Archive for the ‘bikes’ Category

The Urban Sombrero of Our Time: Coolie Hat, Pedicab Pilot, Embarcadero

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Here you go:

Asian conical hat, sedge hat, rice hat, paddy hat, bamboo hat, Chinese sombrero, and sometimes coolie hat…

I guess this is a thing on the Streets of San Francisco…

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I just can’t tell if the pedicab driver is making some kind of statement or just efficiently keeping the sun, the burning sun, we hates it forever, off of his noggin…

Uphill Cyclist Sanctimoniously and Improperly “Takes The Lane” on McAllister: Staring Down Drivers While Huffing and Puffing

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Let’s travel all the way over to the left side of the Bell curve to see what the bottom 1% is up to.

Here we go, at about 4 MPH, staying as far to the left as necessary to prevent traffic from passing you too much. And for good measure, be sure to crane your neck around to give the evil eye whenever you can, to tell those drivers that I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE UP TO BACK THERE, MAN!

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OTOH, “taking the lane” would be just fine heading the other way down this block, down Alamo Heights…

Spawning Salmon: The Horrible Pedestrians of the Rather Narrow Golden Gate Panhandle Bike Path

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

(Well, sure it’s not an actual bike-only path, it’s a multipurpose trail, or something. But most call it the bike path cause bike riders are allowed on it, as opposed to the ped-only path near Oak on the other side of the Panhandle.)

I’m a polite ped so I generally stay off the paved part* of the Golden Gate Park Panhandle bike path near Fell. This was my view of an impolite ped as I trod on the grass for a few blocks:

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She spent most of her eastward journey smack dab in the middle of the westbound lane or smack dab in the middle of the trail on the dashed yellow line. This went on for minutes. Westbound cyclists didn’t know how to pass her, on the left or on the right. Occasionally she’d veer to the right side of the right lane, where she belonged, but that phase of her journey didn’t last too long.

So what was this, a cry for help? Yeah, sort of.

Who will hear her?

*Yeah, this bike path is wider (12 feet) than before (8 feet), but it’s still too narrow. 16 feet sounds right, considering. 

NIMBY’s vs. the SFMTA: Local Objections to New Traffic Signals on McAllister at Broderick and Scott for the 5 Fulton

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

This effort appears to be similar to the SFMTA’s attempt to add traffic signals on Haight at Scott and Pierce.

This isn’t the worst example of NIMBYism, but I’d say it’s fairly alarmist, fairly absurd.

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I’ll just say that, generally speaking, it’s generally harder to get around town these days by car, by bike and by MUNI, compared with ten or twenty years ago. Part of this has to do with our newer, absurdly-wide sidewalks, designed for pedestrian “comfort.”

And yet, most ped and cyclist deaths in San Francisco involve fault from the peds and cyclists. Here’s 2014:

The Police Department found that in the 17 pedestrian deaths, drivers were responsible for eight and pedestrians were responsible for nine. Bicyclists were responsible in all three instances when they died.” 

(I should do a video on how to be a pedestrian in SF. It might involve some jaywalking but it would also involve extreme alertness on behalf of peds. You see, the way to prevent a lot of ped deaths in SF would be to get inside their heads to see what’s going wrong.)

IMO, the SFMTA should leave McAllister alone and then start taking out as many bus stops as politically possible.

I’ll tell you, not that many cyclists pass by Broderick and McAllister compared with Scott and McAllister, it seems, owing to geography. So looking at McAllister and Scott, it seems that the lights will be timed against cyclists using FULTON DIVISADERO MCALLISTER eastbound as an alternative to the already-overcrowded Wiggle route to get from the Golden Gate Park Panhandle to the Financh.

So for my own selfish reasons, I’d prefer that MUNI not make these changes, but who am I to stand in their way? What the MUNI people are saying is that we’ll all be better off overall, and 40 seconds each way each day will add up to millions of seconds, eventually.

In conclusion, meh. If MUNI wants to put in lights, we should let them do it.

Irate Pedestrian Hectors Bike Riders Individually and Indiscriminately in a Crosswalk at 4th and Market

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

She hectored only the riders who stopped for her at the crosswalk.

She was angered by the riders who went through the red, but they were too far away for her to hector. Her unfocused rage came out against those who were already doing as she wished.

Then after she passed by, riders began to run the red, cause the signal timing of 4th and Market these days is crazy. (Like, who’s doing what now? Like why isn’t anybody using the intersection now?)

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SF has the worst peds in the world…

Remembering 2012, When the SFPD Picked Up Enforcing Traffic Laws on Market Street, One Bike Rider at a Time

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

It looked like this:

In the 80’s, 90’s, and early aughts, bikes were practically invisible to cops on Market Street, except for the occasional* Commute Clot / Critical Mass event. But these days, the SFPD seems to consider enforcing traffic laws on bike riders a higher priority,** for whatever reason.

Anyway, back in the day, you’d just have to sit and wait for your ticket to get written up, but nowadays you can play Tetris on your iPhone to make the minutes fly by, as you can see.

Cops generally prefer to give tickets to car drivers for various reasons. One of them is that the protest rate is many many times greater from cyclists than drivers. So the theory that this recent push to enforce traffic laws on bike riders came from the top down sounds right to me.

*And especially except that time in ’97, when Mayor Willie Brown decided to “do something” about CM. A hundred-something people got ticketed / detained and had their bikes impounded, most of them getting penned in at Sacramento Montgomery for running a red light.

**Think it was in 2012 or 2013 that I got detained by two Crown-Vic driving SFPD on Market near 6th. Pretty sure it was just after the #5 Fulton line was rerouted to take McAllister almost all the way to Market, and I’d noticed two #5’s jammed up in front of the Hibernia Bank building along with three marked and two unmarked Crown Victorias within a block or so.  I was thinking, well, this certainly is unusual so it looks like the cops are dealing with something around 7th and Market, maybe involving the buses, so I’ll just keep on moving inbound by taking McAllister all the way to Market and then I’ll cross over Market after the SFPD radio car goes off east on Market. Except the car slowed down waiting for me to cross over to the right side of Market. I couldn’t understand how I was getting all this attention from the SFPD. Anyway, flashing lights, a request from a rookie for my “license and registration” (I looked at his partner, who sort of chuckled – I don’t think the rookie had ever pulled over a bike rider before),  a quick warrant check for me, an admonishment to use the correct side of the road, and I then I was off again. And all the while, some photographer guy recognized me and started taking pictures from a traffic island. (He never sent them to me, oh well.) I’ll tell you, I moved to the Tenderloin back in the 1980’s and I’d been California stopping at stop signs and red lights around and on Market for more than two decades before I got any kind of attention from the SFPD. And I thought, oh, things are different now… 

“GREEN WAVE” Bicycle Signs – “SIGNALS SET FOR 13 MPH”

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

I guess this is part of San Francisco’s “bikes and transit first policy?”

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There was a time when San Francisco would avoid putting up street signs with the number 13 on them. Those times are over…

The SFMTA’s Restriping of JFK Drive Has Been a Massive Failure for a 100 Small Reasons – Let’s Take a Short Trip

Friday, January 9th, 2015

These cyclists stopped for peds at the prior stop sign, and I thought, “These are pretty polite cyclists,” because, you know, most of the time cyclists don’t stop for peds and/or stop signs.

So then here’s the next stop sign, where the peds stutter-stopped for fear of being hit by the very same cyclists:

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Moving on, further into the park, with the very same cyclists, to see this woman, who was totally blocking the bike lane with her body and two open passenger doors. She was oblivious. Then she notices what she’s doing so she goes back to shut the rear door…

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…and then the front door as the cyclists wait:

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This place is a mess. Many long-time cyclists now avoid using JFK. Is this what the all-seeing all-knowing SFMTA wanted? IDK. Oh what’s that, cycling in San Francisco is going to increase six-fold by 2020 (I’m seriously, this was the goal, this was what was “expected” by local pols not too long ago), so we need to accommodate all the new traffic? But what if that huge increase doesn’t materialize and then you lose a significant chunk of the pre-existing riders?

(Any survey from the SFMTA showing broad-based support for these changes isn’t a real survey.)

Moving on, to this. Where else in the world do they put a kink into double yellow lines.

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Why do this? Is this “good design?”

Why not have a single dashed line? (I know that the SFMTA has its reasons, but in other locations these double yellows would be seen as a cue that encourages speeding.)

In short, the restriping of JFK is a mess, a continuing mess, one that was spawned by the SFMTA for ideological reasons.

Oh well.

Vox populi:

“I cannot imagine that any survey demonstrates that most people like the new lanes. I’ve read dozens and dozens of comments and the vast majority feel the same way as I do, which is that these lanes are dangerous for everyone. And what about emergency vehicles? How do they pass when motorists cannot pull to the right? This past Saturday, 4/20, a fire truck got stuck in traffic at the eastern end of JFK. Traffic backed up in both directions. It was utter chaos. And Jesus, does it make the road look ugly or what?”

Redux

“My primary observation on the new bike lanes is that separating them somewhat from the vehicle traffic lanes seems to have been a signal that cyclists should ride a bit faster and ignore the stop signs and pedestrian crossing rules. I find them much more dangerous as a pedestrian. I have taken to holding an arm out when crossing any road in SF to signal my intent, but I am nearly struck daily by cyclists.”

Xtracycle Bicycle Cyclist Gets Into the Holidays with a Rolling Christmas Tree Tableau

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

Ho ho ho:

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Oh, the Urbanity! Incoming SF Bicycle Coalition Director Noah Budnick is Looking for a 2-Bedroom Apartment for _Less_ than $3K per Month

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Wow, a person made a post trying to help out incoming San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Director Noah Budnick by getting the word out about an apartment hunt

And check it, the poster is just like me, as he doesn’t agree with with everything the SFBC does AND he thinks the SFBC is an effective advocacy group.

And here it is:

“While I don’t agree with everything SFBC does, it is certainly the most effective advocacy group I’ve ever belonged to. And here’s a way to help them: by finding  their new director, who is moving here from the east coast, an apartment in San Francisco. I know xx#xers care a lot about bicycle advocacy, and we all know that finding an apartment here is a bloodsport where knowing tenants and landlords is a definite advantage, hence this message.

Desired attributes:
• Close to a BART stop
• Two bedrooms
• Less than $3,000/month

If you have any leads, please email me and I’ll make the connection.”

The kicker is that NY Noah wants his crib to be in SF and he wants it to be close to a BART stop.

(IDK, these requirements rule out Crackton as an option.)

I think I’d advise young Noah to lower his expectations, but who knows – it’s in any event smart to get the word out.

This was the first of many replies:

“Awwwww, he’s adorable. I hear Daly City is nice…”

Ouch.

Now lately, the SFBC has stopped boasting of its increasing membership, because lately membership is way down – thousands of people have decided not to re-up. Now why is that?

Mmmm…

Now you tell me – which is a bigger problem to solve? Is it:

1. Finding a “nice” 2-bed close to BART for $2K-something in 2014; or

2. Finding 2K-something more people to join the SFBC AND then get them continue paying dues, year after year.

That’s a toughie.