Posts Tagged ‘median’

Oh My, It’s ARBOR-GEDDON 2015 – The SFMTA Wants to Kill Hundreds of Healthy Street Trees to Slow Down Traffic on Masonic

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

See this giant, healthy tree at Geary and Masonic? The DPW just put a death notice on it:

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Around its waist, with clear packing tape.

And this sidewalk grove is doomed as well, at the western edge of the intersection above the Geary Tunnel:

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Here’s what the notices look like:

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And here are the smaller, run-of-the-mill trees street to south:

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Chop chop, 300+ (300x, in SFGov parlance) trees, all gone.

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Let’s see here, is the SFMTA’s Grand Unified Plan for the 3000 feet of Masonic betwixt Geary and Fell going to:

SPEED UP MUNI BUSES? Nope. In fact, the Plan will slow down MUNI buses, like part of the Plan is already doing that already, at Ewing Terrace, for example. (The nearby City Target had some mad money so it gave a quarter million to the SFMTA to put in a new light at Ewing in order to gain support for The Plan from a woman who lives on The Terrace.) This plan will slow down MUNI. Simply. Yet somehow, it will “increase access” to transit, by giving people the right to sit longer at bus stops?

SPEED UP THE REST OF TRAFFIC ON MASONIC, THE GREAT CONNECTOR WHAT LINKS THE PARKSIDE, THE SUNSET, AND THE RICHMOND WITH THE REST OF SAN FRANCISCO, CONNECTING BUSH PINE WITH LINCOLN, FULTON, OAK, FELL, TURK, BALBOA, AND GEARY? Oh, Hell no. Masonic will turn into a congested parking lot during the morning and evening drives, ala Oak Street, ala Octavia Boulevard. Buses will no longer pull over into stops – they’ll simply stop and block the slow lane, leaving the solitary remaining lane, the “fast” lane, to temporarily serve as the only way for motorized traffic to travel on Masonic.

INCREASE “ACCESS” TO MUNI? We’ll see. The SFMTA is claiming that rebuilt bus stops will be the big benefit to MUNI riders.

INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES IN THE AREA? Oh no. In fact, the Plan will remove 100-something 22-hour-a-day parking spaces from Masonic. (For some this is a feature and not a detriment.)

BENEFIT CYCLISTS? Perhaps. This, see below, is what people do these days, for the most part – they ride their bikes on the wide wide sidewalks, going uphill, for the most part, as I’ve been doing for a couple decades. SFGov is free to make this practice legal on Masonic, but it chooses not to. In fact, SFGov is sometimes reluctant to make piecemeal changes, for safety or whatever, because SFGov shuns so-called “chop-shop” projects – SFGov prefers giant pork-barrel projects paid for by, among others, people living in North Dakota. And then, if residents started to think that Masonic was then “fixed,” through small changes, that would lessen the pressure for a big pork barrel project using money from the Feds and Sacramento.  Anywho, most of the coming changes to Masonic appear to favor bike riders, so yes, we’ll be getting separated lanes up and down Masonic. And then, we’ll have less of this:

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We did lose a bike rider to a severely drunk driver a few years back on Masonic. Such an accident would be less likely to occur after the coming changes. [UPDATE: IMO, that is. If you want to say that accidents can happen anyway even after the changes, I’ll agree, but this particular accident involved two people consuming 14(!) drinks at Kokkari restaurant on Jackson and then using Masonic to get to the Avenues out west, and I’ll tell you, the future Masonic would have been easier for this driver to navigate. I mean he made it all the way from 200 Jackson to the 94117 without hitting anything but his brain didn’t have the processing power to deal with the cyclist being where the cyclist was.]

BENEFIT PEDESTRIANS? Perhaps. The hundreds of healthy trees that the SFMTA is going to chop down will get replaced, one supposes, with new trees, planted in an unnecessary, unnecessarily-wide new median, which effectively widens the street, right? Why are we going to get the big median? For aesthetics. For oxygen, cause, you know, trees produce oxygen – did you know that!? I’ll tell you, this truth just blew me away when I found out about it, when I five freaking years old. But the SFMTA had some lady come to one of the meetings to talk about all the extra oxygen molecules that we’d have floating around, OK fine. Of course, the SFMTA didn’t talk about any of the concomitant downsides of spending all these tens of millions of pork barrel dollars from Uncle Sucker, the SFMTA didn’t mention ARBOR-GEDDEN 2015. Anyway, if peds prefer having new trees in a median over older trees closer to them, well, sure, I suppose that peds will benefit. And speaking of severely drunk drivers, we did lose a ped to a drunk driver within recent memory – I don’t think the recent changes would have affected that crime though. And we lost an architect just north of Geary on Masonic owing to her jaywalking to get to Trader Joe’s #100, a few years back. owing to a poorly planned parking situation courtesy of our Planning Department. But the grand mal Plan for Masonic stops at Geary, so the SFMTA doesn’t appear to even to pretend to care about safety on Masonic north of Geary, not at this time.

Oh what’s that, you have questions? Fire away:

ISN’T IT TRUE THAT “THE COMMUNITY” SUPPORTS THE PLAN?

No, not necessarily. Any public meeting that the SFMTA might refer to was packed with activists/urbanists who don’t live in the neighborhood. So a tally from some meeting made up 70% of activist members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition isn’t an actual survey, right? If you want to say that a vote only made up of people who care enough to show up to all the meetings is what we should follow, then be my guest. But any SFMTA focus group meeting about which SFMTA plan attendees prefer doesn’t mean that The Plan is supported by the people who live, work and pass through Masonic, right?

WON’T ALL THE NEW CONGESTION, THE GREAT SLOWDOWN, INCREASE SAFETY? 

We’ll see. We’ll see what the unexamined effects will be, like, where will traffic go instead of Masonic? Will that new traffic in other areas cause new accidents in other areas? We’ll see.

WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE PROPERTY OWNERS DIRECTLY ON MASONIC, DON’T MOST OF THEM SUPPORT THE PLAN? 

I don’t know, maybe. A lot of them aren’t looking forward to all the construction, so there goes a lot of support right there. I mean, what if there was going to be a pork barrel project that was going to “beautify” the area just outside your property and the govmint was going to spend $50K per parcel in your nabe – would you like that? Maybe. And I’ll tell you, there’s a parochial school what costs $30K per year per student that’s in favor of the Plan. I say parochial because people at the school think that way, they think that the school is so so special that of course everybody should come to a crawl when they pass by. The school is the center of the universe, in their eyes, so people traveling by shouldn’t just rush through. The problem with this attitude is that, for the vast majority, GOLDEN GATE, TURK AND MASONIC, the Great Crossroads is not a destination in itself. So, ideally, we’d balance a whole bunch of factors and concerns, we’d actually consult with the people who actually use Masonic now. Those at this rich kids school, those small individuals with parochial attitudes, just don’t care.

BUT WON’T THE PLAN INCREASE PUBLIC SAFETY OVERALL AND HELP GET US TO VISION ZERO 2024?

We’ll see. But by then, it will be too late, and by then, the SFMTA will be more than happy to spend tens of millions of dollars to “tune up” the Big Project. And Vision Zero 2014-2024 is like two Soviet-style Five Year Plans strung together – nobody believes that transportation deaths in San Francisco will “whither away,” but everybody involved acts as if there’s a chance that this fantasy will come true. And you know, there are some countries that have had more success in reducing deaths than so-called Vision Zero countries, right? So what’s so special about that particular name? I don’t get it.

IS IT TRUE THAT SOME PEOPLE ON AND NEAR MASONIC STRONGLY OPPOSE THE PLAN? 

Hell yes. People put homemade signs in their windows. It’s too late though – I can’t think of anything that would stop the SFMTA now.

BUT DIDN’T THE SFMTA SAY THAT THERE WAS NO OPPOSITION TO THE PLAN?  

Yep. The SFMTA lied about that, when its employees filled out some necessary paperwork. I’ll tell you, there’s no way that the SFMTA isn’t going to spend any pork barrel money it can spend. That’s its purpose.

So that’s the update on Masonic.

I live very close by – we’ll have to wait and see if I personally benefit from all this spending. Somebody in the opposition one time asked me if I personally supported the project and I had to think about it. Perhaps it will benefit me, we’ll see. It seems selfish, to me, to dwell on the issue. In any event, the SFMTA gets excused for nothing. This project is a case study of how the SFMTA does what the SFMTA wants to do, which is to spend money and increase the size of … the SFMTA. If you want to get into how the SFMTA is all about safety, well, I disagree with that, but that would be something to debate. IMO, the SFMTA could “increase safety” without it getting any more money than it gets now.

IMO.

Enjoy the coming SFMTA Mass Arborcide – it should be a spectacle.

Mojo Bicycle Cafe Parklet Plus Newly-Widened Median on Divisadero Equals No Room for Cyclists – Take a Look

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Aren’t the sidewalks of Divisadero too wide already? Yes.

And then they widened the useless median strip a few years back.

And then the Mojo Bicycle Cafe put in a parklet.

And then they put overhanging shrubbery that takes up the space where your head is supposed to go.

See? 

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Oh well.

 

Why is 23rd the Queen of All Avenues in the West Bay? The Giant Median, That’s Why – Ooh, Classy!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Actually, medians suck, generally. I mean, who are you trying to impress, 23rd Avenue?

Useless trees in the middle of the street, as seen betwixt Cabrillo and Fulton in the Richmond District:

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You Don’t Like Bikes on Sidewalks? Well, “Then Put a Flippin Bike Lane on Divisadero!”

Monday, October 10th, 2011

[UPDATE: Oops. Speaking of which, there are a lot of different possibilities for Oak betwixt Baker and Scott. Taking out the parking lane on the south side of Oak is an idea. In the meantime, take the lane. Or head up Baker to Fulton to Divis to McAllister and then roll all the way down to Mid Market and beyond – that way you avoid the horrible part of Octavia and SFPD bike enforcement actions, etc…]

Appears as if Carly Schwartz, Founding editor of Huffington Post San Francisco, has a beef with the Livable Cities / Livable Streets movement, at least as far as Divisadero is concerned:

Then put a flippin bike lane on Divisadero! Thankshttp://bit.ly/nwO7u9

Now that’s interesting because the City, instead of just taking out the useless median on Divisadero, well, the Powers That Be, the City Family, actually went in there a few years back and made the median wider so now there’s less room for bike riders.

See?

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Does it look like, as some say, there’s “excess roadway space” here? Not at all, IRL.

And the sidewalks are like ten feet wide.

So sure, ride your bike on the wide sidewalks of Divis. I mean, I seriously doubt you’ll ever get a ticket.

Or “take the lane,” it’s your choice. (But I don’t advise taking the lane on Divisadero, uphill or down, personally.)

So, how do we fix the horrible thing our City Family and the Livable City movement just inflicted on the Commonweal?

Well, how about narrowing the fast lane to make the slow lane wider?

Or, how about narrowing the median to the width you’ll find north of Geary and then taking out the useless vegetation?

Or, how about just taking out the whole damn useless median? What’s that, it would cost $$$ to move the light standards? Well, get some money from the Feds. Didn’t they just pay money to fuck up Divisadero just a few years back? I think so. So maybe they’d pay to take the light standards out of the middle of the street and put them in the comparatively wide sidewalks of Divis. You know, shovel ready, jobs jobs jobs! What’s that, local businesses and area NIMBYs and real estate interests prefer the trees in the useless median and other aesthetic stuff? Well, who put them in charge?

(Or, maybe we could narrow the wide sidewalks, but that would cost even more.)

So maybe Divis doesn’t deserve a bike lane, but how about just giving back the space that was taken for useless trees?

Wouldn’t that be a start?

Decisions, Decisions: While on Divisadero, Should You Take the Private Bus or the Public Bus (MUNI)?

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Mercy sakes alive, it looks like we’ve got ourselves a convoy of buses moving up (or down, if you want, but really, up) Divisadero.

Is this a Genentech bus? Sure looks that way. How many people are riding it every night past 9:00 PM? Maybe just one exec who lives in Pacific Heights? Possibly. Do private bus lines like these mean that bus service in the 415 is becoming reprivatised? Discuss. In Cuba, owners of private cars be required to pick up people waiting at bus stops (particularly in the countryside, when there’s just one road in and out of town) – perhaps we should require private buses to pick up waiting MUNI passengers? Discuss.

Anyway, the recently-widened medians necessitated making the lanes are smaller on Divis. The slow lanes, in particular, are very narrow, considering. Maybe someday, we’ll take that median out.

Maybe someday. (Or repaint the lane dividers to make the fast lane narrower, that would help too.)

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Uh, Breaker One-Nine, this here’s the Rubber Duck
You got a copy on me Pig-Pen? C’mon

Uh, yeah 10-4 Pig Pen, fer sure, fer sure
By golly it’s clean clear to Flag-Town, C’mon

Uh, yeah, that’s a big 10-4 Pig-Pen,
Yeah, we definitely got us the front door good buddy,

From Monsanto With Love, It’s Pesticides! – Yes, More Glyphosate for the Western Addition – DPW Sprays the Wide, Wide Webster Median

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

Get up to speed on our ridiculous 11-block Webster Boulevard, our own Bridge to Nowhere, right here.

And this is the latest. Now, when you have medians, you’ve got to have pesticides, right? Trees and pesticides go together like Frick and Frack.

As seen on Webster, a so-called “Great Street!,” a so-called “Better Street!,” a so-called “Livable Street!,” in the Fillmore:

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(Now, you want to know what people in Japantown want to do with pointless, underused Webster Boulevard? They want to turn the northbound lanes into a parking lot leaving just one lane north and one lane south, the way most of Webster Street is already, the way all of Webster was Before Redevelopment (B.R.). Anyway, enjoy your pesticides until then.)

Divisadero Creek Returns, Despite Lack of Rain – Flood Caused By New Median Sprinklers – Still No Room for Bikes

Monday, October 18th, 2010

San Francisco government’s love affair with medians means that water flows fast and furious down the hill towards the Geary Expressway these days.

90% of the water from the median sprinklers goes right onto Divis – is this why we flooded Hetch Hetchy?   

H20 travels all the way from the Nevada border directly to all four lanes of Divis. with no salutary effect. It looks like a shoot for a car commerical:

In other news, the very narrow slow lanes heading north and south continue to be very narrow. It’d be nice to do a restripe so that the big buses of Divis would have more room in the right-hand lanes. Moving the striped white lines about a foot inboard would be a good thing to try.

IMO, trees and plants don’t = transportation safety. IMO, transportation safety = transportation safety. 

Oh well…

Restriping Divisidero: A Modest Proposal to Improve Upon the Recent Stimulus Project

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

So, we’re looking at at three lanes of Divisidero in the Western A, see?

The right lane is for parked cars. It’s too narrow. The middle lane is for buses and trucks and bikes and whatnot. It too, is too narrow. The upshot of this is a bunch of frustrated drivers who honk honk honk, just the way the driver of the car you can see did while changing lanes to pass cyclists.

Now, note the “tree lines” that hem in all the lanes. So, all that you can do at this point is shrinkify the fast lane, right? Wouldn’t that make sense?   

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Yep, it would.

How about moving these stripes a foot towards the middle of the street, for starters?

Here’s What the Horrible 5-Yard Wide Median on Cesar Chavez Will Look Like

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

If trees are so great and if a five-yard-wide median is such an improvement, why stop there? Why not have more trees in the middle of Cesar Chavez? Why not have a 30-foot-wide median instead? 

But no worry. The so-called “improvements” coming our way will “compliment” something or other. See?   

“These streetscape improvements and more will make Cesar Chavez a great and complete street— one that compliments the community.”

A thousand years since Alhazen worked out perspective, but our art students still haven’t gotten the word. Oh well, two vanishing points for the price of one:

Somebody will end up using this space for something, is all I know.

Cesar Chavez Streetscape Improvement Project
Project Information
The Cesar Chavez Streetscape Improvement Project is a multi- agency effort  initiative to re-envision Cesar Chavez Street from Hampshire to Guerrero Streets in the Mission District. Through the coordinated efforts of multiple city organizations and with input from community meetings, Cesar Chavez will be made into an enjoyable, safe, and visually attractive corridor for pedestrians, bikes, and transit options that unify our great city.
The inclusion of a widened and landscaped center median, and tree plantings along sidewalks will provide pleasing greenery to the area neighborhood. These efforts are known to calm traffic along busy corridors.  Street corner bulb-outs, shorter crossing distances at intersections, and the installation of  bike lanes will also make this a safer street environment for everyone. These streetscape improvements and more will make Cesar Chavez a great and complete street— one that compliments the community.

For more information, visit the community planning process web page.

Location
Cesar Chavez Street between Guerrero and Hampshire Streets

Schedule
Construction is scheduled to start in Winter 2011.

Cost/Funding
The project is funded through a combination of Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) federal grants with local matching funds totaling $4.3m.million

Project Team
DPW– Paving & Great Streets
Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)- Sewer Upgrade
Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA)

Contact
Kris Opbroek
Great Streets Program Manager
(415) 558-4045

Contractor
To Be Determined

Buick Regal vs. 101 North Median at Oyster Point After Short Chase – What’s in the Trunk?

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Intern* Contributor  Exploited Lackey “Wonder Mike” Sanchez sends in this shot of the aftermath of a crazy car chase on 101 North near Oyster Point during yesterday’s evening rush through South San Francisco.

I was hoping to see a C*O*P*S*-worthy haul of illicit drugs to be visible but the contents appear to be gym clothes.

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Oh well.

*Calling an unpaid worker an “intern” is a good way for somewhat naive Pajama Editors to get in hot water with the Department of Labor. Sooner or later.