Posts Tagged ‘Polk’
Just For The Record, the Reason Why There’s No Old-School Traffic Light at Polk and Fulton is 100% SFGov’s FaultTuesday, 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:
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 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…
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.
This was the team that tied SFGov up in knots with an injunction for four long years.
MTB Legend Gary Fisher Calls for Ouster of Ed Lee – The Mayor’s Misstep on Polk Street – Small Biz vs. Big UrbanismFriday, February 27th, 2015
[UPDATE: It begins. The lily-white urbanists vent against Asian-American optometrists on Yelp. JUST ONE STAR FOR YOU, DR HIURA! GOOD DAY TO YOU, SIR!]
Let’s see if I can pay off on the headline here.
“OUT! This guy can not get away with this, are we this stupid?”
And here’s what GF was riffing on:
Now mind you, this is from an “urbanism” advocacy outfit straight outta Park Slope, so I’m sort of wondering why the Mayor’s handlers even let him make off-the-cuff remarks on this topic. Here’s the offending graf, which one assumes is properly transcribed:
“I’ve heard from many different groups,” Lee told Streetsblog. “I know we want to make the streets safer, make it bike-friendly, small businesses don’t want to lose parking for their constituents… I can’t have a particular position on it except to endorse the most balanced approach that they have because there’s issues that should not be in conflict. We shouldn’t promote bicycle safety over pedestrian safety over cars and parking. I think they’re all going to be important.”
First of all, why would you even have your executive speaking directly with activists in the first place? It’s like sending President Nixon out to the Lincoln Memorial at 4:00 AM to talk with the hippies about the Vietnam War. Second of all, Ed Lee can’t even handle a little Question Time at the Board of Supervisors without having the questions submitted in advance and without having an underling type up a reply for him to read into the record, so why would you have him give the bad news to the activists themselves? The StreetsBlog isn’t an SFGov-funded non-profit like the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition or the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, right?
And Ed Lee thinks he’s playing it safe with all this talk of a “balanced” approach, but look at what he says – he’s literally saying, “We shouldn’t promote bicycle safety…” Now that sounds like a complete sentence if you quote only that part. But the Mayor’s talking about cyclist safety vs. ped safety, so I’m not sure what he’s talking about. I was thinking the design of the SFMTA-designed “bulbout” at the deadly southwest corner of 6th and Folsom could be an example of this, but I don’t think this was on Ed Lee’s mind. Frankly, I don’t know what the Heck he was talking about.
So all that leaves Mr. Mayor wide-open for castigation. I’m not sure how much pull any one particular optometrist has on the SFMTA (check out this doc – it’s amazing*), but this coincidence allows a reference to SF’s VisionZero 2024 to come into the headline. Ed Lee ends up seeming like an out-of-touch Mr. Magoo:
I don’t know, if you’re pushing a “balanced” approach, but you don’t have an exec who can talk right, because he’s out of practice, because he was appointed to his position so he never really needed to get into practice, it seems foolish to afford advocacy journalists a chance at actual journalism.
But that’s what happened here, on the topic of Polk Street.
*Wow, these people with bidnesses in Polk Gulch are mostly American millionaires, but look how they self-describe:
Click to expand
And what about the poor guy who can only describe himself as “European?” Poor little feller.
And I’ll tell you, I’m shocked at the amount of time SFMTA chief Ed Reiskin has spent on the back-and-forth about a single solitary block of SF when his primary mission should be sweating the details of getting MUNI up to par…
[UPDATE: I’ve omitted Stanley Roberts’ video from this post as I mistakenly thought it was new as of this week when in fact it was posted almost two years old now. My apologies, Stanley. As you can see, Mr. Roberts goes after everybody (including fake monks and nuns) and certain people at the SFBC have been irritated by that over the years.]
Our San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has lost thousands of paid members lately.
Now part of that’s due to “churn,” which is something that every organization has to deal with, but most of it has to do with behavior of the SFBC itself. I’ll tell you, I’ve been riding bikes around town longer than the current SFBC has existed – no, I’m not saying that I’ve been here since the “early 70’s,” I’m saying that the SFBC didn’t really exist in the 1980’s when I came to SF. I’m saying that before Critical Mass (and its predecessor, the “Commute Clot”), the SFBC didn’t really exist – they were nowhere, man. What _did_ exist, a little later on, was the car-centric Willie Brown Administration. And all those functionaries working for Willie Brown were trying to find some “bicycle people” to cut a deal with, to tame Critical Mass, to give grant money to. But no, all the Critical Mass leaders were saying stuff like, “Critical Mass doesn’t have leaders, Man.” Eventually, the SFBC managed to practically become a part of the SFMTA, you know, conducting surveys for SFGov, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in taxpayer and feepayer money, forcing companies like Twitter to deal with the SFBC, you know, officially, and, in return, the SFBC stopped promoting Critical Mass, and SFBC now offers pols a nice photo op every year on Bike to Work Day and it actually endorses (without consulting the Members at all) for election Willie Brown protegees like, I don’t know, Ed Lee, for example. So that’s the history, and during this history I’ve seen the SFBC grow in membership, from “over 1000″ to “over 5000″ to “over “10,000” and then “over 11,000″ and then “over 12,000″ and then, uh oh, back down to “over 11,000″ and most recently back down to “over 10,000.” What are the numbers now? IDK, 9000-something? The SFBC isn’t exactly candid about its recent loss in membership. The SFBC certainly doesn’t want people freely looking at its tax forms or its older webpages, so that’s why it recently started suppressing this kind of information. Mmmmm… I’ll tell you, of course, there’s been a huge increase in bicycling in San Francisco since I’ve come here, and for various reasons, fine. (It’s sort of funny about how the big annual jumps in cycling came exactly during the rise of the fixie craze, and exactly when the Bicycle Plan injunction froze all infrastructure changes, but whatevs.) I’ll ask you, why can’t a monomaniacal advocacy organization like the SFBC concede anything? I guarantee you that the SFBC people who went the extra mile to “reach out” to Stanley Roberts of KRON-TV are pissed off about the above video coming out right before the Big Vote on Polk Street, which is supposably [what, no red underlining for a word I purposefully misspelled? Amazing] coming March 3rd, 2015, but who knows how that will work out. I’ll tell you, IMO Polk Street is a triple beam lyrical dream the way it is now. What are the other options to go north south in the area? If I don’t take Polk, then I’d be thinking Stockton, Grant, Kearney or the Embarcadero to the east or, to the west, Steiner (it’s sort of the pass over Pacific Heights, sort of) or Arguello through the Presidio. In your efforts to pursue your goals, SFBC, which I don’t necessarily oppose, you go too far and you end up alienating people like me, a man in his 40’s, and even older people such as Junior the Bike Messenger, and, apparently, THOUSANDS OF OTHER FORMER SFBC MEMBERS.
The question is, WHY IS THAT, SFBC?