Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fell Street, Oak Street, Octavia Blvd., and the war on cars

Photo from Bay Citizen
 A reader writes:
I found this document to be an interesting read, especially the parts about what they plan to do with Octavia/Fell. Stats were 557,000 trips through that area without stopping or starting there. Guess all 557,000 of us should just go fuck ourselves compared to the 1000 or so that live there.
Some notable quotes:
"Improved traffic circulation will---in isolation---tend to encourage more automobile travel as automobile commutes become faster, easier, and more reliable."
If this isn't evidence of a war on cars, I don't know what is. Stuff in there about making the the "pedestrian experience" better for folks, despite the already compounded frustration of motorists.
Removing an eastbound Oak lane past Octavia to add a "missing" bicycle facility.
Discouraging eastbound traffic on Haight from turning onto Southbound Octavia (already difficult, and something I do every day).

Anyway, thought I'd link it to you just in case you hadn't seen it. It's a doozy.
Rob's comment: Yes, few people in the neighborhoods actually read any of the city's planning documents. If they did they would be horrified at the stupid anti-car assumptions they're based on. It's as if the Bicycle Coalition is making city traffic policy, which isn't far from the truth.
I've been blogging for years about what the city has created with Octavia Blvd. in the unfortunate Hayes Valley neighborhood. The city has always been in denial about what would happen there after the Central Freeway overpass was gone. I've been using the 45,000-cars-a-day traffic count the city got shortly after the awful Octavia Blvd. opened back in 2005. Turns out that that number now is actually 63,000 motor vehicles a day through the heart of Hayes Valley on Octavia Blvd.
The thing that San Francisco and a lot of well-intentioned progressives refuse to acknowledge is that we can't have it both ways: either all that traffic travels over the city on freeways or it ends up on the surface streets of city neighborhoods. We congratulate ourselves for taking down the Central Freeway overpass in Hayes Valley and for refusing 50 years ago to build a freeway overpass over the Panhandle, but the result is that a lot of that traffic is on our surface streets. The city is now operating on the assumption that it can deal with all that traffic by punishing drivers, making it harder and more expensive to drive in the city. Let them ride bikes! Or a crowded, underfinanced Muni!
On the safety of the Market/Octavia intersection: Supervisor Gonzalez carried a resolution in 2004 to screw up that intersection on behalf of the Bicycle Coalition. It's still not clear to me why the city hasn't tried changing the traffic lights there so that motor vehicles and bikes don't have to share a green light like at the Fell/Masonic intersection. 

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At 5:08 PM, Anonymous @non said...

Glad to hear some good news like this, should make make my bike to work much safer! Right now I'm at home listening to traffic speeding down Oak, honking at each-other and being general pricks in every sense. Just today I was nearly hit by someone, presumably Rob ;), as he ignored the red light, and the No Turn on Red sign, and the Walk symbol on the crosswalk. Looking forward to the city finally doing something about this.

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, because it's all about assholes like you on bikes.


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