Posts Tagged ‘streetscape’

Appalling Corner Cutting from the Vaunted SFMTA: Newly-Installed Clean-Sheet Traffic Signal Poles on Masonic

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

[All right, a little background. Who’s been in charge of the crosswalk in front of City Hall on Polk? IDK, somebody in SFGov, like the SFMTA, or an agency from before the SFMTA, or DPW, or, no matter, somebody in SFGov, anyway, right? And these people know that driver compliance rates with whatever half-assed “smart” control scheme they installed is a lot lower than the compliance rate with simple red-yellow-green signals. But then, with regular dumb traffic lights, pedestrians would have to wait, at least part of the time, to cross the street to get to the Great Hall of The People and we can’t have that, right? So when a tour bus driver runs over an SFGov worker going back to the office, it’s all the tour bus driver’s fault, right? Well, yes and no. The BOS can vote 11-0 to regulate tour bus operators, but that ignores its responsibility, non? Oh what’s that, you were going to get around to installing a traffic signal there, but you just hadn’t gotten around to it? And what’s that, you can’t figure out how to do it with the money we already give you, so we need to give you more more more? All right, fine, but that means your a part of the safety problem, not the solution, SFTMA / SFGov, at least in this case. Moving on…]

What the Hell is this, this brand new aluminum(?) light pole above Masonic betwixt the Golden Gate and Turk “high injury* corridors.” Believe it or not, you’re looking at signal lights for northbound Masonic traffic at Golden Gate AND ALSO, on the other side, for southbound Masonic at Turk:

7J7C5083 copy

Here’s how things look up the hill heading southbound – no problems here:

7J7C5117 copy

But this is what you see going north, you see a red light on the left and green light on the right, and the farther away you are, the more it looks like one intersection with contradictory signals:

7J7C5082 copy

I’ve never seen anything like this anywhere in the world.

This is appallingly poor design, IMO.

So, what, give you more money and you’ll put in another pole, SFMTA? IDK, you can see that they spent money on three new poles, so why did they cheap out with this half-assed creation?

Tree branches? So, the SFMTADPW wants to cut down hundreds of “diseased” trees** on this 3000-foot stretch of Masonic, but it can’t trim a couple trees in the name of Safety?

OK fine.

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Why did the deciders decide on this half-assed design? This one will write itself.

*Are there any low injury corridors in San Francisco? No there are not. So the phrase “high-injury corridor,” as used over and over again, recently, in SF, is meaningless. Oh what’s that, there are no accidents on Willard Street North, for example. Except that WSN aint a corridor, it’s a just a little street. So “high injury corridor” simply means corridor, which simply means, of course, “a (generally linear) tract of land in which at least one main line for some mode of transport has been built.”

**This is how SFGov works:

I wanted the trees gone, but knew I’d face stiff resistance both from homeless advocates and tree supporters. We brought in a tree expert and wouldn’t you know it, some of the trees had a blight. I issued an emergency order, and that night park workers moved in and dug up and bagged the trees. By the time the TV cameras arrived the next morning the trees were on their way to a tree hospital, never to return.”

Arguably, this occurred a while ago, but, arguably, Willie Brown is still the Mayor, so there you go.

SFGov Puts a Pedestrian “Bulb-Out” at an Intersection Where Peds Already Behave Very Poorly

Friday, March 13th, 2015

I’ll tell you, pedestrian safety means pedestrian safety.

But “pedestrian rights” means the opposite, it means letting peds go around willy-nilly and getting themselves killed.

Anyway, if you want to see peds jumping the green and standing around in intersections, head on over to McAllister and Hyde. Before it was bad enough, but now, peds will have a shorter distance to jaywalk?

P1190613 copy

The last thing you want to do is embolden* the already-emboldened, right?

On It Goes

*BTW, there were peds improperly in the intersection at the time Chris Bucchere collided with Sutchi Hui. Perhaps all the peds in the intersection had jumped the gun. That intersection offers a very short path for peds – in some ways that’s a good thing, but in others that’s a bad thing, particularly at the intersection of 17th, Castro, and Market. Of course, Bucchere couldn’t have “entered the intersection legally” cause the limit there is 25 MPH. And of course, he made no effort to slow down once he recognized the problem. So of course, there’s enough blame to go around.

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…

Open House on September 12th for Proposed Million-Square-Foot CPMC Hospital at Van Ness and O’Farrell

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Hey, wouldn’t you just looooooove having a million-square-foot hospital rising up from 1101 Van Ness? I don’t know. There’s lots to consider, of course. Get up to speed with Curbed SF and the Socketsite if you’d like.

Now, to help to get you aboard with the concept, the California Pacific Medical Center and Barbary Coast Consulting are offering an Open House at the site on Sunday, September 12th from 12:30 to 3:00 PM.

See

Click to expand

The building that’s there now (at least I think it’s still there) used to be the Cathedral Hill Hotel(which was famous for having a contract with Centerfolds strip club to house the more famous migrant strippers who passed through town) and before then it was called the Jack Tar Hotel (which was famous for being famous, for some reason.)

Whatever you do, stay away from Room 773:  

That’s a still from the Academy Award-winning Francis Ford Coppola film The Conversation starring Gene Hackman and Cindy Williams.

Anyway, see you there on Sunday!

“Meet and talk with the medical and planning teams for the proposed hospital at Van Ness & Geary. Learn about patient services, architecture, streetscape, traffic, transportation, construction management, and CPMC’s citywide system of care, community partnerships, and more.”

California Campus
3700 California Street
Map to California Campus
Davies Campus
Castro & Duboce Streets
Map to Davies Campus
Pacific Campus
2333 Buchanan Street
Map to Pacific Campus
St Luke’s Campus
3555 Cesar Chavez Street
Map to St. Luke’s Campus
   (415) 600-6000
Sutter Pacific Med. Fdn.

Yalie NIMBY Outed by Uptown Almanac after SFPD Shuts Down 4 Loko Party in Dolores Park

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Uptown Almanac‘s Kevin Montgomery is all steamed this AM about an Eli who had the popo shut down* our recent Four Loko party in Dolores Park.

Learn about Crackdown Deja Vu all over again at Dolores Park Works and consider attending the public meeting, if you’d care to.

Is this man Local McNimbydouche? Via KevMo:

Anyway, it seems that elements of SafeCleanGreen Mission Dolores might be at the meeting as well. Play nice. people:

Dolores Park Works is organizing a community meeting to discuss safety, law enforcement and 19th & Dolores has been set. The big day is September 1st, from 6:00-8:00, at Mission High School cafeteria, which is located across from the tennis courts in Dolores Park (entrance to cafeteria off of Dolores & 18th).

We will be covering:

  • 19th & Dolores pedestrian safety & proposed changes
  • Park patron safety and law enforcement

We will be hearing from:

  • Captain Corrales, from the Mission Street Police Station
  • Eric Anderson, RPD Neighborhood Service Area Manager (replacing Bob Palacio)
  • Manito Velasco, Engineer, SFMTA
  • Ilaria Salvadori, SF Planning Department (Streetscape project)
  • Adrian Field, RPD Park Section Supervisor for the Mission Complex
  • Marcus Santiago, RPD Park Ranger

This is your chance to hear how and why the signs were installed, how laws will be enforced, and plans for 19th & Dolores traffic calming. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend. Please help us spread the word.”

*Wow. Circulation-cutting, tight-as-possible jeans are in again? Did not know that.

The Best Use for Those Green “Street Furniture” News Racks – Repurposed as Bike Racks

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Part of the reason that these green news racks replaced the regular racks we used to have was that a former Mayor of San Francisco didn’t like what was said about him in the media. And another part of it had to do with, and there’s a lot of this in town, people making six figures a year imposing their aesthetics, their values, on the much larger class of people making five figures a year.

Get all the deets on this failed San Francisco policy here. And see what Berkeley’s up to right here.

Anyway, at least you can use them for something, at least they have some use. All those handles look as if they were made for U locks:

Click to expand

Look forward to the removal of most of these mostly-empty green monsters within five years…

Here’s What the Horrible 5-Yard Wide Median on Cesar Chavez Will Look Like

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

If trees are so great and if a five-yard-wide median is such an improvement, why stop there? Why not have more trees in the middle of Cesar Chavez? Why not have a 30-foot-wide median instead? 

But no worry. The so-called “improvements” coming our way will “compliment” something or other. See?   

“These streetscape improvements and more will make Cesar Chavez a great and complete street— one that compliments the community.”

A thousand years since Alhazen worked out perspective, but our art students still haven’t gotten the word. Oh well, two vanishing points for the price of one:

Somebody will end up using this space for something, is all I know.

Cesar Chavez Streetscape Improvement Project
Project Information
The Cesar Chavez Streetscape Improvement Project is a multi- agency effort  initiative to re-envision Cesar Chavez Street from Hampshire to Guerrero Streets in the Mission District. Through the coordinated efforts of multiple city organizations and with input from community meetings, Cesar Chavez will be made into an enjoyable, safe, and visually attractive corridor for pedestrians, bikes, and transit options that unify our great city.
The inclusion of a widened and landscaped center median, and tree plantings along sidewalks will provide pleasing greenery to the area neighborhood. These efforts are known to calm traffic along busy corridors.  Street corner bulb-outs, shorter crossing distances at intersections, and the installation of  bike lanes will also make this a safer street environment for everyone. These streetscape improvements and more will make Cesar Chavez a great and complete street— one that compliments the community.

For more information, visit the community planning process web page.

Location
Cesar Chavez Street between Guerrero and Hampshire Streets

Schedule
Construction is scheduled to start in Winter 2011.

Cost/Funding
The project is funded through a combination of Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) federal grants with local matching funds totaling $4.3m.million

Project Team
DPW– Paving & Great Streets
Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)- Sewer Upgrade
Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA)

Contact
Kris Opbroek
Great Streets Program Manager
(415) 558-4045

Contractor
To Be Determined

Divisadero Streetscape Improvements Kick Off – Cafe Mojo Parklet Officially Christened

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Here’s the scene this morning at the official ceremony kicking off all the Divisadero Streetscape Improvements and the Cafe Mojo Parklet at 639 Divisidero betwixt Hayes and Grove.

BIKE NOPA has all the deets for the new parklet in front of popular Mojo Bicycle Cafe, where you are beseeched to “ride in – hang out – get your fix – ride on.”

Of course District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimiwas there* – he was working the crowd and expressing his appreciation for improved bicycle and pedestrian safety on the Divisadero Corridor. He also pointed out the success of the nearby Divisadero Farmer’s Market, which is no longer seasonal. It’s open every Sunday from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM year-round these days.

Mayor Gavin Newsom addressing a large crowd on the tiny parklet:

Click to expand

And all the while, the honking yellow Hummer of Main Contractor Synergy Project Management was discretely parked across the street, as discretely as possible given that it’s a honking yellow Hummer:

I’m on the record as not being a big fan of all the changes, but oh well.

SocketSite has more info about Divis and Curbed SF has all the history, as you’d expect.

Brand new median trees and old-school streetlamps for as far as the eye can see:

These days, it’s Mojo a gogo. A fixie bike mounted outdoors as art:

 

Welcome to the New Divisidero.

*Wearing the same drip-dry suit he was wearing at the recent opening of the Hamilton Recreation Center and Pool.

All the deets, after the jump

(more…)

Why I Sometimes Ride My Bike on the Sidewalks of Divisadero, and Why You Should Too

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Well the shovel-ready stimulus project on the Div Co (Divisidero Corridor) is nearing completion. Do you see the trees in the widened median and the old-tyme streetlight tops that go from the NoPA to the EaPA? Those are the bulk of the “improvements” that you’re going to notice.

I guess the perfectly fine old aluminum street lights became obsolete or something. And yes, that thing in the median does look like a tombstone. Chestnut Street, here we come:

Click to expand

Now here’s the beef – what they should have done is just taken out the medians entirely to allow for wider lanes. The problem is that they widened the medians and narrowed the traffic lanes to accommodate trees and shrubbery and nonfunctional whatnot.

Now do you see this cyclist? He’s passing by a truck that’s legally parked on the new Divisidero. Do you think that the slow lane he’s on is wide enough? Of course, arguably, it wasn’t wide enough before but now it’s worse. Why? Aesthetics, that’s why. The drivers in the fast lane need to be near median trees, apparently, they need to commune with nature at 25 per.

Oh, I hear you, “just take the lane,” right? Sometimes I do, effectively. And then sometimes I roll onto the newly-widened sidewalk for half a block or so, late at night when I can see that nobody’s using it. It’s a balance of hacking off the nonexistent peds versus the extant drivers.

(Maybe I’ll get a ticket from the busy SFPD someday, maybe. If I ever do, I’d then consider using Fillmore and McAllister as a substitute.)

Now, if you wanted real stimulus and actual improvements, here’s what you’d do. You’d have the workers take out the medians (the old narrow median was unnecessary as well) and move the light standards to the sidewalks, if that wouldn’t break the bank. Then you’d do a nice repaving, better than the job that’s being done now*, anyway. Then you’d take the rest of the money and give it in cash to the workers – tell them they need to spend $500 per day on whatever they want for themselves and that they need to bring back receipts as proof at the end of each “work” day. That’d be some local stimulus right there. The workers would be happier, and I would as well.   

I realize that we’re talking in terms of, on average, just inches of width-surrendered-per-lane, just inches sacrificed on the Altar of Aesthetics. And I realize that Octavia Boulevard is a far bigger public policy failure.

Anyway, enjoy your so-called “improved” Divisadero, San Francisco.

*Are they done with that, by the way? Take a look at the macadam near the bulbouts at Divis and McAllister if you want – is that a job well done? I mean, is that quick fix a permanent fix with all the remaining grade changes? I mean, they’re going to end up being forced to do the job properly, right? [UPDATE: Turns out that they weren’t finished just yet, good on you Synergy.]

Ridiculous, Mostly Unused San Francisco PedMount News Racks Repurposed as Bike Racks

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Remember what newpaper racks used to look like? Sure you do, because they’re all over the less-populated parts of town. But the Great PedMount Invasion of the Aughts this past decade is firmly entrenched on Market Street near Union Square, and the Castro, and other places.

San Francisco’s ridiculous News Rack Ordinance mandates these glorious pieces of “Street Furniture.” Does this program cause problems for the Bay Times newspaper and other free publications? Yes. Should we double the cost the producers of the publications have to pay again? Why not? Would San Francisco’s Quimby-esque mayors, past and present, such as Willie Brown, have numerous motives to support this kind of scheme? Oh yes. 

Oh well.

(Did publishers at the time band together to fight? Sort of.)

So, this photo on the Boing Boing was kind of misleading, of course, but what’s the point of having 20+ completely empty news boxes mounted on six pedestals in front of the Abercrombie at Fifth and Market?

How about using them as bike racks when others aren’t available and you are tasked to buy 100ml of Fierce cologne for $70(!) after work? (Girlfriend, Abercrombie cologne costing $3000/gallon is just about the last thing he wants from you this Christmas, just saying.) The green metal handles are perfect for even the heartiest of U-locks. See?

IMG_1048

Click to expand

Dead and wounded on either side/
You know it’s only a matter of time:

IMG_1050 copy

Who can afford to pay the fees? Spammers, mostly.

A tombstone, of sorts. Here lies AsianWeek. Here lies Where Magazine

IMG_1049 copy

If your vocabulary includes terms like “streetscape” and “street furniture,” and you don’t like the media and/or you don’t like what the media says about you, you ought to consider starting a News Rack Ordinance in your town. Why not? Feel free to call the resulting Fail Whale a “huge improvement.”