Archive for the ‘streets’ Category

Appalling Corner Cutting from the Vaunted SFMTA: Newly-Installed Clean-Sheet Traffic Signal Poles on Masonic

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

[All right, a little background. Who’s been in charge of the crosswalk in front of City Hall on Polk? IDK, somebody in SFGov, like the SFMTA, or an agency from before the SFMTA, or DPW, or, no matter, somebody in SFGov, anyway, right? And these people know that driver compliance rates with whatever half-assed “smart” control scheme they installed is a lot lower than the compliance rate with simple red-yellow-green signals. But then, with regular dumb traffic lights, pedestrians would have to wait, at least part of the time, to cross the street to get to the Great Hall of The People and we can’t have that, right? So when a tour bus driver runs over an SFGov worker going back to the office, it’s all the tour bus driver’s fault, right? Well, yes and no. The BOS can vote 11-0 to regulate tour bus operators, but that ignores its responsibility, non? Oh what’s that, you were going to get around to installing a traffic signal there, but you just hadn’t gotten around to it? And what’s that, you can’t figure out how to do it with the money we already give you, so we need to give you more more more? All right, fine, but that means your a part of the safety problem, not the solution, SFTMA / SFGov, at least in this case. Moving on…]

What the Hell is this, this brand new aluminum(?) light pole above Masonic betwixt the Golden Gate and Turk “high injury* corridors.” Believe it or not, you’re looking at signal lights for northbound Masonic traffic at Golden Gate AND ALSO, on the other side, for southbound Masonic at Turk:

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Here’s how things look up the hill heading southbound – no problems here:

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But this is what you see going north, you see a red light on the left and green light on the right, and the farther away you are, the more it looks like one intersection with contradictory signals:

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I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere in the world.

This is appallingly poor design, IMO.

So, what, give you more money and you’ll put in another pole, SFMTA? IDK, you can see that they spent money on three new poles, so why did they cheap out with this half-assed creation?

Tree branches? So, the SFMTADPW wants to cut down hundreds of “diseased” trees** on this 3000-foot stretch of Masonic, but it can’t trim a couple trees in the name of Safety?

OK fine.

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Why did the deciders decide on this half-assed design? This one will write itself.

*Are there any low injury corridors in San Francisco? No there are not. So the phrase “high-injury corridor,” as used over and over again, recently, in SF, is meaningless. Oh what’s that, there are no accidents on Willard Street North, for example. Except that WSN aint a corridor, it’s a just a little street. So “high injury corridor” simply means corridor, which simply means, of course, “a (generally linear) tract of land in which at least one main line for some mode of transport has been built.”

**This is how SFGov works:

I wanted the trees gone, but knew I’d face stiff resistance both from homeless advocates and tree supporters. We brought in a tree expert and wouldn’t you know it, some of the trees had a blight. I issued an emergency order, and that night park workers moved in and dug up and bagged the trees. By the time the TV cameras arrived the next morning the trees were on their way to a tree hospital, never to return.”

Arguably, this occurred a while ago, but, arguably, Willie Brown is still the Mayor, so there you go.

Here They Are, Our Brand-New “Beautiful. Functional. Rain Gardens” on Fell – Like Parklets, But for Weeds, Not People

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

[UPDATE: Our PUC writes in tell about how I’m confusing them with the CAPUC, the same way, one supposes that Mssrs. Matier and Ross got “confused” when calling them the PUC here. But take their tour if you want – see Comments.]

Remember the revival of “Victory Gardens?” I do. It peaked in 2009. But the new thang in urban gardening is upon us.

As seen on Fell, looking inbound:

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(Oh, and the microfences already indicate that no bike parking is allowed. So what’s the PUC going to do? Ticket your ride? Cut off your lock and impound your bike?)

On Fell, looking outbound:

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And look, clobblestones!

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Are these real cobblestones? One can’t tell. Should they be? One doesn’t know.

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All right, that was the windup, and now here’s the pitch, from the SFPUC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PG&E:

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Are these realtor-backed parklets “beautiful?” I don’t think so. Will they “improve safety?” I don’t see how. And actually, spending tax and fee payer money on “streetscape” “beauty” instead of safety is the opposite of  “improving safety,” PUC. Oh, and PUC, if you ever want to talk about how best to “manage” California’s water resources for the benefit of all Californians, look me up, cause you’re doing it wrong…

All the deets:

Oak Street and Fell Street Pedestrian and Bike Safety Project

Picture of Bulbout Area

Learn More About the Project

Check out SFMTA’s project website to learn more!

Improving Traffic Safety and Enhancing Stormwater Collection

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is teaming up with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) on the Oak Street and Fell Street Pedestrian and Bike Safety Project to integrate stormwater management with their traffic calming project.

In response to strong public feedback for more greenery and planting for the project, we’ve added rain gardens to the bulbouts along Oak and Fell Streets. A rain garden is a stormwater management technique which infiltrates stormwater into the soil, diverting water from going into the sewer. This addition to the project will benefit community members; not only will the project make residents and travelers safer, the rain gardens will add beauty and character to the intersections. Our partnership with the SFMTA will extend the improvements already underway. While the addition of green infrastructure will not result in any additional parking losses beyond what was approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors in May 2012, four of the bulbouts will be larger than initially proposed. Originally scheduled for construction in late 2013, the project is slated to begin construction in early summer 2014.

Contact:

For construction inquiries, please contact:

Dadisi Najib – SFDPW
Email: Dadisi.Najib@sfdpw.org

Luis Montoya – SFMTA
Email: luis.montoya@sfmta.com

Ari Frink – SFPUC
Email: afrink@sfwater.org

For more project information, visit SFMTA’s site here.

Does San Francisco Really Have a “French Quarter?” Not Really, Despite What Microsoft Says

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Well, here it is, from the Bing Maps:

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(IDK, this is less offensive than “Uptown Tenderloin,” one supposes, you know, coming from San Francisco’s non-profit profiteers.)

French Quarter sounds a bit, grandiose?

Here’s the cure, as usual, from wilds of the Internet:

Ha. No one here knows by that name. There’s not a distinct boundary for the collection of French-serving restaurants and businesses near the French Consulate, the church and school of Notre Dame des Victoires on Bush Street. But apparently it’s been dubbed by some hotel marketing person as the “French Quarter.” Belden Alley and Claude Alley intersect with Bush Street, and each have some French cafes. On Bush/Grant Ave. is the Cafe de la Presse — a coffee house with French and international newspapers, and restaurant. There’s Cafe Claude on Claude and some other bistros. Plouf! is an excellent mussel house on Belden…”

All right, keep on Binging, Microsoft.

Discarded Pablo Sandoval Panda Heads Put to Practical Use on the Streets of San Francisco

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Keeping warm on the streets near the Fell DMV, 2015:

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If Pablo doesn’t want to live and work in the bay area, that’s OK, right?

OMG, What’s This, a “GOING TO GOLDEN GATE PARK” Parklet / Bulb Out on 9th Ave in the Inner Sunset?

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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Here’s the Word on the Street:

“Attached you can find a PDF with Jadwin’s emails about the project, and I have attached a few JPEGs for your convenience.

It is unbelievably stupid to move these N Judah stops (especially given how important these loading spots are for restaurants, etc.), but this “Streetscaping” in an “activity zone” is over the top idiotic.

You can find more information here:

http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=inner+sunset+tep+streetscape&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

It is completely wrong that this “parklet” is being maintained where passengers will be disembarking.

Even worse is that Michael Rieger failed to reach out to the businesses and residents living here before making plans and setting up a bogus online “survey.”

Jadwin is just the worst. She led the charge to close down the HANC Recycling Center.  :(“

So that’s all I know on this proposal.

IMO, SFGov should strive to attain competence at its core missions, so I don’t get this kind of “streetscape” “activation” focus.

Sorry.

Looks Like They’re Done Working on Fell and Masonic – How Long Will “DOUBLE RIGHT TURN” Last?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

This was yesterday morning, with the crew packing up, after weeks of work:

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And this was yesterday evening – it looks like they’re done?

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So what’s the deal here? Are they going to pull up the tape on the intersection what forces cars in the right lane to turn right and then lay down some permanent lines, or are they going to go back to the way it was before, back when you had the option of going straight or right?

Maybe that’s what the orange on the signs means, that these changes were only temporary? Or maybe the orange means, “Hey look, here is the new rule?”

I can’t tell.

But if all they were doing was fixing up that corner of the intersection, then what did they do? It looks exactly the same to me. And why did it take weeks?

On It Goes…

San Francisco’s “Night Ministry” Ventures Out in the Daytime

Monday, March 16th, 2015

As seen in Civic Center:

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I’ve never seen this.

Once Again, the “Respect The Neighborhood” Millionaire Homeowners of the Western Addition Get It Wrong: “POST NO SIGNS…”

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Here you go, a RESPECT THE NEIGHBORHOOD notice in the Western Addition.

This isn’t a named part of the Western Addition I don’t think – it’s a bit east of the NoPA and the Alamo Square, but the NIMBY mentality is just the same as in those microhoods of the WA.

Legally, this is WRONG WRONG WRONG:

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And now it’s time for IRL

The public may post information on some utility poles if the postings follow regulations outlined in Article 5.6 of the Public Works Code. The law was adopted to ensure that flyers posted on public property do not contribute to litter or blight. Illegal postings in the public right of way may be removed by DPW’s Bureau of Street Environmental Services and are subject to fines from $100 to $500.  Call 311 to report.

Signs are defined as any card, decoration, poster, campaign sign, or any object containing or bearing writing that is affixed, posted or fastened to a utility or light pole that is permanently attached to the street or sidewalk.  Signs do not include handbills, banners or A-Frame boards. Bulletin boards designed for neighborhood postings are exempt from this regulation.

Signs attached to buildings and on private property are regulated by Part II Chapter I of the Building Code and violationsshould be reported to the Department of City Planning’s Code Enforcement or call 311 to report.

Tips for Legally Posting Signs on Public Property

To legally place a sign on a utility pole, it must:

Be less than 11 inches in height

No higher than 12 feet from the ground

Conform to the shape of the pole

Be attached with tape or other non-adhesive material such as twine, string or other non-metal banding material

Include a legible posting date in the lower right hand corner

Be removed after 10 days, if the sign is promoting a date specific event

Be removed within 70 days of the posting date

Not be installed on historic street light poles*, traffic signal poles or traffic directional sign poles.

* Historic street light poles are on these streets:

Market Street from 1 Market to 2490 Market

Mission Street from 16th Street to 24th Street

Grant Avenue from Bush Street to Broadway Street

The Embarcadero from King Street to Jefferson Street

Lamp Posts on Fisherman’s Wharf from Hyde to Powell

Howard Street from 3rd Street to 4th Street

Lamp Posts within Union Square

Mason Street from Market to Sutter

Sutter Street from Mason to Kearny

Kearny Street from Bush to Market”

National Media Embraces the Term Twitterloin – First the New York Times and Now Fortune: “Welcome to the Twitterloin”

Monday, March 9th, 2015

Here’s the latest from Fortune:

Welcome to the Twitterloin, where tech-savvy cool meets gritty hood by Michal Lev-Ram

And that comes on the heels of this recent bit in the NYT:

As Wealth Changes the Tenderloin, a Move to Preserve Artistic ‘Gems’” by PATRICIA LEIGH BROWN

So what are the borders of the Twitterloin? Well, it depends.

For some, this portmanteau dating from 2009 means the Tenderloin itself, and others think it refers to a place at the southern* “edge of the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood.”

And then there’s this map of the “Twitter Tax Break” zone – it’s sort of shaped like the number 7:

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(Oddly, an unelected mansion-dwelling white man from the east bay played a signif role in creating the borders of this map. Isn’t that strange?)

And here’s a little more on the history of the Twitterloin:

Prospective Twitter Landlord Gave Newsom Rent Deal by Gerry Shih

Oh, does this information challenge your notions? Sorry.

And, Heaven forfend, this Forbes bit is coming after “we” agreed to put the term Twitterloin “to bed once and for all” just a few months back.

Sorry.

(Oh hai! You’ve worked in SF media for “years and years” and yet you’ve never even heard of the term “Twitterloin” until you saw it in The Grey Lady in 2015? Whoo boy, you don’t get out into the field all that much, huh?)

Oh what’s that, you’re from SFGov or a taxpayer-funded org and you don’t like seeing auslanders use the T-word because EVERYTHING IS AWESOME under the regime of WillieBrownGavinNewsomEdLee? Well here’s your map then:

Now there’s a T-word you can get behind, huh?

And, more seriously, if you’re new in town, then this semi-recent (and perfectly legal!) pizza delivery no-go map is your lodestar:

Basically if you’re looking for trouble, start at 6th and Folsom, you know, on foot, and then head northwest and then take Eddy west all the way to Divisadero in the North of NoPA area. I’ll add, Gentle Visitor, that you’re not going to get killed or anything if you wander throughout the aspirationally-named “Uptown Tenderloin*” but it might go a little something like this.

Or here’s a safer way to get about the Twitterloin.

In closing, here’s the latest from Italy:

“Da Tenderloin a Twitterloin: con i “techie” cambia lo storico quartiere

È storicamente il quartiere più malfamato di San Francisco, dove convivono homeless e gira droga, ma che è vissuto anche da graffitari, gallerie che propongono i lavori di artisti indipendenti, ‘food trucks’ (i camioncini che vendono cibo di strada), teatri leggendari e case di riposo che il comune destina alle persone con il reddito più basso, disoccupati e agli invalidi. Da quando sono arrivate le compagnie del “tech boom” che hanno scelto di stanziarsi dentro la città e lontane dalla Silicon Valley, il Tenderloin è stato però ribattezzato il “Twitterloin”: qui hanno sede le compagnie di Jack Dorsey, Twitter e Square, il quartier generale di Uber, e anche Yahoo! sta a poca distanza. L’arrivo delle grandi società sta cambiando rapidamente il volto del quartiere, spazzando via l’arte di strada e anche il carattere vibrante che per anni ha animato la zona. E, naturalmente, facendo aumentare in brevissimo tempo il prezzo degli affitti (testi e foto di Viviana Devoto e Kegan Marling).”

There’s your Twitterloin Update 2015.

*Cf. Tendernob, at the northern edge close to Nob Hill. 

Wild Wild West: What Happens When the Traffic Signals at Sloat and Great Highway Start Flashing Red

Friday, March 6th, 2015

This was the  the cause of a lot of the problems the other day – the light at Sloat and Great Highway flashing red. So traffic backed up into Lake Merced:

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In most towns, the cops would care about something like this, but in SF it’s up to the SFMTA to care, and it doesn’t really care, so bike riders heading north didn’t know where to go – they went all over, on the sand, on vegetation, on the sidewalks. and lane-splitting was an option as well:

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These guys heading south had to pick up their road bikes and carry them for a while after being forced into the sand:

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Speaking of which, this MUNI bus looked abandoned in the dunes. I think operators park them here to allow car drivers to use the traffic circle to get back to the intersection, cause, you know, its wheels are to big to get caught in a little sand, right? Well…

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…this ride here got totally stuck in a just a little sand. It was sad. (Photos altered to protect the embarrassed.) Help seemed to be far far away as cars behind got blocked in the circle:

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Do you need to hang a left to get a nice free parking space? Sure, what’s a few lanes of stalled traffic?

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And then there’s just your normal Great Highway, with horrible pedestrians in between crosswalks…

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…and improperly in crosswalks:

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And there’s the sand again, always the sand:

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Or no sand  – I’ll tell you, I wouldn’t dream of ever being on this side of the line, but perhaps that’s a quarter century of SF County living talking, IDK. So really, you don’t want to use that bike lane up there, or that other one to the right of you, huh? OK

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And the live aboard RVs – they’ll get hidden away come nighttime of course.

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That’s life out west, where every day is Do What You Feel Day.

SPUR, the Urban Renewal people, have a plan to “renew” this area. IDK, they’ve had a pretty bad record over the years and decades, right? And they seem to love SFGov’s current Willie Brown orientation.

Anyway, they have a roadshow to sell  people on their ideas. You should check it out sometime to see the promised Bright New Future, the promised New Gold Dream.