The temporary closure of a popular crosswalk along the multi-use Panhandle path has resulted in a Twitter battle between cyclists, 311, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition (SFBC).
Shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Thursday afternoon Elisabeth Snider was biking along the Panhandle path with her kids, when she came across a sign saying that traffic would have to be diverted around the crosswalk at Masonic and Fell streets.
With no clear way to navigate around the blockage, Snider took the problem to The City. “Apparently the panhandle bike path is closed? With no bike detour? @SF311” she tweeted.
“JM” of 311 responded to the issue:
Andy Thornley of the SFMTA responded via his personal Twitter account, clarifying that the path is a Class 1 bikeway, and the law requires that safe detours must be provided and signed for designated bikeways. The SFMTA confirmed this fact to the Examiner.
The situation quickly went viral on Twitter, as other cyclists and safe street advocates chimed in, pointing out that the northern path through the Panhandle is multi-use, and that suggesting Snider ride into traffic with her kids was insensitive and dangerous.
The Bike Coalition caught wind of the situation, and issued a long statement on Twitter Friday, lambasting 311 and the SFMTA for their “jarringly incompetent, rude response” to the situation.
“We are the SF Bicycle Coalition are embarrassed by their behavior,” stated SFBC in a series of tweets. “Please wipe the egg and that smug look off of your faces and get to work for the people that depend on you shaping up. We all know you have an image problem. People don’t trust you to do what you promise, or stick to your own timelines. You work for the people of SF. This kind of behavior is unacceptable.”
The Bike Coalition later redacted their judgment of the SFMTA, after the situation was clarified—SFMTA was not involved in the crosswalk’s closure or 311’s response.
And in the end, 311 apologized for the incorrect information, but not the lackluster customer service.
The crosswalk reopened to multi-use Panhandle path traffic around 5 p.m. on Thursday. The SFMTA has stated that it’s reached out to 311 with the correct information about this type of intersection.
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