Monday, July 27, 2009

Say what???

I was running around on my bicycle doing errands today when I encountered a caravan of cars in the bus stop on California Street at Presidio, right in front of the Jewish Community Center. The cars were preventing buses from pulling up to the curb and blocking the curb ramp -- you can see the textured yellow curb ramp surface and the hand of one person who was forced to walk around the back of the vehicle in the rear.

I stepped out into the road and took pictures of the queue ...

And then stepped into the bus stop itself, forcing the oncoming cars into the proper lane so that the Number 4 Sutter could actually pull up into the bus stop ...

And pick up and discharge passengers ...

The Number 1 California, some of the Number 1 express buses, and the Number 2 Clement, all use this stop as well as the Number 4. And apparently Loomis armored trucks also use it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

What's Wrong With This Picture?

What's wrong with this picture?
Taken on Friday, July 24, at about 5:30 pm, at the intersection of New Montgomery and Market streets in San Francisco.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Parking in the Red Zone

People frequently pull into the red zone on Geary Boulevard at 19th Avenue, park, and run into the Starbucks/Wells Fargo to get a Mocha Grande (or whatever those things are) and/or complete a bank transaction.

But parking in red zones at the intersection of streets is illegal -- and with good reason. Cars backing out of this particular red zone back right into oncoming north bound cars on 19th Avenue that are making right turns onto Geary and into the path of crossing pedestrians.

The woman who had parked this SUV in this red zone was none too happy when she noticed me taking pictures. I explained to her the dangers posed to pedestrians by cars parked in red zones at intersections and expressed my desire for a bulb out at this particular intersection. She, in turn, groused about the insufficient parking in the neighborhood. I told her I hoped that people would start walking or riding their bicycles more. She said she biked when she could but that she ferried around five people -- the oldest of whom was 82 and the youngest of whom was five.

And she's got a point except for two matters: one, in this particular instance she was the only passenger of her vehicle; and, two, what are she and people like her going to do when our way of life, dependent as it now is on vehicles to ferry us around, is no longer financially or environmentally sustainable?

Oh yeah, I forgot, cars will be the affordable housing of the future ...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bus Stops Are for ...

Talking on cell phones?
Queuing up to cross the Bay Bridge? (Notice bus creeping up in back.)
This woman harangued me for taking pictures of the cars in the bus stop. Imagine that!
One thing bus stops certainly are NOT for is buses pulling up to the curb to pick up passengers.

I'm taking a free painting course at the Academy of Art on Federal Street in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoons. I take the T-line from my work to the ball park and then walk up Second Street to the class. And I invariably leave early (because of my work schedule) which gets me out at the so-called 'bus stop' -- at the intersection of Second and Bryant streets in the city's District 6 -- during rush hour. There were two of us waiting the first time I went out, and both of us had to inch through on-coming traffic to get to the Number 10 Townsend Bus to go to the Transbay Terminal and make our connections.

The second time I had to do this, I figured I could walk. But I didn't. Instead I got my camera out and took pictures of cars lining up in the bus stop -- and then stepped right into the bus stop and took more. (Someone called out to me from his car, "Everyone does this.")

The bus driver, who saw me clicking away as I made my way into on-coming traffic to clamber onto his bus, chewed me out when I got on the bus, but later I told him I intended to say something to the District Six supervisor, and the bus driver and I had a quite nice conversation.

And I will say something (though Proposition A, which got passed by the voters in 2007, takes district supervisors out of the loop when it comes to traffic, transit, and parking decisions) because there is a potential lawsuit against the city in the mess at this particular bus stop. And if there is no potential lawsuit against the city at this bus stop, there is certainly something else: a gold mine for the cash-strapped SF MTA.

Let the ticketing begin!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

About Those Curb Ramps ...

I recently wrote a story for SF Streetsblog about some sloppy curb ramp construction on Park Presidio in San Francisco. Someone later posted a comment asking if the curb ramps had ever been repaired, and the contractor himself posted a comment on the Streetsblog story saying his company would be doing the work within the next few days -- and it did, as you can see by the above photograph and two below.

But then I stumbled across this curb-ramp obstruction scene on Tuesday afternoon in downtown San Francisco:

The woman driving this sports car had pulled up in front of the curb ramp off of New Montgomery and just sort of sat there ...

And then she got on her cell phone and started chatting. In the meantime, pedestrians were walking around her car.