In June 2013, funding to redesign Masonic Avenue from Fell to Geary was approved, after years of outreach by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and community organizing both for and against the project. Now, the construction, originally forecast to begin last May, is finally preparing to break ground in June. It's expected to last until late 2017.
Instead of helping the city deal with population growth and the traffic that comes with it, this project---it's essentially a bike project, not a "streetscape" project---will make traffic worse in this part of town, creating protected bike lanes by taking away parking lanes on both sides of this important regional north/south street between Fell Street and Geary Blvd. Those parking lanes are now converted into traffic lanes to help ease the morning/evening commute.
The Bicycle Coalition and its many enablers in City Hall have been the main supporters of this project from the beginning, a campaign of lies about the safety of Masonic that began almost ten years ago:
It’s been two years since our last update on the project, so here's a quick recap. The city identified this stretch of Masonic Avenue as one of the 12 percent of San Francisco streets where more than 70 percent of the city’s traffic collisions take place. From 2009 to 2014, Masonic between Geary and Fell saw 113 collisions, according to the SFMTA.
Hoodline's earlier "update" on Masonic was seriously deficient as I pointed out at the time.
The city's numbers on "collisions"---that's the term used to suggest there's no such thing as "accidents"---can't be trusted about Masonic or any other street in the city. Under the foolish and deceptive Vision Zero policy/slogan, the city now simply hands out accident numbers to uncritical city writers. It no longer publishes its annual Collisions Reports that used to provide some analysis about where and why accidents happen on city streets.
The implication of this approach is that if the city just keeps making so-called safety "improvements" to city streets people will no longer be injured or killed in traffic accidents by the magical year of 2024. Not surprisingly Vision Zero so far has had no impact on preventing accidents on city streets:
In an effort to improve safety on the high-traffic corridor, the streetscape improvements will include a new median, raised bike lanes, widened sidewalks, new pedestrian-scale sidewalk lighting, sidewalk bulb-outs, and enhanced bus stops. A number of other improvements, such as work on Masonic's underlying sewer infrastructure and water distribution and the creation of a new public plaza, will also take place while the street is under construction.
None of this will improve the safety of Masonic Avenue, except perhaps the separated bike lane that will be made by removing all the parking on Masonic between Fell Street and Geary Blvd.
Not many cyclists use Masonic now, and of course the city has no idea how many will use it after the separated bike lanes are installed. According to the only in-depth study the city has ever done on Masonic, there have actually been few cycling accidents on that busy north/south street (my analysis of the study: Big lie on safety to justify screwing up Masonic).
And most of those accidents have been at Fell and Masonic, an east/west intersection issue that has nothing to do with safety on Masonic overall. Those accidents continued to happen even after the city created a left-turn lane and a special bicycle-shaped traffic light at the intersection (See Report debunks Big Lie about Masonic and Fell).
Labels: Anti-Car, Bicycle Coalition, Bicycle Plan, Cycling and Safety, District 5, Ed Reiskin, Hoodline, Howard Chabner, London Breed, Masonic Avenue, Neighborhoods, Parking, Tim Hickey, Traffic in SF, Vision Zero