Posts Tagged ‘streetsblog’

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:

Capturelkj copy

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: 

gffhgg

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…

How the Magic Word “VisionZero” Has NOT Changed the SFMTA’s Half-Assed Approach to Transportation Safety: “Focus On The Five”

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Here’s the SFMTA’s official six-figure-a-year spokesperson on the topic of when pedestrians can cross a street, from just last year:

“They can start whenever they want,” Rose said.”

Of course this is wrong, as even Paul Rose himself would admit now, after being corrected.

So, why did he say that? Because he, like his employer, has a half-assed approach to safety, and, one supposes, he, like his employer, is mired in politics.

Now do you suppose that Paul Rose was at all interested in examining why he told the peds of San Francisco that it was A-OK for them to violate CA state law? Oh no, not at all. And do you think he checked with anyone before he spouted off? Prolly not.

Like I say, a half-assed approach.

Now we’re in 2015, the era of SF VisionZero 2024, which has the goal, one that nobody actually believes in, but they have to pretend that they do believe in it, of having no more transportation deaths in San Francisco County starting in 2024 and continuing in perpetuity.

It’ll look a little something like this, supposedly:

sdfhjjjjkj

Now do you see the beauty in this? By the time SFGov fails to achieve this impossible goal, all the people who glibly made the promise will be out of office, right? How convenient.

The big problem with the approach that SFGov is taking is assuming that traffic deaths are a street design issue, as opposed to a human behavior issue. So most of the emphasis appears to be upon SFGov spending more money, which of course SFGov loves to do anyway.

And the part of VisionZero SF that’s focuses on behavior seems misplaced, for political reasons.

For example, there’s this:

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.”

So if the SFPD started handing out tickets for jaywalking, you know, in a big way, that would certainly help with traffic safety, over the long term, to at least a slight degree, but that would take the SFPD away from its “Focus On The Five” goal.

The problem with Focus On The Five is that it ignores Vehicle Code violations on behalf of pedestrians, one supposes for political reasons. In fact, the cause of most pedestrian and cyclist deaths last year in San Francisco was the behavior of the pedestrians and cyclists themselves.

And what’s this talk about “automated enforcement?” How about this, how about hooking up all of the SFMTA’s vehicles to an automated enforcement mechanism that would detect speed limit, stop sign and red light violations using on board sensors and GPS? Then, after Ed Reiskin parks his government-paid SFMTA car or an operator parks her bus, SFPD tickets would be issued, you know, daily. Whoo boy, what are the odds of something like that happening?

So that’s SF VisionZero 2024, a buzz-phrase that means absolutely nothing.

 

 

Here’s Why the SFPD’s “Focus On The Five” Traffic Enforcement Goal is At Least 40% Wrong

Friday, December 19th, 2014

Here’s your set-up, from The StreetsBlog:

“…only one of the 10 police stations is actually meeting its goal of issuing at least 50 percent of traffic citations for the five most common violations that cause pedestrian injuries.”

But, IRL the the five most common violations that cause pedestrian injuries actually  include:

CVC 21456 – Walk, Wait, or Don’t Walk 

CVC 21954 – Pedestrians Outside Crosswalk / CVC 21955 – Crossing Between Controlled Intersections*

Under the CVC, jaywalkers can either be in a crosswalk (or close enough – if you’re one or two feet away, that might be close enough to be considered “in the crosswalk”) (and, of course, these can be marked or unmarked crosswalks) but doing something wrong (like starting too early or too late or going too fast (running) or too slow (just standing in the crosswalk, for ex.) OR crossing in the middle of a block.

If you look at the math, there’s no way that these violations can be out of the top five.

That’s just one reason why there’s not even a prayer of a chance that SFGov’s “Vision Zero” 2024 can “succeed.” (Oh what’s that, Sweden experimented with VisionZero and it succeeded? Well, not really. Oh what’s that, it was good to try anyway, even though they didn’t get to actual absolute zero, they had a big reduction in injuries? Well, France, among others, didn’t implement Vision Zero and yet it had greater success over a similar time period, right? Oh what’s that, Vision Zero is just a “framing” phrase, a meaningless platitude that pours old wine into new bottles? Well, finally we agree.)

Of course you’re never going to beat drivers Failing To Yield for the number of pedestrian deaths in San Francisco County. But do you think lying about things like Focus in The Five helps your cause?

And are there reasons why it’s far easier to comply with the demands of non-profit pressure groups in the Richmond District as opposed to other districts of San Francisco? Yes there are. Take the same Captain and put him/her in another district and then watch your compliance numbers fall. Why’s that? Do you suppose that the SFPD has a mission, has a job not 100% congruent with “urbanists” straight outta Park Slope and pricey prep schools like Punahou?

Something to think about.

*These are twins, basically. 

A StreetsBlog Felony, an “Urbanist’s” Nightmare: SF Rec and Park Jungle Gym Teaches Kids to Love SUV’s

Monday, December 1st, 2014

It took me a while to figure this one out. OK, here’s the Children’s Quarter, aka the Koret something-or-other, in Golden Gate Park:

P1170346 copy

See? It’s a Jeep SUV, complete with a steering wheel, horn button, headlights, trademark grill and a three-on-the-tree gear shift. You could actually use this thing to begin to teach somebody how to drive.

Oh, how I weep! You see, instead, this should be a bicycle simulator, complete with handlebars and Shimano Alivio shifters, right man?

I hope nobody from Park Slope ever sees this, man…

Octavia Boulevard Update: Anybody Who Claims This Short Road Has “High-Speed Motor Traffic” is Lying

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Simply.

Now if you want real “high-speed motor traffic,” well then look to the 280 freeway.

But if you want a poorly-designed glorified freeway offramp with lots of slow-moving bumper-to-bumper gridlock, well then Octavia is your bingo.

See? This is typical. Traffic has been jammed up here starting about a week after this road opened. This is exactly what low-speed traffic looks like: 

7J7C6717 copy

A note to advocacy journalists who think it’s their job to lie:

No it’s not!

Lying hurts your case. Lying doesn’t help your case.

 

Driver and Writer CW Nevius Goes on a “Rant” Against the “Militant” Pedestrians of SF – Do They Have the Right to Jaywalk?

Friday, January 31st, 2014

Here’s the latest effort from CW Nevius, who’s taking a break from being spokesman for San Francisco’s right-side-of-the-aisle  political faction to go on a “bit of a rant” against local pedestrians. But what’s up with this?  

“Even when they are in the right, I worry about them. When the traffic light countdown gets to five or six, they step confidently into the crosswalk — which is their right…”

But pedestrians don’t have “the right” to do so. It’s agin CA law – check out V C Section 21456,* which is dealt with by Rule #3 of the Five Rules for Pedestrians.

Don’t you have an editor, Nevius? Oh, that’s right, you’re too old and experienced to have an editor, and plus, editors cost money, that’s right.

But don’t you have a fact checker, Nevius? Oh, that’s right, you’re too old and experienced to have a fact checker, and plus, fact checkers cost money, that’s right.

But don’t you have a photographer, Nevius? Oh, that’s right, photographers cost money. So all your observations, we’ll just have to take your word about them. OK fine. BTW, [sarcasmmode ON] nice stock photo you’ve got there, Neve. “Cause a stock photo taken in the People’s Republic of China, you know, from more than a thousand li away, well, that really illustrates how “militant” and “freaking nuts” San Francisco peds are, huh? [sarcasmmode OFF]

And oh, BTW Neve, the peds of SF aren’t militant, not at all. Try to find a different word for what you mean.

Of course you’re new in town, I get that. Sure, welcome to San Francisco, Neve.

But you’re doing a half-assed job doing your half-time gig.

You need to try harder.

*”Walk, Wait, or Don t Walk

21456. Whenever a pedestrian control signal showing the words “WALK” or “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or other approved symbol is in place, the signal shall indicate as follows:

(a) “WALK” or approved “Walking Person” symbol. A pedestrian facing the signal may proceed across the roadway in the direction of the signal, but shall yield the right-of-way to vehicles lawfully within the intersection at the time that signal is first shown.

(b) Flashing or steady “DON’T WALK” or “WAIT” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol. No pedestrian shall start to cross the roadway in the direction of the signal, but any pedestrian who has partially completed crossing shall proceed to a sidewalk or safety zone or otherwise leave the roadway while the “WAIT” or “DON’T WALK” or approved “Upraised Hand” symbol is showing.

Amended Ch. 413, Stats. 1981. Effective January 1, 1982.”

The Five Rules for Pedestrians and Crosswalks in California – Or, How to Make Sure You Win Your Lawsuit Against That Uber Driver

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

1. YOU NEED TO BE IN THE CROSSWALK WHEN YOU GET HIT. This one’s pretty basic. And actually, it’s pretty flexible IRL. So let’s say you’re over the line a bit, your foot was 18 inches away from the white paint, well that could be OK. This rule becomes important if you’re halfway between blocks and you start jaywalking – a top cause of death of peds in SF. There’ve been many cases of this on the streets of San Francisco lately, like Hayes, Lombard, Masonic, Market, I could go on and on.

2. YOU CAN’T START TOO EARLY. This is called jumping the light. So of course, you’ve got to wait for the green light (or green WALK signal), you already know that. BUT THAT”S NOT ALL. You’ve also got to wait for traffic legally in the intersection to clear the intersection. So, GREEN DOES NOT MEAN “GO.” Green means you need to look for traffic clearing the intersection. And if that traffic isn’t over the speed limit and if that traffic entered the intersection on a yellow (which is totally OK under CA law, generally) and you step off and get hit, then, surprise, you’re the one at fault. So yes, you were in the crosswalk, but the collision is your fault, sorry.

3. YOU CAN’T START TOO LATE. This means that DON’T WALK means don’t walk. Now, in many places about town, you don’t have a ped-only signal telling you what to do. So, you’re allowed to start crossing on a green all the way until a yellow light appears. Effectively, the yellow light is your DON’T WALK signal. Of course this means that you might still be in the crosswalk when the light turns green for cross traffic. But now the law is in your favor, ped. The law says that cross traffic needs to wait for you to clear the intersection.

4. YOU CAN’T GO TOO SLOW. This one’s easy – it means you’re not supposed to stop during your trip across the street as best I can figure. (Leaving aside the law, there are standards for how long peds should have to cross an intersection, but they get thrown out the window when SF deals with 100-foot-plus wide monsters like horrible, horrible Octavia Boulevard, oh well.)

5. YOU CAN’T GO TOO FAST. Ooh, joggers. Your California Vehicle Code was written without concern for joggers, pretty much. So if you’re sprinting into an intersection and get hit by a MUNI, look for the SFPD to put the blame on you, yes, even though you were in the crosswalk.

Click to expand

So that’s reality.

But if you’d prefer a distorted, rose-colored view of reality, feel free to surf on over StreetsBlog SF (Straight Outta Park Slope!), or the SFBC (declining membership these days, despite being sponsored by SFGov SFMTA MUNI DPT) or Walk SF (sponsored by let’s-build-high-near-the-Waterfront real estate interests).

Your choice.

The Earnest, Monomaniacal, “Livable Communities” Crowd Despises Our New City Target – Yet, New Bikes There Cost Just $179

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

You know, there was a time when StreetsBlogSF did actual journalism. That time was back in 2010.

These days, things are different.

What’s the target of your wrath? People who want to shop at CityTargetSF West?

And yet, the cheapest place to buy a new bicycle in town is at …City Target

Check it:

Oh, this kind of hybrid bike sucks because it’s not like your four-figure roadie ride?

OK fine.

Oh, what’s this, real people who aren’t transit nerds actually enjoying themselves up on Target Tor on Opening Day?

Looks that way to me:

In closing, Park Slope Neighbors. Ha ha ha!

Enjoy your cult, gentlemen.

Board of Supervisors President David Chiu vs. Chris Bucchere – Who’s the Better Cyclist? Checking with the StreetsBlog Crowd

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Let’s see here, in one corner we have super nerd and Board President David Chiu, who almost always wears a fucking suit* when he drives his bicycle hither and yon.

He even goes Down Peninsula Way sometimes, to check out the reverse commute some San Franciscans do.

Now, you’d think that’d earn him huzzahs from the monomaniacal “livable streets” StreetsBlog crowd, but you’d be wrong.

You see, he ran afoul of that crew by being on the fence with the recent SFTAMUNIDPTSFBC effort to remove street parking from the bulk of Polk.

For that reason he now gets criticized for riding his bike in the wrong fashion, like how he pedals ‘n stuff.

Isn’t that absurd, to say that about this supernerd?

Yes. He does fine on Market Street, AFAICS.

See?

Click to expand

OTOH, Strava-obsessed Chris Bucchere, who was involved with death of a pedestrian near an intersection of the very same Market Street, well he, apparently, is/was the victim of a “lynch mob” (look it up, you’ll find it) when he got/gets called an “asshole” (most typically from fellow self-identified cyclists) for his actions before during and after the death of pedestrian Sutchi Hui.

Oh well.

Isn’t there a lesson to be learned form the Chris Bucchere case? Shouldn’t the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition be willing to even mention his name? Yes, I know it doesn’t help fund-raising and membership and whatnot, but wouldn’t it be a good thing to debate?

Because really, what eventually happens with the Chris Bucchere case  doesn’t really matter. It’s the future Buccheri we need to worry about, right?

Anyway, David Chiu is a better cyclist than Chris Bucchere.

*Something to do with “respect for the voters,” or something

The Most Detailed Report of the Chris Bucchere vs. Sutchi Hui Hearing – Why Red/Yellow Doesn’t Really Matter

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Well, here it is, the most-detailed report yet of the latest Chris Bucchere vs. Sutchi Hui hearing, courtesy of  writer Kashmir Hill.

Here’s her conclusion:

Bucchere was going far too fast, but he may have run a very late yellow rather than a red, a mistake made worse because of the pedestrians entering the crosswalk very early. Everyone was being too aggressive in their commuting, but Bucchere’s aggressiveness held the highest risk for others.”

And here’s some more:

“The case interested me because press reports indicated that data from Bucchere’s Strava account — an app that bikers can use to track their rides — had been used to show how fast he had been going and to prove he had ignored stop signs. District Attorney George Gascón told me the Strava data was part of the reason the city had decided to bring such severe charges against Bucchere. ‘It implies he was trying to compete with himself,‘ Gascón said. Bucchere’s online comments also played a role. ‘His helmet was more important than a human being.’”

Take a look for yourself, read the whole thing. And then decide if the prosecution of Chris Bucchere has anything to do with a so-called “lynch mob.”

And for all you StreetsBlogSF fans out there, ask yourself this:

Would this case be international news without the Strava race-against-yourself-and others angle and/or the “heroic” helmet posting? And would there even be a case at all?

That’s the difference, that’s why this case is getting attention.

R.I.P. Sutchi Hui.