It’s 4/20 and there’s no weed-related Muni news. Bummer city. But other stuff is happening and you could get stoned and read about. And there’s no law against getting toasted and riding Muni yourself…oh wait…never mind, there is.

Intersection of Main and Harrison Streets Is a Terrifying Deathtrap
And there’s an awesomely hilarious video to prove it.

Rincon Hill residents are complaining that MTA refuses to do anything about the backups at the intersection that have left pedestrians scrambling.

The city has a system in place through 311 where citizens can call in complaints about dangerous road conditions and then call back to track if any progress has been made. If area residents have tried that and the intersection is still a clusterfuck, they may have to get a police uniform at a costume shop and hope they don’t arrested when they go out into the intersection and try to direct traffic themselves.

On The Other Hand…
This story in SF Weekly argues that a simple 5 miles per hour reduction in the speed limit citywide would greatly reduce the number of pedestrians hit by cars. Over 800 pedestrians are injured by automobiles in the city every year, racking up over $76 million in medical bills

On a related note, Walk SF, an organization dedicated to making San Francisco more pedestrian-friendly, is holding a fundraiser. If you’re a fan of using your legs to get from one place to another, without being run over in process, it might behoove you to check it out.

There’s No Diplomatic Immunity From Muni
Bay Citizen reporter Elizabeth Stevens writes of an SUV with diplomatic plates hitting her parked car and speeding off without as much as an apology. Stevens tried to chase the offender down but was unable to stop him. Luckily, a helpful Muni driver pulled over, said he saw the whole sorry scene and told her to file a police report.

See, sometimes Muni drivers do awesome things.

Smarter Parking
Now that a new demand-based parking pilot program has debuted in the Marina and is soon moving to a handful of other busy neighborhoods around the city, there’s a lot of talk about how best to implement forward-thinking parking policy. The project, called SF Park, fluidly changes the cost of parking meters based on demand–usually driving the price upward in process. This hike will serve to induce more people to use off-street parking and, likewise, free up more spaces. More open spots mean less driving around looking for parking, which means that more people will be able to easily park close to popular shopping destinations. Everyone wins!

Except for all the people who have to pay more.

Which is precisely why parking can be such a touchy issue politically–especially when local governments are running deficits and considering the use of increased parking revenue to close budget gaps. Not that anyone in San Francisco would ever publicly pursue a course of action so obviously foolhardy. Doing something popular (like improving parking efficiency) for a unpopular reason (simply raising revenue), can often discredit the whole policy.

Managing and/or avoiding this backlash is one of the reasons why Transbay Blog advocates moving parking policy out of the hands of individual cities and substituting a more regional approach.

Transbay writes, “An metropolitan planning organization can provide valuable direction by identifying best practices, assembling useful case studies, and establishing a policy framework that explains and justifies the benefits of parking demand management. This readily available resource would provide cities with a more constructive way to frame the public discussion about parking, while educating citizens that parking reform has benefits beyond providing the city with more revenue.”

Muni’s PR Firm Maybe Not A Waste Of Money
When MTA dropped $100,000 hiring a high-powered PR firm to manage media relations during contract negotiations with the operators union, there was much kvetching that the agency was wasting taxpayer money on something worthless and unrelated to service. This has led to even more widespread complaining about other city departments using taxpayer dollars on PR.

In retrospect, MTA’s dropping serious cash for former Chronicle scribe Charlie Goodyear’s magic touch might have been a good idea after all. The news that the operators union is in the process of voting on a strike originated from one of the firm’s press releases and was picked up everywhere. In one fell swoop, MTA was able to shape the narrative around the strike by, not only catching the union mid-vote, but putting the context of the strike in language favorable to the agency from the outset.

Goodyear broke news of the strike vote last Friday, but the union wasn’t able to get a statement out defending their actions until Tuesday.

“The vote comes during the second month of negotiations between the two sides, and comes just as the two sides were getting to the point of exchanging proposals,” said Goodyear. “That’s what makes this vote all the more puzzling,”

Possibly $100,000 well spent?

It Is Not Illegal To Fart On The Bus
The flatulent five-year olds of San Francisco can breathe a little easier with this revelation.

Although, it is true that he who smelt it dealt it. So they might want to hold their breath for a sold 15 seconds after doing the deed.

Mad Cabbies
60 irate cab drivers recently flooded a MTA board meeting with a laundry list of complaints and it looks like the board may have actually been listening.

MTA is now recommending an across-the-board rate increase that would go directly into drivers’ pockets.

The current rate ($2.25 a mile and 45 a minute while sitting in traffic) has been in place for eight years.

Hayes To Go Both Ways
The one-way section of Hayes Street between Gough and Franklin is in the process of becoming two-ways. The one-way portion of the street was initially designed to speed traffic though the neighborhood but, now that Hayes Valley is a bona-fide shopping destination (with three separate stores specifically targeting hipster babies) MTA thought slowing down traffic though the area would be advisable.

The plan isn’t without its opposition,”There is no answer, as far as I can tell, that’s fully satisfactory as to where the cars will go,” said MTA board member Malcom Heinicke. Heinicke is the only director to oppose the project.

Muni Ass Kicking Not Really Caught On Tape

Remember that story about the martial arts instructor that came to the aid of an SFPD officer trying to detain a fare evader?

The Examiner says they have it on video, but it’s mostly sidewalk, bare feet, swearing, and some goofy title cards, but we’ll embed it for you anyway.

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