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Eyes on the Street: The Kinda Raised Crosswalk at Duboce Park

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SFMTA's first raised crosswalk on a through street. Photo: Streetsblog

SFMTA’s first raised crosswalk on a through city street. Photo: Streetsblog

Streetsblog was thrilled to hear about the quiet unveiling of San Francisco’s first raised crosswalk on a through city street, at Steiner and Hermann, across from Duboce Park.

For a safe-streets advocate, raised crosswalks represent a clean break from the auto-über alles perspective that has so dominated our streets. By keeping the crosswalk at the level of the sidewalk, it sends a message: this is pedestrian space. Motorists–yeah you! Slow down! Be safe. Because if you try to race across one, not only are you going to drop your cell phone and spill your latte, but you might even damage the undercarriage of your car.

And unlike a normal speed hump, raised crosswalks slow cars down exactly where they should–where walkers need to cross.

Now, technically, the Duboce Park crosswalk isn’t the first raised crosswalk in San Francisco–but the existing ones are on backstreets, such as Pearl where it meets Market. The handful that exist are in low traffic areas/places where cut-through traffic can be hazardous, such as in the designated “home zone” around Marshall Elementary in the Mission. There’s also one on Nancy Pelosi Drive, but that’s deep inside Golden Gate Park.

And there’s one other that sometimes gets overlooked. More on that below.
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Vision Zero Committee Hears Radio Spot and Other Efforts to Curtail Speeding

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Supervisors Yee and Campos at the Vision Zero Committee of the Transportation Authority. Photo: Streetsblog

Supervisors Yee and Campos at the Vision Zero Committee of the Transportation Authority. Photo: Streetsblog

Note the ‘call to action’ at the end of this post.

Thursday afternoon, Supervisors Norman Yee and David Campos, commissioners on the County Transportation Authority Vision Zero Committee, heard updates from SFMTA officials on plans to install safety infrastructure and increase educational awareness on the dangers of speeding. They also discussed Mayor Ed Lee’s Executive Directive to, among other things, install speed humps in Golden Gate Park and protected bike lanes South of Market. Safety advocates also spoke, keeping up the pressure on city agencies to follow through on promised improvements.

John Knox White, Transportation Planner at SFMTA, gave a detailed update on the status of the Vision Zero Communications Outreach Program. “We’re trying to change San Francisco’s culture,” White told the committee. “We’re trying to change to a culture that embraces public safety.” Read more…

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SPUR Talk: Developing the Oakland Waterfront

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SPUR looked at the Brooklyn Basin and the transformative effect it will have on the Oakland waterfront. Image: Signature Properties.

SPUR looked at the Brooklyn Basin and the transformative effect it will have on the Oakland waterfront. Image: Signature Properties.

SPUR hosted a lunchtime forum today at its Oakland location to discuss the $1.5 billion Brooklyn Basin development. The panel, which was moderated by SPUR’s Oakland director Robert Ogilvie, included Mike Ghielmetti of Signature Development Group, Matt Franklin of MidPen Housing, and Patricia Kernighan, who represented District 2 of Oakland during the authorization phase of the “Oak to Ninth” (now called Brooklyn Basin) waterfront housing development.

“I was 12 when we started,” joked Ghielmetti about how long it takes to get such a large scale project going, to a chuckle from the audience. “The project is fifteen years in the making. It was originally port land, about 65 acres, largely divided from the city of Oakland.”

Indeed, that’s part of what makes the project so challenging. The Oakland waterfront, as the panelists bemoaned, is effectively chopped off from the rest of the city by the 880 freeway, the Union Pacific tracks, and BART’s tracks and yards. “It’s almost a half-mile from Oakland and the rest of civilization,” said Ghielmetti. “We wanted to reunite this area by creating a neighborhood and linkages.”

To do that, his development firm, the City of Oakland, and a variety of advocates set out to build some 3,000 new residences, with supporting services such as dry cleaners, coffee shops and, it is hoped, a grocery store. But first there was the challenge of cleaning up the soil, which, Ghielmetti said, was contaminated with pretty much everything short of plutonium. “What we inherited looked like this,” he said, pointing to a picture of concrete and debris that still dots much of this landscape. “It was highly contaminated…heavy metals, hydrocarbons…we’re still looking for Jimmy Hoffa out there.”
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Are San Francisco Cyclists Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

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Justin Liszanckie in the hospital after the crash. Photo: Liszanckie's mother.

Justin Liszanckie in the hospital after the crash. Photo: Liszanckie’s mother.

Justin Liszanckie was running an errand on the evening of July 20. “I was on Brannan and heading west, trying to turn south on Fourth towards the ballpark,” he said. And that’s the last thing he remembers until “waking up in the hospital hours later.”

Liszanckie ended up in San Francisco General for ten days. His injuries: “Three broken bones around the orbit of my right eye. Extensive lacerations on the right side of my face and ear. A fourth fracture in my right side nasal bone. Two broken vertebrae on the right side of neck, two broken ribs, a broken right pelvis.”

But all in all, he feels somewhat lucky to have avoided any surgeries. “Once I was out, I made sure I had follow up appointments…mostly I was concerned about the facial fractures around my eye.” Again, he was lucky. His eye is okay.

But something else happened in the hospital he hadn’t anticipated.

He got a traffic citation for $238.

The police never came to the hospital to interview him. The ticket is based on the testimony of a driver who was waiting to cross, the driver of the vehicle that struck Liszanckie, and her passenger.

Liszanckie, frustrated, and still in pain from his crash, reached out to Streetsblog:

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Push Continues in City Hall for Safer Bike Infrastructure

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Supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim and David Campos hear testimony from SFMTA to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee about efforts to accelerate street improvements. Photo: Streetsblog.

Supervisors John Avalos, Jane Kim, and David Campos hear testimony from SFMTA to the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee about efforts to accelerate street safety improvements. Photo: Streetsblog.

Note the ‘call to action’ at the end of this post.

Yesterday afternoon, some 30 officials, police officers, advocates, and other members of the public joined the regular meeting of the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors at City Hall to discuss how to get protected bike lanes installed quickly on San Francisco’s most dangerous streets.

“It is incredibly frustrating to our city and residents to continue to see people killed and injured on our streets,” said District 6 Supervisor Jane Kim, “Are we working with the urgency that we need to take?”

The people killed whom Kim was referring to were, of course, Kate Slattery and Heather Miller. They died while riding their bikes in San Francisco on the evening of June 22. Over a month later, Mayor Ed Lee issued an Executive Directive instructing “SFMTA to deliver near­-term safety improvements on 7th and 8th Streets in the next nine months” and the SF Recreation & Parks Department “to deliver near­-term safety improvements to reduce speeds and vehicular through-traffic on JFK Drive in the next six months,” among other things. The hearing was part of an ongoing effort to check up on and make sure agencies followed through.

“It’s not just engineering. And it’s not just enforcement. It’s those two plus education,” explained Tom McGuire, Director of Sustainable Streets for SFMTA. “We believe you should be able to ride safely if you’re 80 or eight or anywhere in between. Kate Slattery and Heather Miller remind us we’re not there.”

Indeed, San Francisco is not there, but the question Kim and other members of the panel and public demanded to know is, “Why not?”

Patrick Traughber and Jay Harris wait patiently for their turns to speak. Photo: Streetsblog.

Patrick Traughber and Jay Harris wait patiently for their turns to speak. Photo: Streetsblog.

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Update on BART Work Between Glen Park and Daly City

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BART was closed this past weekend for repairs from Glen Park to Daly City. Photo: Streetsblog.

BART was closed this past weekend for repairs from Glen Park to Daly City. Photo: Streetsblog.

While the rest of the Bay Area was heading to the beach this Labor Day weekend, BART was working around the clock between Glen Park and Daly City, repairing tracks and switches. This was the fourth weekend closure necessary for the work. As before, bus bridges were provided between Daly City, Balboa Park and Glen Park stations.

From the BART release on the closures:

We have to close the tracks between Glen Park and Daly City stations on multiple weekends between the end of July and October including Labor Day weekend. We will be making vital repairs to our tracks including adding sound dampening equipment to the curved trackway in order to reduce noise from the trains. Crews will work 24 hours a day during the shutdown. Other work will include improvements to Balboa Park Station and tree trimming along the trackway.

So how are things going? “The work is on schedule if not ahead of schedule. We may be able to drop the last weekend (Oct. 15-16) but are keeping it on the schedule as now for tentative, just in case,” explained Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for BART, in an email to Streetsblog. “The other two weekends (9/17-18 and 10/1-2) are still planned.”

One can hear BART trains passing from miles away, as wheels cause the rails to resonate. It can be positively deafening inside the trains or close to the line. The above video is from BART and it explains what causes the noise–and what the agency is doing to quiet things down as part of this work.
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Town Hall on Housing, Transportation and Urban Planning also a Political Rally

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Antonio Villaraigosa, Lateefah Simon, Jane Kim and David Talbot at a forum at Mission High's Auditorium. Photo: Clayton Koo.

Antonio Villaraigosa, Lateefah Simon, Jane Kim, and David Talbot at a forum at Mission High’s Auditorium. Photo: Clayton Koo.

Last night, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, District 7 BART Board Candidate Lateefah Simon, and Supervisor Jane Kim discussed a host of transportation and housing-related issues–as well as other topics–at a forum at Mission High’s Auditorium. It was hosted by journalist, author, and Salon founder David Talbot.

Although billed as a “Town Hall on Housing, Transportation, and Urban Planning,” the event was as much a political rally promoting Jane Kim’s candidacy for the District 11 San Francisco State Senate Seat–attendees were greeted by a table with campaign posters and hand-outs.

Attendees of the forum were also recruited by Jane Kim's campaign. Photo: Streetsblog.

Attendees of the forum were recruited by Jane Kim’s campaign. Photo: Streetsblog.

This fact was not lost on Scott Wiener’s campaign, which staged a demonstration outside the forum. Volunteers handed out pamphlets–which emulated Kim’s own campaign materials in appearance–that accused her of “voting against $1 billion in funding for homeless housing” and “legalizing sidewalk tents as homes.” Julie Edwards, spokeswoman for Kim’s campaign, said that “Jane put together a forum to discuss solutions. Scott is doing negative attacks.”

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Scott Wiener supporters picketed outside. Photo: Streetsblog.

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SoMa to Get SF’s First Protected Intersection…in One Direction at Least

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Existing Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure on Division Street | February 4, 2015

Existing Bike and Pedestrian Infrastructure on Division Street. Photo: SFMTA.

SFMTA announced late last week that San Francisco will soon break ground on the first protected intersection in San Francisco. From the agency’s web article:

A new type of safer intersection design for San Francisco breaks ground this week: The city’s first “protected intersection” treatment is coming to 9th and Division streets.

Protected intersections use a simple design concept to make everyone safer. Under this configuration, features like concrete islands placed at the corners slow turning cars and physically separate people biking and driving. They also position turning drivers at an angle that makes it easier for them to see and yield to people walking and biking crossing their path.

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Biking and the Homeless on the Hairball: A Sad Situation for All

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Cesar Chavez bike bridge under the 101. Photo: Dan Crosby.

Cesar Chavez bike bridge under the 101. Photo: Dan Crosby.

Dan Crosby works in tech and cycles to his job in SoMa, using the bike lanes and bridges along Cesar Chavez. Recently, Crosby brought this situation to the attention of Streetsblog: “There’s now a homeless encampment on the westbound Cesar Chavez bike bridge under the 101. There have often been a couple of tents there, but now there’s at least six tents, and a bunch of people standing around, ironically, a pile of bikes,” he wrote in an email to Streetsblog. “Yesterday I had someone exit their tent right in front of me in the very narrow space left for me to pass, and today I had to weave around several people.”

It was just two years ago that the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC) celebrated these safety improvements to Cesar Chavez and the notorious “Hairball” tangle of freeway on-and-off ramps where the whole mess crosses 101. “Today, we celebrated Cesar Chávez Streets’ transformation into a beautiful, calmer, more livable street, complete with bike lanes, bulb-outs, a planted median and a road diet from six to four lanes,” said a Bicycle Coalition release. And “A Traffic Sewer Transformed Into a Safer Street” was the celebratory headline in Streetsblog.

And now the crown jewel of the project, the bike bridge under 101, is blocked by tents and trash.

This is in no way to detract from the hard work of Fran Taylor, who lead the CC Puede movement to calm the street, reduce the lanes and make it a more livable area. Nor is it a slight to the Bicycle Coalition. Certainly, the road is much better. There are protected bike lanes for long stretches. Read more…

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Eyes on the Street: Sunday Streets in the Mission

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Dancing on Valencia yesterday afternoon during the Sunday Streets event in the Mission. Photo: Streetsblog.

Dancing on Valencia yesterday afternoon during the Sunday Streets event in the Mission. Photo: Streetsblog.

Normally, Valencia Street in the Mission is dominated by traffic, double-parked cars blocking bike lanes, close calls, and the occasional injury. But not yesterday; yesterday, Valencia Street was all about games, fun and dancing–and a bit of politics and social advocacy–thanks to Sunday Streets.

Yesterday’s event, the second Mission District event this year, went from 26th St to McCoppin Hub Plaza and cars were banned from interfering with the fun from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to bikes, kids on scooters, dancing and all sorts of other fun, lots of people and organizations used the event to get their advocacy and health messages across.

Francisco Siguenza, a nursing student at the University of San Francisco, was volunteering with the American Heart and Stroke Association, taking blood pressure and teaching people the basics of CPR. He sees a natural connection between heart health and street fairs and events. “We can reach communities, but it [the event] is an incentive for people to learn reasons to be healthy, to eat healthy.”

Olga Fedyukova, also a nursing student at USF, teaches a passerby the basics of CPR. Photo: Streetsblog.

Olga Fedyukova, also a nursing student at USF, teaches a passerby the basics of CPR. Photo: Streetsblog.

Heart health was also the reason Jennifer Wade was out collecting signatures opposing the construction of the Warrior’s Arena in Mission Bay. “Mission Bay is surrounded by water on three sides, and I’m concerned about access to UCSF  Medical Center,” she said. Her son has a congenital heart defect and, sadly, an emergency trip to the children’s center there is inevitable. “There will be 225 events a year there [at the planned arena] and traffic is going to be a problem…it’s the wrong fit for an area with a medical campus.”

Jennifer Wade was there gathering opposition to the Warrior's Arena in Mission Bay. Photo: Streetsblog.

Jennifer Wade was there gathering opposition to the Warrior’s Arena in Mission Bay. Photo: Streetsblog.

Of course, wherever large groups of people gather, there’s going to be political activists. Along those lines, Supervisor Jane Kim was on her pink bicycle doing some old-fashioned, handshake-politics–gathering support for her bid for the District 11 State Senate seat. “Sunday Streets is such an important way to build community,” she said. “You can see how crowded it is! People love it.”

Jane Kim was out there doing some old fashioned local politicking. Photo: Streetsblog.

Jane Kim was out there doing some old fashioned local politicking. Photo: Streetsblog.

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