Posts Tagged ‘Boulevards’

Here Comes the SFMTA, the People Who Run MUNI, to Save Us From Alcoholic County and State Workers on Masonic Avenue

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

This isn’t my “preferred option,” but it’s the preferred option, so there you go.

Click to expand

How much will this cost?

Tens of millions, before overruns. $50,000,000 per mile or about $50,000 a parcel depending on how you look at it.

Who’ll pay for it?

Local, state, and federal taxpayers, just like the Bridge to Nowhere (let’s do something for Alaska) and the Chinatown subway (let’s do something for District 3).

Why does the public hearing notice enumerate the dozen-and-a-half parking spaces to be added but then leave out the hundred-something parking spaces that will be taken out?

Because this is a political document written by a politician.

Well, is there a cheaper, safety-only option to go along with the SFMTA’s “preferred option?”

Not that I’m aware of. Safety improvements have been held hostage over the years on account of this big maghilla project. The Project Director will tell you that if you ask him.

Do you have something against wide medians filled with trees that can never ever, ever, ever be removed for any reason at any time in the future, the likes of which can be found on Octavia and Divisadero?


Any advice for cyclists in the mean-time?

Yes. Cyclists should stay the hell off of Masonic between Turk and Fulton. Use the wide, underpopulated sidewalks, and, if you want, run the red light at Golden Gate to get a head start on traffic going downhill to Fulton.

Truth and Reconciliation Comes to Crappy Octavia Boulevard – SFCTA Hosts Public Workshops Tonight

Monday, September 27th, 2010

OMG, it looks as if somebody is trying to Fix Octavia. Get the deets about today’s workshops and open house, below.

IOW, hated Octavia Boulevard will be getting a little attention in the near future.

(Personally, I’d start by getting rid of all the parking spaces and all the medians – I’d de-boulevard the boulevard.)

Notice the color of the traffic lights?

Anyway, here’s the info. It’s as close as you’ll get to an admission from the Powers That Are that maybe, just maybe, Octavia isn’t just the most perfect thing ever.

See you there!

Upcoming Meetings

Monday, Sept. 27:
SFCTA Hearing Room, 100 Van Ness Avenue, 26th Floor
OPEN HOUSE: 12:00–2:00pm
PUBLIC WORKSHOP: 5:30–7:30pm

Persons requiring translation services should contact the Transportation Authority at 415-522-4800


The Market-Octavia neighborhood has seen several transformative efforts recently, most notably the opening of the Octavia Boulevard/Central Freeway project in 2005 and the adoption in 2008 of the Market and Octavia Better Neighborhood Plan. Octavia Boulevard is the first facility of its kind in the United States in 80 years, redefining traffic engineering practice through context-sensitive solutions. The Octavia Boulevard project has delivered a transportation facility that provides neighborhood access to a regional freeway while providing an attractive public space. A timeline of key Octavia Boulevard events is shown below.

This Circulation Study will quantify and evaluate the performance of the transportation system in the Market-Octavia area and recommend changes for improving travel options and traffic distribution in the area. The study will focus on multimodal and system-level perspectives. These multimodal transportation issues include:

  • Transit routing and reliability, and connectivity to regional transit
  • Automobile traffic circulation
  • Pedestrian crossings and facilities
  • Bicycle access
  • General wayfinding
  • Travel demand management strategies

The study will help support and advance key priorities of the 2008 Market and Octavia Better Neighborhood Plan including improved pedestrian circulation and transit facilities, as well as conversion of streets from one-way to two-way operation.


As the study area is both an active local neighborhood and a critical element of the transportation system for regional traffic coming to, from or through the area, the proposed solutions will need to address local, citywide and regional needs. This map of the general local area is consistent with the Market-Octavia Neighborhood Plan. Click here to see the study area map.

Study Objectives

The objectives of the Study are to:

  • Document existing conditions of the transportation system
  • Identify a multimodal package of transportation improvements through technical review and public input
  • Develop cost estimates for these top-priority projects
  • Establish a funding and implementation strategy that considers appropriate levels of contributions from public and private sources.

The Central Freeway and Octavia Boulevard Circulation Study will serve as a vehicle for discussion and coordination among local and regional stakeholders, while providing policy guidance for ensuring integration with the larger regional and long-term needs.

Potential Project List

As area needs are studied and possible solutions prioritized, information on potential projects will be posted here.

Study Products and Schedule

Preliminary Draft Existing Conditions Report. Includes Origin-Destination Survey from October 2009. Completed. 

Public and Stakeholder Outreach. Engagement with key stakeholders and community groups. Ongoing.  Key events planned for September 2010 and November 2010.

Technical Analysis and Project Development. Based on existing conditions and needs assessment, and stakeholder input, an evaluation framework will be developed for potential solutions, resulting in project screening and the selection of up to three potential projects. Conceptual designs will be developed for these three potential projects. September/October 2010.

Funding and Implementation Plan. Funding plan, including fair-share contributions, and implementation roles, steps, and issues. December 2010.

Final Report. Culmination of all recommendations and designs. January 2011.

For More Information

Send an email to Margaret Cortes or call 415.522.4826.

Related Links

Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan (led by SF Planning Department)

Masonic Avenue Renderporn – Proposals to Add Medians, Drop Road Down to One Lane

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

This is what last night’s meeting, the Second Masonic Avenue Street Design Community Workshop, looked like. It started 15 minutes late, had a half-hour break scheduled, and it began with a rehash for all the new people. You can see their raised hands here:

Anyway, for those reasons, I didn’t stick around. But here are diagrams for the choices on offer for Masonic. You can also see them at Bike NOPA.

Actually, the City has has already decided which proposal it likes best so far. Here’s your Options Matrix, in order of preference:

And here are each of the proposals, one by one:

Click to expand. It’ll get extra big.

This one adds a huge median and brings Masonic down to one lane each way at night:

This one adds a huge median and has no room for parked cars. Note the public policy disaster Octavia Boulevard appears to be cited favourably, as if there’s nothing wrong with it:

And this one adds a bike lane to the ridiculously wide sidewalks:

But there are constraints, of course:

So there you have it. About 60-something people were on hand when I left.

The City doesn’t want three lanes of traffic using Masonic during the morning and evening drives, that much is for sure.

Something that wouldn’t take four years would be to:

Just push back the encroaching landowners, get them off of public land and then just decriminalize bikes on the sidewalks of this part of Masonic, the same way that some other sidewalks allow bikes in town. 

But that doesn’t seem to be under consideration.

Now you’d think that people at these Different Masonic meetings would make choices based upon this kind of ranking:

1. Safety

2. Flow

3. Aesthetics

But the folks that Fate allows to show up at these meetings seem to make choices based upon this ranking:

1. Aesthetics

2. Aesthetics

3. Aesthetics

O.K., we’ll see have to wait and see how this one goes.

Second Masonic Avenue Street Design Community Workshop Coming August 10th, 2010

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

How will the second Masonic Avenue Street Design Community Workshop differ from the first?

No sé, mi amigo/a.

[UPDATE: BIKE NOPA has some deets.]

Anyway, this exercise in ascertainment bias, exactly the kind they warned us about in colledge, exactly the kind of bias the City wants, will be at 6:30 PM on August 10th at that rich prep school that costs $100-something per kid per day.

Click to expand.

Maybe it will look like Octavia “Boulevard” when all is said and done…

San Francisco’s Famous Ponytailed and Besuited Segway Pilot Just Keeps Trucking Along

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Market Street’s most famous Segway rider is still at it, after all these years.

What drives him so?

The encounter. Before…


…and after:

Move aside/
let the man go through/
Let the man go through

Masonic Avenue Community Workshop: The Hippiest Damn Thing I’ve Ever Seen

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

I’ll tell you, what happened last night in the West of the Western Addition must have been just like the meetings that created the public policy disaster known as Octavia Boulevard, just like those meetings populated by Hayes Valley landed gentry and assorted NIMBY’s that spun out of control to create a traffic-choked “boulevard” that’s three medians and four traffic lanes (two just for parked cars!) too wide.

Anyway, about 60 souls showed at the tony San Francisco Day School to attend this “Street Design Study” joint yesterday. Check it:

The mise-en-scene:

Always with the medians:

Did you know that:

“A mature tree in an urban provides up to $162,000 in ecosystem services?”

(In other news, trees produce oxygen and birds live in trees. Heavy, man.)

I had to leave right when the make out “break out” sessions began, something to do with a play-date involving your neighbors in the hood and safety scissors and papers on tables and what-kind-of-Masonic-do-you-want.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, per se. The problem comes when traffic engineers lose their say and the landscapers are the only ones in charge.

We’ll see how this one goes, but the thing to remember is that the 60 people who showed are not The Community.

Not by a long shot.

The Road to a “Better” Masonic Avenue Starts Tonight at 6:30 PM?

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

That’s what they’re saying, anyway. We’ll see how it goes.

In the meantime, how about as a potential URL/social movement? I’m sure the rich parents of the San Francisco Day School (tuition = $20-something thousand per year, per student) would want to have somebody to do something about enforcing traffic rules, or something.

Double-parked luxo SUVs parked on Golden Gate near Masonic, a daily occurrence:

Anyway, here’s the meeting.

Masonic Avenue Street Design Community Workshop Coming June 15th, 2010

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Read all about the upcoming Masonic Avenue Street Design Community Workshop below, but first, what about having a Truth and Reconciliation Commission for horrible Octavia Boulevard, you know, since some of the same players and mentalities are back in play a half-decade after the Octavia ribbon-cutting?

It would go something like this:

“No no, don’t worry, we won’t try put you in jail or take away the awards you recevied for your role in inflicting Octavia Boulevard on us and the coming generations. And we won’t even try to get back the suitcases full of money we gave you for your concepts. Not at all. But what went wrong with the Octavia project? What’s that you say? Your ideas, your Boulevard Movement, there was nothing wrong with those things but San Francisco just didn’t execute your vision properly, that’s the way it is? All right then, what exactly went wrong? Is the Boulevard too wide, even for you? Were all the new traffic accidents along Octavia expected? Maybe we should bring down the entire Central Freeway spur all the way back to Valencia and then de-boulevard Octavia? What kinds of changes can we make to Fix Octavia Now?”

Something like that.

The Octavia Effect affects people more than a mile away from Le Boulevard, where rush hour lasts all day and into the night, and shows up on weekends as well. (And Octavia blocks MUNI and cyclists and peds and drivers who never use the Central Freeway. Oh well:

Oh well, on to new bidness:

“On Tuesday June 15, the MTA will host the first Community Workshop to kick off a new street design study for Masonic Avenue, working to make sure that all road users are safer and more comfortable– whether you are on foot, bike, transit or in a car.

Masonic Avenue Street Design Community Workshop
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
6:30-8:30 PM
San Francisco Day School, 350 Masonic Avenue
(Enter on Golden Gate Ave.)

At the meeting, MTA Staff will give a presentation on existing conditions and community members will share their ideas and vision for a better Masonic Avenue, which will help shape MTA future recommendations.  With so many collisions- whether car/car, car/pedestrian, or car/bike on Masonic- it is clear we need to find a way to reduce speeds, stop red light running, and improve safety for everyone in the area.  For that reason, we need to have as many people as we can at the meeting on June 15 sharing their experiences on the road and speaking to the importance of safety and comfort for people walking and biking on the street.

Please mark your calendars for the June 15 meeting and help me make a better Masonic Avenue.”

And there’s this:

Masonic Avenue Street Design Community Workshop
 Tue., Jun. 15 | 6:30-8:30pm | San Francisco Day School, 350 Masonic Avenue (Enter on Golden Gate Ave.)

At the meeting, MTA Staff will give a presentation on existing conditions and community members will share their ideas and vision for a better Masonic Avenue, which will help shape MTA future recommendations. Come share your experiences on the road and speak to the importance of safety and comfort for people walking and biking on the street.

See you there at this NIMBY-magnet. Maybe.

Sonia and Rykiel, Protectors of All Travellers on Ill-Starred Octavia Boulevard

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Have you heard about a lot of problems regarding accidents at problematic intersection of Market and Octavia Boulevard lately? I haven’t.

It’s still no picnic out there of course, but the City has done a reasonable job of fixing the original problem of numerous car vs. bike accidents.

And now, with giantesses Sonia and Rykiel watching over us, well, we’re safer than ever. See?

IMG_0606 copy

One of these days, I’ll get out there to see how many cars make the illegal right in an hour of morning drive time.

Imagine it’s much lower than before, so that’s a Good Thing.

Thanks City (and State) workers!

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

Friday, August 21st, 2009

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:

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