Posts Tagged ‘cars’

The SFBC’s Love Offensive on KRON-TV’s Stanley Roberts Fails to Pay Off: “Bicyclists Among Those Behaving Badly on Polk Street in SF”

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Our San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, which lately has lost thousands* of paid members, has lately “reached out” to world-famous Stanley Roberts. And yet here’s what he does:

*Now part of that’s due to “churn,” which is something that every organization has to deal with, but most of it has to do with behavior of the SFBC itself. I’ll tell you, I’ve been riding bikes around town longer than the current SFBC has existed – no, I’m not saying that I’ve been here since the “early 70’s,” I’m saying that the SFBC didn’t really exist in the 1980’s when I came to SF. I’m saying that before Critical Mass (and its predecessor, the “Commute Clot”), the SFBC didn’t really exist – they were nowhere, man. What _did_ exist, a little later on, was the car-centric Willie Brown Administration. And all those functionaries working for Willie Brown were trying to find some “bicycle people” to cut a deal with, to tame Critical Mass, to give grant money to. But no, all the Critical Mass leaders were saying stuff like, “Critical Mass doesn’t have leaders, Man.” Eventually, the SFBC managed to practically become a part of the SFMTA, you know, conducting surveys for SFGov, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in taxpayer and feepayer money, forcing companies like Twitter to deal with the SFBC, you know, officially, and, in return, the SFBC stopped promoting Critical Mass, and SFBC now offers pols a nice photo op every year on Bike to Work Day and it actually endorses (without consulting the Members at all) for election Willie Brown protegees like, I don’t know, Ed Lee, for example. So that’s the history, and during this history I’ve seen the SFBC grow in membership, from “over 1000″ to “over 5000″ to “over “10,000” and then “over 11,000″ and then “over 12,000″ and then, uh oh, back down to “over 11,000″ and most recently back down to “over 10,000.” What are the numbers now? IDK, 9000-something? The SFBC isn’t exactly candid about its recent loss in membership. The SFBC certainly doesn’t want people freely looking at its tax forms or its older webpages, so that’s why it recently started suppressing this kind of information. Mmmmm… I’ll tell you, of course, there’s been a huge increase in bicycling in San Francisco since I’ve come here, and for various reasons, fine. (It’s sort of funny about how the big annual jumps in cycling came exactly during the rise of the fixie craze, and exactly when the Bicycle Plan injunction froze all infrastructure changes, but whatevs.) I’ll ask you, why can’t a monomaniacal advocacy organization like the SFBC concede anything? I guarantee you that the SFBC people who went the extra mile to “reach out” to Stanley Roberts of KRON-TV are pissed off about the above video coming out right before the Big Vote on Polk Street, which is supposably [what, no red underlining for a word I purposefully misspelled? Amazing] coming March 3rd, 2015, but who knows how that will work out. I’ll tell you, IMO Polk Street is a triple beam lyrical dream the way it is now. What are the other options to go north south in the area? If I don’t take Polk, then I’d be thinking Stockton, Grant, Kearney or the Embarcadero to the east or, to the west, Steiner (it’s sort of the pass over Pacific Heights, sort of) or Arguello through the Presidio. And if Stanley Roberts wants to show how people use Polk now, well what’s wrong with that? Actually, the behavior shown isn’t all that bad, IRL. It’s no big deal, man, to acknowledge reality, man. In your efforts to pursue your goals, SFBC, which I don’t necessarily oppose, you go too far and you end up alienating people like me, a man in his 40’s, and even older people such as Junior the Bike Messenger, and, apparently, THOUSANDS OF OTHER FORMER SFBC MEMBERS. The question is, WHY IS THAT, SFBC? So, if Stanley Roberts doesn’t toe the line 100% of the time, that’s OK, right? 

This video is not a “betrayal” at all, now, right?

Uh Oh, the SFPD’s Vaunted “Focus on the Five” Enforcement Program Focuses on the Wrong Five

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Work with me here, people.

Here you go:

“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.”

All right, well let’s look at the stats for last year, via Heather Knight / the District 5 Diary.

And then let’s extract all the five-digit CVC section numbers cited in the official SFPD report, plus let’s also throw in a CVC number for the pedestrian who died last year after getting hit by a MUNI bus on Geary around Baker.

(And let’s ignore all the the lower-case subsections like 21950(b) and the like, treating 21950(a) and 21950(b) as the same violation, for example.)

And then lets throw all the extracted numbers into Excel for a Sorting.

And then let’s eyeball the numbers to separate them out:

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So those are your top “five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking (and bicycle riding, but I don’t think that affects the numbers too much.)

Here they are, in order of frequency:

21950

22350

21456

21954

21955

So how does that compare with this list from politicians?

“Focus on the 23 Five” campaign to target the top five causal factors of pedestrian crashes – running red lights 24 (California Vehicle Code 21453(a)), running stop signs (California Vehicle Code 22450(a)), violating pedestrian right-of-way (California Vehicle Code 21950(a)), failing to yield while 2 turning (California Vehicle Code 21801 (a), and speeding (California Vehicle Code 22350)…

See how that works? 21950 and 22350 are in there, but CVC violations on the part of pedestrians, like 21456, 21954, and 21955 have been omitted from the list.

Is the official “Focus on the Five” about pedestrian safety or “pedestrian rights?”

I’m thinking it’s about pedestrian rights, like the right to jaywalk, that kind of thing.

Is SFGov serious about SF Vision Zero 2024, a “program” that has the goal of ending all transportation deaths in San Francisco long after all the pols who voted for it have termed out?

Well, how can it be if it’s afraid to enforce traffic laws for political reasons?

If you want safety for pedestrians, wouldn’t you want them to be afraid of getting cited for jaywalking?

No? All right, well then keep on doing what you’re doing, but you’ll never ever achieve Vision Zero 2024 the way you’re going about it, SFGov.

The Semi-Secret Parking Spaces for Trader Joe’s Masonic Shoppers

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Here you go, a place to park on Masonic for free while shopping at TJ’s #100, right in front of the Lucky Penny, assuming it’s not between 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM:

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Sometimes the Great Line of idling cars goes almost all the way back to Euclid, so this option certainly seems preferable.

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Just saying

Market Street Wedding Photos: Strike a Pose Betwixt the Fast Lane and the Slow Lane – White Dress, Oily Street

Friday, February 13th, 2015

As seen on Market inbound:

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This is different:

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Mother of All Double Parkers: The Super Pretzel Truck – Blocking Outbound Market Daily

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

If I were the Super Pretzel pushcart people on Market at the cable car turnaround, I’d push these carts somewhere else before the lengthy loading and unloading process:

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Just saying…

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But these people don’t care – on they go with lifting and the lowering, on they go as westbound traffic backs up behind them…

What Percentage of the Drivers of These Cars Use Handicap Placards to Get Free Parking, You Know, Primarily?

Friday, February 6th, 2015

I’m guessing 66%, or 100%.

(If you want to see scenes like this, head to Washington and Davis, just north of the Financh. And for some reason, handicap placard users tend to have brand new cars, and a lot of them have Mercedes-Benz S-Classes…)

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Hey, here’s another question:

What percentage of California physicians have ever been disciplined for signing off  on somebody’s handicap placard application?

The answer is zero percent (0%), in the entire history of Cali.

So that’s why it’s preferable for doctors to just sign your form instead of explaining why s/he doesn’t want to sign your form and, and, you know, piss you off.

You know, I’m in my 40’s, but when I was in my 30’s, my knees felt warm for a couple days. I looked it up and thought, oh so that’s what bursitis is. And people were all no you don’t have bursitis, that’s what plumbers get. And I thought, no, plumbers get chronic bursitis and I got me some acute bursitis. So I took an ibu pill and that was that – I never had this symptom again. Now, Gentle Reader, do you think I could go to a doctor, or a non-doctor, cause the DMV takes the word of pretty much anyone, and say I want a handicap placard for my bursitis condition, and then get a handicap placard, and then park all day all day, for free? I bet I could.

Not that I would.

But I’ll tell you, whenever SFGov gets around to ending this FREE PARKING FIESTA scam, watch them all fall down.

As up in Portland, OR. Hey, you know Portland is a leader in so many things, so guess what they just did up there? That’s right, NO SOUP FOR YOU! And, all of a sudden, most of the handicapped placards went away.

Someday this will happen down here in SF.

Someday.

Oh My, It’s ARBOR-GEDDON 2015 – The SFMTA Wants to Kill Hundreds of Healthy Street Trees to Slow Down Traffic on Masonic

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

See this giant, healthy tree at Geary and Masonic? The DPW just put a death notice on it:

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Around its waist, with clear packing tape.

And this sidewalk grove is doomed as well, at the western edge of the intersection above the Geary Tunnel:

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Here’s what the notices look like:

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And here are the smaller, run-of-the-mill trees street to south:

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Chop chop, 300+ (300x, in SFGov parlance) trees, all gone.

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Let’s see here, is the SFMTA’s Grand Unified Plan for the 3000 feet of Masonic betwixt Geary and Fell going to:

SPEED UP MUNI BUSES? Nope. In fact, the Plan will slow down MUNI buses, like part of the Plan is already doing that already, at Ewing Terrace, for example. (The nearby City Target had some mad money so it gave a quarter million to the SFMTA to put in a new light at Ewing in order to gain support for The Plan from a woman who lives on The Terrace.) This plan will slow down MUNI. Simply. Yet somehow, it will “increase access” to transit, by giving people the right to sit longer at bus stops?

SPEED UP THE REST OF TRAFFIC ON MASONIC, THE GREAT CONNECTOR WHAT LINKS THE PARKSIDE, THE SUNSET, AND THE RICHMOND WITH THE REST OF SAN FRANCISCO, CONNECTING BUSH PINE WITH LINCOLN, FULTON, OAK, FELL, TURK, BALBOA, AND GEARY? Oh, Hell no. Masonic will turn into a congested parking lot during the morning and evening drives, ala Oak Street, ala Octavia Boulevard. Buses will no longer pull over into stops – they’ll simply stop and block the slow lane, leaving the solitary remaining lane, the “fast” lane, to temporarily serve as the only way for motorized traffic to travel on Masonic.

INCREASE “ACCESS” TO MUNI? We’ll see. The SFMTA is claiming that rebuilt bus stops will be the big benefit to MUNI riders.

INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES IN THE AREA? Oh no. In fact, the Plan will remove 100-something 22-hour-a-day parking spaces from Masonic. (For some this is a feature and not a detriment.)

BENEFIT CYCLISTS? Perhaps. This, see below, is what people do these days, for the most part – they ride their bikes on the wide wide sidewalks, going uphill, for the most part, as I’ve been doing for a couple decades. SFGov is free to make this practice legal on Masonic, but it chooses not to. In fact, SFGov is sometimes reluctant to make piecemeal changes, for safety or whatever, because SFGov shuns so-called “chop-shop” projects – SFGov prefers giant pork-barrel projects paid for by, among others, people living in North Dakota. And then, if residents started to think that Masonic was then “fixed,” through small changes, that would lessen the pressure for a big pork barrel project using money from the Feds and Sacramento.  Anywho, most of the coming changes to Masonic appear to favor bike riders, so yes, we’ll be getting separated lanes up and down Masonic. And then, we’ll have less of this:

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We did lose a bike rider to a severely drunk driver a few years back on Masonic. Such an accident would be less likely to occur after the coming changes. [UPDATE: IMO, that is. If you want to say that accidents can happen anyway even after the changes, I’ll agree, but this particular accident involved two people consuming 14(!) drinks at Kokkari restaurant on Jackson and then using Masonic to get to the Avenues out west, and I’ll tell you, the future Masonic would have been easier for this driver to navigate. I mean he made it all the way from 200 Jackson to the 94117 without hitting anything but his brain didn’t have the processing power to deal with the cyclist being where the cyclist was.]

BENEFIT PEDESTRIANS? Perhaps. The hundreds of healthy trees that the SFMTA is going to chop down will get replaced, one supposes, with new trees, planted in an unnecessary, unnecessarily-wide new median, which effectively widens the street, right? Why are we going to get the big median? For aesthetics. For oxygen, cause, you know, trees produce oxygen – did you know that!? I’ll tell you, this truth just blew me away when I found out about it, when I five freaking years old. But the SFMTA had some lady come to one of the meetings to talk about all the extra oxygen molecules that we’d have floating around, OK fine. Of course, the SFMTA didn’t talk about any of the concomitant downsides of spending all these tens of millions of pork barrel dollars from Uncle Sucker, the SFMTA didn’t mention ARBOR-GEDDEN 2015. Anyway, if peds prefer having new trees in a median over older trees closer to them, well, sure, I suppose that peds will benefit. And speaking of severely drunk drivers, we did lose a ped to a drunk driver within recent memory – I don’t think the recent changes would have affected that crime though. And we lost an architect just north of Geary on Masonic owing to her jaywalking to get to Trader Joe’s #100, a few years back. owing to a poorly planned parking situation courtesy of our Planning Department. But the grand mal Plan for Masonic stops at Geary, so the SFMTA doesn’t appear to even to pretend to care about safety on Masonic north of Geary, not at this time.

Oh what’s that, you have questions? Fire away:

ISN’T IT TRUE THAT “THE COMMUNITY” SUPPORTS THE PLAN?

No, not necessarily. Any public meeting that the SFMTA might refer to was packed with activists/urbanists who don’t live in the neighborhood. So a tally from some meeting made up 70% of activist members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition isn’t an actual survey, right? If you want to say that a vote only made up of people who care enough to show up to all the meetings is what we should follow, then be my guest. But any SFMTA focus group meeting about which SFMTA plan attendees prefer doesn’t mean that The Plan is supported by the people who live, work and pass through Masonic, right?

WON’T ALL THE NEW CONGESTION, THE GREAT SLOWDOWN, INCREASE SAFETY? 

We’ll see. We’ll see what the unexamined effects will be, like, where will traffic go instead of Masonic? Will that new traffic in other areas cause new accidents in other areas? We’ll see.

WELL, WHAT ABOUT THE PROPERTY OWNERS DIRECTLY ON MASONIC, DON’T MOST OF THEM SUPPORT THE PLAN? 

I don’t know, maybe. A lot of them aren’t looking forward to all the construction, so there goes a lot of support right there. I mean, what if there was going to be a pork barrel project that was going to “beautify” the area just outside your property and the govmint was going to spend $50K per parcel in your nabe – would you like that? Maybe. And I’ll tell you, there’s a parochial school what costs $30K per year per student that’s in favor of the Plan. I say parochial because people at the school think that way, they think that the school is so so special that of course everybody should come to a crawl when they pass by. The school is the center of the universe, in their eyes, so people traveling by shouldn’t just rush through. The problem with this attitude is that, for the vast majority, GOLDEN GATE, TURK AND MASONIC, the Great Crossroads is not a destination in itself. So, ideally, we’d balance a whole bunch of factors and concerns, we’d actually consult with the people who actually use Masonic now. Those at this rich kids school, those small individuals with parochial attitudes, just don’t care.

BUT WON’T THE PLAN INCREASE PUBLIC SAFETY OVERALL AND HELP GET US TO VISION ZERO 2024?

We’ll see. But by then, it will be too late, and by then, the SFMTA will be more than happy to spend tens of millions of dollars to “tune up” the Big Project. And Vision Zero 2014-2024 is like two Soviet-style Five Year Plans strung together – nobody believes that transportation deaths in San Francisco will “whither away,” but everybody involved acts as if there’s a chance that this fantasy will come true. And you know, there are some countries that have had more success in reducing deaths than so-called Vision Zero countries, right? So what’s so special about that particular name? I don’t get it.

IS IT TRUE THAT SOME PEOPLE ON AND NEAR MASONIC STRONGLY OPPOSE THE PLAN? 

Hell yes. People put homemade signs in their windows. It’s too late though – I can’t think of anything that would stop the SFMTA now.

BUT DIDN’T THE SFMTA SAY THAT THERE WAS NO OPPOSITION TO THE PLAN?  

Yep. The SFMTA lied about that, when its employees filled out some necessary paperwork. I’ll tell you, there’s no way that the SFMTA isn’t going to spend any pork barrel money it can spend. That’s its purpose.

So that’s the update on Masonic.

I live very close by – we’ll have to wait and see if I personally benefit from all this spending. Somebody in the opposition one time asked me if I personally supported the project and I had to think about it. Perhaps it will benefit me, we’ll see. It seems selfish, to me, to dwell on the issue. In any event, the SFMTA gets excused for nothing. This project is a case study of how the SFMTA does what the SFMTA wants to do, which is to spend money and increase the size of … the SFMTA. If you want to get into how the SFMTA is all about safety, well, I disagree with that, but that would be something to debate. IMO, the SFMTA could “increase safety” without it getting any more money than it gets now.

IMO.

Enjoy the coming SFMTA Mass Arborcide – it should be a spectacle.

Our “Great Highway” Way Out There at Ocean Beach Now Has It’s Own Closed Sign on Lincoln – Flashing Lights

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

See?

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Is this sign necessary in the coming Age of Waze / Ubiquity of the Google Maps?

I don’t think so…

Uphill Cyclist Sanctimoniously and Improperly “Takes The Lane” on McAllister: Staring Down Drivers While Huffing and Puffing

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Let’s travel all the way over to the left side of the Bell curve to see what the bottom 1% is up to.

Here we go, at about 4 MPH, staying as far to the left as necessary to prevent traffic from passing you too much. And for good measure, be sure to crane your neck around to give the evil eye whenever you can, to tell those drivers that I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE UP TO BACK THERE, MAN!

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Click to expand

OTOH, “taking the lane” would be just fine heading the other way down this block, down Alamo Heights…

The Time of the Week When the SFMTA Doesn’t Seem to Mind Cars Parked on the Sidewalk

Friday, January 30th, 2015

The white truck on the left is parked on the sidewalk. The SFMTA “knows” this because a dozen SFMTA-employed eyeballs have just passed by to see it. Yet, it didn’t get ticketed.

OTOH, the white car on the far right _did_ get a ticket, you can see it, for blocking a street sweeper on street sweeping day

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These practices have developed over the years – they’re a culture.

If you ask somebody from the SFMTA about this sitch, they’d be all, well, call it in and we’ll come out and give it a ticket. (When SFGov doesn’t have the will to enforce its own rules, it says the whole process is “complaint driven.”)

Anyway, this is the culture, not that you’d find it officially documented anywhere…