Monday, November 29, 2010

The city's plan to screw up Masonic


It's a done deal: the city now has a plan to screw up traffic on busy Masonic Avenue on behalf of the bike people. Bike Nopa's Michael Helquist---pictured above after he fell off his bike---is a good source for the latest information about the city's plan: "The package of traffic calming measures in the plan is expected to make Masonic Avenue safer for all road users and improve the visual appearance of a ten block stretch from Oak to Geary streets."

According to the city's own numbers, Masonic Ave. isn't unsafe for anyone, but forget about the facts, that busy street---it carries more than 32,000 vehicles a day----is going to be "calmed" whether we like it or not.

"Implementation of the Boulevard design awaits a final report due by the end of the year, followed by an approval process and a search for funding." The search for the $20 million to pay for the project shouldn't take long, since the San Francisco County County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) has a guaranteed share of the sales tax the city uses for transportation projects: "The Authority Board consists of the eleven members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who act as Authority Commissioners. Commissioner Ross Mirkarimi is Chair of the Authority Board..."

As a supervisor, Mirkarimi has made the Bicycle Coalition's agenda his priority, when he wasn't pushing destructive projects like the Market/Octavia Plan and helping UC rip off the old extension property on lower Haight Street.

When Mirkarimi contributed an obvious falsehood to the Masonic Ave. debate by comparing the city's plan for Masonic to the recent makeover on Divisadero, was he lying or just being dumb? Hard to tell with the Murk.

Even though the city's plan will take away 167 parking spaces on Masonic between Geary Blvd. and Oak Street to make bike lanes, the MTA's project director made this statement: "[Javad]Mirabdal emphasized that the traffic calming package for Masonic "'is not a bike project.'"

Since cyclists are the only beneficiaries of the plan and motorists are the big losers, this is an obvious lie.

Taking away all those parking spaces means that the city won't be able to create, as it does now, an extra traffic lane during commute hours on Masonic, which will permanently have only two lanes for north-bound and south-bound traffic.

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