A Smooth Saturday Surprise at McAllister and Van Ness.
Safer for everyone, easier to share the road, and no more liability claims waiting to happen.
Everyone can appreciate the new, smooth pavement of the McAllister Street / Van Ness Avenue intersection, but bicyclists especially will welcome a much safer street crossing. For cyclists who opt out of the slalom down Golden Gate between Broderick and Divisadero for the speed rush downtown, McAllister provides a tamer but direct route into the Civic Center and, with a jag, onto Market Street. Yet McAllister is no smooth sailing, especially at the Franklin and Van Ness intersections.
Cyclists must dodge a large sunken manhole while crossing Franklin Street eastbound and then prepare for what I cursed as the "McAllister Waves" in the Van Ness intersection -- a several foot wide area where the asphalt had been been "pushed" into a series of deep, broad ripples. To stay within the bikeway and avoid motorists and especially the #5 Muni bus behind or alongside them, cyclists had to negotiate the waves without benefit of surfing gear. The jumbled surface made crossing the intersection difficult and dangerous.
Saturday morning the McAllister waves looked more like a smooth, sandy beach. Overnight road crews had re-surfaced all the intersection. (The waves weren' t the only surface defects in the lanes of traffic). Now the crossing is smooth and safer, allowing cyclists to focus on traffic without risking a nasty spill or worse. Thanks Dept. of Public Works road crews! (Now, about that sunken manhole cover at McAllister and Franklin ... ).
It's beyond me why motorists so seldom report the gaping craters that chew their tires and damage alignments or why pedestrians tolerate wide cracks and crumbled surfaces in several of the city's crosswalks and sidewalks. Bicyclists have reported more than 1300 potholes, cracks, and craters to 311 during the last 18 months through the Good Roads program of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. We can all be the city's "eyes on the streets and sidewalks" by turning in potholes or other defects in the roadway through 311, either by phone or online.