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.”

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Driving a hard bargain over plans for Polk Street

San Francisco transit agency vows to revise Polk Street plan following heated community meeting

By: Joshua Sabatini : SFExaminer – excerpt

After hundreds of merchants and residents gathered this week to blast a proposal to remove parking spaces along Polk Street in favor of bike lanes, the head of San Francisco’s transit agency agreed to go back to the drawing board.
Amid the show of solidarity, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency transportation director Ed Reiskin said he would return with proposals “that would have significantly less parking loss.”
Reiskin had a bumpy ride Monday night. When asked for specific removal numbers, he admitted to not having them — which prompted laughter and booing from the crowd. The agency had proposed eliminating parking from one side of Polk Street and partially from the other side to make way for dedicated bike lanes.
Merchants had spent weeks drumming up opposition to the proposal, even posting signs on their shop windows saying “Save Polk Street.” Business owners worry that loss of parking will mean loss of business.
“We really count on parking,” said Dan Kowalski, owner of the furniture store Flipp on Polk and Green streets. Any parking removal “we just think is wrong,” Kowalski said, adding that “Polk Street’s different; it’s different than Valencia Street.”… (more)

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Cars vs. Bikes: The Battle for Polk Street