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.
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.
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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.
THEY PUT IT ON A TIMER?!
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?
But in the meantime, it appears that the SFMTA just spent Target’s money to slow down MUNI…
I passed by O’Farrell and Masonic a couple times the other day, so I’m noting what I noticed.
This pedestrian appeared to become irate both at the unorthodox delay she had for the green and at the driver of the orange Scion car for turning left on a yellow:
If SFGov wanted to engage in pedestrian calming, it would adjust the left turn time for traffic on southbound Masonic.
Next up is this driver, who hung a U-turn on a red light since it looked like there was no traffic coming east on O’Farrell. There’s no way that’s legal:
Here’s the prize – the quite small lower level lot of City Target West:
Hey, I know that Target paid for a couple traffic signals on Masonic, but perhaps there could be some adjustments? Perhaps we could just eliminate U-turns on southbound Masonic at O’Farrell? I mean, northbound traffic on Masonic has no chance to getting to nearby Trader Joe’s, right? So why should we bend over backwards for people driving to Target?
Moving on, down the street to quiet Ewing Terrace, where the brand new lights have just been turned on. It seems that all traffic on Masonic has to stop at random times even though nobody wants to cross Masonic? Why is that?
In most places outside of SF, there’d be a pad to detect the presence of a car coming out of the cul-de-sac and buttons for peds. Shouldn’t we be doing it that way instead? Mmmmm… These red lights for no reason delay MUNI buses, right? I seen it. Perhaps in the near future this signal will be able to detect the approach of a bus and then not turn red for no reason? We’ll see…
“The contract work will be funded through private developer funds for work at two signals along Masonic Avenue.”
The two locations:
“Masonic Avenue and O’Farrell Street” and “Ewing Terrace and Masonic Avenue”
Now Ewing Terrace I know about. One woman living on that street showed up both at the Target-sponsored and SFMTA-sponsored meetings complaining about how hard it was for her to head north on Masonic when pulling out of Ewing. She said it sometimes took her “20 minutes” of sitting at the stop sign waiting for a break in traffic in order to accomplish this task. So SFGov accommodated her with a big traffic signal that they’re putting in now.
But at Masonic Avenue and O’Farrell Street? I don’t know. It’s almost as if the lighting scheme was designed by somebody who works at Target.
The upshot is that northbound traffic and all the peds on the east side of Masonic have to wait for southbound drivers to make an awkward U-turn followed by a quick right to get into the small, lower-level Target / Starbucks parking lot.
I can think of a couple similar situations about town. At Market and Octavia, everybody on outbound Market has to wait for car drivers on inbound Market to turn left onto Octavia. Why? Because selfish Hayes Valley denizens had waaaaay too much input into the process. Nevermind that legal lefts are a rare thing on Market for a reason, never mind that lefts were already legal one block before and one block after Octavia…
And at Fell and Masonic, the traffic signals were rejiggered for ideological reasons so now three lanes of Masonic get green lights but not the fourth lane. Drivers will never get used to this arrangement, IMO.
And, similarly, peds will never get used to the current setup at Masonic and O’Farrell.
Anyway, I don’t have a problem with the new Target being there. I’m just wondering who paid for the crazy lights that just got put in next to the new Target.
For some reason, the Golden Gods of the Planning Department / the SFMTA, the very same people who clamored for parking meters to operate on Sundays until they got it only to then say that they DIDN’T want it after all, unanimously, have set up an unusual traffic timing scheme at Masonic and O’Farrell. It’s unique.
Southbound drivers turning left get to go first, before car and bus drivers coming north and before peds on the east side of the street.
This is so that southbound drivers can make a U-turn and then a quick right to make into the small lower-level parking lot of the new City Target. About four drivers go left / hang a Louie at the start of each light cycle:
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I approve not.
Now if you want to say that SFGov had a rational basis for doing this after some big study, well then maybe. But having peds wait seven seconds to go after the light turns green is contrary to every impulse every ped has.
For some reason, Planning or the SFMTA or whomever feel that its their responsibility to be at the forefront of experimentation with traffic. Like its their sacred duty or something.
I understand that they would freely admit that this is a kludge fix to accommodate the newly-opened Target store. I understand that they would say that this is temporary until the New Masonic Plan gets going. I understand that there’s a concern about southbound traffic backing up and possibly blocking eastbound and westbound traffic on Geary. BUT EVEN SO, this left arrow scheme at O’Farrell is NOT THE WAY TO GO. There are other ways of doing of what SFGov is trying to accomplish.
Here’s what it’ll look like, buried deep inside the City Centre Mall at Geary and Maosnic, you now, the former home of Sears and then Mervyn’s and now the current home of City Target West:
And speaking of chain sto’s, drink it up, Gentle Reader:
Now you’d think one person, perhaps just one solitary millionaire NIMBY, would take two minutes to register an objection, but you’d be wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG! Not a single soul raised a peep, so here comes Chipotle to San Francisco’s District Two.
“My fascination with the Muni logo started a long time ago. It’s an iconic piece of San Francisco’s heritage and probably the most recognized SF symbol after the SF Giants. Because of my obsessive compulsions, I’ve been itching to rework the main mark without compromising its longstanding aesthetic quality.
I collaborated with Mirtho Prepont to come up with a new approach for the Muni brand, ranging from the original logo, to additional extensions such as sign systems, apparel, interactive applications, among others.
This is an exercise of civic engagement and it is a fictional effort for personal and educational purposes. This exercise isn’t meant as a rhetorical call to action for SFMTA. That would be unwise of the agency to spend money on such a thing rather than improving their service. However, I think these are things to be considered if they do decide to work on it later on in the future when they have solved the rest of their issues.”
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