Bicycles

Final plan for Eighth Avenue presented to public

by Michael Durand

 

The SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) presented to the public on Oct. 18 its

final plan to ease traffic on Eighth Avenue, between Lake and Fulton streets in the Inner

Richmond District.

 

Several dozen local residents crowded into a small room at the Richmond/Senator Milton

Marks Branch Library to view a gallery-style presentation and to discuss the project with

SFMTA representatives. The project’s goal is to provide a “neighborway to create a safe

and comfortable street for people walking and biking in the Inner Richmond.”

 

RR Nov 2017 SFMTA crowd copy

Residents crowd into a small meeting room at the Richmond/Senator Milton Marks Branch Library to view a presentation of the SFMTA’s plan to address traffic congestion on busy Eighth Avenue in the Inner Richmond District. Photo by Michael Durand.

 

“This evening was not quite what I was expecting,” said Forbes McNaught, an IT worker

who has lived on Eighth Avenue for about five years. “I don’t think they were ready for

the hordes of polarized opinions. There are two sides to the camp. One side is more

realistic, knowing we need to do something and any kind of positive change will  help.

The other side is that we don’t want to make any changes because we’re happy with the

way traffic has been.”

 

Because there is an entrance to Golden Gate Park at Fulton Street, Eighth Avenue sees

approximately 4,700 vehicles per day, compared to 2,450 on Seventh Avenue and 1,525

on Ninth Avenue, according to the SFMTA.

 

To achieve its goal of making the street safer, the SFMTA proposes to add 10 speed humps

and two “speed cushions” to slow down traffic and to implement traffic diversions to

disperse vehicles onto nearby streets.

 

The SFMTA plan would require vehicles traveling north on Eighth Avenue to turn left or

right at Anza Street. Southbound traffic would be forced to turn left or right onto

Balboa Street.

 

Tom Pye, a resident who lives on Balboa, between 10th and 11th avenues, said, “It seems

to be the universal impression among the attendees tonight that the plan has already

been decided upon and this is kind of a placebo effort on the part of the city and SFMTA.

I think the plan is being imposed.”

 

Prior to the recent presentation, the SFMTA had two public events, according to its

website. The first, on Oct. 19, 2016, invited members of the public to give their input at a

“pop-up table session” at the Richmond Branch Library regarding walking and biking on

Eighth and 10th avenues. The second was on March 11, 2017, where the initial plan

was presented and neighbors’ feedback was considered.

 

Charlie Ream, an SFMTA planner, is the project manager for the Eighth

Avenue Neighborway.

 

“I think tonight went great. I’m happy to see a lot of people from the neighborhood

come out and share their different opinions. I’ve been receiving feedback from both

sides of the fence, people who like the plan and those who don’t.”

 

As for future opportunities for community involvement, Ream said, “Right

now we’re targeting December for a hearing where the public will be heard

and where SFMTA staff will answer questions and record comments on the

record, and January for the SFMTA’s board meeting for final approval.”

 

Another local resident, who requested her name not be published, said public

notification has been lax.

 

“The first I heard about this project was a week ago. I immediately put it on

the Next Door website and the community jumped on it right away. Very few

knew anything about this project. I expected to come here tonight to do some

public speaking and express my opinion, but that’s not what this is about. My feeling

is that the SFMTA board has already made up its mind and the public hearing

coming up is just one more item on their check-off list. ‘Oh, we had our public

hearing.’ They have spent too much time and money to walk away from this project.”

 

McNaught said that, because of the increased traffic on Eighth Avenue, living

conditions on the block has been getting worse.

 

“You can’t have plants in the front of the house – they die. You can’t leave the

windows open in the summer because of the black soot. It’s pointless to clean the

windows because in a week they are filthy again. We’ve got to share the burden.”

 

According to Ream, before the project would break ground, the SFMTA will

meet with the SF Department of Public Works, which will do the construction.

Ream said he expects work will begin in the summer of 2018.

 

“This was one of the most attended public meetings I’ve been to. People obviously

feel strongly about it and we’re excited to bring forth a project to make Eighth Avenue a

safer place to bike and walk into the park,” Ream said.

 

Ream said he welcomes further comments from the public. His e-mail address

is charles.ream@sfmta.com.

 

Further information about the neighborway project can be found on the website

at http://www.sfmta.com/8th.

2 replies »

  1. It’s a bizarre solution to penalize adjacent streets by rerouting 8th avenue traffic and increasing the traffic of adjacent streets above the preferred capacity as identified in the PDF only to the benefit of 8th avenue (which on Northbound past Anza will have traffic nearly eliminated) instead of sending that traffic onto existing thoroughfares. The tour buses that go into Golden Gate Park keep getting pushed down streets to the west (a couple of years back they were blocked from the utility road adjacent to the east side of Park Presidio).

    I want traffic on my street eliminated too. How can I sign up for the lottery? If we are going to sharply increase traffic on 8th, in front of a park that kids play at, I at least think we should mitigate this by slowing traffic. Speed bumps aren’t that effective. I’ve never gotten a response from our representative in the city council.

    Like

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