Temple Club Parklet Endangers Howard Street Cyclists
5:41 PM PDT on April 5, 2022
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Kyle Grochmal, advocate and Streetsblog contributor, lives in the Mission and travels regularly to Alameda by bike and AC Transit bus, which he catches from the Salesforce Transit Center. His late evening bike rides home from the Center should be relatively stress-free, thanks to the protected bike lane on Howard. Unfortunately, that's not the case, at least on the 500 block of Howard, as he explained on Twitter:
The bike lane has to wrap around the parklet and is unprotected on this block, except for some plastic safe-hit posts. However, as noted in the Tweet, it's often blocked by scofflaw parkers. The worst problems are "Friday and Saturday, biking back on Howard," he told Streetsblog. "A number of times there are cars in the bike lane. It happens regularly."
"The safe-hit posts are spaced so far apart that it's quite easy to pull cars into it," he said.
"Thanks for bringing this to our attention," wrote Pearce Cleaveland, marketing director for Temple, in an email to Streetsblog. He stressed that he agrees it's not safe for people to park there. "We’ve immediately addressed this with all of our employees, both daytime and nighttime (who are expressly told not to park there), as well as any vendors visiting our building regularly."
Irene Hernandez, who was working at the Mirus Gallery in the same building as the Temple on Tuesday afternoon, said "no employee parks here. We all take BART or pay for parking." That conforms to Grochmal's observations. And the lane was empty when Streetsblog observed it in the afternoon, when only employees are present at the venues.
Meanwhile, on the Temple Night Club web site there are no instructions from the club and bar about how to take transit to the Salesforce Transit Center-adjacent venue.
However, the website does encourage people to park on Howard.
Streetsblog reached out to Supervisor Matt Haney's office. An official with his office said the Supervisor is aware of the issue and is consulting with SFMTA. Streetsblog also contacted SFMTA by email for more information and will update this post.
"We will also be reaching out to SFMTA and our local law enforcement reps, who we work closely with, to ask for some additional enforcement," wrote Cleaveland. "Additionally, we are having some notices printed for our security to place on any vehicles who we DO discover might be blocking these lanes."
In Streetsblog's view, this is yet again a testament to the failure of SFMTA's default quick-treatment demarcation of bike lanes, the plastic safe-hit post. The whole point of parking-protected bike lanes is the row of parked cars is supposed to keep cyclists physically safe from collision with moving automobiles. But if a parklet or anything else forces the bike lane to be right next to moving traffic, then there needs to be something that can actually stop a scofflaw motorist from parking on it. It also should be robust enough to directly and physically stop an errant motorist from running down a cyclist--that means SFMTA needs to install a Jersey Barrier or a similar barricade.
Grochmal was also frustrated by the lack of parking enforcement by SFMTA and the police. "It's ridiculous that we don't get enforcement at night," he said. The Twitter thread is also pretty damning of SF 311, which had this to say:
So Grochmal tags 311 with photos of the violations and all the necessary details they need to tow the cars, but they tell him to call?
Meanwhile, Grochmal is especially concerned about essential workers who are forced to bike and scoot way out into traffic thanks to the combination of the parklet and the cars blocking a truly sub-par section of bike lane. "It's these late-night service workers who have to scoot or bike and don't have other options. Transit is reduced at night. And it's during a time when they are most likely to encounter drunk drivers," he said.
"Trust that we find this very concerning as well, and will continue to address with vendors, guests (where applicable) and employees," wrote Cleaveland. "Safety of our employees, guests and whole community is of the utmost importance to Temple."
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