For those that don’t frequently ride the N-Judah through Cole Valley, the stops at along Carl street can easily get congested, particularly at the Cole/Carl stop where there are a bunch of transfers to bus lines. People are frequently standing in the street waiting for the train, or crowding the sidewalk so it is difficult to walk through (particularly with a dog, or a kid).
Here is a quick overhead photo of the intersection, with the proposed sidewalk bulbs (where the sidewalk becomes wider than it normally is) to ease congestion:
Here is an on-the-ground rendering of what the inbound stop would look like with the sidewalk widened:
They are also proposing to add a sidewalk bulb at the Carl and Stanyan stop, which is also frequently quite busy (although, in my experience, never as bad as the Carl/Cole intersection).
Some residents of Cole Valley are predictably upset, because widening the sidewalk will obviously remove some parking spots. But given how messy and dangerous the current situation is, taking out a few parking spots to improve the safety and efficiency of loading and unloading from the N-Judah seems like a very reasonable trade off to me. Of course, next time I am circling endlessly for a parking spot so I can run into Cole Hardware, I’m sure I’ll regret this entire post.
The plan recently won engineering approval, and is scheduled to go before the SFMTA board on December 7. If approved, the current hope is that the sidewalk bulbs would be constructed in 2012. If you are looking for more information, more detailed descriptions of the changes are at this post on sf.streetsblog.org. And in the meantime, enjoy your Muni rides but don’t forget your Clipper card!