The Sidewalks of San Francisco

Coming off a weekend in which New York City gave one of the most famous stretches of street in the world to pedestrians, we’re going to San Francisco to take a walk with Streetsblog Network member Pedestrianist. They’ve got a post on the inadequacy of that city’s sidewalks — and a few very simple suggestions for improvements:

0523091237a.jpgThe status quo at Potrero and 16th: Not so hot for pedestrians.

While some neighborhoods in this city have held onto luxuriously wide sidewalks, they are almost all dissected by arterial roads. That is, streets that were re-engineered after the rise of auto-centrism to serve as expressways for large volumes of car traffic.
Since these streets tend to be not much wider than average, the extra
road space devoted to cars usually comes at the expense of pedestrians.

The intersection of Potrero Avenue and 16th Street is one of the worst. This is a major transfer point for several Muni lines (37,572 people
ride the 9, 22, 33, and 53 lines every day). As people dash between
buses, McDonalds and the Potrero shopping center, they jostle for
limited space with each other and with speeding traffic.

The
layout of the intersection hampers pedestrian flow and lowers the
quality of this space. This broad square enjoys lots of sunshine and
great views of downtown and Twin Peaks. This is a historic spot, where
Joe DiMaggio played with the San Francisco Seals. But it’s a miserable
place, to be avoided even by those who pass through out of necessity;
and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Pedestrianist goes on the submit a humble proposal for change that includes bus stop and corner bulbouts — a relatively cheap and easy solution that would provide significant relief.

Elsewhere around the network: Trains for America links to an argument from two former Nevada governors in favor of maglev trains between their state and California. Travelin’ Local has an inspirational post on reasons to use mass transit — in Los Angeles, no less. And Gary Rides Bikes has a dispatch from the mean streets of Santa Monica.

  • Another humble proposal to make SF more livable might be to enforce rules against parking on sidewalks already. I have never seen it so bad anywhere else.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Poll: The Hunt for the Worst Intersection in America Continues

|
Earlier this week we looked at the intersection of Route 355 and Shady Grove Road near Rockville, Maryland, flagged by Ben Ross at Greater Greater Washington for being especially hostile to pedestrians, even though it’s the site of a bus stop. We asked if it might be the worst intersection in the country and put out a call for […]

Can LA Make “Great Streets” If the Mayor Won’t Stand Up for Good Design?

|
Los Angeles, with its expanding transit network, is supposed to be in the process of shedding its cocoon of car-centricity and emerging, in the words of a recent Fast Company headline, as America’s “next great walkable city.” The city’s streets, however, didn’t change a whole lot under former mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. When Eric Garcetti was elected mayor in 2013, advocates thought […]

Are Sidewalks Really Necessary?

|
A lot of big, surprising revelations are happening in the livable streets movement around the country today. Here’s a sample of what Streetsblog Network members are reporting. Miami Adopts Vision Zero Policy: Street safety advocates are elated after Miami officials suddenly announced the city would adopt a Vision Zero policy aimed a reducing the number […]