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    Depends on your definition of “recent” or the loose usage. Being a lifetime resident of SF those stupid blinky lights are relatively new. They go off when no one is trying to cross. Instead of looking out for pedestrians drivers look out for automated signals. Not wise. Drivers get dumbed down more and more.



    if you’re easily distracted by blinking lights, you shouldn’t be driving.


    Aaron Bialick

    So everyone’s clear, this block hasn’t been re-configured except for the angle of the car parking on the plaza side of the street, and some green paint on the bike lanes.


    SF Guest

    There’s still something to be said that we agree there is no shame in riding a bus.



    You had me until ” I had no idea bike riding is such an elite status.”



    For example by lowering speed limits. But that would be anti-car!



    There are risks, so you create policy that minimizes them. In terms of motorized transit, that means making it 1) very expensive to take motorized transit, especially the most dangerous kinds (private cars) or the least useful (tourist buses or party buses), and 2) severe punishment when one “realizes” that risk and actually hurts someone due to negligence (or, of course, intent). By doing those things, then yes, I would agree that we’ve reached a point where we say that the risks are worth it, i.e. the benefits outweigh the costs.

    But this is patently not the case with pedestrian (and bicycle) safety here right now. It’s a well-known fact that you can drive a motor vehicle and be careless and just say “I didn’t see the person” and, unless you were drunk and/or fled, you will be giving nothing but a slap on the wrist. That is the issue at hand. Sure, if tourists want to ride in a tour bus that puts pedestrians at risk, then fine, but the costs need to be high to discourage this (and amazingly, you would be surprised at how many people would suddenly find they don’t really need to take that trip anyway). And certainly when the driver effs up and kills somebody, he needs to pay dearly.


    SF Guest

    WOW! Are you saying what I think you’re saying? ” I believe I’d feel like an [censored] riding on that bus instead of renting or owning a bike”

    Since when should any bus rider feel shame for riding a bus? I had no idea bike riding is such an elite status.



    Let’s say Pricilia was crossing McAllister and a 5 Fulton killed her instead of a tour bus, would that have been OK? Because Muni buses kill people too:
    There is risk in everything we do. Thousands of people die each year by drowning. According to the CDC, drowning “is a leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, and the highest rates are among children.” Do we empty swimming pools and fence off beaches? No. we give swimming lessons and teach water safety. In a similar way, we need to make roads safer for all users.



    The type of articulated gravel truck that ran over the kid from Cupertino is quite scary to share the road with. They get paid by the load and are often driving aggressively to squeeze in the maximum billable loads. Then there’s that long tow bar between the first and second gravel bins. You have to hope that the trailing bin doesn’t drift over into your line of travel. It would be like being hit head-on by a car that has no driver.

    This is a very sad day for that students family and friends. Bicycling to class in a bike lane on a suburban street should be entirely safe. One easy step would be to ban the pay-by-load scheme that induces careless behavior. Pay by the hour instead,



    Do any district attorneys in the US prosecute cases like this? There is a DA for each county so there must be maybe a thousand of them. I’m not sure Gascon is much different from the others.

    DA’s usually love to get convictions so if they don’t pursue a particular crime, I’d assume it is because they do not believe that a jury would convict in a case like this.

    There’s an AllState motor insurance ad on TV right now, promoting their “Accident Forgiveness” feature – your insurance rates won’t go up on your first accident.

    The tagline: “Everybody has an off day.” That is the prevailing mindset of the average juror.



    Right, and their choice to travel dangerously just killed someone (again). Would you say that pedestrian had somebody else’s way of live shoved down their throat? Of course, this isn’t to say that people riding tour buses are directly responsible for this death, but we as a society encourage this kind of transit even though it has enormous costs to society. Sure, there are benefits, but there are enormous costs that are completely ignored. Nobody is saying that some people have to take motor transit, or even that some people might just want to even thought they don’t have to, but we need to properly account for the risks they impose (or, to use your language, “shove down other’s throats”) on everyone else.





    But comparing cars to weapons is.


    SF Guest

    Tell this to all the car dealers.



    Saying “we should revoke the license of anyone who proves they are a bad driver by being at fault in a pedestrian fatality” is not shrill anti-car rhetoric.



    If bike and ped activists want to be taken seriously by the general public, they should stop with the shrill anti-car rhetoric. They need to work on making a carfree lifestyle a rational choice, not attack people for the choices they have already made.



    Yet strangely we have a right to bear arms but no right to a motor vehicle



    AK-47s are weapons, cars are a means of transportation. Big difference. Granted, a person is just as dead whether run over or shot, but motor vehicles are not designed and intended to kill people, while that is the main purpose of a firearm.



    Was is recently upgraded at that spot for safety? Please, tell me. I’d like to know if you aren’t just trolling without doing any research.



    So do AK-47s – the NRA and the AAA sound the same except replace gun with car.



    Autos do give us more choice and they do give us more freedom. it’s no myth. There is a charityin in the south bay called Ways to Work that makes affordable car loans. to low income people and they reort that borrowers report. earning a higher income with a car because it puts more jobs within reach.

    The answer isn’t to ban cars; it’s to build safer streets and make cars operate mmore cleanly.



    And yet, it was a tour vehicle that killed this city worker. What’s your point, Dark Soul? That we shouldn’t have made any safety improvements to the street at all? That somehow it was safer before the green paint was laid down on this stretch of Polk? Give me a break.


    Dark Soul

    Polk street was recently upgraded to improve safety specifically for bike riders.


    Fay Nissenbaum

    I agree with you about the blinking lights – they are atypical for a crosswalk – City Hall privilige? – and yes, I agree they may distract more than help. If one or two of the Sheriffs inside patroled around the building they are hired to protect, that would help more than the way they gaggle inside.


    Benjamin Pease

    Of course, drive safely. Look twice, etc. I’m no fan of walk lights either, as a pedestrian. They represent a failure of something or other. Especially if the pedestrian has to push a button to ask permission to cross the street (which I can’t imagine would be the situation at City Hall). If it would do equal good, I’d take a better bulb-out and a shorter crossing, or that plus a stop-sign for the cars so NO driver expects to cruise through. But I stand by my position that the existing blinking lights are stupid, distracting, and counter-productive.


    Fay Nissenbaum

    Where’s camera footage? When driving, open your fucking eyes and SEE sidewalk-to-sidewalk. It galls me how drivers are impatient to wait while they sit upon often leather covered seats with audio entertainment at their fingertips. The urge to drive faster and not wait should be studied.


    Fay Nissenbaum

    To hell with the Walk signal you say is req’d. The idiot driver drove his two ton machine into a person b/c he was careless about his duty to drive safely. When driving, open your fucking eyes and SEE sidewalk-to-sidewalk.



    The great myth of the automobile is that it gives us more choices and provides freedom. Brushed under the rug is the fact that my choice to drive my car (when aggregated among many people like “me”) results in death and injury to others, dirtier air, noise pollution, great government expense, etc. Also lost is the fact that reduced automobile use will inevitably lead to more public transit options, better bikeways, and safer pedestrian routes.

    As a society, we should restrict driving as much as possible, if we are serious about health and safety (not to mention efficiency and community development). If we continue to treat it as just another choice, the status quo of death and injuries will continue unabated.


    Jeffrey Baker

    It’s like a speed bump, but with a big plateau at the top. The road comes up to the level of the sidewalk; pedestrians see it as a level crossing instead of stepping down into the road. This treatment dramatically increases the probability of motorists yielding to pedestrians.



    It is clear they are only going to study one of more than 40 budget-impact proposals. There is nothing wrong studying far-fetched measures, just to evaluate their impacts and bring ideas for the agency managers to brainstorm about. To oppose a mere study is just unacceptable, remembers of the instances where politicians, not wanting to ever risk some idea they don’t like come to fruition, put poison pills on legislation that explicitly prohibits even study of certain controversial measures.

    I don’t like the “twist” many of the news regarding transportation on Bay Area are getting for the last couple months on Streetsblog SF. Somehow along the pamphlet tone of many articles was pushed up, and quality of reporting compromised by “activist-writing” style.


    Jamison Wieser

    The process of replacing the OS/2-based ATCS system also meant replacing other hardware systems it spoke to in the tunnel. The new system has to be completely up and running before the old ATCS can be turned off, but its all so behind the scenes that steps along the way like the fiber backbone are the only signs it’s happening.



    That would be nice if it were true, but the plain fact is that almost all of the automobile drivers who run over and kill a pedestrian or cyclist in San Francisco face no penalties whatsoever. They are not even cited. They get no points on their license, their insurance is not cancelled, they do not lose their license, they do not lose their employment and they do not do any prison time. Automobile drivers know this and behave accordingly. I believe our streets would be safer if people knew that they would face some kind of punishment for speeding and driving recklessly, especially if it resulted in a fatality.

    The truck driver who ran over Amelie Le Moullac has faced no repercussions at all, even though there was videographic evidence that he was clearly at fault.



    What is a speed table?



    Gascon will not prosecute, he never does. Pedestrians are second class citizens, maybe even third.



    That should be an object lesson in “don’t drive on Polk”



    So do buses and streetcars. Shall we get rid of them too?


    Jeffrey Baker

    I think speed tables, narrows, and bollards are an effective treatment for crosswalks. These things are used individually and together all over Europe in places where pedestrians are rarely killed by cars. Even someone who is transfixed by their iPhone will find it impossible to ignore the leading edge of a speed table, and the idea of hitting a reinforced concrete bollard will sharpen the mind of any driver.

    Here’s an example, although it lacks the speed table (there are some in this same neighborhood but I failed to find their pictures.) Here we have a striped crosswalk in the middle of a busy two-way street. On the right is a school, on the left is a busy office park. The safety features here are hard obstacles (not this floppy plastic compromise we use in San Francisco), and a road that’s barely wide enough for a car to pass. The pedestrian gets a nice island in the process.

    If you make a space look dangerous and narrow to drivers, they are going to slow down and pay attention. That’s well established. The road in front of City Hall is the opposite. It’s wide open and safe for cars.,8.5263703,3a,75y,17.18h,88.94t/data=!3m5!1e1!3m3!1sTY329-eNdOHszlCq-V4c-g!2e0!3e5


    Jeffrey Baker

    Many of those things are ineffective deterrents. You can take away someone’s license to drive, and you can refuse to renew their insurance policy, but many drivers faced with that predicament will choose to drive without those things. Drivers without licenses or insurance already constitute something like 1/3rd of motorists, which tells you how effective enforcement is.

    At a bare minimum anyone who kills someone with their car must 1) lose their commercial license with no chance of reinstatement, 2) lose their class C license for a very long time (at least 3 years), and 3) be subject to mandatory state prison sentences when found to be driving without a license.


    Jeffrey Baker

    That cars cannot participate in the give and take that characterize human movement in crowds is their essential flaw.


    Benjamin Pease

    Also, this driver finds the blinking lights “guarding” the City Hall crosswalk are just plain weird; too damned bright and distracting. Easy to stare at the lights and ignore the actual pattern of people crossing.


    Benjamin Pease

    I am sorry to hear about the pedestrian getting hit and dying. I would add as a driver, however, that the City Hall crosswalk is a real mess — if I wait for pedestrians to cross, by they time they finish, another random group of pedestrians starts to cross, and so on and so forth. Nobody waits…because they have the right of way. If a driver were to focus on the gap they anticipate occurring, without seeing a next person starting to cross, tragedy results. (Not saying that’s exactly what happened here; it’s a tough crossing to drive safely and I usually go some other route on weekdays). A walk signal is long overdue but as usual it takes someone dying to get one.


    Beth Martin

    “The plan envisions a mix of office, retail, hotel, housing, and open space,” yet the Greenheart proposals would be just 6% retail, no hotel, and the open space requirements can be fulfilled with private balconies and rooftops. Measure M makes it harder for the city and developers to exceed the total development amount the residents adopted in the Specific Plan (474,000 sq.ft. of non-residential). Measure M just makes that harder to change. Measure M does not try to fix all the other parts of the development guidelines that don’t match the Vision and Goals, but it should slow the transformation of Menlo Park from a nice small town into a built-out business park.



    Vehicles (at least any vehicles now in use) can’t “pay attention”; it’s the DRIVERS who should be paying attention.


    Dark Soul

    Right now we are more at Zero First Vision.


    Dark Soul

    WalkSF staff says
    ““If you hit a person in a crosswalk, you’re at fault, bottom line,” said Schneider of Walk SF”…and this accident happen to be at POLK Street (Wasn’t this street upgraded recently?)



    I think this is the safety issue that needs to be talked about.

    What was the driver doing that he / she didn’t see someone in the cross walk and ran over them with both front and rear wheels ?????



    Everyone in San Francisco should drive (and be driven in) private vehicles as little as possible. Cars and trucks injure, maim and kill far too many San Franciscans each year due to drivers’ bad decisions and inattention. There are safer, cleaner alternatives.



    Closing a street to through traffic isn’t the same as making it car-free.



    A traffic signal costs $250,000. Is that the best use of funds? Especially because drivers see green in the distance and hit the gas peddle, ignoring whats in front of them.

    Also, right now the pedestrian delay to cross is zero. A signal means a delay of 30+ seconds, maybe a minute.