Monday, August 20, 2018

Counting bike commuters on new Masonic Avenue

Photo: Kevin Hume

Now that the new Masonic Avenue bike lanes are officially open, how many cyclists are using them?

I've noted for years that the city had no information that many cyclists even wanted to travel North/South in this part of town.

To sample the bike traffic on Masonic Avenue this morning, between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., with a cup of coffee from Starbucks, I sat on the new bench behind the bus stop at the Fulton/Masonic intersection.

8:00 a.m.: northbound cyclist

8:15 a.m.: southbound cyclist

8:28 a.m.: northbound cyclist on the sidewalk

8:29 a.m.: northbound cyclist

8:30 a.m.: southbound cyclist

8:34 a.m.: northbound cyclist

8:35 a.m.: two southbound cyclists, one on the sidewalk

8:35 a.m.: southbound cyclist

8:40 a.m.: southbound cyclist

8:43 a.m.: northbound cyclist

8:44 a.m.: northbound cyclist

8:45 a.m.: northbound cyclist.

8:48 a.m.: two northbound and two southbound cyclists

8:49 a.m.: northbound cyclist

8:52 a.m.: northbound and southbound cyclist

8:53 a.m.: southbound cyclist

8:54 a.m.: northbound cyclist on the sidewalk

8:57 a.m.: southbound cyclist

That's 23 cyclists, with 20 using the bike lanes and 3 using the sidewalk. That's one cyclist every three minutes using the new bike lanes.

During that hour, thousands of motor vehicles passed by, with traffic moving well in both directions. 

That tells me that my concern that the Masonic Avenue bike project would cause serious traffic congestion during commute hours was baseless. (Before this project, the two parking lanes on either side of Masonic---a total of 167 parking spaces between Fell Street and Geary Blvd.---were turned into traffic lanes during commute hours to handle the extra traffic.)

The Masonic Avenue Street Redesign Study (page 14) tells us that Masonic handles 32,165 vehicles a day, not counting bicycles. But that count was made in May, 2010, in the middle of the Great Recession. Eight years later in a booming economy, the number of vehicles using Masonic is probably higher.

The Redesign Study (page 12) on bike traffic:

The current PM peak volume was counted as 20 bikes per hour at Masonic and Golden Gate Avenue and 32 bikes per hour at Masonic and Fell Street.

If cyclists from Masonic and Fell were going North on Masonic, why didn't they get counted at Masonic and Golden Gate? They probably turned off on Hayes, Grove, Fulton, and McCallister to head downtown before they got to Golden Gate Avenue, though from my view I didn't see any cyclists doing that this morning. But I wasn't looking for it, either.

Anyhow, the 20 bikes an hour in the 2011 Redesign Study is consistent with this morning's numbers. That is, there hasn't been a rush of cyclists to use the new bike lanes, which supports my suspicion that there never were a lot of cyclists who wanted to go North/South on Masonic in this part of town in the first place.

The city has never had any information on that, since they were operating on the if-you-build-it-they-will-come assumption. Even though this is a small sample, it suggests that the assumption is false.

What's the moral of the story? That City Hall allowed itself to be played by the Bicycle Coalition's long campaign of hysteria about safety and of disinformation to spend $26 million on a project eliminating 167 scarce parking spaces to create bike lanes for a very small number of cyclists.

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 1:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly! Like i said here last week, i have cycled Masonic northbound rarely...and when i do i never see another biker, north or south. Like I said before, you have to be in good shape to do the northbound trip and not that many people will choose it.

At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me the moral is "my concern that the Masonic Avenue bike project would cause serious traffic congestion during commute hours was baseless"

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

So, the City invested about $1M per existing cyclist and got no converts from driving or even other routes? They waste money like it's not theirs! Too bad taxpayers/voters don't hold anyone accountable. Keep voting Democrat!

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Anonymous says: Seems to me the moral is "my concern that the Masonic Avenue bike project would cause serious traffic congestion during commute hours was baseless"

On second thought: My sample was small---one hour early in the morning. I was up there yesterday at 5:00 p.m., and the Southbound traffic was pretty bad. That extra lane---the former parking lane turned into a traffic lane during commute hours---clearly would have been helpful.

But recall that one of the goals for the recent "improvements" to Masonic was to "calm"/slow traffic. Page 14 in the city's study of Masonic: "More changes are needed to significantly
modify driver behavior and calm traffic."

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And all those 167 street parking spaces are gone, as are the two parking lanes on both sides of Masonic that were turned into traffic lanes during commute hours in the morning and the evening. Those two negative consequences of this poorly-conceived project in exchange for bike lanes that, on the evidence so far, aren't used by more cyclists than the earlier, "unimproved" version of the street.

This was done after a long campaign of falsehoods and hysteria about a nonexistent safety problem. Will those responsible for this fiasco be held accountable? No, because being pro-bike and anti-car in San Francisco means never having to say you're sorry.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger Mark Kaepplein said...

The same "Vision Zero" plan is happening in NYC:

"City officials have intentionally ground Midtown to a halt with the hidden purpose of making drivers so miserable that they leave their cars at home and turn to mass transit or bicycles, high-level sources told The Post."

My personal Vision Zero is to have zero deaths caused by people who shouldn't be in the US - DUI's and murders by illegal immigrants.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Illegal immigration has a significant impact on traffic in the US?


Post a Comment

<< Home