Posts Tagged ‘department of public works’

Octavia Boulevard: What the Hell Were They Thinking? Congested in the Four Middle Lanes, Yet Somnolent in the Four Outer

Friday, January 31st, 2014

And three useless medians are in there as well.

This whole boulevard thing is a complete disaster.

Hey, do you think the side roads were made to be “unattractive to through traffic?” Well, yes they were!

Mission accomplished:

And check this insanity:

“Along Octavia Boulevard it is theoretically possible for a vehicle on a side road to make a U-turn back into the main road lanes, or to make a left turn across four lanes of main road traffic, all while the main road has a green light.”

OMG.

They could have put up signs, but that would have marred the aesthetics, right?

We ought to Bring This Mother Down, shatter the lens and grind it into sand.

I’ll leave you with this: What is the Legacy of Octavia Boulevard?

“Octavia has severely impacted traffic on Laguna at all times, not just peak.”

Octavia is a mess for bicyclists and there are tons of vehicle accidents.”

What has Octavia taught us? Stopped cars/slow idling cars seem to pollute more.”

And what do the Yelpers have to say?

“Who’s the dip-shit that designed this Octavia Street nightmarebetween Market St and Fell St?”

“1) It’s a freeway offramp – slash – playground. Kids and cars!! Who’s the genius??
2) It doesn’t take you across Market Street but rather has you wait at the light — filling the above-mentioned park with your exhaust as you idle along.
3) The “local access” road is a perfect place to die while crossing the street, as some confused driver makes a right hand turn.
4) It got voted in after at least three failed initiatives. During the boom. When the population was more passionate than informed and theHayes Valley Merchant’s Association could sweet talk them with this park bullshit. ”I like parks not freeways! I’ll vote yes!” The old Fell Street offramp was ugly and the dark sidewalks underneath were full of pee. It’s been replaced by a classic San Francisco compromise that essentiallyworks well for no one but makes some smug mofos feel like they discouraged driving when all they really did was put more smog on the street. And now the sidewalks are sunny, but they’re still full of pee. I wonder why an offramp didn’t solve homelessness…?”

“The poster child for stupidity in San Francisco. STILL not finished after 25 or so years???

“Unsafe at any speed for:
1.pedestrians
2.bicycles
3.scooters
4.motorcycles
5.marmosets

OHMiGOD are you kidding?? Wow, I looked up this review expecting to see half a star and a lovely littering of ‘fuckity fuck motherFUCKER,’ wowwweee…everyone i talk to in person HATES this addition…

Why we hate the new Octavia Blvd:

1. It is confusing. What is with the extra mini-side lane next to the regular lane? Are you allowed to switch back and forth at liberty? What is the purpose of this mini lane?

2. Why are there traffic lights AND stop signs in front of the mini-lane? When there’s a traffic light and a stop sign, which one wins?

3. The traffic on Octavia Blvd, coming from the freeway, is always atrocious. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is. Something about it’s ingenious design allows it to remain backed up 24 hours a day.

4. If you don’t play your cards right, you WILL get forced onto the freeway. You just think you’re along for an innocent ride, and then , BAM, Octa-Nazi Blvd has you marching along in its gigantic oppressive middle lane and it wil NOT let you out, no matter how much you beg.

I don’t get it, I don’t get it! What’s going on with this street monster?”

“This is NOT the haven for cyclists and pedestrians the city touts it as being. Whose idea was it to build the off ramp at street level? It should be RAISED and go over Market or they should build some kind of blockade so that people coming east on Market absolutely can’t try to make a right onto the highway and clip pedestrians and cyclists. That single spot is a death trap.

It’s pretty and it’s great that it’s not a shithole anymore but this is seriously some urban planning gone awry. The shared bike/car lanes on the outside would be great if the cars that drove in them weren’t complete idiots. Sharrows mean it’s my lane too, buddy, so don’t honk at me and tell me to get on the sidewalk, don’t rev your engine behind me, and don’t speed up to 20 to squeeze by me. The middle lane is for fast driving of cars, not the outer lanes. Unfortunately people are unable to grasp this concept and choose to terrorize pedestrians and cyclists who are trying to enjoy the sections of the project supposedly designed to make things better for us.

And the light/stop sign combo… what the hell? It’s maddening. If this is supposed to benefit cyclists, why make it so difficult to make a left onto Market? One must cross Octavia and go onto the sidewalk then cross Market and make the left there, or cross Market then cross the on/off ramp via Market. That second option wouldn’t be so bad except for the fucktards coming down Market who don’t understand what NO RIGHT TURN means and repeatedly take out cyclists at the same spot as they try to turn onto the highway.”

And on it goes.

Wow, the Push to “STOP THE MASONIC PLAN” Seems to be Growing – But It’s Too Late, Right?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

I’ll tell you, do you know how many residents put up signs to support using taxpayer money to decrease capacity on Masonic Avenue?

None, zero, nada.

But people on Masonic seem to love putting up signs going against the plan to take out 100-something parking spaces.

I don’t know why the electeds who voted for this project would change their minds now – it seems only a lawsuit* could  have any effect at this point.

The windmill tilting continues – this sign looks homemade:

You can’t fight City Hall, right?

*And even then, I don’t see how you’d win.

The “Save Masonic” People are Back Opposing Changes to Masonic Avenue – But Battle is Over – Serious Congestion Coming

Monday, July 29th, 2013

I’ll tell you, the “average,” the typical user of Masonic will in no way benefit from spending eight  figures worth of taxpayer dollars on a 3000 foot stretch of Masonic betwixt Fell and the new City Target Store up on Mervyn’s Heights at Geary.

And that’s sort of funny ’cause this recently-greenlighted project was billed as being “accommodating” to “all users,” as something that would benefit all.

Now myself, perhaps I’ll end up benefiting from the changes, we’ll see. But I live too close to Masonic to feel right about advocating ‘n stuff. Seems selfish. (I’ll tell you, I sure feel sorry for those living in the West Bay, out there in the Fog Belt.)

But you,  if you use Masonic to get from one place or another, you’re going to be fucked during the AM and PM drives. That’ll also include car drivers, and passengers, and bus drivers and passengers, etc. Cyclists will benefit but for peds, well, it won’t really matter. Abutting property owners will probably appreciate the new trees on the new useless medians. And that’s about it.

Where all the traffic will go during the morning and evening drives, well, we’ll see.

Anyway, here’s the latest:

Joshua Calder was pretty drunk when he killed Nils Linke, but the other driver, the one who killed the purported “jaywalking”  ped, wasn’t he DUI as well? (I’ll point out that both these deaths happened outside of the rush hours.)

Anyway, here are some more deets from the rebel forces:

“San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agencyis planning to remove all parking along Masonic Avenue from Fell Street to Geary Boulevard, reduce the travel lanes during rush hour so there will only be two lanes in each direction at all times (except the West (southbound) side of Masonic for the block between Hayes and Fell, which will be three lanes), install a concrete median strip with trees in the middle of the street, and install bike lanes at both curb lanes (concrete cycle tracks, above the roadway and below sidewalk level). There will be bus bulbouts, so when buses stop to load and unload passengers, only one travel lane will be moving. In order to cross Masonic and to access the bus stops, pedestrians will have to cross the cycle track. MTA estimates the project will cost $18.2 million. The actual final cost is anyone’s guess.The Masonic cycle track project will have the following impacts:
Be dangerous for cyclists and for drivers pulling out of driveways. Drivers’ ability to see cyclists will be limited. Also, cars pulling out of driveways on a busy street such as Masonic can only do so when motor vehicle traffic is stopped by a red light. Some cyclists don’t always obey traffic signals, vehicles could be pulling out of driveways when they don’t expect any traffic, only to hit an unexpected cyclist. Because some cyclists don’t use lights, this will be even more dangerous at night.
Result in the loss of around 167 street parking spaces. The actual number may be more because MTA counts 20 linear feet as a parking space, but some of the parking spaces along Masonic between driveways are less than 20 feet and may not be included in the count. Also, residents of Masonic will no longer be able to park across their driveways.
Increase congestion on Masonic, especially during rush hour.
Increase traffic on nearby streets, as some drivers avoid the increased traffic on Masonic.
Increase pollution in the area, as drivers circle further and longer in search of parking, and as traffic on the nearby streets is increased.
Jeopardize public safety by slowing down emergency response time.
Make it much more difficult for residents on Masonic to: load/unload people and packages; have items delivered; have visitors; move in and out of their homes; and have construction, maintenance, painting and other work done.
Make it harder for businesses to get deliveries of their products.
The major parking loss will especially hurt seniors and disabled people, who are limited in how far they can walk and how many streets they can cross. It will also make it more difficult for them to have home visits from caregivers, Meals on Wheels, physical, respiratory, occupational and other therapists, and repair services from wheelchair repair companies.
Increase the personal safety risk at night for residents returning to their homes and visitors returning to their cars after visiting friends, as they will have to park further from their residence or their friend’s home. The risk will especially increase for the most vulnerable – women, seniors and disabled people.
Currently, vehicles going eastbound on Geary turn right onto southbound Masonic using a dedicated right turn lane before Masonic, thus avoiding having to go all the way to Masonic. The project will remove this lane, so both vehicles turning southbound and those proceeding straight on Geary will have to go all the way to Masonic. Congestion will increase, especially with the additional traffic from the Target store.
Create a chaotic, congested mess on Masonic and the surrounding areas during the 18 month construction period.
Motor vehicle traffic on Masonic was over 32,000 vehicles per day in 2010 (measured by MTA at Masonic at Fulton). Because many automobiles carry more than one person, more than 32,000 people ride on Masonic on a typical day. With the new Target store at Masonic and Geary slated to open, this volume will increase dramatically. In contrast, per SFMTA measurements, during the PM rush hour there were only 20 bikes per hour at Masonic/Golden Gate and only 32 per hour at Masonic/Fell. (And some of those at Masonic/Fell may have been proceeding along Fell, not Masonic.)
Masonic Avenue can be improved without creating these dangers, impacts and hardships, and without spending $18.2 million. More trees can be planted along the sidewalk, lighting can be improved and bus shelters added. And rather than encouraging cyclists to bike along one of the busiest North-South streets in San Francisco, a better and safer North-South bike route can be created that includes the existing bike lanes along Baker, just a few blocks from Masonic. See updates page for more information.
Click here for a description of an alternative bike route.What can you do to help save Masonic? The MTA Board of Directors approved the cycle track project in September 2012. It will happen unless you get involved! It’s imperative that you contact Mayor Ed Lee, the Board of Supervisors, Supervisors London Breed, Eric Mar and Mark Farrell, the MTA Board, Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin and potential funding sources, and ask them to stop this disaster in the making. It’s also critical to attend meetings of the Board of Supervisors and the MTA Board.
See updates page for more information.

The Stated Objectives of the “Masonic Avenue Street Design Study” vs. Reality

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Hey, it’s the Masonic Avenue Street Design Study:

“About the Project – The primary goal of the Masonic Avenue Street Design Study is to identify how Masonic Avenue between Geary Boulevard and Fell Street can safely and efficiently accommodate the needs of all roadway users, including but not limited to … motorists.”

ALL RIGHT, EXACTLY HOW DOES THIS PROJECT “ACCOMMODATE THE NEEDS” OF “MOTORISTS?” OH, NOT AT ALL? THOUGHT SO. MOVING ON.

Objectives:

1. Engage representatives of all constituencies within the community who would be impacted by changes to Masonic Avenue…

ALL RIGHT, WHICH REPRESENTATIVES OF THE “MOTORIST” “CONSTITUENCY” WERE “ENGAGED?” ANY AT ALL? YOU KNOW, THE OCTAVIA BOULEVARD PEOPLE “ENGAGED” MOTORISTS AS FAR AWAY AS MONTEREY BOULEVARD, OUT THERE WITH CLIPBOARDS AND EVERYTHING. DID THE MASONIC AVENUE PEOPLE DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT? OH NO.

2. Improve transit operation.

THIS PROJECT WILL UNIMPROVE TRANSIT OPERATION ON AND AROUND MASONIC – THERE’S NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. IT’S GOING TO SLOW DOWN THE BUSES THAT USE MASONIC, INCLUDING THE OCCASIONAL #5 FULTON AND #21 HAYES.

3. Improve pedestrian and non-motorized access to transit.

SO TRANSIT USERS WILL HAVE “BETTER ACCESS” TO REDUCED BUS SERVICE? I DON’T GET THE BETTER ACCESS PART – YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT A BUS STOP? ALSO, WHAT’S “MOTORIZED ACCESS TO TRANSIT?”

4. Increase the safety of pedestrian crossings.

YOU KNOW, THE PRIOR PROJECT MANAGER IS ON THE RECORD AS STATING THAT THIS KIND OF THING IS BAD TO DO LIKE NOW BECAUSE IT WOULD HURT THE CAUSE OF PUSHING THE ENTIRE PROJECT THROUGH. KIND OF SAD, REALLY.

5. Increase motorist compliance with traffic rules and regulations.

UH, WHAT, WITH TREES? IF I WANTED TO INCREASE COMPLIANCE WITH TRAFFIC LAWS, I’D JACK THE SPEED LIMIT UP TO 40 MPH. NOW, THAT WOULD HAVE SOME SIDE EFFECTS, BUT IT CERTAINLY WOULD REDUCE THE INCIDENCE OF SPEEDING, RIGHT? OR, HAVING HOURS-LONG TRAFFIC JAM UPS DURING THE MORNING AND EVENING DRIVES WOULD REDUCE SPEEDING, IS THAT WHAT YOU’RE GETTING AT?

6. Reduce the number of vehicular collisions, especially those involving pedestrians and bicyclists.

HOW? BY PLANTING TREES? WE’LL SEE. HEY DIDN’T THE RECENT OCTAVIA BOULEVARD / MEDIAN PROJECT INCREASE THE NUMBER OF VEHICULAR COLLISIONS ON OCTAVIA? YES IT DID. HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN THAT?

7. Support neighborhood vitality by creating a more inviting and accommodating public realm.

BY PUTTING IN A MEDIAN AND PLANTING TREES? SO, LET’S TAX AMERICA, CALIFORNIA, AND SAN FRANCISCO TO CREATE A “REALM” ON 3000 FEET WORTH OF STREET PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE WEALTHY PROPERTY OWNERS AND PRIVATE SCHOOL(S) WHAT ARE ON THE STREET? ALL RIGHT.

Poorly-Designed Octavia “Boulevard” Proves Too Much for Mercedes-Driving Mom – Plows into NIMBY Green

Monday, December 31st, 2012

To the right of this accident scene is Octavia Boulevard.

And to the left, a block away, is Octavia Street.

And in the middle, you’ll see NIMBY Green with a newish Mercedes Benz CLS sitting on top.

Via ciprofloxacin – click to expand

You see, Octavia used to be a regular old street until Redevelopment (a bad idea from the 20th century) and the failed Octavia “Boulevard” experiment (a bad idea from the 21st century) came along.

Anyway. this is what results when “activists” are valued more than traffic engineers

It’s a Trap! What the Site Proposed by the City Family for OccupySF Looks Like, Down at 15th and Mission

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Well here’s the site proposed for OccupySF 2011 down at 15th and Mission.

It’s a death trap, it’s a suicide rap for OccupySF:


Via Steve Rhodes - click to expand

Here’s the 411 from Luke Thomas from a few days back (in an article that also features Kat Anderson’s report from OccupyOAK):

“In San Francisco, Department of Public Works interim Director Mohammed Nuru revealed today City officials have offered OccupySF protesters an alternative location to setup camp.  Though Nuru would not reveal the exact location, we understand the location to be a lot on the west side of Mission Street between 15th and 16th streets.  A former school, the site has running water and bathrooms as well as classroom-type structures that could be used for organizational purposes. No word yet on whether OccupySF will take up the City’s offer but, we’re told, the offer has been accepted in good faith.”

However, word on the street is that it’s a trap.

Only Time Will Tell.

Hollywood Has OSCAR Awards, San Francisco Has NIMBY Awards – 2011 NEN (Nimbys Empowering Nimbys) Awards

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

[UPDATE: Ooh, word on the street is that there’ll be a special award for the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners. Let’s hope this rumour proves out!]

At City Hall:

Click to expand

And best of all, these awards are sponsored by the good people at PG&E, who mostly never kill anybody, mostly.

Leave us not forget the NIMBY Empowerment Act of 2006:

The NEN offers a new paradigm of collaboration which redefines the role of government from “manager” to “partner.” By re-aligning expectations and investing in capacity building resources, the goal is to return residents to their rightful role of stewards of the community.”

(Uh, NIMBY says what now? Moving on.)

All right, read this sentence fragment three times and then try to define what the word “empowerment” means. I defy you:

Empowerment Institute is the world’s premiere consulting and training organization specializing in the methodology of empowerment. Its state-of-the-art empowerment…”

(“State-of-the-art?” Shouldn’t that be “world-class” instead? I get my tired, corporate-speak cliches mixed up.)

But let’s see, who’s winning a pretigious NIMBY this year? Well, how about the Divisadero Corridor (aka DivCo), for one, as Comeback Neighborhood of the Year, or something. (Has the DivCo really changed all that much the past year? No, not all. Oh well.)

Now, how about last year?

“The San Francisco Department of Public Works’s Deputy Director, Mohammed Nuru, was awarded the Most Empowering City Employee Award for his dedication to San Francisco’s neighborhoods and years of work in preserving and maintaining San Francisco’s urban space. “Mr. Nuru is the go-to person in the City of SF for infrastructure projects. If you need a fence, sign or election* fix, Mr. Nuru can help you get it done,” said SF resident Gillian Gillette.”

So there’s no corruption here, then, huh? Pick a graf, any graf:

Nuru also volunteered for Brown’s re-election campaign in 1999, he testified. In that election, The Chronicle reported, three former SLUG employees say Nuru told them their jobs depended on Brown’s re-election and required them to walk precincts, attend rallies and work phones for Brown’s campaign while they were supposed to be cleaning streets.”

“In 2000, Brown hired Nuru to the No. 2 job at Department of Public Works, the 1,500-employee agency responsible for maintaining streets, sewers, public buildings and trees. Nuru was nominally the top aide to director Ed Lee. But employees believed the real power was Nuru, who boasted of his ties to the mayor and sometimes met with Brown without Lee.”

“Nuru quoted Brown as calling DPW’s management “a bunch of racists that were discriminating and holding people back.” Nuru vowed to “get rid of those white managers,” Cone said.”

“In an interview, Humphreys contended that in his early days at DPW, Nuru also ordered city workers to clean up a privately owned, debris-strewn vacant lot near Nuru’s home north of Candlestick Park. Humphreys put the cost of the cleanup at $40,000, and said it violated policies on the use of public resources at DPW.”

“Last fall, DPW asked the mayor’s Office of Community Development for $70, 000 to clean up a debris-strewn, city-owned lot four doors from Nuru’s home. City records show Nuru as the original DPW contact on the request.”

“As Cone later testified, SLUG wanted the city to pay consulting fees of $250 per hour to a retired DPW official who once oversaw the SLUG contract. Cone rejected the $5,863 invoice. Cone said he balked at a $25,000 bill for SLUG uniforms, including bib overalls and baseball caps. Cory Calandra, Nuru’s replacement at SLUG, wrote in a letter that uniforms were needed because SLUG crews “must live up to the reputation of San Francisco as a world class city.”

“I have pancreatic cancer,” he said. “I’ve had a good run, but I’m finished. I have no hatred for Mr. Nuru, but I do want to see DPW get back on track, and I’d like to see the taxpayers get what they’re paying for.”

I’m sure you’ll enjoy your big night, NEN:

GTH, NEN. TTFN.

* One-Word Parody Alert – you know, something “created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target**.”

** The investigation found that while at DPW, Nuru directed employees of the nonprofit he had previously led – the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners – to campaign for candidates in the 2003 mayors and district attorneys races. City-funded nonprofits are prohibited from using those funds to campaign.”

Ooh, Harsh: City Attorney Dennis Herrera Throws Down – Goes After Ed Lee’s Failed Record on Infrastructure

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Turns out that our “world-class City” is ranked below Boston, New York, Oakland, San Jose, and Seattle, believe it or not. See below.

Now, just how purple do you want to see your fighting City Attorney.

Better A, as seen here?

Or B, after a little Replace Color and Shadows/Highlights?

You Make The Call.

Now, a little background and then the News of the Day. Let’s list the endnotes first for a change – they are that good:

[1] Government Barometer: August 2011, City and County of San Francisco, Office of the Controller, City Services Auditor, October 18, 2011, http://www.sfcontroller.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2581
[2] City and County of San Francisco City Survey 2011, Final Report, prepared by the ETC Institute, October 6, 2011, http://www.sfcontroller.org/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentid=2573
[3] Voter Information Pamphlet, Nov. 8, 2011, Proposition B: Road Repaving and Street Safety Bonds, page 46, http://www.sfgov2.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/elections/NOV2011_VIP_EN.pdf
[4] Management Audit of the Department of Public Works, by the San Francisco Budget Analyst, January 9, 2007, http://www.sfdpw.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/sfdpw/director/DPWAuditReport.pdf

The latest from the Dennis Herrera for Mayor campaign:

“New Controller’s report confirms streets survey, audit on Ed Lee’s failed record on infrastructure

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Appointed Mayor’s decade-long mismanagement as DPW chief, City Administrator now require quarter-billion dollar streets bond to ‘finally accomplish what Ed Lee didn’t’

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 18, 2011) — City streets and public works continue to deteriorate under interim Mayor Ed Lee, according to a new report published today by the Controller’s Office, extending Lee’s decade-long record of mismanagement and neglect as the appointed bureaucrat in charge of San Francisco’s infrastructure. Today’s bimonthly Government Barometer[1] mirrors a highly critical survey released just two weeks ago that found San Francisco’s satisfaction rate with the current quality of its infrastructure to be the lowest among five benchmark cities to which it was compared. Lee’s history of lax oversight of streets, sidewalks and public works projects was also the subject of a devastating independent management audit of the Department of Public Works that the Board of Supervisors first commissioned in May 2005, while Lee was DPW director. That audit was released in 2007.

Today’s new Government Barometer identified negative trends in the City’s maintenance of streets and public works in terms of the percentage of street cleaning requests responded to within 48 hours, which have worsened both since the previous reporting period and as compared to the same period last year. A negative trend was also observed from the previous reporting period for the percentage of graffiti requests on public property responded to within 48 hours.

“For the last decade, Ed Lee did an abysmal job as the person in charge of San Francisco’s infrastructure,” said City Attorney Dennis Herrera. “The Budget Analyst’s audit proved it in 2007; the streets survey proved it again two weeks ago, and the new Government Barometer proves it once again. Ed Lee’s record of failure is why most city streets are dirtier than ever, and in desperate need of major repairs. Now, San Franciscans need to pass a quarter-billion dollars for a streets bond, to finally accomplish what Ed Lee didn’t.”

Lee was DPW director from 2000 to 2005, and until January of this year served as City Administrator, a role whose major duties under the City Charter include coordinating capital improvement and construction projects, and appointing and removing DPW directors. As such, Lee is more responsible for the current state of San Francisco’s infrastructure than any other city official. Lee’s decade-long record contrasts starkly with his new campaign promise to be an “infrastructure mayor” who will fix San Francisco’s “roads, schools and parks.”

On October 6, 2011, the San Francisco Controller’s Office published its final report of the biennial City Survey for 2011[2], which found that:

* San Francisco had the lowest satisfaction rate with the quality of its infrastructure among five benchmark cities to which it was compared: Boston, New York, Oakland, San Jose, and Seattle.

* Overall satisfaction with San Francisco city streets, sidewalks, and infrastructure rated a woeful 31 percent, according to the survey — far below other cities. In fact, San Francisco’s rating for infrastructure was also lower than both statewide and national averages.

* San Franciscans were least satisfied with the condition of pavement citywide, with nearly 44 percent of residents grading city performance “poor/failing,” and another 38 percent describing it as merely “average.” Only 18 percent rated infrastructure “good” or better.

The new Government Barometer and streets survey from two weeks ago come as San Franciscans begin voting on a proposed $248 million bond for road repaving and street safety.[3] The nearly one-quarter-billion-dollars in new bonded indebtedness is required, according to proponents, because half of San Francisco’s 850 miles of streets — together with public structures that include bridges, tunnels, and stairways — need major repairs and upgrades.

Both the Government Barometer and streets survey also mirror a devastating independent audit of DPW that the Board of Supervisors commissioned in May 2005, while Lee was DPW chief. Even before Budget Analyst Harvey Rose’s final 269-page DPW Management Audit[4] was published in January 9, 2007, then-DPW Chief Fred Abadi responded that he “came to DPW after your audit had begun,” and that the report’s 120 recommendations “will prove useful to me as I continue to reengineer parts of the Department.” Abadi agreed and accepted all but three of the Budget Analyst’s 120 recommendations.

Among major findings of the performance audit’s of DPW under Ed Lee:

* DPW’s overall mismanagement, inefficiency and uncollected revenue combined to waste more than $5 million in taxpayer funds.

* DPW-led projects were routinely mismanaged, over-budget, and late — and city street repair projects were late by a shocking 172 days, on average.

* DPW failed to routinely track average project labor costs or productivity to ensure that Street Resurfacing and Pothole Repair Projects were completed efficiently

* DPW could not demonstrate that tax dollars being spent for street repair and maintenance (despite an amount that increased during Lee’s tenure) were spent appropriately.

* DPW allowed more than $1 million in litter fines to go uncollected.

* None of DPW’s eight bureaus fully measured performance to ensure that the bureau achieved the best possible outcomes.

* And DPW inspectors did not conduct routine inspections of streets to identify safety hazards.”

Octavia Boulevard is Our Fork-Tailed Doctor Killer – “Livable Streets” Gone Awry – What Can We Do?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Let’s see, where to start with horrible Octavia Boulevard.

Oh, here we go, with some bold, confident words from all the way back in 2003:

“The replacement freeway and Boulevard were charged with ensuring a level of service comparable to the previous structure and configuration. This has been achieved…”

In no way, shape, or form does the newish Octavia Boulevard have a level of service comparable to the old Central Freeway.

And, BTW, did the Central Freeway block Fell, Oak, Page, Haight and Market? Nope. Does Octavia Boulevard? Yep, every day, all the time.

(This is an example of misplaced confidence, of the hubris.)

Now, what kind of signal timing does it take to accommodate a 3000-mile-long freeway ending on Market Street. Well, let’s take a look here. Do you notice that Market street peds have about four seconds to begin the journey across Octavia during the 95-second cycle? Why is that? I mean, that means that any given ped on Market has over a 95% chance of having to stop and wait for all those cars on Octavia to go by. Is that fair? Now, what about cars and streetcars and bikes and buses and whatnot heading outbound on Market – do you think it’s much better for them? Well, it’s not. Just 20-something percent of the traffic signal cycle allows traffic to flow uphill on Market at the Octavia Intersection. Why are the lights so biased in favor of the cars driving through on Octavia, you know, as opposed to Market Street?

Check it (oh yeah, that’s some homeless dude coughing at the end there, not me.)

Now, the term “fork-tailed doctor killer” used to be the nickname of the Beechcraft Bonanza, you know, the plane what killed Buddy Holly on the Day That Music Died. But that whole V-Tail sitch got addressed and now, Beech makes those Bonanzas with regular old straight tails. So let’s recycle this phrase and use it for Octavia Boulevard, why not?

Here’s the fork of the tail:

Now, how can I justify blaming the whole “Boulevard Movement” fad of the aughts for an famous accident that killed that UCSF doctor if the UCSF van driver ran a red light? Well, take a look at this:

Click to expand

See? Sometimes half the lanes of Oak have a red light and the other half have a green. Does that make sense? Well, if you’re struggling to make pathetic Octavia work and you don’t want traffic routinely backing up to Golden Gate Park, well then you yourself would be tempted to do whatever you could to help Octavia flow.

Does this unorthodox design factor in human nature, you know, the nut behind the steering wheel? No, it doesn’t. The fact is that car drivers, those sheeple, follow the pack. If the car to the right goes, then they want to go.

Of course, drivers should do better, but we need to factor in their behavior when we design roads, right?

What we shouldn’t do is to let Hayes Valley insiders, that very small but very influential group, to design anything for the rest of us.

And BTW, why on Earth are left turns allowed on inbound Market onto Octavia? Could it be for the convenience of those Hayes Valley insiders?  Check it out. You’d think that Hayes Valley types would be satisfied with being able to make a left at the prior intersection or the next intersection, but no, traffic on Market has to wait on a dedicated signal for a dedicated lane of drivers.

Does that make sense?

Why not this? Why not narrow Octavia dramatically and just give up on the whole boulevard experiment? Just take out the frontage roads and all that on-street parking and those medians and that would be a good start on “completing” the Horrible Octavia Experiment, turning it into a “Complete Street.” Even the Great Designer of Octavia admits now that the boulevard is too wide.

And let’s get rid of that left turn lane that was built just for the NIMBYs of Hayes Valley. Why should Market Street, the more important one, take a back street to Octavia, which is basically a glorified freeway onramp?

And why not give people on Market Street half the time of the light signal and then the people on Octavia the other half? Wouldn’t that be more fair?

Mmmm…

Or, we can continue to value higher condo prices and “trendy restaurants and high-end boutiques” over everything else in this world:

“Before the destruction of the Central Freeway, condominium prices in the Hayes Valley neighborhood were 66% of San Francisco average prices. However, after the demolition and subsequent replacement with the new Octavia Boulevard, prices grew to 91% of city average. Beyond this, the most dramatic increases were seen in the areas nearest to the new boulevard. Furthermore, residents noted a significant change in the nature of the commercial establishments in the area. Where it had been previously populated by liquor stores and mechanic shops, soon the area was teeming with trendy restaurants and high-end boutiques.”

At Least Our Poorly-Designed, “Livable Street,” P.O.S. Octavia Boulevard has Traffic Cameras – Do They Run 24-7?

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Do you know how painfully cheap it is to record on video a problematic street intersection 24-7 in this day and age?

Well the City & County doesn’t, that’s for sure.

Anyway, here’s your red light camera at Oak and Octavia – perhaps it will prove useful today.

Here’s another view, from back in the day: