The August 10th community workshop to plan the future of Masonic Avenue is even more important than the first gathering or the one that will follow. The first session set out the parameters for neighborhood planning and encouraged residents to experience the challenge and difficulty of transforming an existing thoroughfare into a great street that serves all road users. Is there space for a landscaped median and a left-turn lane and a bike lane while keeping a steady traffic flow for Muni and motorists? In the midst of all that, can Masonic traffic be calmed so residents can enjoy the street and pedestrians can choose to walk along it?
Javad Mirabdal, MTA planner for the Masonic Avenue project, explained what to expect from the second meeting, "City staff will give a brief presentation on existing conditions followed by a review of the community input received during the first workshop." And then the most important part: "a presentation and discussion of the potential options for this corridor." Community response to these options will heavily influence and guide the third phase: the development and design of plans with implementation and revenue prospects.
The grassroots group, FIX MASONIC, previously gathered more than 600 signatures from Masonic area residents who wanted a calmer street. Now is the chance to help the city achieve that goal. Some observers believe Masonic works just fine now because motorists can speed along and get from their point A to point B. (The posted 25mph speed is widely ignored with accompanying risks along the several blocks between Geary and Oak). But many motorists object to the risky left-turns and confusing lane-changes that Masonic presents, and bicyclists get shut out from this designated bike route for lack of space and safety. For pedestrians, Masonic is more like a noisy gauntlet endured to get to Lucky's or Starbuck's. If you want it better for all users, you have to make your voice heard.
The purpose of the meeting August 10th is to have residents working together and guiding city staff. The first gathering saw no arguments or outbursts or rude, disruptive behavior, just serious folks committed to make the neighborhood thoroughfare a place that works for all. Anyone who didn't attend the first meeting can still contribute to the process. Everyone is welcome.
Masonic Avenue Street Design Study
August 10, 2010
Tuesday, 6:30 to 8:30 pm
San Francisco Day School
(enter on Golden Gate Avenue)
For more information: Javad Mirabdal@sfmta.com
For previous articles in the A Better Masonic series, check here.