San Francisco , CA 94117, 94110, 94107, 94103, 94133
Private Cars are NOT endangering public safety along "The Wiggle". So why is the City wasting millions of dollars in public funds to slow down auto traffic and remove parking spaces along this stretch of road? Once again, the SFMTA undermines the publics trust in their Government, and its falling on deaf ears at City Hall.
By willfully ignoring most of San Francisco’s residents, the Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency (SFMTA) have created a master plan that makes no sense at all. It demands that people ride bicycles or use a transit system that doesn’t work!
Like so many other plans hatched by our insulated administrators, this one is based on a demonstrably false set of beliefs about who we are and how we live. The enduring fiction is that cars and their drivers are evil, but bicyclists are holy. The city of San Francisco imposes fees on auto ownership, order police to prioritize bike theft and design streets to serve bicyclists needs, but do not enact fees for bike registration or instigate safe riding exams for bicyclists. Bicycles, the myth goes, are good for the environment.
Private Cars are NOT endangering public safety along Masonic, Baker and the stretch of road "The Wiggle". So why is the City wasting millions of dollars to slow down auto traffic and remove parking spaces along this stretch of road?
1 - No minimum number of bikes required for a bike lane
MTA says there is no minimum number of bicycles to install a bike lane and mentions that the Board of Supervisors designated Masonic as a "complete street," which means a street that serves all modes of transportation. (It's also interesting that MTA doesn't dispute the figure of 20 bikes during peak hours.
This information highlights the "if you build it, they will come" nature of MTA's biking infrastructure plan. It also clearly indicates how much MTA favors bicycles over other modes of transportation – the (alleged) interests of a small number of cyclists outweigh that of a vastly larger number of motorists and transit riders.
There also seems to be no minimum number of bikes required in order to retain a bike lane. For example, approximately two blocks of parking were eliminated on Laguna Honda Boulevard, along the approach to Laguna Honda Hospital, and a bike lane installed. I've been in this area around once a month, maybe a bit more (generally, round-trips on weekend afternoons/evenings) for the last six months and have observed almost no cyclists (sometimes, literally no cyclists) on this stretch of road. (One of the commenters on our Masonic petition said that a bike sighting in this area is so rare that residents come to their windows to see it.) But MTA is unlikely to reinstall street parking.
MTA, city officials, the Bike Coalition and their allies consider the number of miles of bike lanes in San Francisco to be one of their metrics of success (especially as measured against other cities), so besides their ideological and temperamental unwillingness to acknowledge when something is not working, if bike lanes were removed because of low volume of usage, they would consider the removal a movement in the opposite direction from their goal. (Although in certain places, such as Laguna Honda Boulevard, parking spaces could be reinstalled and a different type of bike lane created, which would still serve cyclists and would, presumably, still count as a bike lane.
2 - Inconsistency between safest configuration claim and majority preference claim
MTA, city officials, the Bike Coalition and other supporters of the Masonic project claim that the Boulevard configuration (with all parking removed on both sides of the street) is the safest. They also claim there is an unavoidable conflict between retaining parking on Masonic and making it safe, and that safety must trump parking. But on the other hand MTA repeatedly emphasizes that the Boulevard configuration was chosen because it was the most popular choice among those who attended the community workshops. The other main choice, which was less popular, would have retained parking on one side of the street. MTA etc. does not explain why safety requires the elimination of all parking – they don't give reasons based on the application of traffic engineering principles to the particular, specific conditions on Masonic. The Boulevard choice is justified by its allegedly popularity. If the configuration that would have retained parking on one side of the street had been the most popular, would MTA have agreed to it? The implication of their message is yes; but if they would have agreed to it, does that mean it is equally safe (in MTA’s opinion) as the configuration that eliminates all parking? If it is equally safe as the Boulevard, that undermines their argument that the Boulevard configuration is the safest. And, if it is equally safe, then why not choose it instead of the Boulevard, because it would retain half of the parking and result in less hardship? Or, if MTA would have overruled that choice on the basis that it is not as safe as the Boulevard configuration, then they are wrong in their assertion that the Boulevard was chosen because it was the most popular. Finally, if they would not have overruled it even though in their professional engineering opinion it would not be as safe – in other words, if MTA is willing to have true majority rule - then they should be willing to have a vote of all those who live within a specified radius of Masonic. But MTA has refused to hold even a nonbinding, advisory vote.
3 - Inconsistency between traffic calming claim and minor impact on traffic level of service claim
MTA claims that the main cause of collisions on Masonic is motorists driving too fast. Based on this assertion, MTA claims that raised cycle tracks, reducing the number of travel lanes during rush hour, installing a median strip, installing corner bulb outs, and installing bus bulb outs (boarding platforms) are traffic calming measures that will increase safety for everyone by making motorists slow down. But they also claim their analysis shows that the reduction in travel time would be minimal. These two claims are contradictory: if motorists will slow down enough to truly increase safety, how can that not have more than a minimal impact on travel time? If there is truly a minimal impact on travel time, then how can safety be increased significantly as a result of these measures? (The preceding discussion doesn't deal with the strong likelihood that collisions are caused primarily by factors other than speed, such as poor visibility (e.g. at left turns from Masonic onto Turk Street), that could and should be addressed by other measures (e.g. installing left turn signals, restricting left turns).)
4 - Inconsistency between overwhelming community support claim and claim of compliance with legal notice requirements
MTA claims they did extensive outreach and the project has "overwhelming community support." The letters from Supervisors Breed, Farrell, Mar and former Supervisor Olague repeat this phrase. MTA claimed in a meeting in March 2013 at City Hall that MTA’s outreach for this project was the "gold standard." But when pressed about who was notified, MTA claims they complied with legal requirements, which they say require notifying residents within a one block radius of Masonic. Putting aside the fact that MTA outreached selectively to supporters of the project who live much more than a block from Masonic, and putting aside deficiencies even in their claimed compliance with legal requirements, is the fact that MTA has lowered the bar. Mere compliance with the one block requirement is a much lower standard than the notice they would have had to have given in order to fairly claim "overwhelming community support," because the community affected extends far beyond one block from Masonic. It would've been easy to provide mail notification to residents who live more than one block from Masonic, and to holders of residential parking permits, but MTA chose not to do that.
Forcing taxpayers to pay for (and subsidize) a mode of transit that sidesteps the "best practices" of bicycle safety and road sharing is hypocritical, short-sided, and just plain D-U-M-B. Shame on you City Hall for AGAIN pandering to the Bicycle Lobby. If you truly want safer city streets then enforce traffic laws for everyone and require cyclists to register their bikes, wear helmets, and follow the rules of the road!
City Hall continues side with the Bicycle Coalition AGAINST the residents of the Wiggle who voted them into office. Maybe its time reject politicians who are controlled by special interest groups? We encourage you to watch the videos on this page and then to read statements from the Citizens of Save Masonic , STOP SFMTA, and SAVE Polk Street.
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San Francisco , CA 94117, 94110, 94107, 94103, 94133