Tag Archives: Taxi driver realities

The 16th Street Clusterfuck

16th-street-hates-uber-lyft-by-shaun-osburn

The 16th Street Corridor between Guerrero and Mission is one of the worst traffic clusterfucks in the city. Lined with boutiques, liquor stores, bars, restaurants, shops, movie theaters and apartment buildings – all easily accessed via the BART station on Mission – the corridor functions as a nucleus. A welcome center. Not just to the Mission, but the whole city.

It’s where neighborhoods collide and intersect: SoMa to the northeast, like a pair of shades. Tenderloin due north, where your mind is in the gutter. The Castro is west, like a pack of cigarettes in your jean pockets. Duboce Triangle, on your shoulder like a backpack. And the Haight, the feather in your cap.

The Mission is where it’s at.

El corazón de la ciudad.

And 16th Street is the jugular.

Since the street runs halfway across the city – a straight shot east to west, from the Bay to the Castro – it’s also a quasi thoroughfare along the southern edge of the metro area. And thus, a hotspot of activity day and night. After all, that Latino heat is what gives the city flavor.

As a taxi driver, I try to avoid the area.

The 16th Street Corridor is – in addition to all those other things – a fucking quagmire. If there ever was a reason for that word to exist, it’s the 16th Street Corridor.

With no left turns at Guerrero and Mission, once you enter, you’re trapped. You either push through or retreat down an alley. Otherwise you’ll forced to circumvent packs of drunken jaywalkers. And the inevitable army of Ubers and Lyfts.

Driving in the 16th Street Corridor is like going to war with a bunch of preschoolers. I just want to start slapping drivers upside the head. “Whatsamattawitcha! Fucken morons!”

When they’re not double-parking with reckless abandon, impeding the flow of cars, bicyclists and two Muni routes, they’re driving like complete assholes or chickens with their heads cut off.

So last Friday, when Mr. Judy calls me from Albion and 16th looking for an evac, I’m not thrilled. Nonetheless, I charge into the maelstrom, blasting Edgar Winter’s “Frankenstein.”

Mr. Judy is standing in front of Monk’s Kettle giving dirty looks to passersby. I quickly pull over and he jumps in the backseat.

“Just in time,” he says ominously.

Read the rest on the examiner site.

[photo by Shaun Osburn]

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The Curse of the Drunken Millennials

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I don’t know if it’s something I did in a past life or my current one – though safe to assume the latter – but I seem to be cursed with these drunken and disoriented millennials. As much as I try to avoid them and the areas where they congregate, somehow they keep getting in my cab.

I had two non-payers during Halloween. Including one to South City. I pulled up to this kid’s house, $32.65 on the meter, and he told me, “I have no money. Sorry. I don’t even have keys to get inside.”

Anyway, this week’s column for the S.F. Examiner is about a horror ride with a drunken millennial: 

It’s almost last call on a quiet Friday night. There’s not much going on. Halloween was the previous weekend, and with the election on Tuesday, only the diehards are out partying …

On the corner of 16th and Sanchez, a young couple flags me. The girl gets in alone. Her eyes are glazed and she’s holding a plastic bag. 

An ominous sensation rises from my gut. 

Read the rest here