Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Benches where no one sits: Octavia Boulevard

Octavia Boulevard: Where no one ever sits

Last week, Gracen Johnson over at Strong Towns introduced the phrase “places I don’t want to sit” to describe the lousy, leftover public spaces where someone has plopped down a bench or two as an afterthought. The seating, in these cases, helps crystallize how unsalvageable our public realm becomes when everything else is planned around moving and storing cars. Who would actually want to sit there?

For those unfamiliar with the bike/anti-car lexicon, "car storage" is "parking" to the rest of us, and cars themselves are "death monsters."

Why would the city put benches on the Octavia Boulevard expressway to and from the freeway from Fell and Oak Streets? Because the city wanted to pretend that what's been created on Octavia Boulevard, as John King put it ten years ago, "...is a triumph---the most urbane addition to a San Francisco neighborhood this decade and one that, if it is well-maintained, will only get better with time."

Alas, the Boulevard of Dreams hasn't got "better"; it just gets more traffic. Six months after it opened the city said it was already "close to capacity" with 44,859 motor vehicles a day coming through the heart of Hayes Valley, and by 2012 there were 63,000 vehicles a day on the "urbane" Octavia Boulevard.

This planning and traffic fiasco was brought to you by San Francisco progressives.

Some of those responsible for the chronic traffic congestion in that part of town revisited the scene of the crime last year. 

If they sat on those forlorn benches to view their handiwork, they would be the only people to ever do that.

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Critical Mass punks attack Marina motorist

What happened to the $188,000 police escort city taxpayers are paying for?

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