Today’s Headlines

  • Car Traffic Moves Fine Without the GG Bridge (SFGate); Photos of the Car-Free Scene (Richmond)
  • SF Chronicle‘s Heather Knight and SFPD’s Traffic Company Commander Can’t Get Past Victim-Blaming
  • Motorcyclist Killed in Crash With Car, Pedestrian at McAllister and Van Ness (NBC, Hoodline)
  • One Year in, Alamo Square Tour Bus Ban Seems Effective (Hoodline)
  • 100 Van Ness Tower the Latest Harbinger of Civic Center’s Transformation Into a Neighborhood (Biz)
  • Eastbound Bay Bridge Named Bay Area’s Most Congested Stretch of Highway (SFGate, SF Examiner)
  • Person Killed by Caltrain Near Millbrae Station (NBC)
  • Electrified Caltrain Will Be More Frequent, But Palo Alto Online Fumes Over Expected Delays for Drivers
  • Palo Alto Officials Don’t Want to Remove Car Parking or Traffic Lanes for BRT on El Camino Real (PAO)
  • Google Launches Free Shuttle in Mountain View (Mercury News)
  • Las Vegas Wants High-Speed Rail to Southern California (SFGate)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • JJ94117
  • Jeffrey Baker

    The mountain view bus service is interesting. It’s basically a corporate shuttle with timed departures from Caltrain. Assuming it holds to its schedule it would be faster to take a baby bullet from sf and transfer to mvgo than it would be to take a corporate shuttle all the way down 101.

  • murphstahoe

    These days it might be faster to take the train and then walk. 101 is that bad.

    The next big thing – I predict – is going to be corporate shuttles that take employees from SF residential areas to Caltrain. Probably cheaper and faster for companies to do this and pay for employees mi-fi card.

  • murphstahoe

    Are there any stories about the three 2014 cyclist fatalities? I don’t recall any of these stories? Do these get pushed under the rug if the victim is not affluent?

    In response, the SFPD is doing a sting on cyclists at the T intersection of 5th and Townsend. This location sees occasional stings. I *believe* this sources from complaints from someone affiliated with Caltrain – the intersection is technically not a T intersection as 20 or so cars per day use the Caltrain employee parking lot on the East of Townsend at that spot. A sting there is definitely not low hanging fruit for traffic safety but an easy way for a cop to write a lot of tickets without the danger of “unpredictable” targets – the median income of a cyclist at that intersection is probably 6 figures.

  • discuss

    Re: the Chronicle story in the second link. The articles says three people were killed in San Francisco on bicycles this year. I keep track of these fatalities and had only heard of one (and that was after I did some sleuthing of my own to find out that a homeless man had been killed in a vehicle collision while on his bike). It’s troubling to me that information such as this that can be used to help prevent future collisions is only shared on the whims of a newspaper whose staff are already stretched too thin. There must be a better way.

  • Andy Chow

    This Saturday I was waiting for a bus at San Bruno/Arleta and saw a lycra-clad cyclist speeding downhill on San Bruno south and ran a red light at Arleta. There was a car on Arleta about to pass San Bruno honked when the bike just ran past the light.

  • murphstahoe

    cool story

  • mcas

    Yesterday, I saw a t-shirt clad driver going 5 miles over the speed limit who turned right on red while a pedestrian was in the crosswalk.

  • Andy Chow

    But in this blog, cyclists are _never_ at fault. If something bad had happened and if I still make that statement, many here would say that I am blaming the victim.

  • Dave Moore

    A “sting” implies deception on the part of the police. Waiting for people to break the law is not a sting, even if you’re hiding.

  • I requested information on bicyclist deaths from SFPD public affairs and got no response.

  • gneiss

    Meanwhile, just down the street a Megabus was blocking the bike lane in front of the Caltrain station this morning. Let’s ask ourselves, what poses a greater risk to safety, blocking the bike lane and forcing people who ride bikes into 25 mph traffic, or rolling at 10 mph through a T-intersection? Honestly, if we continue to base our traffic enforcement on “complaints” from Caltrain employees who don’t want to look out for bicyclists crossing in front of them into their parking lot rather than data, we’ll continue to have unnecessary deaths on our streets.

  • Nicasio Nakamine

    This is just the worst place for SFPD to write tickets. It’s important for cyclists to slow down and stop for pedestrians crossing, but there is no reason not to roll through at a safe speed here when nobody is crossing.

    I see plenty of actually dangerous cyclist behavior around the city – this is not where I see it.

  • murphstahoe

    s/sting/targeted enforcement action/g;

    Presumably you focused on my syntax and not my larger point because the larger point stands?

  • murphstahoe

    I would still say statistics – not anecdotes – should drive decisions. You would be typing your whole life to try to change the real data.

  • murphstahoe

    and right on cue, the umpteenth gucci clad motorist takes a turn onto the Caltrain tracks and screws up the commute for thousands.

  • Dave Moore

    I would call it more than a syntax difference as sting implies a much more focused effort than trolling for easy tickets.

    I agree that this action (waiting for cyclists to do something illegal at this T stop) is less likely to save lives than a targeted enforcement of red light running.

    But if that’s the only benchmark, then cops probably shouldn’t be doing *any* traffic related enforcement and should instead be entirely focused on violence related deaths. There are far more of those each year than ones caused by vehicles of any kind.

  • Andy Chow

    At least two of the routes under the new program was operating under another program. So it is more of an expansion of the feeder shuttle.

  • the_greasybear

    Two years ago, I was riding my bike home when a cabbie knocked me off my bicycle. I needed surgery to put my ankle back together, and then nine months of physical therapy.

  • Sprague

    The car-free Golden Gate Bridge this past weekend was great. The movable median barrier is a welcome safety improvement and it’s good that the eastern sidewalk was open to pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s unclear why the western sidewalk was closed – since all six lanes of the bridge were available for work crews, etc. The throngs of pedestrians and cyclists packed onto the eastern sidewalk appeared to cause some friction, since walkers had difficulty walking even two abreast and everyone had to repeatedly stop or make room for cyclists and walkers. Wondering if anyone knows why the eastern sidewalk was closed.

  • Sprague

    make that: wondering if anyone knows why the western sidewalk was closed

  • NoeValleyJim

    File a Sunshine request. Or get Scott Weiner’s office involved.

  • NoeValleyJim

    Is that really true? I don’t think so. 25 pedestrians and cyclists killed by cars, plus how many more car drivers killed in 2014 vs. 44 murders. They are comparable.

  • Dave Moore

    Violence related deaths includes things other than homicides.

    The most recent data I can find was from a study from 2004 to 2007. The report is here: http://www.sfhip.org/javascript/htmleditor/uploads/Mortality_Analysis_2010_posttowebsite.pdf

    The numbers are a bit tricky to examine because people are grouped by sex and by age, and sometimes these two causes aren’t include because they don’t happen enough (as compared to other death causes) but violence related deaths (all mechanisms) is consistently much higher than motor vehicle related deaths (all mechanisms).

    Both numbers are tiny btw, when compared to things like suicide, hearth disease or cancer.

    My point is that police don’t work only on the top causes of deaths. So complaining that cyclists are being scapegoated when drivers cause more deaths is a bit questionable when those drivers could use the same argument about targeted enforcement vs preventing drug related deaths. Or suicide. Or cancer, if we said that all the money we spent on the police should be used in some other way that would benefit us more.

    Note: I’m not suggesting that we do this. And I think in this instance (as I said above) it looked like it was cops taking the easy path, probably instigated by complaints. Personally I’d prefer a step up in red light enforcement because it would benefit everyone’s safety. I think cities develop patterns about lights and in SF the pattern is that people run through lights well after they’re red. That seems like something that could be changed with a concerted effort.

  • murphstahoe

    My point is that police don’t work only on the top causes of deaths.

    Nor should they. They should optimize their return on investment of their time and our money, based on their capabilities. If we put the cops on cancer, our return would be zero. It’s hard to discern how well they could impact incidents of domestic violence (even if there were a way to discern someone with a probable likelihood of killing their spouse, the courts and constitution might prevent useful action).

    I think we agree here.

    The return on investment of a cop sitting at 5th and Townsend approaches zero. Up to me, the best ROI would be putting cops in the Mission and North Beach every night busting drunks getting into their cars. There is a very direct correlation between DUI and traffic violence.

  • Dave Moore

    I think we do agree, but to be clear I said we could decide to take the money we spend on police and apply it to other death causes. I wasn’t saying that I wanted cops on some sort of bizarre cancer beat. “Freeze. Drop that prostate!”

  • Almondy

    Dave, the fact that the police should and do prioritize more serious crimes is not a reason for them to not enforce lesser laws. We’d expect SFPD to spend more time on a murder case than a jaywalking case, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want them to enforce jaywalking laws.

    In fact, if we consciously decide not to enforce a law then we might as well repeal it, as there is little practical difference between the two.

    Moreover, the “broken windows” style of policing, which has become a standard in major US cities, actively advocates the enforcement of minor crimes.

    Even where incidents lead to a death, we’d expect SFPD to place more emphasis on, say, a murder than an accidental death.

    Finally, I don’t believe that it is the “easy path” to ticket cyclists. In some ways it is harder to stop a cyclist than a car, and ticketing cyclists actually requires the cops to get out of their cars, because a bike carries no identifying license information obviously. A so-called “sting” is really the only way to do it; not the easiest.

  • murphstahoe

    These enforcement actions are almost always just a cop on a motorcycle about 20 yards past the stop sign. Cyclist runs stop sign, cop walks into street and says STOP. It’s a lot easier to do that than to stop a motorist.

  • Dave Moore

    I think you misunderstood several things about my position.

    – I was not saying that we should only apply effort to affect the largest cause of death. I was saying that the argument that suggests that we shouldn’t have targeted enforcement for bikes because cars are more dangerous is too simplistic and flawed, if that’s the only argument that’s being made. I think Murph’s statements later showed more subtlety.

    – Again, this is not a “sting”. It’s just trolling for tickets where you they people are likely to break the law.

    And as far as your arguments:
    – The “broken windows” theory has been widely discredited as correlation and not causation. People continue to talk about it as though it’s a real thing, but it’s not. Crime went down in New York for a lot of reasons in the ’80s. The focus on subway graffiti et. al. had nothing to do with it.

    – As Murph says, pulling cyclists over for this is easy, mostly far easier than pulling over a speeding car.