Today’s Headlines

  • SFMTA’s Pilot Program Allowing Private Shuttles to Share Muni Stops Begins Today (SFGate, Exam)
  • Campos: Mayor Isn’t Punishing Supervisors for Transit Measure, He’s Punishing Constituents (SFBG)
  • Zachary Watson ID’d as Man on Bike Put in Critical Condition by Fleeing Driver on Post St (KTVU)
  • 84-Year-Old Van Driver Collides With Muni T-Third Train at Embarcadero and Harrison (SF Examiner)
  • Man Who Stole Truck, Went on Damaging Civic Center Spree, Charged With Felonies (Examiner, CBS)
  • SF Has Second-Highest Transit Trips Per Capita, Says Federal Database (FiveThirtyEight)
  • Map Shows SF’s Bicycle Network Grow Over 43 Years (MapStory)
  • New App Allows Drivers to Hire On-Demand Parking Valets in SoMa (SFGate)
  • 90-Year-Old Driver Crashes Into Downtown Palo Alto Cafe, Injuring Five (NBCMercSFGateCBS)
  • BART’s Oakland Airport Connector Passes Crucial Automatic Test Run (KQED)
  • VTA Plans to Remove Under-Used Light-Rail Stop (Mountain View Voice)
  • Details of San Jose’s Future Planned Bikeways Are Now Available (Cyclelicious)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • coolbabybookworm

    Seniors crashing cars into things is a far too frequent occurrence.

  • gary

    I agree. Long before I get to the point where I can barely walk, I’d get rid of the car.

  • thielges

    In that story about the VTA closing down the Evelyn LRT station it is interesting that two out of the three riders interviewed valued the Evelyn station not because of its location but instead for its easy parking. Evelyn might not even be their closest LRT station but parking convenience trumps location.

    So much of our rail transit seems to be serve as extensions to parking lots for congested locations. Just wait until the Niner’s new stadium starts operating. Much of BART can be considered just one big exurban parking shuttle.

  • murphstahoe

    Fine. Keep the lot and put in a bike share kiosk there. The Evelyn station is a joke.

    One thing to really watch as this project happens is how the double tracks make things for cyclists commuting on Central. The tracks as they are – I’ve gone down twice. Usually they are dicey – but on a rainy day my oh my.

  • EastBayer

    There is a bike share station there, actually. http://goo.gl/maps/GHclz

  • jd_x

    That’s because we have this bizarre idea in this country that driving is a right, so not letting seniors drive is “discrimination”. Of course, that is insane because driving is most certainly not a right (regardless of age), and if your health is sub-par, you simply cannot drive (or are subject to restrictions). We need much more strict driving requirements, not just for the elderly (who should be taking a *driving* test, not just a written test, every other year above the age of 75), but for the young as well. These horrible incidents with the elderly mistaking pedals are symptomatic of a society that refuses to acknowledge the inherent danger in building our communities around 4,000 lb vehicles with several hundred horsepower at the tips of a motorists fingers and feet and whose senses are dulled and who are poorly trained and never punished for mistakes (not to mention there negative effects on the environment mostly externalized).

    Of course, instead of society realizing that we need to do more to get people out of cars (which will indirectly reduce this problem since less people will be driving to screw up in the first place), our solution almost certainly will be to throw some technology at it (“we need some sort of sensor/gadget/device that prevents the elderly from mistaking the pedals”) instead of modifying peoples behavior (the latter being the more effective way). So frustrating to watch us kick the problem down the road while the cars just keep literally killing us and the planet yet we are too addicted to them to actually make effective change …

  • jonobate

    Re the FiveThirtyEight article: I was surprised by SF coming second in the trips-per-capita table, so dug into the details. It’s really a quirk of the data. The San Francisco-Oakland Urbanized Area covers all of San Francisco, San Mateo county (except Half Moon Bay), and the urban East Bay (west of the hills); but the transit ridership data includes systems that serve locations outside of that area, such as BART, Caltrain, and Golden Gate Transit. That juices the trip count without similarly increasing the population count.

  • Andy Chow

    Issues with seniors can be a difficult one because they deserve as much dignity and independence that they have. Sometimes they have physical disabilities that makes them harder to walk and particularly ride a bike than to drive. Many have them have difficulties of using technology (like smart phone app, web site, etc) to easily access transportation resources that the younger folks can.

    We cannot dismiss technological solutions like device that prevents mistaking pedals, because it would maintain their lifestyle longer without as much negative impacts. It may be more cost effective solution than to provide paratransit like service to serve some of those folks just to maintain some of the their mobility.

  • Andy Chow
  • jonobate

    The solution is for seniors to live in communities where they can maintain their dignity and independence without having to get behind the wheel of a car. That’s a win/win for everyone concerned.

  • Sprague

    The problem of parents forgetting their infants in their automobiles also has some hoping for a technological fix (a Chronicle article from 7/29/14 references an organization called Kids and Cars which is “calling for more research into technology to prevent hot-car deaths”). The high costs of our love affair with the car…

  • Andy Chow

    This sounds quite offensive because you’re essentially saying that they shouldn’t be living where they have been living for a long time even if their houses have paid off. If they want to sell their homes and downsize it is one thing. Part of their maintaining their dignity is to respect their lifestyle choice (yes even if it is very outdated), as long as it doesn’t impose an immediate danger.

  • murphstahoe

    I’m a lot more offended by you saying that other citizens should have “accidents” where 90 year olds run over people on the sidewalk because you think they should be able to live somewhere it’s not feasible for them to live.

    The 90 year old who put 5 people in the hospital didn’t think he posed an immediate danger. He was wrong. His judgement has failed him – and failed society.

  • jd_x

    If you look at the issue more broadly, it’s offensive to everybody else to accelerate climate change, kill and maim pedestrians and cyclists, and pollute our air because some people didn’t think through carefully enough their dependence on cars. It is a true sign of addiction if you want to justify people driving even as they literally kill and maim millions.

  • jd_x

    2 bad MUNI accidents today:
    http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2014/08/01/muni-train-vs-big-rig-injures-riders-in-bayview/

    Both due to trucks. I don’t know who is at fault, but trucks are to cars/MUNI (and of course pedestrians and cyclists) as cars are to pedestrians and cyclists. Such large discrepancies in size, power, and speed should never be mixing on our streets. It’s unacceptable that such enormous vehicles prowl are streets and are involved in a disproportionate amount of accidents.

    SF needs to do 3 things:

    1) In order to operate in SF, all truck drivers needs special training regarding the nuances of driving in a dense urban environment (this includes learning how to operate around pedestrians, cyclists, and trains).
    2) With exceptions for large construction projects which then still need special permits to operate, all trucks must be the smaller type like those used in most European countries. Large trucks are entirely inappropriate in a city like SF, and the carnage just continues. We can deliver all the goods with more smaller trucks (and there some businesses that can even use cargo bikes.
    3) Severe punishment for drivers/companies that violate these rules (a great example being the truck driver who made an illegal turn and killed Amelia LeMoullac last year and wasn’t charged with anything even with video evidence showing him being at fault).

  • jonobate

    It’s not about lifestyle choices, it’s about rights and responsibilities. A senior’s right to continue to drive is less important than my right not to get hit by a vehicle whose driver is incapable of controlling it.

    If you’re not safe to drive, you’re not safe to drive. End of story. The consequences of that life change are for you to figure out.

  • voltairesmistress

    I think what Andy is saying is to not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. If technological inventions like pedal distinguishers and driverless cars make seniors safe drivers, then require their use. Yes, the perfect is for seniors to rationally evaluate their dependence on cars and communities that no longer suit their needs on a number of issues, including climate change impacts. But the good is to let them age in their familiar places, as long as they are not a threat to themselves or others.

  • murphstahoe

    “As long as they are not a threat to others” is being ignored – perhaps more accurately deliberately evaded.

    “I cannot drive safely anymore but what else can I do?”

  • p_chazz

    You couldn’t pass a City ordinance requiring truck drivers to have special training. In order to impose added training requirements on commercial truck drivers, the Vehicle Code would need to be amended. Good luck getting that past the trucking lobby in Sacramento.

    There are some businesses like Safeway that need large trucks to supply them. It would place a burden on them to use smaller trucks and it would be an added cost–a cost that would be passed on to consumers, making San Francisco even more unaffordable. And don’t forget that streets such as Van Ness, 19th Ave. and Sloat are state highways, so you can’t ban trucks. from there. And criminalizing motorists for accidents will only add to our burgeoning prison population.

  • murphstahoe

    Don’t want to put them in jail. Want them fired if they are incapable of performing their jobs, just like any other job

  • Andy Chow

    Just more broadly speaking, seniors living alone in the house could get themselves hurt due to falling and other accidents. The perfect is to put them in senior housing (like how Homer put Abe Simpson in a home), or the good, such as having technology to detect trouble or something that allows the senior to get immediate assistance at home.

    Specialized outreach is needed to educate seniors about how to become a safer driver (a lot of them no longer remember traffic signs, laws, etc), when to give up their keys, and what options they have without a car. I can say that a lot of seniors are very much interested to alternatives so they either don’t have to drive at all, or don’t have to drive at situations where they don’t think it is safe.

    I don’t agree with the notion that senior drivers, or any driver, be treated like a parolee.

  • gneiss

    I would be satisfied with having their commercial drivers licenses revoked. If an airline pilot has an crash that caused injury, would you want him to be the pilot of your plane? The fact that we think there’s a difference shows how screwed up our priorities are.

  • ladyfleur

    I’m curious to see if they’ll move the bike share station when they close the station. If they don’t it would be the first bike share station whose location primarily serves as a park & bike station.

    I would much rather it be moved somewhere near high-density housing and a high-traffic grocery store. For example, by the Safeway on Shoreline which also happens to be a 7 minute walk from my home.

  • p_chazz

    That would depend on the condition that caused the crash. A freak downdraft could cause even the most experienced pilot to crash. Sometimes random events over which we have no control just happen.

  • p_chazz

    You really should try to develop some empathy for people who aren’t just like you. Seniors came of age when the Automobile Age was in its ascendancy. Driving is the only way they know how to get around and at their age change does not come easy. Plus studies show that mental and physical deterioration accelerates once seniors give up driving.

  • murphstahoe

    This does not imply that events that we have control over do happen. They do, and in the case of commercial drivers, we are not reacting appropriately to proven incompetence.

  • murphstahoe

    You should try to develop some empathy for people dining at a sidewalk cafe who are run over by someone who is already mentally and physically deteriorated to the point of being unable to differentiate the accellerator and the brake.

  • jonobate

    Y’know, cycling is the only way I know to get around. There will come a point in my life when I’m physically and mentally incapable of doing that, and I’ll need to figure out the consequences of that life change. (I’m hella gonna use my senior Muni pass.)

    Old age happens to all of us, and denial is not a helpful strategy for dealing with it.

  • Greg

    You won’t find many folks on this board that can or will empathize for anyone other a person who can bike in SF. Kids to get around? Move. Disabled? Don’t leave the house. Old? Force you to live in a old folks home. The only policies that matter are those that prioritize the tiny biking community over all others.

  • jonobate

    Kids to get around? Disabled? Old?

    Muni is your friend in all of those cases, particularly the last two. That’s why we fight for better Muni as well as better cycling facilities.

  • jd_x

    Sure, but that isn’t what has been happening. Amelia LeMoullac, the two incidents last week with MUNI and trucks, etc have all been truck drivers not only effing up, but doing something illegal. Your special case of “freak downdrafts” is a non-issue. I’m not worried about that, but the rampant poor driving skills that professional drivers continually exhibit. This will never change until punishment is severe, and at the least involves losing your license.

    The more powerful your vehicle, the more training you need and the more responsibility you must exhibit. Trucks drivers are at the extreme end of the spectrum in this regard yet are not regulated anymore than car drivers (which are already regulated poorly) and don’t get adequate training for driving safely in a dense city. This must be rectified and has nothing to do with extremely rare “freak downdraft”-type events.

  • murphstahoe

    This is complete crap. If you CAN bike and you do NOT bike, then YOU lack empathy for people who cannot, by taking up the resources that those people need. We spend a lot of money producing roads and parking and garages that we could avoid having to build, and by doing so save money that could be used to offer point to point driver service for those who have mobility issues – especially those without the physical skills to drive a car.

    Your argument is akin to someone telling an anti-war protestor that they “Don’t support the troops”. The best support for a solider is to get them out of a war zone.

  • Greg

    I’ve seen mainly the opposite of fighting for Muni from the folks on this site (e.g., move the 19 bus so it’s better for bikes on Polk, move the buses to only the number 1 lane on Market)

  • p_chazz

    According to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety fatal car accidents involving older drivers have actually declined markedly, so stop trying to take away Grandpa’s license on the basis of anecdotal data, mmmkay?

  • murphstahoe

    Keep Sunday Meters running to provide $12M in annual funding for MUNI, support Wiener’s amendment to provide additional MUNI funding, red transit only lanes on Church, 3rd, etc…, more aggressive plans for BRT on Van Ness and Geary, bus only lanes on Potrero, etc… etc… etc…

  • jonobate

    You need to define “folks on this site” a little more carefully. The editorial line of this blog places roughly equal importance on cycling improvements and Muni improvements. There are some commenters on this blog who are more focused on cycling improvements than Muni improvements, but I’m not one of them and I have no obligation to defend what they say.

    Personally, I think that Muni improvements are more important than cycling improvements, because a) Muni is accessible to 100% of people in the city, whereas there is a small percent of people for whom cycling is genuinely infeasible due to age or disability; and b) in my opinion, SF is lagging further behind other major international cities in public transportation than it is lagging in cycling facilities. But generally speaking, the two modes are not in conflict and you can support one without detracting from the other.

  • p_chazz

    I’ve often thought that the name of this blog should be changed to the San Francisco BikeBlog.

  • timsmith

    That statement is without merit. Aaron had 4 stories that were primarily about bikes in all of July, and far more stories that were primarily about transit or safer streets more generally. Feel free to play the divide-and-conquer game by trying to pit bikes against other modes of sustainable transportation or against people with mobility challenges; you won’t get far here.

  • Hell, I even take Muni to bike-centric events like the Embarcadero bikeway open house and SFBC’s Golden Wheel Awards…