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)

 

SFMTA Cuts Block of Polk Bike Lane Fought By Visionless Mayor’s Optometrist

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

The SFMTA has nixed a block of protected bike lane planned on Polk Street, where merchants including Mayor Ed Lee’s optometrist have vocally opposed it to preserve car parking…

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin ordered the reduction, as shown in emails [PDF] obtained by Madeleine Savit, who founded Folks for Polk to advocate for a safer street. Reiskin and the SFMTA Board of Directors are mayoral appointees.

The Polk redesign, which is up for a vote by the SFMTA Board of Directors on Tuesday, has been fiercely opposed by a group of merchants called “Save Polk Street,” which has spread misinformation in its campaign to preserve parking. Under the proposed plan, partial bike lanes would be installed by removing about 30 percent of the 320 parking spaces on Polk, or 8 percent of parking spaces within a block of the street…

“I’ve heard from many different groups,” Lee told Streetsblog. “I know we want to make the streets safer, make it bike-friendly, small businesses don’t want to lose parking for their constituents… I can’t have a particular position on it except to endorse the most balanced approach that they have because there’s issues that should not be in conflict. We shouldn’t promote bicycle safety over pedestrian safety over cars and parking. I think they’re all going to be important.”

“We have to look at the future — what is it that thoroughfare suggests to us? And how do we take a look at that future and [find] the safest, expedient route that balances the different modes of transportation people have, but also supports the businesses at the same time. If it takes more time, then I’m going to suggest that more time should be taken.”(more)

Please send a letter to the Mayor and our city officials to let them know how you feel about the disruptions on our city streets, and speak at the March 3 MTA Board Meeting at City Hall, room 400, around 2:30 PM if you can.

For your convenience there is a Form letter here.

Thank you for taking a stand on this important issue.

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

SFMTA Planner Denies Plans to Create Evening Tow Away Zone along Upper Polk St

Press Release January 24, 2015

Luis Montoya, SFMTA lead planner of the Polk Streetscape Improvement Project, faced concerned residents and merchants in a closed door meeting Thursday in preparation for the upcoming January 30th Public Hearing to approve the agency’s long awaited project plans. Community members were alarmed to read that the MTA is proposing a morning and evening daily tow away zone for the implementation of a “temporary floating” bike lane from Pine to Broadway as posted on public notice posters wrapped along utility poles in their neighborhood.

Further questions and concerns grew from a report released from the planning department detailing the project’s exemption from an environmental impact report and the proposed plans including raised cycle tracks from Pine to Union, the removal of parking along the entire eastern side of Polk St, and the removal of up to 250 parking spaces at project completion. The report suggests the desire for future implementation of a full‐time raised cycle track along the east side of Polk St from Pine to Broadway (and permanent parking removal).

In response to these questions, Mr. Montoya commented that the posters were misprinted and there are absolutely no plans to implement a PM tow away zone along upper Polk St from Pine to Broadway.  He went on to comment that the report from the planning department is not his preferred proposal he will present at the public meeting on January 30th, but the planning department’s own interpretation of the project plans and data collected. How the Planning Department concluded the PM tow away zone he could not say. He did confirm his agency’s intention to implement the morning tow away zone despite minimal ridership numbers the SFMTA has recorded along northbound Upper Polk St on weekday mornings, and denied the SFMTA is planning to present a plan that calls for the removal of all northbound Polk St parking to create a raised cycle track from Pine to Broadway St  He added that his plan will remove approximately 150 parking spaces along the 1.3 mile Polk St. corridor (in addition to the hundreds of spaces being removed for the Van Ness BRT project), not the 250 listed in the Planning Department report.

At the conclusion of the meeting he asked the group for their trust and support despite the inaccurate and misleading public notice posters and planning department report, and left with a permanent marker in hand to personally alter the posted public notice signs.  On Friday a majority of the posters had been removed entirely, again questioning the agency’s accountability to the community in providing appropriate public outreach.

The Polk Streetscape Improvement Project public hearing will be held Friday, January 30th at 10AM in Hearing Room 416, City Hall.

This sounds like a real comedy of errors. Could this have anything to do with the Planning Department being overwhelmed with work requests? Time to slow down.

District 3 Street re-designs

Supervisor David Chiu July/August 2014 Newsletter – excerpt

Broadway Street Design Advances
For years, Broadway, particularly from the tunnel to Columbus Avenue, has had significant safety and quality-of-life issues as motorists speed from the west to the east side of our district, through the heart of one of the densest residential neighborhoods on the West Coast.  We have seen too many traffic-related collisions in a mixed-used corridor where residents of all ages live, play, go to school and work.

As reported by the SF Examiner, we have made good progress at planning a Broadway Chinatown Design project to transform Broadway into a more vibrant and multi-modal street for all users. The two-year interagency effort has completed its planning phase and the Department of Public Works is now preparing construction documents for the new Broadway. The Final Report on the street design and design website contains more details on the context, history, and planning process thus far. You can also view and provide feedback through August 4 on new public artwork proposals that are part of this exciting project.

Lower Polk Community Benefit District Vote Coming Up
After three years of hard work and extensive outreach led by a steering committee of local residents and businesses, this month, the Board will vote on establishing a Community Benefit District for the Lower Polk neighborhood. Lower Polk is a diverse, wonderful neighborhood that faces a number of challenges. Public safety, vacant storefronts, homelessness, and lack of green space are common concerns. The new CBD would use its $800,000 annual budget and any additional funding to provide services above and beyond the City’s current level. Lower Polk will see additional capital improvements, sidewalk cleaning, graffiti removal, tree maintenance, and safety and social service outreach ambassadors, among many others.

It’s impossible to write about the potential Lower Polk CBD without remembering and celebrating the contributions of Shell Thomas, who for years spearheaded the efforts to make it a reality. He also championed other important projects in North Beach, Chinatown, Broadway and Polk Street with dedication and humor. Shell passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago, and will be dearly missed by many in our northeast neighborhoods… taken from Supervisors Chui’s newsletter July

Stay tuned for upates on neighborhood meetings to voice your opinions on these these designs.

Polk Folks Poke Back

marinatimes – excerpt

Folks for Polk, a citizens group supporting the redesign of the Polk Street corridor to improve the pedestrian, biking, and mass transit arrangements on the busy commercial and residential street, issued its final recommendations for the project. Undeterred by the release by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) of the “preferred alternative” plan for the Polk Street Improvement Project (see Marina Times, “News Briefs,” August 2013), Folks for Polk presented in December the results of a series of meetings with residents and issued its own summary of the preferences expressed in those meetings.
Its recommendations get more specific than the City agency’s summary; they include environmental-focused details for the “bulb-outs” at street corners and real-time transit information screens at various locations on the busy street. Folks for Polk’s recommendations can be found online at www.folksforpolk.org.
http://www.folksforpolk.org/static/pdf/prefRecs.pdf (more)

If you can change the plans to take away more parking and traffic lanes, you can change the plan to add more. It is not too late. Let the supervisors know how you feel about the Polk Street plan and SFMTA plans to cut traffic on major regional traffic corridors, like Van Ness, Potrero, Geary, Market Street, Masonic, Cesar Chavez, and 19th Avenue.

Comment on the FEIS and the FEIR on the Van Ness BRT project

Mary Miles, Attorney at Law (SB #230395)
for Coalition for Adequate Review

TO: Van Ness BRT EIS/EIR
San Francisco County Transportation Authority
1455 Market Street, 22nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Leslie Rogers, Region IX Administrator
Federal Transit Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation
201 Mission Street, Suite 1650
San Francisco, CA 94105

BY E-MAIL AND U. S. MAIL

DATE: August 27, 2013

PUBLIC COMMENT ON FINAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT/ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT (FEIS/FEIR) ON VAN NESS AVENUE BUS RAPID TRANSIT PROJECT

This is public comment on the Final EIS/EIR (“FEIR”) on the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Project (“BRT”) Project (“Project”). The FEIR and the proposed Project violate the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) (Cal. Pub. Resources Code [“PRC”] §21000 et seq., CEQA’s regulatory Guidelines (14 Cal. Code Regs. §15000 et seq. [“CEQA Guidelines”]), the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) (42 U.S.C. §4371 et seq.), its implementing regulations and Executive Orders (e.g., 40 CFR 1500 et seq., etc.), and other statutes and regulations that apply to the review, funding, and approval ofthe Project (e.g., 49 USC §303; 23 USC 106, 109, 138, 325, 326, 327; 23 CFR 771 et seq., etc.)

This commenter has also submitted comment on the DEIS/DEIR (“DEIR”), which is incorporated by reference in this Comment. FEIR at II: Individuals, pp.106 – 121 (1-40)…

PARKING
 The FEIR claims that there would be no parking impacts, even though most of the parking would be removed on Van Ness, and other parking spaces would be permanently removed for bulbouts and for “mitigation” of other impacts. FEIR, p.5-18.
 The FEIR claims that even though there are no parking impacts, it would try to “mitigate” parking impacts by retaining colored loading zones and blue disabled parking zones where “feasible.” FEIR, p.5-21. That does not meet CEQA’s requirements for mitigation…

(more)

Save Parking on Polk – two more petitions

savepolkstreet.com

SAVE THE PARKING ON THE 1400 BLOCK OF POLK
The SFTMA has proposed to remove 50% of the parking from McAllister to California Street, which includes the 1400 block of Polk. They want to put in a raised bike lane on one side of the street.  Please sign and pass on to any interested parties.
SFMTA recently relented on some bike lanes but are threatening the merchants and residents with installing tow signs on the East side of Polk during morning “rush hour”. Merchants have written petitions against this in the shops.
Lots to object to here. The raised bike lanes do nothing to make anyone safer and could cause more accidents. Eliminating parking from a crowded street will kill businesses that are struggling now.

Why is SFMTA eliminating parking on streets where parking meters are generating income? 

SFMTA pushes for revised Polk Street renovation

by John Zipperer : marinatimes – excerpt

Following an at-times contentious round of back-and-forth with community groups regarding a planned remake of Polk Street’s traffic and parking design, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has issued revised proposals for the redo of the busy street and is looking forward to an early fall demonstration project.
“The thing we had to work hardest on Polk Street was to meet [the] need for everyone to be heard and to be valued,” said Seleta Reynolds, who leads the SFMTA’s policy analysis and innovation team, whose work includes the Polk Street project. “I feel that is what we missed at the beginning of the work.”…
After (the) group digests the results of the survey in June, it will wrap up some feasibility and technical analysis, and then move to make a recommendation. That will require four to six months to get environmental clearance before it goes to SFMTA’s board, which could take place by late fall. At that time, people will have a final chance to weigh in with their opinions at the public meeting before the board. If approved, the plan will go into full design work by the engineers.
Before that, however, Reynolds hopes to conduct a demonstration of the project on a short portion of Polk in September or October 2013. For information on the project and to give input on the demonstration, Reynolds invited Polk residents to give their thoughts to the agency’s Darcie Lim at darcie.lim@sfmta.com… (more)