SFMTA Rep Takes Heat as Everyone objects to Dangerous Potrero Slalom Run

Op-Ed

Objections to the Potrero streetscape rollout took center stage at a neighborhood meeting at Zuckerberg SF General that was called to update concerned neighbors on the various construction projects underway and planned for the hospital grounds. The public has been complaining for months about the new slalom run on Potrero that mimics the curvy streets on Third Street, where traffic is forced on and off the light rail tracks, and distracted drivers have difficulty watching for pedestrians while they attempt to follow the lane changes.

Nobody addressed the new hospital plans. Complaints were about:

  • The lack of notice about the meeting
  • Distracted driving
  • Dangerous new curvy lanes with up to 22 turns and constant changes.
  • Medians and trees – design, placement, and choice of trees.
  • Increase in traffic on narrow sides-streets where most cyclists choose to ride.
  • Confusing signs and directions
  • Traffic signal removal
  • Some mention was made of the Fire Department’s concerns that are supposed to have the project on hold, but, more details are needed on that subject

There were a lot of suggestions for improvements:

  • A better noticing system for neighborhood with a 2-week lead time
  • Elimination of the extended medians past the pedestrian walkways that drivers are not anticipating
  • Removal of some of the most objectionable medians that restrict traffic flow
  • Re-opening the 23rd Street pass through from the Potrero Hill ramp that allows entry into the Mission. It was noted that this is the second barrier to keep people out of the Mission devised by SFMTA.
  • Better clearer signage and possibly a freeway sign warning of a construction site ahead for drivers who wander off the freeway
  • Elimination of forced right turns and no right turns.
  • Moving bike lane to side street and possible speed controls on those streets.

All of the changes and experiments that SFMAT claims will calm traffic are making drivers more angry and less safe and calm. Residents on the narrow side streets are seeing claim the accident count is up more accidents, making everyone less safe, and creating havoc on the street, as drivers attempt to watch the road changes and other cars, they are finding it hard to watch out for pedestrians and the occasional bike at the same time. This AAA study seems to back up the public’s fears about distracted driving, and explains why many of the traffic infractions are attributed to Ubers and Lyfts who don’t know the city and are depending on dashboard maps to get around.

We need to insist that our supervisors look at these studies and accident reports and consider what options they have to reverse the SFMTA project approvals, straighten the streets, and limit out-of-town TNCs that do not know the city. This study should also be sent to the Governor who may have signed SB 182 into law last week. That state bill was passed prior to all these reports as far as we know. If this bill is written into law, the next step is to go to the state level agency and deal with is there. More on that to come.

Measuring Cognitive Distractions

Report by AAA : .aaafoundation – excerpt

In this landmark study of distracted driving, the AAA Foundation challenges the notion that drivers are safe and attentive as long as their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. Using cutting-edge methods for measuring brain activity and assessing indicators of driving performance, this research examines the mind of the driver, and highlights the mental distractions caused by a variety of tasks that may be performed behind the wheel.

By creating a first-of-its-kind rating scale of driver distractions, this study shows that certain activities – such as talking on a hands-free cell phone or interacting with a speech-to-text email system – place a high cognitive burden on drivers, thereby reducing the available mental resources that can be dedicated to driving. By demonstrating that mentally-distracted drivers miss visual cues, have slower reaction times, and even exhibit a sort of tunnel vision, this study provides some of the strongest evidence yet that “hands-free” doesn’t mean risk free.

More distracted driving related research:

Report
Presentation
Fact Sheet

RELATED:
SFMTA Rep Takes Heat as Everyone Objects to Dangerous Potrero Slalom Run

Transit agency ‘mistake’ reveals extra parking removed from Potrero Avenue

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Sometimes, San Francisco makes mistakes…

Like not listening to the neighbors who know the street…

…neighbors are also concerned that the Potrero Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project was designed before Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital built its new trauma wing — and that those 2014 transportation plans reportedly block emergency vehicle access…

That allegation from neighbors was later expressed by Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s office to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which heads the project.

These concerns prompted the SFMTA Board of Directors to approve the project in a limited capacity Tuesday and carve out a hole in their plans directly in front of the hospital so that portion can be studied…(more)

Here is something for the next SFMTA study.

We opened this story with the last article we see on the Potrero Project and the warnings from neighbors that this new road configuration is dangerous. So far we have seen no mention of the 4-car pile up that draw ambulances and stopped traffic yesterday, June 20, during rush hour, in front of the entrance to SF General, as residents on the 900 block of Potrero Avenue predicted.

So far as we know the accident was only recorded by the neighbors, who seem to be more vigilant than professionals in documenting the problems on Potrero. It was no-doubt witnessed by a lot of commuters stuck in the street, who were probably grateful they were not the victims of this folly.

Hours of wasted time in this one accident will not be made up soon by the faster buses we are told will go soon whizzing by on transit only lanes. Since the SFMTA did not consider the victims of this accident worth noting, we doubt they will end up in their count.We are here to fill in the media gaps. This marks the second story we scooped this month. More videos and links will follow and hopefully some of our press partners will take this story up, when they finish reporting on the latest Trump tweets.

Witness statement:

I’d say southbound traffic was diverted onto 21st Street for at least half an hour.  I came out onto my front steps to smoke at about 6:20pm and saw the police SUV and diversion already happening to my left, then noticed all the emergency vehicles and the aftermath of the accident to my right, just south of the 22nd Street east offset.  I got to the scene within a couple of minutes, shot video (that I still haven’t watched) on my cell phone, which then immediately died, then ran home to get my iPad and was back shooting video by 6;27, first of the accident, next of the intersection of Potrero Avenue and 21st Street.  Then I went back inside to post the videos from my iPad while my phone continued to charge.  By 7(?)pm, the streets were open again.

Before and maybe after, I was listening to music through headphones in the back of my house, hence missing facts.

Video links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xd8iskKgxg8

 

 

Follow-up on the SF General Hospital Plans

September 3o, 2015 Meeting at SF General:  Attended the SF General meeting and met with some of the principals involved in the project. UC Research labs plans to expand by building a new 9-story building in the parking lot. Parking and traffic will be impacted heavily. SFMTA was expected to make a report but no one showed up. Neighbors requested a meeting with Ed Reiskin about the traffic and parking plans. Neighbors are concerned about noise, hazard waste disposal and many other issues. Many would prefer the expansion were in the current brick edifice or in Mission Bay. There are UC facilities all over town. UC is the second largest employer in San Francisco.

Regardless, there will an EIR on the expansion plans as described. I asked about the timeline for the EIR and the project. Public meeting dates are scheduled to start in October and run through March 2016 by which time they hope to have a draft EIR prepared. Nick Q. (Liberty Hill) John W (EMIA), and I were at the meeting. They may have additional information if anyone has any questions.

Traffic and parking:
They announced they will be removing 66 parking spaces from Potrero Ave.
Relating to the proposed UCSF research building they want to add one story to the parking garage and push it out to 24th St.
This will add about 527 new spaces but will only be a net gain of about 307 spaces as they will lose 220 spaces they currently have on campus.
We were told that the garage now (even before the new hospital is opened) is full before noon.
Despite the above the planning department has asked to take 20,000 sq ft of the garage as “retail space”.
They don’t want to build at Mission Bay because the doctors don’t want to take the shuttle between Mission Bay and SFGH.
When the “historic’ brick buildings are eventually retrofitted there are no plans for parking for the new staff and program that will occupy those buildings. (currently 800 people work in those buildings so we can expect at least that many more new staffers to the campus.
Be sure and come to the scoping meeting for the proposed research building on 10/21/15 at 7 PM in SFGH cafeteria.

Potrero Parking Problems Continue to Circle

By Nikolas Zelinski : potreroview – excerpt

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) has yet to implement a cohesive parking plan for Potrero Hill or Dogpatch. A proposed approach, released in 2011, received strong negative reaction from San Franciscans, and was scrapped in late-2013.  The agency has yet to release a new version. 

The 2011 parking proposal encompassed the Hill, Dogpatch, Northeast Mission, and parts of South-of-Market.  It featured metered parking along 22nd, 23rd, and 17th streets, as well as the areas surrounding the University of California, San Francisco-Mission Bay campus. Community advocates roundly rejected the plan, insisting that it didn’t address the needs of local residents, most of whom preferred a residential permit system to meters.    

In the wake of the failed proposal, Potrero Boosters president J.R. Eppler has worked with SFMTA to create a new strategy. “At first our negotiations did not go well,” Eppler explained, “but they have started to go better…After all parties educated each other on needs and available options, we would come up with a verbal plan, and after a month or two, the SFMTA would come back with a plan that would miss 60 to 70 percent of the things that we’d talked about. We’ve been doing this for the last couple of years.” 

According to Eppler, local residents want a “finely grained mixture of existing parking tools. Done on a block by block basis. This includes parking meters in front of businesses that need quick turnover, residential parking permits for areas with homes and commercial spaces that might benefit from them, and time limits for other uncontrolled blocks to curb commuter parking.”

While Dogpatch and Showplace Square have faced the brunt of parking problems, San Francisco General Hospital personnel has seen a slight respite.  Since 2009, staff-only parking signs on Vermont Street, between 22nd and 23rd, were installed in response to construction at the hospital.  SFMTA manages the parking garage located at SFGH, and made the street parking agreement with the hospital, explained Andy Thornley, SFMTA senior analyst.  

“I still haven’t tracked down the legislative action that authorized that, but the enforcement division told me that a bit of Vermont was set up for hospital staff as a temporary solution during hospital construction, and presumably will return to general parking,” Thornley said. “That kind of parking is an exception. However there are precedents, such as the special permit parking in front of City Hall on Polk Street, between Grove Street and Hayes Street. However, the SFMTA does not manage those spaces. The space in front of the hospital is pretty unique because SF General is a City facility, and the Department of Public Health operates it, it’s definitely a special case. It’s not like we’re giving out public spaces to Google or Proctor & Gamble.” 

David Meckel, director of research and planning at the California College of the Arts, said he’s pleased to see the new 55-bus line run directly to the campus. “I actually think SFMTA has been pretty responsive, I think they’ve done as good as a job they can…Our main interaction with them was the oversized vehicle ordinance; and they did it, and it helped…I think the system works, but it takes a lot of public process.” Meckel was happy that SFMTA installed “no oversize parking” signs by the college to curb overnight camping, but noted that the signs merely moved the problem to another area. 

According to Thornley, SFMTA hopes to hold a public meeting on ways to address parking challenges in the Northeast Mission in the next couple of months. There are no public meetings planned for the Hill or Dogpatch… (more)

SF General Hospital seeks solutions to parking headache

By sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco General Hospital has a parking problem, and without intervention it may only get worse.

That was the message at a Health Commission meeting Tuesday, where officials said new construction projects at San Francisco General may need as many as 500 new parking spaces by 2020, or a resulting car crisis may drive patients to competing hospitals.

In response, the Health Commission voted unanimously to approve a resolution urging the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to expand a nearby parking garage, in the first of many goals meant to address the need for more parking.

“Even with the most aggressive programs, we project will have deficits in parking,” Kathy Jung, director of facilities and capital planning at the Department of Public Health, told the Health Commission….

…that new hospital, as well as other new buildings on site, will soon eliminate some existing parking at San Francisco General.

And those same new buildings will simultaneously drive demand for more transit. All told, the Department of Public Health estimates the hospital will need more than 900 parking spaces after 2020…

The DPH has partnered with the SFMTA to work on the parking deficiency problem the last two years. The issue will now go before the SFMTA’s Policy and Governance Committee to brainstorm additional solutions. Expanding the parking garage and other new ideas will go before the full SFMTA board on March 17.

“The hope ultimately is that Muni and other forms of transportation would be so good that we wouldn’t need all that parking,” Tom Nolan, president of the SFMTA board, told The Examiner, referring to the projected 900-space deficit.

Muni will better serve General Hospital one day, he said, “but probably not that quickly, and not that much.”… (more)

Tom Nolan admits that no parking or Muni service will be added quickly. Perhaps someone at SFMTA should talk to the health industry they claim to be supporting. Patients leaving a medical facility who are medicated must arrange for a ride home with a friend. How are they going to release patients to the care of a friend without parking?

Maybe they should put the bike lanes on the 20 wide sidewalks instead of taking over a street lane.

Parking Losses Prompted by Potrero Avenue Project Continue to Rile Residents

By Keith Burbank : potrero view – excerpt

Despite new designs that maintain more parking spaces than previous proposals, residents of Potrero Avenue and nearby streets are still angry about the loss of parking that would result from the Potrero Avenue Streetscape project. And though the City has made changes in response to citizen requests, some residents insist that local government isn’t listening to them.

“They [the City] come back with what they think we need,” said Mari Sorenson, a Hampshire Street resident. “It’s not about neighbors.” According to Sorenson, the project has been resisted by the community, but City Hall isn’t listening. She’s also upset that a question and answer session hasn’t been included in the past two meetings; a complaint echoed by others. Instead, residents were given the opportunity to talk with City staff at an open house held last month, record their ideas on comments cards and vote for one of three options…

More than eighty people attended last month’s gathering, held at San Francisco General Hospital, at which an additional Streetscape option was added to the two proposals that had been presented previously. Under the options for 22nd to 24th streets, Options One and Two would result in the loss of 29 parking spaces. Option Three calls for the loss of only three spaces along that street. Option One widens the sidewalk on the east side of the avenue to 14 feet, while Option Two widens it to 15 feet. Rather than widening the sidewalk, Option Three creates a bulb for a bus on the northeast corner of 24th Street and Potrero Avenue. In addition, Option One creates a six to 10 foot continuous planted median, while Options Two and Three build six foot refuges and place landscaping at the intersections…

The City added a fourth community meeting to discuss the project in response to citizen requests, according to Nate Albee, a legislative aide to Supervisor Campos, who encouraged DPW to schedule the additional gathering. And Albee said that four community meetings are more than average for the City to host to discuss a project.

The City has made changes requested by Flores, with no parking eliminated along the block that she lives on. Flores has a nephew who has cerebral palsy and a mother who is frail and has asthma. Flores seemed pleased she’ll have parking in front of her home, but still wants the City to avoid removing any parking from the project area. To save all the parking on Potrero Avenue, Flores and others have started a petition, which has more than 330 signatures.

Besides parking, concerns were expressed about street lighting. According to residents, half the street lights along Potrero Avenue are encased in foliage, and the City wants to plant more trees. In response, Chris Pangilinan, associate engineer, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), said the City is proposing “pedestrian scale” lighting on both sides of Potrero Avenue, which would rise to only 10 to 12 feet. Residents also wondered whether the project’s proposed medians would prevent emergency vehicles from traveling along Potrero Avenue during rush hour. According to Pangilinan, emergency vehicles going south would have a 15-foot wide transit-only lane to use. SFMTA met with the San Francisco Fire Department last month to be sure the department was satisfied with the access it will have once the project is built… (more)

 

 

Potrero Streetscape Plan – November 7 meeting at General hospital

Nov-7-flyer

  • How does this effect emergency access to the hospital?
  • Are narrow lanes safer when cycles insist on shared traffic lanes?
  • Not many bikes in the bike lanes on Potrero.
  • Potrero is in horrible condition. Pave and paint first.
  • Why does the SFMTA want to encourage bikes on Potrero when there are safer, level alternatives nearby?

If you care about traffic on Potrero, you may want to attend this meeting!

Attend this meeting and let DPW know what you think about their plans to reduce and slow traffic on Potrero Avenue. Please forward this email to anyone who might be interested.
The SF Department of Public Works will hold their third community meeting for the Potrero Ave. Streetscape plans. This will be an open house style meeting. Information is below and flier is attached in English and Spanish.
Potrero Ave. Streetscape Open House
Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2013, Time: 6:00-8:00 pm
Location: San Francisco General Hospital Cafeteria, 1001 Potrero Avenue, 2nd Floor
More information about the project and previous meetings is available on the DPW website:  http://sfdpw.org/index.aspx?page=1673
contact Tristan Cook , SFGH Rebuild Public Relations Director
San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center
Phone: (415) 206-6995
Cell: (415) 806-7552

Potrero Streetscape Improvements

sfdpw.org – excerpt

NEW! Check out materials from the 7/30 workshop and take the survey!

Potrero Streetscape Improvements will bring a revitalizing facelift to the public space adjacent to the SF General Hospital with pedestrian safety improvements, wider sidewalks, new landscaping and new sidewalk amenities. Potrero will be repaved from Alemeda all the way to 25th Street, and streetscape improvements will be made between 21st and 25th.
All of the upgrades are planned to be developed and constructed to coincide with the completion of the SF General Hospital Rebuild. Construction of the new hospital, as well as the Potrero Avenue Streetscape, is scheduled for completion in 2015… (more)