Posts Tagged ‘bicycles’

Here They Are, Our Brand-New “Beautiful. Functional. Rain Gardens” on Fell – Like Parklets, But for Weeds, Not People

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

[UPDATE: Our PUC writes in tell about how I’m confusing them with the CAPUC, the same way, one supposes that Mssrs. Matier and Ross got “confused” when calling them the PUC here. But take their tour if you want – see Comments.]

Remember the revival of “Victory Gardens?” I do. It peaked in 2009. But the new thang in urban gardening is upon us.

As seen on Fell, looking inbound:

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(Oh, and the microfences already indicate that no bike parking is allowed. So what’s the PUC going to do? Ticket your ride? Cut off your lock and impound your bike?)

On Fell, looking outbound:

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And look, clobblestones!

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Are these real cobblestones? One can’t tell. Should they be? One doesn’t know.

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All right, that was the windup, and now here’s the pitch, from the SFPUC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PG&E:

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Are these realtor-backed parklets “beautiful?” I don’t think so. Will they “improve safety?” I don’t see how. And actually, spending tax and fee payer money on “streetscape” “beauty” instead of safety is the opposite of  “improving safety,” PUC. Oh, and PUC, if you ever want to talk about how best to “manage” California’s water resources for the benefit of all Californians, look me up, cause you’re doing it wrong…

All the deets:

Oak Street and Fell Street Pedestrian and Bike Safety Project

Picture of Bulbout Area

Learn More About the Project

Check out SFMTA’s project website to learn more!

Improving Traffic Safety and Enhancing Stormwater Collection

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is teaming up with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) on the Oak Street and Fell Street Pedestrian and Bike Safety Project to integrate stormwater management with their traffic calming project.

In response to strong public feedback for more greenery and planting for the project, we’ve added rain gardens to the bulbouts along Oak and Fell Streets. A rain garden is a stormwater management technique which infiltrates stormwater into the soil, diverting water from going into the sewer. This addition to the project will benefit community members; not only will the project make residents and travelers safer, the rain gardens will add beauty and character to the intersections. Our partnership with the SFMTA will extend the improvements already underway. While the addition of green infrastructure will not result in any additional parking losses beyond what was approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors in May 2012, four of the bulbouts will be larger than initially proposed. Originally scheduled for construction in late 2013, the project is slated to begin construction in early summer 2014.

Contact:

For construction inquiries, please contact:

Dadisi Najib – SFDPW
Email: Dadisi.Najib@sfdpw.org

Luis Montoya – SFMTA
Email: luis.montoya@sfmta.com

Ari Frink – SFPUC
Email: afrink@sfwater.org

For more project information, visit SFMTA’s site here.

Biker Gang, Market Street – Going Beyond Scraper Bikes – These Looked Like Single-Speed Mountain Bikes

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Popping wheelies on the way to the Ferry Building:

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The ones I could see looked like simple, higher-end hardtail mountain bikes – less trials bike-looking than what Danny MacAskill might ride if he ever came back to Frisco. They could be on Huffys too, IDK. No road bikes, that’s for sure.

This is a youth subculture with which I’m not familiar.

This is something the StreetsBlog might cover if the StreetsBlog weren’t financed by a millionaire urbanist straight outta  Park Slope…

MTB Legend Gary Fisher Calls for Ouster of Ed Lee – The Mayor’s Misstep on Polk Street – Small Biz vs. Big Urbanism

Friday, February 27th, 2015

[UPDATE: It begins. The lily-white urbanists vent against Asian-American optometrists on Yelp. JUST ONE STAR FOR YOU, DR HIURA! GOOD DAY TO YOU, SIR!]

Let’s see if I can pay off on the headline here.

Here’s MounTain Biking (MTB) legend Gary Fisher on appointed Mayor Ed Lee:

“OUT! This guy can not get away with this, are we this stupid?”

And here’s what GF was riffing on:

SFMTA Cuts Block of Polk Bike Lane Fought by Visionless Mayor’s Optometrist

Now mind you, this is from an “urbanism” advocacy outfit straight outta Park Slope, so I’m sort of wondering why the Mayor’s handlers even let him make off-the-cuff remarks on this topic. Here’s the offending graf, which one assumes is properly transcribed:

“I’ve heard from many different groups,” Lee told Streetsblog. “I know we want to make the streets safer, make it bike-friendly, small businesses don’t want to lose parking for their constituents… I can’t have a particular position on it except to endorse the most balanced approach that they have because there’s issues that should not be in conflict. We shouldn’t promote bicycle safety over pedestrian safety over cars and parking. I think they’re all going to be important.”

First of all, why would you even have your executive speaking directly with activists in the first place? It’s like sending President Nixon out to the Lincoln Memorial at 4:00 AM to talk with the hippies about the Vietnam War. Second of all, Ed Lee can’t even handle a little Question Time at the Board of Supervisors without having the questions submitted in advance and without having an underling type up a reply for him to read into the record, so why would you have him give the bad news to the activists themselves? The StreetsBlog isn’t an SFGov-funded non-profit like the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition or the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, right?

And Ed Lee thinks he’s playing it safe with all this talk of a “balanced” approach, but look at what he says – he’s literally saying, “We shouldn’t promote bicycle safety…” Now that sounds like a complete sentence if you quote only that part. But the Mayor’s talking about cyclist safety vs. ped safety, so I’m not sure what he’s talking about. I was thinking the design of the SFMTA-designed “bulbout” at the deadly southwest corner of 6th and Folsom could be an example of this, but I don’t think this was on Ed Lee’s mind. Frankly, I don’t know what the Heck he was talking about.

So all that leaves Mr. Mayor wide-open for castigation. I’m not sure how much pull any one particular optometrist has on the SFMTA (check out this doc – it’s amazing*), but this coincidence allows a reference to SF’s VisionZero 2024 to come into the headline. Ed Lee ends up seeming like an out-of-touch Mr. Magoo:

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I don’t know, if you’re pushing a “balanced” approach, but you don’t have an exec who can talk right, because he’s out of practice, because he was appointed to his position so he never really needed to get into practice, it seems foolish to afford advocacy journalists a chance at actual journalism.

But that’s what happened here, on the topic of Polk Street.

Wow.

*Wow, these people with bidnesses in Polk Gulch are mostly American millionaires, but look how they self-describe: 

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And what about the poor guy who can only describe himself as “European?” Poor little feller.

And I’ll tell you, I’m shocked at the amount of time SFMTA chief Ed Reiskin has spent on the back-and-forth about a single solitary block of SF when his primary mission should be sweating the details of getting MUNI up to par…

Our San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Has Lost Thousands of Paid Members Lately

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

[UPDATE: I’ve omitted Stanley Roberts’ video from this post as I mistakenly thought it was new as of this week when in fact it was posted almost two years old now. My apologies, Stanley. As you can see, Mr. Roberts goes after everybody (including fake monks and nuns) and certain people at the SFBC have been irritated by that over the years.]

Our San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has lost thousands of paid members lately.

Now part of that’s due to “churn,” which is something that every organization has to deal with, but most of it has to do with behavior of the SFBC itself. I’ll tell you, I’ve been riding bikes around town longer than the current SFBC has existed – no, I’m not saying that I’ve been here since the “early 70’s,” I’m saying that the SFBC didn’t really exist in the 1980’s when I came to SF. I’m saying that before Critical Mass (and its predecessor, the “Commute Clot”), the SFBC didn’t really exist – they were nowhere, man. What _did_ exist, a little later on, was the car-centric Willie Brown Administration. And all those functionaries working for Willie Brown were trying to find some “bicycle people” to cut a deal with, to tame Critical Mass, to give grant money to. But no, all the Critical Mass leaders were saying stuff like, “Critical Mass doesn’t have leaders, Man.” Eventually, the SFBC managed to practically become a part of the SFMTA, you know, conducting surveys for SFGov, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in taxpayer and feepayer money, forcing companies like Twitter to deal with the SFBC, you know, officially, and, in return, the SFBC stopped promoting Critical Mass, and SFBC now offers pols a nice photo op every year on Bike to Work Day and it actually endorses (without consulting the Members at all) for election Willie Brown protegees like, I don’t know, Ed Lee, for example. So that’s the history, and during this history I’ve seen the SFBC grow in membership, from “over 1000″ to “over 5000″ to “over “10,000” and then “over 11,000″ and then “over 12,000″ and then, uh oh, back down to “over 11,000″ and most recently back down to “over 10,000.” What are the numbers now? IDK, 9000-something? The SFBC isn’t exactly candid about its recent loss in membership. The SFBC certainly doesn’t want people freely looking at its tax forms or its older webpages, so that’s why it recently started suppressing this kind of information. Mmmmm… I’ll tell you, of course, there’s been a huge increase in bicycling in San Francisco since I’ve come here, and for various reasons, fine. (It’s sort of funny about how the big annual jumps in cycling came exactly during the rise of the fixie craze, and exactly when the Bicycle Plan injunction froze all infrastructure changes, but whatevs.) I’ll ask you, why can’t a monomaniacal advocacy organization like the SFBC concede anything? I guarantee you that the SFBC people who went the extra mile to “reach out” to Stanley Roberts of KRON-TV are pissed off about the above video coming out right before the Big Vote on Polk Street, which is supposably [what, no red underlining for a word I purposefully misspelled? Amazing] coming March 3rd, 2015, but who knows how that will work out. I’ll tell you, IMO Polk Street is a triple beam lyrical dream the way it is now. What are the other options to go north south in the area? If I don’t take Polk, then I’d be thinking Stockton, Grant, Kearney or the Embarcadero to the east or, to the west, Steiner (it’s sort of the pass over Pacific Heights, sort of) or Arguello through the Presidio. In your efforts to pursue your goals, SFBC, which I don’t necessarily oppose, you go too far and you end up alienating people like me, a man in his 40’s, and even older people such as Junior the Bike Messenger, and, apparently, THOUSANDS OF OTHER FORMER SFBC MEMBERS.

The question is, WHY IS THAT, SFBC?

 

Open-Air Bicycle Chop-Shop, 13th Street – These are Just a Few of the Hundreds of Stolen Bikes on Division, 13th, and Duboce Ave

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Chop chop, always with the chopping, in this area:

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If your bike hasn’t yet gotten chopped and it has a serial number on it, then there’s something the cops can do about it.

Otherwise, chop chop, always with the chopping, in this area.

Back up in the hood where the rules dont shift
And the gangstas talk trills, sip purp and burn piff
You can call 5-0 and 5-0 might come
But by the time that they arrive all that dirt had been done

Uphill Cyclist Sanctimoniously and Improperly “Takes The Lane” on McAllister: Staring Down Drivers While Huffing and Puffing

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Let’s travel all the way over to the left side of the Bell curve to see what the bottom 1% is up to.

Here we go, at about 4 MPH, staying as far to the left as necessary to prevent traffic from passing you too much. And for good measure, be sure to crane your neck around to give the evil eye whenever you can, to tell those drivers that I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE UP TO BACK THERE, MAN!

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OTOH, “taking the lane” would be just fine heading the other way down this block, down Alamo Heights…

Spawning Salmon: The Horrible Pedestrians of the Rather Narrow Golden Gate Panhandle Bike Path

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

(Well, sure it’s not an actual bike-only path, it’s a multipurpose trail, or something. But most call it the bike path cause bike riders are allowed on it, as opposed to the ped-only path near Oak on the other side of the Panhandle.)

I’m a polite ped so I generally stay off the paved part* of the Golden Gate Park Panhandle bike path near Fell. This was my view of an impolite ped as I trod on the grass for a few blocks:

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She spent most of her eastward journey smack dab in the middle of the westbound lane or smack dab in the middle of the trail on the dashed yellow line. This went on for minutes. Westbound cyclists didn’t know how to pass her, on the left or on the right. Occasionally she’d veer to the right side of the right lane, where she belonged, but that phase of her journey didn’t last too long.

So what was this, a cry for help? Yeah, sort of.

Who will hear her?

*Yeah, this bike path is wider (12 feet) than before (8 feet), but it’s still too narrow. 16 feet sounds right, considering. 

NIMBY’s vs. the SFMTA: Local Objections to New Traffic Signals on McAllister at Broderick and Scott for the 5 Fulton

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

This effort appears to be similar to the SFMTA’s attempt to add traffic signals on Haight at Scott and Pierce.

This isn’t the worst example of NIMBYism, but I’d say it’s fairly alarmist, fairly absurd.

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I’ll just say that, generally speaking, it’s generally harder to get around town these days by car, by bike and by MUNI, compared with ten or twenty years ago. Part of this has to do with our newer, absurdly-wide sidewalks, designed for pedestrian “comfort.”

And yet, most ped and cyclist deaths in San Francisco involve fault from the peds and cyclists. Here’s 2014:

The Police Department found that in the 17 pedestrian deaths, drivers were responsible for eight and pedestrians were responsible for nine. Bicyclists were responsible in all three instances when they died.” 

(I should do a video on how to be a pedestrian in SF. It might involve some jaywalking but it would also involve extreme alertness on behalf of peds. You see, the way to prevent a lot of ped deaths in SF would be to get inside their heads to see what’s going wrong.)

IMO, the SFMTA should leave McAllister alone and then start taking out as many bus stops as politically possible.

I’ll tell you, not that many cyclists pass by Broderick and McAllister compared with Scott and McAllister, it seems, owing to geography. So looking at McAllister and Scott, it seems that the lights will be timed against cyclists using FULTON DIVISADERO MCALLISTER eastbound as an alternative to the already-overcrowded Wiggle route to get from the Golden Gate Park Panhandle to the Financh.

So for my own selfish reasons, I’d prefer that MUNI not make these changes, but who am I to stand in their way? What the MUNI people are saying is that we’ll all be better off overall, and 40 seconds each way each day will add up to millions of seconds, eventually.

In conclusion, meh. If MUNI wants to put in lights, we should let them do it.

Irate Pedestrian Hectors Bike Riders Individually and Indiscriminately in a Crosswalk at 4th and Market

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

She hectored only the riders who stopped for her at the crosswalk.

She was angered by the riders who went through the red, but they were too far away for her to hector. Her unfocused rage came out against those who were already doing as she wished.

Then after she passed by, riders began to run the red, cause the signal timing of 4th and Market these days is crazy. (Like, who’s doing what now? Like why isn’t anybody using the intersection now?)

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SF has the worst peds in the world…

Remembering 2012, When the SFPD Picked Up Enforcing Traffic Laws on Market Street, One Bike Rider at a Time

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

It looked like this:

In the 80’s, 90’s, and early aughts, bikes were practically invisible to cops on Market Street, except for the occasional* Commute Clot / Critical Mass event. But these days, the SFPD seems to consider enforcing traffic laws on bike riders a higher priority,** for whatever reason.

Anyway, back in the day, you’d just have to sit and wait for your ticket to get written up, but nowadays you can play Tetris on your iPhone to make the minutes fly by, as you can see.

Cops generally prefer to give tickets to car drivers for various reasons. One of them is that the protest rate is many many times greater from cyclists than drivers. So the theory that this recent push to enforce traffic laws on bike riders came from the top down sounds right to me.

*And especially except that time in ’97, when Mayor Willie Brown decided to “do something” about CM. A hundred-something people got ticketed / detained and had their bikes impounded, most of them getting penned in at Sacramento Montgomery for running a red light.

**Think it was in 2012 or 2013 that I got detained by two Crown-Vic driving SFPD on Market near 6th. Pretty sure it was just after the #5 Fulton line was rerouted to take McAllister almost all the way to Market, and I’d noticed two #5’s jammed up in front of the Hibernia Bank building along with three marked and two unmarked Crown Victorias within a block or so.  I was thinking, well, this certainly is unusual so it looks like the cops are dealing with something around 7th and Market, maybe involving the buses, so I’ll just keep on moving inbound by taking McAllister all the way to Market and then I’ll cross over Market after the SFPD radio car goes off east on Market. Except the car slowed down waiting for me to cross over to the right side of Market. I couldn’t understand how I was getting all this attention from the SFPD. Anyway, flashing lights, a request from a rookie for my “license and registration” (I looked at his partner, who sort of chuckled – I don’t think the rookie had ever pulled over a bike rider before),  a quick warrant check for me, an admonishment to use the correct side of the road, and I then I was off again. And all the while, some photographer guy recognized me and started taking pictures from a traffic island. (He never sent them to me, oh well.) I’ll tell you, I moved to the Tenderloin back in the 1980’s and I’d been California stopping at stop signs and red lights around and on Market for more than two decades before I got any kind of attention from the SFPD. And I thought, oh, things are different now…