Today In Domino Theory, Muni Edition….

A funny thing happened on my way to Amazing Fantasy to pick up some comics…I walked up the street and noticed the N was sitting silently at 8th and Irving:


Normally if the N hits a car or something, I’d hear a solid “thunk” or something but neither I, nor anyone at surrounding businesses heard anything, it just sorta happened. As it turned out a car making a turn misjudged the approaching N train and as always, in a battle between multi-ton LRV and small car, guess who won:


Again, as is the case with these, no one was injured and while the car took some damage, it’s nothing that can’t be repaired. Say what you will about “auto safety regulations” but I’ve seen enough of these accidents to know that you can get in one and your likelihood of dying has been considerably reduced, due to auto design. The N didn’t take any damage beyond cosmetic damage.

As the accident was resolved by police, fire and SFMTA staff, a delay began to back up all outbound trains. It is fortunate that this happened mid afternoon, not at rush hour as you see the trains pile up:


Once again, one small situation caused by some questionable driving tactics by an auto had the effect of knocking out all service on the line for about an hour or so. Shuttle buses were deployed, but the residual delays and confusion went on for hours. Even now, as I write this at 6:45 pm, shuttle buses are still operating on the line to get service back up to speed. Adam on Twitter (whom I must have walked right by while investigating this close to home) put it best:

There’s really not a lot Muni or the SFMTA can do to “prevent” this – the accident wasn’t their fault, and there’s really no way to prevent someone from making a move in front of an LRV that’s Not Smart, regardless of signs, common sense, lights and so on. Regardless, it had a ripple effect that lasted for several hours.

Compounding this was the fact that there was really no way to tell people downtown, or along the line in either direction what was happening or for how long the delay would last. The SFMTA did tweet the incident and updates, but not everyone has Twitter or uses it all day, and none of that matters if you’re out doing your thing and then suddenly you have to switch to a bus at Duboce/Church without any warning, etc. Even under the best of circumstances, a lot of people in these situations are going to be left wondering WTF is happening, and I’m not sure that “apps” would be the solution here.

Anyway, another day on the N. I did get some good comics today, making up for the fact I’m not going to the San Diego Comic Convention this year.

I’ll be posting some thoughts on the cornucopia of political silliness affecting transit riders coming from the Board of “Supervisors” later on. Until then, be safe out there!

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