Things are better now, at Fell and Divis, usually. We lost a few parking spaces on Fell, but, you know, the Needs of the Many, yada yada yada…
Things are better now, at Fell and Divis, usually. We lost a few parking spaces on Fell, but, you know, the Needs of the Many, yada yada yada…
Welcome to ‘Merica, Dude:
I’ll tell you, I’ve taught people how to ride bikes over the years, and I’ll tell you the amount of hours spent teaching all those people how to push bikes, well, that has been exactly zero.
And yet in these courses, as seen in the Panhandle, that seems to be all they do, just pushing bikes around in formation:
And we can’t have a helmet law in CA because that teaches people that cycling can be dangerous, and yet helmets and safety vests appear to be Job One here.
I’ll tell you man, the people who want to ride bikes in Frisco are already riding bikes in Frisco. They don’t need to be coaxed or cajoled – they’re already doing it, you know, naturally. And if you, and you know who you are, if you think that this is the way to get a five-fold increase in cycling in San Francisco in the remaining five years ’til 2020, well, you’re sadly mistaken.
Is bike riding a religion or just another way to get around town?
You tell me, Babe.
You tell me.
I’ll tell you, I’m not a big fan of the vaunted The Wiggle bike route and here’s why:
FOR MOST PEOPLE, THERE’S A BETTER WAY TO GET FROM THE PANHANDLE TO DOWNTOWN, TO GET THERE AND BACK AGAIN
That’s why. This was my stab at promoting the Northern Wiggle,* aka the McAllister Pass,** aka the Hastings Cutoff. *** Some people listened, but most did not, oh well.
Anyway, aside from this route being a third of a mile shorter and faster and safer and relatively ped-free, it NEVER gets any SFPD Bicycle Enforcement Actions, the way, say, the intersection of Waller and Steiner gets.
Speaking of which, now more people are joining the SFPD, to “referee the Wiggle,” if only for a short time.
While 95% of cyclists using the Wiggle are really incredibly respectful of other road users, there is that small minority who give us all a bad name. I’ve always wanted to dress as a referee and hand out yellow and red cards to bad cyclists (and maybe some cars and peds too) and I’m using NOW! as my excuse!
Come join me in shaming the few bad cyclists out there and making the Wiggle just a little bit safer and more courteous!”
*I, myself, wiggle from street to street north of the Panhandle on my way inbound to Fulton and Scott – it depends on traffic.
**The pass over Alamo Heights, which the Southern Wiggle route mostly avoids by generally following the route of the former creek what used to drain the kind of valley where the Golden Gate Park Panhandle sits now.
IDK, maybe they will.
Of course, this design is the “beautiful” version. (What would an ugly rain garden look like, one wonders.)
And look, the “natural” weeds have already been carefully planted. Is our PUC going to water these weeds, you know, during the months and months when we don’t get any rain at all, to keep them green and “beautiful?” We’ll see.
(BTW, if you label the PUC the PUC, at least a few employees / contractors / interns / somebody who has access to the PUC’s email system just might hector you about instead calling the PUC “SF Water,” or SF Water Power Sewer. Let’s hope our SFPUC isn’t paying its employees $114 an hour on the side to email about how “confused” I am with my belief that the SFPUC can, at least sometimes, be rightfully be called the SFPUC.)
But, Gentle Reader, the well-paid PUC outreach people say that you can take a “tour” of these rain gutters if you want. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
[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:
(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:
And look, clobblestones!
Are these real cobblestones? One can’t tell. Should they be? One doesn’t know.
All right, that was the windup, and now here’s the pitch, from the SFPUC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PG&E:
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:
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.
For construction inquiries, please contact:
Dadisi Najib – SFDPW
Luis Montoya – SFMTA
Ari Frink – SFPUC
For more project information, visit SFMTA’s site here.
Popping wheelies on the way to the Ferry Building:
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…
[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.
“OUT! This guy can not get away with this, are we this stupid?”
And here’s what GF was riffing on:
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:
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, these people with bidnesses in Polk Gulch are mostly American millionaires, but look how they self-describe:
Click to expand
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…
[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?
Chop chop, always with the chopping, in this area:
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.