On the back of a flatbed tow truck, again:
Oh Maserati drivers, will you ever win?
Here’s the caption:
“Report Broken Meters and Faded Curbs
Where the curb has faded so badly as to be difficult to determine the curb color, it will be enforced for curb color violations. And while you may only park for the posted time limit at a broken meter, functioning meters guarantee better parking availability for everyone. Help us keep meters working and curb colors bright and up to date by calling 311. By calling 311 you’ll create a record so that the curb or meter will be evaluated.”
Actually, I’m still not sure it’s not him.
Perhaps I’m jumping to contusions, but this large crew of aggressively-lounging bike riders certainly appeared to be trying to send a message to a pair of area bike robbers making the news lately.
Strike a pose:
And what does that T-shirt say? It’s all, “WE KILL BIKE THIEVES.”* How charming!
(I’ve seen lots of bike meetups in the Panhandle, but usually people ride off or start picnicking. Instead, this crew just sat around and glared, for hours, kind of like the guy on my JetBlue flight to DC a couple weeks after 9/11, arms crossed, standing near the cockpit and just staring at everybody just waiting for somebody to try something.)
I’l tell you, I’ve ridden the Panhandle bike path thousands of times in the early morning hours, after zero-dark-thirty, and I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this. Similar attacks occurred on the McAllister bike route in the projects / projecty Friendship Village Apartments near Webster, about ten years back, purportedly with a “lead pipe” (that probably wasn’t made of lead, but anyway).
Who knows, perhaps news of this kind of meet-up will spread, through word-on-the-street, until it reaches ears of these strong-arm robbers.
In any event, this small series of crimes certainly now has the attention of the SFPD – we’ll see how it goes. I’ll tell you, it’d be nice to have a retired/out-on-disability cop monitoring a network of London-style, high-def** crime cameras for the night shift of Park Station, but I don’t see anything like that happening soon. Oh well…
*$35! “Take an aggressive stance against rampant bike theft with this bold, reflective graphic statement”
**I suppose we already have a kind of video network, what with local business cameras on 24-7 plus the low-def SFPD cams, but this is nothing like the high-def cams what a town like Stockton***, CA has…
***The cops over in Stockton laugh, just laugh at the SFPD’s low-def crime cam setup.
Well the slides at the Panhandle Playground have been replaced after three months of absence.
1. Perhaps the RPD spokesmodel meant that the entire slide complex was being repaired, as opposed to the $2000 plastic slide itself. I don’t think it would have made sense to repair the slide itself, due to liability issues for starters. This is a brand-new slide, one that’s similar enough to the original.
2. So some wealthy, non-profit people came by with clipboards to say that this particular playground currently earns a “D” grade? Well, OK fine, but if you talk to the people who actually use the place, they, more or less, give it an “A” grade, you know, except for the slide that wasn’t there all summer long. Mmmmm… What’s up with that?
3. Supervisor London Breed’s office was unresponsive to the email contact sent by a group of concerned parents, apparently. So she gets an “F,” or an Incomplete perhaps. (I’ve worked at two similar offices, with about ten or one hundred times as many constituents, and if the elected in charge found out about something like this then there’d be a 20-minute yell-fest and/or a passive aggressive note sent to a (lower-case “s”) supervisor to “fix this.”) So, obvs, a “communication issue” occurred, I just don’t know how common this is with her office.
4. RPD has a policy to not repair anything in a playground if it’s due to be revamped in the next two years? That’s my understanding. Does that mean that this playground won’t get revamped anytime soon? That’s my understanding. Why’s that? Read on, Gentle Reader.
5. What RPD really wants is area parents to get together to raise something on the order of [bites right pinkie finger] one million dollars, you know, the way they do things in rich areas of SF, like Sea Cliff (ala the new Mountain Lake) and Presidio Heights. Only then will RPD put your playground at the top of the fix-it list? OK fine. The funny thing is that most of the money that gets used to refurbish existing playgrounds is paid for by the non-rich, from some bond. But all this doesn’t matter for the playground at hand, because:
6. The slide vandalized in May 2014 has been replaced in September 2014 and the users are now satisfied. No $5,000,000 modernization from the RPD is needed, frankly. [Oh what’s that, RPD – this old-school playground costs you a lot of coin to maintain? Well, then why don’t you fix it up, RPD, you know, using the money we give you?]
And that’s the end of this story.
Masonic is a crazy street with a crazy history. Like, 4 Masonic is more than 1000 feet away from 5 Masonic, for instance – what’s up with that? And on the other end of this street, up around the 1000 block, well, that’s where mayoral wives have lived, like Blanche Brown, you know, our First Lady up until ten years ago, the woman that most people in town weren’t aware of, and, more recently, Jennifer Newsom, who moved away to Marin just months after husband Gavin was hectoring families to NOT move to Marin County, oh well.
Anyway, there have been three pedestrian / cyclist deaths on Masonic* in recent memory, so that’s part of the reason why the SFMTA installed a pair of speedometers to tell drivers how fast they’re going.
The problem is that they don’t work very well.
Like here. Moments before, it was indicating 24 MPH, but then it jumped up to 32 MPH all of a sudden for no reason. All the cars were moving about the same pace uphill and there was no traffic traveling down the hill:
Speaking of which, the speedometer for traffic heading downhill is even less accurate. Sometimes it’s spot-on, sometimes it wildly optimistic, and other times it’s blank.
What’s the value in these speedometers if they don’t work?
Oh what’s that, MUNI / SFMTA? You don’t care, because you’ve moved on to other things?
*Two were due to very drunk drivers, who both kept on going (one ended up crashing into St. Mary’s and the other got busted near USF) and the other was due to a Trader Joe’s shopper jaywalking across Masonic north of Geary – this kind of jaywalking still happens hundreds of times a day even now.
Now here’s how the purple slides looked back in happier times, before The Attack of May 2014:
But then, sometime at the end of May, I’m guessing May 30th or May 31st, you know, the weekend, some vandal(s) (I’m guessing “young punks” or “hippies”) put a giant hole in the leftmost slide. Ouch!
So, first it was all like this…
…and then it was all like this – an even bigger hole:
But then on the following Monday (June 2nd), somebody from SFGov (DPW? RPD? SFPD?) came along and added some red DANGER tape:
And then soon after that, up went the plywood and then somebody came along and did a more permanent fix and so that’s how things look today, near the end of June.
Now I’m just assuming that the hole was the result of vandalism, but I don’t figure how else it could have happened.
(Can I blame SFGov for the hole? Nope. Not at all.)
(Can I find fault with how SFGov was/is handling the issue? Nope. Not at all.)
IMO, fixing these slides proper would be a big job, so simply getting another big old piece of plastic might be the best course of action. And that might take a while. I’m figuring a resolution by the end of July is reasonable – sorry kids.
In mitigation, the playground still has one working slide.
In the meantime, WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?
NO! DO NOT WANT!
Now myself, I don’t care about the slow orbits this morning over the Castro, Western Addition, and the Haights.
But other people, they care about the white chopper with the blue tail.
The sidewalk shows how steep Hayes was before The Cut:
Click to expand
If you look at Hayes betwixt Pierce and Scott, you can see why the Hayes Street Cut exists.
And then you Google it to reveal:
“Hayes Street Cut: In order to re establish direct car service to the Hayes Street district north of the Panhandle* it is necessary to provide a lower grade between Pierce and Scott Streets And by a cut of 15 ft across the plateau at Pierce Street the maximum grade may be reduced from 14.6 to 10.9 (See Fig 72) which is within reasonable limits for electric equipment If a terraced arrangement is used with half the cut in the roadway and half in the walkway the cost for retaining walls will be considerably less than if the cut is extended full depth between property lines.”
Click to expand
And here’s the San Francisco Call from 1910:
“All matters connected with the proposed Hayes street cut were put over until next week. The committee received the works board’s report that the improvement would cost the city $54,000.”
Now of course many parts of SF have been regraded over the years, but what makes the Hayes Street Cut the Hayes Street Cut is that the City accommodated the already partially-developed area. Nobody wanted to mess with private land south of Hayes. So people figured regrading the street while leaving the sidewalks mostly intact was the cheap solution. Terracing = less digging.
Here you go, the HAYES STREET PROFILE:
(I’ll note that the HSC makes the annual Bay to Breakers fun-run** easier on the competitors, as you can see.)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAYES STREET CUT!
*We use the phrase NoPA these days, except that back then “north of the Panhandle” meant the area farther west, not that the real estate ladies of the 94117 would give a care about that.
**Hayes Street is NOT the highest part of the B2B course, despite what the MSM tells us every year. In fact, the highest part of the B2B is on JFK Drive at the foot of Rainbow Falls in Golden Gate Park. The More You Know…