Archive for the ‘cars’ Category

The Unpopular SFMTA Used to Poll Neighbors Before Permanently Installing Traffic Circles, But Not Anymore – Why’s That?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

I’ll tell you why.

It’s because the SFMTA dramatically overestimated its popularity and the popularity of traffic circles being plopped down in the middle of intersections.

Isn’t that pathetic? It held all these mini-elections and it lost every last one.

So these days, there are no more mini-elections and the SFMTA is free to spin however it wants.

Actually, this new one on Anza is more of a traffic oval:

Here we go:

Traffic Circles Then & Now – In 2003, the SFMTA experimented with removing stop signs and  installing traffic circles at several locations along Page Street. Many residents complained that the circles were unsightly and deprioritized pedestrians, and they were removed. However, in recent years the SFMTA has installed traffic circles with success and community support, using improved outreach, design, and signage.”

See how that works? Instead of trying to win community support the way it did ten years ago, today’s SFMTA simply assumes whatever it does has “community support.” ‘Cause if the SFMTA had any more neighborhood plebiscites about traffic circles, it knows that it would lose once again.

The SFMTA lost those traffic circle votes of a decade ago by like about two to one or three to one. If it wants to say that the reason why it lost so badly had to do with aesthetics or “outreach,” well, that’s one viewpoint. But, gee, maybe the SFMTA simply had/has a bad idea?

The traffic circles the SFMTA installed on Page and Waller were simply horrible from a pedestrian’s perspective. You could hear a car coming from almost a block away, but you wouldn’t know how fast the driver would go through the intersection. You’d count on the driver seeing you and reacting as opposed to the driver knowing that a stop sign’s there and stopping / California stopping.

Traffic circles or rotaries or whatever you want to call them might work in some locations, but plopping them down onto random intersections SFMTA-style so that the SFMTA has yet another project to spend money on was and is a bad idea.

Hofmeister Kink: A Mid-40′s German in Ashbury Heights – Celebrating a Half-Century of BMW’s “Signature Design Element”

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Hofmeister Kink, BMW 2002:

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What’s Coming to San Francisco Next Week? “Crowdfunded Supercars” from Blancfleet.Com

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Sadly, most supercars you see in San Francisco aren’t properly registered in California. The reason mostly has to do with CA use tax, which comes due the second you start “using” your new ride by driving it around.

So some people end up paying $10, or $20, or $30 per mile during the short time  they own and drive a Ferrari, for example.

So other people simply dispense with paying CA use tax, because it’s so pricey.

Here’s an alternative – Blancfleet. They say they’re opening up next week in the Bay Area.

“Blancfleet is the world’s first supercar sharing platform where car enthusiasts crowdfund and timeshare the supercars they love. Timesharing allows car enthusiasts on Blancfleet to spread the cost of owning, operating, and insuring a supercar with other car enthusiasts. On Blancfleet, there are no annual membership fees, no refueling requirements, no car insurance requirements, no car maintenance fees, no car storage fees, and no security deposit requirements. Timesharing also allows members to enjoy supercars with unlimited miles”

More deets here and here.

Is this a good idea for you? IDK. But it will be refreshing to see valid CA license plates on these cars. And if you’re tempted to buy a car like one of these, consider that lots of times people just end up selling a few months later ala the Porsche GT2 that Paul Walker died in - that car traded hands many, many times before it was destroyed.

Maybe you don’t want to buy a car, maybe you just want to rent.

Maybe.

Heh: Incompetent SFMTA MUNI DPT Parking Control Officers are Repeatedly Citing Security Guard Cars at Our Chinese Consulate

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

So the guards at this troubled location have resorted to posting long messages in car windows.

“Attn DPT: Please do not ticket this vehicle…”

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The current SFMTA position is that only security guards and cops can legally park at this location. This is a result, one supposes, of that Chinese citizen firebombing the front door of the place on Laguna not too long ago…

California DMV Lowers the Boom on Deadbeat San Franciscans with “Operation Blue Zone” (OBZ) – Fighting Placard Abuse

Monday, July 21st, 2014

IMO, this DMV “operation” misses the point, ’cause the bigger crime is all the drivers of those new Mercedes-Benzeses parking for free in or near the Financial ALL DAY LONG.

We have a corrupt system in which you can simply ask your doctor(!) for free parking.

But anyway:

DMV Investigators Make Major Disabled Placard Application Bust

Operation Blue Zone Catches Three Fraudulent Placard Applicants

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced today the arrest of three suspects in connection with illegal activity associated with the Disabled Person Placard (DPP) application process. On Saturday, July 12, 2014, Qiaoyun Chen, 50 years old, and Guobin Qin, 29 years old, were arrested at their homes in San Francisco. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office charged the suspects with four felonies including filing false information with a state agency, perjury, commercial burglary, and forgery. The third suspect, Yessi Morales, 35 years old from San Francisco, was arrested on July 3, 2014 during a traffic stop by the San Francisco Police Department, she is charged with 24 felony counts.

“The DMV is stepping up Disabled Placard enforcement in a different, more aggressive way by catching the perpetrators at the beginning stages,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Operation Blue Zone has been very successful in catching fraud placard applications in the Bay Area.”

The San Francisco District DMV Investigations Office started the Operation Blue Zone (OBZ) investigation in February 2014 after receiving a large number of DPP applications that were flagged by DMV field office staff as being allegedly fraudulent. Flag triggers included suspected forged doctor’s signatures, similar applicant and doctor hand-writing, frequent applications being submitted by the same doctor, and suspected false medical diagnosis. These alleged fraud applications began increasing in numbers in late 2013 and the beginning of 2014, with the majority of the placard recipients living or working in San Francisco. The suspected fraud applications were submitted in several DMV field offices with the majority submitted to the San Mateo DMV field office.

“The crimes related to submitting a fraudulent application as opposed to catching someone on the street misusing a DPP for parking is quite different,” said DMV Supervising Investigator Calvin Woo. “Parking misuse violations are typically local ordinance infractions or vehicle code misdemeanors where the abuser ends up with a hefty fine. Fraud DPP application violations are felonies.”

All three suspects could face up to four years in prison. Morales has been freed on $60,000 bail, and Qin and Chen were released after posting $30,000 bail apiece.

If you believe that someone has been issued a Disabled Person Placard in error or suspect placard misuse, we urge you to contact your local DMV Investigations office and submit a written complaint. The complaint can be anonymous. Please be aware that some qualifying disabilities are not visually apparent and allegations of misuse may be unfounded. The department considers crimes relating to disabled placards very serious and every complaint of this nature will be reviewed. Complaint forms can be found on the DMV public website www.dmv.ca.gov under the search key words “Record of Complaint,” or under form INV172A – Record of Complaint form. You may also obtain a complaint form from your local DMV field office.

DMV’s Investigations Division enhances consumer protection including auto and identity related fraud, car dealers, driving schools, traffic violator schools, and other DMV occupational licensees, as well as Internal Affairs Investigations. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).

Save Time, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Website including online advance appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777–0133. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).

Is the Avis Subsidiary “Zipcar” Operating in San Francisco Using Vehicles with Arizona License Plates? Take a Look

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Man, I’d hate to be renting a car by the hour whilst driving from Arizona to the Bay Area.

Anyway, as seen in the 94117:

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Anything to save a buck, huh Zipcar?

A Visual Aid for Junkies About to Break Into This Auto: “NOTHING IN CAR” and “VALUE STOLEN = $0″

Friday, July 18th, 2014

This is redolent of the home-made “NO RADIO” signs you used to see in cars in SoMA back in the 1990′s…

As seen on Fell Street, San Francisco, 2014 – Ed Lee, Mayor:

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Note the listing of dates of prior break-ins…

Postcard from Post Street, Japantown: A Half-Century-Old Nissan / Datsun Fairlady Convertible, AKA “Datsun Sports”

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Japantown has more than its fair share of old Japanese-made cars, it seems, with the rear view mirrors mounted way up front, Japanese-style:

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None More Blue, None More Pink: Bienvenidos a Miami, 94117

Friday, July 18th, 2014

In the spirit of None More Black, here’s electric blue and neon pink on Central Avenue:

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Someday, there’ll be an NFL football team with these colors…

Uh, Did Target Stores Pay the DPW $250,000 to Install Traffic Lights That Favor Cars Over Peds at O’Farrell and Masonic?

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Mmmm…

Here’s my beef from yesterday about the newish traffic light scheme at Masonic and O’Farrell.

But where did this scheme come from?

Oh, here we go - DPW Contract No. 2108J:

It’s all:

“The contract work will be funded through private developer funds for work at two signals along Masonic Avenue.”

See?

The two locations:

“Masonic Avenue and O’Farrell Street” and “Ewing Terrace and Masonic Avenue”

Now Ewing Terrace I know about. One woman living on that street showed up both at the Target-sponsored and SFMTA-sponsored meetings complaining about how hard it was for her to head north on Masonic when pulling out of Ewing. She said it sometimes took her “20 minutes” of sitting at the stop sign waiting for a break in traffic in order to accomplish this task.  So SFGov accommodated her with a big traffic signal that they’re putting in now.

But at Masonic Avenue and O’Farrell Street? I don’t know. It’s almost as if the lighting scheme was designed by somebody who works at Target.

The upshot is that northbound traffic and all the peds on the east side of Masonic have to wait for southbound drivers to make an awkward U-turn followed by a quick right to get into the small, lower-level Target / Starbucks parking lot.

I can think  of a couple similar situations about town. At Market and Octavia, everybody on outbound Market has to wait for car drivers on inbound Market to turn left onto Octavia. Why? Because selfish Hayes Valley denizens had waaaaay too much input into the process. Nevermind that legal lefts are a rare thing on Market for a reason, never mind that lefts were already legal one block before and one block after Octavia…

And at Fell and Masonic, the traffic signals were rejiggered for ideological reasons so now three lanes of Masonic get green lights but not the fourth lane. Drivers will never get used to this arrangement, IMO.

And, similarly, peds will never get used to the current setup at Masonic and O’Farrell.

IMO.

Anyway, I don’t have a problem with the new Target being there. I’m just wondering who paid for the crazy lights that just got put in next to the new Target.