SFMTA Proposes a Car-Free Powell Street in Union Square

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

The SFMTA has proposed making crowded, traffic-clogged Powell Street in Union Square a car-free street on a trial basis. Removing cars from the equation would make the street function better for pedestrians and cable cars on the blocks between Ellis and Geary Streets.

As we wrote last year, it makes little sense to have cars on Powell, which is seen as San Francisco’s gateway for visitors. On this two-block stretch, private car drivers routinely block bustling crosswalks, create stop-and-go traffic that damages Muni’s world-famous cable cars, and obstruct intersections in the path of the 38-Geary, Muni’s busiest bus line.

The car-free trial has already been delayed due to the Union Square Business Improvement District’s resistance to what it calls a “rushed” timeline and insistence on delivery vehicle access throughout the day.

The SFMTA’s goal “is to have these changes in place before the 2015 holiday shopping season,” with signs and paint installed in November, according to an agency flyer [PDF]. An engineering hearing is tentatively scheduled for October 2, and an SFMTA Board vote on October 20, but agency staff said the dates aren’t confirmed…

Under the proposal, during a 12-18 month trial phase, cars and delivery vehicles would not be allowed on Powell except between midnight and 5 a.m., when cable cars don’t operate. This aligns with how “most business who responded” to an SFMTA survey already handle their deliveries. According to the SFMTA flyer, these businesses “indicated that they conduct their loading on a side street or during late night hours when the cable cars are not running.”… (more)

When you see the term trial phase you know that the plan is to avoid an EIR since the SFMTA can do anything on a temporary basis. That is how they get away with it. That is way if you care about the city and the poor merchants who are leaving at a fast clip, you will start to complain and write letters of indignation about these “trial phases.”

If, on the other hand, you don’t care what happens, don’t bother to do anything and just let it happen. Who needs a car when you have everything delivered by Google, Amazon or Uber? Hope you like buying their goods as well because that is what you will be left with for choices soon.

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