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Test Closure of Eastbound Market Street at 6th to Private Vehicles

After attending a single community meeting with a SF MTA representative and a representative from the Mayor’s Office to provide feedback on the concept of forcing private vehicles to turn right into the South of Market neighborhoods off of Market Street, I was a little stunned to read that Mayor Gavin Newsom is announcing that the 6-week pilot period will be railroaded into existence on September 29th. This announcement made despite South of Market and Tenderloin community leaders’ concerns voiced at the meeting with his representative and SF MTA person about pushing cars down the SRO residential 6th Street, adding congestion in SoMa, and little confidence that unintended consequences of additional dangers to pedestrians will be addressed in a timely manner by the City. “Whether you like it or not!” seems to be the Mayor’s method of operations these days.

To point out how questionably planned a move this is, beyond the fact he’s ignoring South of Market community concerns, read through Southern Station’s Captain McDonagh’s most recent newsletter which talks about all of the demands that will be placed on Southern Station during the first full week of October ….

The Police Department is constantly planning ahead for future events. In one week in October the city is going to be the center for many high profile events. The Presidents Cup, Fleet Week, the Oracle Convention, the Love Parade, 49ers football, possible visits by various heads of state and maybe the Giants. All these events require a police presence far above the amount of officers available on a regular day so overtime is going to be used. Since the police department governed by how many hours of overtime an officer can work it may be difficult to staff all these events. This is an issue that is never mentioned in the papers when police overtime is discussed. It is actually cheaper to pay overtime than it is to hire more police officers. I would love to see more police officers available to handle the increase in our work but that’s not going to happen. So overtime must be paid to make sure all these events are safe and function in an orderly manner. This is just one reason the police department must utilize overtime. It is not our department that throws all these events but it is our department who must make sure these events come off orderly.

My understanding is that President Barack Obama is going to be in town on October 7th … and we’re going to start this test run a week beforehand? Sounds like the idea of planning the attack of Iraq with complete shortsightedness concerning how to keep the peace afterwards.

I like this concept, but I have no confidence that the City will acknowledge any additional problems created in SoMa. They focus on the new wonderful environment from where they shoveled the turds away … they forget to mention what happens on the other side of fence where they tossed the turds (SoMa in this case – turds being my metaphor for cars).

By the way, another pedestrian was hit by a vehicle in front of my building at Harrison and Main streets last Friday … that’s without the Bay Bridge traffic rolling through. I’m waiting for SF MTA to pay attention to pedestrian safety instead of pushing cars through high-density residential neighborhoods as quickly as possible. We need traffic calming and pedestrian-only crossing lights at our intersections near the Bay Bridge ramps in Rincon Hill.

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