SF leaders search for ways to blend car-reliant worshippers with transit-first policies

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

In a city where promoting alternatives to California’s car culture is the unofficial religion, Sunday can be a day of conflict.

The Rev. Malcolm Byrd’s Sunday morning ritual includes collecting the angry notes left on his and other double-parked cars on Golden Gate Avenue. They’re left by bicyclists upset that automobiles are blocking their lane during services at Byrd’s First AME Zion Church.

Such righteous anger, while perhaps well-intentioned, is received by “your classic old church lady,” Byrd said. And that lady is part of a citywide congregation that is overwhelmingly old and car-reliant, with no other viable way to get to services.

This dependence on automobiles is challenging religious leaders and transit officials in San Francisco to find a compromise that can reduce congestion and promote transit while still allowing aging worshipers to access their faith communities… (more)

This feels like a familiar tune. Putting in a cycle track next to a church and demanding the cars move is like building housing next to a night club and demonizing the club. The anti-car movement is making for some strange allies who didn’t realize how much we have in common. Live and let live has been the San Francisco way of life. That is what is at stake.
There is a growing divisiveness feeding intolerant and racists comments that is disturbing, and it appears to be coming from elsewhere. The churches were here first. Cyclists are able-bodied individuals perfectly capable of biking on other streets. Perhaps it is time to codify parking privileges around churches and funeral homes, and certain other traditional situations. There is no reason to upset San Francisco traditions to satisfy new non-tolerant attitudes.

SFMTA Proposes New Steps to Divert Cars Off Market Street

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

The SFMTA has proposed new forced turns for private autos at intersections on the most congested stretch of Market Street, which could be implemented in phases early next year. SFMTA staff presented the changes [PDF] to the agency’s board of directors Friday — not just as a way to speed up transit, but to make the thoroughfare safer for walking and biking.

The SF Chronicle reports:

“This is primarily a safety project,” said Timothy Papandreou, director of strategic planning in the sustainable streets division of the Municipal Transportation Agency…

The changes announced Friday include stepped-up enforcement of existing transit-only lanes and turn restrictions. Early next year, additional mandatory turns are to be installed at Third, Fourth and Fifth streets and transit-only lanes would be extended eastward down Market.

Market Street between Eighth and Montgomery streets has twice as many collisions as parallel Mission Street despite having only a third of the traffic, Papandreou said. It also includes four of the city’s 20 worst intersections for collisions that injure or kill pedestrians — Fifth Street, Sixth Street, Eighth Street and Main Street. Two of the worst intersections for bike collisions are also on Market at Third and Fifth streets.

The MTA will focus first on Montgomery to Fifth streets before considering whether to head farther down Market…

Cheryl Brinkman, the SFMTA Board’s Vice Chair, noted that most drivers on Market seem to end up there by accident. “A confused driver is probably the worst thing any of us could want,” she said. “A confused driver is looking for something else and just not paying attention to the street.”… (more)

Who is to blame for the confusion on the streets? The drivers? The Muni riders? The police? The Mayor? The Board of Supervisors? The voters blame the SFMTA. Spending more money on traffic diversions will not eliminate the confusion, but will increase the anger and frustration among voters, who will say NO to Muni bonds and YES to a Charter Amendment to change the SFMTA.