Today’s Headlines

  • Livable City, SF Transit Riders Union File CEQA Appeal Against Sunday Parking Meter Removal (SFBG)
  • Muni Launches Test Train Car With Seats Removed to Fit 10 More Standing Riders (SFBay)
  • Semi Truck Driver Crashes Into Upper Market Funeral Home; Truck Sets Ablaze (Castro Biscuit)
  • Pedestrian Seriously Injured by Driver at Great Highway and Lawton (SFGate)
  • More on the Reaction From Le Moullac Family and SF Bicycle Coalition to DA’s Decision (SF Appeal)
  • Next Wednesday, Annual “Ride of Silence” Returns to the Streets to Remember Killed Cyclists (SFGate)
  • News Flash: CA’s Law Against Starting to Cross the Street on a Countdown is Unrealistic (CBS)
  • Supes Pass Wiener’s Law Requiring Outreach for AT&T’s Sidewalk Utility Boxes (SF Appeal)
  • Wiener Looks to Restore Funding for DPW Street Cleaners (SFGate)
  • Pro-Smart Growth Activists Form “Coalition For a Livable Marin” (Greater Marin)
  • Bike to Shop Day Arrives in Silicon Valley Saturday (Cyclelicious)
  • Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia Charged for Freeway Hit-and-Run Near SFO (SF Weekly)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Prinzrob

    That CBS report on crosswalk law is hilarious:

    0:12 “Just like when you’re driving you know that yellow light doesn’t mean speed up and get through the intersection as quickly as possible…”

    0:36 “The letter of the law is, effectively, you do not enter the crosswalk unless there’s a green (?) hand…”

    1:17 News crew shames pedestrians entering crosswalk during countdown, while they squeeze past cars blocking said crosswalk (some actively still rolling forward with one driver apparently on a cell phone) and just after drivers ahead ran the red

    1:43 Even more pedestrians squeezing between cars blocking the crosswalk

    1:47 Drivers rolling through crosswalk occupied by pedestrians during right turn

    One wonders how drivers would react if traffic signals gave them 3 seconds of green followed by 15 seconds of yellow.

    Unlike drivers, though, pedestrians can’t all move at approximately the same speed so to accommodate everyone ped signals are typically timed to account for the slowest users while still expecting everyone to abide by that standard. A better ped signal would show a red hand when cross traffic has the right of way, and then a count down from whatever number of seconds is being provided to cross. People can then decide for themselves if they can make it across in time or not, based on their individual walking speed.

    This would have the added benefit of allowing cyclists to know if the traffic signal has detected them or not, as if the ped signal in the cross traffic direction is not counting down that means you are not being detected. A count down from 45, 60, or even 80 seconds would also probably make people on bikes more willing to wait for the light, as opposed to having to guess if is broken and then crossing against the light.

  • Chris J.

    If people aren’t supposed to enter a crosswalk after the countdown starts, then why is the countdown even there? It seems like a bad design because (1) it’s universally misunderstood and not intuitive, and (2) its presence encourages people to enter the crosswalk by giving an impression of how much time they have left. Also, it’s not even clear what the number is counting down to because the traffic light doesn’t necessarily turn green at zero. The time to green after counting down to zero varies from zero seconds to several seconds depending on the intersection.

    I think a better design would be to have consistency with traffic lights. Show a warning before the “don’t walk” signal (like a yellow walk signal or white countdown) instead of afterwards, when people can’t do anything anyways other than walk faster than they’re already walking.

  • I have to wonder whether the light/signal timing is set up consistently, everywhere with acknowledgement of what the law is. There are certainly some large intersections where the walk signal is only up for 3-5 seconds and then there is a large countdown for 10+ (or even 20+) seconds. So the legal effect here is that only people that are already standing at the crosswalk and ready to go may cross, if you were 20 feet away, you’ll need to wait for another minute+ for the next 3-5 second walk signal. Certainly not a pedestrian-friendly or pedestrian-focused system of signals. (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this on 3rd St crossings in Dogpatch, and some Embarcadero crossings have a 20+ second countdown.)