Cars and car owners have had completely unchecked rights in American cities for decades. Cities are congested with traffic, sidewalks are small and crowded, and bikers are playing Frogger every day.
So a major US city finally makes one of its most important streets private-car free. I can't even imagine the political hurdles that were crossed to get to this point.
So today the difference is small. I biked down Market street this morning and I had an extra lane to work with when buses were not around. But other than that, not a huge difference.
But the change in a year or two will be huge. I imagine they'll re-time the lights for bikes/buses instead of private cars. Wider sidewalks and bike lanes. More pedestrian traffic for businesses. A quieter, cleaner, and safer street. More room to plant trees, have outdoor public seating, etc.
Let's give this one a chance. It could be the start of something big.
Ultimately this just seems like another move against Uber/Lyft, who the city seems keen on milking for every last dime while they're still solvent. From cranking up taxes, giving them the terrible routes around SFO and Chase, etc., getting around the city is just getting harder/costlier whether its public or private transit.
Again I'm trying to be optimistic, but SF sells regulation/taxes/projects like a snake oil salesmen playing on peoples dreams and fears, then manages to find the worst possible outcome with massive cost overruns by the time the dust settles.
But I think the idea that this will be the spearhead to big changes is fundamentally a farce. Market already had enormous sidewalks, pedestrian-first intersections, and all that crap. And it was already the only part of SF that was actually well-served by public transit.
I’m just imagining a whole pile of cars underwater at the end of market street after flying into the bay like that scene in The Game.
But, if you’ve been to any city in Europe it’s SO clear how much nicer a city it feels to be in when infrastructure becomes focused on human scale. You breathe easier, you’re less stressed. You can meander. More businesses are viable.
Many of the diesel vehicles are public buses, and these can be replaced pretty quickly with electric or natural gas (or hybrid) buses. Others are large delivery vehicles, and with some "encouragement" (restrictions) the owners either replace them, or rearrange their fleet to use their newest vehicles in cities.
For example, London has done both, and is already seeing improvements . I noticed when I visited over New Year that the air seemed fresher, so I'm glad I've found some statistics to show that -- it wasn't just a one-off.
It has improved slightly in the last 2 years but it will take a full adoption of EVs (and increased public transit) to resolve. It's not like France is lacking for fuel taxes or road taxes and insurance costs. Demand is still too high.
I haven't checked to see if this has changed since then.
At market rate, it costs a TON of money to place people in homes. They can’t be too nice or it will encourage people to be homeless. They can’t be too bad because then you end up with ghettos or with mobs of angry neighbors. It also costs a lot more money to provide services all spread out amongst the city.
European cities are denser, and they have services everywhere. They have housing. Their costs are lower. They don’t have to pay for healthcare a la carte.
You can throw people in jail, but that’s untenable to people with conscience, unless you convince people that every homeless person deserves their situation. Anyone struggling to make rent in a city can empathize with people who are homeless due to bad luck or not enough safety net.
The problem is there is no mechanism to split up the people who are going to be wards of society no matter what from those just passing through, because there’s nowhere to put them.
I think the solution is we go back to centralization. Build a large scale shelter. Also bring back psychiatric hospitals. If you can’t make it in the shelter, you belong either in the psychiatric hospital or jail.
A certain political will could fix this.
The places you probably don't go to are far grittier, dirtier and less welcoming.
Also you're on a vacation, and will enjoy most everything more than usual.
Nothing wrong with that, just keep this inevitable bias in mind.
Clearly we didn't visit the same parts of Europe. My last visits had me choking on 2-stroke and diesel exhaust while dodging two-wheeled maniacs when crossing streets. Paris and Palermo were especially awful in this regard.
That's like saying fish have unchecked rights in the fishtank. American cities have been built around the automobile, so of course the automobile will have an elevated level of importance. It would be absurd to think anything else. I appreciate people want alternatives, and more power to them, but until cities are organized so that an individual's living radius is miles rather than 10s of miles, the automobile will continue to be king. And rightly so.
And the “10s of miles” issue can change back; the car was the forcing function for that, not the other way around.
Even the old megalopolis NYC was redesigned for cars over 50 years ago. (Robert Moses)
"The US population is 3x as large as it was in 2020. France is 1.5x. Most Americans don't live in places designed for cars.
"Even the old megalopolis NYC was redesigned away from cars over 50 years ago. (Moses Roberts)"
Car ownership only reached a critical mass in the 1920s with the arrival of the Henry Ford's Model T. Obviously well after American cities were laid out. American cities were laid out when the dominant form of transportation was the horse and the dominant commerce feature was likely a port. It would be more absurd to overlook these facts.
So no, most US cities were not "built or redesigned after 1920."
It goes so much further than this. Highways are causing air/ocean pollution, learning issues in schools, etc.; noise pollution is multiplied by cars in cities, with horns, sirens etc. competing with the loudness of these vehicles; massive fractions of public space is allocated to free or heavily-subsidised parking space for them; even with all that parking, in my city of NYC and probably others, there is rampant illegal parking on sidewalks, in bike lanes, and more of the tiny fraction of space that is still reserved for non-car use.
In NYC, we recently banned private cars on 14th street and all the buses now run far quicker, providing a higher throughput of people on that street, and an overall more pleasant experience of walking/cycling on that street. This took immense effort to put in place, suffering a lot of pushback but now traffic in even nearby blocks has been massively reduced. Similarly with the pedestrianisation of the streets by Rockefeller Center, people are delighted once these plans are implemented, despite the massive outcry and calls for concern for drivers that precedes them.
Politicians need to realise that it's the end for private motor vehicles and just take the plunge. They so cowardly bend to the will of the driving population, even when they could gain massive popularity with all constituents by making these changes. More projects like Market Street cannot happen soon enough.
Although I'm not sure why taxis need an exemption. I guess it's another way to prop up a dying industry. Having caught cabs in SF before, I never will again, even if they can drive down Market Street.
The article also mentions 14th Street in NYC, which I live near and am very familiar with. This has been a contentious issue. Originally the L was planned to shutdown for 15-18 months and there was a plan to make 14th street sort of car free. I say sort of because cars were allowed to turn onto 14th Street but had to make the next right turn. This plan is now moot.
But a big concern was that it would just push car traffic to 13th and 15th streets, which are "residential".
I'm honestly not sure why 14th Street needs a dedicated busway as it does have the L. Compare this to say 23rd and 34th street that have no cross Subway (42nd does).
But the elephant in the room here is that you can still park on 14th street. If you're serious about increasing the traffic flow (of buses or otherwise) the obvious thing to do is free up 2 lanes by getting rid of the parking. But weirdly free street parking is sacrosanct in NYC politics. Why people who live in downtown Manhattan need this huge public subsidy is beyond me.
Re: the 14th street busway, The “fears” about 13th and 15th street turned out to be unfounded. In the meanwhile, thousands of people who used the bus are benefitting with much faster and more reliable service (to the point that buses on 14th street are now waiting at stops because they are arriving too fast).
Car traffic has basically been unaffected.
Pedestrians find it much better and safer.
People who live and work there have it much better with the massively reduced air and noise pollution.
And you’re right that this should be replicated throughout the city. If it works on 14th street, which as you rightly point out already has a train, it will be a much bigger success on other streets.
Similarly in SF besides the quality of life improvements you have reclaimed valuable space that was being given away for no good reason.
It's one traffic light! Just WAIT.
In Sydney, for comparison, it's quite rare.
Running red lights ("but it was amber 15 seconds ago!"), honking at cars in front who are waiting on pedestrians who have right of way, block intersections preventing cross traffic (every Saturday afternoon you see dumbasses do this and traffic going to the Holland Tunnel backed up to Midtown), turning at red lights (illegal in the five boroughs), deciding to enter an intersection to block an emergency vehicle that has its sirens going, not getting out of the way of emergency vehicles and so on.
In nine years living in NYC I think I've seen a driver pulled by the NYPD exactly twice.
And what does the state legislature do? It tries to pass laws to make it illegal to detain taxi drivers who kill pedestrians  (luckily vetoed by the Governor).
I agree. Taxis are usually one of the most dangerous and impatient drivers in the city.
That being said, 23rd and 34th could also certainly use busways. NYC (meaning CBD Manhattan) is far too dense to accommodate single-pax vehicles. Luckily, we seem to be making progress toward eliminating them.
It depends where on Market. The section where cars have been completely banned had already been highly restricted for years. It was difficult to turn onto Market east of Van Ness as at most intersections you could only cross--turns were disallowed. Most cars on Market in the Financial District were either ride sharing, tourists who got lost, or people who disobeyed a turn restriction. The "ban", as it is now, is mostly a formalism, so all the praise and hand wringing is years late.
If and when the ban moves west of Van Ness, then it'll be notable. Although there are already turn restrictions at a few dangerous intersections.
Funny you say that. I've been to SF about a half-dozen times for work and Market St stands out to me as a nightmare to cross on foot. Tons of fast-moving cross-traffic, cars turning across crosswalks, and tons of pedestrians fighting all that. I'm glad to hear there's less traffic there (though honestly, if I have the choice, I will also be glad if I never have to visit SF again).
It has never crossed my mind that Market Street was some kind of special hell for pedestrians. It's a busy street in the middle of a city and there are cross walks. I don't know what people would otherwise expect.
I used to look forward to visiting SF. I’m much more ambivalent these days.
Edit: 45% of New York City households owned at least 1 automobile as late as 2015 . Ownership per household was 22% in Manhattan.
If you are a cop/firefighter, or friends with one, you can drive around the city like a reckless asshole with almost complete immunity. If you are a cyclist that inconveniences a cop that has never traversed the city outside of a car (commutes from staten/long island to park on the sidewalk by the precinct and then hops in the squad car), you get a big fat ticket.
Also, traffic on all cross streets is still open, and on most of them it’s common convention to trail red lights by ten seconds or more, well into the start of pedestrian signal as it’s changed for the perpendicular direction — an extremely dangerous practice blessed by the city’s authorities (again, by refusal to ever enforce infractions).
I’m glad we’re at least trying to make some forward progress here, but strongly suspect that Market St will still feel extremely dangerous for dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists alike well into the foreseeable future. IMO, we should be more careful about letting city officials claim bold and innovative successes (as in the headline) while not really having changed much of consequence.
Since electric kick scooters are allowed, would electric motorcycles be OK? Is there an electric motorcycle class on the books? Existing moto laws define based on engine displacement.
Edited for clarity.
Can I still ride a Vespa down this stretch of Market Street to the office?
> "Confirmed by SFTMA: Vespas not permitted. No private motorcycles either."
Commercial vehicles are exempt from the ban. Pickup trucks are commercial vehicles in CA. It's that simple.
'A "commercial vehicle" is a vehicle which is used or maintained for the transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed, used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property (for example, trucks and pickups). Vehicle Code Section 260.'
The main pedestrian streets in Copenhagen have signs indicating delivery vehicles are only accepted between 4-11am. Hopefully this links correctly .
(Since the US doesn't use the international road sign standards...) The blue square with people means pedestrian area. The circular red cross with a blue background is a restriction on stopping (or parking) vehicles between 11:00-04:00.
Scrolling along the pedestrian street, I see Google used a bicycle to take these StreetView photos :-)
For the morning commute the whole road is one way into downtown, in the afternoon it goes back to a two way road. Evening commute it turns into one-way out of downtown and after that back to two-way.
When it came online I figured it would be a death trap as people try to figure out what the signs and lights mean but it seems to be pretty successful.
A better formulation: Cars in their current form and predominance are terrible. Done right, we would still have pickups for moving heavy loads, and some speedy form of transport for moving around individuals, but would it be two tons of steel?
Imagine a world with no cars where you make this proposal: each person gets a two-ton machine that can go up to 100 mph, its direction determined by a driver-controlled steering wheel. We're going to have people as young as 16, with maybe 30 hours of training drive it on a curvy 20-foot-wide road. Now the machine's only ~six feet wide, so we'll divide this road into two 10-foot lanes separated by a painted line down the middle. People will go 55 mph on one side while other people go 55 mph in the opposite direction just on the other side. It's safe, because people know to stay on their side of the line, except sometimes when they're expected to cross over briefly if they think someone else is going too slowly. As mentioned, the vehicle can go 100 mph. The only thing keeping it at 55 is that the driver is expected to press and hold a pedal at just the right pressure.
This proposal would be shot down so hard. Someone would probably object that this crazy idea is likely to end up being the leading(?) cause of death for people under the age of 30.
We're in a situation where it's the best we have in rural areas, but if we really thought about it, we could come up with something better. We need them in this world, because we built this world to need them.
From the article:
> Cheap gas, the tech boom, and the rise of ride-hailing have meant the amount of traffic entering San Francisco has grown by 27 percent since 2010. Not only is that making congestion increasingly miserable, with average travel speeds on corridors like Market Street dropping nearly 20 percent...
This isn't a case of getting rid of cars because of some environmental hippy policies. Big cities cannot grow streets enough to enable the amount of car traffic in congested areas. The city isn't going green, they are replacing extremely inefficient ways of getting around with more efficient ways because they want to encourage growth.
So how is taking away infrastructure going to help?
>traffic entering San Francisco has grown by 27 percent since 2010
>This isn't a case of getting rid of cars
Right, we're just getting rid of a main traffic artery--same cars, fewer road. How does this improve traffic?
>they are replacing extremely inefficient ways of getting around with more efficient ways because they want to encourage growth.
What new efficient way is being added?
It's all about what you are measuring. You see traffic as "Volume of cars going between two points" when traffic is in fact the number of people going between one place and another. There is no value in getting a car from one place to another, there is a lot of value in moving people.
> What new efficient way is being added?
It's been illustrated many times how much more efficient bikes, buses, and trolly's are at getting large numbers of people from one place to another when space is constrained.
Not the "same" cars. Less cars. Cars cause slow traffic, so removing cars will improve traffic flow.
Buses, bikes, and people are the efficient way.
Cutting out private cars is only the start.
Compare it to NYC where you commonly see beat cops walking the street and patrolling every other block. And more importantly, giving out tickets with an apparent belief that people should get penalized for committing minor offenses. SF Police is just not present or interested in doing this, or resourced to do so. They can't even stop people from breaking into cars, and you think they're going to be ticketing people for driving in a partial pedestrian zone?
I chalk it up to incompetent city government (which frankly right now, is actually hostile to proper policing -- with a DA who has openly said such, and a public who mistakenly thinks this is good to assuage their guilt), a lack of strong police culture, and the incredible cost of hiring people in California, that keep us from having the right amount of police. Honestly, this cost (driven by housing by the way) leads to our crime rate also.
So the only solutions that will work are those that don't require the police to do their job. We need red light cameras at every intersection and speed cameras on every road (they'd very quickly pay for themselves), and we need physical protection installed everywhere so that cars cannot even enter bike lanes or drive up onto sidewalks. It's sad that this is what it's come to, but absent getting a non-car-based police force who live in the city who are actually interested in protecting us against drivers, I don't see it changing.
Instead, it would probably be much more effective to fine people for these transgressions as a percentage of their income. A $500 speeding ticket or a $100 parking ticket isn't really going to bother a person driving a $140,000 Tesla as much as its going to bother someone who is driving a $1500 Toyota Camery. We can probably actually continue to have the police selectively enforcing like they do now, but if people actually fear the consequences of breaking boneheaded traffic laws because they'll have to pay $15000 for a speeding ticket, then they'll be a lot less likely to break those laws.
Likewise, I feel that more early indication for going green would make sitting in red lights less stressful.
Alternatively, they could just make the yellow stay yellow a bit longer.
United States v. Bajakajian is in play here.
> Thus the Court declared that, within the context of judicial deference to the legislature's power to set punishments, a fine would not offend the Eighth Amendment unless it were "grossly disproportional to the gravity of a defendant's offense".
A $15,000 speeding ticket is absolutely disproportional to the gravity of the offense of speeding, unless you find a way to argue that the offense is greater because of the net worth of the person committing it.
If speeding is an equal offense for all people, then fining someone more for it would be excessive.
I saw a source that believes it's a solvable problem, but any conversation about this issue has to solve that problem.
The GPDR is an example of what I mean; where fines are written as €x or y% of revenue, whichever is higher - which is intended precisely to make fines proportional. There's little sense levying the same dollar fine against Google and my local corner shop - a figure that Google wouldn't notice would destroy the other.
This is very effective at saving lives, and more enforcement is no substitute.
Big money -- and we make the city safer by catching criminals. Win win!
I'll let you know today.
Typically there are a lot of police up and down Market street.
I will personally stop my bicycle in front of private cars and guide them off market as well. Other bicyclists I've talked to are saying the same. We often do this for no-right-on-red to guarantee that the bike lane's right of way is protected.
Market street will remain private car free.
As for your comments on chesea, they are cartoonishly bad faith. His platform is clear, he won't be ignoring crime, he will be focusing on evidence based solutions. He continues to explain his reasoning behinds his decisions with evidence and continues to get flack from the police union and their lackeys that boils down to "commie LIKES CRIMINALS IN YOUR BACKYARD!!!"
Other people feel that not enforcing "quality of life" crimes a) makes life worse for residents (there's a reason we have those laws in the first place, and it's not solely racially based) b) could snowball into worse crimes.
His election is the people of SF trying something new, and that new thing is focusing the attention of the police force elsewhere.
On Boudin, you must be a bit innocent to think that a DA's priorities and stated goals of moving away from incarceration will not flow down to an understanding among police that they are being told to "look the other way" and that their efforts to arrest lawbreakers (their primary tool) are being made hollow and pointless by lack of follow through on the prosecution end.
"...Boudin said he will end cash bail and “tough-on-crime” sentencing enhancements, launch a unit to consider the immigration consequences of prosecutions and stop filing cases stemming from “illegal searches” after a minor traffic violation." -- https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/citys-new-progressive-da-che...
Immigration consequences of prosecutions -- just what do you think this means? People not getting prosecuted.
I don't understand why uber-liberal thinking desires not to have our laws enforced.
> I don't understand why uber-liberal thinking desires not to have our laws enforced.
I don't understand where you're getting this strawman from. Which party is at this very moment attempting to enforce rule of law for the executive branch?
How does a bicyclist guide a car driver?
Is there something special or specific about bicyclists an/or drivers in San Francisco? Is one or the other especially aggressive or poorly skilled?
I've not tried it in SF, this is me speaking of my experience in Houston.
In SF I'll block cars from making an illegal right by simply standing in front of them.
I rode in this morning and they were all there again so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Surely you can't believe that level of enforcement will last. Anyone who's ever been on market street knows that "bus lane" never meant anything.
Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Uber driver app, Lyft driver app, etc.
Whether or not some tiny fraction of a percent violate the ban, the vast majority of drivers will no longer route through this section of the street on their way to somewhere else.
there are bound to be many people who aren’t aware of it yet.
I don't know US law, but in the UK this would be entirely a civil matter for the local authority - the police aren't involved in regulating things like bus lanes.
As someone who lives and walks to work in downtown Boston, it is also a cultural issue. During rush hour, there is effectively no such thing as a moving violation. I walk through some of the busiest intersections on a daily basis, and just about every single time, some traffic law is broken.
No right on red is a complete joke. People will actually honk at you if you are stopped at a red light with a "no right on red" sign. Don't block the box? If you don't block the box, traffic coming from the other way will, and you won't make it through the _next_ light cycle. Red lights are just a suggestion at many intersections, with 2, even 3 cars running through _after_ the light has turned.
The joke I always say is that if BPD enforced all moving violations for just one day downtown, they'd raise enough revenue to fund another Big Dig. Not true, of course, because even the cops themselves don't follow the traffic laws. Why should they?
They're somewhat ill-conceived because need to enter them to turn right, so there's judgement calls on what's acceptable. And they are enforced. I think Muni has forward-facing cameras in buses to catch people in these lanes.
One is a cost, the other a revenue source. Yes, my experience is that there’s a city employee to tend the meter within five minutes, but good luck getting a response to a crime within four hours. The priorities are clear.
I have a pet theory that they don't bother controlling bad drivers, simply because there's nowhere to pull them over; stop anyone in the middle of the street and you've created an instant traffic jam. But really our mayor and DA set the agenda and they think traffic is just dandy.
 A prominent NYC cycling blogger made a similar point just a minute ago. In the wake of news that NYC issues more traffic violations to cyclists (responsible for two deaths last year) than truck drivers (400+), he said, "I suspect NYPD ticketing stats are a meaningful measure of only one thing: how easy it is to stop the vehicle."
People will turn onto Market Street for two reasons:
1. Somehow they missed that it's a car-free zone. They don't need a ticket; they need to discover their mistake and not repeat it.
2. They think it'll save time and fuck bikes anyway. Any cyclist can block them. What are they going to do, run you over?
Last driver I came face-to-face with in the separated bike lane on my commute ended up hopping the curb to get around me. Next time he'll probably take a car lane.
They're clearly flush with cash: The budget has grown by leaps and bounds despite a static population.
I do realize that San Francisco imports the homeless problem from much of the rest of the country (nice weather, good people...if you're homeless it certainly seems better than NYC), and that has to have costs, but it seems like a city that should have gold-plated services.
A big difference between SF and NYC is that NYC provides shelter for people that can't afford housing and SF does not. Only 5% of homeless people in NYC are unsheltered compared with 67% in the Bay Area.
Legally, NYC is required to provide shelters for anyone who needs it, while SF shelters have waitlists of over a month.
Most homeless are from the area and due to mental, housing, and drug issues.
This loose attitude on life pretty much defined San Francisco for a couple of decades.
What did the DA say? Not familiar.
But he is pretty easy to pin a Communist red letter on and is the favorite punching bag of conservatives. He's a sort of "mascot of all that is wrong with Bad Communist San Francisco." "First they're a sanctuary for illegal immigrants, then they're a sanctuary for BURGLARS and BAD GUYS!!!"
The police union and conservative media often oversimplify his platform, I don't know why. The union could only stand to benefit from increased officer safety from policies that evidently reduce crime, but I think they want to believe the only solution to crime is throwing people in jail. As for conservative media I have no idea why we're the chosen target but whatever.
Police don't take anything less than a stabbing serious (I had my motorcycle stolen and the police came by 6 hours after I called them and then jetted off to stabbing within 2 minutes of arriving). I called the police 6 times in the first few years I was here, every time they arrived at least an hour later and provided absolutely no help. Last time my motorcycle was stolen and I found the guy parting it out on Craigslist, they were of zero help. I just don't bother anymore.
One of my friends that lives on Capp street witnessed burglars in an obviously stolen car with stolen goods, divvying up those goods in the middle of the night, and then went into a neighboring house. My friend was on the phone with the police as it was happening and they recorded the whole ordeal on video. Police slowly cruised by an hour later and that was that.
I understand that jailing people won't magically fix all of our issues, but the approach we have been taking is obviously not working. We need to try something new. I personally like the idea of hiring more police and getting them to constantly patrol their beat so that they are in-tune with their community and the community feels the police presence. Because at the moment, parts of SF, especially the Mission, feel lawless as fuck.
Property crime happens in every city I've lived in. Houston felt a better target for "liberal policy" being a liberal haven in a conservative state, and yet nobody jumped on them for their car breakins.
Basically, I'm skeptical of the political motivations of criticism of SF. If someone can provide an evidence based argument of bad policy I'm all ears. In the meantime I'm going to continue to vote for candidates, such as Chesea, with actual plans for tackling property crime.
Seems a pretty big leap to me.
> cases stemming from “illegal searches” after a minor traffic violation."
Sounds constitutional to me.
> Boudin said he will end cash bail
Sounds fair to me.
> “tough-on-crime” sentencing enhancements
Sounds like evidence-based legal strategy to me.
I've yet to see any indication that effective prosecution will go down. In fact, part of Chesea's platform was increasing prosecution for felonies such as DWI.
Nothing will change.
> Nothing will change.
He's certainly not pretending, lol.
This certainly is one problem that could be solved with tech and very little human interaction; no reason at all not to install cameras on Market that text you about your violation immediately and mail you a bill for the ticket.
Probably the biggest lever here is to dramatically increase housing supply near the suburban train stations (e.g. SB 50). It's not the train ride itself that kills you, but the trek across suburbia.
I can definitely afford to live in SF (one of the lots I parked in was $500/month), but never pulled the trigger on moving. I mostly drove because it was somehow lower stress than taking the train. I'd be standing half the time on Caltrain, and it only got me within a 25 min. walk to the office. Transferring to Bart made the walk OK, but added too much time to the commute. Oh, and Caltrain has an hour-plus delay at least monthly. I never had a driving delay that bad.
I think it was to some degree over-hyped, because this stretch of market was already fairly restrictive to cars, and even after the change they’re still letting all city vehicles and taxis use the street, so I didn’t expect a big change.
Nevertheless, commuting yesterday was noticeably calmer and quieter, with a lot more bikes and scooters out. I was hoping to find the numbers from the bike traffic counters they have on the street, but I didn’t see them. My unscientific guess, then, is 30-50% more bikes.
It’s a nice change. I just wish they’d extend it deeper into the city, and specifically create a firm connection to Golden Gate Park. As-is, “the wiggle” gets you there, but the stretch from Haight to the Panhandle feels dangerous to me.
I’d love to see Page St. pedestrianized, caveat somehow allowing residents car access to their block only. It’s a perfect connector except for a couple really steep blocks. Perhaps a rope tow to help the less athletic (me) get up the hill? :)
1. This has been slowly under way for years, and finally closing it cars really isn't a big deal. I would never have willing taken Market east of 10th for years, there's better and faster routes. (Mission, Folsom, etc)
2. You can still cross Market on car. You have too, going between the Financial district, SoMA, and then highways, 80, 280. So there's plenty of cars around.
3. Market is already clogged full of buses, trams, etc. It's not like it's turned into this walking boulevard heaven.
4. The article calling "one of the cities busiest...thoroughfares" seems pretty disingenuous. I admit I don't have the stats, but in the closed section it's slow, essentially 1 lane, ton of lights, etc. Yes there's a ton of buses, trams, etc but for cars...I can't see it. Is it really busier than Mission, Howard, Folsom, Harrison, Pine, Geary, Oak, Fell, Gough, Van Ness, etc? Ex: Franklin is 4 lanes of traffic going 1 way, with a timed green wave of lights.
5. West of 10th up to the Castro then Twin peaks, and when Market turns into Portola, now that's a busy road, and I use it a good bit.
I bike commuted throughout the city for a decade, and my biggest problem on market were muni buses and the cheese grater.
As a driver, there is a little black hole to get to via private car easily and thats the marriott marquee and target.
It takes an extra while to loop past markrt back around to get to marriott in certain circumstances.
Also, i once tested taking muni down from mission and duboce to embarcaderro vs how long it would take on bicycle; muni bus took 40 minutes. Bike to 7.
Although muni was plagued by little swarms of ticket cops causing massive delays to check tickets and hassle people. (They spent many minutes engaging in not productive discussion with people and arguing with them over tickets, which only delayed the rest of the bus longer)
“For most of the 20th century, there was a belief that the primary function of our transportation infrastructure was reducing congestion. Most people would agree that those efforts failed,” said Tumlin. “If we want cities to exist, we have to to use our abilities to cut emissions through transportation.”
Lots of cities already did this in the previous millennium. Nice to see that 40 years later word is finally starting to get around to the likes of NYC and SF.
It's designed for France but seems to work for San Francisco : http://villes.plus/San%20Francisco
I wonder, then, if there were efforts back then to close major streets to horses?
I would much rather live in a drivable SF before overpopulation than cope with compromises that overpopulation demands. Changes like this are necessary, but they feel more like the decline of civilization as we know it than progress
Seattle needs to add a great big awning that has as much character as the viaduct had. It might as well do double-duty of course, with cars on top.
Fixed that for you.
If you know more than others about this topic, a good way to comment is to share some of what you know, so we can all learn something. Snarky dismissiveness doesn't help anyone.
There is no limit to the number of cars Uber and Lyft put on the road. And just about anyone can be a driver. So an Uber driver should be allowed to drive down these streets when carrying a passenger. But what about when they don't have one? How do you tell the difference between that and them just driving for their own purposes?
In short, what's to stop me signing up to be an Uber driver, putting my little decal on my car then driving through downtown SF, parking up and going to the office job I've always had? Street closures would be totally compromised by giant loopholes like that.
Uber and Lyft created this grey area, willingly. Unfortunately they now have to live in it.
The non corrupt version is of course that Taxis are not exempt from the car ban.
If something is corrupt it's to do with the way permits are granted, not that those permits permit certain things.
You probably don't agree, but at least be aware of how we think.
It warms my heart in several ways :)
Taxi drivers used to be natives and typically older. You get ridesharing drivers from Orinda downtown and they do crazy stuff.
This isn’t a reason to prevent them from being on Market Street as compared to taxis. Both serve the same function. Maybe I misinterpreted, but this sentence makes it sound like you think banning them from a street while not banning taxis is a reasonable way to apply regulations BECAUSE Uber and Lyft ignored regulations in the past.
I agree in principle with what you follow up with, that there isn’t a limit to the number of rideshare vehicles in SF at any given time (at least not with current technology, although it wouldn’t be difficult to do).
There are two things the government could have done:
1. Exempt anyone with the ridesharing app
2. Fully regulate ridesharing so that they are no longer classified as private cars.
1. means abolishing the car ban and Uber will fiercely fight 2.
This is a situation the ridesharing companies brought upon themselves so I don't see how you can describe the government as corrupt.
I feel like this assumption is no longer true. Many local governments do regulate ride-sharing companies.
This seems like the obvious solution to me.
Taxis aren't exactly perfect but I've had some truly horrible experiences with unqualified Lyft drivers so anything that gets drivers of questionable skill away from pedestrians is fine with me. I use Lyft frequently and something like 80% of drivers make an illegal turn to get to my apartment because Google Maps tells you to do it, despite the fact that there's a super visible sign telling you it's illegal and unsafe. If I don't wave them away they love to pull into an exit only driveway, too.
I'd be in favor of banning taxis from the street too - maybe you should contact local representatives and push for that.
tldr the SFMTA couldn't be bothered so carved out an area so they can still drive to work.
We need to reclaim our cities and revert the damage done by big auto. GM and others have screwed American city inhabitants for decades by actively destroying public transport projects through lobbyism and blackmail.
A more constructive/less destructive model would be for SF to actually built decent public transport and get cars off the street by offering better alternatives.
Of course, SF long ago lost its ability to build things. So only banning remains in the toolbox.
Functioning major cities build subways, a much bigger undertaking.
Our roads are fairly wide for a city, I think busses are ok. They're way cheaper too.
Cars are deadly and inefficient. Electric cars are still cars.
It would make a real difference in NYC, so why wouldn't we do it. I'm always a little bit on edge when crossing intersections on foot, and especially when biking, because so many drivers are so erratic and dangerous. We don't need to put up with it.
Also, every transportation method includes accidents. From  describing NYC subway safety, "There were nearly 900 incidents last year  in which someone was on the tracks or was hit by a train after getting too close while on the platform." Should we also ban subways because people die as a result of them?
As for the subway, that's a separate topic. I'm not sure what you're trying to accomplish with your whataboutism. Yes, of course it can and should be made safer. One obvious way to do so would be to add platform gates as many other subway systems worldwide have. But the subway is already a lot safer than on-street vehicle traffic, and no, of course we shouldn't ban it.
And I'm pointing out the issues with transportation safety in general because people such as yourself demonize cars specifically when it's not at all clear that cars are the real problem, let alone the biggest one. Look at Tokyo for example. Cars are all over the city, but pedestrian fatalities are extremely low because affordances are given to pedestrian traffic (ex. elevated crosswalks). If you want to sell people on banning personal vehicles in cities, the burden of proof is on you that 1) cars are the best problem to focus on, 2) the only way to solve the problem is to ban cars, and 3) the available alternatives are actually better than cars
Why is this relevant? If the city has a 60mph highway running through a dense neighborhood, and a toddler walks into the street, and is killed by a driver (not the driver's fault), that hardly absolves the city of addressing this problem.
I suspect this kind of thinking is what adds to a lot of the friction. Nobody is demonizing drivers. What many of us are upset with is our cities' planning, giving far too much leeway to vehicles and too little to human beings living there.
> Look at Tokyo for example. Cars are all over the city, but pedestrian fatalities are extremely low because affordances are given to pedestrian traffic (ex. elevated crosswalks). If you want to sell people on banning personal vehicles in cities, the burden of proof is on you that 1) cars are the best problem to focus on, 2) the only way to solve the problem is to ban cars, and 3) the available alternatives are actually better than cars
Tokyo has a lower car ownership rate than every city in the U.S. So... although cars may be "all over the city", they're still relatively uncommon.
And what problems do you think we're focused on here? It's not just about safety from car accidents. It's also:
- Is cheaper to not build / maintain roads/streets/bridges/parking lots that would otherwise be unnecessary.
- More pleasant for city residents (fewer honking horns, less sitting in traffic, more space for parks and greenery, more walking -> healthier residents, etc.)
- More environmentally friendly from both a localized air pollution standpoint and a global climate one.
And I don't know what to tell you, but I've been to Tokyo, and it's nothing like what you're describing. You sure you went to the right place? The most busy pedestrian crossing in the world, the Shibuya scramble, is in Tokyo, and it's an at-grade intersection. You know why it's safe? Because pedestrians are prioritized over vehicles, and the longest part of the light cycle stops all the car traffic entirely and lets people walk everywhere. And also, the Japanese are simply more communally-minded than Americans. Simply put, their drivers are better-behaved. They generally won't park in marked bike lanes (same as in Amsterdam) because of the social stigma of doing so. Meanwhile, in the US, drivers don't give a shit, and so we need a solution that isn't social stigma -- building more physical protection and removing cars entirely from many spaces, since people can't and won't operate them safely.
And the discussion of "fault" is entirely missing the point. It doesn't matter who's at fault in any given fatal crash. What matters is that we have 40k deaths per year in the United States caused by vehicles, more than almost any other cause, and we need to fix it. The fault if anything is a systems problem; we have way too many cars, not enough alternatives to them, and the built city environment prioritizes cars too much and doesn't do enough to separate vulnerable people who aren't in cars from them entirely.
Usually a better alternative will make the old thing obsolete without any disincentives.
For instance if you want a good cable car system or dedicated bus lanes, bike paths, it will go through reducing or removing private car lanes.
In general it’s both effects in one go: transform/reduce the existing infra into the new one, automatically making the new one better when it lands (and inconveniencing everyone until it lands)
Cities have a responsibility that extends beyond their own defined borders. Cities act as the cultural, legal, and commercial nexus for the surrounding rural and suburban area – sometimes that can include the entire state.
That responsibility includes the ability for outsiders to be able to access it.
While it's a decently well-known anecdote, most experts nowadays believe that the very real attempt to monopolize the selling of buses to city transit did not contribute in any significant way to the dismantling of the streetcars--the streetcars were already in rude health and dying, and their rapid dismantling happened even in cities where the bus transit companies were not involved.
You can't be both in rude health and dying at the same time! They mean the opposite thing!
I see a lot of vitriol towards drivers in this thread, and any other time this topic comes up. We didn't make the world the way it is. It ultimately feels like classism. I'm glad these folks are able to take advantage of the privilege of living in a dynamic, multicultural city. But not everyone can afford that.
> I see a lot of vitriol towards drivers in this thread, and any other time this topic comes up.
Understand that it is a frustrating topic. Cars are one of the top killers in the U.S. both directly and indirectly. They make our places of living less safe and less pleasant. It's especially frustrating when people who live in the suburbs commute in to where we live, then complain about how unpleasant city living is—in large part because they're making it unpleasant.
> It ultimately feels like classism. I'm glad these folks are able to take advantage of the privilege of living in a dynamic, multicultural city. But not everyone can afford that.
And this is another piece of frustration. Yes, given current government incentives, it can be more affordable to live in the suburbs than in cities. But this is artificial. Urban dwellers ultimately subsidize those living in suburban/rural areas, thanks to government policy carried over from the cold war era. It's so bizarre that we live in a time/place where driving a personal automobile to work is seen as "lower class" than riding bicycles or taking the bus/train to work. Something's broken.
a) it's annoying due to overloaded traffic
b) it's annoying due to parking
c) my job provides me with year-long public transport ticket and taking a car and paying for all certain and possible costs is economically disadvantageous
d) public transport is amazing, taxis work and ride sharing and car sharing exist on top of it for cases when public transport shuts down (during major incidents usually, e.g. finding yet another WW2 bomb at some construction site)
Just cut it down to business/public traffic and reinvigorate inner city life with more sensible things. It actually already happens from now and then for festivities and other events and people start using ALL of the space that cars uselessly take up.
I didn't see any mention of blackmail in that article? Which bit were you referring to?
What lobbying are you talking about? The most common story, regarding GM and street cars, has largely been debunked: https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2013/06/be-careful-ho...
> Eventually, argues Slater, the operating costs could not be ignored. Just before World War II the operating costs for buses were 20 percent less per seat than for streetcars. After the war even a trolley-friendly city like San Francisco found buses cost 37 percent less to operate per hour. This wasn't just the case in the land where General Motors was king; in England, too, passenger costs had leveled out or started to favor buses by the 1930s.
> A case study can be made of Los Angeles, where Snell focused a good deal of his attack. But contemporary accounts suggest that a transformation from streetcars to buses was underway long before GM and its affiliates entered the scene circa 1940. As early as 1923, the Pacific Electric rail line was buying buses to replace some of its routes. The city's board of public utilities encouraged this trend — calling the use of motor buses "a foregone conclusion" — and by 1930 the city's big bus conglomerate carried 29 million riders a year.
More generally, you're overlooking the utter failure of public transport systems in the U.S. What lobbying was responsible for DC's and New York's subway systems literally falling apart, despite ample funding? Is GM lobbying responsible for it costing 5-7x as much to build a mile of subway in New York as compared to London or Paris? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/nyregion/new-york-subway-...
What killed transit in the U.S. is a combination of cheap gas prices and ample land making car-dependent sprawl economical, and government incompetence making transit uneconomical. Here in Maryland, the State is building a 26 km light rail line through the suburbs for $7 billion. The Swedish city of Uppsala is building 17 km of light rail through their downtown for 340 million Euro. That cost differential is utterly fatal. For transit to be useful it needs to go where people are. If it costs 10 times as much to build a kilometer of rail, you simply can't build enough transit to make it a viable competitor to driving.
The cost disease likewise makes it impossible to quickly fix problems that make people not want to ride transit. DC's Metro ridership is declining due to low quality of service. We need a new rail station at Roslyn because that is causing a bottleneck. The estimated cost in 2012 was $1 billion for a new underground station on an existing line. By contrast, Stockholm is planning to extend its underground system by 11 km, including 11 new stations for $3.3 billion. A similar new underground line in DC (which is desperately needed to relieve congestion on the Orange/Blue/Silver tunnel) would be a $20 billion project.
At the end of the day, Americans are voting totally rationally, and "lobbying" has nothing to do with it. They see $10 billion projects that provide transit to a handful of people, and quite rationally say "fuck it, let's build more highways." I can guarantee you that if the Uppsala light rail project was going to cost $3.4 billion Euro and take 15+ years to build, like it would here in the U.S., the Swedes wouldn't vote for it either.
How do prices get that high in the US? Are private contractors too intent on pocketing fat profits? Or is it related to health, tort, or other insurances, or a privately funded pension system?
The Purple Line in Maryland was tied up in years of litigation:
> n August 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon found that the Maryland Transit Administration and the Federal Transit Administration did not study whether Metro's maintenance issues and ridership decline would affect the Purple Line. Judge Leon decided to vacate the Purple Line's federal approval. A federal funding agreement cannot be signed without the reinstatement of the environmental approval, and Maryland has said it cannot afford to build the Purple Line without sufficient federal funding. On August 21, 2017, despite the ongoing court case over the environmental analysis, $900 million of federal funding was granted for the light rail project. On December 19, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the Purple Line, specifically stating that declining ridership on the Washington Metro system does not require Maryland to complete a new environmental study for the Purple Line. This federal appeals court ruling allowed for construction to continue and effectively ended the three-year legal battle surrounding the 16-mile light-rail line project.
This not only adds to the cost--contractors must build in tons of padding because projects can be litigated even after construction starts. But it makes it impossible to build sustained public support for transit projects. People get worked up about a project, vote for funding, and then literally nothing visible happens for half a decade or more while paperwork gets done. It kills momentum completely.
I love cars as well, it doesn't mean they should dominate areas where other alternatives make more sense in all aspects but subjective preference.
It’s too crowded.”
If you'd please read https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and stick to the rules when posting here, we'd appreciate it.
Especially please don't go into personal attack.
My comment wasn't a reply to why we should do away with cities, it was a reply to why rural areas should "be subsidized" (I'm assuming road construction here, and maybe social welfare for impoverished).
Almost everything else in your home; your car; the technology they depend on; the road, telecom, hospital, etc infrastructure and the technology they depend on come almost entirely from cities and suburbs.
HN? The device you use to access it? Almost all the tech news on it? The network infrastructure you use to lower its comment quality? The language its written? The computers it runs on? Not from rural areas.
Again, I'm not saying cities aren't important, only replying to a comment asking for justification for rural living.
Who subsidized your electrical company's build-out of the long-haul transmission lines to get electricity out to you? Do the payers of those subsidies see an ROI from long-haul transmission lines to economically minimal areas?
Where do you buy groceries? Who disproportionately paid for all of the utilities and transportation necessary to make that work?
How about delivery? Mail is hugely subsidized, particularly for rural routes, and commercial carriers use all those roads-'n-stuff to get to you. Your last mile, or even last miles, might be dirt--y'all certainly aren't paying proportionally for the highways to get even close enough.
I grew up in rural areas. Lots of people sneered a lot about The Gubmint. And even in that weird epistemic closure not a one paid out what they took. Which is fine; that's how it's supposed to work, and there's an argument for some subsidy of rural living for a number of both moral and practical reasons. But leaving the disingenuity in the closet where it belongs and showing some basic respect for the process that allows it is at least polite.
Edit: would the downvoters care to explain why their prime delivery or their coffee beans are necessary traffic while, e.g., a mother driving their kids is not?
Why should the city build public transport, if mothers with children won't use it?
If cities cannot offer something better, they will never convince. So they must restrict. Then at least they should forbid the better for everyone not just for people their voters do not care about. It is quite revealing that the myriad of small, cheap, and flexible transporters that provide all these services inside cities are nearly always exempt from traffic policies.
It's all about utilization: An uber cab will probably see 10%-90% utilization (passenger count / time in transport), while a privately owned car is utilized only a few minutes of the day, by only 1/5th of the passanger capacity. Most of the time it collects rust on a parking spot that could be utilized for a better purpose. Parks, street food stands, benches.
Same for delivery: If the alternative is that everyone oes out and pollutes supermarkets, streets and public transport to get their freshly ground coffee, don't you think that having a vehicle that delivers on the last mile to the customer is much more efficient?
In cities that invest into bike lanes, obviously cargo bikes are becoming a real alternative for delivery services.
Yes, public transport has to be improved, too, nobody argued otherwise.
In a city, everything that needs space is scarce. You can ask for a "fair" price for a parking space, but then don't complain about a "fair" rent and a "fair" premium on every service that also utilizes space. The thing is that "fair" can look very different to different people.
I'd argue that requiring your employees to play an archaic game of dress-up is the real problem, but if I'm being honest, it can be pretty uncomfortable to walk around a sweltering city even in street clothes. (That being said I don't think the tradeoff is worth destroying your city with car-centric design)