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Locked on the Bay Bridge, more red lanes, and street improvements shutter business

June 15, 2017

By Eve Batey : curbed – excerpt

Mission red lanes are killing businesses, gentrifying the neighborhood. Photo by zrants

Seeing red across SF

The SFMTA’s red carpet of transit-only lanes has been a controversial one, with some Mission District business owners claiming they’re bad for their coffers, while a study says that the lanes make things safer and faster (still others just ignore the lanes and drive wherever they want). And now the MTA says SF can expect even more of the brightly-painted streets, as they’ve gotten a federal nod to move forward.

According to a the SFMTA, the red painted lanes you’ll see downtown on (among others) stretches of Market, Third Street, Geary, and O’Farrell, as well as along a southern stretch of Mission Street, were “installed as an experiment sponsored by the California Traffic Control Devices Committee and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).”

After the FHWA got a chance to evaluate the SFMTA’s “Red Transit Lanes Final Evaluation Report” (read it here), they agreed to let the MTA add even more lanes to the “pilot,” likely along Van Ness Avenue and the western stretch of Geary Boulevard, as well as “others in the Muni Forward Rapid Network.”

Street improvements allegedly kill business

We’ve been talking about the Department of Public Works streetscape improvement plan for Irving Street between 19th-26th Avenues since 2013, but now that it’s here, one business says it was the final nail in their coffin.

Hoodline reports that the Hard Wear store—a business specializing in SF-specific t-shirts and cult workwear fave brands like Carhart, Dickies, and Ben Davis—is closing after the store’s owner says that the lengthy construction period for the project “did us in.”

The store, located at the corner of 25th Avenue and Irving Street, has been in business for nine years, and had also struggled through a recessionary period that “burned through [owner Angela Tickler’s] personal credit.”

“I weathered a lot of stuff over a lot of years, but the streetscape project did us in,” Tickler told Hoodline. “Parking and traffic is always bad here, but when you add the construction, it became horrific. People wouldn’t come near the place, and it went on for a very, very long time.”…

The project, which has its own website here, includes the addition of curb ramps, the planting of trees, decorative crosswalks, sewer work, and these weird fake black rocks people are supposed to sit on.

According to Tickler, while businesses were told construction would only happen in front of their locations for a week, “Instead of all these projects happening simultaneously in an integrated way, they were happening in tandem, and it dragged things out for more than a year.” The store, says Tickler, will close at the end of June… (more)



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