Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Wiggle Safety Upgrades Delayed Because Cars Can't be Everywhere

Car traffic wouldn't be allowed to go through one half of one street in all of San Francisco?  This is absolutely insane!
image found here.
The Wiggle, a patchwork of bike sharrows on pavement weaving through fast car traffic & parked cars has been around for quite some time.  The only reason why someone on a bike would take this route is because it's geographically convenient, and not because the city makes it any easier to ride through it safely. In an effort to remedy this issue, the SFMTA started the long arduous process of making some changes to the street to accomodate the thousands of people that walk and bike through the area every day.

According to Streetsblog, "A major feature of the planned Wiggle upgrades is a large sidewalk bulb-out which would physically block drivers from entering southbound Scott at Fell Street. That would reduce the car traffic on Scott, which runs one block parallel to Divisadero, that degrades the livability of the neighborhood and congests the intersection at Haight." The other part of the plan would divert traffic on Divisidero Street from taking a left turns onto Haigh Street.  After two years of planning, community input, the project was halted because a few merchants who weren't paying attention started screaming at the 11th hour.

Stop a car from doing a car thing?  Are you insane?  Leave the deterring to pedestrians and cyclists thankyouverymuch.
Image found here.
SFMTA's timeline is very similar to other projects that have gone through copeous amounts of community input, engineering and planning, then squelched by a few car loving merchants.  The Polk Street bike plan was changed at the 11th hour to accommodate the Mayor's Optometrist's desire for side car storage.  The Oak/Fell bike lanes were delayed to add more magical free parking on SF Streets.  Removing 57 parking spaces from a pedestrian and bike path in the Marina was also delayed so the Parks & Rec department could fullfill their clear duty to preserve as much car storage as possible.  This even works for coffee shop owners who want to keep two bus stops on the same block for their own personal gain. 

The SFMTA claims this was part of their timeline all along and part of the natural SF process:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013, 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm

Wednesday, August 28, 2013, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Wednesday, January 22, 2014, 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Friday, January 17, 2014, 5:59 pm

Friday, March 20, 2015, 6:06 pm

Monday, March 23, 2015, 7:00 pm

Friday, April 3, 2015, 10:00 am
The LoHaMNA (Lower Haight Neighbors and Merchants Association) sounded the 11th hour alarm after they heard that a vehicle wouldn't have unfettered access to all the streets of San Francisco.  A few equally important and long winded acryonym groups then followed suit. 

The PfCoESoSF (People for Cars on Every Street of San Francisco) and MWaAfSbKECT(Merchants Who are All for Safety but Keep Every Car Thing) all have voiced their concern and distain over this safety project that's been years in the making.
It's pefectly fine to limit pedestrians and bikers, but by no means can you limit a motorist's right to drive on any street, ever.
One MWaAfSbKECT member said, "Look, it's ok to demolish entire communities for city stroads like Geary Boulevard, place parking on every street in the city, but you can't ever divert traffic off any of them.  It's just assinine."  When asked about the safety benefits of having fewer cars on the roads near pedestrians and bikers, they just stared blankly for a few seconds and then proceeded to discuss much needed parking and traffic lanes.  He also went on to say, "and just think what could happen if people get this ridiculous idea that a car doesn't belong everywhere?"

Building areas like Masonic & Geary that cater exclusively to cars is fine.  Diverting traffic off one street in SF is absolutely forbidden.  Ask any merchant aka "traffic engineer".
The SFMTA expects to come back with a watered down, visionless Wiggle design sometime in June. 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Golden Gate Park(ing) - Refuge for the Weary Motorist

Don't let all the green fool you.  Golden Gate was built for cars, not stupid pedestrians & bikers.
Have you ever been in San Francisco and found yourself tired of pedestrians having the right of way with clearly marked crosswalks?  Have you thought to yourself, "why can't there be a place for me and my car without all those stupid bike lanes?"  Well boy do I have a place you will love.  It's called Golden Gate Park and once you step wheel into it you'll immediately realize it's built on a cartopian dream that takes nature and collides it with the convenience of vehicles.  It was meticulously designed to make anyone who walks or bikes in it feel like a Grade A loser. Here are a few highlights:

#1 - Pedestrians Don't Matter!

Secret pedestrian crossings are everywhere in GG Park. They may be in the form of faded paint, obstructed signs, or simply unmarked crossings with none in sight! 
Sure, there are some trails through Golden Gate Parking, but you'll notice bipetal movement of any kind simply does not matter and is often shunned by the street design.  Golden Gate Park has gone to great lengths to hide pedestrian crossings to the point where you could walk thousands of yards and wonder where you should cross!  It's just another way of saying, "get in a car, dummy."

Other pedestrian crossing areas are nestled in between lush obstructed landscapes around cars going at least 25 miles per hour.  What better way to say "why aren't you in a car like a normal person?"
#2 - Bikes Have Plenty of Places to Not Belong

Don't let Google fool you dear motorist, I highlighted the areas where there are bike lanes. Google foolishly assumes you can bike on some of the trails but you'll see the park signeage says otherwise. 
There was so much frustration and pushback on any kind of bike lanes on even a small amount of the stroads in an the urban park, that bikers will be hard pressed to find any coherent bike path of any kind.
 Don't worry about bike lanes.  They are either wedged between parked cars or near speeding traffic!  Yay Cars!
And if it's not amazing enough that there are barely any noteable bike lanes in Golden Gate Park my dear motorists, it gets even better!  There are literally dozens of places that bikes DON'T belong in Golden Gate Park! You were wrong about those bike paths, Google, so very wrong.

Golden Gate Park knows that, for some stupid reason, some people actually want to bike in a park.  Fear not!  They know enough to ban bikers, but not build bike lanes. 
A few idiot bikers trying to get through glorious cross park motor traffic.  
Anyone who bikes around Golden Gate Park will soon understand they are not welcomed.  Every now and then you'll see a pesky faded bike sharrow or two, but don't let that dissuade you my friends. As you motor your way thru you'll understand that you're the king of this urban park.  When street lanes get wide enough you'll be able to store your car on them, I guarantee.

Every now and then you'll see a faded bike sharrow between a speeding & parked car.  
#3 - You can Park Virtually Anywhere!

There are so many places to park your car!  You may find a little gem of a parking lot here and there, but rest assured if there's a side of  something, you're allowed to park there, even if it's in the middle of two crosswalks!
In the magical motor land of Golden Gate Park, asphalt is practically begging you to stop on it.  All throughout the park you'll find varying species of parking, from the marked signs, unmarked areas, down to little nooks and crannies stuffed with hordes of cars.  And the best part about it is that you'll never have to pay a dime to park there.  Unlike other urban parks, the streets are free to store your car on for hours on end.

The best part is unlike most urban parks, you don't have to pay a thing to park!  You're apparently limited to 4 hours of parking in the same location, but do you think anyone checks?  Doubtful!
Even though it's a park that's heavy with pedestrians and some foolish bikers, you're still more than welcome to go the posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour (but who really goes that slow?)  There are tons of thru-fares and even a freeway like Highway 1 in this very park.  Despite the fact that people with children and elderly people stroll through this park, you'll never be forced to drive elderly center & school zone speeds. 

Doesn't matter where you're going in Golden Gate Park.  Rest assured that no matter how many pedestrians and bikers are around you're well within your rights to go 25 miles per hour.  Save the slow driving for elderly centers & schools, where you're legally obligated to restrain yourself. 
#4 Golden Gate Park has an Underutilized Underground Parking Shrine

Underneath the Science Academy lies a testament to parking.  There you can drive all around to your heart's content and look for just the right spot.  Keep in mind, though, you would actually have to pay for parking down there, and then use your legs like a sucker to get to other parts of the park.  You might want to just drive thru this glorious parking jewel and take some pictures of the hundreds of unused spaces like I did.

There is a huge underground parking structure below the Science Acadamy but don't worry you'll never have to park down there.  Since parking is ~everywhere~ in Golden Gate Park and it's free, why bother?
So if you're looking to leave the trappings of city life in your car, enjoy nature, but never use your legs like a sucker" Golden Gate Park is just the place for you.  It's truly a majestic park designed for the almighty vehicle.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 11, 2015

MTA Pilots Humaniti ® Technology on City Streets

Metro Transit Authorities have long tried to curb the tide of death and dismemberment on the roads with paint, blinking lights, and cement to no avail.  Citing over 30,000 deaths a year, mostly due to driver neglect, the MTA has looked for options that instill some form of humanity in the hearts and minds of motorists.  One Silicon Valley based startup, founded by Stan Arguile, may have just the solution to the city's Vision Zero goals.  It's called Humaniti ® and so far the results have been nothing short of remarkable.

The Humaniti ® system can cover 3 square miles and interact with over 3000 heartless motorists at any given time.
With Stan's system, motorists experience feelings of humanity while driving through the city.  For instance, when a motorists runs a red light they might see their grandmother being utterly destroyed by their very own car.  Sometimes people speeding or texting will see their children running to get a ball and find themselves utterly shaken.   The system is smart enough to even detect motorists in the crosswalks and experience the annoyance and danger they would be feeling if they were walking. Stan said it even can recognize annoyances like people on extremely loud motorcycles.  "I've seen several guys on motorcycles turn off the road screaming 'holy shit I'm a total asshole!'"

Cheryl, after taking a sharp right turn past some pedestrians, experiences what it would be like to run over her beloved puppy in such a haste.
image found here.
When asked what happens to licensed motorists completely devoid of any humanity at all , Stan replied, "motorist sociopaths typically experience feelings of their own bones cracking or being thrown across the street to the side of the road.  The Humaniti ® system will try out all sorts of scenarios until it senses the user emotionally reacts to the crime they're committing."  He also noted that, "jackwagons laying on the horn have been reduced 94%."  

Lenny McClayton, sneers at the "F*cking box that makes me feel feelings"
image found here.
Humaniti ® has been piloted in several cities with remarcable results.  Vehicle collisions have gone down 75% since their installation.  The City of San Francisco saw a huge drop in car ridership and a 250% increase in public transit, walking and cycling.  But it has not been without its critics. Motorists have expressed frustration with the new system and they've been asking for higher penalities and even jail time to avoid having to feel the anxiety of driving a two ton vehicle at high velocities in a pedestrian rich environment.  "Just give me a ticket or something I can't deal with the potential consequences of my choice to drive my car on the road " one teary eyed motorists explained.

"The Humanit ® system will find anything to distract the driver from the confines of their vehicle and convince them they're still a part of humanity."
Not only has Stan experienced some criticism, but he's also had several Humaniti ® systems destroyed by neighborhoods that just couldn't deal with the potential consequences they might have due to their own reckless behavior.  Stan said this will not stop him, but he might make some tweaks to Humaniti 2.0 ®.  "We've been toying with the idea of having the system reward people with a shot of serotonin for driving like decent human beings.  You know, the ones that put the lives of others ahead of their own time and convenience?"