Posts Tagged ‘2014’

How the SFMTA Gave Up Its Experiment at the Deadly Intersection of Yorba and Sunset

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

I’ll tell you, our SFMTA is addicted to crazy new ideas. So like if you have an idea that’s untested, and it’s a little out there, you know, a little crazy, or crazy enough that it just might work, well our SFMTA would just loooooove to hear about it.

As it was at Yorba and Sunset. This place was a mess, with HAWK lights that never turned red – what was the point of having a pedestrian-activated light that never turned red? What other cities do things this way?

Here’s what things looked like last year:

 

And here’s how things look now, with a normal signal, one that’s much more effective than the SMART-whatever experiment that was going on before:

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So who was responsible for the HAWK beacon idea?

Nobody?

Oh, okay.

How the Magic Word “VisionZero” Has NOT Changed the SFMTA’s Half-Assed Approach to Transportation Safety: “Focus On The Five”

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Here’s the SFMTA’s official six-figure-a-year spokesperson on the topic of when pedestrians can cross a street, from just last year:

“They can start whenever they want,” Rose said.”

Of course this is wrong, as even Paul Rose himself would admit now, after being corrected.

So, why did he say that? Because he, like his employer, has a half-assed approach to safety, and, one supposes, he, like his employer, is mired in politics.

Now do you suppose that Paul Rose was at all interested in examining why he told the peds of San Francisco that it was A-OK for them to violate CA state law? Oh no, not at all. And do you think he checked with anyone before he spouted off? Prolly not.

Like I say, a half-assed approach.

Now we’re in 2015, the era of SF VisionZero 2024, which has the goal, one that nobody actually believes in, but they have to pretend that they do believe in it, of having no more transportation deaths in San Francisco County starting in 2024 and continuing in perpetuity.

It’ll look a little something like this, supposedly:

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Now do you see the beauty in this? By the time SFGov fails to achieve this impossible goal, all the people who glibly made the promise will be out of office, right? How convenient.

The big problem with the approach that SFGov is taking is assuming that traffic deaths are a street design issue, as opposed to a human behavior issue. So most of the emphasis appears to be upon SFGov spending more money, which of course SFGov loves to do anyway.

And the part of VisionZero SF that’s focuses on behavior seems misplaced, for political reasons.

For example, there’s this:

Focus on the Five – Using multi-year collision data, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is focusing on enforcing the five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking. The goal is to have half their traffic citations be for these five violations.”

So if the SFPD started handing out tickets for jaywalking, you know, in a big way, that would certainly help with traffic safety, over the long term, to at least a slight degree, but that would take the SFPD away from its “Focus On The Five” goal.

The problem with Focus On The Five is that it ignores Vehicle Code violations on behalf of pedestrians, one supposes for political reasons. In fact, the cause of most pedestrian and cyclist deaths last year in San Francisco was the behavior of the pedestrians and cyclists themselves.

And what’s this talk about “automated enforcement?” How about this, how about hooking up all of the SFMTA’s vehicles to an automated enforcement mechanism that would detect speed limit, stop sign and red light violations using on board sensors and GPS? Then, after Ed Reiskin parks his government-paid SFMTA car or an operator parks her bus, SFPD tickets would be issued, you know, daily. Whoo boy, what are the odds of something like that happening?

So that’s SF VisionZero 2024, a buzz-phrase that means absolutely nothing.

 

 

Look Who Else was Doing Chalk Ads on the Sidewalks of San Francisco: Paramount Pictures – “What is CLOVERFIELD? 1-18-08″

Monday, February 9th, 2015

This one flew under the radar, AFAIK:

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Seven years later, here in 2015, you can’t get away this kind of thing anymore…

Uber Beats Lyft Again! – They Both Put Illegal Chalk Ads on Our Sidewalks, But Only Lyft Gets Busted – Plus, a Shakedown

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

A couple years back I passed by this scene on Market, so then I contacted the Uber people by email on my cell…

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…and I was all, “Can you do that? I don’t think you can do that.”

Why? Because it’s a chalk ad on a Frisco sidewalk and that aint kosher. I mean, I didn’t know for sure, maybe somebody had approved this and the Uber people had permits, who knows. I was simply “issue-spotting,” as they say.

So then, a half-hour later, the Uberers had these ads hastily obliterated, more or less, as best they could.

And that was that, back in 2013.

And now comes Lyft in 2015 with hopsc0tch chalk on the Streets of San Francisco:

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Except that SFGov is now lowering the boom on Lyft.

(And there might be some shakedown to take money from Lyft to give it to those ugly “SF Beautiful,” people, who are now infamous for suing the City and County of San Francisco? That sounds wrong.)

Anyway, Uber beats Lyft, once again.

NBC Spoils Its Own Internet Broadcast: Super Bowl XLIX Shown Time-Delayed, But the Score Ticker is Updated in Real Time

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

[UPDATE: Slate weighs in: NBC’s Super Bowl Live Stream Was Hugely Popular. It Was Also Terrible. By Will Oremus. OhI guess a couple interruptions delayed my feed so I could have pressed a button to catch up and then have had only a 30-second delay. IMO, this NBC live stream was BTN, Better Than Nothing – consider that praise if you want.]

Here’s a screen grab from NBC’s webcast of today’s Super Bowl:

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So if you had noticed the live score seen at the top of the screen, then you’d have known that the Seattle drive you were watching would end, SPOILER ALERT, in a field goal.

Cord cutting* comes at a price, so very high.

Just saying.

*Believe it or not, my town, the second-largest in the northern half of the state, has no NBC affiliate, so my aging 70 inch Sharp has zero chance of receiving KNTV out of San Joser using my rabbit ears, as I’m on the wrong side of Twin Peaks. Plus, I can’t go satellite as I have no view of the southern sky. And Comcast, well, Comcast is the Devil. Now last year, that was different, that was par-tay time (at least until the end, the very end of the game) at 720p on a decent, non-spoiler network. But this year, meh. Oh well.

The Reason Why the Late Winter Cherry Blossoms You’re Seeing in San Francisco ARE NOT Proof of Global Warming

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

What’s that, when you were a mere pup cherry trees blossomed in March or April and now you’re seeing blooms in late January and the start of February?

Like here on Grove yesterday, and all over SF pretty soon:

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But actually, the trees you’re seeing are actually flowering plums, which are known for their early blooms. So what you’re doing is comparing apples with oranges, or cherries with plums.

And actually, the plum blossoms are late this year, at least compared with recent history.

What’s that, plum and cherry are basically the same? NOPE. They’re in the same family, of course, but the flowering plums that you think are cherries are famous for early blooming.

What’s that, you just saw the blooms in Japantown, so you know you saw cherry trees? NOPE. J-town has a lot of new plum trees, for whatever reason.

What’s that, global warming IS happening? Well, no doubt, but that’s not the reason why you think the cherry trees of your youth are blooming three months earlier these days.

I’ll agree that these trees are closely related and that they look very similar.

(If you still don’t believe me, check the Urban Forest Map.)

Forget About 40’s, Anchor Steam Beer Has 50’s: SF Giants World Series Victory 2014 Magnum

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Or 1.5 litres, if you prefer:

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Here’s What San Francisco Chronicle Writer CW Nevius Gets Wrong About Our Failed Bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics

Friday, January 16th, 2015

I guess this will close out SF’s attempt to host the 2024 Olympics.

The weird thing about San Francisco’s bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics was that the local committee was this close to pulling off a terrific plan.

The vote was Boston 15 and San Francisco (and the other two) 0, was it not? That’s not all that close, huh? Or does he mean that the bay area’s bid was sub-terrific, like it was just one unit below being terrific? One can’t tell what the Nevius is trying to say here. San Francisco always was a long shot, right? And if SF got picked by the USOC, then it would have been a long shot to get picked by the IOC. And if the corrupt IOC had selected SF, then there was always the chance of things not working out anyway, ala the inchoate Denver 1976 Olympics. So, was this thing “close” or actually far far away? I’ll tell you, if I were the USOC, I’d tell all the boosters from all the cities how close things were and if I were the spokesmodel for SF2024, I’d tell Larry Baer how close he almost came. (“We were this close Lare-Bear!) But I’m not so I won’t. OTOH, CW Nevius got paid by the Chronicle to publish, more or less, what Nate Ballard wanted published, so here we are. “So close!”

Let’s see a show of hands. How many of you thought a temporary, pop-up $350 million Olympic stadium in the Brisbane wind tunnel was a good idea? 

The IOC doesn’t want any more images of white elephants haunting them through the decades. So, in their opinion, which is the only one that matters, pop-ups might be a good thing. As far as Brisbane vs. Oakland is concerned, how could it matter? Our hosting would have ended up costing 5, 10, 15 billion dollars more than the “official” bid, right? Isn’t that the real issue?

More on Oakland:

It would not only have been a terrific solution for the Games — better weather, easy access, waterfront views — it would have penciled out financially.

This is the same Nevius who moved to town and then a few months later determined that the failed America’s Cup would come “without a downside.” But it did come with a downside, or two or three or four, right? Moving on.

And, by the way, don’t think the United States Olympic Committee wasn’t hoping to make San Francisco work. Conventional wisdom was that Los Angeles had the facilities, Boston and Washington had the East Coast bias, but San Francisco was “the sexiest.”

Why does the Nevius use the term “conventional wisdom” here? What does he mean? Is he suggesting that this view wasn’t accurate? I don’t think so.  And what’s “East Coast bias?” Have the Summer Olympics ever been held on the East Coast of the United States ever in history? Nope. So there doesn’t seem to be too much bias there. Our Summer Olympicses have been held in the West (twice), the South and the Midwest. So WTF. Now, time zone-wise I can certainly see how advertisers worldwide would strongly prefer the EDT for live events, and that certainly was a factor favoring Boston. And I’ll say, that DC had no chance at all, as the IOC hates DC and all it stands for. And then the Nevius puts quote marks around “the sexiest?” Is this a an actual quote or is it merely the conventional wisdom? Hmmm

So what happened? Well, San Francisco happened. Or more specifically, the Bay Area, and particularly the fractious shenanigans in Oakland, made everyone nervous.

So, nothing happened, right? The USOC did its own polling and figured out that we don’t really want the Olympics here. That’s what happened. I wouldn’t describe that as San Francisco happened since this was and is a known known, right?

Every time someone touted the Bay Area as a location, someone else cued up the video of the Oakland protesters trashing a Christmas tree.

Whoa, Nelly! Is this literally true? Like “every time?” No, so who was actually doing this at all? Like, even once? Is the Nevius aware of the non-disparagement agreements that all the bid cities signed on to? Is he suggesting that somebody from the Boston bid “cued up” some video literally or is this a Nevius tone poem? I can’t tell. Not at all.

As one local Olympic insider suggested: “We are like the hot, crazy girl that everyone wants to sleep with. You never know what you’re going to get when you wake up in the morning.”

This quote is from Nate Ballard but he doesn’t want to own up to it? Weak. I’ll note that Nate Ballard isn’t quoted anywhere else in the Nevius bit. And did Larry Baer’s money go to somebody getting paid to talk about hot, crazy “girls” everybody wants to sleep with? That’s amazing. Anyway, this came from Nate Ballard – prove me wrong! I won’t disagree with the sentiment though. Yes, SF was the most “appealing” bid city, the city that the corrupt IOC would have the warmest feelings for, most likely.

Now make no mistake. It wasn’t just Oakland. Accounts of the years of debate and acrimony over the harmless Beach Chalet soccer fields in Golden Gate Park made the national news.

OK, so what are you saying here, Nevius? That spending money and effort trying to get the Olympics to come here is/was a bad idea, you know, considering? Is that what you mean to say, Nevius?

Nor was it helpful to hear that collecting enough signatures to get an initiative on the San Francisco ballot is incredibly easy.

So, CW Nevius from Walnut Creek doesn’t want the people of SF to be able to weigh in on spending 10, 15, 20 billion on an Olympic-sized boondoggle? Mmmm…

Suppose, for example, an initiative was passed that said no public money could be used for the Games.

Yep, that was what was coming, no doubt.

Would that mean no increase in funding for public transportation, which would be stressed for the Games? Or police and emergency services.

The answer to this question is that it doesn’t matter as such a vote would be more than enough to scare away the corrupt IOC and why would you continue along the boondoggle path after the People voted thumbs down? I mean, what kind of monster would do that? Here’s the thing – this is the IOC:

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That’s in terms that CW Nevius, that white, wizened, wine-drinking, Walnut Creekian Downton Abbey fan can appreciate. In fact, the IOC is like 10-15% royal blooded, like literally. The IOC has lots of ideas about how best to spend Other People’s Money on projects to glorify the IOC. But the IOC itself can’t afford to put on the show. That’s why it forces cities to guarantee the games with taxpayer money. There’s no way ’round this. So the IOC will not grant the Games to any city that doesn’t have a guarantee that the bill for the inevitable overruns will get sent to taxpayers. This is the Denver 1976 situation. It doesn’t take all that much to scare away the IOC.

Would we ever be able to get this together? Sure. It’s possible. The timing couldn’t have been much worse this year to put something together.

So, our bid was All About Oakland? I don’t think so. Perhaps this notion is comforting to Larry Baer, but I don’t think so. Perhaps SF bidding on the Olympics is fun, but it’s a bad idea? Perhaps?

But don’t think Boston is a slam dunk to win the international bid.

Who thinks Boston is a “slam dunk?” Where does this come from?

If anything, the anti-Olympics political forces in Boston — there’s a “No Boston Olympics” coalition — are more organized and more vociferous than the little band of naysayers here. 

Well, Nevius, the USOC did its own polling and it concluded that the political environment was worse here in SF. The reason why Boston’s citizen effort had a higher profile is that the bid in Boston had a higher profile, for whatever reason. And if a “little band” of naysayers would have had a very easy time winning its no-taxpayer-funds-for-the-Olympics vote, then they aren’t such a little band, right? Maybe SF doesn’t want to pay for the Olympics to come here – is that a possibility?

So now Nevius is rooting for Boston to lose the 2024 Olympics so that we can get the 2028 Olympics – that’s what Larry Baer and Nate Ballard are thinking?

OK fine, but I don’t think that’s going to work either.

CW Nevius should be able to do a better job than this.

Hurray! The Workers from FIXED, the Parking Ticket Fixing Startup, are No Longer Stapling Ads to Windshield Parking Tickets

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Back last year, people’d be stapling the ads for Fixed onto official SFMTA parking tickets.

I don’t know if they’ve given up on stapling altogether, but this paper clip is an encouraging sign

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Actually, I’d recommend that the profit-driven Fixed people not even touch an official SFMTA notice, but baby steps, baby steps.

How to Speak with an SFMTA MUNI PCO: With Your Hands

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

This gesture conversation with an Interceptor IV jockey went on for a while. I don’t think the SFMTA’s new “customer” was pleased with the transaction:

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I know that the PCOs “make money” for the City, but you’d think that part of the money they “make” would be used to fund their pensions / healthcare for life. You know, instead of sending the bill to The Future.

Someday, SF will get some de facto pension reform going.

Someday…