See? Inbound Market at Octavia in early 2007, no cones, no Safe Hit posts, no nothing:
Consequently, drivers would gain access to freeways taking them to the east bay and the south bay by making illegal right turns. See how this harried yuppie pilots his SAAB into an innocent cyclist? T’pau! The cyclist wasn’t hurt all that bad, but others were.
A traffic study showed that reverse-commuters were making an average of one dangerous, illegal turn every two signal cycles. Here’s the report, from early 2007.
But then, Someone said, “Let there be light-weight cones ‘n stuff placed on the painted line dividing the bike and car lanes.”
And it was good. Or good enough for a quick fix anyway.
These posts and cones, along with other efforts such as stepped-up traffic enforcement from the CHP and SFPD, had an immediate effect. Here’s the follow-up traffic report showing a 90% reduction in the number of illegal turns.
But what about the remaining 10% of drivers who would run over the posts like this?
Well, what about a traffic island, as seen in this Photoshopped proposal from 2007?
Well guess what? After an investment of $50k and a lot of time, we got our island IRL.
So, these days, the intersection looks like this:
But there are no Photo Enforced signs. Why’s that?
Fiona Ma, along with a few of her pol pals, made an effort a couple years back but it wasn’t enough.
Well, comes now the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to say:
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano is sponsoring a bill (AB 2729) which will allow San Francisco to use camera enforcement to ticket drivers who make the illegal right turn. The SF Bicycle Coalition thinks that camera enforcement is a smart solution for this notoriously dangerous intersection. Currently, there is almost no enforcement happening. We need public testimony from people who have been hit by a motorist or have had other bad experiences at that intersection to build support for this new bill.
The bill will be heard by its first committee next week, so if you are one of the unlucky folks who has a story to tell, please take a moment now to write down the details of your encounter and email them to Marc!
So, Tom, who knows all about Octavia, is now giving traffic cameras a go.
(R.I.P. Octavia Lounge)
Good luck Tom.
But what of today? Are drivers still making that illegal turn a couple of years after the island installation? Sounds like it’s time for a new traffic study.
Well, here it is.
Exactly zero drivers made an illegal turn from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM this morning. That’s the same time period measured back in 2007.
However, one driver tried to make a turn, but couldn’t do it easily because he (it’s always a he, am I right ladies?) was blocked by cyclists that he noticed at the last second. So he gave up and went south of Market to get onto the freeway. Amazingly, he wasn’t driving a BMW, Audi or a SAAB. There he is, in the grey Mazda 3 you can see here:
So, can we use some cameras here? Sure, why not?
Now, let’s not get into how we got saddled with Octavia and all its problems. That ivory tower academic from across the estuary already took our money and collected her awards so it’s unlikely she’d want to revisit her creation. Actually, she’s off to laboring on Masonic, where there’s simply no way her notions can hurt people and mess up traffic more than horrible Octavia does now. So that’s a good thing. Anyway, she feels any troubles associated with Octavia are San Francisco’s fault, so you can’t even count her as a defender of this massive planning failure.
(Speaking of which, should we now have traffic engineers work as urban planners, considering that urban planners and architects have gotten into traffic engineering lately? It would only be fair. Oh well.)
You know, down in Mexico City, a ward heeler faced with something like our right turn situation on Octavia would get a crew going and have a concrete traffic island curing in the pouring sun by the next day. It took us about a thousand times longer than that, but we got our island and there are people walking around today because of it.
But it certainly would be nice to have a camera or two to complete the job…