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Blindly Pushing Cars into SOMA

Some residents in SoMa (evidenced by reactions and questions for the SFMTA presenters at recent Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association and South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association meetings) are concerned about pedestrian safety problems increasing with changes to 2nd Street proposed as part of the long-awaited Bike Plan implementation. Now, it appears as though the other transportation department in San Francisco government, the San Francisco Country Transportation Authority, is considering blindly pushing even more car traffic congestion onto SoMa streets by phasing in a closure to eastbound private cars on Market Street past 8th Street.

SoMa residents already risk life and limb by walking the walk of the pro-environment talk because our streetscape does not provide adequate traffic calming on the long-uninterrupted blocks. Add to it the pollution of noise and CO2 from vehicles sitting parked in our neighborhood arteries between 4pm and 6pm Monday through Friday, and one has to ask just how oblivious the people planning changes to traffic patterns are in San Francisco to the dangerous situations they’re proposing for people trying to safely walk around as their primary mode of transportation in the downtown area.

I have a suggestion …. charge a toll of $5 between 4pm – 6pm to get on the Bay Bridge at 1st Street Monday through Friday. Charge a toll of $3 between 3pm – 4pm and 6pm – 7pm. Charge a toll of $2 between Noon – 3pm and 7pm – 9pm. Free entry onto the Bay Bridge between 9pm and Noon from 1st Street. That may help to lower congestion on the SoMa streets at the hours when the most people are walking around so that lives are saved and may help to cut down the negative impacts of congestion (noise and air pollution)

At any rate … we need to get together as SoMa residents, call a meeting with the SFMTA and SFCTA to ask them just what in the hell are they going to do about making SoMa safer for pedestrians in the midst of squeezing more cars onto our streets?

Harrison and Folsom streets need some massive changes to recognize the residential purposes in Rincon Hill and Yerba Buena (and further west, to a lesser population density).

3 Responses to Blindly Pushing Cars into SOMA

  1. I would definitely suggest you go talk to the folks at SFBC who are helping reshape Market Street — i.e. do _not_ be like every other self-important ahole in SF who cries ME! ME! ME! whenever anyone proposes anything. Don’t sink the ship just because someone with the city didn’t get on bended knee to ask your permission for them to do their jobs.

    http://sfgreatstreets.wordpress.com/

    Just get involved — the SFBC folks and everyone else desperately need more constructive/helpful energy instead of more roadblocks — if you tell them your concerns, they _will_ listen to you and involve you and act on your concerns, but they’re not all-powerful and all-knowing and they don’t have unlimited resources, so get consensus with those folks, first. If they are unresponsive to your concerns, then just go Rob Anderson on them and bring down the entire city. Life is full of decisions.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion … I just emailed Andy and Neal with SFBC as a result.

    I’m a member of both SFBC and Walk San Francisco, and I hope that we can implement these changes with consideration to the effects on pedestrian safety. People fail to recognize that thousands of people live in the area bordered by Market, The Embarcadero, the bay Bridge, and 2nd Street, and shoving more cars onto our streets without also implementing mechanisms to slow the cars down and to improve pedestrian safety is a problem. The problem seems to stem from the fact that the person who deals with bikes is different from the person who deals with cars is different from the person who deals with pedestrian safety at the SF MTA. At the South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association meeting, pedestrian safety concerns were deflected by one of the SF MTA’s bike people and we were advised to look into SFMTA’s traffic calming program. I’ll look into it because I fear for my and my neighbors’ well-being being negatively impacted if more cars are pushed into SoMa without consideration to effects on pedestrians by changes to traffic flows, but why do I have to lead that parade when I already have a 60-80 hour per week job that has nothing to do with transportation planning? Shouldn’t the car, bike, and pedestrian people at SF MTA be talking to one another about any changes and how they affect each others’ realms of expertise? Anyway … we’ll see where we go .. thanks again for the comment.

  3. As an update, Andy and Neal never replied to me.