Friday, September 20, 2013

Market Street to be Renamed "Gauntlet Street"

"It's just easier to rename Market Street than change it"
Photo found here.
As anyone who bikes, walks, takes public transit, or drives (which is kind of banned) can attest, Market street is THE WORST.  This century old street has become an absolute nightmare, although some claim that removing car traffic has made it mildly less awful (which is NEVER the case).  There's a plan in the works to change this corridor by making "Market Street the signature sustainable street in San Francisco and the Bay Area by creating a memorable and active identity, with gathering spaces, the ability to promenade, and a vibrant public life." which will happen in 2000NEVER. 

The plan would have to go through 100 agencies, 70 surveys, focus groups, all the supervisors and their relatives, then finally through the necessary 80 environmental reviews.  Once that all happens it can finally get struck down by NIMBYs who will never give up car traffic lanes over bikes, pedestrian amenities,  or public transportation.  Eventually when the Market Street project was overwhelmed and they decided to simply rename it to "Gauntlet Street". 

"A Gauntlet is a form of physical punishment where a captive is to run between two rows. It's exactly the kind of experience you should expect biking or walking along Market Street."
Picture found here
Kim Gathers explains, "Getting anything done in this city is just a nightmare. We know no matter how much outreach we do there's going to be a lawsuit by someone claiming they didn't know about this project. This is especially true when it comes to anything involving removing a parking spot or a traffic lane. It's just easier to rename it to Gauntlet Street so people know that it's a shit show and you're going to have an awful time no matter what kind of vehicle you're in. It's going to be terrible for everyone and now they'll know it."  

"Tough Mudder Street" along with "Clusterfuck Street"were also considered.
Image found here
Changes that involve removing parking to relieve congested buses like the 5 and 5L are often deflected, typically by a group of people devoted to ensuring the city continues to clog up the roads with cars and turn off more people to slow and inadequate public transit so they turn to glorious driving.  These groups (like the group from "Save Masonic" often rely on waiting until the last minute to delay and tell projects that it's a crappy plan and to go back to the drawing board after years of planning.  "It's a really effective course of inaction and if that doesn't stall everything we'll just sue them" said "Save Everything in SF" spokesman.  To avoid the NIMBY wrath as they have with Van Ness BRT, Geary BRT, Central Subway and a billion other projects, the Market Street project will traverse a less strenuous path by renaming it. 

Just like corporal punishment!
The project simply needs to go through 12 applications by each wing of city hall, 40 non-profit agencies, and then it's off to "The Grand Wizard" for negotiation and approval before the street can be renamed.  They hope to have this completed before the turn of the century. 

All Street Changes must be approved by The Grand Wizard, as stated in the City Charter.
Image found here.

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