It’s just another lie in a series of lies, paid for by Big Tech republicans and their ilk. I wonder how many consultants are making money off this joke?



    Palace of Fine Arts?



    the ad campaign implies the they will build a huge garage near the Castro Theatre because it will rile up voters. Its baiting, like the old dog whistle ways ot play of racism.


    Adam Greenfield

    Congratulations Leah for your unparalleled contributions to bicycling – and walking – in San Francisco. The diversity of people bicycling in the city – including families and young children – is a true joy to behold and you played a critical role in that change. With every new cyclist, SF becomes a healthier, more vibrant, and sustainable place.

    Thank you Leah and good luck with your next steps!



    I have to disagree, wide highway like streets, ample & free parking and far distances are the biggest deterrent to bicycle riding in most suburbs from what I have read and experienced.

    I do agree that lack of theft is a big draw to bike sharing especially in urban areas and some suburbs but I doubt it’s a major consideration in the typically car loving, wealthy and low crime towns of the peninsula to be the biggest deterrent to bike riding.


    SF Guest

    The no-right turn at Market/Octavia was the result of the City not wanting to spend the $$$ to build a pedestrian overpass. This intersection was not an issue when the Central Freeway existed, but that’s another topic. There’s a price to pay when you take a freeway down and funnel traffic onto surface streets.



    The big advantage of bike share is that you don’t have to worry about your bike being stolen, especially if you are parking for an extended period such as at work without secure indoor parking. Also, bicycle space on Caltrain is limited, so taking a bike share from home to the station really helps with that problem. The biggest deterrent to bicycle commuting in suburban areas is the risk of bicycle theft, not traffic.



    Meh… I would count all of “Mission Bay” as a collection of monstrosities, just calling out for a visit from Godzilla.


    Jym Dyer

    @yermom72 – A parking garage was built in Mission Bay just a few years ago. One member of the citizen’s advisory committee (supposedly an oversight body) was driven to tears by its beauty, and of course the Chron‘s architecture critic gushed about it. How can it be that you have overlooked this little slice of heaven on Earth, right here in our own city?


    Jym Dyer

    @Chris – Supposedly that was what the underground parking in Golden Gate Park would achieve. Just another in the long list of lies surrounding that project.


    Jym Dyer

    @donsf2003 – I don’t know who the mythical “bike idiots” you refer to are, but real live actual bicycle advocates opposed the treatment on the grounds that it would be dangerous to bicyclists, as indeed it turned out to be.

    Forbidding the right turn was not the work of bicycle advocates (though sources like Matier & Ross have claimed otherwise); rather, planners knew it would be a disaster to let traffic back up on Market and hoped that freeway-bound cars would distribute themselves amongst other streets.


    Jym Dyer

    @donsf2003 – What big lie? Though toothless, it does in fact call for more parking to be provided.



    Plant grass in a drought–really?



    We need to more effectively communicate the benefits of bike facilities to Mr Hyatt. Encouraging a higher density of transportation and improved safety for all users will lead to more people on Park Avenue which means more foot traffic into Mr Hyatt’s t-shirt shop.


    Andy Thornley

    Nobody has moved the movement or done more to promote the bicycle for everyday transportation than Leah Shahum, it was an honor to serve on her staff and a proud thing to be a member of the SFBC under her long and productive leadership. Of course we all want to know what’s next for her — where will she direct her remarkable, formidable mix of skills and smarts and energy? look out! — but there’s no question the SFBC and bicycling in San Francisco are in a strong and confident place, ready to grow and prosper, for everyone’s benefit, all credit to her. Thank you, Leah!



    There was no lamentation in my post. However, with minor updates to technology and annual mandatory customer service training for all cab drivers, the cab industry would provide healthy competition to Uber and Lyft.



    Your first paragraph laments the passing of the cab companies, then goes on to describe everything that is wrong with cab companies.



    Nice to see Berkeley starting to do some permeable paving.

    It’d be really nice to see more parking lots do that…wonder if any city has moved to require them–especially if they go full-on with grass!

    Permeable pavement + grass parking lot at a mall in Connecticut
    Permeable pavement + grass parking lot at a stadium in Texas



    I just rode my bike. No cost, no hassle, no delay.



    Here’s the problem. Pretty soon, mostly because of technology and regulations that create a huge unfair advantages, Uber and Lyft will put the cab companies out of business. And once that happens, Uber and Lyft will be worth a lot more than their current value. And when that happens, they will ‘go public’ and the top people will cash out, leaving a different company governance, one that will be focused-upon pleasing the stockholders. And when that happens, watch for pressures from the governance to lower the wages of workers, in order to raise the salaries of the CEO, and for higher dividends for stockholders. And with those lower wages comes deteriorating standards and something not much better than we have now with our cabs. Eventually, workers will receive public assistance, so the public will be off-setting the lower wages with food stamps, etc.

    This, in part, happened to grocery store workers in California. In between the years 2000 and 2012, their actual average wage fell from $19+ to $15+, and that doesn’t account for the 33% inflation between those two years. What happened to that money? Most of it went into the pockets of the CEO and stockholders.

    And guess what: In California, more than a third of all grocery store workers now receive some type of public assistance, so the public is subsidizing those lower wages.


    Andy Chow

    If those who want to get to BART, 29 bus from Balboa Park is a good alternative than going through downtown/Civic Center. It takes 15 minutes to drive from the city limit to the park via Brotherhood Way and Sunset versus 30 minutes to drive to the Golden Gate Park from 4th & King Caltrain.


    Andy Chow

    I think Uber’s surge pricing kind of outrageous, but I don’t have much sympathies for those who were willing to pay the price for it, unless they didn’t know the fare upfront. It is a competitive market and they can avoid the price by taking taxis, Muni, other TNCs, walk or bike, or wait 30 mins to an hour in a nearby bar or cafe for the crowd to disburse, or leave 15-30 mins early.

    Having an online platform actually help drive high fares because riders essentially are bidding for car service electronically. So some car in the Richmond or Sunset can see all the bidders in the area and take the highest bid. Without the technology, the revenue maximizing strategy is to take the nearest rider willing to pay a reasonable fare (you may get a few groups of potential riders to get bid from, but not everyone in the area), and make more money by taking more riders in a given time period.