Posts Tagged ‘congestion’

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.

DPT SFPark Fail: Expensive Sensors “Bedeviled by Electromagnetic Interference from Overhead Trolley Lines” per NYT

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Instead of the SFMTA MUNI DPT SFPark happy talk what you’ve been getting from the San Francisco Examiner, why not check out what the New York Times has to say about San Francisco’s expensive SFPark new parking meter program.

“PLACE “smart” in front of a noun and you immediately have something that somehow sounds improved.”

Heh.

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They’re Ba-aaack! The SFMTA Tries to Impose SFPark on Mission Bay Once Again – Plus SFPark.info Website

Friday, May 25th, 2012

I’ll tell you, when the Imperial Japanese Navy tried to invade Wake Island back in WWII, their first attempt, which involved months of planning, failed. The IJN was highly embarrassed but they knew that it was their job to impose themselves on Wake, to “manage” Wake, so they came back and succeeded on their second try. (And they beheaded a few Marines, but, byegones…)

And I’ll also tell you, when the Imperial SFMTA tried to impose SFPark on the Mission Bay and the Dogpatch and whatnot, their first attempt, which involved months of planning, failed. The SFMTA was highly embarrassed but they knew that it’s their job to impose SFPark, or whatever they’re calling it now, on the area. The college boys of the SFMTA just know, they just know it, that it’s their job to increase the power of the SFMTA and have the SFMTA grow and grow and grow.

Get all the deets on the Second Invasion of Mission Bay right here, and below.

And oh, here’s SFPark.info website, written by people who don’t approve of the worst aspects of the SFMTA and SFPark (or whatever they’re calling it these days.)

All right, now back to the official stuff. Uh, and in case you don’t know it, SFMTA, you suck – more proof of this is that your website has “insecure content.” [UPDATE: Good job, MUNI! You took care of that. Someday, you’ll get the hang of the whole “Internet” thing.]

Or so they say:

In closing, MUNI sucks!

“Mission Bay parking planning community meeting – Saturday, June 16

Posted on 05.25.12 in AnnouncementsParking Planning|Share:Bookmark and Share

The public is invited to join the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) at our second Mission Bay parking planning community meeting. We will discuss the revised plans for parking management in the neighborhood and gather public input. As Mission Bay evolves, we need to ensure that everyone on the road—cars, buses, bicycles, and pedestrians—can travel safely and smoothly.

Mission Bay parking planning community meeting 
Mission Creek Park Pavilion, 290 Channel Street, one block west of 4th and Channel Streets
Saturday, June 16
3-3:30 p.m. – Open House
3:30-4:30 p.m. – Public Comments (sign up by 3:20 p.m.)

The SFMTA seeks public input on the following:

  • Special event pricing to better manage parking demand during large events like Giants games and reduce congestion.
  • Extended meter hours to open up evening parking, particularly during evening games. This is separate from the SFMTA’s citywide Sunday metering proposal.
  • New meter installation schedule for meters approved in 2002, which will have SFpark demand-responsive pricing to ensure an optimum level of open parking spaces as Mission Bay grows.

During the open house section of the meeting, attendees can review plan details, talk directly with project planners, and submit written feedback. The public comment period follows.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Mission Bay parking planning
CLICK HERE for directions to the meeting venue, including nearby public transit

Please feel free to email us if you have any questions about the location or the project.

You can also stay up to date via Twitter and Facebook.”

Wrong Way Driving: The Poorly-Designed Intersection of Grove and Hyde Sends Land Rover Driver Over the Edge

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

The poorly-designed intersection of Grove and Hyde, where traffic sometimes backs up to City Hall, sent the driver of this Land Rover Discovery over the edge.

See? He’s driving the wrong way. He felt that the drivers ahead of him weren’t being aggressive enough moving past the stop sign:

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Oh well. (It’s true that the drivers ahead of him could have paid more attention, I s’pose.) The driver shaved about five minutes off of his trip so I guess that’s a small victory for him.

Anyway, the way to avoid this mess is to cut through the Great Parking Lot of Fulton (minding the peds, of course, the worst in the world hang out around here) to get on Hyde easily. Otherwise, you’ll be in this mess on Grove for ten minutes or whatever.

Happy driving!

The Foot of Grove Street, Where It Meets Hyde, Market, and 8th, is Poorly Designed – How Can It Be Fixed?

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Here’s the sitch at the foot of Grove Street these days.

See? Traffic moving inbound, west towards Market Street, backs up to Polk sometimes:

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The thing about that is that not many cars can make it through each traffic signal cycle, so it might take ten minutes to go 1.5 blocks.

There’s a bike lane in there inbound on the right, but, as you can see, it oftentimes gets blocked by double-parked cars and private bus lines like that from the CPMC.

Cyclists are rightly tempted to just take the little-used outbound lane to get to Market.

Oh well.

I Love Big Brother: SFPARK.ORG Goes Full Orwell with Slogan: “Parking Availability & Pricing” – WTFSFMTA?

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

All right, let’s see here, by the numbers:

1. “Parking Availability” – What this means is that the SFMTA is taking money from the Feds to put in new parking meters and raise prices on existing meters.

2. “Pricing” – What this means is that the SFMTA is taking money from the Feds to put in new parking meters and raise prices on existing meters.

Does that about cover it?

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Imagine if you will an organization called, I don’t know, how about SFFOOD.ORG? And instead of its former policy of giving away food for free for the most part but also charging a little bit of money to some people, it decided to give away a smaller amount of free food and then charge a lot of money to more people. And then imagine that if SFFOOD knew you were really hungry, then it’d charge you even more. And then imagine that its slogan would be “Food Availability & Pricing.”

And then imagine they made some bullshit website about how much happier you’ll be spending less time waiting for food you now have to pay for. (You know who values convenience over money? Rich people, that’s who.)

Do you see why your bullshit initiatives are met with deep skepticism?

Hello, SFMTA? It’s me, Margaret. The Internet called – it wants its URLs back. Don’t you already have a website, SFMTA? So why do you need a different one for every project you do? Like the CultureBus – you had a special website for that too, right? (Until you lost interest in it…)

And aren’t we going to pay back the Feds the $20,000,000 “grant” or whatever they’re loaning us to pay for the new meters (and bullshit website) from the new revenue? (That’s my understanding – disabuse me of that notion if you wish.)

Hey SFMTA, why don’t you just be straight and tell drivers that they’re just going to have to pay more for parking,  just tell them that their free ride is over? Why don’t you tell people that it’s impractical to make them put 72 quarters per hour into a meter so that’s why you want to use credit and debit cards and whatnot?

And why does every policy from the SFMTA have to be advertised as a win-win for all concerned?

Why does the worst-run agency in San Francisco have to be so Orwellian?

Oh, and here’s the kicker:

“After the SFpark pilot phase is complete in the summer of 2012, SFpark will evaluate the effectiveness of the project and prepare a proposal for expanding SFpark across the City for the SFMTA Board to consider after public outreach.”

Can you see those Godforsaken souls way out there at 46th and Kirkham feeding the kitty for them to park their cars in front of their houses?

SFMTAWTF?

Uh, What’s Stopping Marin or San Mateo County From Charging Us to Visit Them? Turning Freeways Into Turnpikes…

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Is San Francisco really going to start charging admission? All right, but this “Gateway” idea is a whole lot different from the “downtown core” proposal from a few years back, in’nt?

I mean, what’s stopping San Mateo from putting up their own tollbooths? Or charging a per-capita two dollar fee for all BART riders coming into Daly City Station as compensation for us taking up all their space and breathing all their air?

Just sayin, bro.

How to Park in Golden Gate Park on the Weekends – Avoiding 9th Avenue and Congested MLK Drive

Monday, September 6th, 2010

People have been tooling around Golden Gate Park in their cars for more than 100 years, but it’s never been tougher than now to get around and find a space on the weekends.

This is what MLK Drive looks like from 9th Avenue on a summer weekend – it’s a parking lot. You’d be better off walking:

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And here’s where you’ll find cyclists and bikers on MLK when things are bad – they just lane-split in the middle of the road. That’s how bad it can get.

But you want to carry your brood to the de Young Museum or the California Academy of Sciences anyway, right?

Now, if you want to approach the park from the north, from the Richmond District and then head right to that $4 per hour Music Concourse garage, well then be my guest. The problem with that is that the garage gets full sometimes. In that case, you should be able to (eventually) find a space on Fulton (for free on Sundays and some holidays.)

Or you could make a try for Stow Lake, where it’s always free to park. Pretty easy to get to from the south. Just follow the blue arrows past the boat house – if you can find a place near the east end of the lake then you’ll have to walk just a couple minutes to get to wherever you’re going.

Whatever you do, don’t try to circle the Music Concourse or use MLK between 9th Ave. and the southern entrance to Stow Lake. You’ll be traveling at one MPH if you’re lucky and there’s a good chance the southern garage entrance will be blocked off. You’d be better off trying to find a free space on MLK east of 7th Ave. or on Lincoln (where it’s free to park on Sundays.)

Bon courage.

If You Drive an English Tour Bus in Golden Gate Park, Feel Free to Use the Wrong Side of the Road

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

This open-top sightseeing bus in Golden Gate Park has its steering wheel on the wrong side, cause it was made in merry olde Englande at the British Leyland factory.

Normally that kind of set-up a pain, but it’s a bonus when you’re stalled on Martin Luther King, Jr due to congestion near Music Concourse Drive. Just pull into the other lane and hope that the drivers coming the other way notice.

If you ever get pulled over by the SFPD or the Park police for driving the wrong way, address all concerned as “gov’ner” and feel free to throw in the phrase “me lorry” as much as possible. “See here, Gov’ner, me lorry is right hand drive, so….”  That should get you off the hook.

Why waste your petrol waiting in line when you can just jump the queue?    

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Cheers!

Big “San Francisco Congestion Pricing” Car Fee Meeting Tonight at the Ferry Building

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

I’ll tell you, if you are dead-set against the idea of paying money for the right to drive into the Financh at certain times of the day, you’re better off not attending the “outreach meeting” being held tonight tonight* at the Ferry Building.

We will be conducting a fourth round of public workshops to present our findings in late spring or early summer. Join us in person or on the web to discuss our findings, and your thoughts on next steps.

Tuesday, July 27 from 5:30 – 7:00pm
San Francisco Ferry Building
Port Commission Hearing Room, 2nd floor

Wednesday, July 28 from 5:30 – 7:00pm
SFCTA Hearing Room
100 Van Ness Avenue, 26th Floor”

The reason being is that you don’t have a prayer about changing their minds or nothing. They already know what’s best for you.

They already know that this, or something similiar, is The Future:

And to persuade you of all this, they’ll sacrifice a few straw dogs just for your benefit. Srsly. So, like, does anybody actually believe this statement?

All the traffic in the city is from drivers who don’t live in the city.”

Or this one? Does anybody go around saying this IRL?

“Congestion Pricing is a regressive tax on poor people who need to drive into the cordon area.”

No, not really. Oh well. They’re trying to persuade so this is how they do it, in a patronizing manner. It’s The System.

This is the same system that FUBARed the Bay Bridge retrofit.  This is the same system that calls the increased fares on the Bay Bridge “congestion pricing.” Oh well.

Myself, I support the concept of congestion pricing. In fact, I’m thinking it’s possible that San Francisco could actually execute this idea in a textbook fashion. We’ll see.

*Phil Collins is a jerk but he was also a jerk back in his Genesis days, so you can’t say that he changed or nothing. And you can’t say that he just tagged along with the others from Genesis – he was Genesis, really. So, if you like the extended part that starts at 3:17 here and the other similar parts, well then you have to give props to Phil Collins, I guess.