By John King : sfchronicle – excerpt
Ten weeks after Jeff Tumlin mounted a bicycle to celebrate the debut of car-free Market Street, San Francisco’s director of transportation used a televised mayoral briefing on COVID-19 to deliver a much different message.
“Please do not ride Muni for the duration of the public health emergency,” Tumlin said last week from behind the podium, where Mayor London Breed and other department heads had just appeared. “If you have the ability to drive or walk or ride a bicycle, please choose those modes.”
The message aims to prevent overcrowding on the city’s remaining bus lines, a condition that could spread the coronavirus. But it also served as a tacit reminder that private automobiles have a role to play in large cities — even ones like San Francisco, where public policy in recent years has focused on trying to carve out space for as many transportation options as possible while also making streets safer and more enticing for pedestrians…(more)