Monday, October 14, 2013

Changes to streets: Tough for the fire department

Take a look at this KTVU VIDEO REPORT on how the anti-car changes to city streets can make it tough for the SF Fire Department.

The fire department---and the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood---rejected the traffic circles on Page Street back in 2004. The Bicycle Coalition, without mentioning the fire department's problem with the traffic circles, was undaunted by this rejection of one of their "improvements" to city streets.

Streetsblog also mentioned the rejected Page Street traffic circles earlier this year without noting the fire department's opposition:

The 23rd and Anza traffic circle is notable because SF hasn’t built many of them since 2004, after an unsuccessful pilot project along Page Street. The traffic circles in that project, installed with only temporary measures like posts and paint, were criticized as being too small and confusing to drivers, and they were subsequently removed.

But the fire department opposed the traffic circles on Page because fire trucks had a hard time maneuvering around them.

The EIR on the Bicycle Plan told us that removing traffic lanes on busy city streets is going to delay Muni lines, but there was no mention of how it will affect emergency vehicles.

Wheelchair-bound Howard Chabner described some of the problems with the Page Street traffic circles:

In 2003 and early 2004, the Department of Parking and Traffic implemented a pilot project of traffic circles along Page Street in my neighborhood. The circles turned out to be a disaster for pedestrian safety, and what had been promoted as a 30-day pilot project turned into a nine-month recipe for danger. Finally, the project was terminated due to overwhelming neighborhood opposition, as evidenced by a neighborhood vote conducted by DPT: 77% against, 23% in favor. Although the traffic circles were dangerous for all pedestrians, they were especially dangerous for blind people, wheelchair users and slow walkers. I use an electric wheelchair. I wrote several letters to the Mayor’s Disability Council and spoke at its meetings about this issue. The Page Street circles were opposed by many disabled individuals and by staff of the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The San Francisco Fire Department also opposed them.

Thanks to ENUF for the link.

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At 4:40 PM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

I've gone through intersections where I couldn't, with 18 years of driving experience, figure out where I had to go and how because there were so many signs, street markings, different color codes, etc.

On top of the confusing signage, the retrofitting of functional auto carrying streets to widen sidewalks for non-present pedestrians and add bike lanes has added a number of things that make driving unsafe. One has to only travel west bound on Cesar Chavez from 3rd to Church to encounter no fewer than three unsafe lane shifts, where lanes that used to go straight now shift a lane or half a lane in either direction. Regular drivers and new drivers alike now have to make constant unsafe changes, and some of those are large buses. I imagine the planners just snickered when anyone brought that up at their "community" meetings...

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rkeezy, it's getting so bad that you almost have to drive the speed limit to avoid an accident! With my job and other commitments, I don't have time to drive the speed limit, so this is a big problem for me, and I'm guessing you and many others too.

At 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've gone through intersections where I couldn't, with 18 years of driving experience, figure out where I had to go and how because there were so many signs, street markings, different color codes, etc.

This is a real problem, because thanks to the graft in city government, the nepotism patronage jobs have resulted in a fire department that is a pension pork laden bunch of incompetent losers. If Rkeezy can't drive through SF, how can we expect those shit for brains to be able to.

We need to remove the pensions and hire new firemen who can handle simple things like bike lanes.

At 12:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you actually watch the video, it ends w/ SFFD having a hard time getting down a narrow street because of A DOUBLE PARKED CAR, not a bike lane.

This was a story searching for a problem that doesn't exist. Also, a bike will clear a bike lane much faster than a car will clear a lane so emergency services should be clamoring for more bike lanes. Add in that bulbouts and bike lanes makes street safer, you'll have less need for emergency services. Sounds like win, win, win.

And Rkeezy's inability to properly operate a motor vehicle is something he needs to take up with the DMV, or better yet, the DMV should take up with him, ASAP hopefully.

At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 1:08 PM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

Clones, I drive the speed limit, stop at stop signs, and don't illegally park. If conjecture is the sole basis of your slander, then you should come up with something new or just say that you don't give a shit how bicycle "improvements" affect anyone who operates a motor vehicle.

The point is that the roads contain significant amount of confusion due to so called "smart design". Lanes shifting suddenly is not smart. Lanes ending suddenly is not smart and not an improvement. Pedestrian islands actually obscuring visibility of people in the crosswalk is not smart. Strange markings on roads not present in another part of the country serve to confuse, not to inform. I was traveling at under 5 mph and the street markings were confusing. Confusing because they constantly change, confusing there are pedestrian and bicyclists not obeying the very regulations that have been imposed for their benefit.

Cesar Chavez has a bike lane going westbound at the 101 junction, which has caused an unexpected lane shift for people wanting to continue west on Cesar Chavez. Yet cyclists end up going the wrong way on the eastbound bike lane because crossing the street isn't convenient for them. Bicyclists lobby for separated lanes which reduce the throughput of vehicles, and then we find them riding outside of the separated lanes in the auto lanes because they didn't like how slow the bicyclist in front of them was going.

Do drivers have any rights in bicyclists' eyes? Should drivers feel safe and comfortable, just like bicyclists? Should bicyclists be held to the rules, just like motorists should be?

The problem stems from the fact that cyclists believe they have some kind of moral authority over everyone else, so all other arguments are null and void.

At 11:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lanes ending suddenly is not an improvement.

Agreed. We should take out the entire lane.

At 11:36 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, and they sometimes make that sense of superiority explicit, secure in the knowledge that our PC, elitist City Hall will continue to redesign city streets on their behalf, even though they are only 3.4% of the city's population.

At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How on earth did 3.4% of the city's population manage to elect the entire board of supervisors?

Man, drivers are dumber than I thought!

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If those traffic circles had remained on Page, there would be far less traffic than there is today. It is absolutely idiotic to think that the circles increased danger faced by pedestrians. Hope all of the morons in the neighborhood are enjoying the significant increase in traffic. And now that the Park police are solely interested in cyclists, I happily run all of the stop signs down Page when I drive through the neighborhood and can avoid the heavy mess on Oak. Awesome.


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