Union Street Merchants upset with Van Ness BRT project

By John Zipperer : marinatimes – excerpt

Gridlock by SFMTA. photos by zrants

The ongoing Van Ness Transit Corridor Improvement Project has a clumsy name only a bureaucrat could love, and many merchants on Union Street definitely don’t love one of the project’s features: the loss of a left-turn onto Union Street from Van Ness. They say it has hurt business on their street because of a loss of traffic; drivers on Van Ness just find it easier to drive onward and shop elsewhere. One idea being mooted is seeking about $1.5 million in compensation from the city for their loss of business…

Henry Karnilowicz, president of the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations, said that billions of dollars are being spent on the many street changes and improvements across the city. “And here they’re talking about giving 1.5 million? That’s nothing,” he said. “That’s a drop in the bucket.”…

Karnilowicz doesn’t know what will happen regarding compensation, but the situation is not going to go away. He points to a presentation by the city’s Controller’s Office, which studied the impact on local businesses of similar construction projects by measuring the change in sales taxes; in one, West Portal, there was a 12 percent drop in sales tax. “That’s like a 12 percent [decline] in income,” Karnilowicz says; for some businesses, “that’s what their profit margin is.”…(more)

This is the Union Street Merchants. How about the ones on Van Ness Avenue an Polk Street that are still struggling to stay afloat? There is talk of tearing up Polk Street again. WHY? Can’t the supervisors stop this constant disaster from killing our city?

Quit blaming the internet for the demise of our retail businesses. We have been dealing with the internet for decades and only now are the businesses suffering. high rents and street closures are putting the final nail and the retail coffin. We are losing big corporate store like the Gap as well as small local businesses so this is not a matter of size.

We suggest everyone scream NO MORE DISRUPTIONS!
STOP NEW DISRUPTIONS ON OUR STREETS UNTIL THE CURRENT ONES ARE DONE AND OUR STREETS AND TRAFFIC ARE MOVING SMOOTHLY AGAIN. Contacts for City Hall

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Van Ness lanes remove trees, hurt Union Street shopping

By John Zipperer: marinatimes – excerpt

The construction on Van Ness Avenue intended to improve mass transit and safety has irked neighborhood businesses and residents.

Beginning on Dec. 19, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) began removing the overhead electric system for buses on Van Ness between Market and McAllister Streets. Through the end of the month, SFMTA closed off a lane in each direction between Jackson and Greenwich streets, began moving median trees, and working on different sections of the street.

Union Street merchants were upset at the closure of left-turn lanes from Van Ness onto Union, occurring just a couple weeks before Christmas and right in the middle of holiday shopping. The Union Street Association complained that “Business traffic is down, and this is one of the main reasons why,” and it urged merchants to contact city officials for help. Meanwhile, local residents expressed concern about the loss of the meridian trees on Van Ness… (more)

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.

Van Ness Avenue next on list for traffic tie-ups in S.F.

By Willie Brown : sfgate – excerpt

The construction boom has made it impossible to drive or even walk in downtown San Francisco — and heads up, the boom is spreading.

Next on the list for shutdowns: Van Ness Avenue…

Construction on the Central Subway has shut down the main shopping core of Stockton Street, and Geary is down to one lane as well.

No wonder the merchants are hurting.

Workers tell me they’re at it around the clock, trying to get the digging for the new subway station done by Thanksgiving.

I asked, you mean the whole job?

One guy said no, “but enough so that we can cover it over for the Christmas shopping season.”

“So Stockton Street is going to be back open?”

“Open, but not for traffic. They’re going to make it a ‘winter walkway.’”… (more)

Only the SFMTA would expect people to shop by bus or bike.

Time to Stop SFMTA.  Merchants from Union Square to Castro are being devastated by SFMTA street projects and we are all stalled in hopeless traffic jams.

Do they really think drivers blame themselves for gridlock and want more “streets enhancements”? Nobody trusts the SFMTA with more money. Last time we voted to fix the potholes we got vibrant walkable streets and bike lanes.
The best solution to the traffic problem is to vote No on A and B, (No more money without accountability) and Yes on L: Restore Transportation balance: http://restorebalance14.org/
Bring some sanity back to our streets.

Parking-First “Save Polk Street” Crowd Attacks Van Ness BRT

by : sf.streetsblog – excerpt

“Save Polk Street” has aimed its parking-first agenda at Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit. A couple dozen speakers protested the project an SFMTA hearing last week, distributing fearmongering flyers [PDF] claiming that removing some parking and banning left turns would “kill small businesses,” back up car traffic, and make the street more dangerous.

The long-delayed Van Ness BRT project was already approved two years ago by the boards of the SFMTA and the SF County Transportation Authority. Last week’s hearing was on specific street changes [PDF], like removing parking for station platforms and pedestrian bulb-outs. No action was taken by the hearing officers, but the street changes are expected to go to the SFMTA Board of Directors for approval in October…

Save Polk Street, a group of car-obsessed merchants, successfully watered down plans for protected bike lanes on Polk in favor of preserving parking. The group has ignored statistics – like SFMTA studies showing that 85 percent of people arrive on Polk without a car, or a count of 4,300 parking spaces within a block of Polk between Union and McAllister Streets. Only 1,900 of those parking spaces are on-street, and on-street spaces along Polk and Van Ness make up a fraction of the total.

Most of the complaints about Van Ness BRT were about removing parking and banning left turns, and claimed that transit doesn’t need the estimated 30 percent speed increase. Some also complained about removing five of 16 bus stops to streamline the route…

The changes at the hearing are expected to be approved at an SFMTA Board hearing on October 7.

Why the Van Ness BRT is bad flyer:
http://sf.streetsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/vannessflier1.jpg

We shall see in November who is the minority when the voters decide whether to continue funding SFMTA projects or stop them from further traffic disruptions, such as the Van Ness BRT, by voting Yes on L: http://www.restorebalance14.org/

 

 

Stop the Van Ness BRT. Let your city, state and federal representatives know that you oppose any changes on Van Ness. “Van Ness (and Lombard) are considered part of the Federal and State highway system. They are designated as 101 because they form the official link where 101 ends to where it resumes at the GG Bridge.”

 

SFMTA Board Approves Bus Rapid Transit On Van Ness Avenue

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Plans to make over San Francisco’s Van Ness Avenue with a bus rapid transit project were approved Tuesday afternoon, a transportation agency spokesman said.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board of directors unanimously approved the project that is estimated to cost about $125 million and be completed by spring 2018, spokesman Paul Rose said.
Under the proposal, two lanes in both directions on Van Ness between Mission and Lombard streets will become dedicated bus lanes.
The separated lanes will be used by the 47-Van Ness and 49-Van Ness/Mission Muni bus routes and Golden Gate Transit buses.… (more)

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More Cars = Less Congestion? Supes Grill CPMC’s Perplexing Traffic Analysis

by Aaron Bialick : sf.streetsblog.org – excerpt

How can more cars relieve congestion at an intersection?…

Scrutinizing the traffic impacts predicted in the EIR, supervisors grilled Planning Department staff over the perplexing finding that congestion at two intersections would actually be reduced, despite additional vehicle traffic…

(more)