Posts Tagged ‘safety’

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?

SF Paratransit Vans Now [DO NOT] Have the Name of the Driver on the Side, As If They Were Fighter Jets?

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

[UPDATE: Hoo boy, I’ve just discovered the red circles on the sides of these vans are to honor those “who helped make paratransit possible” – see Comments. My bad. But seriously, I thought regular drivers had their names stamped on the side to give them more pride in work, to encourage them to drive and park more safely. (Of course, I still think that’s a good idea, even if the drivers wouldn’t like it…)]

Well, this kind of thing should be mandatory for Toyota Prius drivers:

7J7C5340 copy

And Interim Mayor Ed Lee’s Chevy Volt should have this too, the better to spot when it’s double parked.

If I were a driver, I’d ask for a radio call sign like Maverick, Goose, or Jester…

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 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 your 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.

SFPD Chief Stars in Brand-New Traffic Safety PSA – Obvious Tension with Bike Coalition – Die Hard Greg Suhr Gives Off a Bruce Willis Vibe

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

I’ll tell you, I saw a photo of Chief Greg in the papah’ the other week, and I thought Worst Bald Cap Ever. But this, this is much improved:

Now, if our SFPD wants to go Hollywood, they gotta realize they’re going to get reviews.

1. NOBODY’S GOING TO WATCH THIS PSA ON YOUTUBE. You got to give people a reason to pass along a link to their buds. We need virility, not virility, YKWIM? Perhaps people will be coerced into watching, IDK. Next time, have your people call my people and we’ll sex things up and your view counter will go from 150 (and yesterday when I saw this for the first time it was, suspiciously, at exactly 100) up into the millions. Oh what’s that, there were other reasons to make this vid, aside from having people watch it online? Oh yes, I can see that.

2. ALL THOSE CODE SECTIONS ARE TMI. I mean, even for me. Oh, those clips were for the benefit of students of Hogwarts SFPD? I could see that. They are well-made, and they show viewers how state laws are applied on the Streets of San Francisco. So that’s great.

3. CHECK OUT THE SECTION ON BIKES STARTING AT 3:15. So the fourth line on the graphic explaining 21202 was spoken by a different narrator? It sure seemed to be tacked on as an afterthought. This is an awkward edit right in touchy, touchy territory.

4. IT’S NICE HAVING TRAFFIC LAWS EXPLAINED BY A NEUTRAL SOURCE, AS OPPOSED TO GETTING MORE OF THE SAME FROM ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS. So we don’t have the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition talking about how pedestrians “always” having the right of way and we don’t have SFMTA spokesmodel Paul Rose spouting off misinformation (the way he does with the Chronicle, which unlike this YT clip, actually has an audience, so you see, I’m sort of saying that the SFMTA can’t claim its “No. 1 Goal Is Safety” if it has Paul Rose talking nonsense about countdown timers and the like).

5. ASIDE FROM ALL THAT, FIVE STARS OUT OF A POSSIBLE FIVE STARS. 

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Write a bit about the obvious tensions betwixt the SFPD and advocacy groups like the SFBC and Walk SF. I’ll tell you, if this vid had been turned over to the SFBC to make for $100k under a no-bid contract, it would come off quite differently. And leave us remember that most ped and bike rider deaths in SF County last year were the fault of the peds and bike riders themselves, right? Just a skosh over 50%, per … the SFPD.

San Francisco Cabbie Fights Back: “UBER / LYFT, FINALLY JOBS FOR REGISTERED SEX OFFENDERS”

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

As seen by Manys here:

jbfcLpV copy

Oh, and here’s another.

I’ll point out that sometimes it’s the unregistered sex offenders…

Our SFMTA, Which Wants All Cars Off of Eastern Market, Will Impose a Brace of Turn Restrictions in 3 Months – “Safer Market Street”

Friday, March 6th, 2015

IDK, if you asked me what would make a safer Market Street, I’d say, “Well, how about banning all them buses and taxis?” Oh, that’s not practical, huh?

But it would leave us with a safer Market Street though.

The actual SMS plan, I’m not so sure about:

Capturekjkkg

Anyway, this would seem to slightly improve your north-south flow across Market, but the SFMTA isn’t a mental health agency so there are some issues it’s not equipped to handle…

MTB Legend Gary Fisher Calls for Ouster of Ed Lee – The Mayor’s Misstep on Polk Street – Small Biz vs. Big Urbanism

Friday, 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.

Here’s MounTain Biking (MTB) legend Gary Fisher on appointed Mayor Ed Lee:

“OUT! This guy can not get away with this, are we this stupid?”

And here’s what GF was riffing on:

SFMTA Cuts Block of Polk Bike Lane Fought by Visionless Mayor’s Optometrist

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:

Capturelkj copy

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.

*Wow, these people with bidnesses in Polk Gulch are mostly American millionaires, but look how they self-describe: 

gffhgg

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…

How the Magic Word “VisionZero” Has NOT Changed the SFMTA’s Half-Assed Approach to Transportation Safety: “Focus On The Five”

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Here’s the SFMTA’s official six-figure-a-year spokesperson on the topic of when pedestrians can cross a street, from just last year:

“They can start whenever they want,” Rose said.”

Of course this is wrong, as even Paul Rose himself would admit now, after being corrected.

So, why did he say that? Because he, like his employer, has a half-assed approach to safety, and, one supposes, he, like his employer, is mired in politics.

Now do you suppose that Paul Rose was at all interested in examining why he told the peds of San Francisco that it was A-OK for them to violate CA state law? Oh no, not at all. And do you think he checked with anyone before he spouted off? Prolly not.

Like I say, a half-assed approach.

Now we’re in 2015, the era of SF VisionZero 2024, which has the goal, one that nobody actually believes in, but they have to pretend that they do believe in it, of having no more transportation deaths in San Francisco County starting in 2024 and continuing in perpetuity.

It’ll look a little something like this, supposedly:

sdfhjjjjkj

Now do you see the beauty in this? By the time SFGov fails to achieve this impossible goal, all the people who glibly made the promise will be out of office, right? How convenient.

The big problem with the approach that SFGov is taking is assuming that traffic deaths are a street design issue, as opposed to a human behavior issue. So most of the emphasis appears to be upon SFGov spending more money, which of course SFGov loves to do anyway.

And the part of VisionZero SF that’s focuses on behavior seems misplaced, for political reasons.

For example, there’s this:

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.”

So if the SFPD started handing out tickets for jaywalking, you know, in a big way, that would certainly help with traffic safety, over the long term, to at least a slight degree, but that would take the SFPD away from its “Focus On The Five” goal.

The problem with Focus On The Five is that it ignores Vehicle Code violations on behalf of pedestrians, one supposes for political reasons. In fact, the cause of most pedestrian and cyclist deaths last year in San Francisco was the behavior of the pedestrians and cyclists themselves.

And what’s this talk about “automated enforcement?” How about this, how about hooking up all of the SFMTA’s vehicles to an automated enforcement mechanism that would detect speed limit, stop sign and red light violations using on board sensors and GPS? Then, after Ed Reiskin parks his government-paid SFMTA car or an operator parks her bus, SFPD tickets would be issued, you know, daily. Whoo boy, what are the odds of something like that happening?

So that’s SF VisionZero 2024, a buzz-phrase that means absolutely nothing.