Almost every speed limit is too low

By Alex Mayyasi : qz – excerpt

“We all speed, yet months and months usually pass between us seeing a crash,” lieutenant Megge tells us when we call to discuss speed limits. “That tells me that most of us are adequate, safe, reasonable drivers. Speeding and traffic safety have a small correlation.”…

This “nationally recognized method” of setting the speed limit as the 85th percentile speed is essentially traffic engineering 101…

Luckily, there is some logic to the speed people choose other than the need for speed. The speed drivers choose is not based on laws or street signs, but the weather, number of intersections, presence of pedestrians and curves, and all the other information that factors into the principle, as lieutenant Megge puts it, that “no one I know who gets into their car wants to crash.”.

So if drivers disregard speed limits, why bother trying to set the “right” speed limit at all?…
This is important because, as noted in a US Department of Transportation report, “the potential for being involved in an accident is highest when traveling at speed much lower or much higher than the majority of motorists.” If every car sets its cruise control at the same speed, the odds of a fender bender happening is low. But when some cars drive 55 mph and others drive 85 mph, the odds of cars colliding increases dramatically. This is why getting slow drivers to stick to the right lane is so important to roadway safety; we generally focus on joyriders’ ability to cause accidents—and rightly so—but a car driving under the speed limit in the left (passing) lane of a highway is almost as dangerous.

Traffic engineers believe that the 85th percentile speed is the ideal speed limit because it leads to the least variability between driving speeds and therefore safer roads. When the speed limit is correctly set at the 85th percentile speed, the minority of drivers that do conscientiously follow speed limits are no longer driving much slower than the speed of traffic. The choice of the 85th percentile speed is a data-driven conclusion—as noted lieutenant Megge and speed limit resources like the Michigan State Police’s guide—that has been established by the consistent findings of years of traffic studies…

If people and politicians do want to reduce road speeds to improve safety, or make cities more pedestrian friendly, Megge says “there are a lot of other things you can do from an engineering standpoint.” Cities can reduce the number of lanes, change the parking situation, create wider bike paths, and so on. It’s more expensive, but unlike changing the number on a sign, it’s effective…

In its 1992 report, the US Department of Transportation cautioned, “Arbitrary, unrealistic, and nonuniform speed limits have created a socially acceptable disregard for speed limits.” Lieutenant Megge has worked on roads with a compliance rate of nearly 0%, and a common complaint among those given traffic citations is that they were speeding no more than anyone else. With higher speed limits, Megge says, police officers could focus their resources on what really matters: drunk drivers, people who don’t wear seat belts, drivers who run red lights, and, most importantly, the smaller number of drivers who actually speed at an unreasonable rate.

It seems counterintuitive, but it’s a formula Americans should love: Raise speed limits, make roads safer…

That parking ticket could be a scam

Got a parking ticket on your windshield, or a notice in the mail, when you thought you were parking legally? Investigate before you pay, said Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate and author of “How to be the World’s Smartest Traveler.”

A long-time scam involving fake parking tickets is revving up, thanks to cheap and sophisticated hand-held printers that can make fake tickets appear real. Elliott, who invites defrauded consumers to complain on his website, said numerous consumers have contacted him about suspicious tickets. Scam sites like Snopes and DefensiveDriving.com are also warning about fake citations… (more)

Good reason to stop more scams by opposing AB-342

Program Will Allow Homeless To Pay LA Parking Tickets With Community Service Instead Of Fines

cbsla – excerpt

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday approved a measure to allow homeless people to pay parking citations by performing community service rather than paying a fine.

Under the newly approved program, people who meet the federal definition of being homeless under Title 42 of the Public Health and Welfare Code can go into one of the city’s service provider agencies and apply to perform social services or community services instead of paying the citation fine… (more)

San Francisco just hired America’s first-ever ‘director of financial justice’ to get rid of fees that ‘unfairly punish’ a specific part of the population

 

: businessinsider.- excerpt

The city of San Francisco has hired the country’s “first-ever director of financial justice for a city,” reports The California Sunday Magazine in a short profile of the director, Anne Stuhldreher.

At her post, Stuhldreher will be tasked with determining “which government fines and fees unfairly punish the poor and middle class,” in San Francisco, according to Cal Sunday…

Stuhldreher will lead the Financial Justice Project, a new venture in conjunction with the San Francisco’s office of the treasurer and tax collector. It aims to reform the local and state governments’ purportedly harsh financial penalties for a range of infractions, from traffic tickets to criminal dues. The revenue generated from these fees and fines is used, in part, to balance public budgets.

According to Cal Sunday, if a traffic ticket goes unpaid for 20 days in San Francisco, the resident is subject to a $300 late fee that can wind up with a collections agency, potentially damaging their credit.

Further, the San Francisco Treasurer reports that “four million Californians — 14% percent of adults — have had their drivers’ licenses suspended because they can’t afford to pay traffic fines and fees.”

According to the project’s statistics, these debts and others become especially crippling to the financial lives of middle and lower-income residents.

But Stuhldreher’s efforts go beyond traffic fines. She’s also concerned with the burden the criminal justice system places on families who can’t afford to pay for a night in juvenile hall or for the cost of their electronic bracelet, for example. According to Cal Sunday, she’s studying whether a local system similar to that of some European countries, where fees are based on a person’s daily income, would work in San Francisco.

Check out the Financial Justice Project for more information, including profiles of San Franciscans who’ve been affected by the city’s steep fees…(more)

RELATED:
Read the full story at The California Sunday Magazine

The most popular part of this site if the ticket information. This is a huge problem for the people who live and work in San Francisco and the city has ignored it for too long. Hopefully this will help protect the people who are most at risk from these torturous programs. I expect this will be popular article.

 

 

 

Castro Merchants Talk Demand-Responsive Parking Meter Pricing, Set To Roll Out Citywide In 2017

by Shane Downing : hoodline – excerpt

Demand responsive pricing will come to Castro parking meters early next year.

Over the past few years, seven San Francisco neighborhoods have served as a testing ground for SFpark, an SFMTA-initiated project that adjusts parking meter prices based on the time of the day and the day of the week.

Originally piloted with 25 percent of the city’s parking meters, SFpark’s demand-responsive pricing will roll out to the rest of San Francisco’s parking meters early next year—including in the Castro.

Parking is a product like anything else, and some spots are more valuable than others,” SFMTA parking policy manager Hank Willson told the Castro Merchants at a meeting this month. He argued that if people know where parking is available and how much they can expect to pay before they pull out of their driveways, it will reduce the amount of circling and unsafe driving practices…

According to SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose, the pilot program was a success. It decreased parking search time by 43 percent, and average meter and garage rates actually went down, by 11 cents and 42 cents an hour, respectively.

SFMTA says the program also helps businesses sell more, because potential customers are able to find a place to park. Between 2010 and 2013, sales tax revenues for businesses in non-SFpark areas increased 20 percent, but in SFpark neighborhoods, they went up by more than 35 percent, indicating that consumers were spending more in those neighborhoods…

Which neighborhoods saw the increase is revenue? Were they neighborhoods that did not receive the complete streets treatment? Did they get the full treatment of parking and traffic lane reductions or did they just the meters?

Another Castro merchant was curious as to how people are supposed to look up parking prices on the SFpark app while also driving and (hopefully) searching safely for a spot…

Are these people nuts or do they think we are? If the price changes all the time how will you know how much you are going to pay and what has this got to do with parking availability? These people are nuts.

The idea that you will drive a block further for cheaper parking is crazy because you can’t tell how much the parking is until you park and get out to look at the meter, even then, you don’t know until you start feeding it.

 

 

 

New Marina Parking Restrictions Targeting Car-Dwellers Upset Homeless Activists

: sfist – excerpt

Another in a long line of SFMTA measures restricting large vehicles from parking overnight on certain San Francisco streets was approved on Tuesday, this time focusing on the Marina. The Examiner reports that the rules, which effect vehicles over 22 feet long and 7 feet tall, are specifically designed to address a safety hazard some residents allege is caused by people living in their cars.

The ban prohibits parking on specific Marina streets from 12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., and has homeless activists crying foul. “We are very concerned about the possibility of expanding this failed strategy,” the Coalition on Homelessness’s Kelley Cutler told the paper…

Perhaps in response to those criticisms, the SFMTA is now floating a scaled down version of an idea first proposed earlier this year by then “homeless czar” Sam Dodge. SFMTA senior analyst Andy Thornley told the Ex that one possible solution to the perceived problem of people living in cars would be to identify vacant lots and allow parking overnight in those spaces. However, in Thornley’s mind, each morning the RVs would need to head back out on the streets to find parking for the day — likely an extremely time consuming affair as anyone who has every tried to park a truck in the city can attest.

At this point Thornley’s idea is just that, an idea, and no apparent moves are being made to make it a reality. Interestingly, however, this may be the last new ban on overnight parking we see for a while. Gwyneth Borden, who sits on the SFMTA board of directors, said that she will not approve any additional overnight restrictions. “We won’t be entertaining these issues in the future,” she said — words which might allow some RV-dwellers to sleep just a little bit easier…(more )

RELATED:
Banned From Numerous SF Streets, Homeless Czar Now Wants RV Park For Homeless Vehicle-Dwellers

Woman alleges SF painted new red zone where her car was parked, then issued ticket

sfexaminer – excerpt (includes photo)

Most San Francisco drivers have a painful parking story to tell. But one woman’s parking complaint takes the cake.

Becca Derenthal, a San Francisco resident, alleges The City painted a red zone where her car was parked at Lombard and Franklin streets in July — then ticketed her for parking in that new red zone.

Derenthal said she went out of town for business and, before she left, “found a parking spot that was not painted red at the time and would allow me to park there until I returned without running into any street cleaning issues.”

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency confirmed Derenthal was ticketed under transportation code 7.2.25, a red zone violation.

SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said the curb was painted in July. “We have records going back to July saying [the curb] was red.” He added, however, “Our policy is not to cite someone at a newly painted red curb.”… (more)

No wonder people hate the SFMTA so much.

Sunset Tunnel’s crumbling interior may end $19 million renovation

The cost of building San Francisco’s Sunset Tunnel has just grown by $3 million more, after the discovery of a crumbling interior inside the tunnel has the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency doling out even more money to see if the project is salvageable.

The Sunset Tunnel tracks for the N-Line were built in 1928 and are now used for the city’s N-Judah light-rail vehicles.

A report from the SFMTA has found that the during the tunnel’s renovation last winter, the conduit began to crumble and exposed “live feeder cables,” adding that there is a “high probability of hidden damages” that might cause the Muni to stop operating in the location for good… (more)

Looks like SFMTA has more important things to do than they can keep track of. Why are they spending money on Red Lanes and BRTs when they need to shore up tunnels and bridges? It boggles the mind sometimes where the priorities lie. If they can’t take care of this problem a lot more people will start driving again.

‘Meter Maid Monitor’ aims to help SF users avoid parking tickets

By Alyssa Pereira : sfgate – excerpt

A crafty new invention created by Castro resident John Naulty, which premiered at TechCrunch Disrupt this week, is aiming to subvert the authority of the ticket-writing parking officials in San Francisco.

Called “Meter Maid Monitor,” it tackles a common hassle of many local residents: the requirement to move one’s car every two hours in many San Francisco neighborhoods. The program utilizes Raspberry Pi and its Pi Camera module along with OpenCV, operating as a motion detector… (more)

Everyone complains about the high cost of parking tickets. Supervisor Kim wants to investigate how the cost analysis is done to determine cost recovery. Avoiding the tickets is the best solution.

RELATED:
Meter Maid Monitor fixes the most San Francisco problem ever

Patent for “Parking Meter with Contactless Payment” Awarded to MacKay Meters

By Marketwired : sys-con – excerpt

GLASGOW, NOVA SCOTIA — (Marketwired) — 08/15/16 — J.J. MacKay Canada Limited (MacKay Meters), a recognized world leader in the manufacturing and development of parking control products, continues to strengthen its Intellectual Property portfolio with the issuance of U.S. Patent Number 9,406,056 titled “Parking Meter with Contactless Payment”, on August 2, 2016.

This new US patent relates to parking meters and in particular, to parking meters having contactless payment options and follows closely behind two Canadian patents (CA 2,773,250 and CA 2,870,544) issued on June 28, 2016 that also relate to parking meters with contactless payment. The above noted patents represent just a small portion of MacKay’s extensive Patent/IP portfolio which includes utility patents, patent applications, design patents, and industrial design registrations, and trademarks filed in the USA, Canada and internationally… (more)