Yesterday went from bad to stupid. After losing an hour in the AM due to a Caltrain suicide - exacerbated by not having my bike with me, not having my bike at the end of the day really cost me.
My wife called - "pick up some green sauce and diapers". This is a trivial errand with my bike, I'd probably stop at Rainbow for the sauce and the Noe Valley Walgreens for the diapers, unless I was feeling frisky and ride up to Mollie Stone's in Miraloma Park for both, giving me a hill climb up O'Shaugnessy in the process. Without a bike, I had to strategize. I was on Caltrain 275 which does not connect to BART or stop at 22nd St. I decided the best play was the 4th/King Safeway. As we pulled in I checked Nextbus - the T to the Castro in 10 minutes as I arrived at the station.
Run into Safeway - 10 minutes to grab a can of sauce and some diapers. Safeway was out of #1 diapers. Argh. I spy Walgreens across the street. Fine, I'll get the sauce and if I make the T, I will go to the Castro, otherwise, go into Walgreens and do a MUNI check. The cashier line was 6 deep! Aiyah! Who are these people? I didn't realize so many people lived in SoMa. I miss the T, and head to Walgreens.
I spy a 47 bus outside Walgreens. The 47 rules. Low traffic streets and cuts me right to Van Ness station. Of course it pulls out just as I get there. Fine, go into Walgreens which of course does not have the diapers I need. Now, it gets real comical.
I fumble with my Iphone for 2 minutes to check the T - 1 minute! Run to the T stop 1 block away, miss the T. Check the N Judah. 15 minutes. The 47 - 10 minutes. T - 15 minutes. I walk BACK to the 47 stop. 10 minutes pass, during which no 47 arrives to start the run, but an N Judah departs! Argh! Finally a 47 shows up, and the driver promptly goes around the corner for a smoke break. Another guy decides he will take the 10, which he sees is headed our way. Too late I decide this is a good idea, I walk around the corner to see that 10 bus pulling out. The T is on the way, so I head over there. Before it arrives, the 47 driver decides to put out his cigarrette and start his run - which would have surely outpace the T I finally just waited for.
MUNI FAIL. The problem at this spot is that there are 6 semi-useful lines, only 2 of which stop at the same place, the 45 and 30. NextMUNI will give you predictions for multiple lines at the same stop, but if the stops are catty-corner (like the 47 vs the 30) it won't, so navigating competing bus predictions on a Iphone may simply result in you first checking the prediction for a line that is 20 minutes away, then navigating to the line that is ARRIVING - 200 yards from where you stand.
The T and the N are at the same intersection but it takes 3-4 minutes to cross the dangerous intersection. The N Judah and the 47 begin at this spot so the NextBus predictors are completely useless, witness the non-existent 47 that eventually turned into a smoke-break bus, and the N-Judah that wasn't supposed to be there that magically appeared and departed while I awaited the 47.
If I ever found the time to write an Iphone App I would write the "4th and King - nextbus collection app" to get all the buses leaving this general area, do some general math, and rank the "fastest way to Montgomery", "Fastest way to the Castro" etc... putting a DANGER disclaimer on anything containing the 47, N, 30, or 45 which all being their runs at this spot (I think this also applies to a couple of the commuter lines - the 81 or something like that).
And of course the Walgreens in the Castro also didn't have the diapers....
Where are good road cycling routes around Santa Cruz?
11 minutes ago