Posts Tagged ‘cars’

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.

Click to expand

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:

Click to expand

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?

Dennis Herrera Throws Down: Tells “Monkey Parking” to Drop Mobile App for Auctioning City Parking Spots – $300 Fines?

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

[UPDATE: SFist (lots of comments already), Slate, and the San Francisco Chronicle are on the case.]

Gotta say I sort of saw this one coming.

And it’s not just Monkey Parking that’s in trouble today. Check out the craigslist ad from ParkModo (cached website) (@ParkModo – no Tweets yet, or maybe they were deleted?), posted on June 17th, 2014:

Earn $13.00 P/H Just To Park! (mission district)

Our company is launching an awesome app that rewards people to sell their on-street parking spots before leaving to people who need a spot.

To help us promote the app, we are looking for 20 people with cars and iPhones to park around the mission and use the app to offer their parking spots to people looking for parking.

The hours will be from 5:30-9:00 pm Thurs-Sat starting June 26th.

This is how it works:

1. You download the app from the app store.
2. When you want to work, you will contact our field manager to check in.
3. The field manager will then instruct you as to what area and type of spot you are to park in.
4. You will then find a spot in the area and park.
5. Once you are parked, using the app, you will offer the spot for sale. 
6. While you are waiting for someone to purchase the space, you will distribute postcards and promote the app.
7. Once someone purchases the spot, you will complete the transaction with the buyer and then find another space to park in and start the process all over again!

If you are interested, please click on the link below (Paste into your browser) and provide your information so we can contact you and get you started.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1To5Ck5FrPBMrh35SvJp-WDRg0WDyaLLyuo1_MS8pyV8/viewform?usp=send_form

We look forward to working with you!”

I think ParkModo’s operations will now be on hold, for a little bit at least. But do you want some more from them? See below.

Now, all the deets about all these troubled businesses, from Herrera’s office:

“Herrera tells Monkey Parking to drop mobile app for auctioning city parking spots

Motorists face $300 fines for each violation under existing law, City Attorney says — and three startups could be liable for penalties of up to $2,500 for each transaction

SAN FRANCISCO (June 23, 2014) — San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera today issued an immediate cease-and-desist demand to Monkey Parking, a mobile peer-to-peer bidding app that enables motorists to auction off the public parking spaces their vehicles occupy to nearby drivers.   The app, currently available for iOS devices, describes itself on the Apple iTunes App Store as the “the first app which lets you make money every time that you are about to leave your on-street parking spot.”

The letter Herrera’s office issued this morning to Paolo Dobrowolny, CEO of the Rome, Italy-based tech startup, cites a key provision of San Francisco’s Police Code that specifically prohibits individuals and companies from buying, selling or leasing public on-street parking.  Police Code section 63(c) further provides that scofflaws — including drivers who “enter into a lease, rental agreement or contract of any kind” for public parking spots — face administrative penalties of up to $300 for each violation.  Because Monkey Parking’s business model is wholly premised on illegal transactions, the letter contends that the company would be subject to civil penalties of up to $2,500 per violation under California’s tough Unfair Competition Law were the city to sue.  Such a lawsuit would be imminent, Herrera’s office vowed, should the startup continue to operate in San Francisco past July 11, 2014.

Technology has given rise to many laudable innovations in how we live and work — and Monkey Parking is not one of them,” Herrera said.  “It’s illegal, it puts drivers on the hook for $300 fines, and it creates a predatory private market for public parking spaces that San Franciscans will not tolerate.  Worst of all, it encourages drivers to use their mobile devices unsafely — to engage in online bidding wars while driving.  People are free to rent out their own private driveways and garage spaces should they choose to do so.  But we will not abide businesses that hold hostage on-street public parking spots for their own private profit.”

Herrera’s cease-and-desist demand to Monkey Parking includes a request to the legal department of Apple Inc., which is copied on the letter, asking that the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant immediately remove the mobile application from its App Store for violating several of the company’s own guidelines.  Apple App Store Review Guidelines provide that “Apps must comply with all legal requirements in any location where they are made available to users” and that “Apps whose use may result in physical harm may be rejected.”

Two other startups that similarly violate local and state law with mobile app-enabled schemes intended to illegally monetize public parking spaces in San Francisco will also face legal action in the form of cease-and-desist demands this week, according to the City Attorney’s Office.  Sweetch charges a $5 flat fee when its users obtain a parking spot from another Sweetch motorist.  Sweetch drivers who pass their spots off to other Sweetch members are refunded $4 of that fee.  ParkModo, which appears poised to launch later this week, according to recent employment postings on Craigslist, will employ drivers at a rate of $13.00 per hour to occupy public parking spaces in the Mission District.  As with Monkey Parking and Sweetch, ParkModo then plans to sell the on-street parking spots to its paying members through its iPhone app.  Sweetch and ParkModo members who make use of the apps to park in San Francisco are also subject to civil penalties of $300 per violation, and both companies are potentially liable for civil penalties of $2,500 per transaction for illegal business practices under the Cali04fornia Unfair Competition Law.

A copy of Herrera’s demand letter to Monkey Parking and additional information about the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office is available at: http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.”

And here’s a little more from ParkModo:

“We are currently rolling out the beta in the following cities…

San Francisco – As beautiful as city it is, parking is just as bad! Not only is there way to much demand for the supply, but the parking police will catch you if they can! Be among the first 1000 people to download the app and get $5 in free parking!

New York – Instead of calling it the city that never sleeps, they should call it the city that never has parking! Get in on ParkModo and earn some serious cash and stop wasting your time. We know every minute in ny is precious.

Chicago – There may be wind here, but there is certainly no parking! Use ParkModo and fly like the wind when you need a space!”

So Yeah, Kezar Drive Will Be Closed Until July 3rd Starting Today, But Only at Night – From 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

[UPDATE: Here's a FaceBook posting from June 20th, from a less-than-reliable-source, one that earlier stated that this job already would have been done by now, that I don't think you could find even if you searched for it, that's designed mostly to take credit for a "job well done" (as opposed to informing the affected public (most of whom don't even live in District Five)), that doesn't even mention the terms SFMTA or DPW, that I suppose is a kind of official notice.]

Earlier, I read this sign as Kezar Drive Closed From June 23rd to July 30th, so I was baffled as to why there was nothing posted online on this topic.

So now, after taking a photo and looking at it, I see that the closure is for just 11 scheduled days and only at night.

See?

Click to expand

I’m still baffled as to why no SFGov entity has posted anything about this online, oh well.

Anyway, this thing kicks off tonight – here’s the foreperson getting ready for work.