Is somebody in charge here?
‘Cause if somebody is, I’d have a few notes.
First it was all like this, with a seven pointed star, for Color of Authority:
But now it’s all like this, with SFMTA instead of MTA and the new logo the SFMTA stole a few years back. (Hey I wonder if they ever worked things out with those people in Chicago…)
Is this an improvement? I can’t tell. (Like, is relabeling the accurately-named 5L Limited the inaccurately-named 5R “Rapid” an “improvement?”)
Now when homeowners with garages see red curbs they say, “Goshdarnit, I need a red curb too!” But then they’ll discover all the SFGov red tape they’ll need to cut through, and all the green they’ll have to fork over, so they’ll paint their curbs red, you know, unofficially.
And then SFGov will come along to paint over the curbs in grey and On It Goes…
(And, you know, this is just my guess, as I generally don’t directly speak with the MUNI people because we’re far apart on many issues. And, oddly, these two curbs shown in the photos are right next to each other and they both have new looking paint…)
Here’s the Citizens Advisory Council’s recommendation that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, has refused:
“Motion 140122.01 – The SFMTA CAC recommends that the peak hour restrictions be repealed on Masonic Avenue between Geary and Fell Streets, with the objective to measure traffic impacts on the 43 Masonic prior to the implementation of the Masonic Avenue street design project.”
Why did he do that? Well, because a “success” for him is the SFMTA spending the money it’s been given to spend. So why should he do anything to interfere with that when he’s in the red zone already?
Anywho, you can read what he has to say about a test-run after the jump.
In view of this dysfunction, let’s run a Masonic “streetscape” trial of our own, shall we?
Let’s start here, northbound, on the 3000 foot stretch of Masonic that will soon be changed:
See the bus? It’s stopped at a bus stop, let’s imagine. That means that Masonic will be down to one lane inbound, you know, temporarily, during the morning drive. How will this affect traffic, do you suppose? How many minutes will it add to your commute each way, each day? Mmmm…
Since we’re imagining, imagine a large median filled with trees on either side of the double yellow line. Now is that for safety or for aesthetics? The answer is that it’s for aesthetics. Compare that with the SFMTA’s disastrous, expensive, deadly 105-foot-wide Octavia “Boulevard” / I-80 on ramp. Yes, it’s has a vegetated median as well. So, is “safety” the SFMTA’s “number one goal?” No, not at all. Its real goal is expanding its payroll and spending ever more money. So of course if you pressure it to do things you want done, like planting trees in the middle of the street, which, of course, has nothing to do with safety, it will happily comply.
Will any commuters benefit from these soon-to-come “improvements?” No, not at all. These changes are going to slow the commute way down and that will impede people in cars and MUNI buses. Did the SFMTA do any “outreach” to / with commuters? Nope. It didn’t feel like it. The SFMTA prefers to host meetings packed with “urbanists” and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition employees and members. Do these people represent “the public?” No, not at all. Yet the SFMTA claims do have done public outreach.
How will these changes to Masonic, the Great Connector, affect the surrounding area? We’ll just have to wait and see. If, later on, you raise any issues with the SFMTA about the negative effects of all their changes, they’ll be all, well, expand our budget even more and we’ll redo the project again to fix this and that.
Of course, the way to run the trial run would be simply take away all the parking spaces for a day or so, right? So what you’d do is just simply shut down the slow lanes as a test. This alternative would satisfry (mmmm, Satisfries…. R.I.P) at least some of the objections that Ed Reiskin, operator of America’s slowest and least efficient big-city transit system, mentioned.
Would Ed Reiskin want to try this alternative trial? No, not at all. (See above.) Mr. R will be happy to ignore all the complaints only after the tens of millions of dollars have been spent.
Do I think that a bunch of people riding MUNI and driving cars every day, tens of thousands of people, are going say, wow, my commute has really slowed down after all these changes so I’m going to join the handful of souls on bicycles huffing and puffing up this big hill? Nope. Some might, of course, but it won’t be any kind of meaningful number.
And do I think it’s honest for SFMTA employees to tell higher authorities that’s there’s no public opposition to these changes? Nope. Oh well.
All right, that’s the thought experiment. It looks like this one’s going to go like a bunch of other SFMTA-created initiatives, you know, like the ideologically-driven traffic circles, the absurdly-wide Octavia “Boulevard,” the crazy re-striping of the east end of JFK Drive – they’ll just look at them all and then pat themselves on the back and hand each other awards for these “accomplishments,” these “successes.”
[UPDATE: Oh yeah, a couple people asked me if I approve of this project. And like, I live a block away, but it won’t really affect me, myself, I don’t think. Seems selfish to think now-hey-what-about-me, anyway. What ended up happening with Octavia is that they really biased the lights in favor of Octavia, so people have to wait to a long time to get across the whole 105 foot width. So maybe it’ll be a 90-second wait to get across Masonic when all is said and done? IDK, it’s hard to predict how much the SFMTA is going to mess things up with this arbor project, this tree planting diversion. So, what will the effects be? Will commuters abandon Masonic? How will they get around instead? IDK]
On It Goes…
Now, as promised, a note from Ed Reiskin, after the jump
This was the promise, a few years back:
“From the beginning, art elements and overall design featured prominently in strategy discussions and were kept at the forefront. Inventive and well-known global design firm IDEO was brought in early on to work with Gannett’s innovation team incorporating relevant research into the human-centered design* that was being developed for The Bold Italic.”
The cost to Gannett? Well, millions were spent on just one website / defunct magazine. How many millions? Well, as with Charles Foster Kane’s Xanadu, No Man Can Say.
But let’s check the water cooler chitchat over at The Gannet Blog:
“The revenue plan was mysterious because there was no revenue. Not for the first 24 months anyway. The Bold Italic had a burn rate that rivals some of the most infamous dot.com fizz outs. They blew through $2 million a year for the first 2 years, before snagging a whopping $41k in revenue based on their skimming from entertainment ticket / event sales.”
And that brings us to July 2014, where these bits came out within hours of each other:
My point is that you didn’t need to go There to get Here.
My other point is that:
1. Aging east coast media baron Gannett Co. Inc. is Charles Foster Kane; and
Oh here it is, 34 Page Street – so sexy! You can see the glow from all that reclaimed wood upstairs:
In closing … Rosebud!
END OF LINE
*What on Earth does that mean? I’m clueless. It’s just blah blah blah while the meter’s running at $500 per hour…
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!
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.”
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.”
“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:
“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.
[UPDATE: The peanut gallery reacts.]
Check it, BEFORE (Trademark serial number 75868216 from 1999) and AFTER:
And here’s the livery:
“My fascination with the Muni logo started a long time ago. It’s an iconic piece of San Francisco’s heritage and probably the most recognized SF symbol after the SF Giants. Because of my obsessive compulsions, I’ve been itching to rework the main mark without compromising its longstanding aesthetic quality.
I collaborated with Mirtho Prepont to come up with a new approach for the Muni brand, ranging from the original logo, to additional extensions such as sign systems, apparel, interactive applications, among others.
This is an exercise of civic engagement and it is a fictional effort for personal and educational purposes. This exercise isn’t meant as a rhetorical call to action for SFMTA. That would be unwise of the agency to spend money on such a thing rather than improving their service. However, I think these are things to be considered if they do decide to work on it later on in the future when they have solved the rest of their issues.”
I’m sold. Make it so.
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.