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.

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