ANSWER: It doesn’t
Next question: How does this trip to the gro sto improve air quality?
ANSWER: It doesn’t.
I suppose I’ve been harping on this issue over the years.
Who created this problem? SFGOV, including the Planning Department, for starters.
Who can do a better job of fixing things? SFGOV, including the SFMTA, for starters. And IDK, SFPD and DPW? And Trader Joe’s as well.
Here’s a recent example, just a couple of Bros on the west side of Masonic wanting to get to a parked car on the east side, just above the SFMTA’s Presidio Yard. (Note that they might not even be TJ’s customers, but their transit across four lanes of traffic is at the same place where shoppers do it.)
All these southbound cars have stopped for the red light at Geary. So far, so good:
But uh oh, cars are now coming up from Geary in the northbound lanes – it’s time to rethink and try again later:
Or, in this case, spend 2.5 minutes going down the hill to Geary, wait for the green light, and then ascend back up Masonic.
This is the choice people face. Sometimes they err and get hit by a car.
I’ll tell you, if you look at the death rate in Frisco due to earthquakes the past century vs. the death rates of Trader Joe’s shoppers jaywalking in front of TJ#100 the past decade or so, they’re about the same.
What can SFGov and TJ’s do now to fix things, to account for Human Nature?
Can you even see Golden Gate Park’s “world-class” Alvord Lake on a map? I suppose, but it’s smaller than most ponds IRL.
Anyway, here it is, complete with a giant Great Egret looking for food right across the street from people looking for food at the Whole Foods Stanyan:
Or if you don’t want to call it an egret, you can play it safe, as writer CW Nevius might, by guessing “heron,” ’cause that’s close enough. (Hey, is he making a joke about the tower crane in the reflection? I can’t tell. Prolly not, but I can’t tell. It is a heron, a great blue heron, a giant bird that just loves SF. A GBH will get a little irritated if you walk right up to it when it’s hunting, but usually not so much that it would fly away)
Anyway, all dese kinds of boids are in the heron family, and lots of them hang out in GGP, occasionally
Black Crowned Night Heron:
And most of the time all they do is stand around and hang out, ’cause herons is herons, mostly – they’re all pretty much the same…
This is typical, this is routine – people parking on Masonic northbound and then jaywalking across five lanes of traffic to get to Trader Joe’s #100 and then jaywalking again back to their rides
Why do people do this? Well, ’cause getting from northbound Masonic to southbound, which is the only way to get into the parking lot, is a PITA. Drivers are banned from simply turning left into the parking lot because that would end up blocking half of northbound Masonic, and of course Masonic is the Great Connector betwixt The Avenues and the Place Where People Want To Be.
And even if you get yourself facing southbound, you still have to queue up to get into TJ’s ridiculously small parking lot. Hey, couldn’t they have built an underground garage? Well, sure, but you’d have to talk with the Planning Department about that. And hey, couldn’t they have built parking on the roof? Well, sure, and actually they did but you’d have to talk with the Planning Department about that because the average shopper isn’t allowed to park on the roof.
And actually, the current parking situation is better than before. Our vaunted Planning Department did a very poor job with this project and now we’re left with a kludgy fix that commits part of Masonic to TJ’s shoppers idling and parking and waiting.
So that’s the situation, that’s why people say I-don’t-wanna-deal-with-all-that and simply park on northbound Masonic on the east side of the street.
And that’s fine, that’s legal, but then the shoppers see that northbound Masonic has long stretches when it’s empty (because drivers need to wait at a red for a long time to let traffic on Geary go through) and they see a bunch of stalled traffic on southbound Masonic (because of the shoppers queuing up and also to wait at a red for a long time to let traffic on Geary go through). So they march across 30 MPH Masonic to get to the store.
How many TJs shoppers do this on a busy day? IDK, hundreds. It’s their thing, it’s their routine.
So can you die doing this? Sure. Does TJ’s know about this situation? Sure. I don’t see how they couldn’t be aware. I mean, when you have journalists calling up your store asking about how somebody died, I assume that you’re aware of the situation.
What’s the solution? Well, people’d be safer walking down to Geary and crossing legally, but they all already know that.
You see the problem is that they don’t know how dangerous it is to do what they’re doing.
Hey, you know how many people die at Ocean Beach during a typical year? A lot. So many theat they have a special sign:
How about similar signs for shoppers at this unique store:
People Jaywalking Have Died Here
How about that?
Unique situations call for unique signs, right?
Are you going to do anything at all, Trader Joe’s #100?
I don’t know, but SFGov is powerless, it appears.
And here’s how things look in 2014 – nothing’s changed:
This crossing was particularly arduous for those involved – it took about 90 seconds of waiting and sprinting.
The speed limit is 30 MPH, but of course some cars might be going faster. If you want to get into mean, median and mode, well, an average speed would be in the single digits, due to all the stalled traffic waiting to get into the notorious TJ’s Masonic parking lot.
Let’s talk about Human Nature. These humans already know what they’re supposed to do – that’s heading south to Geary, waiting a while for a green and then heading back up north in the sidewalk to get to the gro sto. But once they’ve spent 30 seconds scanning for cars and then starting to run and then stopping to go back and then scanning for traffic again, they are accumulating SUNK COSTS of time and effort. So even if crossing legally would end up taking less time, THESE JAYWALKERS NEVER GIVE UP by walking down to the Geary intersection.
Anyway, there’s a happy ending to this story – the jaywalk back across the street with groceries in tow went much better, as these naughty peds used the stalled southbound traffic to their advantage, and northbound traffic is usually easy to negotiate. Hurrah! For this particular day…
(The reason why people park on the wrong side of Masonic and then go to TJ’s is that it’s much easier than doing things the legal way. It’s human nature to imagine consistent patterns, in this case patterns of traffic, even when they don’t exist IRL. The problem with the deadly game of Frogger on this particular block is that there’s no safety area, there’s no place to hide if you, the ped, make a mistake. Then it’s game over, man.)
Click to expand
“Please no shopping into your reusable bags?” Oh, I’ve done that. Didn’t know the term for it. I suppose you’re halfway to being a shoplifter once you start doing that, in the opinion of the (quite large) Whole Foods Security Squadron.
What else, oh, follow the rules or you might get banned from the store for five years, or something.
Read the whole list. I’ve never seen a lengthy ToS like this for a store…