Bike Lane to Nowhere, Fulton Street: Your SFMTA at Work

July 18th, 2014

Actually, cyclists don’t really need a dedicated bike lane on Fulton, but a little space would be nice.

There used to be space on outbound Fulton here in the Western Addition, but now its filled with cars parked 90 degrees the wrong way for a couple of blocks.

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Oh well.

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

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

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…

Physical Graffiti: “A Pearl of a City, San Francisco, Call it a Diamond of a Spirit”

July 18th, 2014

A bit wordy for vandalism, but here it is:

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A spirit with a vision is a dream with a mission…

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

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.

Little-Known Fact: It’s Currently ILLEGAL for TNC’s Like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar to Pick Up or Drop Off Passengers at SFO

July 17th, 2014

Sidecar driver Eric of Baghdad By The Bay has the deets.

Now here is where San Francisco Police Department Commander / fully-license CA attorney Richard Corriea distinguishes betwixt picking up and dropping off, but I don’t know how operational that distinction is currently.

I mean, for example, a cabbie out of a non-San Francisco locale such as Daly City is currently allowed to drop off fares legally but is not allowed to pick up anywhere at SFO. To do so is a misdemeanor. (Even San Francisco hacks are prevented from picking up at SFO without first paying a fee* and waiting in line.) So I guess there’s still a distinction, but Eric is saying there isn’t one anymore as far as TNC’s are concerned.

Here’s what I didn’t know, from Eric’s report of July 16th, 2014:

“Some of the TNC’s are being a bit passive aggressively defiant in that they are telling drivers they will cover the cost of the ticket [which I have heard runs between $220-$600 depending on what they write you up on], but they aren’t telling drivers not to take people to the airport. This makes some of these TNC’s look bad to the CPUC who has given them the right to operate in California. Sidecar has officially told all of it’s drivers to not accept rides to or from SFO and that is easy because riders have to put in their destination when they request a ride. Sidecar is also working on blocking requests to the airport until they can resolve the problem with SFO. Those other TNC’s aren’t doing this.”

If I were a TNC driver, I don’t know how happy I’d be after getting $600 from my employer as compensation for a misdemeanor rap.

I’ll tell you, I don’t know how proud SFGov should be of the existing taxi system.

For example,  here’s a fully-licensed and insured and regulated San Francisco taxi taking tourists from SFO to SF in 2010. They died.

Will TNC cars end up catching on fire and killing people? We’ll see.

I’m sure that this sitch will sort itself out sooner or later, but things are pretty messed up right now…

*Back in the 1990′s, some SF taxi drivers would also pay a bribe to get to the front of the line. At SFO, there are SFGov employees called “starters” who organize taxi operations. A system was set up to allow drivers who paid a $5 bribe to improperly get into the “short” line of drivers waiting to pick up arriving passengers. So a driver might end up paying $60 in bribes but get in exchange receive twelve or so lucrative “airport runs” in just one shift. So I guess this was a win-win for the bribe offerer and bribe receiver…  

An Unusual Traffic Scheme at Masonic and O’Farrell: Left-Turning Cars > Pedestrians? The Planning Gods Must Be Crazy

July 17th, 2014

For some reason, the Golden Gods of the Planning Department / the SFMTA, the very same people who clamored for parking meters to operate on Sundays until they got it only to then say that they DIDN’T want it after all, unanimously, have set up an unusual traffic timing scheme at Masonic and O’Farrell. It’s unique.

Southbound drivers turning left get to go first, before car and bus drivers coming north and before peds on the east side of the street.

This is so that southbound drivers can make a U-turn and then a quick right to make into the small lower-level parking lot of the new City Target. About four drivers go left / hang a Louie at the start of each light cycle:

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I approve not.

Now if you want to say that SFGov had a rational basis for doing this after some big study, well then maybe. But having peds wait seven seconds to go after the light turns green is contrary to every impulse every ped has.

For some reason, Planning or the SFMTA or whomever feel that its their responsibility to be at the forefront of experimentation with traffic. Like its their sacred duty or something.

I understand that they would freely admit that this is a kludge fix to accommodate the newly-opened Target store. I understand that they would say that this is temporary until the New Masonic Plan gets going. I understand that there’s a concern about southbound traffic backing up and possibly blocking eastbound and westbound traffic on Geary. BUT EVEN SO, this left arrow scheme at O’Farrell is NOT THE WAY TO GO. There are other ways of doing of what SFGov is trying to accomplish.

There are better ways of doing this.

The Giant Gnomons of The Bayview – Steel is Real – Track This Sundial to Hilltop Park

July 17th, 2014

Here’s is all I know about the giant sundial:

This sundial is located in Hilltop Park in the Bayview District of San Francisco. The steel gnomon is 78 feet long.”

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Big, isn’t it?

Presenting the Newish Sidewalks of Arguello in the Presidio: The “Arguello Gap Closure Project”

July 16th, 2014

I’ll tell you man, at first I didn’t notice this change on Arguello in the Presidio, the Arguello Gap Closure Project.

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Anyway, enjoy.

Improves pedestrian and bicyclist safety by widening road to provide:

• New pedestrian path
• New bike lanes with lane markings and  signage
• Addresses gap in pedestrian and bicycle network between southern portion of the Presidio with the Main Post
• Relocation of street lights
• Updated storm drain infrastructure”

Hot Tub Time Machine! Don’t You Want to Party on this Aging Party Boat / Tech Incubator Tied Up at Pier 50?

July 16th, 2014

Here it is, the Maritol, seen with One Rincon in the background:

And here’s the famed on-deck hot tub, camera right:

I’ll tell you, I can’t imagine a boat like this being a party boat without its hot tub and I can’t imagine any boat like this with a hot tub not being a party boat.

So deny it all you want, party boat owners - nobody believes you.