Posts Tagged ‘crosswalk’

Finally, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Acknowledges that Pedestrians Don’t “ALWAYS” Have the Right of Way

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Well, this is refreshing, this new bit from the SFBC.

You see, they used to go around telling peds that peds “always” have the right of way.*

But, the always is now gone from their new materials.

Do you think the SFBC learned something from this tiny WordPress blog?

I do.

To review, telling peds they always have the right of way is always the wrong thing to do.

*That was all the way back in 2012, except now this old SFBC posting is down the memory hole, lost forever. Also lost forever are the SFBC’s tax forms, which used to be posted but now are hidden away, oh well.

How Not To Drive, Fell and Masonic Edition: Should You Stop for a Red in a Crosswalk? NO

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Northbound Masonic at Fell:

7J7C6518 copy

There are a lot of places to stop here. Where you’re supposed to stop is the stop line before the crosswalk, but this driver chose the far end of the crosswalk.

Bad form.

Here’s the thing – once you’ve crossed over your stop line, you’ve committed yourself to the intersection and therefore you need to clear it before cross traffic starts.

There’s no waiting option.

If you want to hang out longer, do it before your stop line, no matter how far back from the intersection the SFMTA / DPW has put the stop line…

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…

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:

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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.

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.”

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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.

Photo: A Game of Frogger But In Real Life on Masonic in Front of Trader Joe’s #100 – Who Will Be The Next To Die?

Monday, June 9th, 2014

These people parked across the street from our popular Trader Joes on Masonic, as many people do, ’cause the TJ’s parking lot is too small, ’cause that’s what nearby residents wanted.

Our Planning Department created this disaster and then moved on to more important work, such as the failed 8 Washington project, oh well.

Fixes have been tried, but still we’ve got this parade of customers jaywalking back and forth across this stretch of 30 MPH Masonic, thusly, from a few days back:

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Cars were coming in the fast lanes both northbound and southbound, so their only choice was to wait for the black car to pass and then sprint behind it.

This game has been going on for years, with many shoppers playing, and some getting hit by vehicles.

Drivers at Fell and Masonic Need to be More Aggressive Heading North and Less Heading South

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Allow me to explain, Gentle Reader.

This driver’s heading south on Masonic. See what s/he did? S/he “blocked the box” because of carelessness. You gotta look ahead to see if the intersection will clear by the time your light turns red. It’s Da Law. This is what I mean when I say too aggressive.

On the other hand, drivers heading north on Masonic sometimes want to turn left onto Fell. Sometimes these people don’t commit to making the turn by entering the intersection. Instead, they hang back by the crosswalk about 40 feet from where they should be, srlsy. Ppl, you gotta commit to the turn, you gotta be more aggressive.

D’accord? 

D’accord!

And the Richmond District’s Biggest Illegal Parking Violator is … Giorgio’s Pizzeria, 151 Clement Street

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

When I come across Giorgio of Giorgio’s Pizzeria, I’ll say, “Hey Gio, how come you ain’t got no brothers up on the wall here?”

And then, regardless of the answer, I’ll follow up with a question about why he doesn’t arrange for a place to park his Prius and whatever delivery vehicles, you know, legally.

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(In mitigation, this joint is a viable institution of the Richmond District and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re looking for an old-school pizza place out in the Avenues…)

The SF Chronicle Asks SFMTA Spokesmodel Paul Rose for Pedestrian Law Advice and He Gets It 100% Wrong: Countdown Timers

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Here we go:

Is a pedestrian supposed to stop as soon as the numbers start to flash? Can the walker proceed throughout the countdown? Or, as one letter writer seemed to think, is the countdown really for the benefit of drivers? We asked Paul Rose, spokesman for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, for the answer.

“It’s an awareness tool to let pedestrians know how much time they have to cross the street,” he said. “All pedestrians are strongly encouraged to make responsible decisions on when they should or shouldn’t cross.” But can a pedestrian get ticketed – ha! – for starting to walk when the countdown is near zero? Nope. “They can start whenever they want,” Rose said.”

Now here’s what a countdown timer looks like, in the City and County:

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Note that San Francisco peds see an “approved upraised hand symbol” right next to the countdown timer.

Now here’s Da Law:

“Flashing or steady “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol: No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone or otherwise leave the roadway while the “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol is showing.”

Oh, here’s another stab at this subject:

According to California Vehicle Code 21456, pedestrians can’t walk if there’s a “Don’t Walk” sign or an upraised hand symbol. Anyone who has started crossing after one of those flashes should proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone.

And this appears to be a common ticket handed out to peds near the LA County Courthouse.

And here’s another reference.

Of course Paul Rose is paid to lie on behalf of the SFMTA, so it’s not clear what his intent was.

Oh well.

“V C Section 21456 Walk Wait or Don’ t Walk

Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk

21456.  Whenever a pedestrian control signal showing the words “WALK” or “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or other approved symbol is in place, the signal shall indicate as follows:

(a) “WALK” or approved “Walking Person” symbol. A pedestrian facing the signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.

(b) Flashing or steady “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone or otherwise leave the roadway while the “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol is showing.

Amended Ch. 413, StaEts. 1981. ffective January 1, 1982″