Tuesday, January 10, 2017

This is old news, but it's President Obama's biggest mistake. The Feds wasted $3 billion on California's high-speed rail project.

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City won't screw up Panhandle traffic "at this time"

Panhandle and Golden Gate Park

Howard Chabner got a response to his letter to Ed Reiskin the other day:

Hello friends and neighbors:

Here is an email I received from Luis Montoya of SFMTA. If you wrote to MTA, you may have received the same thing. Good news.

Before receiving this I made a Sunshine request to SFMTA seeking documents relevant to this study. I'm not withdrawing the request---as Ronald Reagan said, trust but verify.


From: Montoya, Luis [mailto:Luis.Montoya@sfmta.com
Sent: Monday, January 09, 2017 7:30 PM
To: Howard Chabner; Reiskin, Ed
Subject: RE: Fell and Oak Streets Panhandle-Adjacent Bikeway

Hi Howard,

Ed asked me to follow up with you to clarify that at this time the SFMTA does not have an active project to reduce lanes on Oak and Fell. The North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA) and bicycling advocates have requested that we add on-street bike lanes and calm traffic to improve conditions for people walking and bicycling along the Panhandle, but the SFMTA has not studied this in detail and does not have funding programmed to do so at this time. 

I think there has been some confusion because we provided a detailed response outlining issues that would need to be resolved before a protected bikeway could be installed along the Panhandle, and it has misled some people to think that we are pursuing this.

We will keep you in mind if discussions arise around this or other possible changes to Oak and Fell along the Panhandle. On that note, are you aware of Rec and Park’s proposed Panhandle Path improvements that they worked with neighbors and park stakeholders on in 2015? We participated and will follow up with some intersection improvements for people bicycling and walking at Shrader and at Masonic.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any further questions.

Thank you,
Luis Montoya
Livable Streets Director
San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Rob's comment:
Montoya's message is not reassuring, since he says that "at this time the SFMTA does not have an active project to reduce lanes on Oak and Fell." Of course that "time" will eventually arrive. (By the way, no one should trust NOPNA to defend neighborhood interests against these "improvements" by City Hall.)

He calls the letter Chabner attached to his message merely "a detailed response outlining issues that would to be resolved before a protected bikeway could be installed along the Panhandle." 

Bullshit. That memo is called by its authors Fell and Oak Streets Panhandle-Adjacent Bikeway Feasibility Analysis. It's a detailed feasibility analysis that will be used when the city gets around to doing it. Funny he mentions a lack of "funding" to screw up traffic on the Panhandle, since his bloated agency has a billion dollar budget and 6,263 employees. I bet they will somehow come up with the money to do this project.

And who exactly are those "bicycling advocates" Montoya refers to? Surprise! None other than the SF Bicycle Coalition:

As biking has boomed and the multi-use path is the main commute option for people biking from the Avenues to downtown, we’re hearing more and more desire for the Fell and Oak protected bike lanes to connect all the way to Golden Gate Park. Want to be part of making that a reality? Join our Panhandle mailing list below to sign up for our Biker Bulletin and also receive specific project updates.

Recall that Montoya was in charge of implementing the present configuration on the Panhandle, which was simply done to make cyclists more "comfortable" riding on Oak and Fell Streets. Why anyone with any sense would want to ride a bike on streets with that fast-moving traffic I'll never understand. When I asked Montoya to provide a safety justification for the changes, he couldn't plausibly do it, probably because not enough cyclists used Fell and Oak Street.

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