How the Supercomputer in Our Pockets Can Help With Road Redesign

By Ryan McCauley : govtech – excerpt

Experimental red lanes on Mission Street were given the red carpet treatment without any repairs on the street. You can easily see the condition of the unpainted lane on the bottom right of the photo. The painted lanes are dangerous in the rain. Photo by Zrants.

This article appears to be written by people in an industry that spies on us by somehow accessing the data on how we drive and move about. Who authorized this use of our personal data? Who is keeping it and for how long and for what purposes?

Public perception may not be the most accurate measurement when assessing a project’s effectiveness. After a massive street redesign project, for instance, residents may complain that parking has been affected or traffic is now slower.

So getting large amounts of high-quality data to city planners so they can objectively judge a project’s true effectiveness is of the utmost importance. And the San Francisco Bay area’s increasing population has forced city officials to think about new ways to accommodate the influx — especially in San Francisco and Oakland, both of which have recently pursued “road diet” projects, which are essentially creating bus- and bike-only lanes to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians.

“Something I have been trying to emphasize with staff is the importance of collecting data and talking about performance,” said Jeff Tumlin, interim director of the Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT), which formed last summer, and was charged with improving mobility in the rapidly growing city while aligning transportation projects with the city’s values on equity…

Traditionally, the SFMTA would rely on collision data and count the amount of vehicles that would pass through intersections to judge how traffic and safety has improved. Through the Zendrive software, which works in the background and measures rapid acceleration, hard braking, phone usage and excessive speeding, the company can measure the behavior of specific drivers and understand where problem areas are.

The company released a report that analyzed more than 1 million miles of driver data on the Mission Street corridor before, during and after the construction. By tracking the data in individual vehicles, the SFMTA was able to recognize exactly where and how the project improved congestion…(more)

Anyone who doubts the true purpose of the road diets can read the words of Jeff Tumlin (a consultant for SFMTA who was fired by the city of Santa Monica for lying about his accomplishments here).

According to Tumlin, SFMTA is “creating bus-and bike-only lanes to alleviate congestion and create a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians. No word on how they are helping anyone who drives or takes public transit, because SFMTA wants us to bike or walk. They don’t have the capacity to carry more people on public transportation and they only seem to support corporate vehicles like privatized parking spaces for ride shares that they benefit from.

If you take the Muni, you are costing them money. They are not making any profit off of you. You should be biking or walking instead.

There are a few problems with this plan. We have an aging population that is not likely to ride or bike, that SFMTA is ignoring. They don’t think they need to cater to taxpayers because they are busy hiring lobbyists in Sacramento and Washington to circumvent local taxpayers. If you don’t like it you better support the next ballot initiative that removes their power.

Otherwise, get some walking shoes or prepare to stand on a crowded bus that may or may not get you where you need to go. Watch out for the potholes. SFMTA is too busy painting streets to repair them. Of course you can sue them if you fall and are injured, but who wants that.

If you don’t like the way the SFMTA operates, (even cyclists are mad about the condition Potrero is in and the huge barriers in the middle of the street that force them to cycle on Potrero), be sure to register your complaints with 311 and demand  your supervisors take actions. If potholes bother you, check out suggestions here: https://metermadness.wordpress.com/adopt-a-pothole/

If you feel creative you may want to follow in the steps of a Chicago mosaic artist who sees potholes as an empty canvases waiting to be filled.

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Muni takes steps to reduce surge in bus crashes

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt

Muni officials are taking steps to decrease the number of bus and light-rail collisions with private vehicles and objects on San Francisco streets.

During the last five months, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has seen a decrease in light-rail collisions. Bus collisions, though, are trending upward, according to data obtained from the transit agency by SFBay.

In February, the SFMTA reported that 113 buses either collided with another private vehicle or by hitting an object such as a pole or a transit shelter. In June, that number increased to 173 collisions, the SFMTA reports…

Some of the hotspots for vehicle collisions included Mission and Main streets, Fourth and Townsend streets, and along Third Street…

Check out the video on Third Street if you haven’t experienced it yet for yourself. This the worst, least safe street alteration we have seen. Try it in the rain for a real treat.

Buses Versus Fixed Objects

Objects such as poles and transit shelters are also getting in the way of Muni buses. Transit officials said they analyzed the data to find out where the most fixed object collisions occurred and to see with which objects Muni vehicles were likely to collide… (more)

The collisions wouldn’t have anything to do with the narrow lanes they are imposing on all the streets or the insane twists and turns they have introduced on all the formerly straight lanes with the insane idea that the streets would be “calmer” and safer for pedestrians because the “cars” would have to drive slower?  Someone should also inform the SFMTA geniuses that a certain percentage of the population is color blind so their pretty red and green streets look gray and mean nothing to those people. Maybe they should get some Muni drivers and emergency transit people involved in the street alterations since they are ones who have to drive on them. Don’t even get me started on the paint over potholes on Mission Street. There is only one answer to solving the problems described in this article. Fire the the people who are responsible and support the SFMTA Charter Amendment to bring some sanity into this insane department. Get all the details on StopSFMTA.com

Remake Way For Tech Buses

By : sfweekly – excerpt

After 31 traffic-related deaths on San Francisco’s streets in 2014, Mayor Ed Lee set an ambitious goal of reducing traffic fatalities to zero by 2020.

To do that, city transit planners are reducing the width of streets, widening sidewalks, and making other pedestrian safety improvements, as they did at the intersection of Diamond and Bosworth streets — a major transit hub near the Glen Park BART station where three busy Muni lines as well as tech buses for Google, Yahoo, and Genentech load up daily — last year at a cost of $2.8 million.

But thanks to city engineers’ miscalculation, all that extra concrete had to be torn up and removed, because those new, safer streets were too narrow for Muni and — wait for it — tech buses to navigate.

The SFMTA discovered last fall that buses were either hitting the new median or couldn’t make the turn from Diamond onto Bosworth. The agency acknowledged in November that the median and sidewalk would need to be ripped up and rebuilt, but it knew before then trouble was ahead: Some locals noticed as early as May 2013 that the turn could be a problem, according to neighborhood newspaper Glen Park News.

“Given these warnings, I don’t understand why the city would have ignored them and proceeded with a plan that didn’t make any sense,” said resident Simona Agnolucci, who’s lived on Diamond Street for seven years. “I find it very troubling. It seems like a very basic calculation that should have happened.”

Supervisor Scott Wiener, whose district includes Glen Park, called the errors “incredibly unfortunate.” He’s adamant the SFMTA’s other work in the area, including the installation of traffic lights at two nearby intersections, won’t be compromised or canceled as a result of the mistake… (more)

Wow! The Supervisors and SFMTA have no problem fixing their mistakes when it comes to serving tech buses. They should be just as ready to fix their mistakes on Mission Street that have reeked havoc with the merchants and residents there.

It is as important to serve the needs of local San Francisco businesses and residents as it is to serve those in Silicon Valley.

Can the new 3-foot safety law be enforced?

 

The hope is that the Three Feet for Safety Act will make roads safer for cyclists. 

State Assm. Steven Bradford, D-Gardena, knows firsthand what it’s like to be hit on a bike.

“I’ve been hit three times by motorists that never once hit the brake after knocking me off the bike,” he said.

Bradford wrote the Three Feet for Safety Act hoping to make roads safer for cyclists.

“This bill just establishes a three foot buffer,” Bradford said. “If in fact it’s not safe to pass, the driver just has to slow down to a reasonable speed and then pass when the cyclist is deemed not in danger.”

Cyclists we talked to welcome the new law.

Many drivers, on the other hand, say the new rule is virtually impossible to follow, especially on crowded streets.

Some are concerned they might get dinged for a ticket, if a cyclist veers into that buffer zone. Drivers who break the law will get a $35 ticket, and if they hit a cyclist, the fine jumps to $225.

There are no fines for cyclists who get too close to cars.

ABC7 News wanted to show why a three-foot buffer may not work in a busy city such as San Francisco. So, we rigged a car with cameras, and noted the distance with a yardstick. Then we drove around the city. It was very difficult to stay 36 inches away from a bike and remain in our lane. Under the new law, we’d have to follow behind for blocks, and that could cause some serious traffic congestion.

Then we marked busy Market Street with chalk at one-foot increments to see how hard it would be to measure three feet. But without some kind of guide, it was tough to tell just how close a cyclist got to a car. So we wondered how could police would be able to tell?… (more)

We support the emergency responders who are requesting wider lanes. You can’t make the streets more narrow and then expect a 3 foot safety zone. If you want safer streets, keep the lanes wide to allow for 3 feet between vehicles in separate lanes. We also support a more balanced transportation system and are helping gather signatures for the Restore Transportation Balance ballet initiative. http://www.restorebalance14.org/