Keep the loop! Preserve parking, biking, and hiking all the way 'round Twin Peaks!
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I love San Francisco's Twin Peaks, and I love to bicycle all the way around the figure 8 loop up there, and take in the beautiful city and ocean views.
Unfortunately, there’s a plan ("Twin Peaks Figure 8 Pilot Redesign") to change the traffic flow at the top of Twin Peaks in a way that:
· would make it much more dangerous to bike, run, or walk around the entire figure 8 loop,
· make it considerably more dangerous to drive over Twin Peaks,
· eliminate all parking around the figure 8,
· create bigger and more frequent traffic jams on Twin Peaks,
· create big problems for tour bus operators,
· and hamper emergency vehicle access to and over Twin Peaks.
See the plan description here:
The plan will make it more dangerous for drivers as well as cyclists, runners, and walkers, as drivers distracted by the view pass one another in opposite directions around the sharp, blind curve on the west side of the north peak. Imagine what it would be like to be walking or cycling there when a tour bus is passing you with a car coming in the opposite direction. Or what about when two tour buses are passing one another? It doesn’t sound pretty to me, and the probability of a head-on collision around that blind curve will go up a huge amount. Add to that motorists leaving their lane to dodge the rocks that regularly fall on the road at that curve and the frequent dense fog, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
The proposed redesign would also be a major problem for tour bus drivers because even now, traffic at the parking lot at the overlook frequently gets backed up to a stop. Without parking around the figure 8, that situation would be much worse, and the number of cars parking illegally in the tour bus spaces would increase substantially. Bus drivers that can now continue around the loop or sometimes even park along the figure 8 would be unable to do so. In fact, bus drivers would be completely stuck, because they are legally prohibited from going down the north side of the hill, and would not have enough room to turn their buses around to travel down to Portola. That means terrible traffic jams, tourists stuck in buses and possibly missing other activities or flights at the airport later in the day, etc. Also, many stuck cars will travel down the north road and turn around in resident’s driveways.
The plan is a "solution" for a problem that doesn't exist. Twin Peaks is one of the safest places to bicycle in San Francisco. To increase safety even further, the City could paint large one-way arrows in both traffic lanes to let drivers know that they can use both lanes to give cyclists and walkers even more room when they pass. They could paint clearly defined crosswalks to make it easier and safer for hikers on the trails to cross the road. And they could also paint a wide white line 4 – 6 feet away from the edge of the pavement all the way around the figure 8 loop to provide a marked area for walkers, runners, and hikers.
If enough people who actually use Twin Peaks sign this petition, the SFMTA will change the plan, and preserve safe access for cycling, running, and hiking around the loop, and parking for visitors who want to enjoy a beautiful sunset on a warm weekend evening.
I attended and testified at the most recent hearing before the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority) on 3/4/16, and almost everyone who testified was opposed to this plan. I plan to testify again at the upcoming meeting on this proposal:
SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 1:00 pm (subject to change*)
San Francisco City Hall, Room 400
San Francisco resident, homeowner, and voter.
I’m writing to express my views on the proposed redesign for traffic flows on top of Twin Peaks.
I cycle, run, or walk at the top of Twin Peaks, and I greatly value the ability to go all the way around the figure 8 with two lanes of traffic going in the same direction.
Because there are two lanes of traffic in the same direction, and the traffic volume is usually low, it gives the cars plenty of room to easily pass bicycles, runners, and walkers. It’s actually one of the best, and safest, places to bicycle in San Francisco. Being able to do loops all the way around and take in the views on both sides of the peaks is a big plus.
I’m concerned that the new head-on two-way traffic flow would make looping around the full figure 8 much more dangerous for cyclists, runners, walkers, and drivers. With two lanes of traffic going in opposite directions, conflicts with cars and tour buses attempting to stay in their single lane would make cycling or walking on that side far more dangerous. The probability of head-on collisions between cars and between cars and tour buses would also substantially increase.
The current situation seems to be working fine for everyone. There are many bicyclists who do the whole loop. And most hikers and runners do the loop on the wide shoulder of the road.
Another significant drawback to the proposed plan is that on weekends and at sunset there are many cars parked up there along the guard wall, and this plan would eliminate the available parking along the wall. It would be a significant loss to eliminate that option for the many, many people who go up there to enjoy the view.
In summary, I strongly oppose the proposed redesign. It seems to be attempting to “solve” a problem that doesn’t exist. Please don’t change the two lanes of traffic in a single direction looping around both peaks.
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