SF Fire Department delayed streetscape projects over safety concerns

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

This maneuver was shot in the Haight. We documented acitvities around General Hospital as well. See for yourself how long it takes for the fire engines and trucks to pull into General. Should the Fire Department care how fast they move and how safe their passengers are?

Safety concerns from the San Francisco Fire Department have led to the delay of numerous street safety projects across The City, according to public records obtained by the San Francisco Examiner.

Those emails were first obtained and reported by Human Streets, a new nonprofit advocacy journalism organization. From protected bike lanes on upper Market Street and street safety changes to Turk Street and speed bumps meant to slow down drivers, numerous safety projects crafted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency were slowed — for weeks or months — as the Fire Department aired concerns about its ability to run emergency vehicles on modified streets…

In January, SFMTA Transportation Planner Patrick Golier wrote an email to his colleagues, “I have raised the issue of SFFD’s unresponsiveness” on a site visit to overview the Upper Market Project, which included protected bike lanes.
Golier was concerned pushing back a hearing on Upper Market bike lanes “would create an enormous amount of work plus would make us look bad with our stakeholders.”…

In emails to the SFMTA from 2015 to 2017, the (fire) department expressed concern that new street designs would create difficulties for all manner of emergency vehicles…

Fire truck drivers, he wrote, are “forced to slow down and go over one side of the bump. This causes the apparatus to reduce substantial speed and with the weight of the apparatus is difficult to rebuild any kind of speed going up the hill.”…

Balmy also wrote it is “not unreasonable to assume” emergency vehicles carrying patients could hit speed humps while EMT’s administer life-saving care, which could “adversely affect patient treatment.”
Last year, the fire department proposed a “blanket ban” on approving SFMTA’s creation of speed bumps throughout all of San Francisco…

Fire department spokesperson Jonathan Baxter said that blanket ban is still being discussed.

“The San Francisco Fire Department is encouraged by the innovative thinking of SFMTA to develop ways to enable safe bicycle transportation in the city of San Francisco,” Baxter told the Examiner. “Only in those instances where safety standards are materially compromised do we recommend exploring additional options.”… (more)

RELATED:
San Francisco fire officials block critical safety upgrades on city streets.
The fire code is being used to water down life-saving measures.. (more)

Safety is relative. One must set priorities. Some would say the safety of the sick or injured people in the speeding ER vehicle deserve care and respect and a speedy delivery to their destination, and if inconveniences others so be it. That is why everyone is supposed to allow the speeding vehicle with the siren and flashing lights to pass. They have the right of way.

California bicyclists would be allowed to roll past stop signs under proposed law

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Cyclists in California would be allowed to pedal past stop signs — without stopping — under legislation proposed by two lawmakers who say it would make the roads safer.

The two-tiered approach to the rules of the road — one for cyclists and one for cars — is unlikely to ease growing tensions over sharing California’s roadways.

Bike advocates have won such victories in the Statehouse as requiring drivers to yield a three-foot radius of manoeuvring room to cyclists or face fines. Motorists meanwhile have expressed frustration that they see certain cyclists pick and choose which laws to follow.

Assemblymen Jay Obernolte (R-Hesperia) and Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced their measure on Friday that would allow bicyclists to treat stop signs as merely yield signs — proceeding with caution if conditions are safe.

In effect, it would legalize the so-called California roll, although just for bicyclists…(more)

This law AB-1103 Bicycles: yielding has been through the legislature a number of times and has not passed yet. It will create more problems than it will solve and is not supported by all cyclists:

  1. Will this apply to 2-way stop signs or just 4-way stop signs? How will cyclists know the difference?
  2. Does anyone think cyclists will slow down more than they do now to look before “rolling” through?
  3. Legislators should include a clause that requires cyclists to purchase licenses and insurance to cover damages resulting from passage of this new law.
  4. This will be particularly difficult for drivers of large vehicles like buses and trucks, who can’t easily see bikes or stop on a dime when they do.
  5. How can SFMTA speed buses though intersections when they must worry about hitting cyclists rolling through stop signs?
  6. This will negatively impact the safety of other cyclists, pedestrians, tourists and young people who will find it even more confusing to walk safely on the streets than they do now.
  7. Wait for the lawsuits to come in.

Details on the AB-1103 – An act to amend Section 21200 of the Vehicle Code, relating to bicycles – Introduced by Assembly Members Obernolte and Ting (Coauthors: Assembly Members Bloom, Chávez, and Kiley)

Principal coauthor: Senator Wiener

Who is San Francisco’s next transit-centric supervisor?

By sfexaminer – excerpt

With the departure of Supervisor Scott Wiener to the state Senate, transportation experts in the Bay Area are seeing a vacuum in San Francisco.

During his time as supervisor, Wiener, a staunch transit advocate, formed a Late Night Transit Working Group aimed at low-wage workers, ushered in Proposition B in 2014 to tie local transportation funding to population growth, tried to get a vehicle license fee that Mayor Ed Lee opposed on the ballot, brought back the Castro shuttle, authored the Subway Master Plan urging San Francisco to continuously build subways and helped (along with other politicians) usher in the Gator Pass, a transit pass for San Francisco State University students.

Suffice to say, transportation makes Wiener’s wheels turn.

After four new supervisors were elected in November, the San Francisco Examiner asked each of them a host of controversial transportation issues to see if any would try their hand at filling Wienezr’s shoes. .. (more)

Read the entire article and comment at the source. It is good to see this new group of supervisors are not feeling as dependent on the Bike Coalition to set the agenda as their predessers did. The new supervisors seem to be listening to their constituents more. We understand that one of the biggest losers is now on the SF Bicycle Coalition Board, and his supervisor most certainly owes that organization nada.

We anticipate major changes in budget allocations, as health, housing, justice, and other issues take precedent this year. San Francisco needs to do more with a lot less money and that means dropping the most expensive solutions in favor of the least expensive one for a change.

Panhandle Path Closed Yesterday?

A quick note about a twitter kerfuffle from last night over a closure to the Panhandle bike path. This involved San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member Elisabeth Snider, who lives in the Sunset and uses the path regularly. Upon seeing the closure of this essential transportation link for cyclists, Snider tweeted 311 with the above photo for more information:…

@SanFranMiniVan Per SFPD crosswalks are for walking just like sidewalks and should not be used for bicycles. ^JM

As Snider and others immediately pointed out, that’s just not true–besides, why is there a bike signal there if bikes can’t use it? There was a little bit more back and forth, and then:…(more)

No one can create a crisis as fast as the SFMTA. With no notice and barely a nod to a study that was done re: building bike  paths along the panhandle, this is a no low for the SFMTA or whoever instigated this mess.

Maybe we should contact the Board of Supes and complain? Where is the dignity of anyone regarding our streets and our use and our public rights to move about freely without constant displacement and confusion?

Is this yet another of those illegal actions done without knowledge of the authorities like the “fake stanchions”?  that recently popped up on some streets?

Let’s ask.

The latest : It appears that we were right. This was a hoax.

Latest reports are that the crossing is no longer blocked.

 

Traffic Flow Change – Terry A. Francois Blvd. and 3rd Street

3rdstbridgeTraffic stopped for boat entering Mission Creek

“Port Planning has been working with SFMTA staff on the Terry Francois Boulevard (TFB) Cycletrack which will eventually include a bike lane on the Lefty O’Doul Bridge (the bridge at 3rd Street). The bike lanes will solve several issues including removal of the middle double lane on the bridge that has been difficult to manage and dangerous.  Unfortunately removal of this lane will result in the removal of the left turn lane onto TFB from southbound Third Street.

“I’m told that installation of the bike lanes are still at least 12 months out, but the SFMTA board has approved removal of the left turn lane for safety reasons.   SFMTA has agreed to not move forward with removal of the turn lane until Mission Rock Street is open to the public which we don’t believe will occur before March.  Once I receive more information on the timing of this work, I will pass it along as well as a contact for SFMTA should you have any questions regarding the project.”

Bikeshare company may drop thousands of bikes on SF streets without permits

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

“Disruption” is tech term with which San Francisco is all too familiar.
Now, China-based bikeshare company Bluegogo may follow in the footsteps of Uber, Airbnb and other tech companies by launching in San Francisco without permission or permits, following the “disruption” template established by so many others.

If Bluegogo, which recently has signaled its apparent upcoming expansion into San Francisco, repeat its business model seen in other cities worldwide, the company may place tens of thousands of bicycles on San Francisco streets that will be available for rent via an app –– seemingly without first asking permission to use city sidewalk.

Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who has longed battled with “disruptive” companies like Airbnb, told the San Francisco Examiner it was problematic Bluegogo has not contacted city officials.

“This is the age old tech arrogance,” Peskin said, which is a “‘do what they want and answer their questions later’ business model that has gotten everybody from Airbnb to Uber in trouble.”

Peskin said he directed the City Attorney’s Office to look into remedy to address Bluegogo’s potential scofflaw actions. The Mayor’s Office was unaware of Bluegogo’s expansion into San Francisco.

John Cote, spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office said, “We’re aware of Bluegogo’s interest in San Francisco. We’re working with our clients to evaluate the situation. Any company that comes to the city has to follow the law, and we have tools at our disposal to ensure that happens.”… (more)

They are at it again

Letter from a friend about the latest plan to replace a major traffic lane with a bike lane. This time the victims are Oak and Fell streets.

Dear Friends and Neighbors:

SFMTA is considering implementing bike lanes on Fell and Oak along the Panhandle, from Baker through Stanyan.  Attached is a feasibility study contained in a final memorandum dated August 22, 2016 from MTA.

The proposal includes:

·       Moving the parking lanes on the South side of Fell and the North side of Oak away from the Panhandle, and installing one-way bike lanes.  The parking lanes would “float” away from the curb, like those on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park; people parking wouldn’t have a curb to guide them.

·       Reducing the number of vehicular travel lanes on Fell and Oak from four to three.

·       Bicyclists in the bike lanes wouldn’t be required to stop for red lights at the intersections of Lyon, Central, Ashbury, Clayton, Cole and Shrader – pedestrians crossing Fell and Oak couldn’t rely on the red lights but would have to make sure no cyclist is coming.  Indeed, the ability of cyclists to go fast and not have to stop at traffic signals would be a major attraction of the bike lanes.  (See page 12.)

·       Around 75 of 280 parking spaces on the South side of Fell and North side of Oak along the Panhandle would be removed.  (This would be in addition to the parking spaces being lost on Masonic due to the Masonic project, and those lost in the neighborhood for corporate shuttle buses and car sharing rentals.)

·       Cyclists could continue to use the existing pedestrian/bicycle path in the Panhandle, besides using the new bike lanes.

Another version of the proposal envisions a two-way bike lane along the South side of Fell, and no bike lane along Oak.  This would require removing all parking spaces on the South side of Fell.

These bike lanes are being promoted by North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association (according to its bylaws, its Western boundary is Masonic) and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

I oppose this proposal because I believe it would endanger pedestrians (especially seniors, people with mobility and vision disabilities, small children and those in strollers), increase congestion and pollution, make the shortage of on street parking even worse, and increase conflicts between motorists and cyclists.  I don’t know how far along the proposal is.  I live on Fell and haven’t received any communication from MTA about it.

Instead of this proposal, the existing pedestrian/bicycle path in the Panhandle should be repaved, smoothened, better lit, and, perhaps, widened and otherwise improved.

Tricia Stauber, PRO|SF (Panhandle Residents Organization) Community Coordinator, has put together an online survey.  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PndleSurvey
The survey is open until January 12 at 11:30 PM.

To express your opinion to the MTA Board, email:  MTABoard@sfmta.com and Roberta Boomer, Secretary to the Board, Roberta.Boomer@sfmta.com

To express your opinion to Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation, email:  ed.reiskin@sfmta.com

Thank you for considering this email.

Cordially,

 

panhandleprotectedlanes_preliminaryanalysis_final_08222016copy

 

 

 

 

SFMTA releases study results on SF’s first raised bike lane

By Nuala Sawyer : sfexaminer – excerpt

The SFMTA has been studying the effectiveness of a short stretch of raised bike lane on Market Street, and has just released their results on the experiment.

Raised bike lanes are a popular tactic used by other cities to separate cars and bikes as they travel along the same city street. The bike lanes should discourage people from driving in them, but still allow emergency vehicles access. Cyclists should be able to enter and exit the raised bike lane safely at any point.

Taking into account other cities’ designs, the SFMTA installed four options in one short stretch: a wide mountable curb, a mountable curb, a mountable curb near sidewalk level, and a vertical curb…

market-raised-bikeway-options-1

(more)

SF’s Vision Zero: intuitive, radical, and failed

By : sfgate – excerpt

Vision Zero, San Francisco’s declared goal of eliminating traffic deaths by 2024, has failed so far. 25 people, including 12 people walking and 3 biking, have been killed on our streets this year, compared to 24 by this point in 2014, when the goal was set.

Like many of the most powerful and attractive ideas, Vision Zero is radical but also deeply intuitive: Of course people shouldn’t die on our streets. It’s not just that they shouldn’t die—they don’t have to die. Sweden, where Vision Zero was created in 1997, has cut pedestrian deaths by half and now has a rate of traffic deaths less than one fourth that of the United States…(more)

This is not news. Ed Reiskin admitted this months ago. The US government has come up with studies showing that a huge uptick in deadly accidents are being blamed on apps. Convincing people to go back to defensive behavior might be a better approach. Everyone needs to look where they are going, not assume they are going to seen.

Residents Blast City For Continued Inaction On Dangerous 17th Street Muni Tracks

hoodline – comments only

Ok. I can’t find any part of this story to repeat. I will just write my own comments and link to the original so people can figure it out for themselves… (more )

Basically we have cyclists complaining about how dangerous it is to cycle near Muni tracks. Someone should inform them that it is SFMTA’s job to promote Muni over all over modes of transit to pay for Muni and the many other transit programs and projects they Muni and the SFMTA promotes.