Monday, September 23, 2013

Safety lie justifies screwing up Masonic for everyone but cyclists

Save Masonic

I agree with Save Masonic on all the points below, except this: "Masonic can be made safer with better traffic signals, improved lighting, repaving, new curb ramps, better enforcement and other measures, while still retaining parking and the full amount of travel lanes."

There's no evidence that Masonic Avenue is unsafe now, especially considering that it carries more than 32,000 vehicles a day and 12,000 passengers a day on the #43 Masonic Muni line. See my analysis of the city's own documents showing that Masonic has a remarkable safety record. The reality: City Hall will screw up traffic for everyone who now uses Masonic Avenue---a major city and regional North/South street---on behalf of an unknown number of future cyclists. The "safety" justification is a lie that the city also used to justify the Fell/Oak bike project and the Polk Street bike project. 

The backstory on the Bicycle Coalition's long campaign to screw up Masonic Avenue is here. Of course Supervisor Wiener supports screwing up Masonic:

Dear Save Masonic supporter:

Thank you again for helping us in our efforts to bring a balanced, reasonable, safe approach to Masonic Avenue. Unfortunately, and despite far more e-mails opposing the project than supporting it, funding for the Masonic raised cycle track project was approved by the Programming and Allocations Committee of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on September 11, 2013. (SFMTA sought around $10 million in federal One Bay Area Grant funds; this was approved by the MTC committee. The total project budget is around $18 million; the remaining $8 million is coming from other sources.)

SF Supervisor Scott Wiener, a committee member, urged fellow members to approve the project, claiming that safety requires the loss of parking, rush-hour lane reduction and other elements of the cycle track project, but without offering any good reasons for his claim or any suggestions whatsoever for mitigating the hardship and congestion.

The full Commission will meet on Wednesday, September 25 at 9:30 AM to consider funding.

This is a critical meeting! Please make your voice heard---by e-mail or in person---that the current plan is fundamentally flawed and should not be approved.

There will be an opportunity for public comment, but we are not sure how long the meeting will go on and the Masonic project is part of a large agenda item that includes many other projects, so we understand it may be difficult for you to attend the meeting. Therefore it's critical to e-mail the Committee in advance of the meeting so that your opposition will be part of the public record.

Send your e-mails to each of the following: (Secretary to the MTC) (Amy Worth is MTC Chair) (Campos is a member of the MTC) (Wiener is a member of the MTC)

In the subject line, indicate “Agenda Item 9(a)--OBAG--Masonic Avenue Complete Streets--MTC, September 25, 2013”

Please cc us at 

Meeting location: Joseph P. Bort Metro Center, Lawrence Dahms Auditorium

101 Eighth Street, Oakland (reachable by BART)

Link to meeting agenda:

(see page 14 of the attachment to Agenda Item 9(a))

Go to for a sample letter and FAQs

Points to emphasize:

Congestion will be increased because of lane reduction during rush hour and parking removal

Not only Masonic, but side streets also will be congested

Target impact not analyzed; Environmental Impact Report is deficient

Emergency response will be slowed down

More congestion means more pollution

Parking removal will create a major hardship

Masonic can be made safer with better traffic signals, improved lighting, repaving, new curb ramps, better enforcement and other measures, while still retaining parking and the full amount of travel lanes

Alternate bike route that includes Baker is less congested, has no buses, and is not steeper than Masonic

Raised cycle track design is untested in these conditions, especially because of large number of driveways

Inadequate/unfair notice

There is significant opposition to the project as evidenced by the petition

Please forward this e-mail to your friends, family and neighbors who support our campaign, and post it to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

The Save Masonic campaign will continue to oppose this project regardless of the outcome of the MTC meeting.

Thank you!

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