A lot of these newish rides are “bricked” – they can’t go at all anymo:
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Consider this car an expensive hobby.
Now, it seems absurd, but Oak Street’s bottleneck at horrible Octavia Boulevard shows no sign of ending.
Let’s see here, Lane 1 is (oddly) devoted to parking 24/7, Lane 2 is for through traffic going from the east side to the west side of town, Lane 3 (seen with the pickup truck driver* sitting trying to nose in) is for people who want to park for a bit while waiting to sneak in over to Octavia Boulevard, Lane 4 is for the long line of stalled cars waiting their turn to get to Octavia, and, oddly, Lane 5 is dedicated to parked cars most of the time.
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This is the most dysfunctional block of traffic in San Francisco. Who designed this? (Traffic engineers? Prolly not)
*Oh yes, he made it in eventually, saving himself about three minutes or so compared with queuing up back at Oak and Webster. Hurray!
Normally that kind of set-up a pain, but it’s a bonus when you’re stalled on Martin Luther King, Jr due to congestion near Music Concourse Drive. Just pull into the other lane and hope that the drivers coming the other way notice.
If you ever get pulled over by the SFPD or the Park police for driving the wrong way, address all concerned as “gov’ner” and feel free to throw in the phrase “me lorry” as much as possible. “See here, Gov’ner, me lorry is right hand drive, so….” That should get you off the hook.
Why waste your petrol waiting in line when you can just jump the queue?
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What makes San Francisco’s monthly Critical Mass an illegal bicycle parade is the fact that nobody gets permits. ‘Cause getting a permit is hard - it would entail doing stuff that costs a lot of money and it would make you a magnet for lawsuits, so who needs that, right?
The thing is that corking intersections and running red lights as a group (hallmarks of Critical Mass going back to the mid-1990′s), those things are obviously illegal, so the SFPD could start issuing citations whenever it wants, of course. And that’s true no matter how they roll in the Empire State. (Actually, I question how the New York decision affects us here in San Francisco at all, but oh well.)
I’ll tell you, the biggest shock that drivers have when they get stuck at an intersection is that they get no sympathy from the cops. Drivers without criminal records tend to stay by their cars and watch the parade of bikes.
Do I think San Francisco has the will to kill Critical Mass? No. But do I think Police Chief George Gascon is planning on shaking things up, in the coming months, you know, when rain no longer threatens* and the number of cyclists is bigger? Yes.
“Hey, man, we don’t have any “leaders,” man. The City can’t do nothing to us, nobody’s in charge of CM, man.” Yes, roger that. I don’t think anybody’s going to stick you with a bill for $35,000 or anything, but changes are a coming…
Collateral damage from Critical Mass - MUNI vehicles stretching to the horizon in both directions. (Is that on the DO list or the DON’T list?) This kind of thing is one of the reasons you don’t see CM listed at the SFBC website calendar anymore.
Where’s Waldo, Cagney and Lacey on a recent Critical Mass ride:
The wonder of encountering an unexpected Critical Mass for the first time. Out-of-towners Rachel and Monica were delighted:
To Be Continued…
*Actually, tonight looks to be clear as a bell, Mel. But the forecast was for rain so tonight’s should be a smaller ride.
San Francisco’s monthly semi-unauthorized bicycle parade was well-attended and exceptionally ugly last night. Did your bike suffer any property damage (“let’s fucking beat up his car!”)? For whatever reason, Halloween Critical Mass 2009 had lots of gaps so that led to confrontations at every intersection – confused car drivers were tempted to just push through to end their lengthy waits. And the SFPD seemed less pro-bike than I’m used to seeing. Oh well.
Just look at the stalled MUNI buses and trolleys (trollies?) stretching from Mid-Market all the way back to the Ferry Building last night:
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The riders could only just sit and stare:
Stare at this, a car-free Market Street:
About an hour or so after the six-ish P.M. starting time, the stalled buses started to pile up:
A happy corker vs. an unhappy corkee at the intersection of 8th and Market Streets.
After a while, car drivers start getting into this rolling Rorschach test. Some sit on their cars…
…while others, like this SUV driver, get out to fruitlessly confront the madding crowd:
IMO, parolees display the least tolerance for CM. Oh well. They just can’t handle it.
A stalled driver gets freaked out by Pumpkinhead:
Thank Gaia the cops were there:
Oops, here there are, pushing along the stragglers on Market:
And then an error – the main body of riders hung a right and headed up Van Ness. That’s not the way to cork MUNI, which got back to normal on Market Street round about 7:30 PM. Oh well. Van Ness from Hayes looking north up to California – the whole thing was entirely filled with bikes:
So there’s your Halloween Critical Mass 2009. See you next year.