Posts Tagged ‘phase ii’

Why I Sometimes Ride My Bike on the Sidewalks of Divisadero, and Why You Should Too

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Well the shovel-ready stimulus project on the Div Co (Divisidero Corridor) is nearing completion. Do you see the trees in the widened median and the old-tyme streetlight tops that go from the NoPA to the EaPA? Those are the bulk of the “improvements” that you’re going to notice.

I guess the perfectly fine old aluminum street lights became obsolete or something. And yes, that thing in the median does look like a tombstone. Chestnut Street, here we come:

Click to expand

Now here’s the beef – what they should have done is just taken out the medians entirely to allow for wider lanes. The problem is that they widened the medians and narrowed the traffic lanes to accommodate trees and shrubbery and nonfunctional whatnot.

Now do you see this cyclist? He’s passing by a truck that’s legally parked on the new Divisidero. Do you think that the slow lane he’s on is wide enough? Of course, arguably, it wasn’t wide enough before but now it’s worse. Why? Aesthetics, that’s why. The drivers in the fast lane need to be near median trees, apparently, they need to commune with nature at 25 per.

Oh, I hear you, “just take the lane,” right? Sometimes I do, effectively. And then sometimes I roll onto the newly-widened sidewalk for half a block or so, late at night when I can see that nobody’s using it. It’s a balance of hacking off the nonexistent peds versus the extant drivers.

(Maybe I’ll get a ticket from the busy SFPD someday, maybe. If I ever do, I’d then consider using Fillmore and McAllister as a substitute.)

Now, if you wanted real stimulus and actual improvements, here’s what you’d do. You’d have the workers take out the medians (the old narrow median was unnecessary as well) and move the light standards to the sidewalks, if that wouldn’t break the bank. Then you’d do a nice repaving, better than the job that’s being done now*, anyway. Then you’d take the rest of the money and give it in cash to the workers – tell them they need to spend $500 per day on whatever they want for themselves and that they need to bring back receipts as proof at the end of each “work” day. That’d be some local stimulus right there. The workers would be happier, and I would as well.   

I realize that we’re talking in terms of, on average, just inches of width-surrendered-per-lane, just inches sacrificed on the Altar of Aesthetics. And I realize that Octavia Boulevard is a far bigger public policy failure.

Anyway, enjoy your so-called “improved” Divisadero, San Francisco.

*Are they done with that, by the way? Take a look at the macadam near the bulbouts at Divis and McAllister if you want – is that a job well done? I mean, is that quick fix a permanent fix with all the remaining grade changes? I mean, they’re going to end up being forced to do the job properly, right? [UPDATE: Turns out that they weren't finished just yet, good on you Synergy.]