Skip to content

Recent Comments



    It’s not a “nice” thing to say, but the truth is that we can make ped, bike and transit improvements for years on end and never realize mode shift of any significance simply because it is so cheap and convenient to drive everywhere. And it’s artificially cheap and convenient because so many of the costs are externalized.


    Kyle Gebhart

    hmm…well, now that there’s this great new fast way to get across town in a car, maybe I’ll buy a car. Now that I own a car, I suddenly find it more convenient for all of my trips–me and everyone else.

    You can make your city convenient for transit or convenient for driving. You can’t do both.


    Dexter Wong

    Van Ness Ave. was always the widest street in San Francisco and Highway 101 since the days of the Golden Gate Ferry. The Central Freeway only ran from the San Francisco Skyway – James Lick Freeway interchange first to South Van Ness Ave., then to Franklin and Golden Gate (northbound) (Gough and Turk southbound) before the 1989 earthquake closed that section. The freeway still exists up to Market and Octavia.



    You overlook the ped, bike and transit friendly grand boulevard that would result from taking cars off the street and moving them underground. And transit could use the tunnels as well-I envision express buses in the tunnels and local buses up top.

    Without the network of freeways envisioned by the 1940 Trafficways Plan it was inevitable that some streets would become “traffic sewers” but they don’t have to be open sewers.


    Dexter Wong

    I grew up near Van Ness Ave. and I always knew that you should only cross Van Ness at the traffic light. There is way too much traffic to jay walk and anyone who does so takes his/her own life into their hands.



    e.g. “I hate bike people”



    Nothing against Bike People. However
    All i see is bike people ignoring sign (..stop signs) and causing danger to their self. Walkfirst is basically mostly making people overall (Not just bias on bikes people or people who walk on the sidewalks) even more unsafer with their whining plans. Everybody should not have differences on how they travel.



    Oh, good.


    Kyle Gebhart

    I am interested in prioritizing infrastructure improvements based on what will best help achieve defined goals (i.e. cut GHG emissions, shift trips to transit/walk/bike) and is most cost effective. Massive infrastructure which primarily moves private vehicles (underground highway) is NOT a good use of funds. And why would you want to give cars the grade-separated expedited right-of-way and make transit operate on the surface? Transit and safety should be prioritized, but it rarely is. In San Francisco, private vehicles are almost always prioritized, which is why it’s so hard to put in a bike lane, bus lane, or any kind of infrastructure which saves lives but slows down vehicles.



    “Must ped, bike and transit improvements come at the cost of slowing private vehicles?”

    Yes. The two objectives are in direct conflict.



    S.F. driver who killed teen girl gets 6 months

    This is unbelievable. We joke around here how the best to get away with murder is to drive a car and hit somebody and, as long as you don’t leave the scene or were not drunk, you’ll get off scot-free. But wow, this shows that *even* if you are drunk, you still barely get a slap on the wrist. Only 6 months in jail for killing somebody while driving drunk!? What a disgrace to our entire society. We are so addicted to our cars that we simply cannot make rational judgement anymore. For being drunk and killing somebody, this person should be banned from driving for life and have years, not months, in jail. How in the hell does not letting somebody use the tool they used to kill somebody not even come up? WTF?

    Oh, but he also got this:

    “In addition to the six months in jail, Brewer was sentence to six months in home detention, five years of probation, 300 hours of community service and a nine-month treatment program for people who have driven under the influence. He was ordered to pay the family more than $4,700 in restitution.”

    The slap in the face to all pedestrians continues. 6 months of at-home detention? Why not in jail? And only $4700 for killing somebody’s child?! I don’t even know how to vent my anger at a society that thinks this is justice.

    The slaughter by automobiles just continues and we simply don’t care because we are too addicted to them.


    Chris J.



    If a person loses balance and falls backward, the impact from the fall can snap the person’s neck. My brother died that way. You don’t need a lot of force.



    Must ped, bike and transit improvements come at the cost of slowing private vehicles? Why can’t infrastructure improvements move cars faster AND enhance the pedestrian, bicycle and transit experience? Seems like you are more interested in punishing motorists.


    Bruce Halperin

    Most drivers on the Great Highway seem to have it figured out, and consequently crossing the street or riding a bike on the shoulder feels relatively safe. Narrowing VN from 3 lanes down to 2 (and prohibiting left turns) when BRT is implemented should help tame speeds a bit.

    The left turn lanes at the one-way couplets (Pine/Bush, Geary/O’Farrell, Turk/Golden Gate, Hayes/Fell) result in narrower medians (so peds can’t easily cross halfway), poor sight lines, and reckless turns by motorists who scramble to beat oncoming traffic and ignore pedestrians in the crosswalk. Eliminating them will go a long way toward making the VN corridor more walkable.



    Probably both. I think bikes are about 10% of ridership and there are definitely less bicyclists in the winter. There are also definitely way more riders during Giants games. I would also add that crappy weather pushes more people into cars because, even though their exposure to the elements is minimal, they still don’t want to walk at either end in the rain or stand on the platform.


    Chris J.

    There was a story on Streetsblog a few months back that mentioned a traffic device (in Spain I think it was) that causes a traffic light to turn red earlier if a car approaching it is speeding. It’s a brilliant idea because, currently, drivers have an incentive to speed up when approaching lights they worry will be turning red.



    The other deaths were in the stretch behind City Hall, which was bypassed by the Central Freeway.


    Michael Smith

    Actually, the Central Freeway on/off ramps were right at Golden Gate dumping high speed traffic there.



    Better to put the bikeshare at Mountain View, the more used station. The bullets attract more ridership, period. Up to me, I move the bikes from San Antonio and put them near some job cluster a.k.a. Bayshore. Then put the lockers at San Antonio and the SA/MV user can use bike share when they are on the bullet, or their own when they go to SA.



    Large and frequent speed bumps.



    Absurd. An easy metaphor is that MUNI should be disbanded because it competes with AVIS.



    These are things you can do to minimize the mid-block pointless speeding:
    - As jonobate said, the real key is making the roads two-way and having no medians. I would also add making the lanes narrow and having large trees on the edges as it’s been proven that this also causes drivers to slow down.
    - Clear signage explaining that the lights are timed for xx speed. On Valencia, for example, there are like 2 signs and you can barely see them. I’ve never even seen ones on Fell/Oak or Gough/Franklin. The city should be making this *really* clear and hence most drivers will realize that speeding in between is completely pointless.
    - Finally, a little police enforcement will do wonders for slowing drivers down. When the cops pull motorists over, they should point out to the driver that their actions were not only is it illegal, but completely pointless as they won’t get down the road any quicker and all they did was waste gas by accelerating and decelerating so quickly as well as risking the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. We need the cops to stop with their ridiculous car-centric bias and start actually dealing with the major problem in our cities: careless motorists.



    How dense are you? Bike share is different from bike rental.

    I’m going to ride bike share to a meeting this afternoon, I couldn’t rent a bike to do that. A visitor can rent a bike to explore the embarcadero and Presidio, they couldn’t use bike share to do that.


    sebra leaves

    When did the SFMTA decide it has the right to compete against all the private industries it regulates? Why is the agency setting up bureaucratic spinoffs that employ non-profits, to set up high tech alternatives to established businesses such as bike rental shops?

    You should promote the private bike rentals companies that have been here for decades instead of competing with them, and complaining about the flaws in the bankrupt high tech international system you prefer. This is one of many projects that sucks the lifeblood out of the community.

    This is what the CEQA appeal on the tech bus decision is referring to when they claim displacement is a relative, substantial effective of the tech buses that must be examined as part of the CEQA review. In this case the issue is displacement of jobs.

    Private bike rental shops cost the city nothing, provide incomes for people in the city who run them, maintain the bikes, insure the bikes, and contribute to the local economy. When the bike rental demand at those rental stores goes up they will purchase more bikes to rent. Drop your high tech expectations and promote a local bike rental system that works.



    The Oak/Fell Sewers have long had a 25 mph pattern. I don’t believe there is much advantage to speeding on VN, but periods of low traffic will encourage the speeders regardless.

    It would be worthwhile to look at traffic levels vs. pedestrian injuries on VN; I believe the worst injuries are during low traffic.



    You don’t know about the intercom? Never noticed the speaker with sign that says “contact operator”?



    Van Ness BRT will likely discourage mid-block crossing, because there will be a wide median or boarding platform along the entire corridor, rather than the low narrow median currently on Van Ness near Golden Gate.

    More generally, the best way to slow arterials is to make them two-way with no median. People drive a lot more carefully when they know that reckless driving could result in a head-on collision.



    A question for engineers: Is there any way major thoroughfares can be designed with timed lights and speed cameras such that there is no advantage to trying to speed inbetween lights? Not saying that happened here or commenting on this collision. But there will always be people who cross mid-block, no matter how risky. So how can we make high speeds and high speed collisions with pedestrians a thing of the past while still using a few avenues to move car traffic?



    Pfft. Mario’s all right. (You read it wrong.)



    Even granted that inebriates regularly wander onto Van Ness, how do you kill someone with a vehicle going 25 mph? Something is wrong here.



    But more parking actually can’t be built, because Mountain View’s city council (or maybe more so Menlo Park’s) is stacked with hard-line NIMBY loonies who literally will not allow a single extra parking space on the shuttle-running companies’ campuses. By saying ‘the issue is the capacity of the roads’ as in either the BAAQMD leans on the companies in question to run shuttles or these city councils are worrying about that, then I concur. But parking is a huge issue, i.e., these companies have basically run out of spaces.


    Kyle Gebhart

    That makes sense. Investing in infrastructure to get cars moving faster would be consistent with SF’s car-first policy.


    Kenneth McCann

    Where are the people at Hayward Park station (and other smaller stations too) it is a losing time to stop at this or these stations with lack of people (and I rather to drive) and it’s should eliminate this stop and wasting of money build double platforms (both sides of NB and SB) and platform lighting and grade crossing in Hayward Park and it should add longer platform at other busyer station by increasing from 5 cars to 7 or 8 as well to10 cars (or more) with quicker hopping or getting off to more cars doors as well less standing in cars is needs to be seat to working reports on my laptop. Also I believed the High speed train (HSR) from LA will distraction CalTrain system and delays (just like Muni ir any other rails systems) and it is should be travel to East Bay after it’s stop at SJ and provide more jobs to build rail bridge between Oakland and SF as well future HSR to travel Sacramento and north or Nevada (just like Portland Oregon with several typed bridges).



    Don’t kid yourself into thinking they exist for altruistic reasons,

    You might want to check your facts with the BAAQMD and the city councils of Mountain View and Menlo Park on that assumption.




    It’s a section reserved for short women, dwarves and wheelchairs. ADA compliant, don’t ya’ know?



    You can’t GET to the operator. You just have to force the doors.



    Of course, the reason Van Ness is a street level highway slicing through San Francisco is because the Central Freeway, which once carried traffic around and over the area has been demolished.

    Perhaps through traffic on Van Ness should go through a tunnel from Market to Turk, leaving the above ground street for transit, bicycles and pedestrians.



    BrinkLAME is just another sfmta hack pirateing the road away from itz tru design – they don’t call it the MOTORway for nothin!



    That sounds perfectly in line with what I’ve heard others who know Campos say, and is certainly in line with his loony and definitely anti-progressive vote on the GG Transit stuff. He really seems to be quite the progressive poseur.



    Anecdotally, I know two people directly affected by these protests. One is a Google employee who rides the shuttle bus to work. The other is a protester against the buses, who commutes by car and earns more than the aforementioned Google employee. Knowing this makes it hard for me to take these protests seriously as either a statement about effective transportation or a statement about class.



    The people who oppose the tech shuttles don’t care about effective transportation. They will repeat the arguments about impacts to Muni when justifying the protests, but that’s not really what this is about. This is about people seeing the rent increases that are happening all over the city, noticing the shuttle buses and condo construction as other new things that are happening in the city, and coming to the conclusion that the tech shuttles and the condos are to blame for the high rents.

    It’s not a logical position, because the cause and effect is the wrong way round. First tech workers moved to dense urban neighborhoods such as the Mission, and high demand for housing resulted in increased rents. Then the tech shuttles were set up to serve them, and then condos were planned and constructed, because developers knew the high demand for housing meant they would sell. If you need convincing of this just consider the fact that rents also skyrocketed during the first tech bubble in the late nineties, before the tech shuttles and before wide-scale condo construction.

    The housing crisis is just supply and demand. You can solve this problem by increasing supply, or reducing demand.

    The huge demand at the moment is caused by a booming regional economy, and the fact that for young tech workers, SF is the most desirable place in the region to live. These are both good things. It’s good that good jobs are available, and for environmental reasons, it’s good that people want to live a car-lite lifestyle in the central city rather than a car-dependant lifestyle in the suburbs.

    On the supply side, we have a massive deficit of housing in SF because for decades the region has been adding housing by sprawling out into the suburbs, and very little has been built in the city due to a real or perceived desire for suburban housing, and an “anti-Manhattanization” sentiment among SF residents. This is a bad thing.

    We can fix the housing problem by building more housing of all types in SF, but the anti-tech crowd won’t support that as a solution because they mistakenly thinking that new housing causes increased rents, rather than being a reaction to increased rents. So instead they advocate reducing demand, by not making improvements to the city (bike lanes, parklets); or demanding that Facebook uproot and move to a different state (I don’t work in tech so I don’t care if it causes mass unemployment!); or by simply blocking people from moving to the city (I’ve already got my place so screw you newcomers!); or even controlling population by adopting a one-child policy like China. I’ve heard all of these suggested by anti-tech activists.

    It’s a fearful, selfish, negative, narrow-minded set of “solutions” to a problem that could be dealt with constructively if people got over their fear of change and learned to understand economic cause and effect.


    Michael Morris

    I know it’s next week but there will be a discussion on the future of late night transit at City Hall on Monday April 14. And so they cater to the right people the discussion will be at 1:30 PM….



    I once asked (unnamed high ranking city official before said person became a city employee) what that person thought about maybe taking the parking lot of the “Palace Family SteakHouse” at Mission/Chavez, and the sliver of Capp abutting it, and closing it off and making a mini park right there. The City Open Space Fund could fund that purchase, in a lowerish income area (instead of ponying up $2M for a lot in Noe Valley), then we shut the road, put in bulbouts, voila!

    Said person said “Campos would never go for it – gentrification”



    So your argument is, we can’t have nice things because then people will want to live here?


    Matthew Petty

    Right, hence the on-site cleaners, barbers, food etc. You don’t need to go home! Stay and work!



    Not parking spaces, which can be built or stacked in a place like Mountain View. The issue is the capacity of the roads leading to the parking spaces, which can mean that a city won’t allow the parking to be built because it will induce demand.



    Good point. We should go protest new bike lanes, protest parks, and vomit on MUNI buses so people leave, so it’s a very crappy city that anyone can afford.



    Guess it’s kinda like the car ads that always show cars driving through such wondrous scenery when the daily reality is usually much different.

    Though I think a well-produced video showing people biking to work in the city could easily be made attractive and glamorous…especially because it really is much more fun biking in the city than driving.



    Ah, yes, I guess that does make sense. Though it could go along Larkin or something for the northbound trip–lots of buses in the area operate like that.