Posts Tagged ‘playground’

ASSIGNMENT DESK: Ask People Who Use the Golden Gate Park Panhandle Playground to See If It’s Really “Failing”

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

Per this bit on SocketSite, SFGov thinks it has 50 “failing” playgrounds. Does that means that all of them get an “F” grade, that they’re all basically worthless?

For instance, let’s take a look at the Panhandle Playground. It has 4.5 Yelp stars. Isn’t that a pretty high rating for a “failing” anything?

If you polled people who actually use the place, the grade you’d come up with is “A,” or possibly “A-,” something in that area.

I think what SFGov / RPD / all those people with clipboards from that big non-profit what’s run by the wealthy, white and wizened actually mean is that the Panhandle Playground isn’t brand-new. What they mean is that it hasn’t kept up with the latest trends in playgroundom the past decade or so due to the fact that it hasn’t been replaced the past decade.

In other words, what they’re saying is that the Panhandle Playground isn’t “world-class.”

Oh, what’s that, Parks Alliance, there were more than 2.5 pieces of litter per square meter or whatever on the day that you dropped by with your clipboards? OK, so don’t you mean that the RPD is failing then?

Oh, what’s that, Parks Alliance, you’re concerned about the health effects of “x.” You know, I don’t think you want to go there, Parks Alliance. Cause then you’d have to look at the other stuff RPD is doing lately, like, say, the Beach Chalet soccer fields. Now I’ll tell you, I’m 90%+ sure that all the things people are worried about with the new artificial turf aren’t going to turn out to be a problem, but that’s not an absolutely assurance. You could say the same for whatever it is that makes you say that four dozen playgrounds in SF are “failing.”

You know, I could take my clipboard and go up to somebody’s 2004 Honda Accord with low miles and I could say, “Oh, no sat nav – minus five points. And oh, dirty windshield – minus three points. And oh…” And then I could put the car on my list of “failing” commuter vehicles, even though the person who drives it every day M-F thinks it’s a great ride and even though it passes its smog test every year or two and even though it starts up every time without fail. Who, oh who will appoint me chairman of the “Failing Hondas Task Force?”

(Oh hey, you know what RPD is disappointed about? It’s bummed out that the Maude Flanderses and the Reverend Lovejoy’s Wifes of the 94117 haven’t formed something like the Friends of the Panhandle Playground to raise $800k or so to give to RPD, you know, the way things worked with Presidio Heights and Mountain Lake. Oh well. Sorry RPD.)

In any event, a big bag of money fell from the sky and SFGov is going to spend it the way it wants. IMO, SFGov spends too much time focusing on the aesthetic concerns of millionaires who appoint themselves to the boards of the non-profits they create.

IMO.

So, go for it, send a reporter over to the Panhandle to check things out, to see why SFGov wants to spend months and months tearing out a perfectly good playground, to see why SFGov wants to scrap a Honda Accord with low miles, and a dirty windshield…

Free Kool-Aid, after the jump, drink up, it’s free, well, not really, but you’re going to end up paying for it anyway, so might as well.

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A StreetsBlog Felony, an “Urbanist’s” Nightmare: SF Rec and Park Jungle Gym Teaches Kids to Love SUV’s

Monday, December 1st, 2014

It took me a while to figure this one out. OK, here’s the Children’s Quarter, aka the Koret something-or-other, in Golden Gate Park:

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See? It’s a Jeep SUV, complete with a steering wheel, horn button, headlights, trademark grill and a three-on-the-tree gear shift. You could actually use this thing to begin to teach somebody how to drive.

Oh, how I weep! You see, instead, this should be a bicycle simulator, complete with handlebars and Shimano Alivio shifters, right man?

I hope nobody from Park Slope ever sees this, man…

Our Long Parochial Nightmare is Over: The Vandalized Slides at Panhandle Playground 94117 have been Replaced by RPD

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Well the slides at the Panhandle Playground have been replaced after three months of absence.

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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.

Dentition Hippo, 94117: Fueling Your Nightmares Since 2002

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

Chomp chomp:

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The Giant Gnomons of The Bayview – Steel is Real – Track This Sundial to Hilltop Park

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

Here’s is all I know about the giant sundial:

This sundial is located in Hilltop Park in the Bayview District of San Francisco. The steel gnomon is 78 feet long.”

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Big, isn’t it?

Vandalized Panhandle Playground Slide Crisis Enters Its Second Month – Won’t Somebody PLEASE Think of the Children?

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Amy Stephenson of Hoodline (fka uppercasing) has the deets on the The Case Of The Missing Panhandle Slides

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?

Oh No, Now Even Our San Francisco Zoo is Working Blue – “The Scoop on Poop” Opens January 25th 2014

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Taking a cue from our naughty, naughty PUC, your San Francisco Zoo has a new exhibition called The Scoop on Poop.

I’m appalled.

But your kids will love it.

And afterwards, check out the brand-new ELINOR FRIEND PLAYGROUND.

All right, see you there!

All the deets:

The Scoop on Poop! Opening Day

Special Members-Only Preview: January 25, 9:00 – 10:00 am
Open to Public: January 25, 10:00 am in the Pachyderm Building

Poop. Doo-doo. Dung. Number 2. No matter what you call it, you’ll be able to learn all about it at The Scoop on Poop, our latest special exhibition on view in the Pachyderm Building. Based on a popular children’s book by the same name by Dr. Wayne Lynch, The Scoop on Poop leads visitors on an investigation of what poop is and how animals and humans use it.

Animals use poop to build homes, hide from enemies, attract mates, send messages, and cool off – some even eat it! Veterinarians, farmers, naturalists, paleontologists, Maasai tribesmen, and power companies use it, too. Poop is a scientific puzzle, and with a little detective work, you can learn a lot about an animal by what it leaves behind.

Ever more deets, after the jump

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OMG, It’s the Brand-New ELINOR FRIEND PLAYGROUND at Your San Francisco Zoo – It’s Huge – It’s Lovely

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Mike Billings has the deets:

Toddlers climbed all over the smaller River Play Area, which is designed for kids 6 months to 2 years old, while gaggles of older children scaled the nearby Polar Zone’s white structures, built for kids ages 2 through 5, and climbed through the Banyan Tree structure, constructed for kids ages 5 through 12.”

I defy you to visit and photograph this place well – sure is hard to show what it looks like. But Mark Simmons gets the job done here, with drawings.

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So what you do is check the place out on Free Day (free for San Francisco residents, that is – the next one is January 8th, 2014) and then decide if it’s worth it for you and the fam to get an annual Family Membership for $115.

If you all live close enough, it very well could be worth getting a membership just for the new playground.

See you there!

Ever more deets 

“After several years of fundraising, planning, and design, and over one year of construction, the Elinor Friend Playground at the San Francisco Zoo is ready for its grand re-opening. As part of The Americas Campaign capital campaign chaired by Dianne Taube, this $3.2 million project has been made possible in large part by the Friend Family and other generous donors. Additional naming rights within the Playground are still available at this time, totaling approximately $1 million (see the form below to help with this important project). This 36,000-square-foot, state-of-the art project is sure to ignite the imaginations of the 300,000 children of all ages and abilities who visit the Zoo each year.  

The new playground is modeled after three distinct bio-regions, which take their themes from specific ecosystems and appeal to distinct age groups: a River Play Area for toddlers (6 months-2 years), a Polar Zone exploration space for pre-schoolers (2-5 years), and a Banyan Tree climbing structure for pre-teens (5-12 years). Along with striking natural forms, the architecture integrates a wide range of materials and textures in glorious detail that mimic those found in nature and encourage curiosity among young explorers. As an example, a charming frog sculpture in the River Play Area acts as a symbol of the Zoo’s mission to connect people with wildlife, inspire caring for nature, and advance conservation action. In support of this mission, a portion of the funds raised for the playground will go toward the Zoo’s Sierra Nevada Yellow Legged Frog Conservation Program. Click here for more information about this program.

Crawling through a beaver dam, sliding down an iceberg, or swinging through a tree, all children share opportunities for unique wildlife adventures, take age-appropriate risks, and immerse themselves in naturalistic environments. Each of the play structures is built with fully compliant ADA accessibility features to accommodate children with physical and mental disabilities, with a strong emphasis on exploration and adventure encouraged for all. 

In partnership with the Mayor’s Office on Disability, the unique design of the Playground is the work of Scientific Art Studio, a multi-faceted design and fabrication facility located in Richmond, California. Led by Founder and Creative Director Ron Holthuysen, the Zoo’s Playground team includes artists and skilled craftspeople with experience in every material and technique imaginable, in particular reclaimed redwood tree trunks, sculptural cement composite on steel frames, woven rope, and even living vegetation. The contracting work on the project was done by Rudolph Commercial Interiors, Inc. (RCI), located in Emeryville, California. 

Near the entrance to the Fisher Family Children’s Zoo and adjacent to the expansive Playfield Lawn, the Playground is located at the historic heart of the San Francisco Zoo. A natural extension of the Zoo’s Wellness Initiative, which focuses on the quality of life for all Zoo animals and visitors, the Playground will encourage movement and creativity for its guests and provide an excellent value to Zoo Members, who receive free admission each day of the year. Join today!

Heh: Rincon Hill Blogger Jamie Whitaker Pwns RPD Director Phil Ginsburg Using Math – And He Shows His Work

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Comes now the passionate and brusque Jamie Whitaker of Rincon Hill to totally pwn Recreation and Park Department Director and UC Hastings grad and Gavin Newsom lackey Phil Ginsburg.

“One issue that I am hopeful someone will take up is the claim by the Recreation and Parks Department’s Director Phil Ginsburg that “We want as much open space as possible, but we also need to have a way to care for it.” That was his quote in reference to why the City’s Recreation and Parks Department is unwilling to accept the donation of the park built in front of the new Rincon Green Apartments at 333 Harrison Street. Read the article here (hopefully, the shared full article will appear: http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Creating-new-park-no-picnic-for-broke-city-4490422.php?t=27ec6d327d3f99889e

“This is a lie from Phil Ginsburg and it should infuriate everyone who lives in the Rincon neighborhood or nearby.  Why do I say it is a lie?”

Read the rest of this over at Rincon Hilla san francisco neighborhood blog.”

Hey, speaking of Gavin Newsom lackey Phil Ginsburg, a few years back he had a total boner for this nearby project at Justin Herman and yet NOBODY HAS EVER USED IT EXCEPT FOR OCCUPY SF FOR A FEW MONTHS.

Gavin Newsom lackey Phil Ginsburg must be aware, I mean he’s not stupid, that this bocce thing was/is a big fat waste, but he’s afraid to acknowledge this because then he’d have to get a job in the real world.

Oh well…

Restored Bocce Ball Courts at Justin Herman Plaza – Unused Since OccupySF – Wouldn’t a Playground Be Nicer?

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Hell yes.

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But for some reason, former Mayor Gavin Newsom moved Heaven and Earth to get this useless monument to Eurocentrism installed before he left office.

And then nobody used it so Occupy took it over.

And then it got restored.

Like a year ago.

And nobody’s used it since.

Oh well.