Posts Tagged ‘accidents’

Well, Here They Are: Brand New Red Light Cameras and Signals at Fell and Masonic

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Enjoy.

Will this…

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…plus this:

…eliminate this…

…and this?

Well, not actually because this particular car vs. bike from last year happened to be the impatient cyclist’s fault, because he went across against a red, because bike riders don’t have as much time to cross as they used to, owing to the newish dedicated cyclist light Oh well.

Anyway, I would have said that Santa installed all the new hardware, but I was beaten to the punch by Dale Danley / Panhandle Park Stewards, who naively wonder why the Panhandle Bandshell went away despite the fact that the “partners” of PPS are the same people who made the harmless bandshell go away.

(So I don’t know, I’ll consider the Panhandle Park Stewards ranking someplace north of that horribly corrupt Willie Brown S.L.U.G. vehicle for the while. Enjoy your “partnership” with the corrupt RPD, and the NIMBYed-up NoPNA, and the millionaires’ kid’s school as you garden, Deutsches Jungvolk und Bund Deutscher Mädel.)

Anyway, you can look forward to the flashing lights of traffic cams when errant drivers err at Fell and Masonic. (UCSF shuttle van drivers beware, beware!)

A Winning Strategy to Pass Up Stalled Traffic When Getting To Horrible Octavia Boulevard – This Always Works

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Now, it seems absurd, but Oak Street’s bottleneck at horrible Octavia Boulevard shows no sign of ending.

Let’s see here, Lane 1 is (oddly) devoted to parking 24/7, Lane 2 is for through traffic going from the east side to the west side of town, Lane 3 (seen with the pickup truck driver* sitting trying to nose in) is for people who want to park for a bit while waiting to sneak in over to Octavia Boulevard, Lane 4 is for the long line of stalled cars waiting their turn to get to Octavia, and, oddly, Lane 5 is dedicated to parked cars most of the time.

See? 

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This is the most dysfunctional block of traffic in San Francisco. Who designed this? (Traffic engineers? Prolly not)

Oh well.

*Oh yes, he made it in eventually, saving himself about three minutes or so compared with queuing up back at Oak and Webster. Hurray!

Octavia Boulevard is Our Fork-Tailed Doctor Killer – “Livable Streets” Gone Awry – What Can We Do?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Let’s see, where to start with horrible Octavia Boulevard.

Oh, here we go, with some bold, confident words from all the way back in 2003:

“The replacement freeway and Boulevard were charged with ensuring a level of service comparable to the previous structure and configuration. This has been achieved…”

In no way, shape, or form does the newish Octavia Boulevard have a level of service comparable to the old Central Freeway.

And, BTW, did the Central Freeway block Fell, Oak, Page, Haight and Market? Nope. Does Octavia Boulevard? Yep, every day, all the time.

(This is an example of misplaced confidence, of the hubris.)

Now, what kind of signal timing does it take to accommodate a 3000-mile-long freeway ending on Market Street. Well, let’s take a look here. Do you notice that Market street peds have about four seconds to begin the journey across Octavia during the 95-second cycle? Why is that? I mean, that means that any given ped on Market has over a 95% chance of having to stop and wait for all those cars on Octavia to go by. Is that fair? Now, what about cars and streetcars and bikes and buses and whatnot heading outbound on Market – do you think it’s much better for them? Well, it’s not. Just 20-something percent of the traffic signal cycle allows traffic to flow uphill on Market at the Octavia Intersection. Why are the lights so biased in favor of the cars driving through on Octavia, you know, as opposed to Market Street?

Check it (oh yeah, that’s some homeless dude coughing at the end there, not me.)

Now, the term “fork-tailed doctor killer” used to be the nickname of the Beechcraft Bonanza, you know, the plane what killed Buddy Holly on the Day That Music Died. But that whole V-Tail sitch got addressed and now, Beech makes those Bonanzas with regular old straight tails. So let’s recycle this phrase and use it for Octavia Boulevard, why not?

Here’s the fork of the tail:

Now, how can I justify blaming the whole “Boulevard Movement” fad of the aughts for an famous accident that killed that UCSF doctor if the UCSF van driver ran a red light? Well, take a look at this:

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See? Sometimes half the lanes of Oak have a red light and the other half have a green. Does that make sense? Well, if you’re struggling to make pathetic Octavia work and you don’t want traffic routinely backing up to Golden Gate Park, well then you yourself would be tempted to do whatever you could to help Octavia flow.

Does this unorthodox design factor in human nature, you know, the nut behind the steering wheel? No, it doesn’t. The fact is that car drivers, those sheeple, follow the pack. If the car to the right goes, then they want to go.

Of course, drivers should do better, but we need to factor in their behavior when we design roads, right?

What we shouldn’t do is to let Hayes Valley insiders, that very small but very influential group, to design anything for the rest of us.

And BTW, why on Earth are left turns allowed on inbound Market onto Octavia? Could it be for the convenience of those Hayes Valley insiders?  Check it out. You’d think that Hayes Valley types would be satisfied with being able to make a left at the prior intersection or the next intersection, but no, traffic on Market has to wait on a dedicated signal for a dedicated lane of drivers.

Does that make sense?

Why not this? Why not narrow Octavia dramatically and just give up on the whole boulevard experiment? Just take out the frontage roads and all that on-street parking and those medians and that would be a good start on “completing” the Horrible Octavia Experiment, turning it into a “Complete Street.” Even the Great Designer of Octavia admits now that the boulevard is too wide.

And let’s get rid of that left turn lane that was built just for the NIMBYs of Hayes Valley. Why should Market Street, the more important one, take a back street to Octavia, which is basically a glorified freeway onramp?

And why not give people on Market Street half the time of the light signal and then the people on Octavia the other half? Wouldn’t that be more fair?

Mmmm…

Or, we can continue to value higher condo prices and “trendy restaurants and high-end boutiques” over everything else in this world:

“Before the destruction of the Central Freeway, condominium prices in the Hayes Valley neighborhood were 66% of San Francisco average prices. However, after the demolition and subsequent replacement with the new Octavia Boulevard, prices grew to 91% of city average. Beyond this, the most dramatic increases were seen in the areas nearest to the new boulevard. Furthermore, residents noted a significant change in the nature of the commercial establishments in the area. Where it had been previously populated by liquor stores and mechanic shops, soon the area was teeming with trendy restaurants and high-end boutiques.”

WTH: Huffington Post “Bay Area Street Safety” Blogger is Fronting for a Plaintiff’s Law Firm?

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

All right, work with me here. There’s a new blogger on the HuffPoSF. Check it:

“Ben Buchwalter lives in San Francisco’s Mission District and writes a blog on Bay Area street safety.”

But then you click over to the so-called “Bay Area street safety” blog only to see that, en realidad, it’s an “Accident Attorney’s Blog” for an oddly-named law firm.

R.I.P. Lionel

Now, that blog has some curious entries complete with curious phrases, like “clear safety dilemma” used twice in three paragraphs.

Mmmmm…

At Least Our Poorly-Designed, “Livable Street,” P.O.S. Octavia Boulevard has Traffic Cameras – Do They Run 24-7?

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Do you know how painfully cheap it is to record on video a problematic street intersection 24-7 in this day and age?

Well the City & County doesn’t, that’s for sure.

Anyway, here’s your red light camera at Oak and Octavia – perhaps it will prove useful today.

Here’s another view, from back in the day:

Horrible Five-Block Octavia Boulevard Claims Another Victim – Is This the Best Way To End the 3000-Mile Long I-80 Freeway?

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Details of today’s accident on hated Octavia Boulevard can be found here, from Henry K. Lee and Nanette Asimov.

Looking south from Fell:

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The UCSF shuttle van:

How did Octavia boulevard end up being so gosh darn wide? Even The Creator, who likes wide, says that Octavia ended up being too wide in Her opinion.

Why are there parked cars and trees and medians all over dangerous Octavia Boulevard? Why don’t we get rid of all that and focus on safety instead?

Oh well.

Say Cheese! Here are Your Fairly New Red Light Cameras of Poorly Designed Octavia Boulevard

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Or that’s my guess, anyway, based on where this one’s pointed and the two white lights that are all set to go flash flash like a camera speedlight.

Check it out at the dangerous intersection of Oak and the hated, 133-foot wide(!) Octavia Boulevard:

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Hey, the people who run Octavia Boulevard – are they the same people who run MUNI?

Looks that way…

Here Comes the SFMTA, the People Who Run MUNI, to Save Us From Alcoholic County and State Workers on Masonic Avenue

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

This isn’t my “preferred option,” but it’s the preferred option, so there you go.

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How much will this cost?

Tens of millions, before overruns. $50,000,000 per mile or about $50,000 a parcel depending on how you look at it.

Who’ll pay for it?

Local, state, and federal taxpayers, just like the Bridge to Nowhere (let’s do something for Alaska) and the Chinatown subway (let’s do something for District 3).

Why does the public hearing notice enumerate the dozen-and-a-half parking spaces to be added but then leave out the hundred-something parking spaces that will be taken out?

Because this is a political document written by a politician.

Well, is there a cheaper, safety-only option to go along with the SFMTA’s “preferred option?”

Not that I’m aware of. Safety improvements have been held hostage over the years on account of this big maghilla project. The Project Director will tell you that if you ask him.

Do you have something against wide medians filled with trees that can never ever, ever, ever be removed for any reason at any time in the future, the likes of which can be found on Octavia and Divisadero?

Yes.

Any advice for cyclists in the mean-time?

Yes. Cyclists should stay the hell off of Masonic between Turk and Fulton. Use the wide, underpopulated sidewalks, and, if you want, run the red light at Golden Gate to get a head start on traffic going downhill to Fulton.

Are Older Drivers a Menace on the Roads? RAND Corporation Says No – Are “Autonomous Cars” in Our Future?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Our RAND Corporation has a spirited defense of older drivers posted today. Check it:

“Many stop driving in part because they fear they might injure someone else. But the reality is that older drivers themselves are almost six times more likely to be injured in an automobile accident than are drivers ages 25-64. Thus, older drivers face a much greater risk of being harmed from the actions of younger drivers than the other way around.”

So, take that, South Park:

A scene from Grey Dawn

And it looks like cars that can drive themselves is In Our Future:

“Promoting technological innovations, such as autonomous vehicles, that promise to reduce accident rates overall while simultaneously providing older individuals who can no longer drive safely an alternative means of transportation, is likely to have the single greatest impact on the safety and well-being of older drivers and passengers.”

O.K then, learned something new today…

Study from San Francisco Firm Shows Hybrid Drivers Violate Laws and Crash More Than Average Drivers

Monday, October 11th, 2010

San Francisco’s very own “auto insurance analytics company” down there at 388 Market Street, Quality Planning, thinks you drivers of gas-electric hybrid vehicles have issues. They’re saying stuff like, “Hybrid drivers show shameful lack of social responsibility.”

Harsh.

Try this on for size:

“Studies by auto insurance analytics company Quality Planning, collision publication “Mitchell Industry Trends Report” and the Highway Data Loss Institute found that:

Hybrid owners drive 25 percent more miles than owners of gas-powered cars.

Hybrid owners receive almost two-thirds more traffic citations per mile than their all-gas counterparts.

Hybrids are involved in more collisions than non-hybrids

Who knew the Toyota Prius can be as dangerous as its design inspiration, the deadly triggerfish?

Check out that article and see what you think. (And try not to chuckle when you read the Honda CBR rider’s comment about Priuseses…)