Thursday, October 29, 2009

Blast From the Past

Hat-tip to The N-Judah Chronicles: Apparently someone's selling an old Muni farebox on Craigslist!

Man, that picture takes me back. I remember putting my quarter in one of these on the 49 when I would head home from school back in fourth grade. I can't remember exactly when they switched to the new fareboxes - I think some time around when the adult fare hit $1.00.

If only I had an extra $325 lying around...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Peak to Peak!

This past Saturday was Walk SF's Peak to Peak, an annual hike from West Portal up ~15 of SF's hills, ending at Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. It was billed as a 12-mile walk but one participant's GPS-enabled cell phone recorded it at 14.9 miles, with something like 4,500 feet of climbing, if memory serves.

I had an absolute blast, although my walk to work today was a bit slower and more stiff than usual as I recover. Take a look at the photos above for an idea of how beautiful, and worth the pain, the walk was. Here's a map of the route annotated with some of the photos I took:

View Peak to Peak in a larger map

If you went and took your own pictures, consider uploading them to Walk SF's fan page on Facebook.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Quote of the Day

In Manhattan, creative jaywalking is an environmental positive, because it makes traveling on foot easier: it enables pedestrians to maintain their forward progress when traffic lights are against them, and to gain small navigational advantages by weaving between cars on clogged side streets - and it also keeps drivers on their guard, forcing them to slow down. -David Owen (via Living Car-Free in Big D)
I definitely agree with this statement, and not because I like pedestrians more than drivers and somehow feel that rules shouldn't apply to everyone. Legally, of course, traffic laws do apply to everyone. But there is a difference in justice of those traffic laws, a difference that reflects the natural hierarchy of vulnerability among road users.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More on the MTA's Parking Meters

Paul Hogarth has some thoughts at BeyondChron.

He tips his hat to Melissa Griffin, who rightly notes that May's emergency budget was only 'balanced' if you include money from the proposed meter changes.

And Streetsblog has its usual high-quality coverage of this important issue.

It's not too late to head to City Hall and put your 2¢ on the record. Room 400.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Paper Whose Time Expired

So The Chronicle Comical has decided to campaign against rational pricing for parking meters in SF. In doing so they reveal themselves as tireless advocates for those few privileged enough to drive in San Francisco.

Where was their outrage when Muni fares went up in May? A bus ride now costs twice what it did when our spokesmayor took office and, come January, so too will your Fast Pass if you want to use it on BART. Newsom voicebox Nathan Ballard, who apparently has the ear of the Chron's Editorial Board, reacted to the MTA study thusly:
In this economy, we can't ask people to pay more for parking. Our small businesses don't need one more reason for people to stay away.
Read the report, Mr. Ballard! Businesses don't get their customers from on-street parking. Across SF, only 14% of customers at local businesses drove to get there, and they spend less per capita per month than any other group of shoppers. These are people you want beating a path to your door, I suppose, as long as you're not interested in making money.


Ballard, Newsom, and the Comical's concern for the plight of the private motorist is especially insulting given their apparent disregard for Muni riders.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

If they use the money to make sidewalk improvements, one of the most important transportation pieces of infrastructure in San Francisco. I think the sidewalks are almost as important as the bus system. If they said we'll use some of the money to improve the sidewalks and the streetscapes on the metered streets, everybody would see that the city is giving back something and not just taking. I think if you give back something that's very visible and very valuable, the metered communities will see the benefits right in front of their eyes. --Donald Shoup (via Streetsblog)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

SFMTA Releases Overdue Parking Meter Study

Streetsblog has a great writeup of the report, which is overdue by a couple months. My favorite part:
When pressed whether the MTA Board would stand up to Mayor Gavin Newsom if it believed extending meter hours was better for the MTA and the city, [MTA Board Chairman Tom] Nolan admitted the board hadn't opposed the mayor "really in much of anything." But, he added, "We keep turning down revenue options, if it's not going to be on the revenue side, it's going to be on the service side." -Matthew Roth
I can almost hear Tom Radulovich gently reminding him that the City Charter requires him and his colleagues to "diligently seek new revenue sources" for the MTA.

The SFMTA will discuss this study at its upcoming meeting on Tuesday, October 20th at 2pm. If you can, you should absolutely attend and let the MTA know you support the fair parking meter prices this study recommends.

Scenic Route

The Chronicle Comical has a piece in today's Datebook section about a new web application called Scenic Route. The app lets you pick a starting and ending point, as well as the amount of time you have for your stroll. Then it spits out something of a walking tour that leverages the comments of other users to find interesting hidden gems along the way.

There's historical trivia and architectural points of interest, as well as some bizarre entries like this one from user 'paugsburger,'
sometimes I drive, I love the view from 280 (at 6th and Townsend)

The more time you give yourself, the more meandering the route this app returns. It's definitely designed to be used on an iPhone's web browser, but you can also launch it from your computer.

Check it out!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Speed - Comfort - Convenience

God bless Eric Fischer, who finds the best ghosts of Bay Area transit past. Por ejemplo:

"San Francisco's plan for progress calls for modern, computer-controlled, 80-mph rapid transit cars to speed Bay Area residents to their destinations."

"Transit cars on exclusive rights-of-way will operate at 90-second intervals during rush periods."

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Quote of the Day

[Note: I apologize to anyone who has been looking for more meat in my posts recently. I've been very busy as of late, so I've made an effort to post more but shorter items relevant to the pedestrian experience. I hope to provide more in-depth content soon]
I do not believe that you guys scared everybody out of Oakland's parking spaces, I believe [Grand Lake Theater owner] Alan Michaan did by getting on the 6 o'clock news and telling everyone to be terrified of parking in Oakland. One of you ought to scold him for the level of invective he brought out here. You guys were accused of extortion for raising the fee from $1.50 to $2, but you were accused of extortion by a man who charges $3 for a small coke. -Max Alstott, to the Oakland City Council at their October 6th meeting (via Streetsblog)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Vision for the Future

There's an interesting model of downtown SF at SPUR's new building on Mission Street. The model shows the proposed or approved new development in the Transbay and Rincon Hill areas.

But upon closer inspection, the elevated freeway to and from the Bay Bridge has been removed Southwest of 4th Street. Now that's 'urban renewal' I can get behind!

Quote of the Day

In a post about the Oakland Airport Connector:
[BART] couldn’t care less whether Oakland gets trashed, as long as they can whisk suburban commuters to downtown San Francisco or the airports with minimal contact with Oakland soil. Elevated BART tracks carry passengers over Oakland’s neighborhoods while elevated freeways carry drivers over Oakland’s streets—a separate transportation grid several dozen feet above ground level, which “sidesteps the mess” below. -Fragmentary Evidence