NOPNA’s 2011 Masonic Survey Results

by Editor on February 27, 2011

UPDATE: The NOPNA board has endorsed the Boulevard option. See masonic_support_letter for details.

Executive Summary

NOPNA conducted a survey about making Masonic a safer street between February 6th and February 15th, 2011. We specifically asked neighbors their opinions of overall conditions on the street and asked them to state their preferences between two traffic calming proposals developed by the city in a community process last year. The survey was sent out to our Yahoo list, Facebook and blog. The purpose of the survey was to gage what NOPNA Neighbors want to see done with Masonic. During the survey, 477 people started the survey with 373 (78.2%) completing it. See here for the raw data. We encourage you to download the file and take a look at the specific comments that respondents made.

Overall, the vast majority of respondents want to see Masonic safer and feel that something must be done. Of the two options put forth, the Boulevard option was the most preferred: 87.2% to 53.9%. This result was similar to the SFMTA survey results where >70% preferred the Boulevard option as well.


In 2007, neighbors on Masonic Avenue collected over 500 signatures from other neighbors to request the city reduce speeding and improve safety along Masonic Avenue. In 2010, the SFMTA and SF Planning Department began a community planning process to understand the desires of the neighbors and create a street where people walking, biking, taking transit and driving felt safe as well as improve the livability of the street for residents. The results of the MTA study can be found here.


The following results were observed:

  • 63.6% of respondents in the 94117 zip code and 82.9% residing in 94115 and 94117.

  • Of the 468 people that completed the nearest cross street question, 275 (58.8%) live within the NOPNA borders while 375 (80%) are no more than one more block out (Ashbury, Eddy, Scott & Oak).

  • The perception of safety on Masonic for users shows that Bus riders feel safer with Bicyclist’s feeling the least safe. This is relative since only 23.5% of people felt very safe or safe among an average of all categories

  • Usage of Masonic showed that most people walked (35%) or drove (26%)  followed by biking (18%). Most respondents did not park (5.1%)  or ride in a taxi on Masonic (0.7%).

  • 66.6% of respondents lived within 3 blocks of Masonic with 9.5% living right on it.

  • Overall, 87.2% of respondents strongly liked or somewhat liked the Boulevard option while 53.9% of respondents strongly liked or somewhat liked the Gateway option.

  • Respondents received their information 46.9% of the time from SFBC communications followed by 41.4% from the NOPNA Newsletter and 36.2% followed it on I Bike NOPA. 11.7% responded as saying that this was the first time they heard about Masonic changes. Only 12% received an SFMTA flyer (Note: The MTA used regular mail to get the word out to 1,400 households and volunteers to flyer the surroundings).

  • 66.4% of respondents did not attend a single SFMTA meeting on Masonic.

  • 70.5% of respondents belong to the SFBC followed by 43.1% belonging to NOPNA.


Overall, the vast majority of respondents want to see Masonic safer and feel that something must be done. Of the two options put forth, the Boulevard option was the most preferred: 87.2% to 53.9%. Most respondents did not attend any Masonic Meetings (66.4%) while 11.1% were not even aware they were going on. Of the 373 people that completed the survey, 46.9% heard about Masonic via SFBC communications, 41.4% read about it in the NOPNA newsletter followed by 36.2% that followed it on I Bike NOPA. The vast majority of respondents (70.5%) belong to the SFBC followed by 43.1% belonging to NOPNA. In terms of respondent location, 80% of respondents live within a block of the NOPNA boundaries (Turk/Fell, Masonic/Divisadero) with 58.8% living within the NOPNA boundaries.

Based on this survey, neighbors in and around Masonic prefer the Boulevard option over the Gateway option and want to see a safer Masonic.

Survey Purpose

The purpose of the NOPNA Masonic survey was to solicit feedback from neighbors as to what they want to see on Masonic Avenue. As most of you know, SFMTA, Fix Masonic and SFBC have been working diligently over the last 3 years on plans to make Masonic safer and more livable. The work that the SFMTA performed was a direct result of neighbors on Masonic wanting a safer street. They had a petition drive that collected over 500 signatures and this made SFMTA conduct a study.

Fixing Masonic is a complex issue that is challenging to capture in an online survey. That’s why we also encouraged survey takers to review the SFMTA study results so they can be better informed about Masonic. The results of this survey will guide NOPNA in formulating a formal position on Masonic. We also hope that the comments contained in this survey will help the SFMTA craft a Masonic plan that works for everyone.

Survey Construction

There was a total of 10 questions that participates were asked to fill out. A PDF of the survey can be found here. Some of these questions were direct copies of the SFMTA’s survey that was part of their report while others were meant to determine how much people use Masonic and how safe they felt using it. In addition, several questions were posed to get a sense of the outreach and which types of organizations respondents belonged too.

Detailed Survey Results

The results of the survey were analyzed via downloading the raw data from Survey Monkey, using the graphing feature within Survey Monkey and parsing the data in Excel.

Question 1: What is the nearest cross street to where you live as well as your zip code?

This question and question #4 were about determining where respondents live in proximity to Masonic. From the chart below, 58% of respondents live within the NOPNA boundary while 80% live within at most one block away from NOPNA’s boundary (Asbury, Eddy, Scott and Oak). Of those same respondents, 82% live in either the 94115 or 94117 zip code, which are the two NOPNA zip codes.

Location Map of Survey Respondents

Question 2: Please rank your perception of safety on Masonic for the following users

Safety is a major concern on Masonic. This question deals with the perceived safety that respondents have for various modes of transportation. The safest people felt is on a bus, then as a driver, followed by a walker and last was a bicyclist. It’s clear from this question that respondents felt that bicyclist safety is a major concern.

Question 3: How often do you use Masonic related to the following (per week)?

Usage of Masonic varies from the biggest use (walking) to the least (riding in a taxi) according to respondents. Even though walking was the highest use, only 35% of respondents walked daily or 3-5 days per week on Masonic compared to Driving (26.8%) and Biking(18.4%). Both parking (5.08%) and Riding in a Taxi (0.66%) were the lowest use of Masonic according to respondents.

Question 4: How far do you live from Masonic?

Two-thirds of respondents (66.6%) live within 3 block of Masonic which is consistent with the answers in question #1. This question is important because whatever happens on Masonic will affect the surrounding area. These results show that respondents that will be effected by a change in Masonic completed the survey.

Question 5: Boulevard Proposal: Please let us know what you think about the following aspects of this option

This question and question 6 were taken directly from the SFMTA survey that was handed out at work session three. Of the 366 people that responded, 113 left a comment. The chart below shows how respondents felt about this option.

Boulevard Option Results

Overall, this option was preferred over the Gateway option of question #6.

The comments on this question ranged from “This is the best option to make Masonic a truly first-class corridor for everyone” to “Complete elimination of car parking seems problematic.” The major themes within the comments were

  • Great concept that will make Masonic more livable

  • The cost of the project seemed high

  • Removal of parking

In addition, the comments suggested specific issues that respondents would like addressed. These include:

  • Better lighting along tree-lined sidewalks may be needed.

  • I think bus bulbs are iffy – they make traffic more dangerous to cyclists on Divis. Here, though, the bike lanes make up for that.

  • Bikes must physically separate from cars on this street. It is too fast and dangerous.

  • I’m a bit worried that auto right turns onto Fulton from Masonic northbound will cause some conflicts with cyclists obscured by the bus shelter, but it seems like a reasonable compromise.

  • Bicyclists need to have stop signs and obey the traffic lights if this is going to be safe for bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists!!

You can see more of the comments in the raw data.

Question 6: Gateway Proposal: Please let us know what you think about the following aspects of this option

This was the same question that was asked at the 3rd Masonic meeting. Of the 362 people that responded, 84 left comments. Overall, 53.9% of respondents Strongly Like or Somewhat Like this proposal.

Gateway Option Results

The comments ranged from “this is a half-way measure that misses the opportunity to unite east and west sides of Masonic, does not improve Masonic enough for safety for visual appeal“

to “DONT TAKE PARKING AWAY. THIS WILL NOT CALM STREETS!!!!” The major themes in the comments included:

  • Bike facilities not as good as the Boulevard

  • Cost $5 million less

  • Doesn’t go far enough

In addition, the comments suggested some specific things they would like to see addressed. These include:

  • Neither helps the bus. Bikes get their own lane, but the bus does not. Bus service through here is very slow. The bus should have its own lane.

  • Time the lights to slow traffic. Leaving some parking is good, but it seems like a lot of expense to create artificial turns to solve something that careful traffic engineering could probably get a handle on. Do not move existing bus stops.

  • A physical barrier between vehicles and peds/bikes is required to ensure safety.

  • Very dangerous for cyclists. no ‘traffic calming’ measures in either design. what is going to slow down traffic?

To view more of the comments, check out the raw data

Question 7: How have you been informed about the potential changes on Masonic?

Outreach for the Masonic project has been going on for the last three years. This question was posed to determine what communication venue is the most effective in getting the word out. The top two venues were SFBC communications (46.9%) and the NOPNA newsletter (41.4%). The two lowest were Got an MTA flyer (12%) and this was the first they heard of it (11.7%). The chart below shows the breakdown:

How You Were Informed About Masonic

Question 8: How many of the SFMTA Masonic Meetings did you attend?

The vast majority of respondents (66.4%) did not attend any of the Masonic meetings. 11.1% were not even aware that they were going on. This agrees with question #7 in that 11.7% of the people heard of changes to Masonic for the first time. 22.5% of respondents attended at least one of the meetings. It’s unclear as to why the vast majority of people did not attend any of the Masonic meetings.

Question 9: Which organizations do you belong too?

This question was posed to figure out how active respondents are within the groups that have been working on the Masonic issue. The highest organizational count belongs to the SFBC (70.5%) followed by NOPNA (43.1%). The least responses belong to NOPA+ (9.5%) and the Senior Action Network (0.3%). This question also had 26 filled in answers. The majority of write ins came from ASNA.

Question 10: Please add any additional comments you might have regarding Masonic Avenue Improvements

This was an open comment question that had 81 people respond. The themes that emerged included:

  • Safety should be a top concern. Masonic is a horrible situation for all concerned

  • Outreach on this seemed sparse

  • Thanks for asking our opinion

You can read more of the comments in the raw data.

Additional Analysis

Some additional cuts at the data were analyzed to see if any sub-trends or population skews existed.

Members of NOPNA

Out of the 477 people that started the survey, 127 of them self identified as being a member of NOPNA. If you just look at those respondents, the following results were observed:


  • 86% Strongly Liked or Somewhat Liked the Boulevard Option compared to 59.9% on the Gateway

  • 60.7% heard about Masonic via the NOPNA Newsletter

  • 63.5% did not attend a Masonic Meeting with 7.9% not knowing about changes to Masonic

  • 41.7% also belong to the SFBC followed by Fix Masonic (14.2%), NOPA+ (12.6%), The Wigg (7.1%) and Walk SF (7.1%)


Live On Masonic

Out of the 477 people that started the survey, 45 of them live right on Masonic. If you just look at those respondents, the following results were observed:


  •  81.8% Strongly Liked or Somewhat like the Boulevard Option compared to 44.1% on the Gateway

  • 37.5% went to the SFMTA Meeting, 21.9% received an MTA flyer and 6.3% said this is the first they heard of it.

  • 42.9% did not attend any of the meetings but 57.7% attended at least 1 meeting. No on attended all three meetings

  • 54.4% belong to the SFBC followed by 50% belonging to NOPNA and 20.8% belonging to Fix Masonic.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Scott March 17, 2011 at 1:08 am

My wife and I live on Masonic Ave and the only problem we see with the plans is elimination of parking in our neighborhood. It’s tough enough to park with all the students who bring their cars to USF. Since we live across the street from the dorms and the University doesn’t have a lot big enough to house all the car that student bring to school; parking is tough to say the least. The only reason cars average two hours is because cars have to be moved in the morning or even depending on the time of day otherwise they get towed. Since we live on Masonic we don’t qualify for a neighborhood parking permit for any of the other surrounding streets. So we either have to find a tough to find parking spot, buy a $200+ per month garage or drive to work and pay $20+ a day to park.

Eliminating parking on my street in unacceptable! There has to be another way to keep bicycles safe. Maybe by wearing a bike light so cars can see them or riding on the shoulder instead of the middle of the street. I know when I ride my bike in my neighborhood I stick to side streets and streets with bike lanes.

Thank you!

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