Today’s Headlines

  • “CA is Giving Away Driver’s Licenses”: Stanley Roberts Watches Drivers Run New Ped Signal on Sloat
  • Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association: Parking Will Drive Up Costs of New Grocery Store Project
  • BART Resumes Talks (ABC), Prepares for Strike (KRON); Union-Bashing Stickers Appear (Weekly)
  • SPUR Looks at BART Service Upgrades Under Consideration for Core “Metro” Sections
  • Why Diversity is Important for Bicycle Advocacy (Cyclelicious)
  • Berkeley Pedestrian Hospitalized by Driver on Gilman and 580, Blamed for Crash (Berkeleyside)
  • More on Palo Alto’s Move to Expand Minimum Parking Requirements (Mercury News)
  • The Greater Marin Suggests Uses for Newly Available Funds to Improve Transport Infrastructure
  • New Walnut Creek Parking App Shows Available Spots in Public and Private Lots (CoCo Times)
  • After Four Crashes With Highway Workers, Caltrans Urges Drivers to “Slow for the Cone” (Mercury)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • mikesonn

    Horrible crash at Gough/Pine this morning. Driver was seen speeding for several blocks before the crash (or accident as Chief Suhr calls it). Judging by the carnage, she must have been going at highway+++ speeds. Unreal.

  • mikesonn

    Hit and run in Atherton this morning. Sadly the pedestrian died.

  • mikesonn

    Katie Marzullo‏ @KatieABC7

    #SFPD Chief says driver who caused fatal crash at Gough & Pine will be arrested and charged. @abc7newsBayArea

  • hUcKiECA

    The pedestrian signal on Sloat is called a Pedestrian Hybrid Beacon. It was only just approved for use in California and published in the California MUTCD (Chapter 4F) in January of 2012. It did not exist in previous versions of the California MUTCD, so basically, it’s a brand new traffic control device. It’s also vastly different from any other previous treatment of midblock crosswalk, so let’s be fair in saying that it’s really not a wonder why people are confused by it.

  • Bing Wu

    First of all, what part of a red light with a “stop on red” sign is confusing? It’s basically a red light mounted on a pole over the road, and red lights usually mean stop. Second, anytime you’re confused as a driver as to what to do, the prudent thing is to slow down, not proceed with business as usual and assume you can ignore a red light.

  • Zack

    Color me shocked….

  • Jim

    What part of a blinking yellow or blinking red light is confusing? Those lights are elementary concepts that drivers should know from having read the driver’s manual.

  • gneis

    People should not be confused when they see pedestrians waiting at the edges of the roadway. The lights are going red when people are waiting to cross. Seems amazing that drivers are still blowing through a marked cross walk when pedestrian waiting have the right of way.

  • hUcKiECA

    The HAWK has five states, off, single flashing yellow, single solid yellow, double solid red, alternating flashing double red. So, what’s confusing about that? Name another traffic control device telling you to stop that has that many states? None. A double red solid light has never been used before. An alternating flashing double red light is basically only used in a railroad crossing. It took me several reads of the MUTCD just to figure out what the different states were supposed to mean.

    So, should you be able to get the basic gist of the device? Sure, red means stop. Yellow means caution. OK. But in this case, flashing yellow means I’m about to turn solid yellow means I’m about to turn double solid red? What? That is completely non-standard. And the difference between double solid red, meaning treat this like a red stoplight, and alternate flashing double red, meaning treat this like a stop sign, is also not standard or seen elsewhere.

    This traffic control device is really a design abomination. It really only needs two states. Off and flashing red, to mean treat this like a stop sign. If you want people to treat it like a stoplight, then why not just put an actual stoplight there?

  • hUcKiECA

    Oh, don’t get me wrong. A midblock crossing on a higher speed, 6-lane road, with medians, needs some sort of treatment. Just watching the video, it’s clear that no driver coming the opposite direction is going to see a pedestrian on the far side of the crosswalk standing there waiting until it’s too late to stop (too much stuff in the median obstructing sight lines for one thing). My point is that the HAWK system is a brand new traffic control device, not standard, and mildly confusing, so the fact that drivers are confused is not in any way surprising. They would have seriously been better off by just putting in a pedestrian actuated traffic light at the midblock crossing. It’s not like they haven’t done that before, just check out Market Street in the Castro in front of the Safeway just east of Church Street.

  • Andy Chow

    I think a phase of solid red allow the pedestrian to cross but eventually change to flashing red to allow vehicles to cross as soon as the person is passed. Conventional lights have a longer red phase, even though some folks like joggers and cyclists need very little time.

  • Mike

    From the article, Chief Suhr is quoted: “The officers saw the car cross Polk Street, which is two blocks away,” he said, “but the car was going so fast they didn’t have time to activate their lights or siren to get within even a block of it before the crash occurred.”

    Why didn’t the officers respond immediately? Polk is about 1000′ from Gough. If the driver of the Mercedes was going 80mph, that’s about 120 feet per second. It would have taken about 8 sec for the Mercedes to travel from Polk to Gough. How much time does a police officer need to respond to a situation like this? I’d like to think that if they were planning to chase the person they could have activated their lights and sirens within 8 seconds, which is actually a long time for anyone to respond, let alone someone trained to respond to emergencies. But judging from the multiple times (at least 3) I’ve seen police officers do nothing when a driver has blatantly run a red light right in front of them and the world, I can’t help but wonder if they ever planned to pursue the Mercedes driver at all.

  • Peter M

    The signal is at an intersection (Sloat and Forest View), not mid-block

  • mikesonn

    If a pedestrian is anywhere in the crosswalk, the driver must wait.

  • Andy Chow

    From this:

    “The California Vehicle Code doesn’t expressly address the question of whether a motorist on a very wide street must wait until a pedestrian is all the way across before starting, or whether a driver needs to wait if a pedestrian steps into a crosswalk on the other side of the road. But police and safety advocates almost all agree that if a pedestrian is on the far side of the crosswalk, then a driver can proceed if it’s safe to do so.”

    “Added Liz-the-Cop: “You do not have to wait for the pedestrian to finish crossing all of the lanes before you drive on. Once the pedestrian is safely and completely past your car and there is no danger of you hitting them or scaring the heck out of them, you may drive through the crosswalk and continue on your way.”

  • I wonder how the variety of other pedestrian crossing solutions (blinking signs, blinking lights in the roadway) were eliminated as unworkable and this solution-looking-for-a-problem was selected as the most viable option.

    Then again, new things need testing somewhere, and something confusing may be better than a deadly no change at all.

  • mikesonn

    “Once the pedestrian is safely and completely past your car and there is no danger of you hitting them or scaring the heck out of them, you may drive through the crosswalk and continue on your way.”

    I’m assuming this is driver’s discretion. *smh*

  • Andy Chow

    I doubt that most pedestrians don’t care or even notice that vehicles start moving, as long as they can and have safely crossed the street. Why should someone care other than may be trying to make a “statement.”

  • Andy Chow

    If they put in a conventional signal then Forest View will have a signal for vehicles. I think all they want is some kind of pedestrian only signal and still a stop sign for vehicles.

  • mikesonn

    I often have drivers nipping at my heels and gunning it behind me before I’m thru the crosswalk but I’ve obviously cleared the front of their bumper. They need to wait until I’m across the intersection, those impatient jerks. But if asked, I’m sure they’ll say they didn’t scare me and thought they had plenty of space.

  • You know what alternating blinking red lights have meant for decades?

    Train is coming and DO NOT GO.

    Suddenly here, alternating blinking red lights mean stop and then proceed? Huh?

    You know what a signal with no light has meant for decades?

    Power is off and treat as four way stop.

    Suddenly here, a signal that’s off means go full speed? Huh?

    HAWK is dangerous.

  • Anonymous

    This is a big problem in dense neighborhoods with lots of children. Drivers will gun it as soon as pedestrians have passed – including families with small children. Small children are unpredictable.

    When I was walking with my toddler damn straight I cared.

    Cue Andy: The parents should make sure their children don’t turn around in the middle of the crosswalk.

  • Anonymous

    Regarding parking for the proposed supermarket in Hayes Valley: it seems to me that grocery stores, lumber and home stores, etc. need adequate parking. But I would bet popular stores like Whole Foods, Ikea, Home Depot could charge for parking and still keep nearly all their customers while incentivizing them to choose to drive only when they planned to buy a lot of bulky things. Charging for private lot parking and offering delivery service too would reduce the number of expensive parking spots slated to be built.

  • Andy Chow

    But did they really scare you? or you really want to make a statement like “I am in a crosswalk so I own every inch of that damn crosswalk until I get to the sidewalk. No trespassing!”

  • Andy Chow

    Well metering lights do look like conventional signals and when it is off, cars can go straight through rather than treating it as a stop sign.

  • Jim

    According to the CA VC, it seems like any traffic control device with alternating double red lights, like school buses and RR crossings, mean drivers must stop AND must not move. Either the CA VC and FWHA rules for hybrid beacons need to be rewritten forcing all cars to stay at a complete stop at an alternating double red, or a standard traffic light needs to be installed.

    A standard light was not installed in this location because it probably did not meet Caltrans MUTCD traffic flow criteria and metrics. Sloat is a state highway, and installing a standard traffic light probably would have been more obtrusive for traffic flow than a beacon. My guess is that if MTA had jurisdiction of this installation, a standard light probably would have been installed like the one on Kezar southwest of JFK.

    As far as whether to treat the off phase as a four-way stop, white regulatory sign that says “STOP ON RED” means that drivers should only come to a complete stop when the light is red. Much like a white sign that prohibits turns on a red light. Highway on ramp metering lights also have signs that say to only stop when light is red.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

  • Anonymous

    I agree that this new HAWK thing is kinda ridiculous. Why can’t we just use a regular traffic light? This is way over-engineered ….

    … which is disconcerting when the elephant in the room is that fact Sloat, with the damn suburban median and all, is designed pretty much like a freeway so drivers expect to be able to haul ass and not worry about “annoyances” like pedestrians and cyclists. it’s just absurd to me that we don’t get to the root of the problem, which is a road designed to feel in every way like a highway.

    In the meantime, just put a regular, pedestrian-activated traffic light in.

  • gb52

    LOL thanks for the imagery. You’re right, regardless of a train or bus, the double flashing red means stop and do not pass. But I just had a fun idea. We should install railroad crossing arms for pedestrians! See if cars will stop for that!

  • mikesonn

    Screw you, man. Screw you.

  • Treva

    I’ve seen some stores that have parking meters in the car park, although I suspect that drives away a lot of business given that many of these types of stores have similar rivals.

    Or worse, people will drive down to Serramonte which will always have vast amounts of free parking.

  • Treva

    Polk to Gough if you’re doing 80mph would take only a few seconds. Realistically nothing could have been done at that point.

  • Fair point. No reason they couldnt stay green though, when not needed

  • Anonymous

    Works for anyone who hates cyclists, right?

  • 94103er

    I think you mean the crosswalk connecting Dolores-bound pedestrians to Market. I wouldn’t count this as a mid-block crosswalk, as it’s the only way to continue south on Dolores as a pedestrian. This is a crappy crosswalk that is going to be fixed, hopefully soon after 2001 Market is finished.

  • mikesonn

    Woman arrested but name is not released nor any details about the moments leading to the crash.

  • mikesonn
    @sal_castaneda: KTVU exclusive: 58-year-old Jennie Zhu is woman SFPD has charged w/ vehicular manslaughter after Friday’s high speed crash on Gough Street.