Today’s Headlines

  • Police Seek Hit-and-Run Driver Who Killed Woman at Bayshore and Visitacion (SFGate, KRON, ABC)
  • Castro Street Revamp Construction Going at Full Speed (BAR)
  • D10 Watch Suggests Fixes for Safer Crossings at the “Alemany Maze” on Foot and Bike
  • SFMTA Seeks Members for New Van Ness BRT Citizens Advisory Committee (Muni Diaries)
  • A Look at SF’s 40 “Most Notable” Developments Going Up, Clustered Around Transit (Curbed)
  • Wiener Avoids Supe Squabble Over Waterfront Development Inquiries by Enlisting Mayor’s Help (SFGate)
  • MTC Spokesperson: Funding a Bike/Ped Path on Bay Bridge West Span “a Bridge Too Far” (KTVU)
  • Oakland to Pay $3.25M to Woman Seriously Injured on Bike After Hitting Neglected Pothole (SFGate)
  • VTA to Break Ground on Santa Clara-Alum Rock “BRT” (Mostly Without Bus Lanes) (Mercury News)
  • Caltrain to Start Serving Newly Upgraded San Bruno Station April 1 With 201 Parking Spaces (RT&S)
  • Merchants on Palo Alto’s California Ave. Fear Street Revamp Will Make Rents Unaffordable (P. Press)
  • CA Transpo Commission to Approve Plan of Mostly Car-Centric, Highway-Happy Projects (NRDC)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Bruce Halperin

    Correction: The D10 Watch post is about proposed fixes to the Alemany Maze, not the Hairball.

  • Prinzrob

    Cute quote from the MTC spokesperson. Too bad he fails to mention that a bike/ped path on the Bay Bridge West Span is the least expensive way to increase transbay capacity, and that it also would have benefits for drivers by acting as an emergency access and maintenance pathway. One of the lessons from last year’s BART strike is that we need as many transbay travel options as possible. Unlike the MTC, Caltrans is already on board with the West Span path idea, and is even interested in bringing bike/ped access to the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.

    I also don’t understand how stating that the pathway wouldn’t be completed until 2020 is a reason not to do it, as opposed to an even greater reason why we should get started right away. With current modeshare trends for driving, biking and walking in the Bay Area, failing to make the investment now will leave all of those future cyclists wondering what the heck we were thinking.

  • EastBayer

    I agree – it absolutely needs to happen. People will definitely use it – plenty of people commute across the Golden Gate every day. I know that the Bay Bridge is longer, but the total trip length is probably shorter since there are no employment centers in that part of SF and no housing immediately on the Marin side.

    I’d be willing to pay a toll as a cyclist, actually.

  • murphstahoe

    Interesting aside. I have witnessed people driving to park and ride lots near the Marin side of the bridge, getting a bike out of the car, and riding over to the city. The park and ride lots are free, and biking over is free.

  • Prinzrob

    I agree that a small toll for bikes sounds acceptable in theory, and I as well wouldn’t mind paying it, but there are a lot of reasons not to do it.

    First of all, the biggest barrier to getting the path is just finding the up-front funding, but the toll couldn’t be collected until the path was actually completed.

    Second, the cost of designing, building, and maintaining the toll collection service would add significantly to the path cost, making it even more difficult to gain a consensus on initial funding.

    Third, even a moderate toll to pay just for the toll service itself ($1-2?) would drive away a good number of potential users, especially those low-income commuters who would be most in need of a free/cheap transbay transportation option.

    Fourth, would the toll be applied to just bicyclists, or also pedestrians, and to what ages? Would a family of five on vacation need to pay $2 each, for a total of $10 just to ride on the bridge? Would the toll be applied to people who just walk partway across then back (a la the Golden Gate Bridge) or only to those who traverse the entire length? Since bikes don’t have license plates then human toll collectors would be needed, which would also add cost and make it very difficult to keep the path open 24/7.

    Fifth, the tourist revenue generated, both in Oakland and SF, from such an impressive bike/ped facility would likely offset a portion of the bridge cost over time, not to mention the cost savings from converting more transbay car and transit trips and delaying the need for even more expensive infrastructure projects.

    No other bridge paths in the Bay Area (Golden Gate, Dumbarton, Carquinez, Benicia-Martinez, Antioch) collect tolls for bike/ped access for all of the above reasons and more. In my mind I see a potential Bay Bridge path toll in the same vein as proposed excise taxes on bike sales: Unnecessary, but suggested as a way to placate the haters who think that bicyclists don’t “pay their way”.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    The Oakland pothole thing is depressing. One more reason to throw Jean Quan into the nearest sarlacc pit.

    Bonus fact: the pothole is in Jean Quan’s neighborhood (and mine).

  • Sprague

    If a bicyclist or pedestrian toll is ever determined to be prudent (and not counter-productive or resulting in discouraging nearly pollution-free travel), the toll should be roughly commensurate with the level of wear and tear (cost of maintenance, etc.) caused by the specific mode. For example, if a 2 ton car pays 5 bucks a bicyclist should pay an appropriate fraction of this based on their smaller weight and size (with a bonus for their lack of air and noise emissions) – this might work out to be roughly 2 cents (which probably isn’t worth collecting). In some national parks, the entrance fee for an automobile (with all of its occupants) is 20 bucks but a single bicyclist or walker is charged 10 bucks. The most polluting travelers have the lowest fees while minimally polluting travelers are comparably gouged. Such an approach should be avoided if pedestrians and cyclists are ever subject to tolls on Bay Area bridges.

  • thielges

    Is there an objective analysis that concludes a west span bike/ped path would be the cheapest way to increase transbay capacity? If so then that would help to counter the naysayers who do not believe that anyone would try to bike between Oakland and SF.

  • aslevin

    The 2020 cutoff is ridiculous. There are numerous large and expensive strategic transportation projects that are planned 10-20 years in the future, e.g. Downtown Extension to Transbay, BART to Diridon. Not to mention the queue of freeway projects planned for decades. All a cutoff says is they don’t consider bicycling a transportation mode worth planning for.

  • Prinzrob

    I have not yet seen an analysis which compares a bike/ped path to other options, but it seems safe to assume that building another bridge or transbay tube would be significantly more expensive. Increased ferry service would be less expensive in the short term, but would definitely cost more over the 50+ years that a path would be in service.

    In my experience, though, bike infra naysayers are not often swayed by objective cost-benefit analyses. They usually just move on to another in a seemingly infinite series of contrived reasons why not to do something.

  • murphstahoe

    At Spooner Lake (Flume Trail) in Tahoe they started charging $2 for bikes and $1 for walk-ins. I was appalled, then I found out why – people were parking on NV-28 and then biking/walking in to avoid paying the parking cost in the park.

    I can see that, but I was pretty pissed after riding from the ocean to the visitors center at Haleakala, 20+ miles straight uphill, and having to pay a $5 entry fee.

  • Guest

    Sweaty, panting cyclists=no fee. Suspiciously dry cyclists=$2.

  • Prinzrob

    That sounds somewhat like what Safe Routes to Schools coordinators are trying to get parents to do. Even if you “have” to drive, park away from the school and bike/walk the last mile with your child. Cutting down the number of vehicles around the most congested areas (schools, urban centers, etc) creates safer and more efficient traffic conditions.

    In the case of the Marin commuters, I don’t have a problem with that behavior at all. The bridge toll is basically having the same effect as a congestion fee. Now if only there was a similar option for East Bay commutes.

  • murphstahoe

    Modulo the congestion in those lots, and on US-101 from Santa Rosa to the bridge.

    I’ve observed this in the lot at the North end which is ostensibly for headlands hikers

  • p_chazz

    As you were just doing with collecting tolls from bicyclists.

  • Prinzrob

    Hey, if you want to do a cost-benefit analysis that proves collecting tolls from cyclists using a bridge path will result in some sort of value I’m willing to hear it. I’m not immune to data that disproves my presumption.

  • Well, I guess it was 7 months and 4 days into her term…

  • Here’s a better comparison of the costs inflicted by cars vs. bikes. Damage is a function of the fourth power of weight on the axle, and cars weigh ~20 times more than bikes, so they do 160,000x as much damage. But it’s also a function of speed, which varies, but generally cars do even more damage thanks to that.

    Bottom line, a 2-cent toll for bikes is much too high.

  • CamBam415

    Yeah, I park in that GGB lot sometimes and bike to SOMA from there. There is nothing wrong with multi-model transit… while it may not remove cars from the 101 in the North Bay, it removes cars from the congestion of SF. And while the parking lot was likely put in for visitors, commuters and hikers generally use the lot at different times (and it is rarely full M-F). Ironically, as Prinzrob commented, I tend to do this most often when I bike to school with my kids which requires me to drive them to within biking distance of their school but doesn’t leave me with enough time to get into the office via public transit or bike alone. I’ve also used that lot a few times as a starting point for introducing my friends to bike commuting as it spares them the hill on Alexander Ave, but still lets them enjoy the wonderful bike facilities between the GG Bridge and the Marina.

    I would love to see a bike lane added to the Bay Bridge as that could be a game changer and would get significant use… and 100% agree that while the BB bridge is longer it is miles closer to both housing and downtown SF (and has great access to feed paths in the EB).

    Biking over the GG bridge is often the best part of my day! I’d love to see more people have the same opportunity to enjoy the experience of biking over a bridge.