Decade-long SF street redo ends in too-tight turns for Muni

By Matier & Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

For a classic case of civic dysfunction, look no farther than the intersection of Diamond and Bosworth streets in San Francisco’s Glen Park neighborhood — and a little streetscape project that has been more than a decade in the making.

It started in 2003 when the late Democratic Rep. Tom Lantos secured $3 million in federal funds to spruce up the entryway to the commercial district next to the Glen Park BART Station.

It took nine long years for neighbors and the city to agree on what to do with the money, then another three years before work actually started sprucing up Diamond and Bosworth, which got more than a third of the funding. Then came six months of detours and construction delays.

And when it was all done in July, the changes made it impossible for Muni buses to make their turns without going up onto the sidewalk.

It turned out that the bulb-outs that widened the sidewalks at the intersection made them so wide that there wasn’t enough street for the buses.

It was no surprise to the Glen Park Association neighborhood group. It warned of the potential turning problem for buses in a letter to the Municipal Transportation Agency in May 2013, according to the local Glen Park News.

City staffers, however, never tested the proposed redo for buses. Instead, they used a fire truck, which has a sharper turning radius than Muni’s finest.

“The bottom line is we got the measurements wrong, and now we are working to fix it,” agency spokesman Paul Rose told us.

The fix has meant shaving down the bulb-outs and making other changes to the street. Traffic engineers are also installing a left-hand turn signal at the intersection, to try to keep rush-hour traffic from stacking up.

The new work has been under way the past couple of weeks, and should be done within days — at a cost of $745,000, according to Rose. Which is nearly two-thirds of the cost of the original project at Diamond and Bosworth.

“It has been the most ridiculous and torturous process that I have ever been through, and it’s been a torture for the community,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose District Eight includes the neighborhood in the south-central part of town.

“Everyone will be glad when the project is completed,” said Ed Reiskin, head of the transportation agency. “It didn’t go as smoothly as we hoped, but in the end … the project will deliver great benefits to the Glen Park community and those who pass through it.”

Stop the disruptions and destruction of our streets. No more money for complete street projects. Cut those out of the SFMTA budget this year. Apologies are not good enough for this kind of abuse of power and misuse of public funds.

There is a renewed effort to stop the street games and PUT A HALT TO APPROVAL OF ALL PROJECTS THAT RELY ON EXCEPTIONS TO STATE STREET REGULATIONS. This is especially true for street lane widths. These are the issues we are looking at on Lombard, Van Ness and other major street corridors.Stop the pilot projects that are turning us in to experimental guinea pigs. No more money to test us and prod us into little pigeon holes.

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