Archive for the ‘transit’ Category

Chill Techbro Zooms Uphill on the Streets of San Francisco on His Electric Skateboard Like It Aint No Thang

Friday, January 30th, 2015

A modern day warrior
Mean, mean stride
Today’s Tom Sawyer
Mean, mean pride

Though his mind is not for rent
Don’t put him down as arrogant
His reserve a quiet defense
Riding out the day’s events
The Projects

Balance, control and effortlessnessness – this Bro knows how to get around the Big City in a way that’s faster and cheaper than MUNI, America’s Slowest Big City Transit System.

Woosh, quiet and swift, passing cyclists and #5 Fultons on McAllister, in the Western Addition:

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The world is, the world is
Love and life are deep
Maybe as his eyes are wide

Exit the warrior
Today’s Tom Sawyer
He gets by on you
And the energy you trade
He gets right on to the friction of the day

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.

A Possible Defense for the Famous Red Light Running SFMTA MUNI Bus Driver in Golden Gate Park

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Here’s the sitch.

But you can’t actually see the bus driver run the red in this video:

Is there an all-red phase in the signal timing of this intersection? I assume so, but I don’t know.

The yellow line shown is about 200 feet long. It’s possible that a MUNI bus could enter the intersection on a yellow and then take six or seven seconds to clear it.

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Cars going the other way need to wait for traffic legally in the intersection to clear, under CA law, so even though you have a green light that doesn’t mean you necessarily have the right of way.

Car drivers, particularly those with a running start, need to be mindful of this.

An Unsustainable Train Line, at Lands End, ‘Til the Landslide Brought It Down

Friday, January 9th, 2015

Wow, this was a spectacularly bad idea:

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SFMTA Beach Party! – A New Wave of MUNI Drivers Chill Out West of La Playa – Training Coaches All Over the 415

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

For those of you our there who enjoy looking at pictures of MUNI vehicles, enjoy.

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This MUNI Bus Ad is Not the Way “Debunk” “Myths” About Homeless People

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Why not say this instead?

Most homeless people in San Francisco aren’t from San Francisco

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Care to debunk that “myth,” anyone?

No, OK. And actually, most residents of SF, both homed and homeless, are from somewhere else, right? Is that a bad thing? Oh, you think it’s a bad thing, or you think other people think it’s a bad thing?

And oh, so what you’re actually saying is that homeless people in SF sometimes find housing?

Oh, OK. So noted. But why do you need a bus ad for that? Oh, to “support MUNI?” So why don’t we just give the money directly to MUNI instead of letting you all siphon off most of the dough?

You know, sometimes leadership elements of monomaniacal nonprofits “frame” issues so much that they end up lying.

How does that help?

How does this ad help?

Cable Car Tokens from a Time When You Could Ride for Just 25 Cents, Before the 2300% Increase

Monday, December 29th, 2014

So back about 35 years ago, you’d blow into Frisco and corporations would just hand you tokens for a free cable car ride.

Why not, it made you happy and it was free advertising for the sponsoring organizations, like United Airlines, the St. Francis Hotel, Ghirardelli Square, TWA (RIP) and CP Airlines (also RIP).

Check it:

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Fares are 2300% higher these days, oh well.

Ed Reiskin Refuses to Comply with the SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council, So Let’s Run a Trial on Masonic Ourselves

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Here’s the Citizens Advisory Council’s recommendation that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, has refused:

“Motion 140122.01 – The SFMTA CAC recommends that the peak hour restrictions be repealed on Masonic Avenue between Geary and Fell Streets, with the objective to measure traffic impacts on the 43 Masonic prior to the implementation of the Masonic Avenue street design project.”

Why did he do that? Well, because a “success” for him is the SFMTA spending the money it’s been given to spend. So why should he do anything to interfere with that when he’s in the red zone already?

Anywho, you can read what he has to say about a test-run after the jump.

In view of this dysfunction, let’s run a Masonic “streetscape” trial of our own, shall we?

Let’s start here, northbound, on the 3000 foot stretch of Masonic that will soon be changed: 

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See the bus? It’s stopped at a bus stop, let’s imagine. That means that Masonic will be down to one lane inbound, you know, temporarily, during the morning drive. How will this affect traffic, do you suppose? How many minutes will it add to your commute each way, each day? Mmmm…

Since we’re imagining, imagine a large median filled with trees on either side of the double yellow line. Now is that for safety or for aesthetics? The answer is that it’s for aesthetics. Compare that with the SFMTA’s disastrous, expensive, deadly 105-foot-wide Octavia “Boulevard” / I-80 on ramp. Yes, it’s has a vegetated median as well. So, is “safety” the SFMTA’s “number one goal?” No, not at all. Its real goal is expanding its payroll and spending ever more money. So of course if you pressure it to do things you want done, like planting trees in the middle of the street, which, of course, has nothing to do with safety, it will happily comply.

Will any commuters benefit from these soon-to-come “improvements?” No, not at all. These changes are going to slow the commute way down and that will impede people in cars and MUNI buses. Did the SFMTA do any “outreach” to / with commuters? Nope. It didn’t feel like it. The SFMTA prefers to host meetings packed with “urbanists” and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition employees and members. Do these people represent “the public?” No, not at all. Yet the SFMTA claims do have done public outreach.

How will these changes to Masonic, the Great Connector, affect the surrounding area? We’ll just have to wait and see. If, later on, you raise any issues with the SFMTA about the negative effects of all their changes, they’ll be all, well, expand our budget even more and we’ll redo the project again to fix this and that.

Of course, the way to run the trial run would be simply take away all the parking spaces for a day or so, right? So what you’d do is just simply shut down the slow lanes as a test. This alternative would satisfry (mmmm, Satisfries…. R.I.P) at least some of the objections that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, mentioned.

Would Ed Reiskin want to try this alternative trial? No, not at all. (See above.) Mr. R will be happy to ignore all the complaints only after the tens of millions of dollars have been spent.

Do I think that a bunch of people riding MUNI and driving cars every day, tens of thousands of people, are going say, wow, my commute has really slowed down after all these changes so I’m going to join the handful of souls on bicycles huffing and puffing up this big hill? Nope. Some might, of course, but it won’t be any kind of meaningful number.

And do I think it’s honest for SFMTA employees to tell higher authorities that’s there’s no public opposition to these changes? Nope. Oh well.

All right, that’s the thought experiment. It looks like this one’s going to go like a bunch of other SFMTA-created initiatives, you know, like the ideologically-driven traffic circles,  the absurdly-wide Octavia “Boulevard,” the crazy re-striping of the east end of JFK Drive – they’ll just look at them all and then pat themselves on the back and hand each other awards for these “accomplishments,” these “successes.”

[UPDATE: Oh yeah, a couple people asked me if I approve of this project. And like, I live a block away, but it won’t really affect me, myself, I don’t think. Seems selfish to think now-hey-what-about-me, anyway. What ended up happening  with Octavia is that they really biased the lights in favor of Octavia, so people have to wait to a long time to get across the whole 105 foot width. So maybe it’ll be a 90-second wait to get across Masonic when all is said and done? IDK, it’s hard to predict how much the SFMTA is going to mess things up with this arbor project, this tree planting diversion. So, what will the affects be? Will commuters abandon Masonic? How will they get around instead? IDK]

On It Goes…

Now, as promised, a note from Ed Reiskin, after the jump

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Absurd MUNI 21 Hayes Bus Stop Situation (7 Stops for 6 Short Blocks) is Now Slightly Less Absurd – Thx SFMTA, Srsly

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Well here’s the official notice, seen in the Western Addition just north of the Panhandle and, I might add, just after election time:

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Click to expand

Mind you, these aren’t big big city blocks the likes of which you’ll find in SoMA or out in the Avenues. These are small blocks chock-a-block full of bus stops. Check it, and remember that Ashbury used to have stops as well.

So hurrah for the SFMTA.

Christmas CalTrain, 2014 – Old Engine #920

Monday, December 8th, 2014

(Oh, so that’s what the inside of a CalTrain station looks like. I’d never been.)

Engine 920, dolled up for the holidays, as seen in SoMA:

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