Or is it the Great Leader?
I can’t tell.
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?
Co-opting The Mission Burrito sure takes a long time, huh?
Artist’s conception of what the mighty sign on Masonic will look like, sooner or later:
Appears as if Panera Bread will win the race to further chainify the Western Addition…
And it looks like not a single soul in the world will raise a voice against the Chipotle chain coming to 2675 Geary.
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.)
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 affects 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
Well here’s the official notice, seen in the Western Addition just north of the Panhandle and, I might add, just after election time:
Click to expand
Mind you, these aren’t big big city blocks the likes of which you’ll find in SoMA or out in the Avenues. These are small blocks chock-a-block full of bus stops. Check it, and remember that Ashbury used to have stops as well.
So hurrah for the SFMTA.
Well, here it is, “OPENING SOON!” as promised:
Click to expand
So this chain already has 1800 or so outlets, so let’s call this place at Geary and Masonic Store #1801.
The thing is, regular San Franciscans, not the electeds, you know, just regular people, love chain stores and here’s the test: OPEN ONE UP AND SEE IF PEOPLE SHOP THERE. You dig? That’s why chain stores are banned or are effectively banned in certain areas under certain conditions.
If San Franciscan didn’t like chain stores, then chain stores wouldn’t open up here in the first place, or, if they did, then nobody would shop there and then the chain stores would close up and leave.
Now this particular chain store is hidden away, like a porno shop, and that helped it get approved. you see, we like chain stores but we don’t want to see them all over the place.
On It Goes…