Posts Tagged ‘signal’

A Crazy New SFMTA Plan to Allow Bike Riders to Run Red Lights on Fell and Oak in the “Panhandle-Adjacent” Area

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Here it is: The “Fell and Oak Streets Panhandle-Adjacent Bikeway Feasibility Study”

The basic idea is to take out one of the four lanes of Fell and one of the four lanes of Oak along the Golden Gate Park Panhandle from the Baker Street DMV to Stanyan and turn them into dedicated bike lanes.

You don’t need to even look at the report to know that this idea is “feasible” – obviously, our SFMTA can do this if it wants to:


But why does the SFMTA want to do this? This is not stated in the report.

As things stand now, you can ride your bike on the left side of the left lanes of Fell and Oak, or on the right sides of the right lanes of Fell and Oak, or in any part of any lane of Fell and Oak if you’re keeping up with traffic (but this is especially hard to do heading uphill on Fell), or on the “multi-use pathway” (what I and most people call the bike path) what winds through the Panhandle.

So, why not widen the bike path again, SFGov? It used to be 8 foot wide and now it’s 12 foot wide, so why not go for 16 foot wide? (Hey, why doesn’t our SFMTA simply take over Rec and Park? You know it wants to.)

My point is that it would also be “feasible” to somehow force RPD to widen the current bike path (and also the extremely bumpy, injury-inducing Panhandle jogging/walking path along Oak) independent of whatever the SFMTA wants to do to the streets.

Anyway, here’s the news – check out page 12 of 13. No bike rider (or what term should I use this year, “person with bikes?” Or “person with bike?” Or “person with a bike?”) is going to want to sit at a red light at a “minor street” when s/he could just use the bike trail the SFTMA figures, so why not just allow them to ride on Fell and Oak without having to worry about traffic lights at all? And the pedestrians? Well, you’ll see:

“Minor Street Intersections

The minor cross-streets in the project area from east to west are Lyon Street, Central Avenue, Ashbury Street, Clayton Street, Cole Street, and Shrader Street. Each is a consistent width of 38’-9” curb-to-curb with 15-foot wide sidewalks. All of these streets are discontinued [Fuck man. How much colledge do you need to start talking like this, just asking] at the park, each forming a pair of “T” intersections at Oak and Fell streets. The preferred control for the protected bike lane at these “T” intersections is to exclude it from the traffic signal, allowing bicyclists to proceed through the intersection without stopping unless a pedestrian is crossing the bikeway. Due to the relatively low pedestrian volumes at these intersections, it is expected that people using the protected bike lane [aka cyclists? aka bike riders?] would routinely violate the signal if required to stop during every pedestrian phase, creating unpredictability and likely conflict between users on foot and on bicycles. This treatment also recognizes that in order to attract many bicycle commuters, the new protected bike lanes would need to be time-competitive with the existing multi-use path that has the advantage of a single traffic control signal for the length of the Panhandle.

Excluding the protected bike lane from the traffic signal requires installing new pedestrian refuge islands in the shadow of the parking strip. The existing vehicle and pedestrian signal heads currently located within the park would also need to be relocated to new poles on the pedestrian refuge islands.

Implementing these changes would cost between $70,000 and $150,000 per intersection, and require the removal of approximately four parking spaces per intersection. Over the eleven minor-street “T” intersections along the Panhandle (excluding Fell Street/Shrader Street which which has been discussed separately), the total cost would be between $0.9 and $1.5 million dollars and approximately 48 parking spaces would be removed.

This design introduces a variety of benefits and compromises [“compromises!” Or maybe “costs,” as in a cost/benefit analysis?] for pedestrians crossing to and from the park at the minor intersections:

Pedestrians would be required to wait for gaps in bicycle traffic to cross the protected bike lane (which may present new challenges to people with low or no vision). Design treatments for the protected bike lanes (e.g., stencil messages, rumble strips, signs) should also be considered to clearly indicate the necessity of yielding to pedestrians to people on bicycles.”

SFMTA Inspector Pledges “Safe Streets” But Runs Red Lights on Market

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

I guess he sort-of-stopped in the middle of this crosswalk on Market outbound near Jones…

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…like you can see more than one red here, when the light is against you…


…but a second later he was off again, to wait for the reds at 7th:

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The signals at the goofy intersection of Market, McAllister, and Jones seem to be messed up lately, IDK why. There was a big redesign to make most of McAllister a two-way street in this area and that worked out OK I s’pose but this hasn’t been a good place to be in 2016.

(Note that the anti-pedestrian chains on the north side of the foot of McAllister have been removed, perhaps to fight crime. This place is pretty dysfunctional, of course.)

Anyway, here’s the kicker – the quite insincere I PLEDGE SAFE STREETS bumper sticker on the back:


On It Goes…

I’ve Never Seen a New-School LED Traffic Signal Not Working, But Here’s One – On Hayes Street – But It Got Fixed, Quickly, Via 311

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

[Oh look, it’s me being “upbeat.” WARNING: Boredom ahead – feel free to click off somewhere else.]

I’ll tell you back in the day, traffic signals used to get busted all the time, cause incandescent bulbs would burn out. Then we got LED lights instead – a bunch of little points of light, so if one two go bad it’s no biggee because there are tons of others telling you to stop.

Of course it’s possible for the entire assembly to lose its power for other reasons, as here, on Hayes:

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I’ve never seen this before. (This is the point of my post, sorry.) So I called 311 and (unlike the cases where low-level RPD workers beg me, literally beg me, to call 311 to get whatever issue right on up to the Big Guy in McLaren Lodge the next morning) I got through with a quickness and then I never noticed this busted signal again, like the next day.

IDK why 311 thinks I need some case # – it’s like my duty is extinguished as soon as I hang up. It’s on you guys now.

(I’ll tell you, one time I called the 911 for a missing manhole (personhole? I lack the proper vocabulary, obvs. In my day we called ’em “manhole covers” ’cause THAT WAS THE WAY WE LIKED IT) cover on Fell at Lyon in the Western Addition. And 911 was like, oh, we’ll contact DPW (with the implication being that that’s what I should have done instead) and I’m like, thinking to myself here, uh, no, if somebody on a moped on Fell runs over this giant hole, IT’S GOOD-NIGHT NURSE. Ergo, that’s the emergency.)

Anyway, the System works, sometimes…

The Horrible Pedestrians of San Francisco, Airbnb Edition, Western Addition

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Here’s an interesting contrast. The local is jaywalking on the far side of the intersection, and he’s made it most of the way across, and plus he’s running.

Compare that with the Airbnb-type tourists, who, in this case, were on the near side of the intersection, and had not made it most of the way across when their light turned red and, of course, were not running:

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Oh well.

So, San Francisco Simply Can’t Afford Traffic Signals on Geary, Where They’re OBVIOUSLY Needed?

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

Man, this is not how I’d cross wide, wide Geary, I’ll tell you:

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The driver of the car heading inbound in the fast lane didn’t see these peds, so a passenger held out his arm as a way of apologizing, oh well.

The way to cross Geary would be to wait for reds at adjacent intersections OR to cross where there is a signal.

That’s what I’ve learned as a walker on the mean Streets of San Francisco.

Instead of going on a massive signal installing campaign, SFGov would rather promise you Pie In The Sky, a promise to repeal the laws of physics and human nature by the year 2024, you know, by the time that all the pols what voted for said Pie In The Sky have termed out, conveniently.

VisionZero they call it.

What Makes San Francisco Pedestrians Unique Isn’t Just Their Horrible Behavior, It’s Their Horrible Attitude Too

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

So sure, jumping the light and loitering in the street, that’s a routine thing, and that’s part of the reason why most* ped deaths due to traffic accidents on the streets of San Francisco last year were primarily the fault** of the pedestrians themselves.***

But to show the proper attitude, make sure to look away from the traffic you’ve been improperly blocking for no reason:

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That’s it, now you’re on the trolley!

*Just a smidge above 50% for 2014, admittedly higher than the typical year.

**And if you’re talking about some partial fault on behalf of peds, then this 50 something percent figure would climb into the 60’s or 70’s. Of course, you’re not legally required to walk defensively, but, of course, it’s nevertheless a good idea. This is why I’m less likely to die as a pedestrian in a traffic accident per hour of walking than you, the more typical SF ped, one assumes

***Per SFGov, your beloved SFGov, which is run**** by that guy that the urbanist-type group(s) you’re a dues paying member of almost certainly endorsed for election.****

****You know, under our Strong Mayor form of government

How the SFMTA Gave Up Its Experiment at the Deadly Intersection of Yorba and Sunset

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

I’ll tell you, our SFMTA is addicted to crazy new ideas. So like if you have an idea that’s untested, and it’s a little out there, you know, a little crazy, or crazy enough that it just might work, well our SFMTA would just loooooove to hear about it.

As it was at Yorba and Sunset. This place was a mess, with HAWK lights that never turned red – what was the point of having a pedestrian-activated light that never turned red? What other cities do things this way?

Here’s what things looked like last year:


And here’s how things look now, with a normal signal, one that’s much more effective than the SMART-whatever experiment that was going on before:

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So who was responsible for the HAWK beacon idea?


Oh, okay.

Irate Pedestrian Hectors Bike Riders Individually and Indiscriminately in a Crosswalk at 4th and Market

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

She hectored only the riders who stopped for her at the crosswalk.

She was angered by the riders who went through the red, but they were too far away for her to hector. Her unfocused rage came out against those who were already doing as she wished.

Then after she passed by, riders began to run the red, cause the signal timing of 4th and Market these days is crazy. (Like, who’s doing what now? Like why isn’t anybody using the intersection now?)

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SF has the worst peds in the world…

The SFMTA Gods Must Be Crazy, Masonic Edition: A Green Light for Cars and Bikes, But a Red Upraised Hand for Peds at the Same Time?

Friday, September 12th, 2014

So as the SFMTA is gearing up for its big election this fall, let’s take a look at how it’s doing on Masonic at Evergreen Terrace.

This summer, the newly-installed lights were on a 75-second  timer that ended up stalling traffic on Masonic about 30% of the time, for no apparent reason.

Here’s the next phase – the crude timing scheme is gone, but what’s this? A solid green for traffic next to a solid red upraised hand for peds? I’ve never seen this kind of thing  before:

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One assumes that this is the SFMTA just being the SFMTA and this has something to do with the activation of the pedestrian activated crosswalk buttons. (Or is DPW still running the show here? IDK)

But it almost seems that the SFMTA thinks it knows what it’s doing when it strikes out on so many unorthodox traffic experiments.

SFMTA, you suck, don’t you know that by now? Why not simply strive to be competent?

And are you just testing/installing the lights at Ewing? But doesn’t this photo look “wrong” to you? How many days, weeks, months should you set up the lights like this?

Hey SFMTA, what are you going to do when Prop A loses? What’s your Plan B? Let’s hope it doesn’t involve telling even more of the peds of Masonic to stop and go at the same time…

SFGov Installed a New Traffic Signal on Masonic for Just One Cul-De-Sac and They Put It On a Timer? Nightmare on Ewing Terrace

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

So let’s see here, back in the day a mom living on Ewing  Terrace went to an SFMTA meeting complaining about how it took her “20 minutes” to pull out of Ewing Terrace, so because of that a new traffic signal has been installed.

Check it: 

Click to expand

Now that this signal has been lit, there’s no way you can miss it because it stops traffic on Masonic every 75 seconds these days.


What’s so special about this tiny street?

SFMTA, do you realize that you talk about speeding up MUNI, but how’s this going to help? Actually, it’s going to hurt. This light routinely slows down MUNI for no apparent reason.

Is this a temporary thing?


Anyway, they wanted the support of this mom for the new spending the SFMTA wants to do on Masonic, so they’re all oh, this lady wants a light, so let’s throw her a bone and then she’ll be on our side…

I suppose that worked.

Perhaps eventually, this signal will be pedestrian / user activated?

Perhaps eventually, this signal will be automatically switched to green when a MUNI bus approaches using some kind of transit override function?

We’ll see.

But in the meantime, it appears that the SFMTA just spent Target’s money to slow down MUNI…