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2nd Street Bicycle Lanes

Thanks to those of you who attended our Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting at One Rincon Hill on Tuesday evening. We had about 14 attendees, making it a more intimate, interactive meeting than previous meetings. A big thank you to One Rincon Hill for graciously hosting our meeting in their Hospitality Room.

Before I write too much more, please mark Tuesday, June 2, 2009 from 6:30pm until 8:00pm in your calendar as that will be the Rincon Hill Neighborhood Association’s next meeting. The topic(s) and location are still to be finalized by your volunteer Board of Directors, but they’ll be posted here as soon as possible.

Damon Curtis, an Associate Engineer working on the Bicycle Program for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, was initially scheduled to give us a brief overview of the 2nd Street Corridor bicycle lane project. However, residents (many bicyclists among us) were very interested, and Damon actually discussed the project with us for nearly an hour instead of the 15-30 minutes originally planned.

The highlights about the 2nd Street Corridor changes are noted in this online overview. Also, a full presentation with slides will occur at the multi-neighborhood South Beach/Rincon/Mission Bay Neighborhood Association meeting on Monday, May 11th from 6pm – 7:30pm. It is a very packed agenda with UCSF Mission Bay hospital information, an Entertainment Commission discussion, and the SFMTA presentation all on the docket for the May 11th meeting, but well worth your time if you’re interested in getting involved in our waterfront community.

The SFMTA will add bicycle lanes to 2nd Street starting northbound from King Street to Market Street and southbound from Market Street to Townsend Street. One southbound and one northbound lane on 2nd Street will removed as part of the implementation. Left-turns will be prohibited from southbound 2nd Street (at Mission, Natoma, Clementina, Folsom, Harrison, Bryant, and Brannan Streets).

Since our neighborhood consists of many residents who walk or bike to work, we applaud the progress on the bike plan.

However, several neighbors did question how the elimination of left-turns from 2nd Street might affect them getting home on those when they are driving a car. The closest alternative is likely using New Montgomery to Hawthorne, and then getting on Folsom heading east. Damon mentioned that a lane was being added to Hawthorne to try to absorb additional traffic from the left-turn prohibitions on 2nd Street.

The bigger concern is for the safety of pedestrians in the Rincon Hill neighborhood. If the traffic back-ups heading for the Bay Bridge get worse, impatient and angry drivers may drive excessively fast down the east-west streets to try to get jump the line to get on the Bay Bridge, putting pedestrians walking along Fremont, Beale, Main, and Spear in greater danger than what they already face with our dangerous streetscape. This is something we should monitor closely and speak up to the SFMTA, our Supervisor, and the Mayor should we notice increased dangers.

As an aside, the SFMTA is accepting recommendations for where new bicycle parking (racks) should be installed. To request bicycle rack installation on the public right-of-way or to report a missing/loose rack; please send us an e-mail at bicycle@sfmta.com. Please note the address and cross street when making the request, as well as a contact name and phone number or e-mail address.

One question at the meeting was how do we get leverage to affect changes if our quality of life is degraded by the City’s plans?

At this early stage of our neighborhood association, the most important and beneficial thing we can focus on is encouraging as many neighbors as possible to join the RHNA as members and to get everyone in the neighborhood signed up for our Association’s free e-mail list. When we successfully build the RHNA’s membership up to a few hundred members, we’ll have a lot more influence at City Hall than we do today. In the meanwhile, showing up at community meetings that are listed on the Events page, speaking at those events, and mentioning that you live in Rincon Hill are a big help. Write letters to the Editors of the newspapers your read or post comments online, and be sure to mention the Rincon Hill neighborhood.

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