Posts Tagged ‘taxi’

Middle of the Block, Middle of the Road – Here’s Why Vision Zero 2024 Will Never Work

Monday, June 29th, 2015

You know what “Vision Zero” 2024 is about? It’s about “comfort.” Check it – lots of hits, huh?

The problem with comfortable pedestrians, is that they become overconfident pedestrians.

And that might be all right on a flat stretch of the “traffic sewer” known as Post Street…

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…but as you get more comfortable with this game, you move on to hilly Masonic and this is where people get hit and this is where people die:

Who set up this arrangement, with a very popular Trader Joe’s with a very small parking lot on the left with a ready supply of free street parking on the right? SFGov, the same outfit that is promising to beat Sweden to a “Vision Zero” level of zero transportation deaths by more than a quarter-century, mostly by simply saying that’s what will happen, or that’s what might happen.

And speaking of which here’s the news of the past week – here’s an 8-figure settlement that arose from SFGov not competently performing its job re: traffic safety and here’s a 7-figure verdict that arose from the vaunted SFMTA’s vaunted taxi system.

If the SFMTA wants to eliminate transportation-related death and injury, it will need to eliminate transportation. To think that it has an an one-in-a-billion chance of attaining its ostensible goal by 2024 is to engage in fantasy.

If the SFMTA Wants to Ban “Private Vehicles” from Making Most Turns onto Market Between 3rd and 8th, What About Drivers with Handicapped Placards?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Get up to speed here.

So “Safer” Market Street is going to ban “private vehicles” including Lyft and Uber-type vehicles, but does that include rides with properly-displayed handicapped placards?

IDK. It seems our SFMTA doesn’t want to deal with this issue.

(Actually, it seems our SFMTA deals with embarrassing issues discussed on the SFMTA website by simply deleting webpages/URLs as soon as members of The Public link to them. Boy, it sure seems that way lately. But moving on, moving “forward” as they say.)

Oh look info about the SFMTA not located at the official SFMTA site – so here’s a link I cite without worrying that it will go bad within 24 hours:

• Bob Planthold: Taxi drivers say they can travel where Muni goes as stated by City Charter. The City will need investigate this. Also broader phrasing is needed regarding disability because “Red & Blue Placards” cannot be restricted.

Read the whole thing, if you want. It’s about all the plans the SFMTA has for this area.

So, is the SFMTA going to ban drivers of private vehicles with handicapped placards from turning onto Market at most places between 3rd and 8th?

Serious question. I think they are…

SFMTA Study Mocks Rideshare Services with a Joking Reference to “KidnapMe.Org”

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

This study from 2013 is sort of obsolete already, but here you go, page ii:

While initial limousine entrants such as Uber appear to maintain high standards in screening and supervising their drivers, it is only a matter of time before incidents and problems surface, especially among later entrants who may seek to compete on a price basis. We do not want to reach the stage where a San Franciscan inadvertently requests a ride through kidnapme.org.* (*This domain name was not in use at the time of writing.)”

There seems to be a lack of awareness about crimes committed by SFMTA-licensed taxi drivers in San Francisco, is all I’m saying.

In any event, that URL is still available in 2015:

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Unsurprisingly.

Our wayward teenager, the SFMTA, fails us every day, so it probably shouldn’t be funding the jocularity you can see above.

To review, here are its service standards. And feel free to look for any “ACCOUNTABILITY,” as there isn’t any, even when the SFMTA gets caught lying about how much it fails to meet its minimum “STANDARDS.”

Oh well.

SEC. 8A.103. SERVICE STANDARDS AND ACCOUNTABILITY

(a) The Municipal Railway shall be restored as soon as practicable to a level of service measured in service hours which is not less than that provided under the schedule of service published in the April 1996 timetable, although not necessarily in that configuration.

(b) No later than July 1, 2000, and by July 1 of each year thereafter, the Agency shall adopt milestones for the achievement of the goals specified in subsections (c) and (d). Milestones shall be adopted for each mode of transportation of the Municipal Railway, and for the Municipal Railway as a whole, with the goal of full achievement of the standards set in subsection (c) no later than July 1, 2004.

(c) The standards for the Agency with respect to the services provided by the Municipal Railway shall include the following minimum standards for on­time performance and service delivery:

1. On­time performance: at least 85 percent of vehicles must run on­time, where a vehicle is considered on­time if it is no more than one minute early or four minutes late as measured against a published schedule that includes time points; and

2. Service delivery: 98.5 percent of scheduled service hours must be delivered, and at least 98.5 percent of scheduled vehicles must begin service at the scheduled time.

(d) The standards for both managers and employees of the Agency with respect to the services provided by the Municipal Railway shall also include other measurable standards for system reliability, system performance, staffing performance, and customer service, including:

1. Passenger, public, and employee safety and security;

2. Coverage of neighborhoods and equitable distribution of service;

3. Level of crowding;

4. Frequency and mitigation of accidents and breakdowns;

5. Improvements in travel time, taking into account adequate recovery and lay-over times for operators;

6. Vehicle cleanliness, including absence of graffiti;

7. Quality and responsiveness of customer service;

8. Employee satisfaction;

9. Effectiveness of the preventive maintenance program; and

10. Frequency and accuracy of communications to the public.

(e) The performance measures adopted in Section 4 of this measure shall be published as rules of the Agency and utilized to determine the achievement of the performance standards and milestones adopted by the Agency for the Municipal Railway. The performance measures shall be subject to amendment after public hearing by a vote of the Agency board. The Agency shall regularly publish reports on its attainment of those standards and milestones. Nothing herein shall prohibit the Agency from using additional performance measures.

The Empire Strikes Back: UBER Does NOT Appreciate Getting Banned from Turning Onto Market from 3rd to 8th Streets – Petition

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Our SFMTA wants to ban TNC’s from turning onto Market at most places between 3rd and 8th, so now UBER, for one, is fighting back with a petition from Uber drivers.

(Man, this is a quick reaction to San Francisco Chronicle writer JK Dineen‘s article from just yesterday.)

Anyway, here’s the nut graf in the Uber petition:

“If the traffic restrictions are imposed, driver partners will be forced to take longer, more complicated routes to pick up or drop off passengers — increasing congestion around Market Street and making it more difficult, more time-consuming, and dangerous for riders to get from place to place.”

I think they’ll get to the goal of 10,000 [UPDATE – now it’s set to 15,000] electronic “signatures” with a quickness, seeing as how they seem to clocking about 50 supporters per minute now.

All the deets:

THE SITUATION

Over the last several years, Uber has become an integral part of San Francisco’s transportation ecosystem — with thousands of residents and visitors relying on ridesharing services to get them to all corners of the city. Ridesharing has been embraced and supported by the California Legislature, Governor Brown, and several State agencies. What’s more, UberPOOL and similar ridesharing services are taking cars off the road, reducing congestion, and making huge strides toward making San Francisco’s roads safer.

But now we need your help. As the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) revisits its rules for the types of vehicles allowed on Market Street — your ability to take an Uber from Market Street is at risk — and we need you to speak up in support of ridesharing services like Uber.

NEW SFMTA RESTRICTIONS THAT WILL IMPACT YOU:

→ Taxis on Market Street – APPROVED
→ Buses on Market Street – APPROVED
→ Ridesharing on Market Street – DENIED

Market Street is a major artery of the city, and shutting off access to ridesharing services, where an overwhelming majority of residents choose to live car-free, is counterproductive and dangerous. Ridesharing services a significant and increasing share of the transportation puzzle here, and cutting off riders and driver partners from this main artery will only increase gridlock around town while forcing you, the riding public, to criss-cross busy streets and corridors to get to your ride or destination.

If the traffic restrictions are imposed, driver partners will be forced to take longer, more complicated routes to pick up or drop off passengers — increasing congestion around Market Street and making it more difficult, more time-consuming, and dangerous for riders to get from place to place.

Sign the petition and tell San Francisco’s leadership that TNCs need to be included in their rules for Market Street!

THE PETITION LETTER

[Your personal message]

[Your first name] [Your last name] from zip code [Zip Code]
[Email]

###

Dear [Recipient’s title] [Recipient’s name],

I urge you to not to single out TNCs like Uber, and ensure that they have the same access as taxis to pick up riders along Market Street. Ridesharing has become a core part of the way people get around the city and I support giving San Franciscans more choice for transportation options along Market Street. Your inclusion of TNCs will give people like me more transportation choices downtown, provide an equal playing field for all transportation options, and improve safety for riders and drivers alike.

Again, thank you for considering the collective voice of thousands of San Franciscans who want more choice in transportation options on Market Street.

THIS LETTER WILL BE DELIVERED TO
TOM NOLAN
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD

“SFMTA vs. Lyft and Uber Drivers” Continued – Let’s Hear Why the SFMTA Wants to Stop You From Turning onto Market

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

This was my stab at things yesterday – also coming out yesterday was this:

In safety move, turns onto Market Street to be limited

Let’s take a look to see how “safety sells” pretty much whatever the SFMTA has wanted to do the past quarter-century, with my comments in ALL CAPS, you know, for the benefit of those all-important mobile readers:

“This is focused very clearly on safety,” said Tom Maguire, director of the Sustainable Streets Division of the SFMTA. “This is about how we can get out this summer and find ways to save lives this summer.”

WELL, LET’S SEE HERE. I’LL CONCEDE THAT THIS MOVE WILL HAVE US ENDING UP WITH FEWER CAR VS. PED ACCIDENTS ON MARKET STREET BETWIXT 3RD AND 8TH. BUT IS TOM MAGUIRE SOME KIND OF SUPERHERO, A SPIDERMAN SAVING LIVES (PLURAL!) DURING THE END OF SUMMER 2015? ABSOLUTELY NOT. SORRY. HOW MANY LIVES WILL TOM MAGUIRE ACTUALLY SAVE THIS SUMMER? ZERO. ABSOLUTE ZERO. STATISTICALLY SPEAKING. SORRY.

“…lively and entertaining urban boulevard, it is also dangerous.”

WRITER JK DINEEN HAD THE CHANCE TO USE THE BOGUS PHRASE “HIGH-INJURY CORRIDOR” AND HE DIDN’T GO FOR IT? I’M SURE IT’S IN THE MATERIALS HE HAS AND I’M SURE THE SFTMA WOULD LIKE HIM TO USE THIS NEW CATCH-PHRASE, BUT HE DIDN’T. MMM…

Roughly half of these collisions happened at or near an intersection.

WELL, I SHOULD HOPE THAT MOST ACCIDENTS WITH PEDS GETTING STRUCK HAPPEN NEAR INTERSECTIONS. I MEAN, PEDS GENERALLY DON’T BELONG IN THE STREET OUTSIDE OF INTERSECTIONS, RIGHT? ALSO, NOTE THAT WRITER JK DINEEN IS UNAFRAID TO USE THE TERM “ACCIDENT” – THIS TOO GOES AGAINST THE CURRENT SFMTA PLAYBOOK. “COLLISION” IS THE PREFERRED WORD THESE DAYS. BOTH WORDS WORK, OF COURSE.

The package of traffic improvements, known as Safer Market Street…

THESE MOVES CERTAINLY ARE CHANGES, BUT WE DON’T KNOW YET IF THEY WILL BE ACTUAL “IMPROVEMENTS” RIGHT? WHAT’S A NEUTRAL, NON-ORWELLIAN TERM FOR OUR SFMTA’S “IMPROVEMENTS?”

Vision Zero, an effort to eliminate traffic deaths by 2024.

INSTEAD OF “AN EFFORT,” HOW ABOUT “AN _INSINCERE_ EFFORT,” CAUSE, YOU KNOW, THAT’S CERTAINLY THE CASE HERE?

“Our approach to Vision Zero is not to wait to save lives when we have tools to prevent these collisions and we know how to implement them,” Maguire said.

IF WE’RE TALKING ABOUT PED DEATHS IN SAN FRANCISCO, LET’S SAY, FOR CALENDAR 2014, MOST OF THOSE DEATHS WERE THE FAULT OF THE PEDESTRIANS THEMSELVES, PER THE SFPD, RIGHT? SO, WHY NOT MAKE AN “EFFORT” TO ENFORCE THE CVC UPON THE NOTORIOUSLY ILL-BEHAVED PEDESTRIANS OF MARKET STREET RIGHT NOW? THAT WOULD CERTAINLY HAVE THE EFFECT OF SAVING LIVES OVER TIME, SO WHY IS SFGOV WAITING? OH, BECAUSE OF POLITICS, I SEE. ALL RIGHT. AND OF COURSE, WE’LL NEVER GET TO ZERO TRANSPORTATION DEATHS, ON A STRETCH OF MARKET OR ANYWHERE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER, BUT PED ENFORCEMENT IS THE LOW-HANGING FRUIT. THE FACT THAT THE SFMTA IS SO AFRAID TO MENTION ANYTHING TO DO WITH THIS ISSUE IS TELLING.

The reduction of traffic turning onto Market Street will cut down the chance of someone getting seriously injured or killed by a turning vehicle, say SFMTA officials.

AGREE. POINT CONCEDED, CHEERFULLY

It will mean smoother and faster sailing for city buses…

UH OH. _FASTER_ BUSES? IS THAT WHAT WE WANT, SAFETYWISE? IDK. HEY, WHAT PERCENT OF ACCIDENTS ON THIS STRETCH OF MARKET INVOLVE MUNI OR SFMTA-REGULATED TAXICABS? IS IT FORTY-SOMETHING PERCENT ALREADY? LOOK FOR THAT PERCENTAGE TO RISE…

“Motorists would still be free to cross Market Street. Taxis — but not Uber or Lyft”

HERE WE GO – HERE’S THE POINT OF “SAFER” MARKET STREET. IT’S ABOUT FUCKING WITH THE TNC’S. HOW MANY TENS OF MILLIONS HAVE THE SFMTA LOST DUE TO UBER, LYFT AND THE OTHER TNC’S? IDK, BUT A LOT. THERE WILL BE SOME SHORT TRIPS THAT SIMPLY WON’T WORK WITH UBER ANY LONGER. NOT IF YOU WANT TO DRIVE LEGALLY ANYWAY. WHY DOESN’T THE SFMTA ALSO BAN TAXIS FROM MAKING THESE VERY SAME TURNS, IF THE SFMTA IS SO MUCH ABOUT SAFETY? MMM…

Speak of the Devil, here’s some anti-TNC, pro-SFMTA taxi  propaganda, courtesy of your SFMTA:

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“Local opposition subsiding”

WELL, I DON’T KNOW. HAS ANY POLLING BEEN DONE OF THE CURRENT USERS OF MARKET STREET? SO I DON’T KNOW HOW SUBSIDED THE OPPOSITION IS. I’LL TELL YOU, OBJECTIONS TO THE SFMTA’S “DOWNTOWN CORE” TRAFFIC BLOCKADE DURING RUSH HOURS IS STILL PRETTY STRONG, WELL OVER 50%.

Susie McKinnon, executive director of the North of Market/Tenderloin Community Benefit District, said at first she was worried that the changes would push more traffic into the Tenderloin…

WELL, OBVIOUSLY IT WILL. VISITORS COMING UP 6TH STREET WON’T BE ABLE TO TURN RIGHT AT MARKET, SO WHERE ELSE ARE THEY GOING TO GO BUT THE TWITTERLOIN, RIGHT?

…force unregulated car services such as Uber and Lyft off of Market Street.

I WOULDN’T CALL TNC’S UNREGULATED, BUT THAT’S JUST ME. _LESS_ REGULATED, CERTAINLY, BUT NOT UNREGULATED, IMO. AND WHAT HAS THIS TO DO WITH SAFETY? FASTER TAXIS AND FEWER UBERS = SAVING LIVES OVERALL? WE’LL HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE.

Eva Behrend, a spokeswoman for Uber, disagrees: “Market Street is a major artery of the city…

YEP.

…and cutting off riders and driver-partners from accessing this thoroughfare will increase gridlock around town…

MAYBE.

…with no improvement to safety.

WELL, THE POINT IS TO “SAVE LIVES” “THIS SUMMER” ON FIVE PARTICULAR BLOCKS OF MARKET STREET – WE’LL JUST HAVE TO WAIT AND SEE THE EFFECT UPON OVERALL SAFETY ON MISSION, HOWARD, FOLSOM, THE REST OF THE TWITTERLOIN, AND ALL THE REST OF SAN FRANCISCO.

AND PLEASE NOTE THAT BOTH TOM MAGUIRE AND EVA BEHREND ARE IN THE SAME BIZ – THEY’RE BOTH IN THE ABUSE-WORDS-ENOUGH-AND-THEN-YOU’LL-GET-COMPENSATED-WITH-SIX-FIGURES-A-YEAR-PLUS-BENEFITS CLUB…

TTFN.

Not Complaining, Just Explaining: See How a Jogger Handles the Revised Intersection of OAK and MASONIC

Friday, June 5th, 2015

What you’ll see isn’t the world-famous Golden Gate Park Panhandle Bike Path – that’s on the north side, the Fell Street side. What you’ll see is the south side, the bike-free path near Oak.

Brocephus on the left here is jogging east and he’s way late – he missed his chance to enter the crosswalk on his green. OTOH, the taxi can enter the intersection.

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No matter, here’s the jogger going more south than east, “jogging” around a Prius:

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Hey, are you allowed to run into a crosswalk in CA? Uh, not really. And hey, isn’t this crosswalk excessively wide? Uh, yes it is.

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By this time, the left turn arrow phase started and the jogger exited the intersection. A happy ending, I suppose.

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This intersection now has three signal phases, for better or worse – people are still getting used to it.

The fundamental problem here has been that traffic backs up on the left side of Oak due to all the people who want to go north on Masonic -it’s kind of a bottleneck so that’s why we got the new left turn arrows.

If this jogger had been hit by a vehicle, the SFPD would have found him at fault, the same way it found the majority (50-something percent) of pedestrians at fault for their deaths last year, calendar 2014.

]If you say, well any struck pedestrian was “in the crosswalk,” well that’s pretty much useless as you’re not giving enough information to determine fault and, in fact, a pedestrian can be outside of a crosswalk, let’s say just outside, you know, close enough, and still be held not at fault for a collision, in California anyway. (This isn’t really a written-down law, it’s more of a case of judges following how other judges have ruled in the past.)

OTOH, you can be in the absolute middle of a crosswalk, as Brocephus was,  and be held at fault for your death / injury.

It all depends…

“Emergency Ride Home” – Will San Francisco Pay For Your Taxi Ride Home If You Bike to Work and Get a Flat Tire? Yes

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

Here it is, from the San Francisco Department of the Environment:

Emergency Ride Home

This program is similar to those offered by Stanford U, UCMarin County and your major corporations.*

So, if you power your Nissan Leaf all-electric car or ZERO all-electric motorcycle with clean Hetch Hetchy hydroelectricity, SFGov is saying that your commute to work isn’t “sustainable.” OTOH, if you ride in a diesel MUNI bus, your commute is “sustainable? OK, maybe.

Hey, what about the method that SFGov uses to fund retirement pay and medical benefits for all its employees, past, present, and future? Is that sustainable, SFGov? Oh no? OK, SFGov.

And if one of my bikes gets a flat tire, have I ever said to myself, “Oh no, it’s an emergency!”

Nope.

But one supposes that if you had some free money to spend and you wanted to appeal to your bo-bo constituancy, you’d offer the same program.

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Well, this one writes itself. The hardest part will be finding an appealing subject who’s actually used this program already. Take some photos of the victim, you know, probably a her, and make sure have the Financh in the background in the photos, and then throw in a few quotes from a Department Head, and BAM! – you’ve got yourself a Story.

End Of Line

*At some places down in the valley, if you get sick at work your Free Ride Home will be so, so baller, you’ll feel like a billionaire, you know, temporarily anyway, and you’ll tell all your friends about it, and they’ll be so impressed.

(more…)

Another Illegal Chalk Ad on the Streets of San Francisco? – HTC ONE – When Will Our Corporate Overlords Learn?

Friday, April 17th, 2015

We’ve been through this kind of thing before. If City Attorney Dennis Herrera discovers this, then whoo boy, there’s going to be trouble for somebody.

As captured by BloomReports today:

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Uber X + Prius C = Driving North on Southbound Laguna in J-Town? A Questionable But Giddy Five-Star Drive in Uber #7FGU886

Monday, April 6th, 2015

On Laguna Street looking south over Post towards Geary with the Chinese consulate on the left in the background:

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You see that? An impatient Prius driver simply went around all those cars heading north by pulling into the southbound lane. Then the driver turned left onto Post westbound to drop off her fares:

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Now normally with Prius drivers, you gotta wonder about their situational awareness, about whether they know what they’re doing, but in this case, the driver knows what she was doing. She was line jumping to save about a minute or so, hahaha!

Oh, and of course, she’s works for / contracts with Uber:

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I’ll tell you, the reason why taxis have “paint schemes” and giant numbers painted on the side is for situations like this….