Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The EIR on the Geary Blvd. BRT

This post is probably the first of many on the Geary BRT project now that the SFCTA has released the EIR. The proposals vary somewhat, and alternative #1 is "no project," which of course is a non-starter, since City Hall can't resist meddling with all sorts of trendy "improvements" to our streets. Just as important, the Geary BRT project for years will be a major source of jobs for the city's growing bureaucracy.

Even though congestion on city streets is growing as gentrification accelerates---people with money tend to own and/or use cars---under City Hall's delusional "transit corridors" theory, this huge project will make it increasingly difficult to drive and park in the city:

Between 34th Avenue and Market Street, proposed streetscape modifications included as part of Alternative 2 would require conversion of on-street parking spaces to other non-parking uses. Of an existing approximately 1,700 on-street parking spaces between 34th Avenue and Gough Street, Alternative 2 would result in the removal of about 460 on-street parking spaces (page 2-25, emphasis added).

The remarkably stupid idea of eliminating the underpass at Geary and Fillmore will apparently be done. Even though the idea is supposedly only a proposed "alternative," the city will choose the alternative that takes away the most parking spaces like it's going to do on Masonic Avenue:

Fillmore Street: Alternative 3 would replace the existing Geary underpass with a surface street, with bus lanes located in the center of the new surface street...(page 2-26).

Speaking of the Masonic Avenue bike project, the Geary BRT project will extend the protected bike lanes---already removing 167 parking spaces on Masonic---to Presidio Avenue, presumably removing all the street parking along the way:

Bicycle lane between Masonic Avenue and Presidio Avenue: The build alternatives include construction of a new Class II bicycle lane on Geary Boulevard between Masonic Avenue and Presidio Avenue. This new lane would continue the bicycle lane/cycle track that is proposed to be constructed as part of SFMTA‟s (separate and independent) Masonic Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project. That project proposes a cycle track/bicycle lane on each side of Masonic Avenue between Geary Boulevard and Fell Street. The new bicycle lane on Geary, made possible by the BRT project‟s re-design of Geary at that location, would help close a gap in the bicycle network across Geary Boulevard connecting two key bicycle routes. The bicycle lane would be colorized green to increase its visibility (page 2-22).

The people in the avenues would be right to suspect that this project isn't just about transportation. The Big Thinkers in City Hall are eyeing that part of town for a lot more development.

Later: See also Residents alarmed by program encouraging density in residential developments

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At 11:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Geary BRT plan is REmarkably stupid. they should save that money to invest in a subway, something that will actually help transform public transit. Subways also dont interfere with surface streets so you can have cars, buses and subways.

At 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


See Randal O'Toole's post on subways - basically it would be cheaper to buy every transit rider a car than build a subway. Meanwhile buses are perfectly adequate for a city like San Francisco - outside of New York, the economics and social engineering involved in building subways end up with a system that is highly subsidized, uses more energy per passenger-mile, and is a long-term maintenance burden on the taxpayers (see: BART, SMART, etc).

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, the two-mile Central Subway project will end up costing a billion dollars a mile to build, and it will cost Muni money to maintain when completed. Bus systems are cheaper, can carry more people, and are easier to alter when necessary.

Randal O'Toole provides critical perspective on the rail/streetcar fad. And he's a cyclist skeptical of the anti-car movement.


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