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    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.


    Jym Dyer

    RoyTT – As an actual Haight Ashbury and former Noe Valley resident, I find your version of events to be grossly inaccurate.

    The plans for the Haight/Stanyan site redevelopment had a token amount of housing and tons of parking. The neighborhood wisely nixed that. The McDo across the street was a bone of contention from day one and continues to be.

    Real Foods on 24th was shut down to stop union organizing in advance of selling off most of the stores to a Utah-based chain. It had nothing to do with parking; the store was never lacking in customers.

    There is a Real Foods on Stanyan, a few blocks away from the Whole Foods. It has no parking, yet continues to thrive.


    Dark Soul



    No citation necessary; only logic and common sense are needed. How do you add a bus lane to a street with bus routes that only has one lane, like Haight Street?

    And don’t even start with “just take out the parking” unless you want the entire neighborhood on your case.

    Moreover, if you’re on a street where there is one bus every 15 minutes, then it’s impossible to justify a bus lane because of the un-necessary impact on other road users.

    A bus lane is OK on Market Street and a few over-stressed intersections. You need to make a better case to expand them elsewhere.



    Number 2 is absolutely true. Since the dawn of civilization, parents have been able to drive their kids around. How else would they possibly get them from place to place?



    Haha, this guy’s funny. He thinks “poor people” are the ones that benefit most from free parking. He also thinks that making parking free means people won’t have to “drive around endlessly”. Clearly, basic supply and demand economics elude him. That becomes further evident when he states he thinks every bike riding in SF is worth $5000 and merely for “fun”.



    Bus lanes may finesse that correlation in some cases but they are only viable in a limited number of city locations, like Market Street and some key intersections.

    [citation needed]



    I see. Real Foods is closed because of lack of parking. Now we know for sure you are either a troll or a n00b.

    The Whole Foods in Noe Valley has 2 traffic control people, who are routinely ignored by patrons! They keep people from entering the lot when full – so the drivers just stop on 24th Street and wait to be waved in.

    It can get rather comical, with an EB driver waiting to get into one entrance, and a WB driver waiting to get into the other, gridlocking the entire street.

    The Noe Valley Farmers market has no parking and does a monster business.



    Bruce, to be fair to the Masonic TJ’s, they have a traffic control person out front directing traffic and helping with safety issues. Some other stores should do that. Or better yet have valet parkers.

    WholeFoods tends to only build or buy sites that have parking. At Haight and Stanyan they tried to do the right thing by redeveloping the entire site to include housing and parking as well, but the neighborhood nixed that (even though they seem perfectly happy with the suburban-style McDonalds taking a half-block across the street.

    There is no way that the rather preciously NIMBY Noe Valley community would countenance a re-do of the WF site so they are stuck with the parking they have. The “other” produce store on 24th has no parking and has been closed for a decade or so, so that might be a clue that parking helps bigger stores like that


    Jeffrey Baker

    Whatever they are doing isn’t working. I walked thorough MacArthur this morning and three decks of parking are totally empty meanwhile the sign says “garage full”.



    Even worse is the Trader Joe’s lot on Masonic. Fortunately the 43 shifts over to Presidio Avenue at Geary so it’s not impacted, but one of these days a pedestrian will be hit by a driver entering or exiting that parking lot.



    Can’t they bust the driver for not obeying the 3-foot law? And I think the punishment for not following this law should be: you have to ride a bike and have somebody buzz you so you never, ever forget how horrible that is.



    “My point was that usually more congestion leads to more bus delays as well.”

    Not if you give public transit designated lanes, which is *exactly* what we are talking about doing.



    Yep, that WF lots is absolutely nuts. Not to mention that the entire design (which admittedly WF inherited from Bell Foods … though I don’t know why they didn’t revamp it) sucks for pedestrians because you have to walk right through the parking lot to get to the store. They should rip out a row of parking spots to make a nice walkway for pedestrians with trees, vegetation, tables, bike parking.

    And they should start charging for parking. I’m pretty sure that would make people think twice about driving there (since many people who drive there live within walking distance). I don’t understand why we give away prime real estate smack in the middle of bustling Noe Valley to motorists who are causing congestion and creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

    All those motorists turning in and out of the lot also slow down the 48 constantly and make that area dangerous for cyclists.

    I actually think cars should be banned on 24th between Church and Castro and removing the curbs and making the whole road a level, European-style outdoors plaza, but that’s another issue ….



    absolutely. $3 is 1/2 the toll.



    Headline of the day

    The video captures the swearing I guess. Not the unsafe pass.



    But the more we solve problems by “just taking out the parking” the more that will happen as well.

    Good point. We should solve the problem by aggressively citing double parkers, and by not underpricing parking. Taking out parking is supposed to incent people to find other modes of travel, but if we just let them double park, the incentive isn’t very powerful.

    In a dense city like SF, it’s not crazy. The double parking and craziness near Whole Foods in Noe Valley is legendary. There are 2 Mollie Stone’s and another Whole Foods within a mile or so of the store – the NV WF is servicing Noe Valley for the most part. Surely we can find a way to get 5% of those driving to figure out another method. That would be enough to keep a spot in the lot open at all times.


    SF Guest

    Graveyard shift baby!



    Market Street is also less congested at 2 AM. Maybe if everyone just stopped going to work, we’d have less congestion!



    there will be cars behind that bus and may either stop inside the intersection

    This doesn’t make the bus stop problematic. It’s illegal to block the box, was before, still is. That’s the problem, not the bus stop.



    My point is that more congestion doesn’t have to lead to bus delays if we prioritize transit movement. No matter how packed the Bay Bridge is, it doesn’t affect BART because it has its own right of way. By improving boarding, light timing, and right of way for MUNI lines we decrease the negative impacts of congestion.

    If there’s no free lunch then why is there free parking? Parking isn’t hard to find because of lack of spaces, it’s hard to find because the majority of spaces are being underpriced.

    Traffic is fluid and can adjust to changes, especially ones designed to improve transit. That’s why removing the freeways in SF have led to changing traffic patterns including reduced car trips, not saying that it’s perfect, but we did adjust. At the same time, the impact on congestion is part of why these simple solutions have taken so long and cost so much, the SFMTA has to do extensive traffic studies on the impact of these changes on overall traffic patterns. No one is ignoring the impact of anything on vehicle movement at the SFMTA or the mayor’s office.


    SF Guest

    You make a sound hypothetical here and if the Muni sickout had continued more people would have been driven to drive which isn’t good.

    You make it sound as if I wanted the sickout to continue so I can somehow personally gain from less Muni congestion which wasn’t my intent. I merely pointed out: “Funny thing . . . is I recall there was less congestion during the Muni sickout.”

    I can assure you I would never wish any transit agency to go on a sickout or strike and if it were up to me would make it illegal.



    coolbaby, I understood that perfectly. My point was that usually more congestion leads to more bus delays as well.

    Bus lanes may finesse that correlation in some cases but they are only viable in a limited number of city locations, like Market Street and some key intersections.

    And if traffic is backed up all around these re-engineered sections, then it wont do transit riders much good at all as the bus sits in that mess..

    Murph’s point about double-parking is well-taken. But the more we solve problems by “just taking out the parking” the more that will happen as well.

    Point being, there’s no free lunch and everything affects everything else in a complex system.


    SF Guest

    I would have to be a fool or stupid not to see cars are a major contributor to congestion. I merely pointed out they are not the sole contributor to congestion, and all modes of transportation must learn to work together without name calling or disparaging remarks.



    The major driver of delays for every bus I’m on is double parkers. I don’t care about them one whit.



    I would suggest re-reading what was written “I do not care about private vehicle congestion if it reduces trip times for transit users.”

    I take that to mean that any project that improves transit but potentially causes congestion for drivers is a tradeoff worth making. For example if removing cars from Market improves transit speeds it should be done regardless of impacts to drivers who used to take Market.



    Anyone can vote for or against anything on a case-by-case basis. Otherwise why not just merge the different measures?

    Some folks oppose both A and B, because they think the money will be wasted, as it has been in the past. Supporting A is voting for Ed Lee and lefties don’t like doing that. While conservatives oppose most new taxes anyway. Moreover B is unfunded and simply steals the money from other city services so, for instance, the non-profits hate it.

    In fact it is because there are some strange bedfellows opposing A and B that both could get shot down in flames, especially A with its 2/3 majority requirement.

    L is a more subtle issue because it’s about high-level policy imperatives and providing limits and controls. But I can see reasonable people disagreeing on that as well.



    There is a very justifiable reason why cars get their fair share of the blame for congestion in a city:



    You’re going to have to go over $3 (or $5) to even approach effective demand-responsive prices at BART stations, I’d think.



    730,000+ trips are taken on Muni each day. During the sickout, transit stops were packed with people waiting for the bus that never came. On that day, maybe there was less congestion on Market because there were fewer buses, but what if just half of all those people stranded that day decided to drive? Market St and many other streets would have been worse than ever.



    Except that traffic congestion is a major driver of delays to buses.

    If you could have dedicated bus lanes everywhere then that might not matter. But in practice bus-only lanes only make sense on major muni thoroughfares like Market Street, on bridges, tunnels and freeways, and in isolated cases like the two cited here.

    Less traffic congestion would be good for drivers and for good for transit. It’s all about “balance”. There. I said it. Again ;-(


    Upright Biker

    Lincheid and the SF Chamber are talking out both sides of their mouth. They support Prop A, and they also support the anti-transit Prop L.

    Can’t have it both ways, folks.