Our Inefficient, Money-Hungry SFMTA Wants to Start Issuing Speeding Tickets, But Somehow “They Would Not Be Moving Violations?!”

May 21st, 2015

Oh, this one’s easy  – we’re going to go from zero to Orwellian in ten seconds.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines:

SFMTA Pushing For Speed Cameras In San Francisco To Improve Pedestrian Safety by Cate Cauguiran

And here’s your nut graf:

“SFMTA plans to present their proposal to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority later this week. The agency says the citations would not be moving violations, and therefore not reportable to the DMV.”

Now let’s review – Papa Homer, what’s a “moving violation?

A moving violation is a violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term “motion” distinguishes it from other motor vehicle violations, such as paperwork violations (which include violations involving automobile insurance, registration and inspection), parking violations, or equipment violations.”

So, if the parking ticket agency gives a ticket for speeding, it’s issuing moving violations, right? Now tell us more, Wiki:

While some violations, like parking violations, are civil matters involving a vehicle’s owner, moving violations are charged against the actual driver.

Yep. And then there’s this:

The most commonly enforced moving violation, and the overwhelmingly most frequent reason for a vehicle pullover, are violations of the speed limit.

And what’s the motivation for the SFMTA to float this balloon?

Sometimes tickets are used in a speed trap as a form of fundraising

I don’t use the term “speed trap” myself, but, yes, our SFMTA is obsessed with “fundraising,” certainly.

And lastly:

Examples of moving violations: speeding, which can be exceeding a limit or simply driving an unsafe speed…

Thanks Wiki! And actually, a speeding ticket is the prototypical moving violation, in Frisco and everywhere else too.

Now I’ll tell you, I was surprised earlier this year to see the SFMTA issuing “block the box” tickets, because sometimes the SFMTA DPT shows up at an intersection during rush hour to unblock the box, not to make money from block boxing. And yet, here you go:

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This is a DPT PCO in the middle of the intersection of Bush and Sansome shooting fish in a barrel – busting three vehicles, and then she was Gone In 60 Seconds.

And I thought, well, I suppose the drivers here are parked since they’re idling away, motionless, for a long time, so sure, ticket away, SFMTA, even though you’ve timed the lights to exacerbate this situation, but anyway, sure, these are parking tickets, fine.

But if you want to start issuing moving violation tickets, you shouldn’t lie about it. (I’ll tell you, sometimes I can’t tell if the SFMTA lies on purpose or if it just doesn’t know what it’s doing.)

Now, here’s my MODEST PROPOSAL - traffic cameras for pedestrians, mounted over crosswalks. The cameras would record all the peds who jump the light by starting across a second or two early and then a ticket for $100 would get mailed to the offenders after facial recognition ID’s the peds. (Gentle Reader, did you know that most ped deaths last year on the Streets of San Francisco were the fault of the peds themselves? It’s sort of a secret. It wasn’t a blowout or anything, the peds “won” this competition by 50-something percent, vs. the drivers’ 40-something percent, but isn’t it ironic, dont’cha think, that enforcing the vehicle code upon peds, as unpopular as this might be, could reduce traffic deaths more than how SFGov has handled matters up ’til now? Anyway, I’m talking about how the SFPD apportioned ped deaths in SF in 2014. But don’t talk about it, oh no – that might get you transferred to the Airport Detail, srsly. And bonus! Our new ped cams could “also help us as an investigative tool if someone is committing a crime somewhere nearby.” Moving on…)

Of course, the reason why SFGov wants to go Full Orwell is that paying sworn officers to issue tickets is inefficient and expensive. OTOH, an automatic system, backed up by an appeals mechanism to make everything constitutional, could generate tons of money for the SFMTA, like almost as much as its Household Transit Tax fantasy that it would impose on you, Gentle Reader, in a New York minute, if it could. (It’s what Ed Reiskin dreams of at night – your transit tax would be added to your tax returns, easy peasy, what a dream!)

Anyway, I think saying that a moving violation isn’t is worthy of five Orwells, on a scale of zero to five Orwells:

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All the way to the bottom, Maggie SFMTA – you’ve made it!

Frisco Housing, the Way You Like It, With All Sorts of Tiny Details – You Know, Just for Decoration

May 20th, 2015

As seen on Post, in the Western Addition:

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Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There’s a beige one and a beige one
And a beige one and a beige one,
And they’re all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Artisanal Gas: “The Tires In This Vehicle Have Been Filled With Nitrogen” – An Institute for Nitrogen?

May 20th, 2015

OMG:

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Here’s the spiel from the “Get Nitrogen Institute,” complete with a promotional video from Jay Leno.

And here’s Click and Clack on this subject.

And here’s a dude what says the whole idea is a scam.

Now do I think the world needs a Nitrogen Institute? No, I do not.

And do I think this sticker on this car’s window is laughable?

Yes, yes I do.

END OF LINE

Drivers Still Haven’t Gotten Used to the Unique Left-Turn Setup at Fell and Masonic

May 20th, 2015

And I don’t think they ever will.

In this case, the driver of the blue Toyota SUV was trying to turn left to southbound Masonic from Fell. The problem was that this lane is straight-only, so the driver of the larger white SUV laid on the horn for more than ten seconds:

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Then the green arrow for the left turn lane came on, so the green Ford pickup made the lega turn and the offending driver followed, illegally from the wrong lane:

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Perhaps the offending driver thought s/he was in the right, IDK.

This isn’t how I’d set things up here, but anyway…

The SFMTA’s Current Approach to Bikes in the Broadway Tunnel Doesn’t Seem Better Than the Old Approach

May 19th, 2015

After years of work and study…

BROADWAY TUNNEL BICYCLE PROJECT: Staff has sent a work order to
the Signal Shop to have the bicycle symbol flash when turned on. (No
updates)

…this the result, eastbound – a blank, nonsensical, K-Mart-looking diamond what lights up when cyclists are sensed in the BT:

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The old method of alerting drivers was similar, but it actually made sense to drivers when it wasn’t operating.

(The SFMTA seems to think that dreaming up crazy new ideas is its obligation – if you’ve never seen things before anywhere else in the world, that’s proof that the SFMTA is showing “leadership,” apparently)

Now here it is when it’s actually working, which I’ve never seen before, courtesy of Google Maps (from the northern lane – G gives you a choice):

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The big issue is how to handle bikes in the tunnel.

My method, westbound, from Chinesetown, is to walk the bike unless I see the rare ped, and then I dismount and stop while the ped passes me. In practice, this usually means riding all the way through. I think this is agin the current rules, but I don’t think I’m risking getting a ticket or anything.

Now eastbound is a different story, since the grade is generally working your way. The technique is to wait for a wave of traffic to go through and then enter when drivers idle at the red at Larkin. You’ll have a few cars pass you, but that’s better than just blithely ignoring traffic the way most do. Or, you can just ride on the sidewalk, remembering that you’re a second-class citizen when doing so.

Anyway, it seems that the generally dull-witted SFMTA is sophisticated enough to understand that going east and west is different thang here, so that’s good.

So do we want to encourage people to ride through this tunnel? IDK. I’ll tell you, westbound, uphill on the Geary Tunnel is worse and the Stockton Tunnel is way better.

I don’t know what the options are at the Broadway Tunnel. I’m sure most of them are very expensive…

Marina District Pet Store Update: Is This a Hated Chain Store Like Pet Food Express or a Beloved Local Store?

May 19th, 2015

I can’t tell, and that’s sort of my point…

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One wonders about all this stress and strife

(One wants [or SHOULD want to, anyway] to live the sporting life)

Leaving you with this

“It doesn’t matter whether a cat [PET FOOD STORE] is white [LOCAL] or black [A CHAIN], as long as it catches mice.”

Parking On The Lawn, Frisco-Style, Special Western Addition Gentrifier Edition, Complete with a Volvo Wagon

May 18th, 2015

I think a Smart Car could actually fit in this “parking space” in the Western Addition and I also think that this Volvo overhangs the public sidewalk on a daily basis, you know, for the past few years:

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Verdict: Yellow Card. This is a clever solution for saving money, but not executed 100% properly.

Oh, So This is Why San Francisco Has a Gigantic, Wasteful, Expensive, Underfunded, Profitable Street-Sweeping Program

May 18th, 2015

Here’s a block on Laguna:

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Of course most blocks in San Francisco get swept waaaaaay too often, even after the recent relaxation in scheduling that some areas enjoy.

So my conclusion is that street-sweeping isn’t 100% a scam for SFGov to make money, it’s just mostly a scam. And who’s going to pay for health care for street sweeper workers a half decade from now? Well, that’s SEP (Someone Else’s Problem), that’s something for the Next Mayor to work out…

Surprise! Bicycle Use in San Francisco Has Stopped Growing on a Per Capita Basis, Per This Official Report

May 18th, 2015

Here it is, a brand-new SFMTA PDF, published in May 2015:

Annual Bicycle Count Survey 2014

And here’s your nut graf, on the topic of Bicycle Use, as seen on Page 5:

“2013 vs 2014: … 1% increase.”

And here’s your summary, also seen on Page 5:

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Now let’s add in a little population growth in the 2013-2014 period:

It’s boom time in San Francisco: Population, jobs are growing

And all this adds up to the headline above.

(And, coincidentally, these are the days of falling membership at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, from a claimed “over 12,000″ to well less than 10,000 these days.)

What can explain this all?

There’s no SF Bicycle Plan injunction preventing new construction these days – that ended a while back, right?

And the weather – the weather the past few years has probably been most bike-friendly since before the First San Francisco Bicycle Boom back in the 1800’s.

Here’s the reaction so far – I’ll show all that I can find, which isn’t all that much:

Grab your pom poms:

Tim Papandreou ‏@tpap_ May 15 2014 SF bike count report is up! 206% increase in cycling since 2006! Go team!”

So I guess we’d call this spin? I mean this report, or something like it, comes out every year, right? And we already knew* about the Great Fixie Craze Of The Late Aughts what made bikes cool again, so why focus upon what we already knew? The new news here, the actual news, is that Bicycle Use in San Francisco Has Stopped Growing on a Per Capita Basis, right? Moving on…

…to this, from Stuart Rob Anderson’s Black Angus Steakhouse Square Cow Fun Bar District Five Diary

Bicycle count report: “Bicycle use slowed down with 1% increase”

The bicycle Count report: A closer look

I should point out that a “1% increase” is an actual increase and not a “decrease.” And also, the reported increase is actually a little bit more than 1.5% IRL, so that’s on a par with the population increase over the same period – I mean, it’s a really close call here. The big point is that the recent era of rapid growth has ended.

I can see why SFGov wanted to delay this news until Bike To Work Day 2015…

*Or I should say I already knew, since I have more years decades hours miles on a bike in San Francisco than you, Gentle Reader, or anybody at the SFBC, or anybody at the SFMTA for that matter. Yes, bike use in SF is way up since the 1980’s, since the 1990’s, since the mid-aughts, yes, freely conceded.

Isaac Mukandi Mwangi Wins the 2015 Bay to Breakers Fun Run – Notable Costumes? The Season One Serial Podcast

May 17th, 2015

There he is, in the middle, at about the middle of the race:

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I gotta say, man, the rich white aging homeowners of the Western Addition have really managed to suck a lot of life out of this event – take a look at fan turnout at the Fell and Masonic area just after the front runners had cruised by:

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And now part of your entrance fee goes to paying off some of the millionaire homeowners groups so they don’t complain as much? OK fine.

And here are your costume winners – the Season One Serial podcast:

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I guess that’s Adnan’s Nokia calling Nisha, a high school mash note, convicted killer Adnan, and a Baltimore area Best Buy store.