Geary Boulevard’s underpass days could be over

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

The recessed section of Geary Boulevard near Fillmore Street has long separated the Western Addition and Japantown neighborhoods, but with future projects possibly bringing in funds to level the street, city officials are calling for plans to be drawn up about reunifying the areas.
Several long-awaited revamps for Geary Boulevard are finally making progress, including the Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project. Part of that project could fund the infill of the underpass at Geary Boulevard and Fillmore Street.
Supervisors London Breed and Eric Mar, whose districts include the areas to the south and north, respectively, have called for a hearing involving numerous city agencies about how pieces of the project can begin to move forward…
Filling in the roadway could cost millions. The project has been estimated at $40 million…
“It’s really about closing the divide in these two communities,” Lauterborn said
A meeting for the entire Geary project is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31, at the Richmond District YMCA, located at 360 18th St… (more)

Stop spending money!

$40 million to fill an underpass to “close the divide” in these two communities?”, even thought they want to lower the 280 to create this divided effect). They are short $10 million plus for the Bay Bridge bolts, $300 million for the Transbay Terminal, and who know how much for the Chinatown tunnel. Finish something and pay for it before you start a new project.

Is the 100-Foot Parking Law Real?

By David LaBua : 7×7 – excerpt

Dear Parking Guru,
 
I just received a ticket for a street-sweeping sign that was way up the street from where I parked. I went to the library that day and found your book. In it, you say that, “The 100 foot law states that…each restrictive parking sign’s enforcement zone extends for 100 feet in each direction, or up to the nearest cross-street, whichever is less. The only reasonable argument I can see for having a parking ticket dismissed would be that there is no sign posted anywhere in the City that warns us of this.” Where is this law 100-foot law written? Nobody ever told me this, not even my driving instructor.
Sincerely,
S.O.L.

Dear S.O.L.,

This law has been printed on the back of every San Francisco resident’s birth certificate since 1947. Just kidding…they’ve only been doing that since 1975. Kidding again. The 100-foot law is the keystone of the San Francisco Traffic Code, but is one of those things that never gets discussed in driver training classes. Some traffic enforcement officers don’t even know about it. It seems to be one of those things heard only by word of mouth. I recently had a discussion with one of our friendly neighborhood SFMTA administrative judges, and one of the topics we discussed was the 100-Foot Law, and how to inform everyone about it. It is the most important parking and traffic law to know because it applies to all parking restriction signs…yet, it remains the least known. So here it is:

San Francisco Traffic Code Sec. 1001
When street signs noticing any Parking restrictions are required by state or local law, the signs shall not be placed more than 200 feet apart. The signs shall indicate by legible letters, words and figures the hours prescribed for said Parking restrictions within 100 feet on either side of the sign, except that such signs need not be placed within the boundaries of the grounds of a public institution… (more)

Transbay project in $300 million hole

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

San Francisco’s Transbay Transit Center, the so-called Grand Central station of the West that’s now just a deep hole in the ground, will cost $300 million more than anticipated, Bay Area transportation officials were told Wednesday.
And that financial hole could grow deeper, cautioned Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area transportation planning and financing agency.
“We may not have seen the end of it,” he said. “This is a very costly project.”…

Funding elusive
To cover the hefty cost increase, Heminger said, the authority will use some of the money that had been dedicated to the second phase of the project – the downtown extension that would carry trains from Fourth and King streets to the Transbay center. That portion of the project had never been fully funded, and is a key Bay Area project competing for major federal funding. But the soaring cost of the first phase means it will be an even bigger challenge to find the funding to lay rails to the new transit center… (more)

San Francisco is the city that knows how to spend.
Now it needs to figure out how to pay.

SFMTA needs to educate the public about merging right turn lanes with bike lanes

Posted by concerned cyclist :

SFMTA needs to spend some of their PR funds on educating the public on the proper ways to merge right turning traffic with bike lanes at intersections. They also need to re-stripe the bike lanes and post signs so that motorists and cyclists know that right turning cars and cycles are supposed to merge as they approach an intersection. Cyclists should either queue up behind right-turning cars, or pass them on the left, (NEVER ON THE RIGHT) when it is safe to do so. There are plenty of signs indicating bus and right turn only lanes, but no signs indicating the same for bike lanes. Most people are probably unaware of Vehicle code section 21717.

Vehicle code section 21717 obligates cars to merge into bike lanes when making right turns in the presence of a bike lane. Unfortunately, most drivers do not know this, and try to avoid the bike lanes entirely, which results in them crossing the bike lanes to makes their turns at the last possible moment. Often their right turn signal is either missed or ignored by the cyclists who is passing on the right on their car without regard to their intention to turn right into the intersection, crossing the bike lane.

Drivers violate VC 21717 by right-hooking the bike lane instead of mixing and merging. They mistakenly believe they are forbidden to merge into the bike lane (despite the dashed lane marking near intersections). Uninformed cyclists exacerbate the problem by squeezing between the car and the curb even when the car is doing the right thing. Some cyclists verbally abuse drivers in the bike lane near intersections when drivers are merging as required by law.

The Bicycle Coalition, in its taxi-driver training class, tells the cabbies that “If a cyclist can fit between your cab and the curb, you’re not close enough.” Everyone needs to get this message.

Studies on bicycle path designs and risks analysis

Posted by concerned citizens : 

Since 2000 Polk Street has had sharrows from Post Street north to Union Street and designated bike lanes from Post Street south to McAllister.  According to the SFMTA, over the last 5 years or so there have been twice the number of bike accidents on lower Polk where there are designated bike lanes than on upper Polk where there are sharrows:

Geary to McAllister (6 blocks)  37 bike accidents
Clay to Geary (7 blocks) 18 bike accidents
Union to Clay (7 blocks) 14 bike accidents

Most bicycle accidents in San Francisco, including Polk Street, occur at intersections.  Will the addition of a designated bike lane from California Street north to Union Street and a raised cycle track from California Street south to McAllister Street decrease or increase the number of accidents on Polk Street?  Where is the research to show the SFMTA’s new plans will improve bike safety on Polk Street?

Wikipedia:  Segregated Cycle Facilities
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities

Cycle path collision risks:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/ab/Cycle_path_collision_risks.jpg

Studies showing greater benefits:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities#Studies_showing_greater_benefits

A large study undertaken by S.U. Jensen et al.[35][36] into the safety of Copenhagen cycle tracks before and after they were constructed concludes “The construction of cycle tracks in Copenhagen has resulted in an increase in cycle traffic of 18–20% and a decline in car traffic of 9–10%. The cycle tracks constructed have resulted in increases in accidents and injuries of 9–10% on the reconstructed roads. The increase of accidents and injuries increased at intersections while decreased mid-block.”
http://trafitec.dk/sites/default/files/publications/bicycle%20tracks%20and%20lanes.pdf

Studies showing greater risks:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Segregated_cycle_facilities#Studies_showing_greater_risks

A Danish study by Agerholm et al. in 2008[50] concluded that “Through the years many studies have shown that bicycle paths in built-up areas impair traffic safety. A new Danish study presented in this article confirms these results… the main results are that bicycle paths impair traffic safety and this is mainly due to more accidents at intersections, and that there has been no improvement in the design of new bicycle paths compared to the older ones.” . . .

A statistically significant increase in the total number of injury accidents by 10% was found. It is mainly caused by a significant increase of 18% in the number of injury accidents in intersections.
http://vbn.aau.dk/files/14344951/agerholm_et_al._bicycle_paths.pdf

Why would the SFMTA want to implement a design that has been shown to increase intersection bicycle accidents?  If bicycle accidents increase, will the SFMTA have an excuse to build more bicycle infrastructure?  See, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3802069.ece  

Should the MTA install cycle tracks that give unskilled bicyclists a greater perception of safety but which are known to increase the risk of intersection accidents?

Should the City and County of San Francisco be held liable for intersection accidents arising from this design defect?

Cyclist pleads guilty in Castro crosswalk death

By Phillip Matier And Andrew Ross : sfgate – excerpt

In what San Francisco prosecutors call the first conviction of its kind, a bicyclist who fatally struck a 71-year-old pedestrian in a Castro neighborhood sidewalk last year has pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter.
Under a plea agreement, however, 37-year-old Chris Bucchere of Marin County will not serve any time behind bars. Instead, he will be sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service when he goes before Judge James Collins in San Francisco Superior Court on Aug. 16.
Also, Collins could reduce Bucchere’s conviction to a misdemeanor after six months if he complies with terms of his sentence… (more)

The SFMTA Renames Lower Haight as “The Wiggle Community” – Calls for SFPD Crackdown on Bikes, Return of Hated Traffic Circles

sfcitizen – excerpt

“I lived on Scott Street, between Oak & Fell during the last traffic circle experiment. Was nearly hit four or five times walking to Haight Street for coffee. That is a very residential neighborhood, one reason it is good to bike through. But also, a bunch of pedestrians should not have risk life and limb to cross the street…”

Indeed, Jimbo! Pedestrians wanting to cross Page would hear a car coming from a half-block away. What should they do? Would the drivers slow down? The peds wouldn’t know. Very bad!  All this so that Page could eventually become a “Bicycle Boulevard?” All this so that cyclists wouldn’t have to worry about getting tickets for California stopping? Ridiculoso!]… (more)

Bay Area Agencies Boost Support for Affordable Housing and Local Transit

 By Jean Tepperman : eastbayexpress – excerpt

Before adopting a sweeping thirty-year plan for Bay Area housing and transportation just after midnight Friday morning, the Metropolitan Planning Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) added significant provisions to boost support for affordable housing and local transit operations.
As we previously reported, a coalition of environmental and social justice organizations called “6 Wins for Social Equity” had been pushing for those priorities throughout the planning process, and claimed these last-minute amendments as victories… (more)

RELATED:
Bay Area Plan Approved, Eklund Abstains
Bay Area officials approve controversial land use plan

 

Muni seeks to bring order to shuttle bus chaos

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfchronicle – excerpt

 

Muni wants to share 100 of its stops with the growing swarm of private commuter shuttles, give priority to its own buses and charge a fee to the private operators in an effort to impose some order on the out-of-control industry.
The Municipal Transportation Agency is proposing an 18-month test of a shuttle policy designed to support the private buses, which transport as many as 35,000 workers a day, mostly to and from tech companies in Silicon Valley, while reducing conflicts with Muni buses and establishing guidelines to help the private and public buses get along.
“We’re trying to be balanced,” said Carli Paine, project manager. “This is our best approach. It provides for operation of the shuttles and recognizes their benefits while minimizing the impacts on Muni.”
The framework of the plan, which is still being developed, will be presented to a committee of the MTA Board of Directors on Friday… (more)

How can Muni complain? The buses take the pressure off Muni and cars off the road and cost Muni nothing.

Comments on the source site linked above are appreciated.

SF bike thefts surge at alarming rate

By Coburn Palmer : sfbay.ca – excerpt

A report released Thursday by San Francisco’s Budget and Legislative Analyst shows bicycle theft in The City has increased by a whopping 70 percent in five years.
Bike thefts even beat out iPhone thefts in San Francisco, three to one…
The report calls for The City to develop a system where bike owners voluntarily register the serial numbers on their bikes. This database can then be checked to see if a used bicycle is stolen, allowing police to return stolen bikes to their owners… (more)

We agree. Set up a licensing system for bikes. We will need need to shift the burden for maintaining the streets to the bikers when they push the cars out of the city. They want to own the streets they can start to pay for them. As bikes become more prominent they will also have to start following the rules of the road. With streets full of bikes, they no longer be able to cruise through lights and stop signs. They will find it impossible to “get around ” traffic by switching lanes as they will be stuck in the middle of hundreds of bikes, some of them painfully slow. That should be really fun going up hill.

RELATED:
S.F. bike registry taking shape in effort to curb bike thefts