As seen from Sansome:
Here’s how the formally one-way Sansome is looking at Broadway these days
And here’s the result – heading north out of the Financh:
The SFPD doesn’t mess with this mess as it can just go north in the southbound lane.
This is another kind of meh SFMTA initiative. It’s not a game-changer and it doesn’t appear that it will ever become any part of any game changer, even when added with other things…
Of course I’ve been around in Frisco longer than the SFMTA so I have sperpective on the SFMTA that differs from how the SFMTA looks at itself, like it’s a “forward-looking” agency and whatnot.
Anyway, I’ve never seen this kind of saturation of PCOs on our streets during the PM commuting hours. So take a look at that link and then look at these from Friday.
Like on Thursday at Bush and Sansome, you had a PCO with his hands in his pockets simply waving cars through at the proper time. But on Friday, Here Come Da Judge, handing out tickets with abandon. I’ll tell you, this Prius driver didn’t do himself any favors, as it doesn’t really speed up your commute to improperly sit in a crosswalk for a minute or so. But it DOES get you a fat three-figure “parking” ticket. Sure, try to fight it, but PCO dude just took a digital photo of you, so lots of luck:
What’s this another Prius 30 seconds later? A ticket for you too, prolly, I couldn’t tell. But the Nissan on the left? That’s what the PCO is writing up right now.
So why do some PCOs help wayward drivers from out of town not block the box some days and yet on other days just sit back and ticket away? IDK
Now let’s head over to 6th and Market to see an Uber driver gesturing “what’s a matta you” to a PCO stationed there
Unlike Bush and Sansome, drivers coming down Golden Gate to 6th (and later the 101 or Bay Bridge) actually have a chance of not blocking the box if they creep through the intersection right before a yellow. So maybe this Prius driver didn’t get a ticket after all. Even though he’s yelling at somebody with the power to hand out tickets.
And here’s the PCO, making hand-written notes? Recording a license plate number? Writing poetry? IDK.
Anyway, I’ve seen many sorts of strategies from our SFMTA over the years / decades. I don’t really understand them all. Alls I know is that the SFMTA strives to become bigger bigger bigger each and every year, whether it acts properly or not. Oh well.
And I’ll tell you, I’d never go to Walnut Creek or Mountain View and block the box, and if I did, I wouldn’t go on a loud tirade against anybody who might give me a block the box citation. But, for some reason, out of towners with long long commutes in their Toyota Priuseses do, oh well…
Here you go, this is the former approach, AFAICS. The SFMTA would time the lights* on Bush so that many people attempting to cross Sansome during the Evening Drive would end up Blocking the Box of the intersection. Then a PCO would record license plates to issue three tickets in one signal cycle. It looked like this:
Good times. But that was then and this is now:
See? SFMTA bro stands in the very same intersection to make sure you don’t break the law. Then when he sees a space for you, he’ll wave you through. Much friendlier for our out of town drivers, certainly.
Now let’s head outbound on Market to see how things look north of Market. Every single intersection has a PCO telling people where to go:
Here’s another one:
And here’s another one:
It’s like a jobs program for SFMTA workers. Is this a good thing? IDK. Does it help? IDK. But hey, shouldn’t we fund the pensions and the lifetime medical for the SFGov City Family Iron Rice Bowl workers and their families afore we hire more? I think so!
Anyway, I suppose if people are complaining about traffic to our Accidental Mayor, then maybe our PCOs should put down their ticket books for a couple hours to help out? That’s a theory. I don’t exactly see what these people are doing, how they’re helping.
Of course, our SFMTA could try proper design, but that might be expecting too much, oh well…
*On purpose or not – it’s hard to tell. Obviously, if the Bay Bridge is all backed up then that back up is going to extend through SoMA and NoMA. You could start at Bush and Van Ness in a car and I’d beat you to your onramp if I crawled, sometimes, during the Evening Drive. Some of this delay is inevitable and some of it’s not, oh well…
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 SFMTA.com – 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?
*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.
Oh, this one’s easy – we’re going to go from zero to Orwellian in ten seconds.
Gentlemen, Start Your Engines:
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.
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:
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!
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?
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!
(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!