The Weekend Catch-Up: More Self-Driving Cars in San Francisco Cause a Ruckus, Block Crosswalks

Plus: Pets orphaned by the Maui wildfires arrive in the SF Bay Area, ready for adoption.

After a pair of car crashes involving General Motors’ Cruise vehicles — wreckage that caused an injury for one of its passengers — the California Public Utilities Commission has pulled the electronic e-brake on autonomous vehicle (AV) program extensions in San Francisco. Essentially, now AV companies like Crusie and Waymo can now only operate half of their current fleet in San Francisco.


(As of August 2023, Cruise has reportedly 300 vehicles driving around San Francisco at night and 100 during daytime hours; Waymo only operates about 250 vehicles during the day; other smaller tech AV companies, like Ridecell, only operate a handful of these driverless vehicles.)

Good. Great. Fantastic. But even amid this heavy slashing, these driverless cars, primarily those belonging to Cruise, continued to cause all sorts of chaos over the weekend.

A wayward Cruise vehicle was filmed stalling — or as it’s called “bricking” — in a Glen Park intersection Sunday; three Cruise cars caused traffic to build up for blocks after they bricked at 21st and Valencia streets over the weekend; one Cruise vehicle before Monday morning blocked a crosswalk downtown, which is becoming a common concern amongst pedestrians. 

Laughably, all of these incidents occurred just days after ten Cruise cars bricked in SF’s North Beach neighborhood… and one Cruise vehicle high-key drove through wet concrete on Golden Gate Avenue.

As of publishing, only about 100 vehicles operated by Cruise can now operate during the night, with just 50 vehicles allowed during the daytime. Perhaps we’ll now (solely based on an edict of averages) see just half of these cumbersome, oftentimes dangerous missteps from these driverless cars. 

We’d still rather not be human guinea pigs for this beta testing of what some deem to be the future of transportation — never mind that walkability, micro-mobility, and public transit accessibility would be far better transport modalities to emphasize. 

What else happened over the weekend? Let’s take a quick look.

  • Hurricane Hillary slammed into SoCal. Though some residents of the regions called the tropical storm a glorified rainstorm, areas in Palm Springs experienced historic-levels flash flooding — and now there’s a very real threat to states as far up the coast as Oregon to experience mud-covered roads. More info.
  • Have you seen the San Francisco Chronicle’s handy searchable database? Spoiler alert: The average City government employee makes north of $215,000. More info. 
  • Omg… look at all these cute fur-babes available for adoption, which were all rescued from the Maui wildfires. The Berkeley Humane will be hosting the single largest adoption event in the state called Bark (& Meow) Around the Block next weekend, and animals from fire-scorched Hawaii will be up for adoption — and most of their adoption fees will also be waived. More info.

Feature image: Courtesy of Cruise

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