Posts Tagged ‘sfbc’

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:

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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.

SFMTA’s Polk Street Parking Space Removal Plan has Spawned a Yelp War – A Five-Star Counterattack – Poor Dr. Hiura, Poor Other Dr. Hiura!

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

All right, get up to speed here.

And now, the latest salvo – if you’re an earnest Yelper who feels that Drs. Hiura & Hiura have been treated unfairly in the whole SFMTA Polk Street Parking Space Removal Plan, well all you can do is post a five-star review, you know, to help out:

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Except that this doesn’t help – the last thing that Hiura To The Power Of Two or Yelp need is a political debate carried out on Yelp.com.

Speaking of which, here’s something new from the Hiuras themselves:

I’m confused – whom’s this video for? IDK. Is it for patients so they’ll post five-star reviews? Or is it for potential patients? But who’s going to see it? (And who’s that woman in front of the green screen? Are we meant to think she works there? IDK.)

And I’ll tell you, at this point, no YouTubers have seen this video, like literally nobody.

Hey, did you see that storefront in the background of this clip? Look at all that metal security grating! That’s a reminder that this is Polk Gulch – an area that’s still “in transition,” as they say.

Oh, did I write Polk Gulch? What I meant to write was “Polk Village,” as that’s what some millionaire small-biz owners tried to rename the area a few years back. (I’m not sure how that turned out – certainly, I haven’t heard that term in a while.)

In any event, all that grating sure would be helpful if you’re ever battening down the hatches, like in preparation for another San Francisco Giants World Series riot, or if you were expecting ever more unwelcome visits from the StreetsBlogSF crowd, right?

Well guess what, the hatches have been battened – that means that the Hiuras no longer have anti-SFMTA propaganda posted in their window and the iconic red PEOPLE LOVE US ON YELP storefront sticker – well, that’s now gone as well, almost as if the Hiuras don’t want transit activists thinking of this bidness and the Yelp at the same time.

So on it goes. Perhaps this YelpWar will settle down after today’s big vote at City Hall*

*OMG, these people use so many buzz-phrases and “framing” words, I wonder if they’d even be able to translate their NewSpeak into regular English. Let’s have a try here, an “improvement” as any change that SFGov has ever made and/or something that it wants to spend tax or fee-payer money on, whether that change turns out to actually be an improvement or not IRL. And a “complete” street is one that has had tax or fee-payer money spent on it recently, as best I can figure. IRL, Polk Street was “completed” about a century and a half ago, right? And an “investment” is any spending done by SFGov, like the way my cousin used to invest his money at the slot machines inside the big airport in Vegas. Hey, how would a cosmetic surgeon propose to “improve” your body? How could s/he “complete” yourself? IDK, an “investment” in breasts implants? Hey, that’s what you should do, you should give me your money and you’ll be lifted and enhanced. Except sometimes that’s a bad choice, and other times it’s a meh choice, like whatever. And certainly, your life wasn’t “transformed,” as promised by those who literally make money off of selling an idea that may or may not be a good idea. Hey, is the SFMTA all about safety? Oh, Lord no, not really. IRL, it’s an inefficient organization that makes some good choices but also some bad choices in the name of “safety,” that’s what it is. Oh well. 

The Empire Strikes Back: Comments on Yelp from the More Rabid Elements of the StreetsBlog Mob Stricken – Drs. Hiura on Polk

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

[UPDATE: Oh, Peter Lawrence Kane asked Yelp about these matters just this morning, so that prolly played a big role in Yelp’s very fast response.]

Oh, it’s all good – all the recent negative reviews for Drs. Hiura & Hiura Optometrists have been shuffled down the memory hole as of lunchtime today.

I’m a little surprised at the speed of the deletions.

From what I learned about Yelp from the famous SoMA Legacy Lunchtime Restaurants vs. New School Food Trucks Battle of a few years ago, it can take a long time for demonstrably false or self-serving Yelp postings to come down, if ever.

And I distinguish between reviewers who have brand-new accounts with just one review vs. reviewers with longer histories, and I thought Yelp sort of did as well, but no, they’re all gone.

Oh, here they are, right here, at the bottom of this page.

So I suppose that the penalty for speaking out against the plans of the SFMTA has just dropped, by a whole bunch.

So, Yelp wins once again…

One Reason Why You Shouldn’t Speak Out Against Any Big Plan the SFMTA Wants To Do: The Risk to Your Yelp Rating

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

[UPDATE: The offending posts have already been TWEP – terminated with extreme prejudice. And, inevitably, fans of the Hiuras are now chipping in with five-star reviews…]

Drs. Hiura & Hiura Optometrists have done very well on the Yelp, but our ineffective and meretricious SFMTA’s recent push for the Polk Street Streetscape parking space removal project is not good their business.

Not good at all!

Check it, from the past few days:

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So, what will end up happening is your hard-earned, hard-to-get 5 star rating will come down a notch or two, or three, if you sign your John Hancocks to a letter like this – the blowback will be a brace of one star reviews from noncustomers.

The Grand Battle of Polk Gulch is well and truly joined.

Brace yourselves for March 3, 2015

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:

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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: 

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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…

Our San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Has Lost Thousands of Paid Members Lately

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

[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?

 

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:

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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.

 

 

NIMBY’s vs. the SFMTA: Local Objections to New Traffic Signals on McAllister at Broderick and Scott for the 5 Fulton

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

This effort appears to be similar to the SFMTA’s attempt to add traffic signals on Haight at Scott and Pierce.

This isn’t the worst example of NIMBYism, but I’d say it’s fairly alarmist, fairly absurd.

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I’ll just say that, generally speaking, it’s generally harder to get around town these days by car, by bike and by MUNI, compared with ten or twenty years ago. Part of this has to do with our newer, absurdly-wide sidewalks, designed for pedestrian “comfort.”

And yet, most ped and cyclist deaths in San Francisco involve fault from the peds and cyclists. Here’s 2014:

The Police Department found that in the 17 pedestrian deaths, drivers were responsible for eight and pedestrians were responsible for nine. Bicyclists were responsible in all three instances when they died.” 

(I should do a video on how to be a pedestrian in SF. It might involve some jaywalking but it would also involve extreme alertness on behalf of peds. You see, the way to prevent a lot of ped deaths in SF would be to get inside their heads to see what’s going wrong.)

IMO, the SFMTA should leave McAllister alone and then start taking out as many bus stops as politically possible.

I’ll tell you, not that many cyclists pass by Broderick and McAllister compared with Scott and McAllister, it seems, owing to geography. So looking at McAllister and Scott, it seems that the lights will be timed against cyclists using FULTON DIVISADERO MCALLISTER eastbound as an alternative to the already-overcrowded Wiggle route to get from the Golden Gate Park Panhandle to the Financh.

So for my own selfish reasons, I’d prefer that MUNI not make these changes, but who am I to stand in their way? What the MUNI people are saying is that we’ll all be better off overall, and 40 seconds each way each day will add up to millions of seconds, eventually.

In conclusion, meh. If MUNI wants to put in lights, we should let them do it.

Oh, the Urbanity! Incoming SF Bicycle Coalition Director Noah Budnick is Looking for a 2-Bedroom Apartment for _Less_ than $3K per Month

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Wow, a person made a post trying to help out incoming San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Director Noah Budnick by getting the word out about an apartment hunt

And check it, the poster is just like me, as he doesn’t agree with with everything the SFBC does AND he thinks the SFBC is an effective advocacy group.

And here it is:

“While I don’t agree with everything SFBC does, it is certainly the most effective advocacy group I’ve ever belonged to. And here’s a way to help them: by finding  their new director, who is moving here from the east coast, an apartment in San Francisco. I know xx#xers care a lot about bicycle advocacy, and we all know that finding an apartment here is a bloodsport where knowing tenants and landlords is a definite advantage, hence this message.

Desired attributes:
• Close to a BART stop
• Two bedrooms
• Less than $3,000/month

If you have any leads, please email me and I’ll make the connection.”

The kicker is that NY Noah wants his crib to be in SF and he wants it to be close to a BART stop.

(IDK, these requirements rule out Crackton as an option.)

I think I’d advise young Noah to lower his expectations, but who knows – it’s in any event smart to get the word out.

This was the first of many replies:

“Awwwww, he’s adorable. I hear Daly City is nice…”

Ouch.

Now lately, the SFBC has stopped boasting of its increasing membership, because lately membership is way down – thousands of people have decided not to re-up. Now why is that?

Mmmm…

Now you tell me – which is a bigger problem to solve? Is it:

1. Finding a “nice” 2-bed close to BART for $2K-something in 2014; or

2. Finding 2K-something more people to join the SFBC AND then get them continue paying dues, year after year.

That’s a toughie.

Now You Can Protest Your Unfair SFMTA MUNI DPT SFBC Ticket Online – One Weird Trick – Here’s Your Link

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Via SF Bay’s Transportation Writer Jerold Chinn, here’s your link, Baby!

https://wmq.etimspayments.com/pbw/include/sanfrancisco/dispute_request.jsp

It’s New, it’s You. It’s Now, it’s Wow.

Of course, most of the citations handed out by the SFMTA MUNI DPT SFBC (oddly, the SFMTA/SFGov gives a lot of money to our local San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, so it acts as an arm of the government these days. Oddly) are handed out “fairly.” And I would even go as far as to say that most of the tickets protested as “unfair” were handed out fairly as well.

OTOH, there are some SFMTA employees who do bad things – they steal multiple $6 cable car fares each and every day or they say you parked for more than two hours in an RPP zone when you didn’t. And then the official SFMTA spokesmodels bend over backwards to say that no SFMTA employees ever do anything bad ever. EVER!

(And considering how often these spokesmodels get their facts wrong, well … oh well. Bygones.)

Here’s your screenshot:

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Good luck, Offenders!

“Online Citation Protest

Step 1 of 6

This website allows you to protest one citation at a time.
As part of the review process, you will be allowed to upload 3 documents to help us in our decision-making process.
Do not use your browser’s back arrow to navigate or you will need to start over.

Citation Number: where to find

Per the California Vehicle and Public Utility Code, you may have only one review per citation within the statutory time limits.
While in the process of protesting your citation, additional penalties will not be added to the violation.

Technical Support for Online Services
If you need help or have questions about this service, please complete this form or call 311 (415.701.2311).”