Sunday, June 16, 2013

Last chance to save Masonic Avenue

The message below is from the folks at Save Masonic who are fighting to prevent the city and the Bicycle Coalition from removing all the street parking on Masonic Avenue to make bike lanes. All the other phony "improvements" are secondary to implementing the Bicycle Coalition's agenda on Masonic, which they have been been pushing for years using outright lies about safety to convince City Hall to take away all the street parking on Masonic---167 spaces---between Fell Street and Geary Blvd. to make bike lanes.

Those parking spaces are now converted into traffic lanes during commute hours in the morning and the evening. Taking away those extra lanes of course will make traffic worse on Masonic for everyone---including Muni passengers on the #43 bus---but cyclists. 
The text of the dumb letter, packed with misinformation, by Supervisors Mar, Breed, and Farrell referred to is below in italics: "grade-separated bikeways, and a tree-lined median are desperately needed"! (My analysis of the letter is here.) This neighborhood should follow Polk Gulch's example in rejecting the MTA's attempt to implement the Bicycle Coalition's agenda on Masonic Avenue.

As the city admits, few cyclists now use Masonic Avenue, but that major north/south street now carries more than 32,000 vehicles a day, including the #43 Muni line that has more than 12,000 passengers every day. How many cyclists will use the bike lanes after the project is implemented? The city has no idea. This project, like the others on busy city streets, is based on nothing but the hope that it will be justified in the long term, but once it's done it won't be undone.

The letter claims that "Community members have been working together for the past six years to make Masonic Avenue safer for residents and commuters," but it's the Bicycle Coalition that's been "working" for six years to screw up Masonic on behalf of a small minority of cyclists. In their own words, "The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has been organizing members who live and travel near Masonic Avenue for years, starting in 2007 with the founding of the group Fix Masonic."

Fix Masonic was never anything but a sketchy website that quickly turned into a Bicycle Coalition front in its long campaign to screw up Masonic Avenue for everyone but cyclists. The Coalition no longer bothers with the phony website: click on "Fix Masonic" on the Bicycle Coalition's Masonic Avenue
page and you go back to the coalition's page!

On Tuesday June 18th at 10:30 AM in room 250 at City Hall, the SFCTA's Plans and Programs Committee will meet.

On Tuesday June 25th at 11:00 AM in the Board of Supervisors' chamber, the whole SFCTA Board--- the Board of Supervisors wearing their transportation hats---meets:

Attention all who are opposed to the proposed plans to remove traffic and parking lanes along Masonic Ave. We need your help. 
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) board will soon be voting on which transportation projects to fund with the $30 million One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) grant money. The Masonic project is one of a number of projects that are vying for these limited funds.

The three supervisors (Mar, Breed and Farrell) wrote a letter (below) to the SFCTA stating the project has overwhelming community support and they want the CTA to fund the project. We know this is a false statement.

I’m asking all who wrote letters and those who didn’t  yet to call the supervisors, the mayor and especially to call the two SFCTA members to say that the project does not have overwhelming community support, that you do not want it to go forward, that you live in the neighborhood and are opposed to removing all parking and two traffic lanes.

Please also state that the plan is poorly designed; with a Target opening up soon, they have no idea of the additional traffic will be added to Masonic. They did not do any environmental report. Demand that they let Target open in October and then observe what traffic patterns develop. Demand also that the City re-open the process to evaluation and have the entire community provide consensus and input.

District 1 Eric Mar 554-7410
District 2
Mark Farrell 554-7752
District 3 David Chiu 554-7450
District 4
Katy Tang 554-7460
District 5 London Breed 554-7630
District 6
Jane Kim 554-7970
District 7
Norman Yee 554-6516
District 8
Scott Wiener 554-6968
District 9
David Campos 554-5144
District 10
Malia Cohen 554-7670
District 11
John Avalos 544-6975

Refer to this SFCTA site for dates/places/times.

Thank you and I hope to see you at City Hall.

Vince Pietromartire
Masonic Corridor Neighborhood Association

February 13, 2013
Maria Lombardo
Chief Deputy Director for Policy and Programming
San Francisco County Transportation Authority
1455 Market Street 22nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Dear Director Lombardo,

We write to reiterate our support for the Masonic Avenue Complete Streets project and to urge you to select it for One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) funding. We recognize there are multiple candidate projects with needs exceeding the total available funds, but we ask you to prioritize Masonic Avenue. We consider it a matter of public safety. The project will rectify what is now a fundamentally unsafe street design. It will also improve transit on a major north-south corridor, reduce environmental impact, and increase livability, thus meeting all the criteria established in the Transportation Plan.
The sidewalk bulb-outs, grade-separated bikeways, and tree-lined median are desperately needed on Masonic Avenue. There have been a number of high-profile collisions and fatalities on this route in recent years, and something must be done to make it safer for people biking, walking and driving. Masonic is the only north-south bike route in the area, but is currently very unsafe and unappealing for most riders. We must act fast to improve this corridor.

This project has overwhelming community support. Community members have been working together for the past six years to make Masonic Avenue safer for residents and commuters. We are impressed with the work of the neighborhood associations and SFMTA staff. The unanimous approval at the SFMTA Board of Directors hearing in 2012 is a testament to the level of support this project has garnered.

Thank you for your work to ensure the Masonic Avenue Complete Streets project receives the OBAG funding it needsfor implementation.


Supervisor Eric Mar, District 1
Supervisor Mark Farrell, District 2
Supervisor London Breed, District 5

Edwin Lee, Mayor
Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director
Mohammed Nuru, SFDPW Director
Ben Stupka, Principal Transportation Planner, SF Transportation Authority
Tilly Chang, Deputy Director for Planning, SF Transportation Authority

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At 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sent in my email of support for Fix Masonic. Thank you for the emails!

At 9:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

High speed crash today on Masonic.

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Supporting Fix Masonic is supporting the Bicycle Coalition, since they are one and the same.

At 3:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would put Fix Masonic's membership at about 13,000. What is the membership level for "Save Masonic"

At 4:36 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

So you admit that Fix Masonic is nothing but an SFBC front group? That makes the city's design study on Masonic Avenue a lie, since it cites Fix Masonic as if it's some kind of grassroots organization to justify all the phony "improvements" to the street that will benefit only an undetermined number of cyclists.

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were several community meetings where neighborhood residents had the opportunity to provide input. Judging from the positive response I saw there, I must agree that this project DOES have the support of the community. I hope the author of this post participated in those meetings.

At 8:20 PM, Blogger Vince Pietromartire said...

Fix MAsonic membership at 13, 000 ? Sorry you're confusing that with the SFBC membership is or should I say , What they CLAIM it is

At 10:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've lived in this neighborhood for 10 years. I never heard a single peep about these proposed changes to Masonic until a few days ago, when I saw a "Save Masonic" flyer on a car. I would definitely have gotten involved to spread the word and stop this development plan, which will create horrible congestion on an already extremely busy corridor. Surely there are other ways to make the street safer that do not involve removing traffic lanes and spending $18M.


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