Posts Tagged ‘vehicle’

Our Inefficient, Money-Hungry SFMTA Wants to Start Issuing Speeding Tickets, But Somehow “They Would Not Be Moving Violations?!”

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Oh, this one’s easy  – we’re going to go from zero to Orwellian in ten seconds.

Gentlemen, Start Your Engines:

SFMTA Pushing For Speed Cameras In San Francisco To Improve Pedestrian Safety by Cate Cauguiran

And here’s your nut graf:

“SFMTA plans to present their proposal to the San Francisco County Transportation Authority later this week. The agency says the citations would not be moving violations, and therefore not reportable to the DMV.”

Now let’s review – Papa Homer, what’s a “moving violation?

A moving violation is a violation of the law committed by the driver of a vehicle while it is in motion. The term “motion” distinguishes it from other motor vehicle violations, such as paperwork violations (which include violations involving automobile insurance, registration and inspection), parking violations, or equipment violations.”

So, if the parking ticket agency gives a ticket for speeding, it’s issuing moving violations, right? Now tell us more, Wiki:

While some violations, like parking violations, are civil matters involving a vehicle’s owner, moving violations are charged against the actual driver.

Yep. And then there’s this:

The most commonly enforced moving violation, and the overwhelmingly most frequent reason for a vehicle pullover, are violations of the speed limit.

And what’s the motivation for the SFMTA to float this balloon?

Sometimes tickets are used in a speed trap as a form of fundraising

I don’t use the term “speed trap” myself, but, yes, our SFMTA is obsessed with “fundraising,” certainly.

And lastly:

Examples of moving violations: speeding, which can be exceeding a limit or simply driving an unsafe speed…

Thanks Wiki! And actually, a speeding ticket is the prototypical moving violation, in Frisco and everywhere else too.

Now I’ll tell you, I was surprised earlier this year to see the SFMTA issuing “block the box” tickets, because sometimes the SFMTA DPT shows up at an intersection during rush hour to unblock the box, not to make money from block boxing. And yet, here you go:

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This is a DPT PCO in the middle of the intersection of Bush and Sansome shooting fish in a barrel – busting three vehicles, and then she was Gone In 60 Seconds.

And I thought, well, I suppose the drivers here are parked since they’re idling away, motionless, for a long time, so sure, ticket away, SFMTA, even though you’ve timed the lights to exacerbate this situation, but anyway, sure, these are parking tickets, fine.

But if you want to start issuing moving violation tickets, you shouldn’t lie about it. (I’ll tell you, sometimes I can’t tell if the SFMTA lies on purpose or if it just doesn’t know what it’s doing.)

Now, here’s my MODEST PROPOSAL - traffic cameras for pedestrians, mounted over crosswalks. The cameras would record all the peds who jump the light by starting across a second or two early and then a ticket for $100 would get mailed to the offenders after facial recognition ID’s the peds. (Gentle Reader, did you know that most ped deaths last year on the Streets of San Francisco were the fault of the peds themselves? It’s sort of a secret. It wasn’t a blowout or anything, the peds “won” this competition by 50-something percent, vs. the drivers’ 40-something percent, but isn’t it ironic, dont’cha think, that enforcing the vehicle code upon peds, as unpopular as this might be, could reduce traffic deaths more than how SFGov has handled matters up ’til now? Anyway, I’m talking about how the SFPD apportioned ped deaths in SF in 2014. But don’t talk about it, oh no – that might get you transferred to the Airport Detail, srsly. And bonus! Our new ped cams could “also help us as an investigative tool if someone is committing a crime somewhere nearby.” Moving on…)

Of course, the reason why SFGov wants to go Full Orwell is that paying sworn officers to issue tickets is inefficient and expensive. OTOH, an automatic system, backed up by an appeals mechanism to make everything constitutional could generate tons of money for the SFMTA, like almost as much as its Household Transit Tax fantasy that it would impose on you, Gentle Reader, in a New York minute, if it could. (It’s what Ed Reiskin dreams of at night – your transit tax would be added to your tax returns, easy peasy, what a dream!)

Anyway, I think saying that a moving violation isn’t is worthy of five Orwells, on a scale of zero to five Orwells:

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All the way to the bottom, Maggie SFMTA – you’ve made it!

Fish in a Barrel: This SFMTA PCO Can Hand Out Multiple $105 “Block the Box” Tickets in One Minute

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Of course, the SFMTA could jigger the lights around the neighborhood of Bush and Sansome in a more efficient way, but then this meter maid wouldn’t be able to park her Cushman and then stand in the intersection to generate so many tickets that she has trouble with all the receipt tape she’s generating. See?

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Her little machine might have a camera built in, and the GPS and the Wi-Fi and all sorts of things to allow her to bag three rides in one cycle of green yellow red.

Check it. All of these drivers on Bush inbound in the Financh are used to crawling across a San Francisco  intersection before the light turns red and then making it out of the intersection before the peds start coming. Except that this is notorious Bush and Sansome, where things don’t work that way.

And then here come the judge – tickets for everybody! It’s like Oprah handing out Pontiacs – YOU GET A TICKET! AND YOU GET A TICKET! AND YOU GET A TICKET!

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(Mind you, this is an intersection where it’s quite safe to loiter about, so fret not.)

(Hey, is she recording the Vehicle Identification Numbers of all these rides? I think not. Is that some sort of technicality that will allow you to get out of your ticket after spending hours and hours of time fighting your ticket? IDK.)

Some drivers get stuck, but I’m thinking, well just make the left up Sansome* while you have the chance and then you’ll avoid a painful three-figure citation. But the drivers, then don’t have respect, they don’t see the danger.

And I’ll bet most of them aren’t even aware that they’re getting a citation.

Eventually, the driving culture at this intersection will change** if this woman makes a habit of harvesting money on the Evening Drive each and every day.

I ask you, Gentle Reader, what if the rest of SFGov were as efficient as this PCO?

*Whether it’s legal or not. In this case, that would be a legal turn but even if it weren’t, the chances of getting a moving violation doing that are virtually nil, as opposed to a parking ticket, where the odds are virtually certain. 

**In the old days, the SFMTA would tell its PCOs to stop handing out tickets during the Evening Drive and start directing traffic at busy intersections. Those days are over. This woman can pay her salary and fund her generous benefits and retirement package in one or two minutes of her shift. Remarkable!

Uh Oh, the SFPD’s Vaunted “Focus on the Five” Enforcement Program Focuses on the Wrong Five

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Work with me here, people.

Here you go:

“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.”

All right, well let’s look at the stats for last year, via Heather Knight / the District 5 Diary.

And then let’s extract all the five-digit CVC section numbers cited in the official SFPD report, plus let’s also throw in a CVC number for the pedestrian who died last year after getting hit by a MUNI bus on Geary around Baker.

(And let’s ignore all the the lower-case subsections like 21950(b) and the like, treating 21950(a) and 21950(b) as the same violation, for example.)

And then lets throw all the extracted numbers into Excel for a Sorting.

And then let’s eyeball the numbers to separate them out:

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So those are your top “five violations that are most frequently cited in collisions with people walking (and bicycle riding, but I don’t think that affects the numbers too much.)

Here they are, in order of frequency:

21950

22350

21456

21954

21955

So how does that compare with this list from politicians?

“Focus on the 23 Five” campaign to target the top five causal factors of pedestrian crashes – running red lights 24 (California Vehicle Code 21453(a)), running stop signs (California Vehicle Code 22450(a)), violating pedestrian right-of-way (California Vehicle Code 21950(a)), failing to yield while 2 turning (California Vehicle Code 21801 (a), and speeding (California Vehicle Code 22350)…

See how that works? 21950 and 22350 are in there, but CVC violations on the part of pedestrians, like 21456, 21954, and 21955 have been omitted from the list.

Is the official “Focus on the Five” about pedestrian safety or “pedestrian rights?”

I’m thinking it’s about pedestrian rights, like the right to jaywalk, that kind of thing.

Is SFGov serious about SF Vision Zero 2024, a “program” that has the goal of ending all transportation deaths in San Francisco long after all the pols who voted for it have termed out?

Well, how can it be if it’s afraid to enforce traffic laws for political reasons?

If you want safety for pedestrians, wouldn’t you want them to be afraid of getting cited for jaywalking?

No? All right, well then keep on doing what you’re doing, but you’ll never ever achieve Vision Zero 2024 the way you’re going about it, SFGov.

Spot the Cyclist – It’s Hard – Fell Street at Night

Monday, August 25th, 2014

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to have a rear light to ride your bike around at night. But you do need to have some kind of reflector, which this cyclist doesn’t have, as you can see, if you can see him:

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If this bike had the rear reflectors that most bikes are sold with these days, then I’d have seen them in this situation, oh well.

Anyway, this is what it looks like at night when you have no rear bike light and no reflectors…

Introducing the “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco – What It’s Like to Ride an Amphibious Vehicle on the Bay

Monday, July 14th, 2014

IMO, writer Tony Hicks has got things spot-on right here in the San Jose Mercury News:

Taking the Kids: Quacking up and around the city by the bay

I just took the media cruise for the new-ish “Sunset Duck Tour” from Ride the Ducks San Francisco - it starts at 7:30 PM.

Here’s Captain John:

Quacking away with people in another duck boat while passing by:

So that’s how things start in Fisherman’s Wharf. Then you begin a circuitous trip to the launch ramps down south of AT&T Park. I’ve never been up so high in an open vehicle, so this was a new experience, kind of like what I imagine the “hop-on hop-off” city bus tours are like.

So off you go, past the working part of Fisherman’s Wharf…

…past the Gary Danko (perennial No. 1 in the Bay Area for “Food, Service and Popularity” per Zagat)…

…through North Beach and on to Chinatown, where you look down upon the #30 Stocktons as you pass them by…

…and then through the tunnel to Union Square and then through SoMA to the launch area.

I gotta say that that was the touristy part of the tour, so check out Beth Spotswood’s take on that in the Tourist Trapped Culture Blog of the San Francisco Chronicle’s SFGate.com if you want more on that.

So finally you get to launch – it looks like this:

And then you’re slowly cruising the bay, albeit near to shore for the most part.

This was the late-starting 7:30 PM sunset cruise so things were getting darker as we made our way past AT&T Park:

You might catch a little spray from the bay but most likely you won’t.

This riding-on-the-water part in a military-style vehicle with not all that much freeboard is an experience – I recommend it.

Then after puttering around on the water, you drive out of the water to take the Embarcadero back to the Wharf.

Looking back at the Bay Bridge through Doris and Don Fisher’s Cupid’s Span skate park / tourist hiking platform – plenty of oohs and ahs at this point here:

Interacting with happy passersby on the way home…

…while zipping past the historic F-Market streetcars:

These ducks look somewhat menacing at night, huh?

And there’s your trip:

So, you need to show up at least 15 minutes early to keep your reservation, I think.

And this tour can get quite cold and windy, needless to say.

If you want to see some more photos, there are some good ones on Yelp.

This was a great experience – I think it’d be good for tourists and locals alike.

 

The Craziest Bicycle I’ve Ever Seen in San Francisco: The Fortune Hanebrink All-Terrain Bike – Ride It to the South Pole

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

This is one of them “ice bikes” from Fortune Hanebrink.

Or something.

Use it to tow your sledge to the South Pole.

As seen a few years back in the Western Addition:

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All the deets:

“Engineered and handcrafted 8000 ft above sea level in Big Bear Lake, California, HANEBRINK Electric All-Terrain vehicles are the confluence of ingenuity, ecology, and luxury. The capabilities of the HANEBRINK are as limitless as your own sense of adventure; as a commuter vehicle, it is smooth and dynamic.

Nearly 10 years ago, national champion cyclist, bicycle innovator, and NASA aerospace engineer, Dan Hanebrink was approached by an Arctic explorer looking for an alternative to skis that could take him and his equipment across the icy terrain of Antarctica. Hanebrink created a bicycle unlike anything ever built before. The original “Ice Bike” by HANEBRINK had no plastic parts and used superfat, low-pressure tires that devoured all surfaces in all conditions silently and effortlessly. Today, our drive to create innovative outdoor recreational vehicles continues and is reflected in our mission to satisfy and serve the adventurous worldwide.

The HANEBRINK Electric All-Terrain Vehicle is the evolution of the original, revolutionary HANEBRINK design, combining state-of-the art green technology with an on-demand hybrid electric system and the latest in bicycle technology. Crank the throttle and the 600 watt motor powers the HANEBRINK to speeds up to 20 mph. If you want to go faster, just start pedaling.

Three design features help the HANEBRINK achieve outstanding on and off-road performance.

• The widest tires in the industry. The 20 x 8 inch tires radically increase the surface area where rubber meets road for enhanced stability at all speeds, added traction on rough terrain, and unprecedented float on sand and snow.

• A mid-mounted, bracket supported motor optimizes the vehicle’s center of gravity beneath the rider and enables tight turns, rapid weight shifting, and provides more stability.

• 14 speed gearing tuned for a wide variety of surfaces, grades, and utility applications including a low range capable of carrying up to 300 pounds of bulky cargo up steep terrain or deep into inaccessible areas.

With a single Lithium ion battery (LiFePO4), the HANEBRINK has a one hour run time and three hour recharge. For longer excursions, the rear rack can be fitted with up to five lithium ion batteries, a run time of over 5 hours and more than 100 miles of riding. The wide rear rack is standard HANEBRINK equipment and can hold up to 100 pounds of cargo.

The HANEBRINK can truly go anywhere on the planet while maintaining minimal environmental impact and zero-carbon emissions. Where can you go with one?”

Judgment Day is Nigh: Signs for the “Oversize Vehicle Overnight Parking Restriction Pilot” Have Been Posted

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

I don’t actually know if they’re enforcing the new RV parking restrictions in the Panhandle part of Golden Gate Park yet, but here are the brand-new signs, anyway:

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Of course, 22 feet is pretty long – that’s enough to cover your Ford Excursions, your Chevy Suburbans and even your Maybach 62‘s. And seven feet is pretty high, so the rules seem fair enough if the goal is to kick the RV liveaboards out of the Panhandle.

But I haven’t heard or seen any RVs getting the heave-ho yet…

Coming to Your Neighborhood Soon: Giant RV’s! – Chased Away From Certain SF Streets – Overnight Parking Whac-A-Mole

Friday, February 7th, 2014

So SFGov is banning RV’s from parking overnight on certain streets, but people are worried that the RVers will just set up camp a block or so away.

We’ll see how it goes.

But you might need to prepare yourself for more of this:

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January 31st is RV Judgment Day in San Francisco – Just Look at All the Places You Won’t be Able to Sleep Over Anymore

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

Wow, the SFMTA certainly seems to know where you all are parking your RV’s for overnight stays on the streets of San Francisco.

Just look:

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You’ll have to find new places to park pretty soon. (I can already guess at the new places where all the urban campers are going to go.)

Here’s the reaction from The Richmond District Blog.

And here’s the gritty nitty from the SFMTA itself – Oversize Vehicle Overnight Parking Restriction Pilot Evaluation and Recommendations

All the deets:

“CITY and COUNTY of SAN FRANCISCO
SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL TRANSPORTATION AGENCY
Order # 5216
FOR PUBLIC HEARING
The Sustainable Streets Division of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will hold a public hearing on Friday, January 31, 2014, at 10:00 AM, in Room 416 (Hearing Room 4), City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, San Francisco, CA 94102, to consider the following proposals:

ESTABLISH – OVERSIZE VEHICLE RESTRICTION (NO PARKING, MIDNIGHT TO 6 AM, DAILY, FOR VEHICLES MORE THAN 7 FEET TALL OR 22 FEET LONG)

A. Sunset District
37th Avenue, west side, between Ortega Street and Rivera Street
39th Avenue, east side, between Quintara Street and Rivera Street
41st Avenue, east side, between Ortega Street and Quintara Street
Lakeshore Drive, both sides, between Lake Merced Boulevard and Sloat Boulevard
Lincoln Way, south side, between 36th Avenue and 37th Avenue
Ortega Street, south side, between 37th Avenue and 41st Avenue
Quintara Street, north side, between 39th Avenue and 40th Avenue
Quintara Street, both sides, between 40th Avenue and 41st Avenue
Rivera Street, north side, between 37th Avenue and 39th Avenue
Junipero Serra Boulevard, both sides, between Portola Drive and 19th Avenue

B. Mission District
15th Street, south side, between Folsom Street and Harrison Street
16th Street, both sides, between Harrison Street and Potrero Avenue
17th Street, both sides, between Harrison Street and Potrero Avenue
17th Street, both sides, between Folsom and Harrison Streets
18th Street, both sides, between Harrison Street and Potrero Avenue
18th Street, south side, between Church Street and Dolores Street
20th Street, north side, between Church Street and Dolores Street
Alabama Street, both sides, between 19th Street and 20th Street
Dolores Street, west side, between 18th Street and 20th Street
Harrison Street, both sides, between 16th Street and 18th Street
Florida Street, both sides, between 16th Street and 20th Street
Folsom Street, east side, between 15th Street and 16th Street
Treat Avenue, both sides, between 16th Street and 18th Street

C. Haight/Panhandle Neighborhoods
Baker Street, west side, between Fell Street and Oak Street
Fell Street, south side, between Baker Street and Stanyan Street
Oak Street, north side, between Baker Street and Stanyan Street

D. Potrero Hill Area
15th Street, both sides, between Vermont Street and San Bruno Avenue
17th Street, both sides, between Mississippi Street and De Haro Street
Alameda Street, both sides, between Bryant Street and Vermont Street
Arkansas Street, both sides, between 16th Street and Mariposa Street
Carolina Street, both sides, between 16th Street and Mariposa Street
Connecticut Street, both sides, between 16th Street and 17tStreet
Division Street, both sides, between 9th Street and Dore Street
Mariposa St, north side, between Carolina and Arkansas Street
Missouri Street, both sides, between 16th Street and Mariposa Street
San Bruno Avenue, both sides, between Mariposa and Division Street
Texas Street, both sides, between 17th Street and Mariposa Street
Wisconsin Street, both sides, between 16th Street and 17th Street

E. Bernal Heights
Appleton Avenue, north side, between Holly Park Circle and Patton Street
Elsie Street, west side, between Holly Park Circle and Santa Marina Street
Holly Park Circle, park side (park perimeter)

F. Western Addition
Post Street, north side, between Scott Street and Steiner Street

G. Excelsior / Outer Mission
Alemany Boulevard, east side, between Onondaga Avenue and Seneca Avenue
Alemany Boulevard, both sides, between Naglee Avenue and Lawrence Avenue
Edinburgh Street, west side, between Persia Avenue and Russia Avenue
Geneva Avenue, north side, between Moscow Street and Brookdale Avenue
Madrid Street, east side, between Persia Avenue and Russia Avenue
Moscow Street, east side, between France Avenue and Geneva Avenue
Russia Avenue, north side, between Edinburg Avenue and Madrid Avenue

H. Richmond
Clement Street, north side, between 33rd Avenue and 45th Avenue
Clement Street, south side, between 36th Avenue and 38th Avenue

I. Southeast / Dogpatch
Illinois Street, both sides, between 16th Street and 24th Street
Innes Avenue, both sides, between Arelious Walker Drive and Donahue Street
Minnesota Street, both sides, between 23rd Street and 25th Street
Tennessee Street, both sides, between Tubbs Street and 25th Street
19th Street, both sides, between Indiana Street and 3rd St
23rd Street, both sides, between Indiana Street and 3rd Street
24th Street, both sides, between Minnesota Street and eastern terminus (Warm Water
Cove)

When You Gas Up Your Car You Use Dirty Fuel, But What About PG&E? Presenting the “CleanFuel Fleet”

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

You see, the dirty gas put into this Chevy Volt magically becomes CleanFuel because PG&E says so:

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OK fine.