Posts Tagged ‘drivers’

Our Inefficient, Money-Hungry SFMTA Wants to Start Issuing Speeding Tickets, But Somehow “They Would Not Be Moving Violations?!”

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Oh, this one’s easy  – we’re going to go from zero to Orwellian in ten seconds.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines:

SFMTA Pushing For Speed Cameras In San Francisco To Improve Pedestrian Safety by Cate Cauguiran

And here’s your nut graf:

“SFMTA plans to present their proposal to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority later this week. The agency says the citations would not be moving violations, and therefore not reportable to the DMV.”

Now let’s review – Papa Homer, what’s a “moving violation?

A moving violation is a violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term “motion” distinguishes it from other motor vehicle violations, such as paperwork violations (which include violations involving automobile insurance, registration and inspection), parking violations, or equipment violations.”

So, if the parking ticket agency gives a ticket for speeding, it’s issuing moving violations, right? Now tell us more, Wiki:

While some violations, like parking violations, are civil matters involving a vehicle’s owner, moving violations are charged against the actual driver.

Yep. And then there’s this:

The most commonly enforced moving violation, and the overwhelmingly most frequent reason for a vehicle pullover, are violations of the speed limit.

And what’s the motivation for the SFMTA to float this balloon?

Sometimes tickets are used in a speed trap as a form of fundraising

I don’t use the term “speed trap” myself, but, yes, our SFMTA is obsessed with “fundraising,” certainly.

And lastly:

Examples of moving violations: speeding, which can be exceeding a limit or simply driving an unsafe speed…

Thanks Wiki! And actually, a speeding ticket is the prototypical moving violation, in Frisco and everywhere else too.

Now I’ll tell you, I was surprised earlier this year to see the SFMTA issuing “block the box” tickets, because sometimes the SFMTA DPT shows up at an intersection during rush hour to unblock the box, not to make money from block boxing. And yet, here you go:

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This is a DPT PCO in the middle of the intersection of Bush and Sansome shooting fish in a barrel – busting three vehicles, and then she was Gone In 60 Seconds.

And I thought, well, I suppose the drivers here are parked since they’re idling away, motionless, for a long time, so sure, ticket away, SFMTA, even though you’ve timed the lights to exacerbate this situation, but anyway, sure, these are parking tickets, fine.

But if you want to start issuing moving violation tickets, you shouldn’t lie about it. (I’ll tell you, sometimes I can’t tell if the SFMTA lies on purpose or if it just doesn’t know what it’s doing.)

Now, here’s my MODEST PROPOSAL - traffic cameras for pedestrians, mounted over crosswalks. The cameras would record all the peds who jump the light by starting across a second or two early and then a ticket for $100 would get mailed to the offenders after facial recognition ID’s the peds. (Gentle Reader, did you know that most ped deaths last year on the Streets of San Francisco were the fault of the peds themselves? It’s sort of a secret. It wasn’t a blowout or anything, the peds “won” this competition by 50-something percent, vs. the drivers’ 40-something percent, but isn’t it ironic, dont’cha think, that enforcing the vehicle code upon peds, as unpopular as this might be, could reduce traffic deaths more than how SFGov has handled matters up ’til now? Anyway, I’m talking about how the SFPD apportioned ped deaths in SF in 2014. But don’t talk about it, oh no – that might get you transferred to the Airport Detail, srsly. And bonus! Our new ped cams could “also help us as an investigative tool if someone is committing a crime somewhere nearby.” Moving on…)

Of course, the reason why SFGov wants to go Full Orwell is that paying sworn officers to issue tickets is inefficient and expensive. OTOH, an automatic system, backed up by an appeals mechanism to make everything constitutional, could generate tons of money for the SFMTA, like almost as much as its Household Transit Tax fantasy that it would impose on you, Gentle Reader, in a New York minute, if it could. (It’s what Ed Reiskin dreams of at night – your transit tax would be added to your tax returns, easy peasy, what a dream!)

Anyway, I think saying that a moving violation isn’t is worthy of five Orwells, on a scale of zero to five Orwells:

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All the way to the bottom, Maggie SFMTA – you’ve made it!

The Dueling Flyers of BLOCK THE TECH COMMUTE 2015 – Teamster Drivers Fighting Back – May Day, Friday May 1st

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Well here you go, it’s BLOCK THE TECH COMMUNTE via IndyBay.

But read on to see the reply from the Teamsters.

On It Goes…

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AN OPEN LETTER TO “BLOCK THE TECH COMMUTE”

We are shuttle bus drivers for bus companies who have contracts with Facebook, Apple, Google, eBay, and more. We are mostly people of color. We live in communities such as East and West Oakland and Bayview/Hunter Point. We share your concerns about gentrification. The Bay Area’s skyrocketing rents and housing prices have pushed many of us out to Antioch, Pittsburg, Tracy, Manteca, and even farther.

Your efforts are hurting us, not helping. We are on the front lines of fighting income inequality in the high tech industry by organizing with the Teamsters union. In the last few months, over 225 of us at two shuttle bus companies won union elections. Those of us who drive for Facebook just won a union contract that includes $9/hour average wage increases, fully paid company health care, 5 weeks paid vacation, sick days, a pension, and higher pay for those of us who work split shifts.

In March, you attacked a Loop Transportation/Facebook bus that one of us was driving at MacArthur BART. You attacked a union bus driver for a good employer who pays good wages and benefits. That did not help our cause – it hurt it.

We call on you to join our efforts to hold high tech accountable to workers. If you want to make the economy work for struggling Bay Area families, then help the other drivers organize a union with us. Help push for affordable housing. But please don’t stop our buses.

May Day is for workers. Respect the shuttle bus workers this May Day.

SFPD Chief Stars in Brand-New Traffic Safety PSA – Obvious Tension with Bike Coalition – Die Hard Greg Suhr Gives Off a Bruce Willis Vibe

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

I’ll tell you, I saw a photo of Chief Greg in the papah’ the other week, and I thought Worst Bald Cap Ever. But this, this is much improved:

Now, if our SFPD wants to go Hollywood, they gotta realize they’re going to get reviews.

1. NOBODY’S GOING TO WATCH THIS PSA ON YOUTUBE. You got to give people a reason to pass along a link to their buds. We need virility, not virility, YKWIM? Perhaps people will be coerced into watching, IDK. Next time, have your people call my people and we’ll sex things up and your view counter will go from 150 (and yesterday when I saw this for the first time it was, suspiciously, at exactly 100) up into the millions. Oh what’s that, there were other reasons to make this vid, aside from having people watch it online? Oh yes, I can see that.

2. ALL THOSE CODE SECTIONS ARE TMI. I mean, even for me. Oh, those clips were for the benefit of students of Hogwarts SFPD? I could see that. They are well-made, and they show viewers how state laws are applied on the Streets of San Francisco. So that’s great.

3. CHECK OUT THE SECTION ON BIKES STARTING AT 3:15. So the fourth line on the graphic explaining 21202 was spoken by a different narrator? It sure seemed to be tacked on as an afterthought. This is an awkward edit right in touchy, touchy territory.

4. IT’S NICE HAVING TRAFFIC LAWS EXPLAINED BY A NEUTRAL SOURCE, AS OPPOSED TO GETTING MORE OF THE SAME FROM ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS. So we don’t have the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition talking about how pedestrians “always” having the right of way and we don’t have SFMTA spokesmodel Paul Rose spouting off misinformation (the way he does with the Chronicle, which unlike this YT clip, actually has an audience, so you see, I’m sort of saying that the SFMTA can’t claim its “No. 1 Goal Is Safety” if it has Paul Rose talking nonsense about countdown timers and the like).

5. ASIDE FROM ALL THAT, FIVE STARS OUT OF A POSSIBLE FIVE STARS. 

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Write a bit about the obvious tensions betwixt the SFPD and advocacy groups like the SFBC and Walk SF. I’ll tell you, if this vid had been turned over to the SFBC to make for $100k under a no-bid contract, it would come off quite differently. And leave us remember that most ped and bike rider deaths in SF County last year were the fault of the peds and bike riders themselves, right? Just a skosh over 50%, per … the SFPD.

Fish in a Barrel: This SFMTA PCO Can Hand Out Multiple $105 “Block the Box” Tickets in One Minute

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Of course, the SFMTA could jigger the lights around the neighborhood of Bush and Sansome in a more efficient way, but then this meter maid wouldn’t be able to park her Cushman and then stand in the intersection to generate so many tickets that she has trouble with all the receipt tape she’s generating. See?

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Her little machine might have a camera built in, and the GPS and the Wi-Fi and all sorts of things to allow her to bag three rides in one cycle of green yellow red.

Check it. All of these drivers on Bush inbound in the Financh are used to crawling across a San Francisco  intersection before the light turns red and then making it out of the intersection before the peds start coming. Except that this is notorious Bush and Sansome, where things don’t work that way.

And then here come the judge – tickets for everybody! It’s like Oprah handing out Pontiacs – YOU GET A TICKET! AND YOU GET A TICKET! AND YOU GET A TICKET!

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(Mind you, this is an intersection where it’s quite safe to loiter about, so fret not.)

(Hey, is she recording the Vehicle Identification Numbers of all these rides? I think not. Is that some sort of technicality that will allow you to get out of your ticket after spending hours and hours of time fighting your ticket? IDK.)

Some drivers get stuck, but I’m thinking, well just make the left up Sansome* while you have the chance and then you’ll avoid a painful three-figure citation. But the drivers, then don’t have respect, they don’t see the danger.

And I’ll bet most of them aren’t even aware that they’re getting a citation.

Eventually, the driving culture at this intersection will change** if this woman makes a habit of harvesting money on the Evening Drive each and every day.

I ask you, Gentle Reader, what if the rest of SFGov were as efficient as this PCO?

*Whether it’s legal or not. In this case, that would be a legal turn but even if it weren’t, the chances of getting a moving violation doing that are virtually nil, as opposed to a parking ticket, where the odds are virtually certain. 

**In the old days, the SFMTA would tell its PCOs to stop handing out tickets during the Evening Drive and start directing traffic at busy intersections. Those days are over. This woman can pay her salary and fund her generous benefits and retirement package in one or two minutes of her shift. Remarkable!

Looks Like They’re Done Working on Fell and Masonic – How Long Will “DOUBLE RIGHT TURN” Last?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

This was yesterday morning, with the crew packing up, after weeks of work:

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And this was yesterday evening – it looks like they’re done?

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So what’s the deal here? Are they going to pull up the tape on the intersection what forces cars in the right lane to turn right and then lay down some permanent lines, or are they going to go back to the way it was before, back when you had the option of going straight or right?

Maybe that’s what the orange on the signs means, that these changes were only temporary? Or maybe the orange means, “Hey look, here is the new rule?”

I can’t tell.

But if all they were doing was fixing up that corner of the intersection, then what did they do? It looks exactly the same to me. And why did it take weeks?

On It Goes…

ONLY IN MARIN: Bridgeway Gas Station in Sausalito Charging $8 Per Gallon? Highest Prices in America

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Things were bad before, but I think we’re entering performance art territory here, up in Marin County.

Via Yelper Eddie H:

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The Yelpers, they are not happy.

Suffer Deb:

“I feel like I just got mugged. They are charging $6.97 for regular (other yelpers posted pics). The average price for gas in northern California is $3.43. I will never EVER go here again even though it’s on my way home from work, FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS GO TO BRIDGEWAY GAS.”

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Send somebody, anybody up there to ask, “Hey, what’s the deal with the $8 gas?” Before that, buy a few gallons to see what the experience is like. Also, check for the purported dirtiness. Like “can you believe this is the bathroom of a gas station what charges* $200 to fill your** tank?!” And then you say, hey, I gots to fill up my right rear with air, and then see if Dude makes you pay for the privilege – well that’s agin the law, right? (But don’t send CW Nevius – he’d find a way to get rejected on this slam dunk, like he’d tell this story from the poor gas station owner’s ‘sperective, something like that. SPROOOOING off the rim, that’s what I’m talking about.) Anyway, engage, make it so.

*And call your economist buddy and ask about elasticities of demand for low-margin bidnesses. So let’s say the Shell down the street only makes a few pennies per gallon (and possibly makes more money selling high-margin snacks, you know, the way movie theaters do it), well, maybe it makes sense to cut your business by 95% if you can increase your margins by 10,000%, that kind of deal. Who knows, maybe Dude makes money some other way off of the property…

**I can remember the first time I paid $20 for a tank of gas. It was back in the 1990’s for a rusty Audi 5000 I bought from a doctor in Manoa Valley. And then back in the aughts, I remember paying $100 to fill the tank of a Land Cruiser up in, you guessed it, Marin County. I’ll remember the $200 threshold too, if and when I ever achieve it. (And if I filled up at Bridgeway today, I think I could almost, just almost make it to $200.)

San Francisco Cabbie Fights Back: “UBER / LYFT, FINALLY JOBS FOR REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS”

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

As seen by Manys here:

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Oh, and here’s another.

I’ll point out that sometimes it’s the unregistered sex offenders…

Here’s What Bus Drivers, Bike Riders, and Pedestrians Think of the New DOUBLE RIGHT TURN at Fell and Masonic

Friday, February 27th, 2015

This MUNI operator used to be able to pick up at Hayes and Masonic southbound and then easily continue straight on Masonic towards Haight. But now #43 Masonic drivers need to get into the #2 lane as the #3 lane is now a mandatory right turn onto Fell. So click click goes the left turn signal as the bus driver begs the stalled traffic for a little help:

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And if you’re coming from inbound Hayes to southbound Masonic on a bike, you now have two lanes to jink across if you wish to continue on along Masonic:

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This is why some, including those at the SFMTA/SFBC disfavor DOUBLE RIGHT TURNS. Note also the driver who’s improperly cutting across from lane #3 to lane #2.

And of course, now more drivers are blocking the box / sitting on the crosswalk:

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On it goes at Fell and Masonic.

Someday I’ll figure out what the SFMTA is going for here.

Someday.

Uh Oh, the SFPD’s Vaunted “Focus on the Five” Enforcement Program Focuses on the Wrong Five

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Work with me here, people.

Here you go:

“Focus on the Five – Using multi-year collision data, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is focusing on enforcing the five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking. The goal is to have half their traffic citations be for these five violations.”

All right, well let’s look at the stats for last year, via Heather Knight / the District 5 Diary.

And then let’s extract all the five-digit CVC section numbers cited in the official SFPD report, plus let’s also throw in a CVC number for the pedestrian who died last year after getting hit by a MUNI bus on Geary around Baker.

(And let’s ignore all the the lower-case subsections like 21950(b) and the like, treating 21950(a) and 21950(b) as the same violation, for example.)

And then lets throw all the extracted numbers into Excel for a Sorting.

And then let’s eyeball the numbers to separate them out:

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So those are your top “five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking (and bicycle riding, but I don’t think that affects the numbers too much.)

Here they are, in order of frequency:

21950

22350

21456

21954

21955

So how does that compare with this list from politicians?

“Focus on the 23 Five” campaign to target the top five causal factors of pedestrian crashes – running red lights 24 (California Vehicle Code 21453(a)), running stop signs (California Vehicle Code 22450(a)), violating pedestrian right-of-way (California Vehicle Code 21950(a)), failing to yield while 2 turning (California Vehicle Code 21801 (a), and speeding (California Vehicle Code 22350)…

See how that works? 21950 and 22350 are in there, but CVC violations on the part of pedestrians, like 21456, 21954, and 21955 have been omitted from the list.

Is the official “Focus on the Five” about pedestrian safety or “pedestrian rights?”

I’m thinking it’s about pedestrian rights, like the right to jaywalk, that kind of thing.

Is SFGov serious about SF Vision Zero 2024, a “program” that has the goal of ending all transportation deaths in San Francisco long after all the pols who voted for it have termed out?

Well, how can it be if it’s afraid to enforce traffic laws for political reasons?

If you want safety for pedestrians, wouldn’t you want them to be afraid of getting cited for jaywalking?

No? All right, well then keep on doing what you’re doing, but you’ll never ever achieve Vision Zero 2024 the way you’re going about it, SFGov.

Stealth Prius, Market Street – No Headlights, No Problem – Why Oh Why Won’t Prius Drivers Turn on Their Headlights at Night?

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Fucking Prius drivers, man.

The guv’mint oughta rewire every last Prius to have all the lights on whenever the vehicle is ON, you know, Canadian-style. ‘Cause the way things are now, Prius drivers can’t seem to tell that they’re driving around without headlights.

Black paint, no headlights, nighttime? Sure, let’s cruise Frisco:

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Fucking Prius drivers, man.