Two-Wheelers on the Rails

Bicyclists are not the only ones who have problems with rails. All two-wheelers need to be careful around them. We just passed by a motorcyle on the ground with two people wearing helmets standing by it on Third Street. They were straddling two south facing lanes. We were driving north. They were near a well-lit intersection so we assume they were safe.

This is a reminder to everyone on two wheels to avoid driving on the rails. Just avoid them if you can, and if you must drive across them, try to do so at or near a 90 degree angle to avoid a spill. This is especially important in the rain.

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Keep the loop! Preserve parking, biking, and hiking all the way ’round Twin Peaks!

SFMTA can’t leave anything alone. Now they want to mess with public access to Twin Peaks!

Petitioning Chairman of the Board of the SFMTA Tom Nolan

Keep the loop! Preserve parking, biking, and hiking all the way ’round Twin Peaks!

I love San Francisco’s Twin Peaks, and I love to bicycle all the way around the figure 8 loop up there, and take in the beautiful city and ocean views.

Unfortunately, there’s a plan (“Twin Peaks Figure 8 Pilot Redesign”) to change the traffic flow at the top of Twin Peaks in a way that will eliminate all parking anywhere around the figure 8, and make it considerably more dangerous to bike or walk all the way around the entire figure 8 loop. See the plan description here:
http://sfrecpark.org/project/twin-peaks-figure-8-redesign

The number one excuse they give is: – Under-used roadway capacity. Since when do they complain about underused roadways?

This makes about as much sense as removing seats from buses and then speeding them up. Are standing passengers on speeding buses safer than seated ones on slower buses?

 The plan will make it more dangerous for drivers as well, as drivers distracted by the view pass one another in opposite directions around the sharp, blind curves. Imagine what it would be like to be walking or cycling there when a tour bus is passing you with a car coming in the opposite direction. Or what about when two tour buses are passing one another? It doesn’t sound pretty to me, and I think the probability of accidents around those blind turns will go up a huge amount.

The plan is a “solution” for a problem that doesn’t exist. Twin Peaks is one of the safest places to bicycle in San Francisco. To increase safety even further, the City could paint one-way arrows in both traffic lanes to let drivers know that they can use both lanes to give cyclists and walkers even more room when they pass. They could also paint clearly defined crosswalks to make it easier and safer for hikers on the trails to cross the road.

If enough people who actually use Twin Peaks sign this petition, they will change the plan, and preserve safe access for cycling and hiking around the loop, and parking for visitors who want to enjoy a beautiful sunset on a warm weekend evening…

I sent an email opposed to this plan, and I hope you will too. Send your emails to: sustainable.streets@sfmta.com, mtaboard@sfmta.com, and melinda.stockmann@sfgov.org and copy the Mayor and supervisors as well.

Thanks!

Jeff
San Francisco resident, homeowner, and voter.

San Fran Creates Traffic Hazards for Those That Pay NO Gas Taxes

By Stephen Frank : capoliiticalreview – excerpt

If you drive a car you pay vehicle fees, a driver’s license, gas tax, and surcharges on the purchase of tires, batteries and an oil change. You pay for the roads. If you ride a bike, you are not forced by government to pay anything. Drive a car and you have to obey the rules of the road. Ride a bike and you can create accidents, gridlocks and danger to pedestrians—and no one cares… (more)

San Francisco Gets Ready for Its First Raised Bikeway

By Bryan Goebel, KQED, 10/19/15

A type of bikeway popular in bicycling meccas like Copenhagen and Amsterdam is going to be tested on San Francisco’s main thoroughfare starting next month. It’s a design that transportation officials say will become more common over the next few years, as the city rolls out a number of long-awaited safe streets projects…

A raised bike lane, separated from auto traffic, has a number of benefits, according to Mike Sallaberry, a senior engineer with the SFMTA’s Livable Streets division. First, it raises the visibility of bike riders, improving their safety and comfort level, and is a draw for people  who may feel cycling is a little intimidating.

SFMTA officials say this kind of bikeway also helps prevent vehicles from entering, but will also have to accommodate paratransit vehicles and taxis, which are allowed to enter the bike lanes to drop off passengers with disabilities. Planners also need to figure out how to deal with delivery trucks, and might consider creating drop-off zones… (more)

Muni bus fatally hits bicyclist in downtown San Francisco

By Steve Rubenstein : sfgate – excerpt

One bicyclist was killed and another seriously injured in two separate accidents that occurred within a half-hour in downtown San Francisco on Sunday afternoon.

A bicyclist on a silver mountain bike was caught between two Muni buses and was then fatally struck and wedged beneath a westbound articulated Muni bus on Market Street west of Battery Street, police said. That accident occurred around 3:30 p.m…

Shortly after 4 p.m., a cyclist was involved in an accident with a horse trailer being pulled by a truck at Embarcadero and Chestnut Street, police said. The unidentified cyclist, a 46-year-old woman, was taken to San Francisco General Hospital. Details of that accident and the extent of her injuries were not immediately known… (more)

SF lawmaker announces ‘Idaho Stop’-style bike yield law proposal

By  : sfexaminer – excerpt

Supervisor John Avalos on Wednesday announced plans to introduce an ordinance to make citations for bicyclists who “safely yield at stop signs” the SFPD’s lowest law enforcement priority.

The proposal is called the “San Francisco Right-of-Way Policy,” but it closely dovetails what is commonly called the “Idaho Stop.” That state law allows cyclists to treat a stop sign as a yield sign if no vehicles or pedestrians are present at an intersection.

Yielding at stop signs when no cars are present is a natural cyclist behavior, bike advocates argue, for safety and momentum. Now those cyclists may get their wish: Yielding at stop signs may soon be quasi-legal….

“This dramatic increase in bicycle traffic has led to an increase in conflicts between bicyclists, pedestrians, and drivers,” Avalos said, in a statement. Board of Supervisors President London Breed told the Examiner she supports the “Idaho Stop.”…

Cmdr. Ann Mannix, who heads the traffic division, told the San Francisco Examiner previously, in an email, “If the public, legislators, voters want us to enforce anything else they must create it and get adopted as law.”… (more)

SF bicyclists feel road repair requests are being ignored

By sfexaminer – excerpt

Maintenance requests via hotline reportedly ignored by the SFMTA

A faded shared-lane marker, a vandalized bicycle street sign, a general feeling a roadway is unsafe.

These are some of the issues that San Francisco bicyclists report using the 311 information hotline, which one can call or upload a photo to using an app.

But recent analysis of 311 data, compiled by the Bicycle Advisory Committee, raises questions about whether bicyclists’ requests for small roadway improvements are being responded to in a timely manner, if at all… (more)

Looks like the SFMTA can’t make anyone happy. Fix the roads already. That is what the voters want. Cyclists and pedestrians need smooth roads as much as motorists do.

Pedestrian, Bicycle Plan Approved For 20-Blocks Of San Francisco’s Polk Street

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency unanimously approved a pedestrian and bicycle improvement plan Tuesday that will span 20 blocks of Polk Street.

The project drew dozens of San Francisco residents, including bicycle and pedestrian advocates supporting the project and residents and businesses concerned about the loss of parking and vehicle access.

Numerous cyclists who spoke during the public comment period said they felt scared traveling on Polk Street and urged the board to approve a protected bike lane in both directions.

The plan approved by the board today includes bike lanes that are not completely separated from traffic… (more)

 

Phil Matier: Proposed California Law Requiring Adult Cyclists Wear Helmets Not Gaining Traction With Some Bicycle Advocates

By Phil Matier : cbslocal – excert – (audio track)

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— A proposed California state law that would require adult cyclists to wear a helmet while riding or face a fine is not gaining much traction amongst bicycle advocates. SB192 would make California the first state that require helmets for those over the age of 18…

San Francisco has already started to spend $3 million on bicycle awareness and will continue to do so for the next few years. This will include safety campaigns and improvements to bike lane infrastructure. The city has also called to increased citations to motorists by 50 percent in the next two years in an effort to cut down on injuries.

But when you turn it around on the bicycle groups, they don’t want to adhere to things like mandatory helmet wearing or even chipping in money on the new bike lanes. This is making state lawmakers and politicians wonder if this is a one-way street.

Last week I called around to get reaction from Mayor Ed Lee and members from the Board of Supervisors. It’s not necessarily a debate about safety; they just don’t seem to want this to be debated at all… (more)

Be careful what you wish for. The less cars on the road the more cyclists will have to pay. SB 192 is a rational first step.

Polk Street makeover sparks heated debat

By Jonathon Bloom : ABC7news – excerpt – See video attached below.

Polk Street in San Francisco is about to get a makeover to make it safer for cyclists and that’s sparked a hot debate.

http://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=498662

Beyond being a haven for shops, bars and restaurants, Polk Street is also one of the only ways to get across that part of the city by bicycle and the city wants to make that a whole lot safer.

At a public hearing, cyclists told stories of getting hit by cars to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which put a face on a sobering statistic.

“Polk Street is one of the six percent of city streets that account for 60 percent of the collisions,” San Francisco MTA spokesman Ben Jose said.

It’s why engineers have worked up a plan to make Polk Street safer on bike and on foot… (more)

RELATED:
Plan to Pluck Parking Places From Polk for Pedalers Panned:

This has not only been a highly contested project, but there is mass confusion of the plan. According to this tape, nothing will happen until next summer 2016. We don’t really know what will happen or when it may happen. The Planning and Building departments are overwhelmed with projects.

 

Not only are the bike lanes highly controversial, many people want to see better enforcement of the traffic rules for bikers. According to official reports, half the accidents involving cyclists are due to their bad behavior and risk taking. Motorists want cyclists to take tests, purchase licenses, and insurance and cover the costs of the bike lanes.

Merchants, bicyclists continue to wage battle over Polk Street redesign

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Notice

Notice posted outside City Hall was missing in action for most of the week prior to the hearing. There are allegation of intent to hide the hearing from the citizens and businesses on Polk Street.

The SFMTA’s engineering division is meeting Friday about a contentious plan for Polk Street that has pitted neighborhood merchants against cyclists.
San Francisco’s popular Polk Street corridor is on the road toward a significant transformation to make it safer for bicyclists and pedestrians. But the redesign remains a contentious debate pitting merchants against bicyclists.

The battle comes to a head Friday with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s engineering division meeting on the plan, followed by a possible vote as early as next month by the agency’s board.

Nearly three weeks since her mayoral appointment, District 3 Supervisor Julie Christensen finds herself in the middle of the controversy. She has met with at least three groups continuing to fight over the plan, after some say her predecessor, David Chiu, lacked leadership on the issue.

“Two years of work has been done on this,” Christensen said. “I’m coming in on the final act.”

She has yet to take position on the SFMTA’s recommended compromise plan but noted “there is still a lot unhappiness” on all sides. “I’m trying to determine if that’s a true statement, is this the best we can do,” Christensen said…(more)

The $12 million project will result in the removal of 100 parking spaces on Lower Polk between Pine and McAllister streets, and 10 spaces on Upper Polk between Union and Pine. Work is set to begin in spring 2016 and finish in winter 2017…

Another group, Folks for Polk, is threatening to a place a Polk Street design initiative on the November ballot if a final plan doesn’t include at least a pilot program offering protected bike lanes

The $12 million project will result in the removal of 100 parking spaces on Lower Polk between Pine and McAllister streets, and 10 spaces on Upper Polk between Union and Pine. Work is set to begin in spring 2016 and finish in winter 2017…

Another group, Folks for Polk, is threatening to a place a Polk Street design initiative on the November ballot if a final plan doesn’t include at least a pilot program offering protected bike lanes… (more)

The showdown is called an Engineering Hearing. It is set for Friday, January 30, 10 AM in City Hall room 416.

To read about the proposed improvements to Polk Street in more detail, visit our website: www.SFMTA.com/Polk. You are welcome to attend this hearing, or to submit any comments to sustainable.streets@sfmta.com with the subject “Public Hearing.”

RELATED:
Driving a hard bargain over plans for Polk Street