Posts Tagged ‘accidents’

Debunking the Debunkers: “Charles Vincent, Chris Bucchere, and the SFPD”

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Look what popped up in my inbox:

Saturday, March 28, 2015 Charles Vincent, Chris Bucchere, and SFPD

Take a look and then come back here – that’s how the dedebunking business works.

On March 2nd Charles Vincent, 66 years old, was riding his bike at the intersection of 14th and Folsom in San Francisco when…

When he ran a red light, per the SFPD police report (which I’ve ask to see, but haven’t seen yet), right? The problem with telling the story the way DJ Connel tells things, is that that makes it StreetsBlog-style advocacy journalism. Why not instead tell the story straight? Moving on.

“The DA is not gonna charge that person with a crime because…”

Because the DA would have to get a guilty verdict from a notoriously-slack San Francisco jury. By way of example, you and your GF can have about 14 drinks at the Foodies’ New Favorite Bay Area Restaurant and then run over a Eurpoean visitor and then stop and then move his bicycle off of the street(!) and then switch seats and then make a run for it and then, later on, you get a little bit of jail time, less than a year, perhaps just a few months. So that’s your because. IMO, a different question is whose fault the accident is. (I thought the PR said it was the cyclist’s?)

If someone is in violation of code, it’s sanctionable to kill them with your own violation?

Well maybe, it depends on how the violation relates to the harm. (I’ll point out that sanctionable is a particularly poor word choice here.)

Rewind to the Chris Bucchere case…. Chris rode his bike at approximately 31 mph…

Oh no no no. It was “at least 31 MPH.” If you want to go for “approximately,” then the answer if 35 MPH.

This case brought out a wave of rage against Chris, indeed against cyclists in general, which caused the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition to attack him…

Whoa, slow down here. What happened was that he got carried away with Strava, so he’d repeatedly “bomb” down segments of steep streets to see how fast he could complete the “Castro Street Bomb” or the “XXth Street Bomb” and, even though he was experienced with how pedestrians behave on Market street, he crossed over it way over the limit and then he made a bizarre post on the Internet. So if that’s what you want to simply call “the case,” that’s fine, but there’s a reason why this accident became international news. I certainly didn’t feel any “wave of rage” directed at me and I don’t think that the SFBC would have cheered him on absent any purported generalized wave of rage. The people who were really mad were on SF2G, boards like that. Bucchere was way off the scale.

Indeed there’s little question Chris was being reckless…”

Oh, this is quite an admission. The next step after reckless is purposeful, and nobody thinks this accident was purposeful, right? So, yes, pretty reckless. Something I do after I’ve entered an intersection legally, you know, IRL legally, is to stop just before the crosswalk at the far side of the intersection, so as to avoid hitting one or more of SF’s horrible peds. Too bad Bucchere couldn’t have thought of that. Or even slowing down a little bit – that could have helped a lot.

“But the question is here is one of fairness, whether drivers are treated comparably to cyclists…”

Well, let’s look at the case of Randolph Ang. No 35 MPH, no Strava “King of the Hill” aspirations, no internet ode to a bicycle helmet posted five hours later. He got community service, performed at, at least in part, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. No felony conviction, certainly. His post-accident behavior seemed more understandable, right?

The Bucchere case, on the other hand, went something like this: A: “That speeding cyclist blew through the stop sign and hit the pedestrians legally crossing the intersection – throw the book at him!” 

Uh no, for a lot of reasons. The people who voiced emotion against Bucchere, which included, of course, most of the cyclists who commented, (including one who said he’d feel embarrassed to continue wearing a jersey with a certain club name on it) didn’t really get into Sutchi Hui being legally in the crosswalk or not. And this wasn’t a California stop at a stop sign, as this intersection was and is controlled with electronic signals. No no, it was Bucchere’s attorney who talked about Bucchere entering the intersection “legally,” but of course this couldn’t have been true since he was speeding, so oh well to that. And big factors were what he posted online and his fascination with Strava

“But the video shows he [Bucchere] entered the intersection legally.”

Uh, do you mean on a yellow, DJ Connel? I think that’s what you mean. He was speeding though, right? Is speeding legal?

A: “Well, never mind that — he still plowed into those pedestrians legally crossing the intersection!”

Uh no, you’re putting words into peoples’ mouths here.

B: “But if he entered legally, and was near the speed limit, it’s impossible the pedestrians entered the intersection legally…

Whoa, whoa. He didn’t enter legally ’cause he was way over the limit, right?

A: “Well, never mind that — someone says he ran a stop sign during one of the blocks before the intersection.”

Well, stop signs – it looks like he did that too.

I’m not defending Bucchere…

Really? I think you are.

Amelie Le Moullac is just the most egregious of so many tragic cases where cyclists have been killed and blame-the-victim has been the first line of investigation.

Then cite all the many cases then, Dude. I don’t know, what about 2014? All of the deaths in SF were the fault of the cyclists themselves, right? Do you want to get into lessons learned here, DJ Connel? I don’t think you do.

You want to say that Bucchere was reckless but he was at the same time “legal.” You want to debunk myths, but you add some of your own.

So how does that help?

If you want to help, why not pour through all the police reports with at least one transportation-related fatality from last year. I’ll get you started, from a report I can’t link to, after the jump. Maybe you’ll learn something, IDK. Here’s something linkable, from Heather Knight. I’ll tell you, politically, this data proved to be unpopular with SFGov and, for whatever reason, the SFPD commander in charge of traffic got transferred to Timbuktu shortly after this bit came out. So there might be a bias involved, but not the kind you’re looking for.

All right, hop to it. For whatever reason, your blog is Google-worthy, so anything you write about Chris Bucchere gets sent out as a Google alert to those MSM journalists who haven’t yet cancelled their Bucchere Google Alerts. So, unlike any comments you might post on StreetsBlog, actual real nonactivists will look at what you have to say…

(more…)

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:

sdfhjjjjkj

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.

 

 

Here’s Why the SFPD’s “Focus On The Five” Traffic Enforcement Goal is At Least 40% Wrong

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Here’s your set-up, from The StreetsBlog:

“…only one of the 10 police stations is actually meeting its goal of issuing at least 50 percent of traffic citations for the five most common violations that cause pedestrian injuries.”

But, IRL the the five most common violations that cause pedestrian injuries actually  include:

CVC 21456 – Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk 

CVC 21954 – Pedestrians Outside Crosswalk / CVC 21955 – Crossing Between Controlled Intersections*

Under the CVC, jaywalkers can either be in a crosswalk (or close enough – if you’re one or two feet away, that might be close enough to be considered “in the crosswalk”) (and, of course, these can be marked or unmarked crosswalks) but doing something wrong (like starting too early or too late or going too fast (running) or too slow (just standing in the crosswalk, for ex.) OR crossing in the middle of a block.

If you look at the math, there’s no way that these violations can be out of the top five.

That’s just one reason why there’s not even a prayer of a chance that SFGov’s “Vision Zero” 2024 can “succeed.” (Oh what’s that, Sweden experimented with VisionZero and it succeeded? Well, not really. Oh what’s that, it was good to try anyway, even though they didn’t get to actual absolute zero, they had a big reduction in injuries? Well, France, among others, didn’t implement Vision Zero and yet it had greater success over a similar time period, right? Oh what’s that, Vision Zero is just a “framing” phrase, a meaningless platitude that pours old wine into new bottles? Well, finally we agree.)

Of course you’re never going to beat drivers Failing To Yield for the number of pedestrian deaths in San Francisco County. But do you think lying about things like Focus in The Five helps your cause?

And are there reasons why it’s far easier to comply with the demands of non-profit pressure groups in the Richmond District as opposed to other districts of San Francisco? Yes there are. Take the same Captain and put him/her in another district and then watch your compliance numbers fall. Why’s that? Do you suppose that the SFPD has a mission, has a job not 100% congruent with “urbanists” straight outta Park Slope and pricey prep schools like Punahou?

Something to think about.

*These are twins, basically. 

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: 

7J7C0082 copy

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 effects 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

(more…)

Octavia Boulevard Update: Anybody Who Claims This Short Road Has “High-Speed Motor Traffic” is Lying

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Simply.

Now if you want real “high-speed motor traffic,” well then look to the 280 freeway.

But if you want a poorly-designed glorified freeway offramp with lots of slow-moving bumper-to-bumper gridlock, well then Octavia is your bingo.

See? This is typical. Traffic has been jammed up here starting about a week after this road opened. This is exactly what low-speed traffic looks like: 

7J7C6717 copy

A note to advocacy journalists who think it’s their job to lie:

No it’s not!

Lying hurts your case. Lying doesn’t help your case.

 

POINT / COUNTERPOINT: TechCrunch on “AirPooler is Lyft for Private Airplanes”

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

AirPooler is Lyft for Private Airplanes

“Law prohibits private pilots from profiting from passengers so you only pay for your share of the cost of the flight plus a 20 percent fee to AirPooler”

UH, THE PILOTS _ARE_ PROFITING FROM PASSENGERS, ARGUABLY.

The Federal Aviation Administration also bars private plane pilots from advertising flights, which is why AirPooler is careful to never promote any specific flights.

THIS IS STARTING TO READ LIKE A PRESS RELEASE, TECH-CRUNCH!

It’s hired as its general council the former assistant chief council of regulation of the FAA to make sure it doesn’t break the law.

ALTHOUGH OF COURSE IT’S ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT AIRPOOLER WILL BE FOUND TO BE OUTSIDE OF THE REGULATIONS – OF COURSE HIRING ANY PARTICULAR PERSON DOESN’T CHANGE THIS FACT. ALSO, “assistant chief council” SHOULD BE “COUNSEL,” AS THE DUDE COUNSELS PEOPLE – THAT’S HOW YOU REMEMBER THE DIFFERENCE

So why the hell would you want to get in a stranger’s airplane? Because the alternatives, namely driving and commercial air travel, can be a nightmare.

OF COURSE CRASHING AND BURNING CAN BE A GENERAL AVIATION “NIGHTMARE” AS WELL, RIGHT?

It says to fly from Palo Alto to Tahoe using AirPooler it would take about an hour and cost $50.

ABOUT AN HOUR _AND SOMETHING_, MORE CORRECTLY, RIGHT?

Fifty-five percent of pilots in a small survey in Boston said they’d even add additional flights to take AirPooler passengers.

UH, THIS IS STARTING TO SOUND LIKE AN AIR TAXI TO ME

Lewis admits the core challenge will be gaining consumer mind share and convincing them AirPooler is safe and simple, which it might not be.

WELL, HOW REFRESHING. YES, GENERAL AVIATION ISN’T ALL THAT SAFE, INDEED. PLUS FIVE FOR GRYFFINDOR!

Luckily, prop planes are relatively safe compared to other transportation methods, and the planes can glide back to the ground in case of an engine failure.

WTF? MINUS 20 FOR GRYFFINDOR HOUSE! PROP PLANES ARE ABSOLUTELY NOT SAFE COMPARED WITH OTHER TRANSPORTATION METHODS. IN MOST GA MISHAPS, THE AIRPLANE AINT “GLIDING” WHEN IT TOUCHES GROUND. GENERAL AVIATION IS AT LEAST AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE _LESS_ SAFE THAN DRIVING ON THE FREEWAY*

Still, accidents are most common with pilots with fewer than 100 hours of experience.

WRONG! IRL, ACCIDENTS ARE MORE COMMON WITH PILOTS WITH _MORE_ THAN 100 HOURS OF EXPERIENCE.

As more of our formerly prized possessions like albums and photos get digitized, society is putting a higher and higher value on experiences.

WHAT?

ALL RIGHT, THAT’S MOST OF IT.

*OF LOVE, IN A PINK CADILLAC.

Wow, the Push to “STOP THE MASONIC PLAN” Seems to be Growing – But It’s Too Late, Right?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I’ll tell you, do you know how many residents put up signs to support using taxpayer money to decrease capacity on Masonic Avenue?

None, zero, nada.

But people on Masonic seem to love putting up signs going against the plan to take out 100-something parking spaces.

I don’t know why the electeds who voted for this project would change their minds now – it seems only a lawsuit* could  have any effect at this point.

The windmill tilting continues – this sign looks homemade:

You can’t fight City Hall, right?

*And even then, I don’t see how you’d win.

The “Save Masonic” People are Back Opposing Changes to Masonic Avenue – But Battle is Over – Serious Congestion Coming

Monday, July 29th, 2013

I’ll tell you, the “average,” the typical user of Masonic will in no way benefit from spending eight  figures worth of taxpayer dollars on a 3000 foot stretch of Masonic betwixt Fell and the new City Target Store up on Mervyn’s Heights at Geary.

And that’s sort of funny ’cause this recently-greenlighted project was billed as being “accommodating” to “all users,” as something that would benefit all.

Now myself, perhaps I’ll end up benefiting from the changes, we’ll see. But I live too close to Masonic to feel right about advocating ‘n stuff. Seems selfish. (I’ll tell you, I sure feel sorry for those living in the West Bay, out there in the Fog Belt.)

But you,  if you use Masonic to get from one place or another, you’re going to be fucked during the AM and PM drives. That’ll also include car drivers, and passengers, and bus drivers and passengers, etc. Cyclists will benefit but for peds, well, it won’t really matter. Abutting property owners will probably appreciate the new trees on the new useless medians. And that’s about it.

Where all the traffic will go during the morning and evening drives, well, we’ll see.

Anyway, here’s the latest:

Joshua Calder was pretty drunk when he killed Nils Linke, but the other driver, the one who killed the purported “jaywalking”  ped, wasn’t he DUI as well? (I’ll point out that both these deaths happened outside of the rush hours.)

Anyway, here are some more deets from the rebel forces:

“San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agencyis planning to remove all parking along Masonic Avenue from Fell Street to Geary Boulevard, reduce the travel lanes during rush hour so there will only be two lanes in each direction at all times (except the West (southbound) side of Masonic for the block between Hayes and Fell, which will be three lanes), install a concrete median strip with trees in the middle of the street, and install bike lanes at both curb lanes (concrete cycle tracks, above the roadway and below sidewalk level). There will be bus bulbouts, so when buses stop to load and unload passengers, only one travel lane will be moving. In order to cross Masonic and to access the bus stops, pedestrians will have to cross the cycle track. MTA estimates the project will cost $18.2 million. The actual final cost is anyone’s guess.The Masonic cycle track project will have the following impacts:
Be dangerous for cyclists and for drivers pulling out of driveways. Drivers’ ability to see cyclists will be limited. Also, cars pulling out of driveways on a busy street such as Masonic can only do so when motor vehicle traffic is stopped by a red light. Some cyclists don’t always obey traffic signals, vehicles could be pulling out of driveways when they don’t expect any traffic, only to hit an unexpected cyclist. Because some cyclists don’t use lights, this will be even more dangerous at night.
Result in the loss of around 167 street parking spaces. The actual number may be more because MTA counts 20 linear feet as a parking space, but some of the parking spaces along Masonic between driveways are less than 20 feet and may not be included in the count. Also, residents of Masonic will no longer be able to park across their driveways.
Increase congestion on Masonic, especially during rush hour.
Increase traffic on nearby streets, as some drivers avoid the increased traffic on Masonic.
Increase pollution in the area, as drivers circle further and longer in search of parking, and as traffic on the nearby streets is increased.
Jeopardize public safety by slowing down emergency response time.
Make it much more difficult for residents on Masonic to: load/unload people and packages; have items delivered; have visitors; move in and out of their homes; and have construction, maintenance, painting and other work done.
Make it harder for businesses to get deliveries of their products.
The major parking loss will especially hurt seniors and disabled people, who are limited in how far they can walk and how many streets they can cross. It will also make it more difficult for them to have home visits from caregivers, Meals on Wheels, physical, respiratory, occupational and other therapists, and repair services from wheelchair repair companies.
Increase the personal safety risk at night for residents returning to their homes and visitors returning to their cars after visiting friends, as they will have to park further from their residence or their friend’s home. The risk will especially increase for the most vulnerable – women, seniors and disabled people.
Currently, vehicles going eastbound on Geary turn right onto southbound Masonic using a dedicated right turn lane before Masonic, thus avoiding having to go all the way to Masonic. The project will remove this lane, so both vehicles turning southbound and those proceeding straight on Geary will have to go all the way to Masonic. Congestion will increase, especially with the additional traffic from the Target store.
Create a chaotic, congested mess on Masonic and the surrounding areas during the 18 month construction period.
Motor vehicle traffic on Masonic was over 32,000 vehicles per day in 2010 (measured by MTA at Masonic at Fulton). Because many automobiles carry more than one person, more than 32,000 people ride on Masonic on a typical day. With the new Target store at Masonic and Geary slated to open, this volume will increase dramatically. In contrast, per SFMTA measurements, during the PM rush hour there were only 20 bikes per hour at Masonic/Golden Gate and only 32 per hour at Masonic/Fell. (And some of those at Masonic/Fell may have been proceeding along Fell, not Masonic.)
Masonic Avenue can be improved without creating these dangers, impacts and hardships, and without spending $18.2 million. More trees can be planted along the sidewalk, lighting can be improved and bus shelters added. And rather than encouraging cyclists to bike along one of the busiest North-South streets in San Francisco, a better and safer North-South bike route can be created that includes the existing bike lanes along Baker, just a few blocks from Masonic. See updates page for more information.
Click here for a description of an alternative bike route.What can you do to help save Masonic? The MTA Board of Directors approved the cycle track project in September 2012. It will happen unless you get involved! It’s imperative that you contact Mayor Ed Lee, the Board of Supervisors, Supervisors London Breed, Eric Mar and Mark Farrell, the MTA Board, Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin and potential funding sources, and ask them to stop this disaster in the making. It’s also critical to attend meetings of the Board of Supervisors and the MTA Board.
See updates page for more information.

OMG, New “Leap Transit” Bus is a Replacement for the MUNI 30X – It’s $6 to Ride the Marina Express One-Way to Financh

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

[UPDATE: Kevin Montgomery of Uptown Almanac reacts.]

[UPDATE II: The Twitter-stream of one @kylekirchhoff just went private. C’mon, Bro! You gotta engage with the peeps. Today is your big day. It’s not that incrimernating, is it? Bro discusses how much he doesn’t like Twitter, McAfee Antivirus Inc, and how many people got shot on a MUNI #14 last year. You know, all the usual stuff. But I’ll tell you, withdrawing from Web 2.0 is what criminales do, right? You’re just a bro with a bus. Nothing wrong with that.]

[UPDATE III: Aaron Sankin of Huffington Post San Francisco weighs in.]

[UPDATE IV: And now Ellen Huet of the San Francisco Chronicle:

John Avalos, a supervisor who has fought against private companies use of Muni stops, called Kirchhoff’s comments “very disingenuous.”

“What a crock of s—,” Avalos said. “How does blocking a Muni stop make the city more efficient? You’re trying to make money, and you’re creating a two-tiered transportation system in San Francisco.”]

I’ll tell you, I’ve been waiting years for a MUNI alternative to pop up and look, it’s here.

Now I’m not talking about the corporate buses (like Google, Apple, FaceBook and so on) that have been around for a decade or so, and I’m not talking about Uber, Lyft, Sidecar and the like and I’m not even talking about the private version of the taxpayer-subsidized Twitter Express, the 83X.

No no. I’m talking about Leap Transit duplicating the unpopular MUNI Marina Express 30x with a private shuttle bus that costs $6 one-way.

It looks like this, as seen just yesterday:

Via Gregg Meyer

Here’s what the site looks like:

See that? The bus comes with WiFi and leather seats, but they cost three times as much as MUNI. And I’m supposing you and your wheelchair would be better off on MUNI, just a guess. And, oh yes,  you pretty much need an Apple iPhone (or as close an iOS device as possible) to climb aboard.

Now you’d think the MSM would be all over this new company, but no. So far, Leap has escaped notice, except from this bloke called  from Down Under. (Uh, he’s _not_ a fan. I haven’t seen a booting like this since Bart vs. Australia)

“This little blue bus symbolises everything that is wrong with the current bubble and boom of internet startup culture. It’s in San Francisco. It belongs to Leap Transit. And, on May 13, this “better bus” — OMFG, it has leather seats and wi-fi! — began operating as part of what’s billed as a “shuttle service for San Francisco commuters.”

Bonus bon mot:

“This socialized [x] is slow and unprofitable. Let’s start a [x] for rich people that pays its employees less.”

Leave there be no doubt, Leap Transit is a wannabe MUNI disrupter. See?

So far, reaction around town has been mixed.

To wit:

connie hwong ‏@crh17h This has come to my attention: a $6 shuttle from the Marina to SOMA, with leather seats & wifi. Seriously, SF?”

Check it:

I don’t know, if the 30X just passed you by ’cause it’s raining and you see a Leap bus coming at you and you have an iPhone and you’re already signed up, well then Leap just might be worth the six bucks.

A 28-year-old white man wants you to ride his technicolor submarine.

Will you?

All the deets:

The Stated Objectives of the “Masonic Avenue Street Design Study” vs. Reality

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Hey, it’s the Masonic Avenue Street Design Study:

“About the Project – The primary goal of the Masonic Avenue Street Design Study is to identify how Masonic Avenue between Geary Boulevard and Fell Street can safely and efficiently accommodate the needs of all roadway users, including but not limited to … motorists.”

ALL RIGHT, EXACTLY HOW DOES THIS PROJECT “ACCOMMODATE THE NEEDS” OF “MOTORISTS?” OH, NOT AT ALL? THOUGHT SO. MOVING ON.

Objectives:

1. Engage representatives of all constituencies within the community who would be impacted by changes to Masonic Avenue…

ALL RIGHT, WHICH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE “MOTORIST” “CONSTITUENCY” WERE “ENGAGED?” ANY AT ALL? YOU KNOW, THE OCTAVIA BOULEVARD PEOPLE “ENGAGED” MOTORISTS AS FAR AWAY AS MONTEREY BOULEVARD, OUT THERE WITH CLIPBOARDS AND EVERYTHING. DID THE MASONIC AVENUE PEOPLE DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT? OH NO.

2. Improve transit operation.

THIS PROJECT WILL UNIMPROVE TRANSIT OPERATION ON AND AROUND MASONIC – THERE’S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. IT’S GOING TO SLOW DOWN THE BUSES THAT USE MASONIC, INCLUDING THE OCCASIONAL #5 FULTON AND #21 HAYES.

3. Improve pedestrian and non-motorized access to transit.

SO TRANSIT USERS WILL HAVE “BETTER ACCESS” TO REDUCED BUS SERVICE? I DON’T GET THE BETTER ACCESS PART – YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A BUS STOP? ALSO, WHAT’S “MOTORIZED ACCESS TO TRANSIT?”

4. Increase the safety of pedestrian crossings.

YOU KNOW, THE PRIOR PROJECT MANAGER IS ON THE RECORD AS STATING THAT THIS KIND OF THING IS BAD TO DO LIKE NOW BECAUSE IT WOULD HURT THE CAUSE OF PUSHING THE ENTIRE PROJECT THROUGH. KIND OF SAD, REALLY.

5. Increase motorist compliance with traffic rules and regulations.

UH, WHAT, WITH TREES? IF I WANTED TO INCREASE COMPLIANCE WITH TRAFFIC LAWS, I’D JACK THE SPEED LIMIT UP TO 40 MPH. NOW, THAT WOULD HAVE SOME SIDE EFFECTS, BUT IT CERTAINLY WOULD REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF SPEEDING, RIGHT? OR, HAVING HOURS-LONG TRAFFIC JAM UPS DURING THE MORNING AND EVENING DRIVES WOULD REDUCE SPEEDING, IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE GETTING AT?

6. Reduce the number of vehicular collisions, especially those involving pedestrians and bicyclists.

HOW? BY PLANTING TREES? WE’LL SEE. HEY DIDN’T THE RECENT OCTAVIA BOULEVARD / MEDIAN PROJECT INCREASE THE NUMBER OF VEHICULAR COLLISIONS ON OCTAVIA? YES IT DID. HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THAT?

7. Support neighborhood vitality by creating a more inviting and accommodating public realm.

BY PUTTING IN A MEDIAN AND PLANTING TREES? SO, LET’S TAX AMERICA, CALIFORNIA, AND SAN FRANCISCO TO CREATE A “REALM” ON 3000 FEET WORTH OF STREET PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WEALTHY PROPERTY OWNERS AND PRIVATE SCHOOL(S) WHAT ARE ON THE STREET? ALL RIGHT.