Saturday, February 11, 2006

No right turn: an exchange

Of course this no-right-turn issue can be resolved sensibly. It defies common sense to not allow people to make a right turn from Market St. onto the new freeway ramp. But the larger issue is this: How do we achieve a sensible balance between cyclists and motor traffic in the city? How far should the city go to accommodate a tiny minority of cyclists, since, according to the DMV, we now have more than 464,000 registered motorized vehicles in SF, not counting buses? And there are on average 3000 additional vehicles registered in SF every year, a trend that is largely due to gentrification.

Cyclists are taking up way too much room on the streets of the city on behalf of a transportation "mode" that will never be a serious option for an overwhelming majority of city residents. And the way the no-right-turn onto the freeway ramp was done is typical of the way the bike people are changing the streets of SF with little notice and no debate: Matt Gonzalez carried a resolution in 2004 to get it done on behalf of cyclists, with the compliance of the Board of Lemmings, a k a, the Board of Supervisors. Taking traffic lanes away from motor traffic for bike lanes on Guererro/San Jose is another example of how our streets are being transformed with no serious debate or even awareness by the public. The end result will only be to snarl traffic in a relatively small city to provide questionable gains in safety for cyclists.

Voting to make the Bicycle Plan part of the General Plan with no debate and no environmental study is another example of the arrogance and the excessive influence of the bike people in SF.

How allowing a right turn onto the freeway ramp will result in traffic jams is counter-intuitive and something Bob Bregoff needs to explain. The opposite would seem to be the case. Bregoff's comparing cars to cigarettes is a poor analogy, though it shows that he's a full-fledged bike zealot. And, yes, SF is a "transit first" city, but bikes are not on an equal footing with buses, though the bike fanatics would like to change that.

According to the original resolution authorizing the right turn ban, this was supposed to be a six-month trial. Hence, my original message to Ross was both a reminder of that and a request for information from DPT, which presumably has been collecting information on the experiment since last September. Ross has not responded to my request.
(For the backstory on the no-right-turn issue, see this.)

From: Jeff Hagan
To: <>
Subject: Right Turn onto New Market Street Freeway Ramp
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2006

Sharing. What a concept. That's a great suggestion Joanne.

But wait. I'm not sure the zealots would want to consider such a thing---it would imply cooperating with "destructive private auto drivers." If only we could be frog-marched to South San Francisco and summarily executed.

I guess since I ride a bike and a motorcycle, but still drive my car sometimes, I would be part of the group that is shot.


From: Rob Bregoff
Subject: Right Turn onto New Market Street Freeway Ramp
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2006

Sorry that Mr. Lanier thinks that auto use shouldn't be described as "destructive," but with over 45,000 auto-related deaths per year in the US alone, and cars being the chief source of greenhouse gasses, I don't know any flattering descriptions for auto use. Cars have made 90% of our public space dangerous to any users but drivers.Smoking was once not considered a dangerous habit, and it took awhile for society to wake up and discover that they didn't have to breathe other peoples' smoke. Habitual smokers still complain that their rights are being impeded by people who dont want to be around them. San Francisco is a Transit/Ped/Bike first city, so it is imperative that the saftey of non-automotive users of the public space be considered before the convenience of drivers. The city doesn't owe you a fast route to work, or a parking space. Drivers and smokers need to consider alternatives.

Rob Bregoff

From: "Marc J. Zilversmit"
To: <
Subject: Right Turn onto New Market Street Freeway Ramp
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006

The ramp or the arrow would be better solutions. The one collision (though I'm sure it was for those injured) should not control the debate anymore than the recent collision between two bicyclists on Fell Street (which resulted in serious injury) should be cause for reform. Perhaps a ramp, or arrow solution along with better signage would even have avoided that one collision.

Subject: Right Turn onto New Market Street Freeway Ramp
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006

Would a ramp be the solution for the bikes and the pedestrains? That way,the cars and the others would not have to worry about each other.

Subject: Right Turn onto New Market Street Freeway Ramp
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 2006

Why not put an arrow that is green when you can turn right and red when you can't. When the right turn arrow is green, bicycles have to wait. When it is red, the bicycles can go forward. That way, everybody shares.

Joanne Minsky

From: Andrew Sullivan
Subject: Right Turn onto New Market Street Freeway Ramp
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 2006

two lane turns from division to s. van ness are no big deal, as long as the pedestrian signal is there. But the no right turn from market needs to stay. Danger to bikes is too severe otherwise.On that note, where are the big signs on market saying "80 / 101 via Gough, straight ahead"? signage is much better on fell, oak, and octavia, but not market.

Subject: Right Turn onto New Market Street Freeway Ramp
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 2006

There has been at least one collision resulting in injury between an unlawful driver and a lawful cyclist. This intersection was planned for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, as it should be in a city that values these transportation modes over destructive private automobile use. There are myriad alternatives for drivers seeking freeway ingress. One could imagine not only the danger to non-motorists were this turn permitted, but the traffic backups on Market which would certainly illegally impede MUNI service. I would challenge Mr. Anderson to explain how the bulbout increases danger to cyclists. Personally, I'm very happy it's there.

Rob Bregoff
ps: At the request of motorists, Supervisor Dufty recently introduced legislation to re-increase the Division Street/South Van Ness on-ramps from one lane back to two, as it was during boulevard construction.

From: Rob
To: Ross Mirkarimi
Subject: Right Turn onto New Market Street Freeway Ramp
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2006


You probably remember last year's kerfuffle over the ban on making a right turn onto the new freeway ramp on Market St. across from the new, unimproved Octavia Blvd. It turns out that your predecessor carried a resolution on behalf of the cycling community to put this ban in force in 2004, much to the annoyance and inconvenience of city drivers. As the media accounts noted at the time, the no-right-turn ban is a six-month trial. The text of Resolution 508-04 confirms this:

Further resolved, that the Department shall collect data related to traffic, bicycle, and pedestrian safety and flow during the first six months of the opening of the freeway ramp, and shall make adjustments to and shall implement any additional traffic control devices and signage as necessary to maximize the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists through the intersection, and the Department shall report its findings to the Board of Supervisors at the end of that period.

The six-month trial will soon be over. Can we assume that DPT has been diligently collecting data on this experiment and will soon announce its findings? We can only hope that the city, with your support, will end this preposterous inconvenience to the city's 464,000 drivers and jackhammer up the huge bulb-out that actually makes this intersection more dangerous to city cyclists.

Rob Anderson

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At 3:30 PM, Blogger Brian said...

Rob - I am curious to hear if you ever reached resolution from DPT or Ross M on this issue. As both a hardcore bike rider AND a family man with kids to cart around, I speak for a balanced approach. For one thing the tilt and bias against cars and folks who live on the wrong side of Market (Castro, Noe V, Twin Peaks) and thus cant make use of the on ramp is bigotry of another type. And the rest of the country thinks SF is the land of tolerance...

Finally, has anyone been following the proposed Cesar Chavez bike corridor, which would remove two travel lanes? I'd like to see the data on traffic and understand what neighborhood groups think about the spillover traffic if it is enacted.


Brian Smith

At 4:54 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Ross is not likely to respond to anything I say, until the election campaign in District 5 gets underway later this year, when I'll be running against him. He's completely on board for all the bike bullshit; whatever the SFBC wants Ross will support. It's an anti-car, Luddite thing with a lot of the bike people. They want to make it as difficult and expensive as possible to drive in SF. Yes, of course they want to fuck with Cesar Chavez, but it's in the Bicycle Plan and thus they have to complete the EIR on that before they can take away those lanes.


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