Posts Tagged ‘SFMTA’

Rewriting a MUNI Bus Ad: Why “BIG SODA, STOP TARGETING ME” Sounds Weak

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

It should be “BIG SODA, STOP TARGETING _US_,” right?

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I mean, right?

And what regular kid uses a “framing” term like “BIG SODA?” (Except, you know, kids funded with money from BIG GOVERNMENT, right?)

I mean, throw me a bone here, people!

It’s like saying, BIG SODA, EMPOWER ME. It’s weak weak weak is what I’m saying.

I’ll expect to see this edit on the road in two weeks.

Make It So.

Oh My: Rob Anderson and Mary Miles Take Aim at the SFMTA’s Plans for Polk Street

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

This was the team that tied SFGov up in knots with an injunction for four long years.

They’re ba-aack:

FROM:
Mary Miles (SB #230395)
Attorney at Law
for Coalition for Adequate Review
San Francisco, CA 94102
TO:
Edward Reiskin, Director
Roberta Boomer, Board Secretary
and Members of the Board of Directors of the Municipal Transportation Agency
#1 South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
DATE: March 3, 2015
PUBLIC COMMENT, MTA BOARD MEETING OF MARCH 3, 2015, AGENDA ITEM 12 (“Polk Streetscape Project”)
This is Public Comment on Agenda Item 12, the “Polk Streetscape Project” (“Polk Project” or “the Project”), on the MTA Board’s March 3, 2015 Agenda. Under the Brown Act and CEQA, you are legally obligated to accept and consider this Comment and to place it in all public files on the Project. Therefore, please assure that this Comment has been distributed to all members of the MTA Board and placed in all applicable files on the Project.
The “categorical exemptions” invoked do not apply to the Project, and therefore you may not lawfully approve the Project or any part of it as proposed, since such approval will violate the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) (Pub. Res. Code §§21000 et seq.)
The Project proposes to reduce traffic and turning capacity on Polk and other Streets by eliminating existing parking lanes, reducing traffic lanes and installing obstructions to traffic flow and turning on this busy commercial corridor.
The unusual and highly inconvenient scheduling of this hearing before the MTA Board after 3:00 p.m., on a day with an extraordinarily long MTA Board Agenda shows the MTA Board’s contempt for the public and the significant impacts of the Project. The hearing should be continued to a date and time when the public can be heard without waiting hours for hearings on unrelated matters, and where the public’s comments will receive the Board’s full and serious attention. The hearing precludes public attendance by many people, including all those people who have to be at work. Combined with the short notice, that scheduling deprives the public of the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the environmental review and administrative proceedings on the Project.
On January 15, 2015, the San Francisco Planning Department issued a “Certificate of Determination of Exemption from Environmental Review” (“Exemption”) claiming that the Project was categorically exempt under Classes 1, 2, and 4 of CEQA, invoking 14 Cal. Code Regs. [“Guidelines”] §§ 15301, 15302, and 15304. None of those categorical exemptions apply to this Project. Further, the significant cumulative impacts on traffic, transit, parking, loading, and air quality caused by the Van Ness BRT project one block away, and by the CPMC Project at Van Ness Avenue at Geary Boulevard, make the Polk Project not categorically exempt. (Guidelines §15300.2) Both of those Projects also present “unusual circumstances” precluding categorical exemption of the Polk Project.
1. The Polk Project Does Not Fit Within The Categorical Exemptions Invoked…

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

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:

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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:

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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:

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On it goes at Fell and Masonic.

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

Someday.

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?

 

MUNI Bus Ad Goes Off-Message: “CROWDED BUS DILEMMA” – “PACKED BUS AND YOUR LATE, SQUEEZE IN OR WAIT?”

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Oh no, the bus is packed and you’re already late?

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Isn’t it ironic?

Dont’cha think?

In any event, our Exploratorium is doing fine at its new location.

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:

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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.