Posts Tagged ‘signals’

The Incompetent SFMTA Boasts of Traffic Lights “Timed for Your Convenience” – Let’s Take a Look, at Oak, For Example

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

[UPDATE: Here’s a reply from somebody at the SFMTA:

“The mistiming of Oak and Pierce was due to a malfunction of the intersection controller which should now be repaired. Please call 311 if you see any maintenance issues such as signals that all of the sudden appear to be out of sequence.“]

(I’ll tell you, I’ve been riding bikes around SF on pretty much a daily basis for the past quarter century. So that means that I have more miles, hours, decades than you or anybody else at the SFMTA, you know, on the Streets of San Francisco. Also, I have more miles driving about town than even most SFMTA operators, and I have more miles walking about than 99%+ of the employees of the SFMTA. So that’s my throat-clearing.)

I don’t know where this SFMTA MUNI blog post comes from.

Green Lights for Muni by Rachel Hyden Friday, January 9, 2015:

No matter how you travel around San Francisco, you’re bound to come across a signal that will make your journey a little easier. As a cyclist, you get the “green wave;” as a driver, traffic lights are often timed for your convenience…”

You know, I’ve never seen a “green wave.” I’ve seen the signs for green waves (like here’s one on a hill – well, 13 MPH seems fast going up a big hill and it seems slow going down, oh well) and I’ve seen cyclists on Market bunched up and sometimes making it through the next signal and the next signal, but I wouldn’t call that no green wave. Moving on, Moving Forward…

To this – back before the incompetent SFMTA even existed, way back then, San Francisco did a better job of maintaining the timed lights on its major corridors, its freeway substitutes. So, for example, you could drive from the Inner Sunset to, say, Reno, Nevada without ever seeing a red. Sure, Lincoln to Kezar to Oak to the Central Freeway to the I-80. And then, after the Loma Prieta, which occurred before certain six figure a year MUNI bloggers were born, drivers would wind through Hayes Valley (which for most people isn’t a destination) and Civic Center and SoMA to whichever freeway on-ramp. All greens, baby.

And even more recently, like three or four years ago, SF did a much better job with the timed lights.

And now we’re in 2015 and it’s the worst ever. You look down Bush from the Western Addition and what you might expect to see is, what, a brown wave(?) of cars cruising along at 25 MPH or so, but what you see instead are cars pretty much randomly distributed.

The same goes for Pine outbound, where there are some stretches that I’d say aren’t really timed at all any more.

The twins Golden Gate and Turk are still more or less timed, as are Franklin and Gough. But lookie here at Oak near Pierce. Would you say that these lights are timed for anybody’s “convenience?”

7J7C2497 copy

Why would you set up the lights this way? Even for a day? SF used to have traffic engineers in charge and now I don’t know who’s in charge. Ideologists? Blogger PR-types from Ohio?

I’ll tell you, back a decade ago, the SFMTA wanted to replace four way stops on Page with their trademark horrible traffic circles. The reason being, ostensibly, and I’m srsly, was to reduce greenhouse emissions by not forcing cars to start and stop, and the BAAQMD was going to kick in just for this purpose. This didn’t work out*, but that’s what the SFMTA wanted, right? That was the stated purpose.

But now, here, just a block away on Oak, the SFMTA has/had the opportunity to properly time the lights, to reduce emissions, and it just doesn’t care.

And along comes the official SFMTA blog, which wants citizens to thank the heavens above every time they see a timed light, because the SFMTA labored to “make your journey a little easier.”

Oh, what’s that, SFMTA, give you more money and you’ll time the lights proper again? No, why don’t you use the money you already get more efficiently? I mean, right? I mean, aren’t you the worst big-city transit agency in America? No, well, then which big city has a worser transit system? Oh, what’s that, you just got an award for innovation or something? Well, great, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t the worst big-city transit agency in America. All of the other transit agencies laugh and call you names, SFMTA. (And you aint no Rudolph, with his nose so bright.)

So, why not time traffic lights proper before you pat yourself on the back for timing traffic lights, SFMTA?

Just asking.

*The SFMTA made the mistake of allowing people to actually vote on one of the SFMTA’s goofy, thoughtless ideas. The SFMTA ended up losing, big-time, like by a three to one ratio in some cases. Needless to say, the SFMTA doesn’t allow any votes like that any mo…

Tale of Two Brand-New Traffic Signals – Creating Traffic Jams on Masonic Near the New Target Store

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Here’s your SFMTA at work.

Before, it wanted timed lights to encourage drivers to go 25 MPH:

Signal Timing Adjustments Analyzed  signal timing along Masonic and expect to be implemented  by the end of November

But now, this is what you see southbound from Anza / O’Farrell:

See that? As the light at Anza goes green, the light at Ewing Terrace goes red, so both northbound and southbound traffic backs up at Ewing Terrace whether anybody wants to cross Masonic on foot or enter or leave  Ewing Terrace in a car.

I don’t get the SFMTA,

Changes are Coming to Sunset Boulevard Monday: “NEW SIGNALS TO BE ACTIVATED 7/28/2014″ – Near Wawona and Yorba

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Here are what these signs look like on Sunset Boulevard way out there in the Parkside / Sunset part of outer San Francisco County:

After the recent deaths in this area, SFGov appears to be highly motivated to make changes.

The signage around here is still a fucking mess, but one assumes that some of the older signals that are there might now be coming down this weekend when the new signals get turned on.

Here’s the tunnel view heading north as it stands now – how many signs and lights and banners has SFGov put up for drivers to look at here? I’m counting about three dozen and, actually, drivers can see even more further to the left and right of this scene, including an SFPD vehicle seemingly permanently parked on Yorba specifically for you bad drivers to see and react to.

IMO, the modified pedestrian-activated HAWK light experiment, signals that would flash yellow but never actually go red to stop traffic, is a massive failure.

IMO, SFGov continues to expect waaaaaay too much from its drivers (particularly elderly drivers, particularly those who shouldn’t be driving anymore) and its pedestrians (particularly elderly pedestrians).

IMO.

Area Man Drives Wheelchair Around As If It Were A Car – Presenting the Palmer Twosome Model 24

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

You think this guy is sitting around waiting for MUNI?

Screw that:

Click to expand

Poorly-Designed Octavia “Boulevard” Proves Too Much for Mercedes-Driving Mom – Plows into NIMBY Green

Monday, December 31st, 2012

To the right of this accident scene is Octavia Boulevard.

And to the left, a block away, is Octavia Street.

And in the middle, you’ll see NIMBY Green with a newish Mercedes Benz CLS sitting on top.

Via ciprofloxacin – click to expand

You see, Octavia used to be a regular old street until Redevelopment (a bad idea from the 20th century) and the failed Octavia “Boulevard” experiment (a bad idea from the 21st century) came along.

Anyway. this is what results when “activists” are valued more than traffic engineers

Man, the Falun Gong Protest in Front of the Chinese Consulate on Geary Will Freak You Out

Friday, July 6th, 2012

I don’t know, which would you rather see when you look outside in the morning? Would you rather see freaky Blair Witch evidence or bunch of Falun Gong holding this pose?

Geary at Laguna:

Click to expand

I could go either way.

But, attention cultists, achtung baby: Signals intelligence officers are inside this consulate, sniffing your cell phone data packets, so to speak. Like a giant Google Maps car.

So, Falun Gongers, take your cell phone batteries out of your mobiles, if you know what’s good for you, whenever you protest over there.

Just saying…

Octavia Boulevard is Our Fork-Tailed Doctor Killer – “Livable Streets” Gone Awry – What Can We Do?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Let’s see, where to start with horrible Octavia Boulevard.

Oh, here we go, with some bold, confident words from all the way back in 2003:

“The replacement freeway and Boulevard were charged with ensuring a level of service comparable to the previous structure and configuration. This has been achieved…”

In no way, shape, or form does the newish Octavia Boulevard have a level of service comparable to the old Central Freeway.

And, BTW, did the Central Freeway block Fell, Oak, Page, Haight and Market? Nope. Does Octavia Boulevard? Yep, every day, all the time.

(This is an example of misplaced confidence, of the hubris.)

Now, what kind of signal timing does it take to accommodate a 3000-mile-long freeway ending on Market Street. Well, let’s take a look here. Do you notice that Market street peds have about four seconds to begin the journey across Octavia during the 95-second cycle? Why is that? I mean, that means that any given ped on Market has over a 95% chance of having to stop and wait for all those cars on Octavia to go by. Is that fair? Now, what about cars and streetcars and bikes and buses and whatnot heading outbound on Market – do you think it’s much better for them? Well, it’s not. Just 20-something percent of the traffic signal cycle allows traffic to flow uphill on Market at the Octavia Intersection. Why are the lights so biased in favor of the cars driving through on Octavia, you know, as opposed to Market Street?

Check it (oh yeah, that’s some homeless dude coughing at the end there, not me.)

Now, the term “fork-tailed doctor killer” used to be the nickname of the Beechcraft Bonanza, you know, the plane what killed Buddy Holly on the Day That Music Died. But that whole V-Tail sitch got addressed and now, Beech makes those Bonanzas with regular old straight tails. So let’s recycle this phrase and use it for Octavia Boulevard, why not?

Here’s the fork of the tail:

Now, how can I justify blaming the whole “Boulevard Movement” fad of the aughts for an famous accident that killed that UCSF doctor if the UCSF van driver ran a red light? Well, take a look at this:

Click to expand

See? Sometimes half the lanes of Oak have a red light and the other half have a green. Does that make sense? Well, if you’re struggling to make pathetic Octavia work and you don’t want traffic routinely backing up to Golden Gate Park, well then you yourself would be tempted to do whatever you could to help Octavia flow.

Does this unorthodox design factor in human nature, you know, the nut behind the steering wheel? No, it doesn’t. The fact is that car drivers, those sheeple, follow the pack. If the car to the right goes, then they want to go.

Of course, drivers should do better, but we need to factor in their behavior when we design roads, right?

What we shouldn’t do is to let Hayes Valley insiders, that very small but very influential group, to design anything for the rest of us.

And BTW, why on Earth are left turns allowed on inbound Market onto Octavia? Could it be for the convenience of those Hayes Valley insiders?  Check it out. You’d think that Hayes Valley types would be satisfied with being able to make a left at the prior intersection or the next intersection, but no, traffic on Market has to wait on a dedicated signal for a dedicated lane of drivers.

Does that make sense?

Why not this? Why not narrow Octavia dramatically and just give up on the whole boulevard experiment? Just take out the frontage roads and all that on-street parking and those medians and that would be a good start on “completing” the Horrible Octavia Experiment, turning it into a “Complete Street.” Even the Great Designer of Octavia admits now that the boulevard is too wide.

And let’s get rid of that left turn lane that was built just for the NIMBYs of Hayes Valley. Why should Market Street, the more important one, take a back street to Octavia, which is basically a glorified freeway onramp?

And why not give people on Market Street half the time of the light signal and then the people on Octavia the other half? Wouldn’t that be more fair?

Mmmm…

Or, we can continue to value higher condo prices and “trendy restaurants and high-end boutiques” over everything else in this world:

“Before the destruction of the Central Freeway, condominium prices in the Hayes Valley neighborhood were 66% of San Francisco average prices. However, after the demolition and subsequent replacement with the new Octavia Boulevard, prices grew to 91% of city average. Beyond this, the most dramatic increases were seen in the areas nearest to the new boulevard. Furthermore, residents noted a significant change in the nature of the commercial establishments in the area. Where it had been previously populated by liquor stores and mechanic shops, soon the area was teeming with trendy restaurants and high-end boutiques.”

Getting to Know Geary Boulevard from Arguello to 41st Avenue, From the Inner Richmond to the Outer

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Feel free to click to expand.

It’s hard to see how 40 entire avenues are in there, but that must be the case:

The OfficeMax in the corner marks Arguello and way at the end you can see the 40’s in the Outer Richmond, where Point Lobos Avenue breaks off from Geary Bouelvard.

Can you see how all the lights are red at the same time going outbound? Does that encourage drivers to drive as fast as they can to see how far they can get before all the lights turn red again? Discuss.

San Francisco Still Can’t Afford Countdown Timers for Pedestrians, Apparently

Friday, June 10th, 2011

See this on Gough?

Traffic signals are getting replaced by slightly larger traffic signals:

Click to expand

But countdown timers aren’t on the agenda because they cost too much.

And yet we have money for trees and other ornamental-type things.

Oh well.

Oh, So _That’s_ What You Mean, SFMTA? Masonic Speedrun Redux, But With Different Results This Time

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Get up to speed here.

Oh, OK, I see what you’re talking about now. (Sort of odd about how taxi drivers were complaining about something they experienced that hadn’t actually occurred yet, but anyway…)

Traffic heading south from Mervyn’s Heights now has timed lights, sort of, on Masonic Avenue.

Those wishing to exceed the posted 25 MPH speed limit will need to start running red lights.

We’ll have to wait and see how this all turns out…