Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wiggle Safety Upgrades Delayed Because Cars Can't be Everywhere

Car traffic wouldn't be allowed to go through one half of one street in all of San Francisco?  This is absolutely insane!
image found here.
The Wiggle, a patchwork of bike sharrows on pavement weaving through fast car traffic & parked cars has been around for quite some time.  The only reason why someone on a bike would take this route is because it's geographically convenient, and not because the city makes it any easier to ride through it safely. In an effort to remedy this issue, the SFMTA started the long arduous process of making some changes to the street to accomodate the thousands of people that walk and bike through the area every day.

According to Streetsblog, "A major feature of the planned Wiggle upgrades is a large sidewalk bulb-out which would physically block drivers from entering southbound Scott at Fell Street. That would reduce the car traffic on Scott, which runs one block parallel to Divisadero, that degrades the livability of the neighborhood and congests the intersection at Haight." The other part of the plan would divert traffic on Divisidero Street from taking a left turns onto Haigh Street.  After two years of planning, community input, the project was halted because a few merchants who weren't paying attention started screaming at the 11th hour.

Stop a car from doing a car thing?  Are you insane?  Leave the deterring to pedestrians and cyclists thankyouverymuch.
Image found here.
SFMTA's timeline is very similar to other projects that have gone through copeous amounts of community input, engineering and planning, then squelched by a few car loving merchants.  The Polk Street bike plan was changed at the 11th hour to accommodate the Mayor's Optometrist's desire for side car storage.  The Oak/Fell bike lanes were delayed to add more magical free parking on SF Streets.  Removing 57 parking spaces from a pedestrian and bike path in the Marina was also delayed so the Parks & Rec department could fullfill their clear duty to preserve as much car storage as possible.  This even works for coffee shop owners who want to keep two bus stops on the same block for their own personal gain. 

The SFMTA claims this was part of their timeline all along and part of the natural SF process:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Friday, January 17, 2014, 5:59 pm

Friday, March 20, 2015, 6:06 pm

Monday, March 23, 2015, 7:00 pm

Friday, April 3, 2015, 10:00 am
The LoHaMNA (Lower Haight Neighbors and Merchants Association) sounded the 11th hour alarm after they heard that a vehicle wouldn't have unfettered access to all the streets of San Francisco.  A few equally important and long winded acryonym groups then followed suit. 

The PfCoESoSF (People for Cars on Every Street of San Francisco) and MWaAfSbKECT(Merchants Who are All for Safety but Keep Every Car Thing) all have voiced their concern and distain over this safety project that's been years in the making.
It's pefectly fine to limit pedestrians and bikers, but by no means can you limit a motorist's right to drive on any street, ever.
One MWaAfSbKECT member said, "Look, it's ok to demolish entire communities for city stroads like Geary Boulevard, place parking on every street in the city, but you can't ever divert traffic off any of them.  It's just assinine."  When asked about the safety benefits of having fewer cars on the roads near pedestrians and bikers, they just stared blankly for a few seconds and then proceeded to discuss much needed parking and traffic lanes.  He also went on to say, "and just think what could happen if people get this ridiculous idea that a car doesn't belong everywhere?"

Building areas like Masonic & Geary that cater exclusively to cars is fine.  Diverting traffic off one street in SF is absolutely forbidden.  Ask any merchant aka "traffic engineer".
The SFMTA expects to come back with a watered down, visionless Wiggle design sometime in June. 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Bob for speaking truth to power. I hope you run for mayor!