Saying that someone at some point in the future could theoretically be endangered if one of the posts gets knocked loose, SFMTA has pulled illegally installed crosswalk posts at Golden Gate Park's Crossover Drive — endangering pedestrians right now today in the not theoretical present. The posts were installed by SFMTrA, the safety vigilante group responsible for similar actions across the city, and were met with a positive response from people who had to cross the wide intersection. However, as SFMTrA tweeted yesterday, the city removed them — citing abstract safety concerns as the justification.
"The issue is that they could cause a hazard if they become dislodged," SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose told SFist via email, "but generally we have no choice but to remove cones and posts that do not go through an official process because it’s a code violation to place objects in the roadway, and they could create conflicts for various types of transportation."
Got that? That the city made the road tangibly less safe for pedestrians today in order to prevent a possible danger in the future is an irony that isn't sitting well with some.
Here's what the street looks like now.
The SFMTrA, meanwhile, says that they will return and reinstall the posts — leading, we assume, SFMTA officials to quickly pull them up again (we asked Rose if the city would install permanent posts there — he didn't respond). And indeed, it is the very speed at which SFMTA undid the unofficial group's work that upsets SFMTrA so much.
"The SFMTA is glacially slow to install pedestrian and bicyclist safety infrastructure, yet was able to remove our simple safety improvements within a week," the group said in a statement sent to SFist. "We call on SFMTA to immediately replace these pedestrian safety improvements with protection at or above the level installed by SFMTrA."
SFMTA, for its part, intends to take things slowly. "We will be kicking off a community outreach process in December to better understand the challenges and opportunities for roads in Golden Gate Park," SFMTA public relations officer Ben Jose told us. "Simultaneously, SFMTA planners and engineers will be analyzing the park’s collision history and traffic circulation patterns. Through that process we’ll identify and implement safety solutions that meet engineering guidance and use the city’s formal (and legal) process for altering the city’s public right of way."
This post has been updated to include the comment from Ben Jose.