Reader Mail: Blocking the N Judah on a Saturday Night For Only $55!

Ok folks, I’m not making this sh*t up. Seriously.
Loyal Reader “MateoSF” was kind enough to send us the YouTube URL for a fit of insantiy on the N-Judah I happened to miss as I was out of town this week in Ed Jew’s hometown (and mine, before I escaped), in Burlingame,
Anyway, MateoSF was kind enough to capture on video what could be the most iditotic Jedi move on the N-Judah ever – driving your frakking PRIUS into the Sunset tunnel!
No, really.
Here’s his footage. Let’s light the lighter because this guys ROCKS, and he ROCKS because he let me know about his incredible footage first!

Rock on!

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21 Responses to Reader Mail: Blocking the N Judah on a Saturday Night For Only $55!

  1. mateosf says:

    no no no greg thank YOU for being the voice of disenfranchised Muni riders all over the Sunset.
    I think we should use this to get the city to raise the fines for people who park in the Muni lane to “run a quick errand.” Whaddya say?

  2. Mark Ballew says:

    Too bad his Prius didn’t have a pantograph to take advantage of the electricity in the tunnel.
    It should be pretty clear that the city needs to change it’s policy toward blocking Muni. If I was stuck on that N trying to go home, go to work, see my friends, go to church, or do one of the dozens of other things that everyone else on that train wanted to do that night, I would expect our foolish Prius driving friend to shell out the cab fare for me and everyone else on the blocked trains.
    $55 fine for him, thousands of dollars lost for everyone else.

  3. anna says:

    Now realizing, not quite the quicker way to get to the other side.

  4. Dan Berkes says:

    Sure, a $55 fine from the city. But is MUNI going to send him a towing bill?

  5. (NotSFist)Jeremy says:

    Here’s my suggestion for the guys fine: add up all the person-hours of delay the guy caused + any overtime costs for MUNI or SFPD people, and make the guy do that much MUNI-related community service.
    The same should go for anyone who delays a bus: You have do community service for (the duration of the delay you cause) x (the number of people on the bus).

  6. Maximillian T. Crunchberry says:

    Hell, suspend the guy’s license and sentence him to commuting on MUNI. That’ll teach him a thing or two about delays.

  7. sfperson_too says:

    I think the City should look at ways to prevent and prosecute this since it could have been unsafe to so many people. And the light-hearted attitude by everyone exemplifies how little this city, state and country support mass transit. In view of this, I don’t feel the Prius driver did anyone any favors other than to convince them to stay in their cars and keep polluting. Hope someone UTubes him getting his repair bill since this could not have been good to his car’s drive train, gas tank, tires, etc..
    Wonder how well blocking a rail in Europe or drinking coffee in the New York metro system would fly. I know what would have happened to the Prius in the “developing” world.

  8. Greg says:

    good points, everyone!
    To me, my reaction was that the driver either really is that stupid, or was drunk or something to do a stunt that amazingly..well STUPID.
    One thing that SF, and most west coast cities have done well, is make “tickets” a source of “revenue” first, and relegated their original function, punishing bad behavior a distant second.
    I’ve seen the N blocked by double parkers more times than I care to count, and seen MUNI buses have to block rush hour traffic because some idiot decided to park his MINI in the stop.
    And yet, you park a car for 1 minute over the limit in a metered spot and someone tags ya with a ticket right away. Meanwhile, our Prius lad gets off with a laugh and a few pennies out of dad’s pocket.

  9. mateosf says:

    1) The driver was definitely not drunk. I couldn’t tell whether he was either totally clueless, or pulling a prank.
    2) The car was essentially undamaged, but probably needs an alignment because it was stuck in reverse as the train pulled it out.
    3) The point is that a $55 fine for blocking the Muni is absurd when it’s $75 for an expired meter or parking your car for more than 72 hours.
    The city should make blocking Muni a serious penalty – I’d argue for instant towing, but settle for a $150 or $200 fine. Selfish drivers should not have the right to use “convenience” as an excuse to inconvenience hundreds of others who rely on public transpo, and if they want that convenience, make them pay for it.
    The real hypocisy here is that the City claims to be doing things to reduce pollution, but essentially rewards drivers for irresponsible behavior by making the penalty too lenient to prevent violation, while simultaneously penalizing those who use transpo.
    For shame, Gavin, for shame.

  10. PaulSF says:

    This proves just how inconsequential S.F. is. In any other large city this fellow would pick up a fat old ticket. This is SF property. . .if he had come into your garage for some hijinks he’d be looking at the business end of something something. SF ain’t New York.

  11. Greg says:

    @paulsf: hmm, interesting point. I think it’s easy to forget that San Francisco is a city of less than a million people (about 750,000 according to Wikipedia), and as such , has the limitatoins and mindset of a smaller city.
    Yes, it’s scenic, yes I like living here, and yes it’s famous the world over and whatnot, but in the end, SF is smaller than LA and NYC by like, a longshot.
    Put it another way, can one walk across LA or NYC in less than a few hours?

  12. Maximillian T. Crunchberry says:

    I was only half-joking about sentencing the guy to ride MUNI. in NYC someone who did something that stupid would be drawn and quartered, but that’s because in New York everyone rides the subway. Here when I tell people I commute to work via public transit I am met with shock and surprise. Too many residents perceive MUNI as a jitney service for children, the poor, the mentally disturbed and homeless, and thus undeserving of their respect and tax dollars.
    Perhaps if our elected officials were required to commute on an overcrowded N train or 22 bus to the Civic Center every morning (watch your wallet, Gavin) we might see some “Transit First” changes that would alter the public perception of MUNI for the better. I’m not holding my breath.

  13. Greg says:

    @Max: actually, voters in SF passed a nonbinding ballot initiative back in the 90s requiring electeds to ride the bus on a regular basis. But, like “Question Time” it is not a charter amendment so it has no force.
    Some supervisors do rely on MUNI, I know that Tom Ammiano has been a serious user of mass transit his entire career. And some of the much attacked “progressives” do as well.
    The people who need to ride MUNI the most, though are the non-elected, Mayor appointed people who run the “MTA”, and more of upper management. Nate Ford has required his managers to ride troubled lines and has meetings on -site to troubleshoot lines, but frankly if they had to ride to work and BE ON TIME FOR WORK based on MUNI, that would do more than riding it during the work day.
    Or not. Hey, I’m just a guy who rides Muni!

  14. Sagitta says:

    Hard to believe his fine was less than driving in the carpool lane solo or than for littering the highway.
    Multiply the $55 by 10 and then you’re starting to get in the ballpark.

  15. omnicrondelicious says:

    On the (warning: probably not a safe work link) forums, they play a game called “Rush to Judgment – the Game of Basless Journalistic Speculation”. This is a game where they pretend to be pundits who, on the merest shreds of information, make shrill and dramatic proclamations. You know, things like demanding thousands of dollars in fine, suspension of drivers license, and using an anecdote about driving into a tunnel as a case for double parking reform. The difference is, on, they’re just pretending…
    For all we know, it was late at night, the driver was momentarily confused, drove into the tunnel thinking it was legitimately a road, panicked and got stuck. In which case, oops, we let it slip, life goes on, things happen (I’ve lived in SF and taken MUNI for 30 years, to the best of my knowledge this isn’t a recurring problem).
    Sure, if he was a jack-ass trying to take a short cut or was drunk or has a history of reckless driving, then throw the book at him. But until you know the facts, you’re playing “Rush to Judgment”.
    The video was funny though – the videographer has an infectious giggle.

  16. Greg says:

    @omni: eeyeah, I hear ya, but I don’t think one can view this video without having some sort of reaction of “Good grief this guy’s an idiot.” Plus, I think most of these comments are at least a little tongue in cheek. (or maybe not, who knows these days?)
    There’s really no way one can do that accidentally, but even without inebriation or prankster doofishness, one can’t block a train without having some hassles with John Law.

  17. Mike says:

    You really do have to work hard to get a car into the Sunset tunnel. The tracks curve on both ends before the tunnel. It is not as if the road just turns into a tunnel.
    I think the points about the fines are right on. If you are 1 minute over on your meter, you potentially get a pretty big fine. How many people are harmed by your action? Maybe one or two looking for a spot at that moment.
    Contrast that to ‘accidentally’ ending up in a transit tunnel, where hundreds of people are delayed until they tow the car. That says nothing of the safety issue should a train have come upon that car and not had time to stop.

  18. “driving your frakking PRIUS into the Sunset tunnel!”
    Um, actually, it’s “East Portal.” Check the signs over the boarded up shelters (at Cole, or at Duboce) that you used to be able to sit in, before the homeless problem became what it is now.
    Compare a $55 fine, to the upwards of one hundred dollar fine that you get for not having a Fast Pass. That’s just wrong.
    Considering that SF Police are fairly lenient (which my heavy right foot appreciates), I’m surprised that they didn’t tack on one for “reckless driving.” As I’ve seen other police departments give tickets out like candy at Halloween, for merely chirping tires.

  19. Greg says:

    @Write Procrastinator: Actually, that’s incorrect. It is called the Sunset Tunnel – the sign refers to the East Portal OF the Sunset Tunnel.
    Then again, most people probably don’t know either name, they just know it as The Tunnel…

  20. tom says:

    Mark – that’s actually a pretty awesome idea–homebrew trolleybuses!
    (1) Go to junkyard and find old electric golf cart. Paint some orange stripes on it.
    (2) Figure out the specs for Muni’s trolley power lines
    (3) Rig up a couple trolley poles to the golf cart’s battery leads, via a voltage divider to go from Muni’s 600V down to 48V
    (4) Free transit along major corridors in SF!!!

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