First at 441 Pine
And then at Golden Gate and Van Ness:
And now at Market Center:
When will the next domino fall?
Edited for spoiler removal:
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Listen to the first episode about being homeless and finding a home in the tightest real estate markets in the country.
This is typical on a weekend afternoon. On each and every signal cycle
Our incompetent SFMTA could rejigger the timing of the traffic signals at Fell and Masonic and/or Fell and Oak so that careless drivers don’t block the box on each and every light cycle when things are busy, but our incompetent SFMTA don’t feel like doing that right now, apparently.
Did you know that our incompetent SFMTA will rejigger signals at this particular intersection so that “peoples’ feelings won’t get hurt?” It’s true. I’ll get into it after I get around to posting some Fell and Masonic video on the YouTube.
Until that day, Gentle Reader. Until that day…
The problem here isn’t that this intersection needed a brace of PCO’s – the problem here is that this is a giant three-way intersection near the Folsom Street Fair.
There are four here, all told, all in the southern part of the intersection. What are they doing?
How are they helping?
Is this SFGov’s way to fix the problem of the Warriors wanting to put their arena right next to already-existing UCSF Mission Bay – they’re just going to bill the Warriors to have four PCOs standing around a bunch of intersections?
How will that help?
As here, on Geary inbound:
And now let’s hear from the SFMTA:
“Don’t Block the Box: enforcement crews will expand the partnership between the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the San Francisco Police Department for “Don’t Block the Box” enforcement violations. This practice has traditionally obstructed intersections on traffic arteries leading up to the freeways. The strategy calls for more parking control officers during the afternoon rush hours. Since the Mayor’s Congestion Management Plan last year, parking control officers have issued 3,514 gridlock citations. This represents a 25 percent increase compared to the preceding five months, and 102 percent since 2014.
The rotating enforcement efforts will be targeted to the following locations: South of Market, 3rd Street, 4th Street, 19th Avenue, Divisadero, Columbus, Fell Street/Oak Street, Geary Boulevard, Geneva Avenue, Harrison Street, Mission Street, Pine Street/Bush Street, and Van Ness Avenue.
You can help!
“Blocking the Box” (driving into an intersection and getting stuck) and double-parking are two behaviors that can have a real impact on street safety. Both of these activities make it harder for other drivers to see pedestrians and for pedestrians to cross the street safely. If we can all commit today to not doing either of these things when we’re driving, our streets will be a lot safer and less congested.”
So, how many of these citations were issued to the SFMTA? Or, how many citations should have been issued to the SFMTA?
Well, I suppose it’s three peds, actually. Now let’s see how they do:
The two peds on the left act properly and the jogger ped does not.
There’s room for improvement at this intersection, SFGov/SFMTA.
And that comes on the heels of this, back in April:
The way our SFMTA has this intersection set up now is that joggers only have about 7 seconds to start crossing Masonic during a 75 second signal cycle. Assuming they don’t purposefully speed up or slow down to catch their green, that means they have less than a 10% chance of not encountering a red signal for crossing. Human nature being what it is, people jog across against the light and the resulting accident is the jogger’s fault. Check it:
Anyway, that’s why so many people are getting hit by cars at this intersection.
For whatever reason, the SFPD isn’t motivated to enforce the CA Vehicle Code upon peds, so this is the result.
If you believe in ped safety, you’d be in favor of a ped enforcement action here, to learn the joggers. OTOH, if you get paid to promote ped “rights,” then you’d disfavor a ped enforcement action here – you’d bend over backwards to displace blame. I mean, these peds aren’t “mistakenly” jaywalking, they’re doing it on purpose, right?
Choose or lose…
What you’ll see isn’t the world-famous Golden Gate Park Panhandle Bike Path – that’s on the north side, the Fell Street side. What you’ll see is the south side, the bike-free path near Oak.
Brocephus on the left here is jogging east and he’s way late – he missed his chance to enter the crosswalk on his green. OTOH, the taxi can enter the intersection.
No matter, here’s the jogger going more south than east, “jogging” around a Prius:
Hey, are you allowed to run into a crosswalk in CA? Uh, not really. And hey, isn’t this crosswalk excessively wide? Uh, yes it is.
By this time, the left turn arrow phase started and the jogger exited the intersection. A happy ending, I suppose.
This intersection now has three signal phases, for better or worse – people are still getting used to it.
The fundamental problem here has been that traffic backs up on the left side of Oak due to all the people who want to go north on Masonic -it’s kind of a bottleneck so that’s why we got the new left turn arrows.
If this jogger had been hit by a vehicle, the SFPD would have found him at fault, the same way it found the majority (50-something percent) of pedestrians at fault for their deaths last year, calendar 2014.
]If you say, well any struck pedestrian was “in the crosswalk,” well that’s pretty much useless as you’re not giving enough information to determine fault and, in fact, a pedestrian can be outside of a crosswalk, let’s say just outside, you know, close enough, and still be held not at fault for a collision, in California anyway. (This isn’t really a written-down law, it’s more of a case of judges following how other judges have ruled in the past.)
OTOH, you can be in the absolute middle of a crosswalk, as Brocephus was, and be held at fault for your death / injury.
It all depends…
Here’s what it looks like – an SFPD enforcement action, this latest one at Oak and Masonic. (Note modern-looking SFPD Kawasaki Concours 14P (which looks to me like a CHP BMW) juxtaposed with the ancient Harley Davidsons what make up most of the Motor Patrol.)
This action meant that every driver who commited some infraction turning left from inbound Oak onto northbound Masonic got pulled over at the Masonic Chevron.
One supposes that the new left turn arrow phase at this intersection was the instigation for the enforcement action. (Back in the day, traffic didn’t back up during the Morning Drive due to the Double Left Turn that’s no longer there, owing to concerns over ped safety, one supposes.)
All right, here’s your money shot, here’s your scene at Fell and Masonic with a brace of drivers, drivers who “know” they’re special, so fucking special, you know, your Prius hybrid drivers, your Range Rover drivers, and your new funky BMW i3 (with absurdly tall, absurdly narrow Conestoga wagon wheels) electric car drivers:
That was the scene I initialy came upon and this is the same area as I left. Note the all-black Mercedes Benz, Audi and Lexus. It’s not a coincidence that the drivers of all these cars got pulled over at the same time, just saying:
Of course, the SFPD will also pull you over if they notice you doing something wrong going the other way, but the funny thing was that the two cars I saw getting pulled over heading south on Masonic, against the current, heading towards the Financial, were normal ones, like VW Golfs. (I’ll ask you, should you ever be proud of your car? The answer is that no you shouldn’t be, because Pride Goeth Before The Painful Traffic Ticket What’s Going to End Up Costing Your Four Figures. JMO.)
Moving on, to this – peds coming up to chat up the cops to cheer them on.
Now I’ll tell you, I didn’t see any driver run a red during the time I was at these intersection taking photos of the enforcement action, but I was paying more attention to the cops as opposed to the drivers. And I’ll note that sometimes the traffic lights would cycle red green red green red green without anyone getting pulled over.
I’ll leave you with this, my misfocused shot of a ped giving a black power salute to the SFPD to thank them for this latest enforcement action: