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Weekend Roundup: 17th Street, AC Transit

... and a path in Marin is saved, maybe

Supporters of the 17th Street project. Image: Kid Safe SF

Advocates can be proud of some recent victories in the Bay Area. Here are a few to start your weekend.

17th Street project approved

Many if not most segments will have only soft-hit post demarcation, not protection.

Safer 17th, a group of Potrero residents and other supporters, celebrated the unanimous approval Tuesday by the SFMTA board of a plan to put "protected" bike lanes on 17th Street. From Safer 17th's statement:

...the SFMTA board unanimously approved the 17th St project to create safer bike lanes on 17th Street between Mississippi St and Potrero Ave in Potrero Hill. During the meeting the SFMTA staff presentation mentioned the large amount of support they heard from residents like you. Multiple board members also referenced the widespread community support for this project. According to SFMTA the new safe bike lanes should be ready by the end of May. Stay turned for a ribbon cutting and community celebration.

While this is great news, Streetsblog readers may be scratching their heads, wondering why the story seems familiar. Actually, the SFMTA was poised to approve the project in September, but for reasons which remain unclear the "quick build" had to be bumped up to the full SFMTA board and get a new hearing. Safer 17th's volunteer/leader Peter Belden told Streetsblog it sounds as if, yet again, it had to do with back-room political fighting about loss of parking.

There's also the concern that there won't be protected bike lanes for most of the length of the project. "On the wider part of the street, it will have parking-protected on one side, but plastic posts on the other side with zero parking," said Belden. On other sections it will have only plastic posts on both sides (see diagram above). And as Streetsblog readers know, plastic posts (aka: vertical paint) aren't protection.

Advocates with Safer 17th said they will continue fighting for actually protected bike lanes, protected intersections, and the elimination of mixing zones. Look for a Streetsblog follow up in the coming weeks.

AC Transit ends briefly lived Broadway detour

AC Transit 51. Photo: AC Transit's Facebook

AC Transit buses in Oakland along Broadway at 15th and 17th Northbound and 19th and 17th Southbound have been on detour, leading to many a late-night bus rider missing their buses. Transit advocates fought hard to get better parking enforcement and the bus routes returned, so as not to cause problems for late night workers just trying to get home.

From the Oaklandside:

Starting March 3, the transit agency instructed drivers to detour away from Broadway between 14th Street and Thomas L. Berkley/20th Street in both directions from 9 p.m. until 5:45 a.m. The detour affects lines 6, 12, 18, 33, 51A, 72, and 72M and the fast 1T Tempo bus service.

Due to this change, buses bypass four stops on the southbound side of Broadway and three stops northbound.

But pushback from advocates and Councilperson Carroll Fife, who represents downtown, got AC Transit to change its mind. From a recent AC Transit release:

Stops along Broadway at 15th and 17th Northbound and 19th and 17th Southbound were temporarily detoured ... due to intermittent street closures, stopped traffic, and large crowds. The Tempo BRT station at 19th and Broadway Northbound and Southbound at Thomas L. Berkley Way (20th Street) and Broadway were also impacted by the weekend detours. 

Oakland Police will allocate additional overtime officers to enforce the removal of roadway obstacles, such as unlawfully parked food trucks, which frequently block lanes. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office will collaborate by monitoring the operation of transit service on Broadway and in the vicinity of downtown bus stops, preventing staging, stopping, or parking of vehicles in the bus only lane. 

Law enforcement will issue citations and possibly tow vehicles found unlawfully stopped or parked at bus stops or Tempo-Line 1T platform stations. 

According to the release, normal service—meaning making stops on Broadway—will resume Friday/tonight.

Marin advocates save Sausalito to Mill Valley path

From the Marin County Bicycle Coalition's Warren Wells

The Mill Valley-Sausalito path, pictured above, runs along the Bay next to US-101. "For about 1 mile, it is the only parallel route to the freeway," explained the Marin County Bicycle Coalition's Warren Wells on social media.

That means unless one takes a car or a bus, there's literally no way between Southern Marin and the rest of the county. And as seen in the above image, it regularly floods. And with sea-level rise, that's only going to get worse.

Caltrans, meanwhile, is pushing a project to bolster 101 and the adjoining ramps to improve drainage and prevent flooding. So what about cyclists? The state agency was going to do what it usually does: put all the money into car infrastructure and ignore the needs of everyone else. From an MCBC statement:

The Mill Valley-Sausalito path is the most utilized segment of pathway in the entire county, and is increasingly threatened by climate change in the form of sea level rise. You've seen it, and you know the pathway flooding is becoming increasingly frequent.

While it's not a done deal, it looks like the hard-working advocates at the MCBC have started to make some headway in saving the path. Also from the MCBC's statement:

In response to our effort, Caltrans said that they are considering incorporating the pathway into all three of their alternatives. But this is not a done deal and we plan to keep fighting to protect the pathway.

Streetsblog will continue to follow these efforts, but for now kudos to Wells and the rest of the staff at the MCBC for pushing to save this vital route.

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