I cry foul
The SFMTA makes all kinds of mistakes all the time, but it’s afraid to admit that it ever might have made a mistake ever, oh well.
Check out the newish light signals at Fell and Shrader:
(Filmed in Nike-Vision, except this woman is a real person who lives in the area and just happened to be passing through – quite unacceptable to those who reside in Niketown.)
So I understand the red bike and the upraised hand signal – so far so good.
And I understand the next phase, the I-do-what-I-want phase:
And then there’s this:
And then this:
And then back to all-red.
So now I understand what the SFMTA means, but I needed to study the lights.
IMO, the SFMTA should be focused on safety instead of ideology. IMO, the SFMTA should strive to keep things simple. IMO, the SFMTA should factor human nature into into its signal schemes. For example, this woman here entered into the intersection way late and had to rely upon the driver seeing her. Is the SFMTA at all curious as to why people might be confused by this unique-in-the-world intersection with its current signal setup? Not at all.
Instead of heading up the hill to get back to their ride, these gals walked downhill a few paces and then used congested traffic near Geary to their advantage:
That’s better than most, of course.
What they’re doing is turning a complicated, deadly game of chicken into a simpler chore of waiting for northbound traffic to get a red and then shuffling across two lanes…
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a rear light to ride your bike around at night. But you do need to have some kind of reflector, which this cyclist doesn’t have, as you can see, if you can see him:
If this bike had the rear reflectors that most bikes are sold with these days, then I’d have seen them in this situation, oh well.
Anyway, this is what it looks like at night when you have no rear bike light and no reflectors…
Let’s see here, Presidio Heights has had fancier-than-average street lights for a while now, ’cause why not, right?
These days, LED lights are the new thang, so Presidio Heights is getting them as well. And SFGov puts up signs for the rich denizens asking, “Hey what do you think of the new lights, let us know,” kind of thing.
But these new lights are on like all the time. Like this:
Our streetlight people must think we’re made of money.
AND THAT REALLY GRINDS MY GEARS!*
Pick a stupid catch-phrase for the SFPUC to use about LED lights, which I’ve had in my crib for years:
1. leading edge
2. state of the art
The answers are #1 and #2 – I haven’t come across the SFPUC talking about the “world-class” lights they leave on all the live long day yet, but one of these days I prolly will.
Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to that feelin’
*Not really. But I’m pointing out just one example of a pretty big difference betwixt how our PUC sees itself and how it actually is IRL.
“The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission invites interested community members to attend a public meeting to discuss our upcoming Street Light Wireless Control Pilot Project.
The purpose of this pilot project is to test a suite of leading edge wireless technologies which will be mounted on several new, environmentally friendly LED street light fixtures in the vicinity of Washington Street between Arguello and Presidio. Some of the wireless technologies will enable more effective monitoring and control of LED fixtures (including adaptive lighting, which allows for off-peak hour modification of street light levels), and some technologies will support other services, like electric meter reading, pollution monitoring and traffic signal control. The pilot project will allow us to try out the proposed technologies before the City begins converting all City-owned street lamps to LED fixtures.
And there’s this:
“We’re testing a state-of-the-art street lighting system comprising light-emitting diode (LED) street lights and wireless monitoring and control equipment. The new remote controls and ultra-efficient LED fixtures, which replace high-pressure sodium street light fixtures, have been installed in these neighborhoods:
The Inner Sunset, on Irving Street between 7th Avenue and 14th Avenue
Presidio Heights, on Washington Street between Walnut Street and Maple Street
Our public survey period ended at close of business on February 24, 2014. Many, many thanks to everyone who participated in the online survey and live demonstration events. You can read a comprehensive analysis of the survey results here.
Residents and businesses in the test areas were briefed on the installations during community meetings last winter. The new, ultra-efficient LED street lights will consume 50% less energy and burn three-to-four times longer than existing lamps. In addition, the LED’s will be:
monitored and controlled remotely (removing the need for members of the public to report broken lamps)
equipped with an adaptive lighting feature which allows for energy-saving off-peak hour adjustment of street light levels
powered by 100% greenhouse gas-free Hetch Hetchy hydroelectric energy (just like all City street lights)
Thanks for your support! Please feel free to contact us with questions or suggestions at: LED@sfwater.org.
(NOTE: A third LED street light system with wireless controls, installed downtown on Pine Street between Davis and Montgomery, was not included in the online survey or live demonstration events. Live, on-site demonstrations of the Irving and Washington Street installations took place on January 22 and 23, 2014.)”
Here are what these signs look like on Sunset Boulevard way out there in the Parkside / Sunset part of outer San Francisco County:
After the recent deaths in this area, SFGov appears to be highly motivated to make changes.
The signage around here is still a fucking mess, but one assumes that some of the older signals that are there might now be coming down this weekend when the new signals get turned on.
Here’s the tunnel view heading north as it stands now – how many signs and lights and banners has SFGov put up for drivers to look at here? I’m counting about three dozen and, actually, drivers can see even more further to the left and right of this scene, including an SFPD vehicle seemingly permanently parked on Yorba specifically for you bad drivers to see and react to.
IMO, the modified pedestrian-activated HAWK light experiment, signals that would flash yellow but never actually go red to stop traffic, is a massive failure.
IMO, SFGov continues to expect waaaaaay too much from its drivers (particularly elderly drivers, particularly those who shouldn’t be driving anymore) and its pedestrians (particularly elderly pedestrians).
You know what’s poorly designed? Every last bike light paid for and given away by the SFMTA stamped with the SFMTA brand so that you’ll like that SFMTA more better.
You know what’s well designed? These semi-counterfeit light sets from Amazon for $8 each free delivery:
Oh, they’re sold out now? Sorry. But I just bought four sets like ten days ago. See?
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What I was thinking was that these lights would just pop right in to the “Bike Planet” mounts I already have on the bikes I need to take care of. (Bike Planet isn’t really a name-brand IRL, but it certainly is as far as bike lights are concerned.) And of course, they snap right in on the Bike Planet mounts
The headlight from “BV USA,” in particular, is particularly cheesy / plasticky. But all the lights I just bought work A-OK, as expected.
I totally don’t know what happened to all the Blaze 2-watt headlights I bought for $20-something when Amazon had a super-duper sale, and for that matter, the mostly white Superflash Turbo taillights I also paid $20-something for.
Anyway, the BV lights I just bought work great and they have rubber gaskets to keep out the rain just the way the Planet Bike lights have.
But be my guest if you want to pay mo money.
These people parked across the street from our popular Trader Joes on Masonic, as many people do, ’cause the TJ’s parking lot is too small, ’cause that’s what nearby residents wanted.
Our Planning Department created this disaster and then moved on to more important work, such as the failed 8 Washington project, oh well.
Fixes have been tried, but still we’ve got this parade of customers jaywalking back and forth across this stretch of 30 MPH Masonic, thusly, from a few days back:
Click to expand
Cars were coming in the fast lanes both northbound and southbound, so their only choice was to wait for the black car to pass and then sprint behind it.
I’m a little too close to this one, so I wasn’t sure if this kind of thing would be People Behaving Badly-worthy.
Well, obvs, it is now:
I don’t know how intentional the Great Oak Street Airlock is, you know, how the lights are poorly timed for traffic on Oak but also poorly-timed for cyclists using the Panhandle bike path to get on to Oak and beyond. I suspect that “teaching drivers a lesson” about how they shouldn’t be driving might be involved, but it also could be incompetence/neglect.
Speaking of which, just try to find a street sign what says “Baker” at Oak and Baker these days. Shouldn’t like SFGov like care enough about tourists ‘n stuff to like put up just one fucking street sign at an intersection? Yes, but it’s been this way for months. (If I were Ron Conway AND if I cared enough I could make a one-minute phone call to get the wheels rolling on the let’s-give-Baker-street-signs-what-say-Baker-street project, but I’m not so oh well.)