Eyes on the Street: Traffic Stop for Violating Trial Diversion Zone

traffic_stop_small.jpgA cautionary tale about violating the personal vehicle diversion on Market Street. Photo: Matthew Roth.

As I was riding my bicycle on Market Street to City Hall yesterday, I saw another SFPD sting for vehicles violating the mandatory personal vehicle diversion on Market Street north of 10th Street.

I was stopped at Van Ness waiting for the light to change with a gray Mitsubishi to my left. When the light changed the driver and three others proceeded forward as I negotiated my space leading up to the protected green bike lane starting at 11th. The driver of the Mitsubishi started toward the mandatory turn lane, then made a last-second merge back to the left and into the bus and taxi lane. 

Not an uncommon sight, in my experience, as I’ve witnessed numerous drivers ignore the signs at the last second to avoid the mandatory turn. The Mitsubishi stopped half a block in front of me at the red light and as I neared him, I was of half a mind to warn him he could get a ticket for violating the lane.

Rather than get into it with him, though, I simply rode by and proceeded through the light at 10th when it turned green. To my (I have to admit pleasant) surprise, there was an SFPD motorcycle cop positioned by the Muni island near 9th and Market who immediately signaled to the driver to pull over (into the bike lane) to get his ticket.

After taking several pictures of the moment, I rode past the officer, who gave me a knowing smile and asked how my day was. Good I said, and thanked him for making it safer.

Several weeks ago I witnessed another officer stopped here with a patrol
car, issuing tickets to drivers who violated the diversions. He said he was letting some drivers off with a warning if they were clearly not from San Francisco and he seemed to think the message was getting across.

Although the SFPD Public Affairs office has told Streetsblog there is no special enforcement
blitz, nor are they keeping track of the tickets as part of the
diversion, this seems to be a fairly regular occurrence. Anyone
else have a similar experience? 

market_street_cop_2.jpgSeveral weeks ago, another officer was making stops. Photo: Matthew Roth
  • Yangmusa

    I see cops pulling people over every now and then. When they use a squad car, they often block the entire right hand lane – the culprit parks in the bike lane, and the police in the travel lane. Cyclists have to go up on the sidewalk to get around. Quite inconsiderate, and IMHO unnecessary.

  • Sam

    Obviously the location for the cars to pull over is not ideal, but I think it’s workable and probably the most readily-apparent solution to a driver that’s getting pulled over by a cop. I applaud the SFPD for enforcing this.

  • JD

    I agree that it sucks the cops pull people over into the bike lane (why not just tell them to pull off at the next street?), but in the long-term, I would take this any day over cars driving down Market St.

  • patrick

    Rather than complaining about where the pullover occurs, let’s be happy that the police are pulling people over, which is something that will help safety and awareness.

  • Alex

    Has it really come to this? The police doing their jobs is considered news?

  • Nick

    The ticket could be for either driving in a transit lane or for ignoring the forced right turn (or both).

    I frequently saw SFPD enforcing the transit lane violation prior to the Market Street trials. This could be a case of ongoing enforcement or maybe SFPD does care about cyclists.

  • BCon

    I regularly see private vehicles ignore all the CLEARLY marked signage at Market & 10th (and all the signs/striping leading up to it). They either get in the left lane right at the start of the protected green bike lane, cut through the gaps between the hit posts from the right to left lane mid-block, or just go directly through the intersection from the right turn only lane over to the left lane. It drives me crazy since the signage and striping couldn’t be any clearer. There’s even a big ROAD CLOSED sign blocking the right lane past 10th.

    I’m very very happy that SFPD is enforcing this, at least some of the time. Giving all the budget problems, seems like this would be a great way to get some easy money… at least until people catch on and decide that the risk of breaking the rules isn’t worth the cost of the citation.

  • This is great. Much more effective than having cops plainly visible at the intersection since their eventual absence would signal that drivers won’t be ticketed. This maintains the sense that it is potentially always enforced.

    Pulling over in the bike lane won’t be such a problem once we one day have a cement barrier… 2013 re-paving?

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