November 25, 2013

The Final Map For 115 Miles Of Green Connections To Crisscross SF

San Francisco's Green Connections Map

The final map for 115 miles of walking and biking paths to crisscross San Francisco will be officially unveiled next week on December 4, along with the conceptual plans for the first six "Green Connections" in the Bayview, Chinatown, Potrero Hill, Tenderloin, Visitacion Valley, and Western Addition neighborhoods.

As we first reported last year when the draft map and 25 proposed routes were announced, the goal of San Francisco's "Green Connections" project is to improve non-motorized access to San Francisco's parks, open space and waterfront by re-envisioning target City streets and paths as a network of 'green connectors' to be landscaped, traffic calmed, and improved for pedestrian and bicycle access over the next twenty years.

First Published: November 25, 2013 11:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Some of these routes seem a little pie-in-the-sky to me. Why would The City encourage people to walk through the Sunnydale Housing Projects?

Seems like a bad idea to me.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 25, 2013 12:16 PM

Sunnydale is going to be razed and rebuilt sometime in the next 20 years.

Supposedly.

Posted by: gribble at November 25, 2013 12:19 PM

Very nice plan.

Posted by: VancouverJones at November 25, 2013 1:10 PM

"Why would The City encourage people to walk through the Sunnydale Housing Projects?"

because people live in Sunnydale and might, you know, take a walk...

Posted by: MossyBuddha at November 25, 2013 3:17 PM

Not to worry. It'll turn out that only 1/10th of the money will be available and everything will cost ten times as much as planned for. They'll paint a green stripe down the sidewalk for the six demonstration projections and be done with it. The rest will be abandoned and forgotten.

Posted by: EJ at November 25, 2013 5:06 PM

If this means I'll have the right of way in all those intersections when I'm out running, I'm all for it.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at November 25, 2013 5:32 PM

I bet the people who streets are involved, especially say those on Clay and Scott, are just delighted to know there will be less street parking. How wonderful!

Posted by: conifer at November 25, 2013 6:54 PM

I bet the people whose streets are involved will rise up in a fury objecting to giving up parking on the sidewalk for even the one day necessary to paint the green stripe (see above comment) and that the city will back down.

Posted by: EJ at November 25, 2013 9:20 PM

People, why all so negative. I lived near Divisadero before and after the streetscaping of a few years back. It made such a difference to the neighborhood. I don't know exactly what is planned here with the green connections. But, it seems like efforts to make the streets more walkable, bikable and prettier isn't a bad thing. It might even turn out nice!

Posted by: lazinsf at November 25, 2013 9:45 PM

I am not sure why the traffic on Scott between Marina and Chestnut needs to be "calmed" since car traffic is minimal. Scott Street in this area already has a lot of landscaping because of very wide sidewalks allowing planters and trees so I am curious what the SFMTA wants to do. Are they going to remove some of the sidewalk width and replace it with bike lanes?

What makes them pick Scott over Pierce or Steiner? How did we on Scott get selected? I am NOT AGAINST this project so I hope the bike people do not spam this with car "death machine" comments. I have a private garage and do not use the street for parking. I would imagine the increased landscaping should improve the value of my property, so I would be in favor of this, but I am hearing rumblings from neighbors who are already organizing against the project. The removal of street parking is going to be a big deal in the Marina.

Ed Reiskin has boasted that he has not owned a car in 25 years, but lecturing citizens in community meetings about his choice is not helpful to his cause. I am reminded by a Danish friend back home who sent me this article that even Copenhagen is having car vs. bike battles erupting. It reminded me of discussions I have read here. http://www.copenhagenize.com/2013/11/copenhagen-election-2013-cars-vs-bikes.html

Whatever happened to fixing and expanding MUNI?

Posted by: Scott&Prado at November 25, 2013 11:12 PM

I think the "traffic calming" will be anything but for 2nd between King and Bryant (heading north), since its a feeder to the Bay Bridge and is currently clogged in its two lane (northbound) configuration by 3pm almost every day of the week and even more so after a Giants game. Will be interesting once a lane is removed and bike lanes added...

Posted by: Can't think of Cool Name at November 26, 2013 6:35 AM

@Scott&Prado Yes it does seem strange that Scott is selected for calming, but I know why Filbert has not been selected as a green street--there are too many Google and other company buses rumbling down the street to be able to calm it.

Posted by: Oceangoer at November 26, 2013 9:22 AM

I would say on average a car drives through the intersection of Scott & Prado about once every 3 minutes or so. Scott Street in Cow Hollow is very guiet as well. I used to live at the corner of Pierce and Green and the only traffic I would see is local neighborhood drivers and pedestriants. Maybe one car every 4 minutes.
Bike riders and pedestrians used Pierce instead of Scott or Fillmore because it was less steep and had little traffic.

So if Oceangoer is correct and it has to do with where the Google busses go, we are going to redesign a street to make it "safe" and "calm" which has hardly any traffic or accidents? The removal of parking issue will be interesting to observe.

I would rather see a redesign of the poor paving surfaces (actually some areas are unsafe with potholes) on the pedestrian/bike path on Marina Blvd which has a very heavy use of joggers, bike riders and pedestrians. They should remove the parking along the harbor that runs parallel to Marina Blvd between about Fillmore and Divisadaro as well, and give the crowded space to additional room for bikes and pedestrians.

Posted by: anon94123 at November 26, 2013 10:12 AM

Well Scott Street is very busy from Haight through Bush/Pine. I almost get run over at the interesection of Scott & O'Farrell every morning.

Posted by: Rillion at November 26, 2013 11:06 AM

2nd Street is sad to me. The extra anguish in the peak for East Bay commuters will be substantial; these are real psychological costs. I live in the neighborhood, and sure I'd like "my" streets to not be blocked. But walking by the cars and looking at the faces of those commuters everyday is sobering to me. I really don't see how this change increases net happiness.

Posted by: Niamh at November 26, 2013 11:41 AM

I assume this means the end to 90-degree parking on Arkansas St. Oh boy, I'll have some pi$$ed off neighbors.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at November 26, 2013 1:56 PM

I was recently on the SFMTA site and was surprised how well lower mgt. job positions that were posted were paying, which was in excess of $120K. (These were NOT senior positions) All of the jobs for architects, engineers, and transit planners seemed to be related to creating different "transit modes" with a heavy concentration of "bike safety" and "pedestrian issues". Now for an architect like myself, $120K is good money, but that is what a MUNI driver gets, so maybe I don't have a proper perspective.

It is now obvious this agency spends most of its time on projects like this green connections and parking revenue and restrictions, and little time on MUNI issues. I think there is a growing anger among MUNI patrons about being ignored by the SFMTA, and the Central Subway project is not the answer. I would rather see a green connections project AFTER limited funds were spent fixing MUNI.

Just watch recent hearings with Ed Reiskin. People are lined up to shout about slow and dirty bus and tram vehicles, broken trains, transit safety concerns etc. Reiskin tends to lecture citizen speakers and seems to take his marching orders from Leah Shahum. Bikes, parklets, and removal of parking and traffic lanes are not going to improve MUNI, but that is what Reiskin's power point presentations to the BoS are all about. He can spend 2 hours talking about removal of street parking in some neighborhood, but not more than 3 minutes speaking about MUNI. Does he even ride MUNI?

Posted by: ReiskinWatcher at November 26, 2013 2:16 PM

^^^ I guess that depends on whether you consider Muni's mission to be limited to the maintenance and operation of transit vehicles or the wider scope of improving the ability for people to get around in the city.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 26, 2013 3:10 PM

Have you seen the disaster that is almost complete on Cesar Chavez?

Yes, I like the center medians with trees. Yes, I like the smooth paving.

What I find disgusting is this: Bike lanes are being striped in soon, nest to parking spots, adjacent to the EXISTING NARROW SIDEWALKS.

So what we get are bike lanes that are rarely used and WILL be rarely used; sidewalks remaining narrow, little room for new streetside trees and landscaping. Some residents step out their doors to a barely 4' wide sidewalk.

All because The City and the bike nuts rammed bike lanes down the throats of these good residents who live on Cesar Chavez; sacrificing wider sidewalks for PEDESTRIANS and more landscaping.

Shameful and disgusting.

Posted by: Futurist at November 26, 2013 5:13 PM

futurist,

So what we get are bike lanes that are rarely used

I see that you used your patented "futurist" time machine to verify firsthand that the not yet completed bike lanes were rarely used in the future. Can I get a ride on your time machine when you're finished with it?

Or maybe you didn't really travel in time to verify this was a useless bike lane, but you're simply assuming that BEFORE a bike lane there were almost no bicycles on CC, which should mean there will not be any bikes AFTER a bike lane is created.

It's similar to the claims that an extra tax to fix the CA budget would create a bigger deficit because of voodoo math. And people who claimed that obviously didn't understand math very well, since we now have a surplus!

Posted by: lol at November 26, 2013 5:28 PM

Oh, and the bike share "disaster" that is so disastrous that they need to expand it quickly to meet demand.

Posted by: lol at November 26, 2013 5:32 PM

Disaster? Hardly. Try marked improvement. The street and sidewalks are already much better.

Posted by: Truth at November 26, 2013 5:33 PM

"San Francisco’s transportation system – famous for its slow Muni buses, pothole-pocked streets and inadequate bike and pedestrian amenities – needs a lot of help: $10.1 billion worth, a task force appointed by the mayor has concluded.
And, the panel adds, city leaders should ask voters to approve nearly $3 billion in taxes, bonds and fees to help pay the bill…"

As mentioned earlier, all these pedestrian bulbs, pretty paint designs, bike paths, parklets, and removal of street parking projects are taking funds AWAY from MUNI transit systems, but the mayor has a solution......

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Task-force-billions-needed-to-fix-transit-in-S-F-5008878.php#page-1

Posted by: anon at November 26, 2013 5:41 PM

@Futurist,

While I have not seen the new version of Cesar Chavez in a few weeks, so cannot comment on the sidewalks, but wanted to point out that CC is pretty much the *only relatively flat* way from Mission/Noe to east of 101 (Potrero, Dogpatch) south of 16th St and till beyond Bernal. It would connect those neighborhoods, and allow 22nd St Caltrain commuters to bike to the station.

Agreed that wider sidewalks would be nice, but IMO this tradeoff makes sense. Especially since there is hardly any retail frontage on CC, so most residents would rather walk into Bernal or Mission than walking along CC for a longer distance.

Posted by: Walkable City at November 26, 2013 5:44 PM

Again, here's why the CC bike lane is a disaster, and a poor choice for THAT location.

1. It keeps the existing very small sidewalks at 4' or under, NOT allowing for trees in front of single family homes. Has zero to do with retail frontage. Why should the existing residents there, mostly poor and low income families not be offered trees and sidewalk landscaping instead of a bike lane? The street median is an improvement. The existing sidewalks are not. It's NOT about walking into Bernal or Mission for shopping. It's about stepping, literally, out your front door into some welcoming sidewalk landscaping and trees. The bike lane prevented that from happening.

2. Since cyclists are ALLOWED by law to occupy the full traffic lane, let them do that on this street. Yes, it's dangerous and just as dangerous as the bike lane, which has no physical barrier but merely a paint stripe.

3. CC is a heavily used public street to get to and from 101. It will remain that way, and should.

4. I have seen no cyclist use it, at this point in time. It's a dangerous route, especially under the freeway maze at 101.

5. An alternate bike route, on a much quieter street would have been on 26th St. just one block north. While there is no room for a bike lane striping there, it's a quieter and slower traffic street. The City could have provided that route with an appropriate configuration for cyclists to get under and around 101 when they reach that point.

This, IMO, is a classic example of a poor/lower income group neighborhood quality sacrificed for a (largely) middle to upper incomes group desires.
The City had alternate routes and they made a very poor decision with this one.

Posted by: Futurist at November 26, 2013 6:34 PM

On Cesar Chavez, wider sidewalks with plantings (rather than plantings in the median) were requested by residents and many others when this rebuild was planned. It was declared by the city that widening the sidewalks was impossible as it would require moving the storm drains and rebuilding that system.

Posted by: E. at November 26, 2013 9:53 PM

Agree with futurist and am curious, why does the MTA want to take the busiest auto streets (Geary, Cesar Chavez, Masonic, etc.) and "calm" the traffic and turn them into bikeways?

Where I disagree with futurist is it is not just lower income areas where planners are uncaring regarding space in front of residences. On Masonic, they are going to basically remove most of the resident parking, as well as trees and landscaping in front of private residences and move the green zone to the center median. There will be less lanes for cars on Masonic, less sidewalk width, less landscaping in front of homes, less of the existing canopy of trees, less parking for homeowners, BUT we will get two new bike lanes and a lot more traffic back ups.

There is no doubt in my mind the bike users have the political power at city hall and are basically able to demand that any street be rebuilt to make them feel more "comfortable" to use it. Homeowners do not matter.

Posted by: Masonic at November 27, 2013 3:13 AM

Still cringing @ futurist's suggestion cyclists risk their lives occupying a FULL lane on Cesar Chavez.

Anyone wants to play Frogger against futurists?

Posted by: lol at November 27, 2013 8:06 AM

As a cyclist, taking a full lane is definitely safer! Trying to ride to the side of traffic with the risk of getting "doored" or hit from the side is not my idea of fun. A cyclist has every right to take a full lane of traffic and I do it whenever I ride. My taxes paid for the roads also and I have every right to use them.

Posted by: anon at November 27, 2013 8:33 AM

anon,

Try it on Cesar Chavez, then come back to me. Or safer, have your next of kin do it.

Most cyclists coming from the underpass will quickly turn into the Mission local streets instead of risking to be hit by an angry/tired commuter who just logged 50 minutes of rush hour commute and just wants to come back home and get some rest. But most potential cyclists will just say "not even trying it" when they see that crazy traffic.

Why would drivers be entitled to straight lines and flat roads like Cesar Chavez, when they just have to press on the lazy button to clear obstacles.

That's the whole point of the Cesar Chavez bike lane. Making it safer and especially more visible for bikes to navigate will change the way bike traffic runs in this area.

Posted by: lol at November 27, 2013 9:15 AM

Masonic,

Many cyclists are homeowners too, even landlords, like me. Or are you still stuck in an older "obviously they cannot afford a car" stereotype?

Posted by: lol at November 27, 2013 9:19 AM

To be honest. I would take 26th street to ride instead of Cesar Chavez. Even with the bike lane, Cesar Chavez, with all the traffic noise and fumes is just not as desirable for riding compared to a street like 26th which is just as flat and goes the same distance. (I understand one does have to jog over to CC get under the freeway)

Posted by: anon at November 27, 2013 9:24 AM

Thanks lol for your silly and dishonest comment. You know perfectly well that cyclists are ALLOWED BY LAW to occupy the traffic lane.

Sure they can, but it is wise and safe at this particular location?

The Cesar Chavez bike lane does not, IMO, make it any safer. This is a busy public street that acts like a freeway on ramp. Like it or not, that's what it is. And it is an important route to 101.

We will continue to have this discussion here in SF re: bikes and cars. It's about a balance, but it's also about safety.

As for what E. said, sure it would have been expensive to widen the sidewalks, given the storm system. Other streets are being widened: Castro for one. Why are the residents on this street being short changed.

The City could afford to put in wider sidewalks and lots of landscaping. They chose not too, partly due to lobbying and bullying by the pro-bike people who DEMANDED they have their lane.

Shame.

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 10:03 AM

1. Dozens of new trees have been planted in front of the mostly multi unit properties lining CC.

2. The new bike lane will be ample and well used.
People will grow accustomed to it. It is much safer than occupying a traffic lane. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous.

3. Obviously. No argument.

4. Open your eyes (perhaps notice trees planted when you do so?)

26th st is fairly narrow for both cars and bikes. As a result of the CC greening, more cars are turning off CC and onto 26th, if only for a block or so. This creates an environment where the typical SF biker's "brake pump at best" 4-way stop approach is even more dangerous than normal. Bikers will quickly realize this, and will use the CC lane accordingly.

Posted by: Trutj at November 27, 2013 10:09 AM

futurist, first you claim that something is a disaster BEFORE it is even completed. Then you say cyclists should use the full lane on Cesar Chavez, then say I am the one being dishonest when I say it's a reckless suggestion.

Geez, someone needs to dust off his mirror.

How many businesses on Cesar Chavez? Is it zones for commercial use apart from a few corner businesses?

It's not Castro Street. Apples and Oranges.

Posted by: lol at November 27, 2013 10:11 AM

I'm strongly in favor of bike lanes but I really wish they would come with law enforcement. If cyclists are going to consistently ignore the traffic laws then let them do it in the regular traffic lane and pay the price.

Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at November 27, 2013 10:19 AM

Yes, Trutj, there have been trees planted in front of the apartments and public housing on CC. The existing sidewalks there are already sufficiently wide enough.

And you know I was NOT talking about that location. The majority of Single family homes on CC have sidewalks that are only 4' wide. and the city chose to not widen those sidewalks to plant trees. Those areas remain a concrete wasteland, sadly in front of homes. Poor planning decision. There's a school there, church and lots of children and families walking. They should have wider sidewalks OVER the needs of a cyclist lane.

Of course, lol, you're going to come up with some silly comparison. Sidewalks are sidewalks. If The City can spend money on Castro for the same reasons, then they should have done the same for the residents of CC.

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 10:21 AM

futurist, you boxed yourself into an illogical argument. Again.

I want wider sidewalks on my street to. Can we remove some cars? After all futurist wants everyone everywhere to have wider sidewalks at the expense of asphalt space. Yeah! Can't wait!

In all seriousness, you are using the sidewalk argument to deflect on your hatred of cyclists and the fact they are being given more space at the expense of cars. That has been the substance of all you are actually posting lately.

Posted by: lol at November 27, 2013 10:56 AM

The sidewalks you're referring to also have plantings. You are so frequently incorrect on here lately, coupled with a dismissive tone that's unearned due to constant error, it's frankly become annoying.

Posted by: Truth at November 27, 2013 11:08 AM

Ah, no they don't have plantings. Sorry for your misinformation. However The City has added a FEW bulb outs at some corners, but the majority of sidewalks remain as existing, with few trees. Check it out in person, you'll see.

BTW: Truth: are you the Trutj who posted at 10:09? or someone else? You don't appear much here, or do you under another name perhaps?

And sorry, lol, but you're mistaken again. I would like the residents of CC to have wider sidewalks also, AND maintain their curbside parking. That parking is always full, and very much needed by the residents. And no, I don't want those cars removed. Have you read about other neighborhoods where residents are fighting back against curbside parking removal? I hope they keep fighting back.

Read back some of the other comments who agree with me, re: riding on CC, riding in the traffic lane, safety, etc. Read the comment by formidable doer of the nasty: I agree with him.

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 11:26 AM

Yes, they do, I just drove the length of the project a half hour ago. Yes, Truth, and that was as a typo. I post on here a decent amount.

Posted by: Truth at November 27, 2013 11:30 AM

That was a quick drive.

:)

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 11:35 AM

Or an hour ago or whatever. This morning.
Go have a look yourself. Then feel free to not admit error, as usual.

Posted by: Truth at November 27, 2013 11:46 AM

admit error, as usual

I think it's a bit more complex than that. The typically thread starts with a wild overstatement (Cesar Chavez is a disaster!), followed by rebukes, followed by doubling downs, followed by precise point-by-point proof of the all the nonsense, followed by multiple diversions, each its own misrepresented fact or overreach.

This becomes time consuming especially when the rebukes and proofs of the nonsense are not actually acknowledged, which means people usually throw up their hands because life is short.

Posted by: lol at November 27, 2013 12:03 PM

But lol. If it's so "time consuming", as you say, why do you choose to keep responding?

Isn't it really about how we all here on SS express wildly differing opinions, and as a result, we get dialogue? We get different views. We get information. We get ideas.

Not everyone agrees with everyone. I jump on SS to keep up on urban/design/construction issues.

I like the dialogue. I like reading other opinions and offering my comments.

What's the problem?

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 12:14 PM

Not to speak for lol, who as another moniker certainly knew his way around argument within argument parsing obfuscation. The thing is that you frequently don't argue opinion. It is a fact that trees have been planted. Like it is a fact that the AIDS Movement was and is a commonly used ymbrella term to describe the various groups in the fight against the disease. These are not matters of opinion, you are wrong, and you are rude, arrogant, and frequently insting while being wrong as well.

Posted by: Truth at November 27, 2013 12:35 PM

How long are you going to continue your little pissing contest?

Not interested. I've given my opinions on the CC street. You disagreed.

Move on.

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 12:57 PM

It isn't a pissing contest, you incorrect cranky sod. You're wrong and tou were wrong from word one. No contest.

Posted by: Truth at November 27, 2013 1:10 PM

I still have not heard anyone explain why the busiest auto routes in the city (Van Ness, Geary, Masonic, etc.)are all planning on having traffic lanes REMOVED (as well as parking). In the case of Masonic, it is all about putting in the bike lanes, and removing landscaping and trees along the sides of the road and planting in the center instead, similar to Cesar Chavez.

As mentioned earlier, why do the bike lanes have to go on the established auto corridors, why not on streets that are immediately adjacent like 26th street?

Posted by: Masonic at November 27, 2013 1:23 PM

^Van Ness is not as busy as the Gough/Franklin pair. Geary is not as busy as the Pine/Bush pair. Lanes are not being removed from the busiest roads along each area.

I'll grant you that Masonic is the busiest route along that area, though certainly not so busy that it needs six lanes.

Posted by: anon at November 27, 2013 1:29 PM

Those are good questions Masonic. I suspect some of the answers are within the SFMTA long term plans and also part of the citywide bicycle plan.

I agree that they are making some poor choices when it comes to street redesign by eliminating some parking and forgoing sidewalk landscaping and trees in lieu of a bike lane. I think in some cases, it's out of balance with the needs of the residents of that particular street.

CC is a good example of what I believe are bad decisions. And as I mentioned earlier (and others agreed) why not use 26th St as a bike route heading toward 101? And yes, there is a real issue for cyclists who choose to get UNDER the 101 freeway, and a dangerous route as well. The city has not addressed that very well, with regards to safety.

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 1:38 PM

Truth,

As San fronziScheme I did indeed defend some arguments about how SF was in a bubble that would pop. Was I wrong in retrospect?I changed my tune mid 2010 when I felt the bear phase had run its course.

It was not easy to switch. Permabulls said tons of nonsense in 2009 and 2010. Joining them was a bit like fighting to victory only to collaborate with the other side later.

Just to put things back in context.

Posted by: lol at November 27, 2013 1:41 PM

Masonic,

Why would cyclists have to take the longer route? Also streets like Masonic ard the flattest.

Is there some kind of rule that would give priority to cars. Is driver time more valuable than cyclist time? Tech workers on bikes probably create more wealth than a blue collar worker in his pick up truck.

Posted by: lol at November 27, 2013 1:49 PM

@Anon, the Van Ness redesign does call for parking and car lanes being removed, and saying it is not a busy street is bizarre. Van Ness has very heavy traffic. I will admit part of the Van Ness redesign is for BRT which I like, but as has been posted earlier, the possible trip time decrease from Civic Center to Lombard is only 2 minutes on BRT. The increased traffic on Van Ness will impact all adjacent streets, including the redesigned Polk Street with it's own bike lanes and "traffic calming".

It sure is beginning to look like the MTA has an anti car policy, and they are redesigning established auto routes to slow trip times down and punish drivers throughout the city. Ed Reiskin and staff claimed at our community meetings that they were removing parking and redesigning Masonic to calm traffic because of community requests but nobody at the meeting or in the neighborhood knows anybody who contacted the SFMTA and asked them to remove parking and put bike lanes on Masonic and "calm" traffic.

There is talk of a ballot initiative regarding SFMTA policies, and I suspect the anger may cause some big changes.

Posted by: Masonic at November 27, 2013 1:53 PM

Oh I thought you were someone else. I thought you were at or anon or tipster. The other day you said something about 2009. Sanfronzischeme was convinced the worst was yet to come in 2009 and was in every thread arguing about same.

Posted by: Truth at November 27, 2013 1:57 PM

@ lol:

You know, some of your comments come off as very defensive and hypersensitive. You don't have a very thick skin here, sometimes.

Of course there is no "rule" that gives priority (your word) to cars over bikes. But the fact is and remains that biking is only around 10% of the population. Cars, for many people, are and remain an important and chosen way to move around. I know you and others don't like that choice, but it's fact, not a rule.

Nobody said driver time is "more valuable" than cyclist time. You did. It shows your defensiveness right off.

And then your off the cuff statement about cyclists creating more wealth than a blue collar worker in a pickup truck, just smacks of classism and stereotyping. Not to mention your statement is irrelevant to the entire subject at hand.

And I agree with Masonic on a number of points. I hope there is a ballot initiative to pull back some of the overbearing changes that Ed Reiskin is pushing on our citizens.

There is no balance.

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 2:05 PM

@futurist, I think biking only accounts for about 3% of trips taken in San Francisco. This statistic was posted a while back on Socketsite and I think it came from the SFMTA.

"lol" lost me with the sad "blue collar in pickup truck" comment. As "futurist" wrote, "there is no balance".

Posted by: Masonic at November 27, 2013 2:12 PM

You may be right about the 3% number. I have heard the 10% thrown around and was trying to be generous.

I would hate to called, by some, a "cranky old sod".

And thanks for your continued intelligent comments here. I think we bring a balance to the conversation which, at times, is very one sided.

Posted by: Futurist at November 27, 2013 2:16 PM

Having a thick skin is not the same thing as spouting out and out falsehoods, then belittling-ignoring those who call tou out on your (not infrequent) errors.

Posted by: Truth at November 27, 2013 2:18 PM

the Van Ness redesign does call for parking and car lanes being removed, and saying it is not a busy street is bizarre.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. I did not say that Van Ness is not a busy street. You claimed that the busiest streets in each area were being changed to include bike lanes where a parallel less busy street could be used instead. In both the Geary and Van Ness instances, those are NOT the busiest streets of the corridor - it would make zero sense to change Gough instead of Van Ness, for example, since Gough already functions as a freeway.

Posted by: anon at November 27, 2013 2:47 PM

Once again, error inserted by futurist. The word "old" was not utilized by anyone save youself, nor did you bring anything approaching balance. Quite the opposite. You skewed the conversation in an errant direction. Do you understand the difference between fact and opinion?

Posted by: Truth at November 27, 2013 3:03 PM

Re: the changes on Masonic Ave that @Masonic discussed earlier has a lot of misinformation:

1. Masonic is the flattest street that bikes can use between Arguello and Divisadero (which is not too bike friendly anyway, so more like Steiner). For folks from NOPA, USF, Anza Vista, and parts of Laurel, Pac and Presidio Heights, it is the best way to connect to the Panhandle and GGP. Baker is the current bike option, but that gets steep between McAllister and Turk and adds significant distance and hassle in many cases given that the streets do not form a complete grid in that area. This is the only thru-connection in that area.

2. Sidewalks are *not* being reduced on Masonic. A center median is going in, plus one traffic lane is going away in both directions, but the sidewalk remains at 22 feet. Which btw, is super wide and nice to walk on (apart from the traffic fumes), and even if it was reduced by a few feet would not be the end of the world, IMO. If you have pointers to where it says that the sidewalk width is being reduced, please point us to that.

3. Neighborhood residents rarely park on Masonic. The rush hour parking lane removals mean that no resident leaves their car there all day. I also think a survey was done which confirms that residents do not use that stretch much for parking (though I am not 100% certain) and visually I do think that is the case.

4. As a neighborhood resident, I do think that Masonic needs to be calmed. Crossing the streets around there always feels a little scary especially with kids.

5. Folks were predicting carmageddon with the Target opening, and frankly it does not seem much worse. Maybe a few more seconds of back-up right around Anza/O'Farrell during evening rush hour, but not too bad. People seem to have figured things out.

While I understand that it is an important stretch of roadway for cars going to/from downtown and points north, I think the redesign makes a lot of sense and I certainly support it.

Posted by: Walkable City at November 27, 2013 3:31 PM

"Since cyclists are ALLOWED by law to occupy the full traffic lane, let them do that on this street.

... written like someone who has no idea of what it feels like to take the entire lane on a bike.

Yes, it's dangerous and just as dangerous as the bike lane, which has no physical barrier but merely a paint stripe.

Again you've got no idea of the reality of cycling on city streets. Taking the lane isn't nearly as dangerous as riding too far to the right in the door zone and inviting motorists to squeeze by in a lane too narrow to share side-by-side.

But taking the lane is a maneuver only acceptable to a very small minority of skilled cyclists who have a very thick skin. You will get harassed, sometimes dangerously, when taking the shared lane.

And that's why bike lanes are so important. It is very rare for a cyclist to be harassed in a dedicated bike lane. Bike lanes open cycling to a much wider demographic.

I'd suggest that Futurist pedal in a cyclist's shoes for a few months before making any more assertions about the merits and flaws of any street changes.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at November 27, 2013 10:46 PM

Futurist is 100% correct that the sidewalks are too narrow on Cesar Chavez. The reason they are so narrow is because CC was widened back in the 50s to add an additional traffic lane.

I take it that you agree with me then that the best course of action today would be to remove a lane of traffic and give that space back to pedestrian and other uses?

There is talk of a ballot initiative regarding SFMTA policies, and I suspect the anger may cause some big changes.

Bring it on. You car crazies try and bring your ideas to the ballot every 10 years or so and get shot down every time. MTA is a moderate organization that represents the vast majority of San Franciscans and if anything, is far too timid in their implementation of things like BRT lanes on Geary and Van Ness. There is a vast majority of San Franciscans who are in favor of slowing down traffic and reducing the horrific toll of car caused injury and death in this city.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 27, 2013 11:35 PM

Results from a Binder Poll paid for by the SFBC:

* About three-fourths of voters believe bicycling is good for San Francisco

* More than two-thirds of voters support the City adding physically separated bikeways

* Twice as many San Francisco voters are are likely to ride a bike on protected bikeways (56%) than on streets with no dedicated bike space (27%).

* 43% of voters are already riding a bike,

* Many voters (43%) would like to ride a bike more frequently than they do, including about 3 in 10 of voters who never ride a bike currently. Unfortunately, 53% of voters view current conditions in San Francisco as unsafe for biking.

If you think you can beat those kinds of numbers, good luck to you Masonic. you are going to need it.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 27, 2013 11:41 PM

It is interesting to note the plan includes Grant Street through Chinatown which is very narrow. If they remove parking on Grant would that be too difficult for deliveries to business owners there? Somehow, I sort of like Grant street with the trucks delivering food supplies and the chaotic atmosphere seems more authentic than a landscaped pedestrian mall with bike path which seems very suburban.

The planners have removed Polk Street but have Scott Street now being the only north/south route through what most of us call the center of the city. Did planners give up on Polk?

Polk Street had the least hills and would have been the obvious perfect choice for bikes! It is too bad a design compromise presented by Polk Gulch neighborhood groups that would have allowed a protected 2 way bike path but kept parking by only having auto traffic go one way (north) was unacceptable to the Bike Coalition.

Posted by: anon2 at November 28, 2013 1:31 AM

"I still have not heard anyone explain why the busiest auto routes in the city (Van Ness, Geary, Masonic, etc.)are all planning on having traffic lanes REMOVED (as well as parking)"

our city leaders are a bunch of idiots. its pretty simple. i wish they would put the masonic plan to voters. I think it would go down 3 to 1. just a really dumb plan. most of the residents in the area are very much against it, and im sure the 90% of non-cyclist commuters are against it too

Posted by: jill at November 28, 2013 12:11 PM

@jill,

Could you please elaborate on why the Masonic plan is so bad? Also suggest alternatives while you are at it.

Posted by: Walkable City at November 28, 2013 2:54 PM

I'll bite. I only had to do a simple Google to learn why some feel the plans are bad. Basically the objections are to the removal of approx. 167 street parking spaces and one lane of traffic in each direction. The bus bulb-out landings will now mean that a bus stopping to load passengers will block one lane of traffic as they can no longer pull to the side due to the new bike lanes. The fear of area neighbors is that traffic congestion on Masonic will be so bad more cars will start using surrounding neighborhood streets. The MTA traffic calming of Masonic is forecast to increase travel times by about 7-12 minutes. I would imagine the removal of parking is the other issue that caused neighbors to organize as it turns out there are a lot of residences on Masonic without garages and a lot of renters. One disabled gentlemen who parks on Masonic and has no garage is one of the primary organizers as he writes he would have to
move due to the fact he needs his specially equipped van for mobility.

There are two websites devoted to challenging the Masonic project, and 5 other sites that have created extensive articles about the Masonic project concerns.

I think the real failure is how the SFMTA communicates its projects to neighborhoods. Basically, without warning, they simply announce plans to completely redesign streets without any input from residents or business owners. In reading the Polk Street neighborhood sites it seems the number one reason for their anger is that they were not invited to be part of the process originally, but the Bike Coalition was.

The exclusion of initial input from neighbors of Masonic, while collaboration was taking place with the bike coalition seems to have created the activism against that project as well. If all the planners do is listen only to the Bike Coalition, and not Muni riders, pedestrians, homeowners and renters in the area, and drivers, they are not getting a comprehensive picture of the needs of the ENTIRE community. I think even Ed Reiskin now realizes that there is political trouble ahead.

Posted by: JustGoogle at November 28, 2013 5:15 PM

Then how can we legally remove Ed Reiskin from his position?

Get someone in with a more balanced agenda.

Posted by: Futurist at November 28, 2013 9:48 PM

It is not all entirely Ed Reiskin's fault. Cheyrl Brinkman of the SFMTA Board of Supervisors basically demanded at a recent hearing that the new Polk Street plan proposal which included some parking (excluding rush hours) was unacceptable, and she has asked planners to go back to presenting an option with a wider 2 way bike lane and almost NO parking. Brinkman filled the seat that was occupied by Leah Shahum (SFBC) and has stated publicly that fighting automobiles is her passion. She is for removal of automobile access to Market Street from Castro to the Ferry Building. If one watches their hearings, Brinkman is usually the Board Member who demands that new construction have as little parking as possible and she referred to Polk Street merchants as "parking obsessed". Brinkman strongly feels Polk Street would be better with NO parking, period, and is dismissive of any neighborhood comments or concerns.

What is interesting is that Brinkman is so obsessed with automobile hatred and distressed that cars are still "allowed" in most parts of San Francisco, she never seems to express any ideas on how to fix or expand MUNI.

The Polk Gulch neighborhood group was willing to COMPRIMISE and was for the wider sidewalks, increased landscaping, pedestrian bulbs, traffic calming, AND bike lanes, as well as a 35% reduction in on street parking, but this was not good enough for Brinkman or the San Francisco Bike Coalition. Their hatred of cars reminds me of religious fanatics and they refuse to participate in civil dialogue.

(Regarding bike usage in San Francisco:
"2.1% of city commuters in 2000 rode bikes to work, and in 2010 it was 3.5%, a gain of only 1.4% in ten years, which is an increase of only .14% per year. " SFGate)

Posted by: 94133 at November 29, 2013 6:16 AM

"Save Polk Street" demanded that zero parking spaces be removed as part of the Polk Street calming project. They also refused to consider any plan that included bicycle lanes north of Sacramento. A few vocal members shouted down public comment and tried to intimidate anyone else from participation, even though most of them don't live in the Polk Gulch area or even San Francisco. Many of them drive their cars in from Marin or The Peninsula.

They are hardly interested in any compromise and they are going to get what they deserve. The MTA Board rightly rejected their bullying tactics.

I don't know what the final plan will look like, but feel pretty confident that it will include a bike lane the full length of Polk Street, as it should.

The voters of the City of San Francisco created the current political structure of Muni by a Proposition that passed 61% to 39%. The idea was to create a dedicated funding struction and remove MTA from political meddling and have it be run by professional planners and not politicians.

The Polk Street plan had over a dozen public hearings and there were fliers and notices. It is disingenuous to claim that there was no opportunity for public input: there was actually a very robust public debate over the project. I am less familiar with the Masonic project but I know for a fact that there were many public hearings and adequate public notice. There are always going to be some people who claim that they weren't informed, even if there is a flier on a telephone pole outside their house. Perhaps MTA should mail every homeowner. I don't know what else they could possibly do.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 29, 2013 5:38 PM

"Save Polk Street" is a website and not the three neighborhood groups of the Polk street area. The neighborhood meetings took place only after outrage was expressed at initial plans that were coordinated with the SFBC and presented as being a "done deal".

As I mentioned before, ALL three neighborhood groups were FOR the new proposal which did call for the removal of some parking, but Cheryl Brinkman was against the new plan and has demanded that planning engineers go back and also have a proposal with less parking. WE were for the compromise, the SFBC was not.

I think it is also quite bizarre that such a shrill anti-automobile comment poster has admitted that he himself owns and uses an automobile in San Francisco. My reason for assisting our neighborhood group in communicating with MTA planners to include some parking is that I feel it is better for the healthy retail environment of North Polk street.

Why a car owner from Noe Valley (I remember reading here he admitted to owning and using a vehicle) feels he can dictate with his frequent posts as to what is best for Polk Gulch is a bit concerning. Perhaps he should get that bike out and go ride off some of that anti-parking energy?

Why not campaign to have the street parking removed from 24th street Noe Valley retail area instead? It's in your own backyard, has lots of cars driving and parking all day, and would be a wonderful car-free bike pedestrian zone for Noe Valley neighbors.

Posted by: 94133 at November 30, 2013 9:00 AM

Which three neighborhood groups? You never stated the name of any group. Save Polk Street was very visible at community meetings, with a bunch of members wearing T-Shirts (and shouting down and bullying anyone who disagreed with them). Folks For Polk provided some well needed balance.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 30, 2013 10:07 AM

And people wonder why bike riders are so unpopular right now? (Starts at about 5 minutes)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNXNrPwyJuk

(It does not look like Critical Mass, as it is much later at night, and I have seen this taking place on Columbus at around 1am in the past. )

Posted by: anon at December 1, 2013 2:58 PM

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