SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — It’s the day-to-day drawback you’ll be able to not escape in San Francisco .
“Traffic is moving about 30 percent slower than it was,” stated Tom Maguire, Director of Sustainable Streets for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.
But simply what, precisely, has introduced metropolis streets to a crawl?
“There’s not just one factor driving traffic congestion in the city,” Maguire stated.
To assist us rely the methods, we spent the day with Oscar Palma, who’s spent almost 18 years as a tow-truck driver on the streets of San Francisco.
Topping his record of visitors suspects?
“So many more people, more cars,” Palma defined.
Over the course of his time behind the wheel, the town has added almost 100,000 individuals, which means a surge within the variety of automobiles, and a few of them are getting extra consideration than others.
“The Ubers, the Lyfts,” says Palma. “There’s too many of those guys.”
The newest estimate on the variety of rideshare drivers in San Francisco stands at 45,000 and most of the complaints following them may sound acquainted.
“Holding up traffic to pick up somebody, or making unsafe U-turns,” stated San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, talking after a current announcement of a road restore initiative.
Driving in the direction of his subsequent tow, Palma complained, “They stop everywhere, no warning, and don’t pull over when there’s a spot.”
It’s not simply experience-share drivers. There’s one other rising fleet on the market, freight visitors.
“It’s so easy to click and order, you don’t think about all the duck feet underwater, working for you,” stated Barbara Ivanov, director of the Urban Freight Lab in Seattle, Washington.
The explosion of e-commerce might have introduced comfort, nevertheless it’s flooding our streets with new, solely unmanaged freight visitors.
“We know truck driving is increasing. We know double-parking is increasing,” stated Maguire, including that there’s debate is over whether or not these vans take away single-automotive journeys, or add to general visitors.
There are additionally the challenges that each driver has to cope with. The metropolis’s development growth has stolen lanes in each course, after which there’s the explosion of metropolis street tasks.
Maguire stated these tasks, scattered throughout city, are an funding in higher visitors stream within the years forward.
“Our view of a project like Van Ness, Polk, or Masonic, these are bringing safety benefits, helping Muni. The construction can’t wait,” Maguire stated.
As for the experience-share impact, Maguire says the town merely doesn’t know, noting, “Unfortunately we don’t really have an idea of just how big a piece they are.”
City leaders assume all these rideshare drivers could also be inflicting issues however they are saying extra knowledge is required.
That knowledge might assist present a greater understanding of potential issues and drive higher insurance policies, new guidelines, perhaps a restrict on automobiles in sure elements of city.
So far, corporations like Uber aren’t precisely sharing their knowledge, regardless of threats from the mayor.
“You want to work with Mayor Lee right now,” Lee stated of the ridesharing business. “Because if you don’t, then we will have to make these decisions about safety and deongestizing [sic]streets without you.”
When it involves freight, San Francisco may truly be falling behind. Seattle will begin rolling out a freight administration experiment later this yr.
“Reduce the number of failed first deliveries,” stated Ivanov. “Limit the time trucks spend in their load-unload space.”
As for the opposite challenges, there could also be some excellent news. San Francisco’s downtown development growth will sluggish, even when only for dwindling potential development area.
More aid will include an finish to these tooth-rattling street enhancements drivers are rolling over. Several main road enchancment tasks are scheduled to wrap up within the coming years.
Many of the brand new challenges, nevertheless, are right here to remain, and in some respects, we’re nonetheless at sq. one, simply making an attempt to determine what number of Lyft or Uber drivers are on the market.
“Too much of a good thing is also not good as well,” stated Lee.
“We’re really trying to solve the congestion problem, but we’re also trying to give people as many alternatives as possible,” stated Maguire.
Getting there can be very similar to a drive by way of the town. It’s going to take some time.