Skip to content

Recent Comments

RSS
  1.  

    SFnative74

    You are assuming improperly designed signal timings, which of course is unacceptable. What do you think of red light cameras at intersections that have proper signal timing?

  2.  

    dat

    I’m not saying I don’t agree with your points good sir! I’m merely highlighting the fact so folks don’t miss that you’re a LIFE MEMBER!

  3.  

    jcwconsult

    Almost all red light camera tickets are for violations of less than one second into the red caused by cities deliberately setting the yellow intervals about one second too short for the actual perception/reaction times and approach speeds of at least 85% of the drivers. Note that simply increasing the yellow intervals by one second will almost always reduce violation rates by 70% to 90%, but cities don’t make this safety change because it guts camera profits.

    Almost all the serious crashes are caused by drivers who enter intersections after the light has been red for at least two and more usually five to nine seconds. Most of those drivers causing the crashes are severely distracted by something, DUI, (legal or illegal) drug impaired, fleeing police, failed to see emergency vehicles, etc. — causes that getting a ticket in the mail several weeks later will NOT prevent.

    Red light cameras are “sold” to city councils and justified to the public on the basis of an apples to watermelons comparison that is completely invalid. They are a scam.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  4.  

    SFnative74

    Running a red light is not a “small technical foul.” I’ve been struck and seriously injured by a red light runner. Have you?

  5.  

    SFnative74

    Lower speeds reduce crashes mostly because you are able to respond to and avoid colliding with other drivers or objects you might not be expecting in your path of travel: http://www.gcse.com/fm/images/stopping.gif

    It is one thing to argue against increased camera use (though I agree with its use to ticket reckless drivers), but to argue that lower speeds do not make a significant difference in the number and severity of crashes is asinine.

  6.  

    jcwconsult

    My views match those of the Michigan State Police, MDOT, and most county road commissions. Michigan has been correcting hundreds of under-posted limits for more than a decade – with excellent results.

    There ARE proven engineering ways to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities. The problem in teaching them is that some of the solutions are counter-intuitive.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  7.  

    jcwconsult

    You might want to read some of the research by traffic safety engineers, roymeo. I agree that a lack of safety can easily be caused by a single driver – independent of the behavior of others – and no laws or rules can ever prevent such incidents.

    But what we can do is use known and many times proven traffic safety engineering principles that tend to produce the smoothest and safest traffic flows. One is setting the speed limit so that 85% of the drivers are at or below that speed, only 15% are above, and a very high proportion (75% to 90% usually) are in the 10 mph band called the Pace which is usually the 10 mph band ending with the 85th speed (+/- 1 or 2 mph). This tends to reduce speed variance, unnecessary passing, lane changes, tailgating, and aggressive driving. A few of the faster drivers slow a bit because they perceive the limit is reasonable and the flow is efficient, some of the slower drivers speed up a bit to reduce variance, and safety is usually improved.

    You might also note that 2013′s fatality rate of 1.1 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled is the lowest in history, down 78% since I got my first license in 1960.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  8.  

    murphstahoe

    You are a serious student of avoiding traffic tickets. And that’s it.

  9.  

    murphstahoe

    Absolutely. The biggest hole in James C. Walker’s, Life Member- National Motorists Association argument is that his perspective – as a Life Member – National Motorists Association – is that the only person for whom safety is important is the driver of the automobile. It is very well researched that the severity of an injury to a cyclist or pedestrian goes up with impact speed.

  10.  

    jcwconsult

    An asset here for serious students of traffic safety research is the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s library. I do NOT like many of UMTRI’s research papers, but the library has a copy of almost everything ever published on the issues.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  11.  

    roymeo

    “safest 85 percentile” is an oxymoron. Safety is a condition that exists independent of the typical behavior of users.

  12.  

    murphstahoe

    University of Michigan – enough said.

  13.  

    Greg Riessen

    The problem with Mr Walker’s 70-year-old traffic safety argument (regarding setting speed limits at the 85th-percentile observed speed) is that this only represents motorist/passenger safety, by trying to prevent rear-end collisions. Mr Walker should get with the times and consider pedestrian safety too. It’s not too late to become a life member of a pedestrian advocacy group!

  14.  

    Kevin

    I wish we could create safe streets without more government surveillance.

  15.  

    Thomas Rogers

    Re: curb ramps- at least they’re not blaming street name misspellings for the cost overruns! I finally registered an easier URL for my Flickr set, BTW: http://sidewalktypos.com

  16.  

    jcwconsult

    Actually, DAT, I started studying these issues about 20 years before the NMA was founded in 1982 – when I was in my freshman year at the University of Michigan in 1962/63.

    Most of what the public believes and the “safety lobby” promotes about speed limits is false. The science has been known for 70+ years. My oldest printed reference to setting the safest speed limits is the 1941 National Safety Council Report on Speed which says to post the limits between the 80th and 90th percentile speeds and to NOT take the surveys when heavy enforcement has been recent because the numbers won’t be true.

    If you would like to learn more about the issue, see our website which has a lot of the unbiased research on speed limits and other motorists issues, research done by groups that are NOT in multi-billion dollar revenue stream from predatory tickets.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  17.  

    murphstahoe

    I agree. Get rid of the cameras and instead install speed bumps. This will lower the 85% speed – the safest speed – dramatically because while motorists may not worry about running over pedestrians, speed bumps can damage their car.

  18.  

    dat

    CAN’T YOU SEE HE’S A LIFE MEMBER!?

  19.  

    dat

    LIFE MEMBER!!!

  20.  

    dat

    LIFE MEMBER!!

  21.  

    Jamison Wieser

    (a) Jamison is down with TEP TEP TEP!

    You know you just hate me because I know what I’m talking about.

  22.  

    srd275

    Here is one uk town busted lying http://www.thenewspaper.com/news/05/538.asp

    The Association of British Drivers (ABD) fought with the camera partnership for release of crash data under the Freedom of Information Act. According to the documents, the crashes cited in the formal justification for the placement of cameras on the M4 include:
    an accident where a pedestrian fell from a bridge
    an accident where a gust of wind pushed one truck into another
    several tire blowout accidents
    a crash where a car drove the wrong way
    According to Smith, the accident data show that only about four percent of accidents on the M4 were actually caused by exceeding a posted limit. The documents rated the most and least important contributory factors as a percentage of accidents on the M4, as follows:
    Inattention: 28%
    Failure to judge others’ path or speed (i.e. poor lane-changing): 28%
    Lack of judgment of own path: 17%
    Fatigue: 14%
    Careless, thoughtless or reckless behavior:14%
    Excess speed for conditions: 14%
    Exceeding posted speed limit: 4.2% (SafeSpeed estimate)
    “I would very much like to hear the Camera Partnership explain exactly how it is supposed to be possible that their cameras reduced crashes by over sixty percent when only about four percent of crashes involved exceeding a speed limit,” Smith said. “It does not make sense.”

  23.  

    jcwconsult

    The ONLY result from speed cameras is revenue, with most of it to be pilfered from the wallets of safe drivers in areas where the posted limits are set lower than the safest 85th percentile levels. SAY NO !!

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  24.  

    jcwconsult

    Behavior is changed with tickets from officers, not cameras.

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  25.  

    srd275

    Not counting that France had one of the worst dui problems in the 90 and during the last decade reversed that. Don’t put it past scameras supporters to take “credit” on crashes that no speed camera would ever stop. This occurs in Wiltshire U.K. .

    Voters are not really keen on scameras. Voters in Cleveland and maple heights oh and Sierra vista az BANNED speed cameras in 2014.

    Heck voters revolted on “school” zone scameras and the officials repealed their use in Nassau NY. http://libn.com/2014/12/16/nassau-lawmakers-vote-to-repeal-speed-cameras/

    Read more on the speed scamera scam

    http://Www.motorists.org
    http://Www.mddriversalliance.org md site that has documented the scam their
    Ban the cams on Facebook
    Camerafraud on Facebook

  26.  

    jcwconsult

    The SFMTA wants REVENUE – the first, last, and ONLY GOAL for speed cameras. Speed cameras produce profits above their own high costs of operation ONLY when used in areas where the posted limits are set well below the safest levels, the ACTUAL 85th percentile speeds of free flowing traffic under good conditions.

    Speed cameras are a money grab racket, just as red light cameras are a money grab racket. Both types produce profits ONLY with deliberately improper traffic safety engineering and predatory enforcement rules to give most tickets to safe drivers for small technical fouls that endangered no one. If governments were not the for-profit business partners of the for-profit camera companies, ticket cameras might be investigated under racketeering statutes as ongoing criminal enterprises. See our website for how the scams work with deliberately bad engineering that sometimes reduces safety.

    And the claim of limited use and small fines is only to get the scams started. Later look for huge numbers of money grab speed cameras and fines similar to the $500 ones for red light cameras. CA residents need to contact their state Representatives and Senators to say ABSOLUTELY NO to speed cameras. Contact info is here: http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html

    James C. Walker, Life Member – National Motorists Association

  27.  

    Jamison Wieser

    In reality, the crazy and never-justified-anywhere (but TEP TEP TEP!) 22/55 reroute is purely about a deal that Willie Brown cut with Catellus, the developer of Missi…

    In the story is a link to the study with the justifications for the new route if you’re interested in facts.

  28.  

    Almondy

    In the interests of completeness, there are also studies showing that cameras do not reduce accidents or speeding, such as this one in Arizona:

    http://radartest.com/article.asp?articleid=100619

    My understanding was that the cameras themselves are the deterrent factor. The ones I’ve seen in Europe are clearly signposted, and even marked on some maps. So if they do have a slowing effect, it is very localized.

    There’s also an issue that if a cop writes you a ticket for speeding, you know about it, and typically slow down for the rest of your trip. But you could in theory accumulate many camera tickets on a single long trip without realizing it. (The speed cameras do not flash the way the red light cameras do).

    Finally Europe has a big advantage for this in that the registered driver cannot claim that he wasn’t driving in the way an American driver can. In Europe, if the owner claims he wasn’t driving, he must name who was. In the US, there is no such requirement to incriminate someone. This means that the US cameras must record license plate and a clear face shot. In Europe, they only need the license plate. So the US cameras need to be more sophisticated, and more tickets will get thrown out if challenged, especially if the driver is wearing, say, a baseball cap and dark glasses.

  29.  

    OctaviusIII

    As I always say regarding cameras, they need to be ubiquitous with relatively cheap fines.

    Not only does that knock the legs out from opposition but it’s more effective in changing behavior.

  30.  

    Andy Chow

    It was built in an era where environmental issues were not major concerns and where mobility was paramount, and that racism and classism were even more acute. BART was conceived as a way to get around the traffic problem (besides building more freeways in the meantime) so park and ride was a part of the deal.

    At that time we had more urban focused transit including the Key System and a larger streetcar network in SF. The Key System and the Geary streetcars were gone when BART was being planned. Just keeping those to me would’ve been a good thing because we are only able to replace some of that today (like the T line).

  31.  

    Gezellig

    To avoid the extension distraction, Orinda and Lafayette stations also employ the same ethos (that of catering to park-and-ride) North Concord does and are original stations. They’re also on the busiest BART line yet have some of the lowest daily numbers (in the 2-3000s daily).

    Whether extension or original station, BART has proven time and again to lose out when it spends lots of money (and land) developing out parking options for surrounding lower-density middle-on-up-income user bases at the expense of all other alternatives or even hybrid alternatives.

    Lafayette: original station, same problems as North Concord/Martinez:

  32.  

    Andy Chow

    For the record I am against most BART extension projects.

  33.  

    Gezellig

    Yeah, that’s what I was thinking–that’s not BART’s problem that such people have hangups about transit. Especially given the diminishing returns BART actually gets the more it bends over backwards with resources to entice such (systemwide) relatively small numbers of people.

  34.  

    Gezellig

    Except for when driving-to-transit yields this.

    The $508 million (<– in 1995 dollars. That's $787 million in inflation-adjusted 2014 dollars) that BART spent on the North Concord extension/station/parking was justified by forecasts of at least 5k riders per day. Yet today it only has about 2500 riders daily, which gives it the dubious distinction of actually being the least used BART station in the entire system despite being on the busiest line and despite having one of the highest station costs.

    North Concord/Martinez is the perfect example of the we-need-to-attract-middle-and-upper-middle-class-drivers philosophy which has been a very expensive exercise in diminishing-returns black-hole expenses for BART over the decades.

  35.  

    murphstahoe

    “even driving to transit is better than driving all the way”

    only in a vacuum. What else could BART do with that money? Would it return better?

  36.  

    PhotoRadarscam

    The true motivation here being the generation of cash. Keep the fines low and don’t assess license points to keep drivers on the road and paying… make it easier to pay than to fight… etc.
    And let me guess… a different penalty system if you get caught by a cop vs a camera? Same crime, different penalty? Since when is that just?
    There is little proof that the cameras actually improve safety when a proper statistical analysis is done using regression-to-the mean and control locations. Google ‘speed cameras less safe’ and there are tons of articles where cameras failed to improve safety and actually caused crashes.
    Rather than advocate for automated ticketing, why not advocate for proper traffic engineering studies to look at each unique location, find the true cause of the safety problem and then apply the solutions? Of course automated ticketing may be one of the best solutions but how do you know until you’ve pinpointed a cause or causes and evaluated ALL solutions? Where is the assumption coming from that every dangerous location is caused mostly or solely by drivers exceeding the posted limit and will be solved by mailing the car owners tickets weeks later?

  37.  

    Andy Chow

    The threshold to pass dedicated taxes in California is 2/3. With this threshold you need a compromise that takes account of equity, both geographic and class. Also, drivers generate pollution that impacts low income communities.

    Basically we want to convert drivers to transit, even driving to transit is better than driving all the way.

  38.  

    murphstahoe

    They have a classist and sometimes racist mentality that translates to
    closer transit equals more crime and lower property values.

    Fine. Let them drive. Invest money on everyone else.

  39.  

    Sprague

    In our post 9-11 world, it’s hard to believe that such tunnels have not been protected from errant or ill-intentioned motorists. That being said, as far as I know the Market Street Muni Metro tunnel entrance on the Embarcadero is not any better protected but I’m not aware of any motorist trying to drive into it there. Maybe there’s a simple fix for the Sunset Tunnel.

  40.  

    phoca2004

    For that matter, have the gate go down when a non-train is detected and stay up otherwise.

  41.  

    Jamison Wieser

    The new colors have been popping up in the presentations and documents here and there. These are some shots more shots of the new map from an earlier Streetsblog post and a mockup of a sign from a Geary Rapid presentation.

    – Muni Metro & Rapid (L/R) Lines: thick red
    – Frequent Local: think dark blue

    – Express: thin dark blue
    – Grid: thick light blue

    – Connector: thin light blue

    – E/F Historic Lines: thick gold/maroon
    – Cable Car: thin gold/maroon

    For the signs it appears to simplified down to just be red, gold, and all the bus lines in a single blue. In fact, it looks like that sign was put together specifically to show bus lines from each category are all a uniform blue on signs. It also looks like the blues might be changing, but attached are also the color values from an old Muni style guide.

  42.  

    Sprague

    Even if the SFMTA is taking a tepid approach to this, legislation allowing speed cameras would be a very welcome development for everyone (motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, sidewalk cafe customers, etc.). Especially in San Francisco, police enforcement of speeding laws appears to be almost non-existent. Technology can make up for this, and motorists will clearly benefit in ways that go beyond safety. It seems that a fair percentage of traffic jams are the result of a speeding driver who crashes, blocking the road and causing traffic to back up for miles.

  43.  

    voltairesmistress

    I am convinced that the introduction of speed cameras with moderate fines, not stupendous ones, would be enough to seriously change driver behavior in San Francisco. Simply bringing down the number of grave injuries would be a tremendous benefit to the economy and the city’s people, so I don’t care if there isn’t any obvious money going to safe streets from these fines. Let’s try to get something started and improve enforcement.

  44.  

    Bryan Deng

    After that service is final, the 55 line will be defunct, and the 22 and 33 lines will be probably renamed “22-Fillmore/16th Street” and “33-Stanyan/16th Street” respectively.

  45.  

    danbrotherston

    Lol “fortunately he managed to see that one”. We had a dump truck with the bucket raised run into a major bridge in Ontario. It was a traffic disaster. Some people just shouldn’t be allowed to drive motor vehicles.

  46.  

    Jamison Wieser

    I didn’t say anything about the politic viability of closing West Portal, just presenting some context and history to consider.

    Closing the center lanes along a few blocks of West Portal (but still preserving travel lanes and parking) is a much smaller ask than much of what @disqus_Xl8crfDjuj:disqus has proposed.

  47.  

    Joel

    “Simply closing West Portal to traffic would eliminate significant costs in rebuilding West Portal Station.”

    If you think that making West Portal transit-only (even just the center lanes) is politically viable, I want whatever you’re smoking.

  48.  

    avantard

    Flashing lights and/or draw-gates (like you see at the entrances to parking garages? trains usually paus before entering and exiting tunnels anyway, so what’s an extra few seconds while a gate lifts?

  49.  

    Jamison Wieser

    You needn’t run the 19th Avenue subway the entire way to West Portal Station, only across St. Francis Circle to West Portal. Redesigning West Portal Avenue with a dedicated transit way (and eliminate the stop at West Portal & 14th Ave) saves the need to make more significant changes to West Portal Station itself.

    In one of these maps I’m showing the re-routing of the M-Ocean View through Parkmerced recommended for further development along with the dedicated transitway planned for the L-Taraval.

    That transportation study (and there isn’t a no-build scenario, something has to be done) recommended staring the subway between St. Francis Circle, running through Stonestown, SF State, with two stations in Parkmerced, before emerging into a rail/pedestrian/bike bridge over Junipero Serra. The M-Ocean View shoreline would turn back using the spur just after Font.

    That next-step study is funded and getting prepared to kick off. Some things worth noting about this is this design is the community preference and supported by the Stonestown and Parkmerced developers. They’re contributing their land and paying their share because they both have a financial investment in a direct, rapid connection downtown.

    That 19th Avenue transportation study further recommended looking to placing the tunnel portals on West Portal, before the M and K part ways turning St. Francis Circle into a subway station. At that point there are only two blocks on the surface before West Portal Station. Simply closing them to traffic would eliminate significant costs in rebuilding West Portal Station.

    In the second map I’ve shown what that might look like, again combined with the Transit Effectiveness Project plan.

    (please ignore the second posting)

  50.  

    Guest

    You needn’t run the 19th Avenue subway the entire way to West Portal Station, only across St. Francis Circle to West Portal. Redesigning West Portal Avenue with a dedicated transit way (and eliminate the stop at West Portal & 14th Ave) saves the need to redesign West Portal Station.

    In one of these maps I’m showing the re-routing of the M-Ocean View through Parkmerced recommended for further development along with the dedicated transitway planned for the L-Taraval.

    That transportation study (and there isn’t a no-build scenario, something has to be done) recommended staring the subway between St. Francis Circle, running through Stonestown, SF State, with two stations in Parkmerced, before emerging into a rail/pedestrian/bike bridge over Junipero Serra. The M-Ocean View shoreline would turn back using the spur just after Font.

    That next-step study is funded and getting prepared to kick off. Some things worth noting about this is this design is the community preference and supported by the Stonestown and Parkmerced developers. They’re contributing their land and paying their share because they both have a financial investment in a direct, rapid connection downtown.

    That 19th Avenue transportation study further recommended looking to placing the tunnel portals on West Portal, before the M and K part ways turning St. Francis Circle into a subway station. At that point there are only two blocks on the surface before West Portal Station. Simply closing them to traffic would eliminate significant costs in rebuilding West Portal Station.

    In the second map I’ve shown what that might look like, again combined with the TEP plan.