Posts Tagged ‘pedestrians’

Germinator 2: Judgment Day – Interim Mayor Ed Lee Wants to Kill All These Street Trees on Masonic – Public Protests April 27th

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

At first the notices were white.

The Public protested the white notices, so now the follow-up notices are here. They’re yellow:

P1210569 copy

One assumes that tree lovers will show up at this DPW meeting on April 27th and DPW will (sort of) listen to them for two minutes each and then most of the hundreds of sidewalk trees on this 3000-foot stretch of Masonic Avenue will get chipped later on this year.

One assumes.

This MUNI Bus Operator Drives Over The Line, a Solid Yellow Line, on Fulton – Why That’s a Good Thing

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

As you’re reading, enjoy some Crystal Method:

When you’re getting about the mean Streets of San Francisco, you should imagine that every driver you encounter is an uninsured, recently-released felon who’s driving an unregistered vehicle. That’s how I’ve been doing it the past quarter-century.

Conversely, when you’re driving, you should imagine that all the peds around you are suicidal. That means that you should expect them to dart out from the sidewalk right into your path.

So if you’re looking at things that way, then it makes sense to stay Hell away from sidewalks.

Thusly. All the way up* Ignatious Heights on outbound Fulton past Masonic:

7J7C5339 copy

 

I’m not saying it’s easy to safely drive an MUNI bus, but I’m saying some drivers are better than others. This driver lacks respect for the SFMTA’s ideologically and politically-skewed impulses, as do I.

Remember, Safety First, Ideologically-Driven “Streetscapes” Last.

*And just look at the traffic coming down the hill – does anybody actually use the suicide lane to turn into the dead-end that is USF, seen camera right? (Maybe USF Security does?) Man, this isn’t how I would handle this stretch of Futon. And, oh yes, SFMTA, you should add a traffic signal on Clayton so the USF dormies can get to their inbound #5 Fulton bus stop, but you already know that, don’t you, SFMTA?

Ironically, SFGov Plans to Remove This Actual Urban Tree Canopy from Masonic and Geary – Aesthetics vs. Safety, Again

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Now I say ironically because it’s standard practice for our local pols to talk about San Francisco’s “urban canopy” as if we were close to having one already IRL.

But here’s an actual canopy, on Masonic near Geary, that’s doomed for the chipper because of some bogus art project called “Points of Departure.”

P1200957 copy

One supposes it’ll be a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine of the big new federally-funded, state-funded “Streetscape” / pork-barrel project go down? (Our SFMTA is working, slowly but surely, on this gig what has turned out to be less “shovel-ready” than advertised…)

One local, beloved blogger has gone as far as calling this slow-motion disaster Arbor-Geddon 2015.

Now here’s a little history about how SFGov works, courtesy of San Francisco Mayor (1996-present) / local lobbyist Willie Brown:

“I wanted the trees gone, but knew I’d face stiff resistance both from homeless advocates and tree supporters. We brought in a tree expert and wouldn’t you know it, some of the trees had a blight. I issued an emergency order, and that night park workers moved in and dug up and bagged the trees. By the time the TV cameras arrived the next morning the trees were on their way to a tree hospital, never to return. So bless me, father, for I too have sinned. I just did it before everyone had a cell phone camera.”

Delightful story, Willie. Simply delightful.

Anyway, kiss this small grove, improbably near a big #38 MUNI stop, good-bye.

Appalling Corner Cutting from the Vaunted SFMTA: Newly-Installed Clean-Sheet Traffic Signal Poles on Masonic

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

[All right, a little background. Who’s been in charge of the crosswalk in front of City Hall on Polk? IDK, somebody in SFGov, like the SFMTA, or an agency from before the SFMTA, or DPW, or, no matter, somebody in SFGov, anyway, right? And these people know that driver compliance rates with whatever half-assed “smart” control scheme they installed is a lot lower than the compliance rate with simple red-yellow-green signals. But then, with regular dumb traffic lights, pedestrians would have to wait, at least part of the time, to cross the street to get to the Great Hall of The People and we can’t have that, right? So when a tour bus driver runs over an SFGov worker going back to the office, it’s all the tour bus driver’s fault, right? Well, yes and no. The BOS can vote 11-0 to regulate tour bus operators, but that ignores its own responsibility, non? Oh what’s that, you were going to get around to installing a traffic signal there, but you just hadn’t gotten around to it? And what’s that, you can’t figure out how to do it with the money we already give you, so we need to give you more more more? All right, fine, but that means you’re a part of the safety problem, not the solution, SFTMA / SFGov, at least in this case. Moving on…]

What the Hell is this, this brand new aluminum(?) light pole above Masonic betwixt the Golden Gate and Turk “high injury* corridors.” Believe it or not, you’re looking at signal lights for northbound Masonic traffic at Golden Gate AND ALSO, on the other side, for southbound Masonic at Turk:

7J7C5083 copy

Here’s how things look up the hill heading southbound – no problems here:

7J7C5117 copy

But this is what you see going north, you see a red light on the left and green light on the right, and the farther away you are, the more it looks like one intersection with contradictory signals:

7J7C5082 copy

I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere in the world.

This is appallingly poor design, IMO.

So, what, give you more money and you’ll put in another pole, SFMTA? IDK, you can see that they spent money on three new poles, so why did they cheap out with this half-assed creation?

Tree branches? So, the SFMTADPW wants to cut down hundreds of “diseased” trees** on this 3000-foot stretch of Masonic, but it can’t trim a couple trees in the name of Safety?

OK fine.

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Why did the deciders decide on this half-assed design? This one will write itself.

*Are there any low injury corridors in San Francisco? No there are not. So the phrase “high-injury corridor,” as used over and over again, recently, in SF, is meaningless. Oh what’s that, there are no accidents on Willard Street North, for example. Except that WSN aint a corridor, it’s a just a little street. So “high injury corridor” simply means corridor, which simply means, of course, “a (generally linear) tract of land in which at least one main line for some mode of transport has been built.”

**This is how SFGov works:

I wanted the trees gone, but knew I’d face stiff resistance both from homeless advocates and tree supporters. We brought in a tree expert and wouldn’t you know it, some of the trees had a blight. I issued an emergency order, and that night park workers moved in and dug up and bagged the trees. By the time the TV cameras arrived the next morning the trees were on their way to a tree hospital, never to return.”

Arguably, this occurred a while ago, but, arguably, Willie Brown is still the Mayor, so there you go.

Wow, SFPD Enforcement Action at Oak and Masonic – Massive Number of Luxury / Electric Cars Pulled Over, Over and Over

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

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.)

7J7C4032 copy

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:

7J7C4013 copy

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:

7J7C4056 copy

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.

7J7C4035 copy

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:

7J7C4019 copy

Looks Like They’re Done Working on Fell and Masonic – How Long Will “DOUBLE RIGHT TURN” Last?

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

This was yesterday morning, with the crew packing up, after weeks of work:

P1190680 copy

And this was yesterday evening – it looks like they’re done?

P1190686 copy

So what’s the deal here? Are they going to pull up the tape on the intersection what forces cars in the right lane to turn right and then lay down some permanent lines, or are they going to go back to the way it was before, back when you had the option of going straight or right?

Maybe that’s what the orange on the signs means, that these changes were only temporary? Or maybe the orange means, “Hey look, here is the new rule?”

I can’t tell.

But if all they were doing was fixing up that corner of the intersection, then what did they do? It looks exactly the same to me. And why did it take weeks?

On It Goes…

What Makes San Francisco Pedestrians Unique Isn’t Just Their Horrible Behavior, It’s Their Horrible Attitude Too

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

So sure, jumping the light and loitering in the street, that’s a routine thing, and that’s part of the reason why most* ped deaths due to traffic accidents on the streets of San Francisco last year were primarily the fault** of the pedestrians themselves.***

But to show the proper attitude, make sure to look away from the traffic you’ve been improperly blocking for no reason:

7J7C3571 copy

That’s it, now you’re on the trolley!

*Just a smidge above 50% for 2014, admittedly higher than the typical year.

**And if you’re talking about some partial fault on behalf of peds, then this 50 something percent figure would climb into the 60’s or 70’s. Of course, you’re not legally required to walk defensively, but, of course, it’s nevertheless a good idea. This is why I’m less likely to die as a pedestrian in a traffic accident per hour of walking than you, the more typical SF ped, one assumes

***Per SFGov, your beloved SFGov, which is run**** by that guy that the urbanist-type group(s) you’re a dues paying member of almost certainly endorsed for election.****

****You know, under our Strong Mayor form of government

Just For The Record, the Reason Why There’s No Old-School Traffic Light at Polk and Fulton is 100% SFGov’s Fault

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

There are some gray areas in how the SFPD enforces CA’s Failure To Yield Vehicle Code section upon drivers, certainly, but take a look here to see a case of black and white. The white Nissan on the right failed to yield to the ped on the left, smack dab in front of the Main Entrance to City Hall:

7J7C3502 copy

Fundamentally, this is Fulton and Polk, and I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a traffic light here. Of course City Hall takes up two city blocks and that’s why Fulton disappears here, but wouldn’t the driver compliance rate be orders of magnitude higher with a simple red-amber-green light?

Did I say simple? What I should have said was stupid, because all the SFMTA and the DPW does is “smart,” right? Smart this and smart that. And that means that basic design, the likes of which drivers generally understand the world over, must be stupid, right?

So yeah, that tour bus operator blew though crosswalk and SFGov lost a retiree/contractor and it’s hard to see how the SFPD could write a police report placing the blame upon anyone other than the driver.

But…

But what if the NTSB took a look, what would it say? Would it say, yeah there should have been a light here from the get-go? I think so. I’m saying it would parcel out some of the blame to SFGov, right? As with the pilots of that Asiana flight at SFO, yes, sure, pilot error, of course, but also some blame for SFO operations, some blame for Boeing perhaps as well, and some blame for the SFFD.

But SFGov don’t see things that way. SFGov’s solution is to ban tour bus drivers from yakking to passengers and, oh yeah, let’s put in a non-smart red-amber-green stoplight, but we only have enough money to put in like five traffic lights per year, please give us the SFMTA more money.

So are you “all about safety,” SFMTA? I don’t think so.

Oh what’s that, this is the Great Hall of the People we’re talking about so peds shouldn’t ever have to wait at a red light or at an “upraised hand” signal? Mmmmm…

So really, you all aren’t all about ped safety, you’re about pedestrian rights, right? Like “I’m the NRA, except for pedestrians” or “I’m the NRA, ‘cept for bike riders?”

Here’s a quote:

“…less inviting. Plus pedestrians have to wait at red lights before crossing, slowing down walking. Given that Haight is a commercial corridor the pedestrian environment is key for business.”

None of this “advocacy” against what’s altogether a quite-sensible plan for Haight Street from the SFMTA has anything to do with safety, with keeping peds safe from others but also safe from themselves.

Oh what’s that, you want to cite safety as your goal, but you actually have quite different goals? OK fine.

Here’s What Bus Drivers, Bike Riders, and Pedestrians Think of the New DOUBLE RIGHT TURN at Fell and Masonic

Friday, February 27th, 2015

This MUNI operator used to be able to pick up at Hayes and Masonic southbound and then easily continue straight on Masonic towards Haight. But now #43 Masonic drivers need to get into the #2 lane as the #3 lane is now a mandatory right turn onto Fell. So click click goes the left turn signal as the bus driver begs the stalled traffic for a little help:

7J7C3320 copy

And if you’re coming from inbound Hayes to southbound Masonic on a bike, you now have two lanes to jink across if you wish to continue on along Masonic:

P1190290 copy

This is why some, including those at the SFMTA/SFBC disfavor DOUBLE RIGHT TURNS. Note also the driver who’s improperly cutting across from lane #3 to lane #2.

And of course, now more drivers are blocking the box / sitting on the crosswalk:

P1190291 copy

On it goes at Fell and Masonic.

Someday I’ll figure out what the SFMTA is going for here.

Someday.

Uh Oh, the SFPD’s Vaunted “Focus on the Five” Enforcement Program Focuses on the Wrong Five

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Work with me here, people.

Here you go:

“Focus on the Five – Using multi-year collision data, the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) is focusing on enforcing the five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking. The goal is to have half their traffic citations be for these five violations.”

All right, well let’s look at the stats for last year, via Heather Knight / the District 5 Diary.

And then let’s extract all the five-digit CVC section numbers cited in the official SFPD report, plus let’s also throw in a CVC number for the pedestrian who died last year after getting hit by a MUNI bus on Geary around Baker.

(And let’s ignore all the the lower-case subsections like 21950(b) and the like, treating 21950(a) and 21950(b) as the same violation, for example.)

And then lets throw all the extracted numbers into Excel for a Sorting.

And then let’s eyeball the numbers to separate them out:

Capturefsfssfggg copy

So those are your top “five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking (and bicycle riding, but I don’t think that affects the numbers too much.)

Here they are, in order of frequency:

21950

22350

21456

21954

21955

So how does that compare with this list from politicians?

“Focus on the 23 Five” campaign to target the top five causal factors of pedestrian crashes – running red lights 24 (California Vehicle Code 21453(a)), running stop signs (California Vehicle Code 22450(a)), violating pedestrian right-of-way (California Vehicle Code 21950(a)), failing to yield while 2 turning (California Vehicle Code 21801 (a), and speeding (California Vehicle Code 22350)…

See how that works? 21950 and 22350 are in there, but CVC violations on the part of pedestrians, like 21456, 21954, and 21955 have been omitted from the list.

Is the official “Focus on the Five” about pedestrian safety or “pedestrian rights?”

I’m thinking it’s about pedestrian rights, like the right to jaywalk, that kind of thing.

Is SFGov serious about SF Vision Zero 2024, a “program” that has the goal of ending all transportation deaths in San Francisco long after all the pols who voted for it have termed out?

Well, how can it be if it’s afraid to enforce traffic laws for political reasons?

If you want safety for pedestrians, wouldn’t you want them to be afraid of getting cited for jaywalking?

No? All right, well then keep on doing what you’re doing, but you’ll never ever achieve Vision Zero 2024 the way you’re going about it, SFGov.