Monday, March 16, 2009

More Geary BRT thoughts

Anonymous #1 wrote:
I think DPT is enabling signal priority on Geary already. That has been called a given with all of the Geary BRT meetings. It's not clear how useful it will be because of some specific issues:

1. The timing challenge is with pedestrian crossing times. Generally, San Francisco allows enough time for a pedestrian across the street (avoiding those pesky push buttons). Geary is a wide street so pedestrians need a lot of time to cross. Thus, it is almost impossible to turn a light green prematurely---unless you want to run over a pedestrian!

2. One other issue is that Geary buses are so frequent that the signals could not recover from constant timing manipulation.

3. One feature of the BRT design is called an "extended cycle," which keeps the light green enough to let the bus go through it to the next stop. When the Geary BRT evaluation was done a few years ago, what came to light was that the greatest delay is associated with loading so many people onto the buses. Setting up something like a median station would enable a "paid fare" area and multi-door loading making the dwell time much shorter. Oh---low floor buses really help too!

The Geary costs could skyrocket depending on what happens with Masonic and Fillmore. The new vehicles, new street median, stations, striping and signal work would not come close to $200 million.

Rob writes:
Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Anon. I got the $200 million figure from a story in the Examiner a few years ago that put the cost in the range of $172 million to $212 million.

I'm becoming less skeptical of the necessity of some kind of BRT on Geary, especially after my eye-opening journey on the #38 from the beginning of the line and experiencing the blizzard of stoplights from 33rd Avenue to Masonic. I'd like to hear more about the Masonic and Fillmore problems, though I assume that will be covered in the EIR on the proposal. Do you know when the EIR is going to be released?

Anonymous #2 wrote:

Years ago the TA installed a signal priority system on a segment of Geary which failed for a number of reasons. As the first commenter pointed out, the constant manipulation of timing just made things worse. It was also based on infra-red which stopped working when the signal mounted receivers got covered in dirt and grime, though that was a limitation of that specific technology. Rear-door boarding and low-floor buses do not require any changes to the street and the TA could fund those buses out of Prop K today since the money was already supposed to be set aside. That might be a good move, since the SF MTA is planning to cut back on bus maintenance to cover it's deficit, and that's likely going to mean even less reliable service due to break downs.

BRT would help with crossings by creating additional medians in the middle of the street to provide pedestrian refuges. Even though it doesn't actually narrow the street, it changes the perception. This can be taken another step further by also extending the corner sidewalks out because the space currently used at corners for bus stops will be converted into additional parking spaces.

BRT will improve service by eliminating the delays caused by pulling in and out of the corner stops, this last benefits traffic as well as taking buses out of the car lanes, but some of that delay can be mitigated by moving bus stops to the far corner of the intersection, after the light, where a bus will not have to wait through an entire signal if it finishes boarding right as the light turns red. Likewise it will be able to pull out of the stop while traffic is being held at the light, but there are downsides to this as a bus may be ready to pull back into the street right as the light turns green and has to wait through the signal until traffic stops when it goes red again and then for the cars that had been waiting to turn go ahead. There are probably only a limited number of stops where far-side stops would be useful.

To those who've suggested BRT would divert traffic onto parallel streets, there's a few other factors to keep in mind: Though Geary would be losing two lanes to traffic, it would also no longer have buses pulling in and out of traffic every block slowing things down. Calfornia, Clement and Balboa would all still have that issue and not even all of them are through streets. They would not become instant expressways any more than 18th or 20th Avenues are faster alternatives to 19th Avenue. The TA had estimates of what that spillover would be---and I do not remember what it was---but it was incredibly low (something like one extra car/min) and could be absorbed, but I suspect most drivers will just stick with Geary because it's the major expressway and not all the other side streets go all the way to downtown and would require crossing over to Geary anyway, so why would I bother if I'd lose the couple minutes I saved having to do that.

Another issue that would effect Geary if BRT was put in would be the additional traffic pulling in and out of the 16% of additional parking created by moving the corner bus stops to the center median. Adding more parking could attract people away from Muni and add more traffic to Geary than could be convinced to take Muni instead were the Geary buses more convenient.

Anonymous #3 wrote:
All this stuff about putting the road on a diet and creating some kind of pedestrian utopia assumes anyone would want to go shopping along Geary. The city already has a lot of well established shopping districts where people are already coming by transit and could use wider sidewalks. San Francisco should focus on making already walkable neighborhoods like the Upper Haight, Castro, Noe Valley, Valencia and the like more walkable and stop fighting an uphill battle with suburbanites with a 1950's mind set about traffic and transit.

Rob writes:
You mean we should just abandon the many people who live out on the avenues and simply write them off as "suburbanites"? Not a particularly helpful approach, since it's one of the most densely populated areas of the city. People are already there and shop where they live, not to mention the fact that many of them now ride the #38 line downtown from deep in the avenues.

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32 Comments:

At 1:55 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"I'm becoming less skeptical of the necessity of some kind of BRT on Geary, especially after my eye-opening journey on the #38 from the beginning of the line and experiencing the blizzard of stoplights from 33rd Avenue to Masonic."

Consider this an open invitation for an eye-opening bike ride!

 
At 4:41 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Off the mark, as usual. The many stoplights didn't bother me; they just surprised me. But I bet they do bother people trying to get to work from this part of town on the #38 bus. I would never consider riding a bike on Geary, which is a peculiar folly one sees only in bike people and skydivers.

 
At 4:49 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Rob - I have no inclination to take you out on Geary to open your eyes, I'm not very fond of Geary. How about Golden Gate - there is a bike lane from Baker to Stanyan.

 
At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"People are already there and shop where they live, not to mention the fact that many of them now ride the #38 line to downtown from deep in the avenues."

Fuck that shit. I live in the avenues and ride my bike to work downtown. I'm not going to get on those slow, crowded contraptions and deprive myself of all that sweet riding.

Every year I am in better shape than I was the year before. My health is actually getting better as time goes on.

 
At 12:14 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You're just a hell of a dude and obviously superior to all the clods who ride Muni.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

Not taking the invite Rob? Even Jim Cramer went on Jon Stewart...

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I can't think of anything that interests me less.

 
At 7:23 PM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"I can't think of anything that interests me less."

Summarizing your general lack of ability to win friends and influence people.

Sad sad grumpy lonely old man. What on earth will happen to you when the paint starts hitting the pavement and your name fades into the ionosphere. At least for now you have angry bike-nuts who will CHAT@#$%^&#$!!!

 
At 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You're just a hell of a dude and obviously superior to all the clods who ride Muni."

I'm not saying that I am superior to anyone. I'm saying that bicycling is superior to MUNI.

 
At 9:07 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Summarizing your general lack of ability to win friends and influence people."

As the only critic you bike nuts have in the local media, I do have some influence, though it's impossible to quantify. I don't want you as a friend, Murph. Like many bike nuts, you're a smug asshole and a dim bulb intellectually.

"Sad sad grumpy lonely old man. What on earth will happen to you when the paint starts hitting the pavement and your name fades into the ionosphere."

You mean if I won't go on a bike ride with you, I'm condemned to be "a lonely old man"? Since we've never met---and, by the way, I'm not the least bit interested in meeting you---what do you base this on? Typical arrogance on your part. Mr. Groovy! What an asshole!

 
At 10:44 AM, Blogger murphstahoe said...

"As the only critic you bike nuts have in the local media, I do have some influence, though it's impossible to quantify."

As fun as the D5 blog is - I hardly think it qualifies as "local media". And frankly if your ravings were relevant, there would be more critics, perhaps even one who makes coherent points. But you stand alone. At least due to the lawsuit, you are getting a little PR, and people read your blog.

Your other pet peeve, the Market/Octavia plan, nobody comments on? Why? Because you haven't been able to utilize the legal system to get in the way.

Once the EIR is certified, we can all ask, if Rob Anderson screams and nobody is there to hear him scream, does he make a noise?

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, I "stand alone"---which I don't mind---on a number of issues, including the bike bullshit, the appalling Market/Octavia Plan, UC's rip-off of the old extension property, homelessness, and the left's great fight for "fun" in SF. Just because people don't pepper me with lame comments like you doesn't mean they don't read me. One just lights a candle in the "progressive" darkness.

If I'm totally without effect, why do you continue to send in your fatuous comments? What is it exactly that bothers you about this blog? My answer: You're a typical SF progressive who's not used to having someone tell you you're full of shit. Where, by the way, is there a single blog put out by a lone city progressive that's worth reading? There are none, because you progs like to run in packs (LeftinSF, Fog City, BeyondChron, etc.) and prefer anonymity lest you offend someone about something.

 
At 10:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think that it's the critical mass rides that are really pissing you off, and that all this anti-bike stuff is coming out of that.

Please understand that whatever your feelings are toward critical mass, the SF bike community at-large is not critical mass.

 
At 9:04 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Actually, I don't find you bike nuts particularly interesting; you're kind of dumb, you're smugly self-righteous---saving the planet!---and you're the grossest elitists. The problem is that I now have the so-called anti-bike franchise; no one else is stepping up to criticize you bike people, who have the support of our city government for whatever it is that you want to do to our streets. Hence, I'm it.

Critical Mass is annoying, a good example of the arrogance of so many in the cycling community. The city's budget crunch makes it even worse, since a bunch of city cops on overtime escort the monthly orgy of self-indulgence to keep a lid on the violence and minimize the traffic jams.

But Critical Mass is just symptomatic of the arrogance of local progs; graffiti/tagging is another, as is the irresponsible pursuit of "fun" at the expense of the city and its neighborhoods (cf Bay to Breakers). And, worst of all, is the way progs/cyclists tried to rush the Bicycle Plan through the process without any environmental review before the neighborhoods could learn what the city wanted to do to its streets on behalf of your small minority of PC jerks.

It's not just Critical Mass or even the bike bullshit; it's San Francisco progressivism in generall that I loathe---the intellectual vacuity, the smugness and self-righteousness, the elitist contempt for the rest of us.

You claim that Critical Mass is not representative of the cycling community, even though the SFBC endorses it every month on its online calendar. I've heard barely a peep of dissent from the city's bike people on that practice.

 
At 10:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Actually, I don't find you bike nuts particularly interesting; you're kind of dumb, you're smugly self-righteous---saving the planet!"

Smugly self-righteous about 'saving the planet'??? Shit man, I just want a place on the street to ride my fucking bike so I can get to where I'm going! It should not be that big of a deal.

We've got sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians, rails for trains, big wide streets and freeways for cars and buses, but jack shit for bikes. Why?

 
At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's not just Critical Mass or even the bike bullshit; it's San Francisco progressivism in generall that I loathe---the intellectual vacuity, the smugness and self-righteousness, the elitist contempt for the rest of us."

You're conflating progs and cyclists again. Don't blame cyclists for the failings of SF progressives.

"I've heard barely a peep of dissent from the city's bike people on that practice."

Then you haven't been listening. Critical mass is a split issue in the SF cycling community.

 
At 10:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The city's budget crunch makes it even worse, since a bunch of city cops on overtime escort the monthly orgy of self-indulgence to keep a lid on the violence and minimize the traffic jams."

That's just another example of an automobile-imposed cost to the city. If people didn't try to drive their cars through the group of bicyclists, there would be no need for traffic cops on the ride.

15 years of critical mass traffic-cop expenses probably adds up to less than what the city just spent doing the EIR on the bike plan, anyway (a cost that YOU imposed on the city).

 
At 9:49 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"We've got sidewalks and crosswalks for pedestrians, rails for trains, big wide streets and freeways for cars and buses, but jack shit for bikes. Why?"

Because you bike nuts are a tiny minority even here in Progressive Land. There's nothing to stop you from riding your "fucking bike" anywhere in the city. The question with the EIR on the Bicycle Plan is, How badly is the city willing to screw up our traffic on behalf of your arrogant, annoying, suicidal minority?

 
At 11:57 AM, Anonymous Zoltani said...

I'm a cyclist and I loathe critical mass. I'm a cyclist and I have a love affair with public transit (when it is run efficiently). I'm a cyclist and I stop for red lights. I'm a cyclist and I yield the right of way at stop signs.

Still, I am sure Mr. Anderson can find a reason to call me a nut, or a progressive, or a hippie, or whatever other derogatory, stereotypical term he can come up with. Sorry, but most of what you speak is hate Mr. Anderson, and I do not respect that at all.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Is it "hate" to point out how arrogant so many cyclists are in SF?

 
At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Zoltani said...

Making blanket flammatory statements about a varied group of people based on a minority that piss you off is hateful in my opinion. I hope you can understand that.

Maybe you can also understand that many of us just want to get from point A to point B and don't really care about pushing any kind of agenda, be it political or environmental. Of course assholes exist on both sides.

I am always getting cut-off, almost hit, and yelled at by many motorists, however, I still think that they are a minority, and for the most part the motorists in The City are considerate of us two-wheelers.

Unfortunately you, and many people that comment on this blog, fit into the minority of both groups. Sad really.

Whatever, you're going to keep on doing what you have been doing, and the so called "bike-nuts" are going to keep doing what they are doing, and nothing will ever get solved. God I love The City!

 
At 1:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just discovered your blog and I have to say it's a breath of fresh air. I enjoy reading about SF and its various development projects, but feel blogs like sfist, curbed, sfcitizen don't really present much of a balanced view. While I don't agree with everything I've read here either, I'm glad there's someone like you on the intertubes and I look forward to becoming a regular reader.

 
At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Zoltani said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 6:22 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And people like you are going to continue spouting high-minded drivel about hate and being sad. Look, asshole, I'm the only critic you bike people have. If you can't take it, don't read the blog. Stick to BeyondChron and Fog City, where you'll never have to read anything that challenges your smugness.

 
At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Zoltani said...

Wow! Did anyone catch Mr. Anderson curse me out and then remove his post? How long did it take you to come up with your "real" reply?

Why was my comment removed? I didn't use any foul language, or insult you personally. I just mentioned that it is obvious why you are so respected. What's wrong Rob, can't take the heat? Can dish it out but can't take it?

 
At 2:33 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I removed it by mistake, actually, and once removed comments can't be retrieved. Did you think it was because you said something I found so alarming and unanswerable that I had to suppress it?

 
At 2:56 PM, Anonymous Zoltani said...

Your response to my earlier post was simply "Fuck You". I think that you didn't want your readers to see that you are so unintelligent, and that was the only response your feeble little mind could come up with. So you delete it and proceed to write one of your common responses.

Again, you are a pillar of the community, and I can see how you get so much respect.

 
At 3:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Okay, let's try this again. Here's my response where it should have been in response to your smug, self-congratulatory comment, instead of coming right after a commenter who praised my blog:

"And people like you are going to continue spouting high-minded drivel about hate and being sad. Look, asshole, I'm the only critic you bike people have. If you can't take it, don't read the blog. Stick to BeyondChron and Fog City, where you'll never have to read anything that challenges your smugness."

If you're such a paragon as a cyclist, why would anything I say apply to you? Instead, take your virtuous behavior to your scoutmaster; maybe he'll give you a merit badge.

 
At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Zoltani said...

Hahaha, Ok Rob.

You know, suddenly I imagine you as Ignatious J. Riley, and somehow that makes your blog tolerable.
Haha

Have fun Rob!

 
At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Zoltani said...

Except I completely messed us his name....Ignatius J. Reilly

Carry on Rob!

 
At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Zoltani said...

Rob,

Check out the BRT in LA. This video talks about the signaling and such.
http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/las-orange-line-bus-rapid-transit-plus-bike-path/

That website also has a film about the BRT in Bogota, which is where this system was developed.

Enjoy.

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Very good, Zoltani. This is more constructive than your initial self-congratulatory comment.

 

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