Posts Tagged ‘cars’

A Few Issues with the New Traffic Signals on Masonic Paid for (and Influenced by?) Target Stores

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Get up to speed here and here.

I passed by O’Farrell and Masonic a couple times the other day, so I’m noting what I noticed.

This pedestrian appeared to become irate both at the unorthodox delay she had for the green and at the driver of the orange Scion car for turning left on a yellow:

If SFGov wanted to engage in pedestrian calming, it would adjust the left turn time for traffic on southbound Masonic.

Next up is this driver, who hung a U-turn on a red light since it looked like there was no traffic coming east on O’Farrell. There’s no way that’s legal:

Here’s the prize – the quite small lower level lot of City Target West:

Hey, I know that Target paid for a couple traffic signals on Masonic, but perhaps there could be some adjustments? Perhaps we could just eliminate U-turns on southbound Masonic at O’Farrell? I mean, northbound traffic on Masonic has no chance to getting to nearby Trader Joe’s, right? So why should we bend over backwards for people driving to Target?

Moving on, down the street to quiet Ewing Terrace, where the brand new lights have just been turned on. It seems that all traffic on Masonic has to stop at random times even though nobody wants to cross Masonic? Why is that?

In most places outside of SF, there’d be a pad to detect the presence of a car coming out of the cul-de-sac and buttons for peds. Shouldn’t we be doing it that way instead? Mmmmm… These red lights for no reason delay MUNI buses, right? I seen it. Perhaps in the near future this signal will be able to detect the approach of a bus and then not turn red for no reason? We’ll see…

What’s Coming to San Francisco Next Week? “Crowdfunded Supercars” from Blancfleet.Com

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Sadly, most supercars you see in San Francisco aren’t properly registered in California. The reason mostly has to do with CA use tax, which comes due the second you start “using” your new ride by driving it around.

So some people end up paying $10, or $20, or $30 per mile during the short time  they own and drive a Ferrari, for example.

So other people simply dispense with paying CA use tax, because it’s so pricey.

Here’s an alternative – Blancfleet. They say they’re opening up next week in the Bay Area.

“Blancfleet is the world’s first supercar sharing platform where car enthusiasts crowdfund and timeshare the supercars they love. Timesharing allows car enthusiasts on Blancfleet to spread the cost of owning, operating, and insuring a supercar with other car enthusiasts. On Blancfleet, there are no annual membership fees, no refueling requirements, no car insurance requirements, no car maintenance fees, no car storage fees, and no security deposit requirements. Timesharing also allows members to enjoy supercars with unlimited miles”

More deets here and here.

Is this a good idea for you? IDK. But it will be refreshing to see valid CA license plates on these cars. And if you’re tempted to buy a car like one of these, consider that lots of times people just end up selling a few months later ala the Porsche GT2 that Paul Walker died in - that car traded hands many, many times before it was destroyed.

Maybe you don’t want to buy a car, maybe you just want to rent.

Maybe.

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

Friday, 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.

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

Thursday, 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:

Click to expand

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.

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

Wednesday, 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.

Click to expand

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”

Three Examples of How NOT to Park in SF – You’re Allowed to Park 18 Inches from the Curb, But You Can Do Better Than That

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Depending on your wheel / tire set up, you can actually kiss the curb with two tires, if you try.

Otherwise somebody might ask how high you were when you parked last night.

Perhaps this is legal in CA…

…but it’s not acceptable in SF

IMO.

Questioning the Wisdom of Adding “Pedestrian Islands” to the Middle of the Street, as Here on McAllister in The Projects

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

See this pedestrian island smack dab in the middle of McAllister at what remains of Octavia?

It didn’t used to be there. Oh, here we go:

Pedestrian islands provide a raised refuge area in the middle of the street for crossing pedestrians.”

Click to expand

So what this does is bottleneck McAllister traffic by not letting bikes and vehicles easily pass through the Octavia “intersection” at the same time.

I cry foul. IMO, this isn’t good design for pedestrians, cyclists, car drivers, bus drivers or firetruck drivers.

So what is this island good for – satisfying the ideological requirements of the sainted SFMTA?

Apparently.

But be my guest, go out there and take a look and see how traffic flows at this particular intersection, say around 5 PM during the evening drive.

Be my guest.

Well, Here It Is – Here’s Your Newly-Repaved Kezar Drive, July 2014

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

For the life of me, I can’t tell the difference between the bad, terrible, bumpy old Kezar (seen in the background) and the new, wonderful, freshly-paved Kezar (seen in the foreground), you know, except for the color.

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How Crazy are the Newly-Striped Lanes on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park? Contra-Flow Dog-Walking Lane

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Well, I’ll tell you, the SFMTA-sponsored restriping of the eastern section of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park is pretty crazy.

So different and strange new things occur there all the time  - it’s amazing.

Do you think this dog skatewalker goes against traffic with eight critters anywhere else in the world? 

Here’s public radio:

Why One San Francisco Bike Lane Design Is Upsetting Drivers and Cyclists

And here’s the San Francisco Bay Guardian:

New JFK bike lanes are bad for everyone

Can’t the SFMTA simply fix matters by admitting defeat and putting the old stripes back in?

I don’t know if it can, you know, ideologically.

Assignment Desk: Havana 94118 – The Locus of 1950′s Cars in San Francisco is 3047 Turk Street

Friday, June 27th, 2014

There are about a half-dozen classic cars parked around the end of Turk Street up above USF like all the time.

It’s a triple-beam lyrical dream for old car lovers:

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The above shot is recent, but here’s one from all the way back in aught-eight. See ‘em all?

Assignment Desk:

Who owns all these cars and why?