Today’s Headlines

  • Pedestrian Signal Coming This Summer to City Hall Crosswalk Where Woman Was Killed (Hoodline)
  • Speed Limit Reduced on Sections of Fulton Street Along Golden Gate Park (Richmond)
  • Many Truck Drivers Apparently Ask SFMTA if They Can Drive in Green Bike Lanes (NextCity)
  • Haight Bus Lane Extension Was Expedited to Test Impacts Before Transit Signals Go in (Hoodline)
  • Final Open House for Haight Ashbury Public Realm Plan Next Week (Hoodline)
  • Escalators at Castro and Other Muni Stations to Get Overhaul (Hoodline)
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Suggests Letting SF Developers Build Affordable Housing There (SFGate)
  • AC Transit to Test Double Decker Bus (ABCSFBay); Richmond-SF Ferry Plans Move Forward (SFBay)
  • Berkeley Has Seen 2,000 Bike Crashes Since 2001, and the Most Dangerous Spots Are Clear (Daily Cal)
  • Atherton Suspends Study of El Camino Real Road Diet to Wait for Menlo Park’s (Almanac)
  • More on Assemblyman Mullin’s Bill to Seek Solutions for Car Congestion on Highway 101 (Daily Journal)
  • CA Board of Equalization May Cut Gas Tax By 21 Percent in July (Mercury Roadshow)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Jeffrey Baker

    The pedestrian signal at City Hall is an atrocity. This is not a pedestrian safety measure, it’s an inconvenience for pedestrians and a benefit for drivers, who no longer need to pay attention to the crosswalk. This is the completely wrong response to the pedestrian fatality.

  • shamelessly

    The final link (Mercury Roadshow) is broken. It should go to

  • mx

    How many more people have to be hit by cars in front of City Hall before you’ll give up and agree that a light is necessary?

  • Jeffrey Baker

    How many more people have to be hit before you’d close one block of one street to cars?

  • SF Guest

    This is where all great minds think alike. They start off with a one-block street closure. Then another, and then another.

  • 94110

    We’ve already legislated tour bus drivers to prevent them from chatting while driving.

    Additionally I would support a speed table for that crossing. Not just the bulb-outs that SFMTA seems to have dismissed.

    After those changes the number that would have to be hit by cars would need to be non zero for me to “give up and agree that a light is necessary”.

    Now on the converse, how many people have to be hit by cars in front of City Hall after the light goes in before you give up and agree that it’s a horrible idea?

    I’ll be crossing against the light, as I imagine 90% of people will be. The only change is now I not only have to watch out for distracted drivers, but entitled drivers as well.

    TL;DR: Just say no to beg buttons.

  • mx

    “Many Truck Drivers Apparently Ask SFMTA if They Can Drive in Green Bike Lanes”

    This nicely sums up the many many problems with SFMTA’s non-MUTCD color-coded Candyland design scheme. It may look pretty (though the red treatments start to look pretty grungy), but people have no idea how to actually navigate with it in the real world. I’ve seen the studies they did on sharrows; an enormous number of people think the symbol means things like “bike lane ahead” or “bikes must go this way” or “bicycles must go over this symbol.” Every new symbol, sign, or treatment increases complexity. The more time road users, no matter what mode they are using at the moment, spend processing these inputs, the less time they are spending on safely getting around, looking out for others, and watching where they are going.

    Here’s a couple random scenarios I see every day around the magical new world of forward-thinking transportation planning at Market and 10th:

    – Say you’re a licensed taxi driver dropping off or picking up a couple at Alta CA, a restaurant on the north side of Market between 10th and Van Ness. Where do you stop? Do you drive down the bike lane and drop them at the curb, or block the only non-red traffic lane? If you went down the bike lane, how do you get out and go straight on Market at the end?

    – Say you’re a cyclist in the above scenario and the bike lane is blocked by a taxi. How do you leave the protected bike lane and get around it when the next lane is usually jammed with cars?

    – Say you’re a truck driver coming eastbound down Market to deliver food to 1355 Market, the Twitter building. You’re not a bus or a taxi, so you’re not supposed to be driving in the “red carpet” lane. But you’re also entitled to continue straight on Market because you’re a truck. Where do you drive?

    – So you’ve solved that problem and find yourself in front of the building. Where do you stop? Yes I know trucks are probably supposed to use a loading dock, but this still happens all the time, so something clearly isn’t working.

    – Say you’re an Uber X driver who wants to pick up or drop off a passenger at 1455 Market (the Uber/Square headquarters building). Where do you stop? How does your passenger react if you insist on dropping them around the corner instead of blocking traffic on Market? Will you get a 1-star rating for that?

    – Say you’re still an Uber X driver, only now your passenger wants to go to 1355 Market, the Twitter building. Can you go straight on Market through 10th to drop them off? Does the answer change if you’re a Uber Black driver (not a taxi, but licensed by the TLC)? What if you’re just a random driver, but dropping off your mother who just had a hip replacement?

    – Say you’re a driver headed east down Market between 11th and 10th, driving in the right lane like you should be. The two cars ahead of you both peeled across the bike lane and crossed 10th to stay on Market, as they either don’t realize or care that such a movement is very much prohibited and dangerous. Do you, confused and unfamiliar with the intersection, follow them, as it’s normal behavior to follow the cars in front of you?

    That’s just a few off the top of my head. And here’s the important part: while people are figuring out the answers to all these questions, they aren’t paying attention to the streets and people around them. When traffic is flowing abnormally (and in this area, that is often the norm) because someone stopped somewhere or has done something nutty, accidents happen as people perform unusual maneuvers to get around.

  • They should put in a stop sign to make it clear(er) that drivers of vehicles should wait for pedestrians.

  • jd_x

    There is a solution to all this:

    1) Protected bicycle lanes on the other side of parked cars or, if no street parking exists, on the other side of a small curb (think of the bicycle lane as a second sidewalk). Note that the sidewalks are *plenty* wide on Market (or the car lane is overly wide) and taking away 5 feet or so from the sidewalk and/or car lane won’t matter.

    2) Where there is street parking, make sure every block has sufficient loading zones. You may need a lot of loading zones on some blocks and less on others. If there is no street parking, then you create an indent out of the curb that is acting as a buffer between the bicycle lane and the car lane. Note that the buffer would have to get wider in this area so the bicycle lane may have to deviate slightly inwards and take away some sidewalk space, or the car lane has to be narrower.

    3) Delivery trucks must be the small European style so they are easy to maneuver in dense cities with so much traffic. 18-wheelers should be banned in SF unless it is for certain construction projects in which case special permits and training are needed. Exceptions would be made for Recology though they would still be required to complete special training on driving trucks around pedestrians and cyclists.

    4) SFPD and DPT actually enforce the laws and ticket people double-parking or making illegal turns.

    The current problem right now, like the examples you listed, are the result of a road that was designed purely to *move* cars through at the expense of the local neighborhood and streetscape. If you could make this road again from scratch (and the City will in fact have this opportunity in a few years), you could *easily* design it to prioritize cycling, walking, and public transit first while providing sufficient loading zones.

  • coolbabybookworm

    mx’s examples were for Market St, which, honestly, shouldn’t even have private autos and hopefully won’t soon.

  • jd_x

    Yes, my examples were specifically with Market St in mind. And agreed that Market shouldn’t have private autos. But it will have cabs/uber and delivery trucks for the conceivable future, so we still need to deal with separated and protected bicycle lanes and loading zones.

  • coolbabybookworm

    Yes, and hopefully we will get separated and protected bike lanes on Market with the Better Market Street project. That would solve virtually all problems s/he mentioned. My point was that of course Market is confusing for drivers, it’s not meant for them to use. It’s a surface transit and bike corridor and has over 100,000 pedestrians per day and hopefully it’s rebuilding will more fully reflect and accommodate that.

  • mx

    So I get to add another example because this just happened.

    Cars are headed westbound in the right lane on Market St. The first one stops suddenly just past 10th to pick up passengers (odds are decent he’s an Uber or Lyft driver, but I didn’t see for sure). The second one stops, but the third one doesn’t make it in time and bashes into #2. #1 gets the heck out of there with his passengers in tow. Nobody seems to be hurt and #2 and #3 pull into the protected bike lane to exchange information and take pics. A cyclist swerves out of the bike lane to avoid them and is nearly hit by a car. Another evening on Market St.

    SFMTA seems to love the design of the “new” Market Street. They sure like showing it off. When NACTO came to town, they literally took transportation officials from other cities on tours to see the colorful pavement. Yet the new design brings more road users into conflict and causes accidents like this one all the time.

  • gneiss

    A light here would be appropriate if it was configured to be on demand such that when someone pressed the button, it would immediately cycle red. Unfortunately, that’s not what traffic engineers do. Instead, they optimize the light cycle for car drivers rather than pedestrians, and that degrades the pedestrian environment rather than enhance it. So, people end up waiting just to convenience motorists rather than optimizing the street appropriately, or alternatively they break the law and jaywalk, and motorists are absolved of any responsibility for injury when that happens.

  • 94103er

    Yet the new design brings more road users into conflict and causes accidents like this one all the time.

    Perhaps I’m just being an armchair skeptic, but you are likely flat-out exaggerating this claim. Really, do you have any proof whatsoever that Market St.’s road diet has caused more conflict than ever and there are more accidents? Really???

  • Filamino

    Ugh! Try understanding traffic lights first before spouting out lies. If the light changed every time a pedestrian pushed the button, no one would ever move because every green light would barely have enough time for either driver or pedestrian to get through the intersection. Drivers would then start running the red light more often knowing this.

    Please stop the lies.

  • EastBayer

    “causes accidents” is usually code for “causes me some minor inconvenience”

  • gneiss

    I fail to see how “pedestrians would barely have enough time to get through the intersection” if the light cycled yellow then red when they pressed the button and the white walk signal started and then gave an appropriate timer.

    Your concerns seem to focus on how this will inconvenience motorist, not pedestrians. This is *exactly* the point I was trying to make, which is that the light will simply degrade the pedestrian environment and make those pedestrian who cross outside of the light cycle into law breakers.

    As it stands currently, it’s the law that motorists are required to yield to pedestrian while they are in the crosswalk here. They can’t seem to do that and a person was killed at this crossing. Why should we inconvenience the people who currently have the right of way just to satisfy those motorist that break the law?

  • gneiss

    They aren’t closing the block. They are opening it to people who walk rather than those in cars. Do you have something against people who walk?

  • SF Guest

    Here’s my train of thought — a segway scooter mishap resulted in BART banning segways; if there’s a bike mishap does it mean bikes should be banned from BART? Of course not.

    It’s tragic a pedestrian was killed by a negligent tour bus driver, but does that mean we need to close the street to all vehicular traffic?

    I love walking and see no problem with the proposed traffic light.

  • You’re saying that a cyclist having to pass cars (double-parked, picking up a fare, exchanging insurance information) isn’t dangerous except when it is in a soft hit protected bike lane? Or I suppose I can read that as the bike lane should be more protected than it currently is…

  • Filamino

    If there is a pedestrian at the end of every cycle and they keep pushing the button to get an instant green every time the crosswalk turns red, cross traffic would never move. If cross traffic never moves, they will be encouraged to run the red light. That is not inconveniencing the motorist. That is increasing safety for pedestrians and drivers. Everyone has to wait their turn.