Archive for August, 2017

Surprise: A $3.2 Million(!) Renovation Will SHUT DOWN the Panhandle Playground for about Two(!) Years

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

Whoo boy:

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This process started in late 2014. San Francisco Board of Supervisors President called a $2 million earmarking an “early Christmas present” for her District Five. That means that this is going to end up taking a full half-decade.

But that’s not the problem.

The problem is that RPD should just take care of the stuff it has instead of building all-new stuff.

So, some generally well-meaning non-profit people came around with clipboards telling people that the current Panhandle Playground, paid for by a $100,000 grant from (old) General Motors, gets a grade of “C” or “D” and the first thing people did is ask why. About half of them would give an “A” grade, and then say that Rec and Park should do a better job of maintenance.

And actually PEOPLE LIKE ALL THE SAND.

But one of the points of this project is getting rid of the sand. It’s a citywide goal. So it’s kind of sad that the people who want the city to simply keep this playground the way it is butjust take better care of it always ask about the sand issue. The answer I hear from the generally well-meaning nonprofit types is that sand has parasites, from cats. Well, that might be true in general but it’s not true at this location, which has more rats than cats, as you can see:

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Another point is getting rid of the Chromated Copper Arsenate (CCA) in the wood. Well, again, this is a citywide goal that some have. Check out the Wiki link. Avoid studies by/from the CCA / timber industry. IRL, if there’s arsenic in your kid, it’s not from CCA. Sry.

So what else – oh, what’s also sad is that people don’t understand that the existing playground would have to shut down for more than a year as the new playground has to go in at the same place.

And questions about all these issues are addressed to those who are getting paid to put in a new playground. The question about whether a playground should be put in was never asked.

So, CLOSING THIS PLAYGROUND FOR TWO YEARS FOR BASICALLY NO REASON WILL BE UNPOPULAR (TO SAY THE LEAST) WITH EXISTING USERS. Go over there and ask them – say, yeah, they’re going shut this place down for two years to get rid of all the sand. The most popular reply you’ll get is, “Oh no, that’s terrible, I like the sand.”

And, THERE’S NO GUARANTEE THAT THE NEW PLAYGROUND WILL BE BETTER THAN THE EXISTING ONE. This issue could go either way. The new playground will implement Theories Of Playing, but, guess what, so did the old one. Has Play changed so much the past two decades?

Also, ISN’T $3.2 MILLION A LOT OF MONEY TO PUT INTO A SMALL PLAYGROUND AREA? This isn’t the big beef, but it’s a a factor.

The BEST CHOICE would be to fix up the existing playground with just a small fraction of 3.2 freaking million dollars. And take another fraction and use it to pay the RPD workers who come by to rake the sand. And then do something else with the remaining millions.

The SECOND BEST CHOICE would be to site the playground in a different place. That would address the primary problem of the two year shutdown.

The THIRD BEST CHOICE would be to delay this project for another three years, or for another couple decades.

I realize that people at the Parks Alliance want to do things for the children, but what they’re ending up doing is shutting down their playground for a couple of years for basically no reason.

Car Piñata: A Good Place for Your Gas Money, for When You Really Need It

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

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Classy Rental Van: EVEN IF YOU WIN THE RAT RACE, YOU ARE STILL A RAT

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

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The Great Median of Masonic is Upon Us

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

I don’t exactly agree with those who wanted this new median, but nobody asked me.

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The relatively new one on nearby Divisidero hasn’t worked out.

NB: Those Heavy-Looking Orange Traffic Barriers on Masonic Aren’t Filled, Offering Little Protection

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Of course they could be filled, but that would be a PITA for the workers:

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Just saying.

The Craziest Frisco Infill Development Scheme Ever: Five Units with Just 3.5 Feet of Frontage – At 1846 Grove AND 1815 Fulton

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

Presenting 1815-1823 Fulton Street aka 1846 Grove Street – it’s that large parcel that prolly should be part of the backyards of people who live on the block bounded by Fulton, Masonic, Grove, and Ashbury in the 94117. But it’s not, so the plan now is to have this land used for five new units.

Access will be just to the right (east) of Bistro Gambrinus along a 100(!) foot path what’s just 3.5 feet wide.

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This was the old plan, with just four units. The lot looks like Oklahoma with the panhandle part pointing upwards:

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So, how do you get your furniture in? Through the 3.5 foot wide access canyon on Fulton. I guess it’s wide enough, but how would get materials to the site? And forget about a garage, right?

Man, when the neighbors find out about this, well, some of them will not be pleased, I promise you.

Hey, if you want to yammer about this plan, come to the Page Branch of your San Francisco Public Library on September 6th, 2017 at 7:30 PM for the mandatory Pre-Application meeting. I’m sure they’ll have plans for the current proposal.

This is Masonic. The back fences of these places are the eastern edge of the access path:

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Oh here it is – this is your view from the sidewalk of Fulton. This is all the frontage you get to share with four other units:

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Existing gate:

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Fulton again:

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And a wide angle view:

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Now let’s go around the block to what I’m guessing is 1846 Grove. I suppose this area wouldn’t change:

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I don’t know what else could be done with this parcel. So I suppose this plan would be the highest and best use. But I’ve never seen anything like it.

Here’s something from 2006, when the plan was to use the Grove side for access:

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Dear Mr. Teeters: Planning Department staff has reviewed your letter of December 15, 2005, requesting a determination of the procedural requirements for development of an interior lot with a 3’-6” wide pedestrian access to Grove Street. Both proposed schemes involve the construction of two structures of two dwelling units each. Scheme A keeps the lot as it is, while Scheme B subdivides the lots. I have made the following determinations.

1. Scheme A requires the following applications: • A variance under Section 134 for construction in the required rear yard • A variance under Section 151 for the lack of parking • A conditional use application under Section 209.1(g) to develop more than two units on the lot. • Building Permit Application with Section 311 neighbor notification

2. Scheme B requires the following applications: • A variance under Section 134 for construction in the required rear yard • A variance under Section 151 for the lack of parking • A variance under Section 121 for the lack of street frontage • Building Permit Application with Section 311 neighbor notification • Application for subdivision through the Department of Public Works.

This application does not need to be initiated or complete prior to Planning Department approval, however approval will be conditional on subdivision approval.

UPDATE: Early indications are there will be some opposition, to say the least:

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TASER TASER TASER – Sign Up Now for These Official SFPD TASER Meetings – TASER TASER TASER

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

The cops can’t say TASER, but I can: TASER TASER TASER. (I can also say band aid and realtor.)

There are only 100 seats, so these free meetings will sell out, and maybe the first one already has, but IDK because I can’t get to the evite page. But you can, Gentle Reader, I’m sure of it. You’re very clever.

 “Community Input on CEDs (Conducted Energy Device)
Tue, Sep 12, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, 99 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA
The San Francisco Police Commission along with the SFPD and with the facilitation support of the Human Right’s Commission is inviting community members to weigh in, ask questions, share perspectives and voice concerns about whether CEDs (Conducted Energy Devices, also known as Tasers) should be considered as a force option for the Police Department. The meetings are also a platform to provide input on the draft policy (http://sanfranciscopolice.org/sites/default/files/Documents/PoliceCommission/police-commission-CED%20policy%20draft%20dated%2008%3A25%3A17%20%28%22clean%20version%29.pdf) to be presented for discussion at a future Police Commission meeting. We will have two meetings. First meeting is: Tuesday, September 12, 2017, 6pm- 8 pm @Bill Graham Auditorium, 99 Grove (http:/ /evite .me/kS846TMa7q) Because of the capacity limitations of this space, we ask those interested to register via Evite. For safety, we are limited to 100 attendees and will accept comments, feedback, questions and concerns by email sfpd.commission@sfgov.org or via the Commission’s Facebook and/or Twitter.

All the deets, in pdf format:

police-commission-CED policy draft dated 08-25-17 (-clean version)

Spot the former SF Police Commish who did a 180 on “Conducted Energy Devices” a while back. I think he was the critical vote.

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And in the meantime, Frisco still has TASERs all over, they’re just not being used by the SFPD. Think of different LEOs what operate here, some in large numbers:

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What’s the Speed Limit on JFK Drive When It’s Shut Down, as on “Healthy Sundays?” – Does Rec and Park Know?

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Actually, Rec and Park just might exactly know how fast this pickup was going yesterday – they might have the ability to track MPH, among other things.

Anyway, this is the fastest vehicle I’ve ever seen on JFK during a road closure. You can see a few WTF looks here as the driver was slowing down:

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Just saying

In One Photo, How SFGov’s Vaunted “VISIONZERO 2024” Campaign Isn’t Going to Work Out – By 2024 or Ever – An Unfunded Mandate

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Do I have that right? Like SFGov simply mandated away any and all transportation-related injuries and deaths starting in 2024 and continuing into eternity – that’s SF’s Vision Zero.

Note that this plan will fail only after all incumbents have termed out, how convenient that is.

The thing is that the amount of effort required to even come close to attaining this vision, one that governmental employees are compelled to say they think could actually come true, I mean they have to say it even though there’s no way that they could actually believe, I mean their $300K+ per year pay packages require them to say that, is not even close to being funded.

So this is the kind of thing we end up with:

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Now, is this “improvement” an actual improvement, you know, ’cause some “improvements” are later disavowed by the SFMTA and other so-called improvements don’t actually improve anything? Well, sure, a bigger, better traffic signal. Fine.

But has this intersection now been “transformed” in preparation for 2024 when Frisco will become the only city in the world with a population of more than a half-million to have zero transportation-related injuries? No, not at all.

And is Frisco going to revisit this intersection afore 2024? I seriously doubt it, based upon their scheduling.

So this is it, this one intersection is now Vision Zero 2024-ready.

Except it’s not. And that’s because traffic signals don’t cause traffic accidents, people do.

In almost all of the cases of course.

IRL, traffic accidents are caused by negligence or recklessness. And that kind of thing is what our SFMTA isn’t addressing, not really.

Of course, we could simply ban private vehicles from San Francisco, but even that wouldn’t make the quite impossible Vision Zero possible. And of course banning private vehicles would be quite a heavy lift.

So that’s the state of Vision Zero 2024 from the standpoint of 2017…

The Secret is OUT About Using the LUCKY PENNY PARKING LOT to Shop at Trader Joe’s #100 on Masonic

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

It says a lot about Frisco Planning that a simple gro sto is so packed with people, oh well.

Anyway, parking at the 100th Trader Joe’s continues to be a bear. So much so that people continue to park in the northbound lane of Masonic and then dash across five lanes of traffic.* Has somebody gotten killed doing this? Yes, in this very spot, not that long ago:

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The reason why people do this is because it’s a PITA to approach TJS100 from any direction but north. This is by design. Oh well.

But look:

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A formerly unwritten policy got written down and a small lot at Geary and Masonic became officially available for use. Now, you can easily approach from the west, south and east, by using the south entrance of the Lucky Penny lot.

Oh, about that Lucky Penny. It was a terrible, terrible diner:

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Believe me. Sad!!!

Anyway, it got shut down for some housing project, so the parking lot became the Land of Wind and Ghosts, an empty gallery for taggers. See? (That pole sometime vibrates in the wind, back and forth, like a G6, like a G6, like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.)

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It was a cat and mouse game of paint and repaint. After a while, things got cleaned up, to make room for new tags:

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But then this unused public realm got activated and people started using the lot again, but for shopping at Joe’s.

Did the average shopper notice? IDK. The queue for People With Cars (this is an actual phrase – I didn’t make it up) still sometimes would go Over The Hill towards the Pine Euclid area. I mean that’s gotta be 20 cars in line to get into the cramped TJ’s lot sometimes. And some of these people have rented a Getaround car just for one shopping trip – they’re On The Clock, tick tick tick. Anyway, during these busy times, the LP lot would be half empty, oddly, as if people didn’t know they should park her.

But these days, the Lucky Penny lot gets all filled up – it wasn’t like this even a few months ago. People have learned The Secret.

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But there’s a Threat. It’s that darn housing project. Now I don’t think that TJ’s shoppers are in a position to “save” this temporary lot, but, Man, they sure will complain once they get kicked out for construction.

And then the new building, with perhaps 200-300 residents will have underground parking spaces for like nine cars? Well, that’s something that’ll be up for debate. Area Residents want this parking space number to be around 100 spaces. (They care not about any alleged housing crises. They care about their daily street parking crisis.) Activists would prefer the aforementioned nine and Planning? Well, Planning will come in somewhere inbetwixt, one surmises.

Let’s save that conflict for The Future…

*Or, they park on Ralph Waldo Emerson Street, walk onto the roof and then down the stairs and then into the grocery. This is kind of crazy but it happens. Of course, this rooftop parking could be avail for the typical TJ’s shopper, but the residents of the Emerson cul-de-sac** would burn down City Hall afore they’d allow that.  

**I said “sack.” Heh. Good one, me.