The “Livable Streets” People Refuse to Apologize for Octavia Boulevard

Via StreetsBlog SF, you can learn that the “Livable Streets Community Meet-Up!” is coming up this Monday – it’s sponsored by the Livable Streets Initiative.

Monday August 24th, 7pm-8pm
The Green Arcade
1680 Market St. at Gough

You see, they’re returning to the scene of the crime: Horrible Octavia Boulevard. What’s up with this stubby Scar Upon The Land? It’s like some giant came along and just plopped down an aircraft carrier on San Francisco for the sole purpose of preventing people (people like pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, car drivers, etc.) from moving around the City.

Here’s a bird-eye view of the failed attempt at social engineering known as Octavia Boulevard, with a scale drawing of the WWII era Japanese aircraft carrier HIJMS* Taiho in overlay. Take a look for yourself. Click to expand:

sdff copy

Of course the Taiho is a little smaller but its deck (now sitting at the bottom of the Pacific) has the same general shape as Octavia,  and of course the Taiho would block cross traffic equally as well. Why is Octavia so wide? Why does cross-traffic have such a short amount of time to cross the Blvd? Why are there so many accidents on Octavia? Why is Octavia jammed up with idling cars all the time?

Now get this, the Livable Streets people think Octavia is just great. Check it.

And here’s a longer bit from the same point of view. Note how they refer to the Octavia onramp as something other than the Octavia onramp.

Wouldn’t it have been better to keep the earthquake-safe and retrofitted Central Freeway the way it was? Yes! Alternatively, wouldn’t it have also been better to tear down the whole Central Freeway all the way back to the 101 freeway? Yes! Pick one or the other or something else, I don’t care. Anything would be better than the present Octavia Boulevard situation.

Can somebody start a Boulevard Revolt?

Only Time Will Tell.

And, bonus, let’s take a look once again at what real people say about Octavia, you know, the actual result of plans drawn up by ivory tower academics. Enjoy:

What is the Legacy of Octavia Boulevard?

“Octavia has severely impacted traffic on Laguna at all times, not just peak.”

Octavia is a mess for bicyclists and there are tons of vehicle accidents.”

What has Octavia taught us? Stopped cars/slow idling cars seem to pollute more.”

And what do the Yelpers have to say?

“Who’s the dip-shit that designed this Octavia Street nightmare between Market St and Fell St?”

“1) It’s a freeway offramp – slash – playground. Kids and cars!! Who’s the genius??
2) It doesn’t take you across Market Street but rather has you wait at the light — filling the above-mentioned park with your exhaust as you idle along.
3) The “local access” road is a perfect place to die while crossing the street, as some confused driver makes a right hand turn.
4) It got voted in after at least three failed initiatives. During the boom. When the population was more passionate than informed and the Hayes Valley Merchant’s Associationcould sweet talk them with this park bullshit. ”I like parks not freeways! I’ll vote yes!” The old Fell Street offrampwas ugly and the dark sidewalks underneath were full of pee. It’s been replaced by a classic San Francisco compromise that essentially works well for no one but makes some smug mofosfeel like they discouraged driving when all they really did was put more smog on the street. And now the sidewalks are sunny, but they’re still full of pee. I wonder why an offramp didn’t solve homelessness…?”

“The poster child for stupidity in San Francisco. STILL not finished after 25 or so years???

“Unsafe at any speed for:
1.pedestrians
2.bicycles
3.scooters
4.motorcycles
5.marmosets

OHMiGOD are you kidding?? Wow, I looked up this review expecting to see half a star and a lovely littering of ‘fuckity fuck motherFUCKER,’ wowwweee…everyone i talk to in person HATES this addition…

Why we hate the new Octavia Blvd:

1. It is confusing. What is with the extra mini-side lane next to the regular lane? Are you allowed to switch back and forth at liberty? What is the purpose of this mini lane?

2. Why are there traffic lights AND stop signs in front of the mini-lane? When there’s a traffic light and a stop sign, which one wins?

3. The traffic on Octavia Blvd, coming from the freeway, is always atrocious. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is. Something about it’s ingenious design allows it to remain backed up 24 hours a day.

4. If you don’t play your cards right, you WILL get forced onto the freeway. You just think you’re along for an innocent ride, and then , BAM, Octa-Nazi Blvdhas you marching along in its gigantic oppressive middle lane and it wil NOT let you out, no matter how much you beg.

I don’t get it, I don’t get it! What’s going on with this street monster?”

“This is NOT the haven for cyclists and pedestrians the city touts it as being. Whose idea was it to build the off ramp at street level? It should be RAISED and go over Market or they should build some kind of blockade so that people coming east on Market absolutely can’t try to make a right onto the highway and clip pedestrians and cyclists. That single spot is a death trap.

It’s pretty and it’s great that it’s not a shithole anymore but this is seriously some urban planning gone awry. The shared bike/car lanes on the outside would be great if the cars that drove in them weren’t complete idiots. Sharrows mean it’s my lane too, buddy, so don’t honk at me and tell me to get on the sidewalk, don’t rev your engine behind me, and don’t speed up to 20 to squeeze by me. The middle lane is for fast driving of cars, not the outer lanes. Unfortunately people are unable to grasp this concept and choose to terrorize pedestrians and cyclists who are trying to enjoy the sections of the project supposedly designed to make things better for us.

And the light/stop sign combo… what the hell? It’s maddening. If this is supposed to benefit cyclists, why make it so difficult to make a left onto Market? One must cross Octavia and go onto the sidewalk then cross Market and make the left there, or cross Market then cross the on/off ramp via Market. That second option wouldn’t be so bad except for the fucktards coming down Market who don’t understand what NO RIGHT TURN means and repeatedly take out cyclists at the same spot as they try to turn onto the highway.”

And on it goes.

*His Imperial Japanese Majesty’s Ship

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4 Responses to “The “Livable Streets” People Refuse to Apologize for Octavia Boulevard”

  1. fsharp says:

    count me in. Nice summary of the hive mind on this monstrosity.

  2. Johannm says:

    Nice Monday Morning Quarterbacking! Maybe Hirohito needs some advice on how not to get his carrier sunk. Where’s your proposal for a major urban traffic artery that will satisfy every ononistic interest group from downtown to the sunset? Not perfect, but I ride my bike through there on a daily basis and it ain’t bad. Twenty years ago it sucked – smelled like pee is a nice euphemism for drug dealers and hookers i guess. Might have been better, was a lot worse, could still be. If I was them I wouldn’t apologize either.

  3. Slappy says:

    Hate hate hate hate hate this section of Octavia..what a cluster…let’s go with…flop. UGH!

  4. "Dave" says:

    It has problems but you are sick if you think the “before” was better. Give me a break. The two “solutions” you come up with (keep central freeway intact or tear it down all the way to 101) are far more idiotic.