I’ll tell you, the “average,” the typical user of Masonic will in no way benefit from spending eight figures worth of taxpayer dollars on a 3000 foot stretch of Masonic betwixt Fell and the new City Target Store up on Mervyn’s Heights at Geary.
And that’s sort of funny ’cause this recently-greenlighted project was billed as being “accommodating” to “all users,” as something that would benefit all.
Now myself, perhaps I’ll end up benefiting from the changes, we’ll see. But I live too close to Masonic to feel right about advocating ‘n stuff. Seems selfish. (I’ll tell you, I sure feel sorry for those living in the West Bay, out there in the Fog Belt.)
But you, if you use Masonic to get from one place or another, you’re going to be fucked during the AM and PM drives. That’ll also include car drivers, and passengers, and bus drivers and passengers, etc. Cyclists will benefit but for peds, well, it won’t really matter. Abutting property owners will probably appreciate the new trees on the new useless medians. And that’s about it.
Where all the traffic will go during the morning and evening drives, well, we’ll see.
Anyway, here’s the latest:
Joshua Calder was pretty drunk when he killed Nils Linke, but the other driver, the one who killed the purported “jaywalking” ped, wasn’t he DUI as well? (I’ll point out that both these deaths happened outside of the rush hours.)
Anyway, here are some more deets from the rebel forces:
“San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agencyis planning to remove all parking along Masonic Avenue from Fell Street to Geary Boulevard, reduce the travel lanes during rush hour so there will only be two lanes in each direction at all times (except the West (southbound) side of Masonic for the block between Hayes and Fell, which will be three lanes), install a concrete median strip with trees in the middle of the street, and install bike lanes at both curb lanes (concrete cycle tracks, above the roadway and below sidewalk level). There will be bus bulbouts, so when buses stop to load and unload passengers, only one travel lane will be moving. In order to cross Masonic and to access the bus stops, pedestrians will have to cross the cycle track. MTA estimates the project will cost $18.2 million. The actual final cost is anyone’s guess.The Masonic cycle track project will have the following impacts:
Be dangerous for cyclists and for drivers pulling out of driveways. Drivers’ ability to see cyclists will be limited. Also, cars pulling out of driveways on a busy street such as Masonic can only do so when motor vehicle traffic is stopped by a red light. Some cyclists don’t always obey traffic signals, vehicles could be pulling out of driveways when they don’t expect any traffic, only to hit an unexpected cyclist. Because some cyclists don’t use lights, this will be even more dangerous at night.
Result in the loss of around 167 street parking spaces. The actual number may be more because MTA counts 20 linear feet as a parking space, but some of the parking spaces along Masonic between driveways are less than 20 feet and may not be included in the count. Also, residents of Masonic will no longer be able to park across their driveways.
Increase congestion on Masonic, especially during rush hour.
Increase traffic on nearby streets, as some drivers avoid the increased traffic on Masonic.
Increase pollution in the area, as drivers circle further and longer in search of parking, and as traffic on the nearby streets is increased.
Jeopardize public safety by slowing down emergency response time.
Make it much more difficult for residents on Masonic to: load/unload people and packages; have items delivered; have visitors; move in and out of their homes; and have construction, maintenance, painting and other work done.
Make it harder for businesses to get deliveries of their products.
The major parking loss will especially hurt seniors and disabled people, who are limited in how far they can walk and how many streets they can cross. It will also make it more difficult for them to have home visits from caregivers, Meals on Wheels, physical, respiratory, occupational and other therapists, and repair services from wheelchair repair companies.
Increase the personal safety risk at night for residents returning to their homes and visitors returning to their cars after visiting friends, as they will have to park further from their residence or their friend’s home. The risk will especially increase for the most vulnerable – women, seniors and disabled people.
Currently, vehicles going eastbound on Geary turn right onto southbound Masonic using a dedicated right turn lane before Masonic, thus avoiding having to go all the way to Masonic. The project will remove this lane, so both vehicles turning southbound and those proceeding straight on Geary will have to go all the way to Masonic. Congestion will increase, especially with the additional traffic from the Target store.
Create a chaotic, congested mess on Masonic and the surrounding areas during the 18 month construction period.
Motor vehicle traffic on Masonic was over 32,000 vehicles per day in 2010 (measured by MTA at Masonic at Fulton). Because many automobiles carry more than one person, more than 32,000 people ride on Masonic on a typical day. With the new Target store at Masonic and Geary slated to open, this volume will increase dramatically. In contrast, per SFMTA measurements, during the PM rush hour there were only 20 bikes per hour at Masonic/Golden Gate and only 32 per hour at Masonic/Fell. (And some of those at Masonic/Fell may have been proceeding along Fell, not Masonic.)
Masonic Avenue can be improved without creating these dangers, impacts and hardships, and without spending $18.2 million. More trees can be planted along the sidewalk, lighting can be improved and bus shelters added. And rather than encouraging cyclists to bike along one of the busiest North-South streets in San Francisco, a better and safer North-South bike route can be created that includes the existing bike lanes along Baker, just a few blocks from Masonic. See updates page for more information.
Click here for a description of an alternative bike route.What can you do to help save Masonic? The MTA Board of Directors approved the cycle track project in September 2012. It will happen unless you get involved! It’s imperative that you contact Mayor Ed Lee, the Board of Supervisors, Supervisors London Breed, Eric Mar and Mark Farrell, the MTA Board, Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin and potential funding sources, and ask them to stop this disaster in the making. It’s also critical to attend meetings of the Board of Supervisors and the MTA Board.
See updates page for more information.
“About the Project – The primary goal of the Masonic Avenue Street Design Study is to identify how Masonic Avenue between Geary Boulevard and Fell Street can safely and efficiently accommodate the needs of all roadway users, including but not limited to … motorists.”
ALL RIGHT, EXACTLY HOW DOES THIS PROJECT “ACCOMMODATE THE NEEDS” OF “MOTORISTS?” OH, NOT AT ALL? THOUGHT SO. MOVING ON.
1. Engage representatives of all constituencies within the community who would be impacted by changes to Masonic Avenue…
ALL RIGHT, WHICH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE “MOTORIST” “CONSTITUENCY” WERE “ENGAGED?” ANY AT ALL? YOU KNOW, THE OCTAVIA BOULEVARD PEOPLE “ENGAGED” MOTORISTS AS FAR AWAY AS MONTEREY BOULEVARD, OUT THERE WITH CLIPBOARDS AND EVERYTHING. DID THE MASONIC AVENUE PEOPLE DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT? OH NO.
2. Improve transit operation.
THIS PROJECT WILL UNIMPROVE TRANSIT OPERATION ON AND AROUND MASONIC – THERE’S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. IT’S GOING TO SLOW DOWN THE BUSES THAT USE MASONIC, INCLUDING THE OCCASIONAL #5 FULTON AND #21 HAYES.
3. Improve pedestrian and non-motorized access to transit.
SO TRANSIT USERS WILL HAVE “BETTER ACCESS” TO REDUCED BUS SERVICE? I DON’T GET THE BETTER ACCESS PART – YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A BUS STOP? ALSO, WHAT’S “MOTORIZED ACCESS TO TRANSIT?”
4. Increase the safety of pedestrian crossings.
YOU KNOW, THE PRIOR PROJECT MANAGER IS ON THE RECORD AS STATING THAT THIS KIND OF THING IS BAD TO DO LIKE NOW BECAUSE IT WOULD HURT THE CAUSE OF PUSHING THE ENTIRE PROJECT THROUGH. KIND OF SAD, REALLY.
5. Increase motorist compliance with traffic rules and regulations.
UH, WHAT, WITH TREES? IF I WANTED TO INCREASE COMPLIANCE WITH TRAFFIC LAWS, I’D JACK THE SPEED LIMIT UP TO 40 MPH. NOW, THAT WOULD HAVE SOME SIDE EFFECTS, BUT IT CERTAINLY WOULD REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF SPEEDING, RIGHT? OR, HAVING HOURS-LONG TRAFFIC JAM UPS DURING THE MORNING AND EVENING DRIVES WOULD REDUCE SPEEDING, IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE GETTING AT?
6. Reduce the number of vehicular collisions, especially those involving pedestrians and bicyclists.
HOW? BY PLANTING TREES? WE’LL SEE. HEY DIDN’T THE RECENT OCTAVIA BOULEVARD / MEDIAN PROJECT INCREASE THE NUMBER OF VEHICULAR COLLISIONS ON OCTAVIA? YES IT DID. HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THAT?
7. Support neighborhood vitality by creating a more inviting and accommodating public realm.
BY PUTTING IN A MEDIAN AND PLANTING TREES? SO, LET’S TAX AMERICA, CALIFORNIA, AND SAN FRANCISCO TO CREATE A “REALM” ON 3000 FEET WORTH OF STREET PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WEALTHY PROPERTY OWNERS AND PRIVATE SCHOOL(S) WHAT ARE ON THE STREET? ALL RIGHT.
“The replacement freeway and Boulevard were charged with ensuring a level of service comparable to the previous structure and configuration. This has been achieved…”
In no way, shape, or form does the newish Octavia Boulevard have a level of service comparable to the old Central Freeway.
And, BTW, did the Central Freeway block Fell, Oak, Page, Haight and Market? Nope. Does Octavia Boulevard? Yep, every day, all the time.
(This is an example of misplaced confidence, of the hubris.)
Now, what kind of signal timing does it take to accommodate a 3000-mile-long freeway ending on Market Street. Well, let’s take a look here. Do you notice that Market street peds have about four seconds to begin the journey across Octavia during the 95-second cycle? Why is that? I mean, that means that any given ped on Market has over a 95% chance of having to stop and wait for all those cars on Octavia to go by. Is that fair? Now, what about cars and streetcars and bikes and buses and whatnot heading outbound on Market – do you think it’s much better for them? Well, it’s not. Just 20-something percent of the traffic signal cycle allows traffic to flow uphill on Market at the Octavia Intersection. Why are the lights so biased in favor of the cars driving through on Octavia, you know, as opposed to Market Street?
Check it (oh yeah, that’s some homeless dude coughing at the end there, not me.)
Now, how can I justify blaming the whole “Boulevard Movement” fad of the aughts for an famous accident that killed that UCSF doctor if the UCSF van driver ran a red light? Well, take a look at this:
Click to expand
See? Sometimes half the lanes of Oak have a red light and the other half have a green. Does that make sense? Well, if you’re struggling to make pathetic Octavia work and you don’t want traffic routinely backing up to Golden Gate Park, well then you yourself would be tempted to do whatever you could to help Octavia flow.
Does this unorthodox design factor in human nature, you know, the nut behind the steering wheel? No, it doesn’t. The fact is that car drivers, those sheeple, follow the pack. If the car to the right goes, then they want to go.
Of course, drivers should do better, but we need to factor in their behavior when we design roads, right?
What we shouldn’t do is to let Hayes Valley insiders, that very small but very influential group, to design anything for the rest of us.
And BTW, why on Earth are left turns allowed on inbound Market onto Octavia? Could it be for the convenience of those Hayes Valley insiders? Check it out. You’d think that Hayes Valley types would be satisfied with being able to make a left at the prior intersection or the next intersection, but no, traffic on Market has to wait on a dedicated signal for a dedicated lane of drivers.
Does that make sense?
Why not this? Why not narrow Octavia dramatically and just give up on the whole boulevard experiment? Just take out the frontage roads and all that on-street parking and those medians and that would be a good start on “completing” the Horrible Octavia Experiment, turning it into a “Complete Street.” Even the Great Designer of Octavia admits now that the boulevard is too wide.
And let’s get rid of that left turn lane that was built just for the NIMBYs of Hayes Valley. Why should Market Street, the more important one, take a back street to Octavia, which is basically a glorified freeway onramp?
And why not give people on Market Street half the time of the light signal and then the people on Octavia the other half? Wouldn’t that be more fair?
“Before the destruction of the Central Freeway, condominium prices in the Hayes Valley neighborhood were 66% of San Francisco average prices. However, after the demolition and subsequent replacement with the new Octavia Boulevard, prices grew to 91% of city average. Beyond this, the most dramatic increases were seen in the areas nearest to the new boulevard. Furthermore, residents noted a significant change in the nature of the commercial establishments in the area. Where it had been previously populated by liquor stores and mechanic shops, soon the area was teeming with trendy restaurants and high-end boutiques.”
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.
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:
But the folks that Fate allows to show up at these meetings seem to make choices based upon this ranking:
O.K., we’ll see have to wait and see how this one goes.