Posts Tagged ‘pco’

Useless Make-Work: Four Parking Control Officers Standing About Mission and South Van Ness During the Folsom Street Fair

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

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?

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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?


San Francisco’s Biggest Intersection Box Blocker is … the SFMTA Itself – Isn’t It Ironic? – Dont’cha Think?

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

As here, on Geary inbound:

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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?

Just asking.

San Francisco’s AutoReturn Monopoly Should be Called AutoTakeaway, Cause That’s All I Ever See Them Doing – Photo

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Seen here being towed backwards up Oak and then up Clayton. One assumes this front wheel drive car has a dolly attached:

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Anyway, this is how I see Autoreturn – they don’t really return cars as much as take them away.

Hey look the new SCHEDULE OF FEES, effective yesterday. What’s really out of whack here is the “Administrative Fee” of $266. This is how our inefficient, money-hungry SFMTA earns its money – by charging a fee on top of the money it already makes on the cars it tickets and has towed. Is this the highest administrative fee charged of all of America’s 3000-some odd counties? Yep. Why’s that? Well, it’s to pay the salaries of the Parking Control Officers that the SFMTA already makes money off of, oh well.

Here’s Spencer Brown’s recent experience with AR. But, as stated, the real profiteer here is the inefficient, money-hungry SFMTA.

SF ought to kill this fee entirely.

SFMTA Update: New Market Street Turn Restrictions to be “Enforced by SFMTA Parking Control Officers and the SFPD?”

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

1. Well, here’s the news:

“The paint crew began restriping at Hyde Street in preparation for the turn restrictions yesterday (June 23rd), just a week after board approval. The paint crew will continue their work through July along with the sign and meter shops, to install the turn restriction signage and loading zones respectfully. It is expected that the work for the turn restrictions, loading zones, and painted safety zones will be complete by early to mid-August. The signs will be bagged until all are complete, at which time the turn restrictions will go into effect, and will be enforced by SFMTA parking control officers and SFPD.”

I can sort of see how the SFMTA is able to enforce CA’s “block the box” law, as the drivers cited are literally parking in intersections, sometimes for as long as a minute.*

But, I can’t see how the SFMTA is going to be able to “enforce” the coming turn restrictions on Market Street.

What am I missing here?

Is this simply the clumsy SFMTA talking bad agin? We’ll see.

2. And since we’re here at the above link, look at what the SFMTA considers an example of a “news article” – it’s some dude on Medium. What the SFMTA means to say is here are some news articles plus links to fawning supporters, those who’d never pointy out that we operate the slowest, least-efficient big-city transit system in America. I mean how wude for ppl to say that, right?

3. Ah, what else. Hey, SFMTA! Why not now ban SFMTA taxis from making the turns you just banned Uber, Lyft and the other TNC’s from making? Hear me out – we’d be doing it for safety. And actually, the actual position of Uber and Lyft is that taxis should be similarly banned from making these restricted turns. SFMTA board members complaining about the “nightmare” of enforcement should be placated – if you see a taxi making this turn, give it a ticket just like you do with all the other cars. Easy peasy. Oh what’s that, you don’t want to, you’d have to change some rule? Well, then why not do that? Don’t you care about safety?

4. And, what else. Oh yeah, what about handicapped drivers? They’ll be getting four new spaces to park on Market betwixt 3rd and 8th (or between 8th and 3rd, as most people like to phrase it, so I guess my brain’s not hooked up right) but then they won’t be able to make the turn onto Market to get to the spaces? Or, maybe you can make these turns? But then you’d be in a private vehicle, right? I don’t get it. The SFMTA of 2014 wasn’t afraid to discuss this issue, but the SFMTA of 2015 is, apparently.

5. And hey, what about MUNI’s accidents along this stretch of road? Let’s find the stat here, direct from the SFMTA. Oh what’s that, Gentle Reader, is your link busted too. Well, who busted it – the SFMTA itself? Why’s that? In fact, the info on that web page is gone forever from – it’s down the Memory Hole, Comrade. So let’s go way back, via the Wayback Machine:

“Between 2012 and 2013, there were 162 reported injury collisions on Market between Van Ness Avenue and Steuart Street, including 2 fatalities. 33% of collisions involve Muni.

So, help me out here. What percentage of vehicles on this part of Market are MUNI vehicles? I’m thinking it’s way less than 10%. (You ever wait for the outbound buses? Just count the number of cars and taxis and cyclists what pass you by.) And yet, a third of the collisions involve MUNI? Hey SFMTA, don’t you have a problem here? Hey SFMTA, aren’t you yourselves a part of the problem?

Just asking…

*Now this is kind of stupid, as SFGov is profiting off of an intersection that it’s in control of, an intersection near the foot of Bush Street what’s managed, by SFGov, poorly, IMO. Nevertheless, the oblivious suburbanites heading home shouldn’t be blocking the box light cycle after light cycle.

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:






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

The “Innovation Capital of the World” Uses Old-School Tech: Leaning Over with a Piece of Chalk at the End of a Stick

Friday, May 15th, 2015

There are pros and cons, of course, to using a stick to chalk-mark car tyres and then coming back two or three hours later to see if the car has moved away, in accordance with the 415’s infamous Residential Parking Permit Program.

Here’s what it looks like:

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An actual world capital of innovation would employ GPS and license plate scanners, these days, right?

Anyway, on the pro side, this method works, sort of. What some people do to stick it to the man is to rub off the chalk marks to buy a few more hours of free parking, until the next round of SFMTA marking and checking, but that’s agin the rules – you could get in trouble for that, one supposes.

On the con side, our PCO’s are routinely Bending Over with Piece of Chalk at the End of a Stick. The reason why it costs our SFMTA an excessive amount of money to run the RPP program is because there’s no market discipline at work here, there’s no incentive for the SFMTA to save money because of how CA state law works, oh well.

Anyway, just because your Interim Mayor says that your town is the “Innovation Capital of the World” doesn’t necessarily mean that your town is actually the “Innovation Capital of the World”

White Over Raspberry – The Smartest-Looking GO-4 Intercepter Three-Wheeler in Town – But Is This Legal?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

San Francisco, in particular, has an active meter-maid-motoring community.”

Can you legally perpendicular park your Frisco Family Car in a parallel parking area?

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I know not.

This kind of thing is agin the rules if you used a four-wheeled SmartCar, but SF could have special rules for three wheelers…

Is the SFMTA Now a Paramilitary Organization? Here’s a Raged-Up Sergeant Yelling at an SFMTA PCO on Sansome

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

So, you can be a sergeant working for our inefficient SFMTA? Well that’s news to me. but see those stripes? Mmmm, I guess “Parking and Traffic” calls its supervisors sergeants, so this guy isn’t SFPD or any kind of peace officer?

Anyway, Dude on the bike here was pissed because the PCO in this Interceptor III cart told a driver to move along from a yellow zone, you know, instead of giving her a ticket:

“Why are you playing games with these people? She’s sitting there, you cite her!”

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Now, talk about lacking situational awareness, the woman in the towaway zone merely pulled ahead a few feet and remained on the scene as this extended yellfest continued in front of all the GG Transit users waiting for the ride home north. And I was thinking, no girl, you want to clear out of here pronto.

Well, it turns out that she didn’t leave in time so she got ticketed anyway and now she owes three figures (including the $2.50 “convenience” fee) to our inefficient SFMTA. Oh well.

This is the MTA, your Money Taking Agency, in action.

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!

Heartless SFMTA Meter Maids Cite Poor Woman’s Car Day After Day for a Single Crosswalk Violation

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

SFMTA PCO’s seem to like citing this car daily, to the tune of $103 a day for the crime of parking too near a crosswalk:

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Presumably, the owner has left it there for a few days, not realizing her mistake.

So, what’s stopping the SFMTA from citing this car every hour for the same violation? There must be some internal policy, one that I’m not aware of.


What if the rest of the SFMTA operated as effectively as the Parking Control Officer division?

I wonder what that would look like…