Hey, how many times do you think our SFCTA could possibly insult this pedestrian bridge over Geary at Webster in just one report? Well, 23 times,* by my count. Earlier, it seemed that the destruction of this bridge was vital for the success of the Geary BRT scheme, yet the SFCTA caved and now the bridge has a new lease on life, Geary BRT or no.
On It Goes…
*Mostly having to do with the ADA, but lots of things are grandfathered in, as the SFCTA well knows.
In the Japantown and Fillmore areas, there are closed crosswalks and circuitous pedestrian bridges that are not compliant with accessibility standards for people with disabilities.
In the Japantown area, as depicted in Figure 1-6, some aspects that discourage pedestrian movement and activity include narrow medians and circuitous pedestrian bridges that intimidate some and are not compliant with accessibility standards for people with disabilities.
Spanning Geary Boulevard are two pedestrian bridges at the Webster Street and Steiner Street intersections, where closed crosswalks limit pedestrians‟ ability to cross Geary Boulevard at ground level. These overcrossings are several decades old and, although they provide separation from traffic, are often perceived as an inconvenient way of crossing Geary Boulevard due to the long and indirect ramps, change in elevation required, and some users‟ sense of insecurity. Additionally, the pedestrian overcrossings are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), hindering the mobility of people with disabilities.
Pedestrian bridges at Steiner Street and Webster Street: These two pedestrian overcrossings would be removed, to eliminate conflicts between these structures‟ piers and the proposed bus lanes, as well as to provide new pedestrian crossings at street grade.
Two pedestrian bridges span Geary Boulevard at the Webster Street and Steiner Street intersections. The grade-separated walkways allow pedestrians to cross over Geary Boulevard. These overcrossings are several decades old and are perceived as an inconvenient way of crossing due to the long and indirect ramps, change in elevation required, and some users’ sense of insecurity. Additionally, the pedestrian overcrossings are not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) due to their average inclines exceeding the ADA standard of a five percent maximum grade (i.e. a slope increasing in elevation by five feet for every 100 feet in length), which makes wheelchair crossings difficult.
Like I said, this is just 20% of the vitriol our SFCTA spewed upon these two bridges in just one document. I get the feeling these SFCTA people would say just about anything to get nine figures from the Feds. I mean if the Feds would give the SFCTA $100,000,000 to recommend keeping everything on Geary EXACTLY THE SAME FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS, then I’ll bet the we would have gotten a document what extols the virtues of these bridges.
Anyway, the Webster bridge is staying, that’s the news.
At first I thought the right side showed a stolen metal shopping cart being pushed by a street person, but then I thought it might be a stroller, but then I ENHANCED the image to see it’s a privately-owned folding shopping cart being pushed by I don’t know who.
Of course this isn’t a typical amount of peds you’d expect to find using the crosswalks at this intersection, but perhaps our SFMTA is, once again, being “aspirational.”
And this rendering is a lot better than some we’ve seen in the past, like this urbanist’s fever dream of our already-failed Octavia “Boulevard,” which turned out to be somehow too wide and not wide enough at the same time IRL:
Here’s the latest on this issue, from the SFCTA, below.
If our SFCTA wanted to handle this issue with the least possible effort, then I give it an A+, or a passing grade if we’re grading pass/fail. Another approach would have been to notice another meeting and yada yada.
This project has been on the radar for a long, long time, but I never really paid attention to it until the pedestrian bridges issue came up. If the SFCTA were a person and we took what it said seriously, I’d tell you that our SFCTA is in deep denial on this bridges issue.
(And how much would a BART spur under Geary end up costing, like a billion dollars a mile, like our already-failed Central Subway? Is something like this unreachable pie in the sky? IDK.)
Anyway, here it is:
“To the Participants at the Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project’s November 5, 2015, public comment meeting:
Thank you very much for the time you spent coming to the meeting to learn about the project and for submitting comments on the Draft Environmental Document. Your input is important and appreciated.
Unfortunately, we wish to provide notice that during the meeting, at approximately 7:10 p.m., sign-in sheets with your personal contact information and a few completed comment cards were stolen, at least some of which were later returned by mail anonymously. We sincerely apologize for this incident and have contacted the police about it.
We take your privacy seriously. When we share publicly the comments submitted to us by community members, our policy is to remove any personal contact information. We do not share any personal contact information with third parties, nor do we condone the use of stolen contact information by others. Please let us know if you receive any suspicious communications from anyone who would not normally have access to your phone number or email address. It may help with the investigation of this incident.
Third, in response to these extenuating circumstances, we are extending the public comment period until November 30, 2015, and we encourage you to contact us if you submitted a comment card at the public meeting before 7:10 p.m. and are concerned about whether we received it.
Feel free to contact us to verify your comment’s receipt, or simply submit another comment, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here you go, click here and then Control-F for the phrase pedestrian bridge – 26 mentions you will find.
Can you see anything positive at all mentioned about the bridges of J-Town? Perhaps our SFCTA doesn’t think there are any? Or perhaps it thinks it’s writing an advocacy document and so it feels free to lie? IDK.
There were about a dozen people on the bridge when this photo was taken – they’re hard to spot:
And if these bridges aren’t up to standards, well, then why hasn’t anybody sued us over accessibility? Perhaps they are up to standards?
And oh yes, DEAR SFCTA – YOUR QUICK AND DIRTY GEARY BRT PROJECT AIN’T TOO QUICK, NOW, IS IT?
“As the San Francisco Examiner reported, Geary BRT is jockeying for a $75 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts fund, which may be awarded after public input is taken on the draft environmental impact report.”
And this drive for money is what fuels the SFMTA’s rabid hatred of the pedestrian bridges in the Japantown area on Geary?
Oh, I see!
Gentle Reader, check out any EIR, draft or whatever, then control-F for “pedestrian bridge” and then brace for the haterade. Shouldn’t an EIR, draft or whatever, outline the pros and cons of destroying the ped bridges? And hey, does the SFCTA want to tear down all structures in town what aren’t 100% ADA compliant right now? Oh, no, just these bridges?
(I should say that the SFCTA is already on secret double probation for the disastrous Central Subway and the failing T-Third, among other crimes and misdemeanors.)
On It Goes.
Will the Geary BRT be a good thing? IDK. But certainly, the honest answer to this question won’t come from our SFCTA. (Perhaps we should pay them $75 million to recommend doing nothing and then we’d be better off, IDK. )
3. Will our transit overlords figure out a way to placate Japantown, which is up in arms over the pending destruction of the pedestrian bridges connecting the north side with the south side? Probably, but I don’t know how they’re going to do it.
Here’s some video of Geary merchant David Heller berating said transit overlords, with county worker Peter Lauterborn playing the role Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park:
How many Seinfeld-ian moments did I see last night afore I left? A whole bunch.
Oh, and some monkey wrencher(s) stole the registration sign in sheets and some filled-out comment cards? Whoops. Is this kind of thing akin to Target getting hacked and having your email address spread about? Sort of.
School buses in San Francisco? Are we going to have yet another SFUSD consent decree and be busing kids around even more? Actually, SFMTA, the trend is to have less busing and also lots of kids ride on SFMTA buses, as you well know, SFMTA. So why would you show a Van Ness with more school buses than cars?
And also, the number of buses on Van Ness will be greater than the number of people waiting for buses on Van Ness?