Posts Tagged ‘construction’

KRON-TV’s Big Stanley Roberts vs. the Little Lebowski of the Southern Wiggle: “I Don’t Want To Release This Footage”

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Welcome to ‘Merica, Dude:

Germinator 2: Judgment Day – Interim Mayor Ed Lee Wants to Kill All These Street Trees on Masonic – Public Protests April 27th

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

At first the notices were white.

The Public protested the white notices, so now the follow-up notices are here. They’re yellow:

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One assumes that tree lovers will show up at this DPW meeting on April 27th and DPW will (sort of) listen to them for two minutes each and then most of the hundreds of sidewalk trees on this 3000-foot stretch of Masonic Avenue will get chipped later on this year.

One assumes.

Oh No, Shaming! – “Referee the Wiggle” Event Coming April 23rd to “Red Card” Cyclists at Infamous Waller and Steiner

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

I’ll tell you, I’m not a big fan of the vaunted The Wiggle bike route and here’s why:

FOR MOST PEOPLE, THERE’S A BETTER WAY TO GET FROM THE PANHANDLE TO DOWNTOWN, TO GET THERE AND BACK AGAIN

That’s why. This was my stab at promoting the Northern Wiggle,* aka the McAllister Pass,** aka the Hastings Cutoff. *** Some people listened, but most did not, oh well.

Anyway, aside from this route being a third of a mile shorter and faster and safer and relatively ped-free, it NEVER gets any SFPD Bicycle Enforcement Actions, the way, say, the intersection of Waller and Steiner gets.

Speaking of which, now more people are joining the SFPD, to “referee the Wiggle,” if only for a short time.

Here it is:

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“Referee the Wiggle
Thursday, April 23, 2015, 3:00pm – 3:30 pm
Waller and Steiner st – The Wiggle

While 95% of cyclists using the Wiggle are really incredibly respectful of other road users, there is that small minority who give us all a bad name. I’ve always wanted to dress as a referee and hand out yellow and red cards to bad cyclists (and maybe some cars and peds too) and I’m using NOW! as my excuse!

Come join me in shaming the few bad cyclists out there and making the Wiggle just a little bit safer and more courteous!”

*I, myself, wiggle from street to street north of the Panhandle on my way inbound to Fulton and Scott – it depends on traffic.

**The pass over Alamo Heights, which the Southern Wiggle route mostly avoids by generally following the route of the former creek what used to drain the kind of valley where the Golden Gate Park Panhandle sits now.

***Named for Landsford Hastings, a distant cousin, surely, of UC Hastings’ Justice Serranus Clinton Hastings.

Ironically, SFGov Plans to Remove This Actual Urban Tree Canopy from Masonic and Geary – Aesthetics vs. Safety, Again

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Now I say ironically because it’s standard practice for our local pols to talk about San Francisco’s “urban canopy” as if we were close to having one already IRL.

But here’s an actual canopy, on Masonic near Geary, that’s doomed for the chipper because of some bogus art project called “Points of Departure.”

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One supposes it’ll be a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine of the big new federally-funded, state-funded “Streetscape” / pork-barrel project go down? (Our SFMTA is working, slowly but surely, on this gig what has turned out to be less “shovel-ready” than advertised…)

One local, beloved blogger has gone as far as calling this slow-motion disaster Arbor-Geddon 2015.

Now here’s a little history about how SFGov works, courtesy of San Francisco Mayor (1996-present) / local lobbyist Willie Brown:

“I wanted the trees gone, but knew I’d face stiff resistance both from homeless advocates and tree supporters. We brought in a tree expert and wouldn’t you know it, some of the trees had a blight. I issued an emergency order, and that night park workers moved in and dug up and bagged the trees. By the time the TV cameras arrived the next morning the trees were on their way to a tree hospital, never to return. So bless me, father, for I too have sinned. I just did it before everyone had a cell phone camera.”

Delightful story, Willie. Simply delightful.

Anyway, kiss this small grove, improbably near a big #38 MUNI stop, good-bye.

Appalling Corner Cutting from the Vaunted SFMTA: Newly-Installed Clean-Sheet Traffic Signal Poles on Masonic

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

[All right, a little background. Who’s been in charge of the crosswalk in front of City Hall on Polk? IDK, somebody in SFGov, like the SFMTA, or an agency from before the SFMTA, or DPW, or, no matter, somebody in SFGov, anyway, right? And these people know that driver compliance rates with whatever half-assed “smart” control scheme they installed is a lot lower than the compliance rate with simple red-yellow-green signals. But then, with regular dumb traffic lights, pedestrians would have to wait, at least part of the time, to cross the street to get to the Great Hall of The People and we can’t have that, right? So when a tour bus driver runs over an SFGov worker going back to the office, it’s all the tour bus driver’s fault, right? Well, yes and no. The BOS can vote 11-0 to regulate tour bus operators, but that ignores its own responsibility, non? Oh what’s that, you were going to get around to installing a traffic signal there, but you just hadn’t gotten around to it? And what’s that, you can’t figure out how to do it with the money we already give you, so we need to give you more more more? All right, fine, but that means you’re a part of the safety problem, not the solution, SFTMA / SFGov, at least in this case. Moving on…]

What the Hell is this, this brand new aluminum(?) light pole above Masonic betwixt the Golden Gate and Turk “high injury* corridors.” Believe it or not, you’re looking at signal lights for northbound Masonic traffic at Golden Gate AND ALSO, on the other side, for southbound Masonic at Turk:

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Here’s how things look up the hill heading southbound – no problems here:

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But this is what you see going north, you see a red light on the left and green light on the right, and the farther away you are, the more it looks like one intersection with contradictory signals:

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I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere in the world.

This is appallingly poor design, IMO.

So, what, give you more money and you’ll put in another pole, SFMTA? IDK, you can see that they spent money on three new poles, so why did they cheap out with this half-assed creation?

Tree branches? So, the SFMTADPW wants to cut down hundreds of “diseased” trees** on this 3000-foot stretch of Masonic, but it can’t trim a couple trees in the name of Safety?

OK fine.

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Why did the deciders decide on this half-assed design? This one will write itself.

*Are there any low injury corridors in San Francisco? No there are not. So the phrase “high-injury corridor,” as used over and over again, recently, in SF, is meaningless. Oh what’s that, there are no accidents on Willard Street North, for example. Except that WSN aint a corridor, it’s a just a little street. So “high injury corridor” simply means corridor, which simply means, of course, “a (generally linear) tract of land in which at least one main line for some mode of transport has been built.”

**This is how SFGov works:

I wanted the trees gone, but knew I’d face stiff resistance both from homeless advocates and tree supporters. We brought in a tree expert and wouldn’t you know it, some of the trees had a blight. I issued an emergency order, and that night park workers moved in and dug up and bagged the trees. By the time the TV cameras arrived the next morning the trees were on their way to a tree hospital, never to return.”

Arguably, this occurred a while ago, but, arguably, Willie Brown is still the Mayor, so there you go.

Cranelandia – How Much Money Does SF Mayor Wilie Brown Make Off Of Each One? – A Dozen Cranes from This View

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Start counting:

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La mise en scene from Mission looking south:

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Cranes = money, for certain people, right?

Wow, SFPD Enforcement Action at Oak and Masonic – Massive Number of Luxury / Electric Cars Pulled Over, Over and Over

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Here’s what it looks like – an SFPD enforcement action, this latest one at Oak and Masonic. (Note modern-looking SFPD Kawasaki Concours 14P (which looks to me like a CHP BMW) juxtaposed with the ancient Harley Davidsons what make up most of the Motor Patrol.)

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This action meant that every driver who commited some infraction turning left from inbound Oak onto northbound Masonic got pulled over at the Masonic Chevron.

One supposes that the new left turn arrow phase at this intersection was the instigation for the enforcement action. (Back in the day, traffic didn’t back up during the Morning Drive due to the Double Left Turn that’s no longer there, owing to concerns over ped safety, one supposes.)

All right, here’s your money shot, here’s your scene at Fell and Masonic with a brace of drivers, drivers who “know” they’re special, so fucking special, you know, your Prius hybrid drivers, your Range Rover drivers, and your new funky BMW i3 (with absurdly tall, absurdly narrow Conestoga wagon wheels) electric car drivers:

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That was the scene I initialy came upon and this is the same area as I left. Note the all-black Mercedes Benz, Audi and Lexus. It’s not a coincidence that the drivers of all these cars got pulled over at the same time, just saying:

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Of course, the SFPD will also pull you over if they notice you doing something wrong going the other way, but the funny thing was that the two cars I saw getting pulled over heading south on Masonic, against the current, heading towards the Financial, were normal ones, like VW Golfs. (I’ll ask you, should you ever be proud of your car? The answer is that no you shouldn’t be, because Pride Goeth Before The Painful Traffic Ticket What’s Going to End Up Costing Your Four Figures. JMO.)

Moving on, to this – peds coming up to chat up the cops to cheer them on.

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Now I’ll tell you, I didn’t see any driver run a red during the time I was at these intersection taking photos of the enforcement action, but I was paying more attention to the cops as opposed to the drivers. And I’ll note that sometimes the traffic lights would cycle red green red green red green without anyone getting pulled over.

I’ll leave you with this, my misfocused shot of a ped giving a black power salute to the SFPD to thank them for this latest enforcement action:

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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.

When Driving Earth-Moving Equipment Up and Down Divisadero, Make Sure to Block Your View with an Impact Hammer

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

I think I can pay off on this headline.

Let’s see, an earth mover, a Bobcat S750 to be precise, heading northbound on Divisadero…

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…with a view-blocking impact hammer attached…

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…right before its squirrely driver hung a U-turn from the slow lane and headed southbound on Divis.

Throw in a sarcastic headline, and you’ve got yourself a blog post.

And I should say, as we all know, it’s dangerous to drive earth moving equipment around with attachments blocking your view.

Seven: The Most Construction Cranes I’ve Managed to Fit Into One Shot Using a 200mm Lens in San Francisco

Thursday, December 4th, 2014

So far:

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Click to expand