Posts Tagged ‘SFMTA’

How To Buy Bike Lights On The Cheap: Get Semi-Counterfeit Off-Brand Front and Rears for $4 Each from Amazon

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

You know what’s poorly designed? Every last bike light paid for and given away by the SFMTA stamped with the SFMTA brand so that you’ll like that SFMTA more better.

You know what’s well designed? These semi-counterfeit light sets from Amazon for $8 each free delivery:

BV Bicycle Light Set, Super Bright 5 LED Headlight and 3 LED Taillight, Quick-Release

Oh, they’re sold out now? Sorry. But I just bought four sets like ten days ago. See?

Click to expand

What I was thinking was that these lights would just pop right in to the “Bike Planet” mounts I already have on the bikes I need to take care of. (Bike Planet isn’t really a name-brand IRL, but it certainly is as far as bike lights are concerned.) And of course, they snap right in on the Bike Planet mounts

The headlight from “BV USA,” in particular, is particularly cheesy / plasticky. But all the lights I just bought work A-OK, as expected.

I totally don’t know what happened to all the Blaze 2-watt headlights I bought for $20-something when Amazon had a super-duper sale, and for that matter, the mostly white Superflash Turbo taillights I also paid $20-something for.

Anyway, the BV lights I just bought work great and they have rubber gaskets to keep out the rain just the way the Planet Bike lights have.

But be my guest if you want to pay mo money.

The Unpopular SFMTA Used to Poll Neighbors Before Permanently Installing Traffic Circles, But Not Anymore – Why’s That?

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

I’ll tell you why.

It’s because the SFMTA dramatically overestimated its popularity and the popularity of traffic circles being plopped down in the middle of intersections.

Isn’t that pathetic? It held all these mini-elections and it lost every last one.

So these days, there are no more mini-elections and the SFMTA is free to spin however it wants.

Actually, this new one on Anza is more of a traffic oval:

Here we go:

Traffic Circles Then & Now – In 2003, the SFMTA experimented with removing stop signs and  installing traffic circles at several locations along Page Street. Many residents complained that the circles were unsightly and deprioritized pedestrians, and they were removed. However, in recent years the SFMTA has installed traffic circles with success and community support, using improved outreach, design, and signage.”

See how that works? Instead of trying to win community support the way it did ten years ago, today’s SFMTA simply assumes whatever it does has “community support.” ‘Cause if the SFMTA had any more neighborhood plebiscites about traffic circles, it knows that it would lose once again.

The SFMTA lost those traffic circle votes of a decade ago by like about two to one or three to one. If it wants to say that the reason why it lost so badly had to do with aesthetics or “outreach,” well, that’s one viewpoint. But, gee, maybe the SFMTA simply had/has a bad idea?

The traffic circles the SFMTA installed on Page and Waller were simply horrible from a pedestrian’s perspective. You could hear a car coming from almost a block away, but you wouldn’t know how fast the driver would go through the intersection. You’d count on the driver seeing you and reacting as opposed to the driver knowing that a stop sign’s there and stopping / California stopping.

Traffic circles or rotaries or whatever you want to call them might work in some locations, but plopping them down onto random intersections SFMTA-style so that the SFMTA has yet another project to spend money on was and is a bad idea.

Abbey Road, 94115 – Typical San Francisco Pedestrians

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Bros on Geary:

Vision Zero is SFGov’s commitment to having MUNI bus drivers and other SFGov employees* stop killing pedestrians by the year 2024.

Why can’t the SFMTA just simply stop killing pedestrians right now in 2014?

The World Wonders…

*And, of course, everybody else in the world as well, but your odds of getting killed by one of those billions of non-SFGov employees is infinitesimally smaller than getting killed by an SFGov employee. The SFMTA could take steps right now for safety, steps that wouldn’t cost all that much money, but it simply doesn’t want to. 

California DMV Lowers the Boom on Deadbeat San Franciscans with “Operation Blue Zone” (OBZ) – Fighting Placard Abuse

Monday, July 21st, 2014

IMO, this DMV “operation” misses the point, ’cause the bigger crime is all the drivers of those new Mercedes-Benzeses parking for free in or near the Financial ALL DAY LONG.

We have a corrupt system in which you can simply ask your doctor(!) for free parking.

But anyway:

DMV Investigators Make Major Disabled Placard Application Bust

Operation Blue Zone Catches Three Fraudulent Placard Applicants

SACRAMENTO — The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced today the arrest of three suspects in connection with illegal activity associated with the Disabled Person Placard (DPP) application process. On Saturday, July 12, 2014, Qiaoyun Chen, 50 years old, and Guobin Qin, 29 years old, were arrested at their homes in San Francisco. The San Francisco District Attorney’s office charged the suspects with four felonies including filing false information with a state agency, perjury, commercial burglary, and forgery. The third suspect, Yessi Morales, 35 years old from San Francisco, was arrested on July 3, 2014 during a traffic stop by the San Francisco Police Department, she is charged with 24 felony counts.

“The DMV is stepping up Disabled Placard enforcement in a different, more aggressive way by catching the perpetrators at the beginning stages,” said DMV Director Jean Shiomoto. “Operation Blue Zone has been very successful in catching fraud placard applications in the Bay Area.”

The San Francisco District DMV Investigations Office started the Operation Blue Zone (OBZ) investigation in February 2014 after receiving a large number of DPP applications that were flagged by DMV field office staff as being allegedly fraudulent. Flag triggers included suspected forged doctor’s signatures, similar applicant and doctor hand-writing, frequent applications being submitted by the same doctor, and suspected false medical diagnosis. These alleged fraud applications began increasing in numbers in late 2013 and the beginning of 2014, with the majority of the placard recipients living or working in San Francisco. The suspected fraud applications were submitted in several DMV field offices with the majority submitted to the San Mateo DMV field office.

“The crimes related to submitting a fraudulent application as opposed to catching someone on the street misusing a DPP for parking is quite different,” said DMV Supervising Investigator Calvin Woo. “Parking misuse violations are typically local ordinance infractions or vehicle code misdemeanors where the abuser ends up with a hefty fine. Fraud DPP application violations are felonies.”

All three suspects could face up to four years in prison. Morales has been freed on $60,000 bail, and Qin and Chen were released after posting $30,000 bail apiece.

If you believe that someone has been issued a Disabled Person Placard in error or suspect placard misuse, we urge you to contact your local DMV Investigations office and submit a written complaint. The complaint can be anonymous. Please be aware that some qualifying disabilities are not visually apparent and allegations of misuse may be unfounded. The department considers crimes relating to disabled placards very serious and every complaint of this nature will be reviewed. Complaint forms can be found on the DMV public website www.dmv.ca.gov under the search key words “Record of Complaint,” or under form INV172A – Record of Complaint form. You may also obtain a complaint form from your local DMV field office.

DMV’s Investigations Division enhances consumer protection including auto and identity related fraud, car dealers, driving schools, traffic violator schools, and other DMV occupational licensees, as well as Internal Affairs Investigations. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).

Save Time, Go Online! Doing business with the DMV has never been easier. The DMV offers an array of services to customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its Website including online advance appointments for written and drive tests; vehicle registration and driver license renewals, selection of personalized license plates, changes of address and payment of fees via secure debit transactions. Customers can also effect transactions by calling DMV customer service at (800) 777–0133. DMV is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).

1000-Yard Stare: Incompetent SFMTA MUNI Abandons #38 Geary Riders During Japantown Ramen Festival

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Look at these poor lost souls on Geary staring towards the west in a futile attempt to spot the next inbound #38 Geary.

You can tell when things get bad at a MUNI stop when people just plop themselves down out on the street on the stop itself.

Is Geary a “livable street?” I have no idea. And actually, it doesn’t matter if this is how the SFMTA does its primary function. Should SFMTA directors be boasting about their junkets to “other cities across the globe?” I don’t think so. Hey, it’s headshot day! Hold it, hold it, hold it, say “cheese!” Snap.

Would SF be better off without the relatively inconsequential “Sunday Streets” program if it could get a functional MUNI in exchange?

I think so.

Would SF be better off without Cheryl Brinkman on the SFMTA board?

As Gil Penalosa*  said, some of the men out there on bikes ride as if they have no family that loves them and no one that they love.

I think so.

Here’s another example, from 2012:

SFMTA director Cheryl Brinkman said that she supported the proposal because she has been considering the reverse situation. “How would we defend making parking free on Sundays if we’ve been paying all these years?” she asked rhetorically.

OK fine, but then in 2014 she voted to make parking free on Sundays. Oh well.

And is this true? I don’t know:

Mayor Ed Lee apparently has no concern over conflicts of interests where Ms. Brinkman is concerned. Her husband’s company benefits directly from the North Beach tunnel project, and she has economic ties to the SFTMA and the SF Bicycle Coalition and the other “non-profits”  that profit from the city’s many contracts from  managing housing to  street calming and car sharing.

In any event, the Directors of the SFMTA don’t seem to be concerned at all about making MUNI work better using the money we already give them. The SFMTA doesn’t need more money, the SFMTA needs to manage the money we give it more better. IMO.

*Who?

Bike Lane to Nowhere, Fulton Street: Your SFMTA at Work

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Actually, cyclists don’t really need a dedicated bike lane on Fulton, but a little space would be nice.

There used to be space on outbound Fulton here in the Western Addition, but now its filled with cars parked 90 degrees the wrong way for a couple of blocks.

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Oh well.

Uh, Did Target Stores Pay the DPW $250,000 to Install Traffic Lights That Favor Cars Over Peds at O’Farrell and Masonic?

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Mmmm…

Here’s my beef from yesterday about the newish traffic light scheme at Masonic and O’Farrell.

But where did this scheme come from?

Oh, here we go - DPW Contract No. 2108J:

It’s all:

“The contract work will be funded through private developer funds for work at two signals along Masonic Avenue.”

See?

The two locations:

“Masonic Avenue and O’Farrell Street” and “Ewing Terrace and Masonic Avenue”

Now Ewing Terrace I know about. One woman living on that street showed up both at the Target-sponsored and SFMTA-sponsored meetings complaining about how hard it was for her to head north on Masonic when pulling out of Ewing. She said it sometimes took her “20 minutes” of sitting at the stop sign waiting for a break in traffic in order to accomplish this task.  So SFGov accommodated her with a big traffic signal that they’re putting in now.

But at Masonic Avenue and O’Farrell Street? I don’t know. It’s almost as if the lighting scheme was designed by somebody who works at Target.

The upshot is that northbound traffic and all the peds on the east side of Masonic have to wait for southbound drivers to make an awkward U-turn followed by a quick right to get into the small, lower-level Target / Starbucks parking lot.

I can think  of a couple similar situations about town. At Market and Octavia, everybody on outbound Market has to wait for car drivers on inbound Market to turn left onto Octavia. Why? Because selfish Hayes Valley denizens had waaaaay too much input into the process. Nevermind that legal lefts are a rare thing on Market for a reason, never mind that lefts were already legal one block before and one block after Octavia…

And at Fell and Masonic, the traffic signals were rejiggered for ideological reasons so now three lanes of Masonic get green lights but not the fourth lane. Drivers will never get used to this arrangement, IMO.

And, similarly, peds will never get used to the current setup at Masonic and O’Farrell.

IMO.

Anyway, I don’t have a problem with the new Target being there. I’m just wondering who paid for the crazy lights that just got put in next to the new Target.

An Unusual Traffic Scheme at Masonic and O’Farrell: Left-Turning Cars > Pedestrians? The Planning Gods Must Be Crazy

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

For some reason, the Golden Gods of the Planning Department / the SFMTA, the very same people who clamored for parking meters to operate on Sundays until they got it only to then say that they DIDN’T want it after all, unanimously, have set up an unusual traffic timing scheme at Masonic and O’Farrell. It’s unique.

Southbound drivers turning left get to go first, before car and bus drivers coming north and before peds on the east side of the street.

This is so that southbound drivers can make a U-turn and then a quick right to make into the small lower-level parking lot of the new City Target. About four drivers go left / hang a Louie at the start of each light cycle:

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I approve not.

Now if you want to say that SFGov had a rational basis for doing this after some big study, well then maybe. But having peds wait seven seconds to go after the light turns green is contrary to every impulse every ped has.

For some reason, Planning or the SFMTA or whomever feel that its their responsibility to be at the forefront of experimentation with traffic. Like its their sacred duty or something.

I understand that they would freely admit that this is a kludge fix to accommodate the newly-opened Target store. I understand that they would say that this is temporary until the New Masonic Plan gets going. I understand that there’s a concern about southbound traffic backing up and possibly blocking eastbound and westbound traffic on Geary. BUT EVEN SO, this left arrow scheme at O’Farrell is NOT THE WAY TO GO. There are other ways of doing of what SFGov is trying to accomplish.

There are better ways of doing this.

A Plea from “NoPa Neighbors” to “Protect” a Solitary 21 Hayes Bus Stop from Being Used by Too Many People

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

[UPDATE: Oh, here you go, NIMBYs:

"Carli Paine, an SFMTA transportation manager, said about 80 percent of shuttles using Muni stops take passengers to destinations within San Francisco, while the other 20 percent take passengers to destinations outside the city."

So I don't know what that means for this particular stop - it could be that only one entity wants to use it. So it could be 100% intra-city, who knows. Oh, what's that, NIMBY. You're still upset? You're all offer me solutions, offer me alternatives, and I decline? OK fine. Have it your way. But keep in mind that most of your "neighbors" aren't up in arms over this issue, most of your "neighbors" disagree with you. And in any event, August 1st, 2014 will not be the End Of The World As We Know It. You'll feel fine.]

Here’s a direct mail campaign to “save” the SFMTA MUNI DPT bus stop at Hayes and Clayton.

It comes from somebody who has a lot of energy to post and mail flyers, but this effort is coming waaaaay too late in the process.

Now I’m probably a little too close to this issue myself, but I’ll point out that UCSF employees could be the biggest beneficiaries of having the corner of Hayes and Clayton included as inbound and outbound stops during the trial. And I’ll note that UCSF simply gives money to the SFMTA by, among other things, using the bus stops of the 21 Hayes for public relations advertising. And actually, there are so many UCSF shuttles on Fell and Oak that the unneighborly “neighbors” of NoPA probably don’t even notice them any more.

In any event, it’s a free country so you’re free to mail anybody anything.

And I’ll say that it would be nice if our slow and expensive MUNI system would itself use these bus stops more often. (And the 21 Hayes, in particular, still has too many stops.)

Reader Note: If you can’t read the above, I took another shot and posted it below. One photo used a smaller lens and the other one, well, it has focus issues owing to the bent paper, oh well. And I amazed by how different the yellow-y colors look using auto white balance from two different cams, oh well.

Lisa: I’d like 25 copies on Goldenrod.

Clerk: Right.

Lisa: 25 on Canary.

Clerk: Mmhmm.

Lisa: 25 on Saffron.

Clerk: All right.

Lisa: And 25 on Paella.

Clerk: Ok, 100 yellow.

The New MUNI T-Shirt’s Here! The New MUNI T-Shirt’s Here! – Things Are Going To Start Happening To Me Now

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Redolent of The New Phone Book’s Here, the new MUNI T-shirt‘s here.

See?

Click to expand

By “new” I mean new to me, as they’ve been out for a while now.

Have I mentioned yet that MUNI sucks? Forgive me.*

Bonus: Also included in the delivery was a limited edition of SIDE WALKS:

“The San Francisco Museum at the Mint in collaboration with the North of Market/Tenderloin Community Benefit District presents “Neighbors,” fifty environmental portraits by Troy Holden as a photographic essay of the Tenderloin, South of Market, and Mid-Market neighborhoods. “Side Walks” is a collection of photographs made in downtown San Francisco by Bay Area photographers Chris Beale, Brian Reynaldo Cayetano Jr., Brandon Doran, Troy Holden, David Root and Oscar Santos.”

All the deets:

Side Walks” and “Neighbors”: Show is open through Aug. 17; reception (free admission) 6-9 p.m. next Thursday. 1-4 p.m. Sundays. $10. San Francisco Museum at the Mint, 88 Fifth St., S.F. (415) 537-1105. www.sfhistory.orgTo watch a short video go to: http://bit.ly/1ovCiGD.

See you there!

*IMO, it’s important to point out that “MUNI Sucks” (or something similar, you know, something pithy) right at the beginning whenever the SFMTA or MUNI is the topic at hand. Acknowledging this fact from the get-go tends to make the ensuing conversation more productive. Of course, the SFMTA won’t ever shower you with taxpayer money if you even just once point out that MUNI sucks, but at least you’ll avoid being like these people:

“…lately. seriously, we haven’t received many (if any) “muni sucks/fuck muni” posts or emails…”

Now if you really want to cheer lead for MUNI, make sure you’re getting a $200,000 annual pay package first – that’s the way you do it.