Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Masonic Avenue design "doesn't make any sense"

A reader writes:


The Masonic Ave drawing you posted shows a cross section of vehicles and Muni bus #43 going north and south. 

At 2010 Masonic community meetings the MTA didn't inform attendees how pedestrians are going to cross Masonic east and west.

In Jan. 2011 MTA issued a Masonic Ave. final report showing the first time a boarding island on Masonic Ave. (below) Pedestrians can get run down by bicyclists before they cross the street.

Along Masonic Ave are residential buildings, and owners need to enter and exit their garages. In 2014 DPW modified the separated boarding islands (below). Now drivers have to go over the boarding islands to reach their garages. Look at the green car. This design doesn't make any sense.

Rob's comment:

Making "sense" has never been what the Masonic Avenue bike project is about. As Muni bobblehead Ed Reiskin told the Examiner the other day, it's about making one of the busiest North-South streets in the city "inviting" to cyclists, like the Panhandle bike project was always about making Fell and Oak Streets "comfortable" for cyclists. 

The city deployed the safety lie about Masonic to justify the project, but the city's own report didn't back that up, so they dummied up some new numbers to feed to credulous journalists. The dim bulbs on the board of supervisors---including London Breed, our supervisor---did their part by spreading the safety lie. As you suggest, this design will actually make Masonic less safe, along with jamming up traffic for the thousands of motorists who now use it every day.

Note that the bus stop now keeps buses in one of the two remaining traffic lanes, a design that's been implemented on nearby Divisadero Street, where the #24 bus often traps unwary motorists in the intersection. You can see them looking around desperately to see if they can change lanes safely before the light changes.

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At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

" the #24 bus often traps unwary motorists in the intersection. You can see them looking around desperately to see if they can change lanes safely before the light changes."

You really are hilarious. THIS is one of your biggest concern is about? You don't mention the fast speeds, the run lights, and the genuine freeway-like aspects of this corridor?

Oh those poor motorists that have to wait for a signal rotation because a bus full of people takes precedence over a street for a half a minute, and motorists have to resort to even more dangerous shit on the road.

Thanks for the great afternoon laugh. You really are out of touch.

At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You could avoid bulb-outs altogether if you removed all the side car parking on the street.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

"Oh those poor motorists that have to wait for a signal rotation because a bus full of people takes precedence over a street for a half a minute, and motorists have to resort to even more dangerous shit on the road."

Pretty stupid comment. Obviously if you trap motorists in the middle of an intersection that creates a safety issue. The MTA's management doesn't give a shit about its passengers, since this project will jam up traffic on Masonic for them along with people driving more than 32,000 of those devilish daily motor vehicles.

As it is now, by the way, the #43 bus on Masonic pulls over to bus stops without stopping anyone driving behind it.

At 12:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bikes Yield To Peds".....Ha!!! They think painting those words on the street will force San Francisco cyclists to start obeying the traffic and safety laws? If stop signs and stop lights do not work for cyclists, why would a couple of cautionary words painted on the street work any better?

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm gonna say it again. As a biker, in fairly good shape, I likely will pick a different north/south route than do the Masonic hill. This is insane crazy because most bikers and their kids will not take this hill.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Bikes Yield To Peds".....Ha!!!

No kidding. It's impossible to yield to pedestrians in this town because they are so unaware and unpredictable - in their own little worlds with their iPhones. You yield one way, they change their mind and go another. I find it completely annoying that the state will ticket a driver on a phone when it's far more dangerous for pedestrians to use phones.

At 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree about not wanting to use Masonic for biking. I have no desire to breath in the auto exhaust or noise of Masonic when Arguello is a far more pleasant cycling experience. The same goes for using Scott or Steiner Street instead of Divisadero. Instead of making cycling a political statement, why not just use the streets that are already calmer and safer?

At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will use Masonic. I live in upper Haight and frequently wish to travel to the Best Buy, Trader Joes, the JCC, Kaiser, and destinations on California by bicycle. Using Arguello is great if you plan on only going to the Presidio, and the Richmond, but not so good for destinations in the middle where there's no good north south route. Saying that "no cyclists will use this route" is absolutely false, particularly since it ties into the Fell-Oak protected couplet.

At 11:08 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Who is saying that "no cyclists will use this route"? The question is whether enough cyclists will use Masonic after this project is implemented to justify screwing up traffic for the 32,000 daily vehicles and 12,000 daily passengers on the #43 line.

Few cyclists now use Masonic and the city has no idea---not even an estimate---of how many will use it after all these radical changes are made to Masonic. Which is why I call it a faith-based traffic policy.

At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one had any idea if "enough" people would use the Golden Gate and Bay bridges either, but they still built them. And, given that there's plenty of data from other places which show how effective bicycle infrastructure is in attracting people to it, I'd say the city has a pretty good idea that it will be used.

At 11:57 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Pretty poor analogies, since both bridges provided crucial links to the North and the East of San Francisco. There was little doubt that they would be well-used after they were built.

There's no evidence that there are even many cyclists that want to travel North-South in this part of town.

At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Golden Gate Bridge was funded by a PRIVATE bond initiative with many Bay Area drivers investing in the project by purchasing bonds. On top of that, GGB drivers pay tolls to help subsidize the Golden Gate ferries and bus service. Why don't biketopia cyclists pay a toll as well?

At 11:19 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Before the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges were built, the area's population was served by a ferry boat system that carried cars. (As a child growing up in Marin County, I remember how my family used a car ferry like that to get to the East Bay before the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge was built.)

"Many wanted to build a bridge to connect San Francisco to Marin County. San Francisco was the largest American city still served primarily by ferry boats. Because it did not have a permanent link with communities around the bay, the city's growth rate was below the national average."

At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon - the bond measure was not private. It was very public. From,

"Bond Measure Passes

On November 4, 1930, voters within the Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District’s six member counties (San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Del Norte, and portions of Napa and Mendocino) went to the polls on the question of whether to put up their homes, their farms and their business properties as collateral for a $35 million bond issue to finance the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge (Bridge). For some, the timing of the bond election was considered economically reckless as it would create bonded indebtedness during the Great Depression. Others said bridge construction represented the economic relief needed from the Great Depression. After the vote, it was clear the people believed in Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss’ vision – 145,057 voted in favor and 46,954 against it."

Rob, as I said before, there is demand. There are plenty of people who ride bicycles who would use the route another Masonic to visit the various business and hospitals that don't because the infrastructure along that route is so bad. To extend the ferry analogy, where there are alternative routes to get to those places which are currently used, just like ferries before the bridge, there is no direct route like the bridge provided. Adding bicycle infrastructure to Masonic, as has been shown in other cities will most certainly result in increased usage along that corridor.

You always use the qualifier "enough" when you discuss this issue, as you well know people will use this route. Please, give me a number - how much is "enough" to satisfy you?

At 8:09 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Why don't you give me a number supporting your claim that there "are plenty of people" poised to make the North/South trek on Masonic on bikes? According to the city's Masonic Avenue study, not many cyclists use it now:

"The current PM peak volume was counted as 20 bikes per hour at Masonic and Golden Gate Avenue and 32
bikes per hour at Masonic and Fell Street."

The count for these intersections sounds more like cyclists heading West/East, going downtown via Golden Gate and Fell. The city didn't bother to do an hourly count of cyclists on Masonic like they did with motor vehicles, because the numbers were so low.

The question is, How many cyclists using Masonic after this project is implemented will justify jamming up traffic for everyone else that now uses that street?: 32,000 motor vehicles and 12,000 passengers on the #43 line every day.


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