This is an advocacy blog. The point is to end a problem that has existed on 17th St. between Church and Sanchez Streets for decades. An engineered bike tire trap that has seriously injured countless innocent people. Why now?
This past May 19th, 2016 in front of my house a mother with two small children riding a bicycle over the streetcar tracks were knocked violently to the ground. The mother was badly injured. I don’t know the fate of the children. I caught the event on camera and was so upset that I started researching the architecture of my street to try to comprehend why this was happening over and over again.
What I uncovered is shocking and is potentially very illegal. (If it is not illegal, it had better be made so.) The City has known since before 2011 that the tracks and the parking and the bike lane cannot safely coexist. That’s why the bike lane mysteriously stops for three blocks from Church Street to Castro Street after coming all the way up from the Bay.
But it gets more intriguing. The tracks themselves were installed as a temporary detour in 1972 for the construction of Church Street Station and Castro Street Station. They went to Eureka Station (the Ghost Station) from Market Street & Duboce Ave. The City always knew that 17th Street was too narrow for these tracks so the original plan called for their removal when the project was finished. That would have been 1980.
Now jump to the present. Nobody remembers any of this history. We see the tracks running down 17th Street and figure they belong there. And MUNI is taking full advantage of our ignorance by attempting to make these tracks permanent despite knowing better than us the danger these tracks pose to the public. MUNI says the way to make the street safer for a bike path is to eliminate all parking.
The strangest thing, and a topic that MUNI absolutely refuses to explain to date is their desire to stop using the track on Duboce Ave. that runs from Market St. under the Old Mint and behind Safeway to Church St. Why does MUNI want to run traffic on 17th Street tracks they don’t need instead of on the Duboce Avenue tracks which are completely safe?
So yeah. People are being seriously hurt on my block, women & kids brutally hospitalized and our City’s transportation monopoly is showing the maturity of a ten year old boy. I’m shocked at the violence that MUNI is accepting and the fact that they can engineer and maintain a situation like this. We have a saying in San Francisco: A fish rots from the head.
If there is another solution short of filling in these tracks we are open to hearing it but barring that we want the original plan honored. It’s 36 years overdue but the time has come to remove those tracks and restore safety to the 17th Street Bike Path.