Monday, March 9, 2015

SFMTA Board of Directors Nearly Mistook San Francisco for a City at Polk Street Meeting

SFMTA Board of Directors hearing crazy stories about the 85% of people who get to Polk Street without a two ton machine that runs on dinosaur juice.
image via Fitz The Reporter
On March 3rd at City Hall, the Board of Directors were rattled when they had to face the idea that San Francisco might not be a sprawling suburb.  Mayor Lee's political buffer was tasked with deciding if one street, in all of San Francisco, wouldn't have car storage.  As citizens weighed in on the plan for the 8 millionth time in 3 years, the Board of Directors got mixed signals that perhaps, just perhaps, San Francisco was actually a compact pedestrian-rich, multimodal city.

SF Board of Directors passed a "Bike Improvements" that any suburb would be moderately proud of!
image found here.  
What started as a complete Vision Zero style street with buffered bike lanes and priorities to movement other than cars, it soon devolved into a bike plan suburbia could find appealing. The Board of Directors heard horror stories that people might lose their way of life if forced to park on the 99.999999% of other street in SF that have car storage.

One person complained,"I'm too obese to bike" and went on to say that her husband also can't walk but oddly can't get a disability placard. There was also a concern for the elderly and other groups of people who should control tons of metal at high speed but are incapable of walking 2 blocks or taking the bus.  The Board of Directors sympathized for those who lived in the compact city of San Francisco, but couldn't operate outside of the single driver and parking paradigm.

“I’m not saying other things aren't important, because clearly they are — safety is paramount,”said Gwyneth Borden ,"but we cannot forget what makes San Francisco San Suburbcisco —slogs of parking on the roads and tons of motorist traffic.”
Gwyneth Borden. Image: SFGovTV
The Board of Directors fulfilled their duty as a political buffer between Mayor Lee and the public continued to listen for four hours.  They made sure to be silent for a few seconds when a death or injury was mentioned and then quickly moved back to parking concerns.  They knew they could could take comfort in the fact that the mayor had already made backroom deals with many of the merchants, thus solidifying a bike plan on the simple premise that parking belongs on every single street of San Suburbscisco.  Fortunately, the initial bike plan was whittled away by a favor to his optometrist who got one free block of bike lane removal. His gardener also gets to veto one of the crosswalks, and his mustache groomer received six blocks at a 55 mph speed limit.

Ultimately the Board of Directors approved a "Solomon Solution"which strikes a balance between the people getting hurt and killed on the street with the convenience of those doing the maiming.  Once the plan was approved, the Board of Directors jumped in their private automobiles and skidded back home, congratulating themselves on a job that any car dependent suburb would be proud of.

What do these streets in Portland, New York, Seattle all have in common?  They're things you'll never see on Polk Street.

1 comment:

  1. They have a great bar and bartender! At DC venues they kept the guests happy and kept the drinks flowing. If I could attend this place again, I would!