Today’s Headlines

  • New GG Bridge Barrier Causes Drivers to Speed; CHP to Increase Enforcement (KRON 1, 2KTVU)
  • Proposed City Code Amendment Would Privatize Privately-Owned Public Open Spaces (SocketSite)
  • Uber Reports 11,000 Active Drivers in SF (Exam)
  • DMV Says “Ride-Share” Drivers Need Commercial Plates; Uber Bars Drivers Who Comply (Buzzfeed)
  • SF Bicycle Coalition Rides San Jose With the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition and Bike East Bay
  • BART Board Urged By “Black Friday 14” Protest Supporters to Drop Demands for $75K in Restitution
  • Protesters Who Took Over San Mateo-Hayward Bridge Cited for Causing “Nuisance,” Car Crashes (PA)
  • Lake Merritt’s Revival Included Improved Pedestrian and Bike Access, Reduced Traffic Lanes (SPUR)
  • Palo Alto City Council Approves Two Bike Boulevards on Maybell and Churchill Avenues (PA)
  • Atherton Considers Suing Over Caltrain Electrification Environmental Impact Report (Almanac)
  • More on Assemblyman Levine’s Push to Fast-Track New Lane on Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (ABC)
  • Man Run Over By Own Car in San Jose (CBS); Head-On Collision on Hwy 1 in Montara (ABC)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Mario Tanev

    Does anyone know what the justification for the barrier on GGB was? Certainly I can see how it can result in fewer head on collisions, and I will not be at all surprised to see more speeding collisions. Which one is preferable?

  • jd_x

    “New GG Bridge Barrier Causes Drivers to Speed”

    Yet more evidence for the idea often pointed out here that medians (which is essentially what the GGB barrier is) do the opposite of making roads safer (at least for pedestrians and cyclists) since they encourage speeding by making drivers feel safer. Even though pedestrians and cyclists are protected on the bridge from cars by a metal barrier in this particular case, the point is nonetheless clear and should guide the City’s decision to add medians throughout the city (not to mention that they waste precious street space which could be used on the edge to widen sidewalks, create buffers for bike lanes, or increase greenery where people can actually enjoy it instead of being sandwiched between lanes of traffic).

  • shamelessly

    I assume from the GGB board’s perspective, they theoretically bore some responsibility for the head-on collisions because their infrastructure allowed cars to easily cross over into oncoming traffic. So the concrete median takes some of that responsibility away, even though you could make the case that by creating a wide, straight roadway with clear boundaries, they now encourage a higher average speed.

  • coolbabybookworm

    The justification was to prevent head ons.

  • theqin

    Can we do like they do in Germany with some tunnels — license plate recognition cameras that identify you at the beginning and end, and if you took under a certain amount of time then you were obviously speeding and are automatically issued a citation?

  • Andy Chow

    They changed the speed limit because of narrower lane width and a change in lane merge approaching the bridge.

    Even if some people speed on the bridge, the bridge is safer since rear-end collisions are less deadly than head-on ones.

  • murphstahoe

    Driving is safer than flying because you are more likely to die if you are in a plane crash than a car crash, right Andy?

    Please tell me you see the flaw in your logic….

  • Jeffrey Baker

    You don’t even have to go to Germany for that. In Oklahoma they enforce turnpike speed limits with toll booth timers.

  • jd_x

    Here’s the thing I find really sad about the GGB barrier …

    When *motorists* are at risk of getting hit by other motorists, then the city will pull out all stops to do everything to make sure they are protected, i.e. add medians or barriers. But the same is not true for the second-class citizens, er, cyclists. Cyclists get some paint, or, at best (with a few exceptions like the buffered bike lane in GGP), soft-hit posts because apparently it’s better that a cyclist be injured or killed than a motorist suffer the horrible inconvenience of getting their car dented or scratched when they veer out of the lane.

    They bias against vulnerable road users in our society never ceases to astound me.

  • OTOH, that bridge is nearly 80 years old, and they only just added the median barrier. So that’s not quite “pulling out all the stops.”

    Then when they try a new bike lane design in GGP, separating vulnerable cyclists from moving cars using a barrier of parked cars, you get plenty of vehicular cyclists complaining about how unfair it is that they have to occasionally go a tiny bit slower now.

    But yeah. The city should have already build a complete network of separated bike lanes and walking routes decades ago. What is the freaking hold up???

  • baklazhan

    I’m also interested in seeing the results of the new, twice-as-wide Presidio freeway. No doubt traffic will move a lot faster, and I wonder if there won’t be spillover effects onto Lombard St. as well.

    I hope someone is collecting good data about speeds, accident rates, etc– preferably an independent observer who isn’t under pressure to justify a billion dollars in spending.

  • Andy Chow

    Operating a vehicle is not the same thing as riding on an airplane operated by commercial pilots. If the same number of people who drive were to operate general aviation aircrafts, it will be even more deadly. The road is designed to allow for some errors, but not in the sky.

  • asdf
  • Easy

    Yes! Is it too late to rescind the one going up on Potrero Ave?

  • jd_x

    Fair point. But it’s nonetheless a very expensive system at $30 million (http://goldengatebridge.org/projects/MoveableMedianBarrier.php) and just think how much awesomely safe and truly progressive bike infrastructure we could get for that kind of money.

  • jd_x

    “Operating a vehicle is not the same thing as riding on an airplane operated by commercial pilots.”

    Of course it’s not, but that’s what people choose between. When I want to visit my family in San Diego, I don’t ask: should I drive or fly a general aviation aircraft. I choose between driving or taking commercial jets.

  • SFnative74

    The barrier was put in by the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District. San Francisco had nothing to do with it.

  • davistrain

    I have mentioned this before: An airliner has just landed at LAX, and while waiting for the unloading gate to clear, the captain addresses the passengers: “I’d like to thank you for traveling with us, and remind you that you’re about to begin the most dangerous part of your journey–driving on the streets and hiqhways of Southern California. Please buckle up when you get in your car and drive defensively; we want to see you again.”

  • murphstahoe

    The point Mr Chow – is that the safety of the bridge is the number of collisions multiplied by the severity of the collisions.

    You can show that a head on collision is more severe than a “rear-end collision” (neglecting to mention side to side, but whatever). What you do not provide is any data on whether the increased speeds on the roadway will not increase the number of non-head-on collisions to the point where the total injuries/fatalities are actually higher. Nor discuss the fact that the non-head-on collisions will be worse than before because the speeds will be higher.

    The data will tell

  • Sprague

    They have the same thing on stretches of the autobahn in Austria (ie. c. 30 km stretches through hilly terrain).

  • jd_x

    When did I say anything about SF? My point is that it’s money that went to automobile infrastructure that, applied to cycling infrastructure, would save many more lives and prevent much more injuries. There are plenty of state and federal funds that also go to cycling. It doesn’t have to be the City of SF that pays for it.

  • murphstahoe

    Is this the same Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District that is trying to close a $30M deficit – and considering putting a toll on pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge to close it? While spending $30M on a median for motorists yet providing abysmal conditions on the cycling path?

  • SFnative74

    “When did I say anything about SF?”

    It was right around here, when you said “the city”: “When *motorists* are at risk of getting hit by other motorists, then the city will pull out all stops to do everything to make sure they are protected, i.e. add medians or barriers.”