Construction kicks off this month on the long-awaited, much-debated Van Ness BRT (bus rapid transit) project, in which the heavily trafficked boulevard is going to lose the two center lanes of traffic to bus lines. The move is a reversal of what happened in the middle of the last century, when the two center lanes had been used by streetcars, whose tracks were removed to make way for more automobile traffic. And as the SFMTA explains, both Van Ness and nearby Polk Street will be undergoing multi-year construction projects within weeks, which will mean the shutting down of two center lanes on Van Ness and a lot of sluggish trips up both streets if you make the mistake of letting your Uber/Lyft driver take them.
The traffic lane closures along Van Ness, which will allow for construction equipment and the removal of the median as well as 193 trees, will primarily occur between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays, the SFMTA tells us, however there will be night and weekend work at various times too, because: traffic. Also, most left turns off of Van Ness will be disallowed.
The Polk Streetscape Project doesn’t involve the closing of any traffic lanes, but will involve a large amount of daytime upheaval and construction all along the street — in addition to the removal of 106 parking spaces along the corridor and 28 on side streets, essentially meaning you will never park near here again. It’s good news for pedestrians and cyclists, however, as the improvements include “sidewalk corner bulb-outs, to shorten the crossing distance, ADA-compliant curb ramp upgrades; Muni bus stop optimization, such as bus stop consolidation or relocation, bus bulb-outs for easier boarding, and left and right turn lanes to improve traffic flow; raised cycle tracks, green bike lanes… high visibility crosswalks, [and] better visibility at crosswalks.” They also promise a “well-lit plaza atmosphere, widening of the existing sidewalk, decorative asphalt, raised crosswalks, traffic calming measures, and [the] planting of palm trees.”
Meanwhile, it seems like the fight is likely over for preservationists making a last-ditch effort to save the crumbling, history trolley poles/lampposts along the corridor, which were installed in 1915 and were once known as the “Ribbon of Light” (see historic photo here). All but a couple of the poles are set to be removed and replaced with modern steel-tube urban lamps…(more)
calbike – excerpt
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s new Bicycle Strategy is the state’s most serious look at what it would take to triple bicycling. The SFMTA’s Timothy Papandreou analyzed what it would take to triple cycling to 10% of trips to work, up from a little over 3% today.
He concluded that the existing bike network is comfortable for only 10% of street users and that from $300 million to $500 million would be necessary to build a complete network of protected bikeways to attract tens of thousands of new riders daily.
The strategy has remarkable support across the political spectrum as a necessary means to continue economic growth in a congested city, according to a Streetsblog article on the topic. Its Board of Directors voted to support an investment of nearly $300 million in the next five years, a huge increase over the current funding of less than one half of one percent of its capital budget on bicycling. Sources tell us that new taxes are being considered that will generate the necessary funds and that key decision makers in the government and business communities are supporting dedicating sufficient funds to bicycling improvements in the next few years… (more)
Remember this in November when they tell you they need $500 million or whatever to fix the MTA and the potholes.
Remember this voters when you get to vote to raise your vehicle license fees, your sales tax, and take on more public debt by selling more bonds.
According to the California Bicycle Coalition, SFMTA intends to continue spend $300 million on bicycling, not expanded Muni service.
Walking and biking were free when I was a kid. Why are we spending billions of dollars on it now?
Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt
Statistics, studies and comparisons don’t really matter when it comes to traffic. The worst congestion is the stuff you’re stuck in.
That matter of perception may explain why some commuters are grumbling that the streets of San Francisco are growing more and more congested even though most factual indications show otherwise.
With the economy recovering and technology and construction booming again in the city, it only seems logical that traffic would be slowing. Except that it’s not. Counterintuitive as it may seem, fewer cars are entering the city and they’re finding clearer streets while they’re here… (more)
Who do you believe, yourself or them? Look who is running the tests on their own system? Traffic is worse because they have cut out miles of traffic lanes and made streets impossible to drive on. And, they are doing this with OUR TAX DOLLARS. And, you better sit down for this one,
THEY WANT MORE OF OUR MONEY SO THEY CAN HARASS US MORE! If you are ready to beat them back sign the petition to encourage the Supervisors to support a Charter Amendment to FIX the MTA
San Francisco Cuts ‘Cruising’ for Parking in Half With Market-Clearing Prices
More hype on parking created by the same studies that show less traffic.
By Jason A. Bezis : insidebayarea – excerpt
One million people reside in the inland East Bay (area code 925), the sections of Contra Costa and Alameda counties east of the Richmond/Oakland/Fremont hills. Since 1978 we have paid a one-eighth percent sales tax (AB 1107) for the sole benefit of the San Francisco Muni and AC Transit systems.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, with nudging from our city councils and county supervisors, must change this unfair arrangement.
For every $16 in taxable purchases here, one penny is sent to MUNI and another cent to AC Transit. The inland East Bay includes 30 percent of the population subject to the tax. Its cities paid 26 percent of tax revenue in 2011. Yet none of the $16.5 million that the inland East Bay contributes each year is returned here.
In contrast, San Francisco accounts for just 24 percent of the population subject to the tax and 29 percent of revenue. Yet the MTC always sends half of the proceeds to San Francisco… (more)
Some East Bay citizens want a bigger cut of the sales tax transit funds.
By Denis Cuff Contra Costa Times : insidebayarea.com – excerpt
A measure to increase Alameda County’s transportation sales tax was defeated after a partial recount failed to reverse its razor-thin loss at the November polls.
The Alameda County Transportation Commission announced Wednesday it was conceding defeat of Measure B1, which would have doubled the sales tax to 1 cent.
The tax increase would have raised $7.8 billion over three decades for roads, freeways, transit and trails. It would have restored public service transit cuts, funded a backlog of road repairs and contributed $400 million for a BART rail extension to Livermore, among other projects.
The measure was supported by 66.53 percent of the votes, falling less than 800 votes shy of reaching the 66.67 percent needed to pass.
The final tally: 350,899 yes votes, and 176,504 no votes… (more)
Could this be the beginning of the end of the gravy train for public transportation? May be the cuts in fire protection and police staff and education are of more concern to the public now than propping up economically unfeasible transportation systems that break down on a regular basis.
By Denis Cuff : bayareanewsgroup.com – excerpt
Alameda County voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to double their sales tax for transportation in a campaign being widely watched to gauge the public’s appetite for paying more taxes for roads, freeways and public transit.
Passage of Measure B1 by a two-thirds majority would make Alameda the first county in Northern California to boost its transportation sales tax to 1 cent. The current rate is a half-cent.
The tax would become permanent, too, unlike two previous half-cent taxes on Alameda County measures that had sunset dates… (more)