Here's to more and greater success in the new year, and a more walkable city for years to come.
Friday, December 24, 2010
Here's to more and greater success in the new year, and a more walkable city for years to come.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Almost makes up for the bait and switch over solar panels in the new shelters.
Check out more at busstopderby.com
Monday, December 20, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Powell street is so thick with pedestrians, this space is badly needed. Hopefully, bringing the level of the new space up to sidewalk height will lead to it being more well-used than the brief trial the city ran a year ago.
Streetsblog reports that the project will be finished and open in April.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
There's a community meeting to discuss the project tonight (December 7th) at 600 Haight Street starting at 6:30 PM.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
I'm not without a bias, I grew up riding the 49 home from school on Ocean Avenue near Balboa High. My first job was at a movie theater on Van Ness, and the 49 was probably the last bus I rode before going away to college.
And Muni is still running those same 15+ year-old articulated trolley buses on the 49 today. The one I'm on tonight has had a lot of work done recently and is now painted silver and red, but many others still bear the double orange Landor paint scheme - among the last in the city with that iconic livery.
It's kind of a trip to sit here and think that I might be in the exact same seat that I rode in back in high school.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Where do you stop nickel-and-diming people? You should be able to travel from city to city without paying a toll. -Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San MateoSounds like an argument for free public transit to me.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Apparently that changed three or four months ago, and riders have cause to be optomistic:
Through the first three months of this fiscal year that started in July, the enforcement cameras have issued 1,460 citations for double-parked cars and vehicles in tow-away and bus zones. In the entire 2009 fiscal year, 1,016 citations were issued for those violations. -Will Reisman, The ExaminerI hope the SFMTA continues to maintain and expand a thorough level of enforcement, we've been waiting for signs of improvement for an awfully long time now.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Riding the 9L into work today, a group on fare inspectors boarded at 11th and Market. One inspector caught a kid (who no doubt should have been in school but got away saying he had 'independent studies' ... I remember that one from when I was his age). When he found out the kid was 16 he asked again what he was thinking, why he didn't pay his fare. The kid said he didn't have change, only a five dollar bill. The inspector explained that decision was supposed to get him a $150 ticket and a trip to juvenile court. Then he pulled out five ones and said, "Gimme that five, and go up there and pay your fare. I don't think it's right for kids to go to juvenile court over 75 cents."
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Yes on AA
Increases the Vehicle Licence Fee in SF by $10 in order to fund road improvements. Raising the cost of car ownership (even by a barely-noticeable amount) is a good thing, and AA specifically allocates $1.25 million for Pedestrian improvements, and another $1.25 million for transit.
No on L
Sidewalks are for people, as the No campaign's slogan says. Of course they ought to be civil - every corner of society ought to be civil - but measure L does nothing to make sidewalks more civil. Every horror story proponents cite as a reason why SF needs a sit/lie law describes behavior that is already illegal. Making it more illegal won't stop it because nobody's there to enforce the law in the first place!
If you're frustrated with bad behavior in public spaces, consider voting for Measure M instead. Measure M would require the police to create a plan for running foot patrols city-wide, putting cops on the sidewalks instead of taking people off them.
No on 23 and 26
Statewide propositions 23 and 26 may not seem closely related at first read, but they're being funded by the same big out-of-state oil companies. 23 would suspend AB32, California's greenhouse gas law, whenever unemployment is above an arbitrary number. 26 would raise the number of votes required to raise or levy new fees. 26 especially would directly affect San Francisco's efforts to pay for improvements to its pedestrian environment by raising fees on car drivers.
Bert Hill and Robert Raburn for BART board
The entire Bay Area needs BART to do a better job of serving the urban core and promoting good land use. Its Board of Directors, however, is dominated by representatives of suburban and exurban districts, more interested in running BART tracks to the moon at any cost than connecting to hundreds of thousands of potential riders in SF and Oakland.
Bert Hill is running to replace James Fang in District 8 (PDF) and Robert Raburn is vying for Carole Ward Allen's seat in District 4 (PDF). Both oppose BART's trend toward expensive and ineffective "blingfrastructure," and would represent the interests of their urban districts well.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I'm writing this on an inbound M car, stopped in between Civic Center and Powell stations. It's stopped here because of unspecified "mechanical problems." While the doors were open, back at Civic Center, the operator encouraged everyone to get out and take a bus or streetcar down Market to their destinations.
By my count this is the third delay caused by 'mechanical problems' in as many weeks - and that doesn't count the residual delays that linger after the 'problems' are fixed.
After the operator made his announcement, most of the people on this car took his advice and left; a pretty apt metaphor for a system that's seen its readership shrink significantly in the last few years along with its budget.
Is this what we want for our Muni? Or do we want to invest in a system that actually meets San Francisco's transportation needs?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Check out my review of last year's Peak2Peak for photos of some of the amazing sights to see along the way. Registration gets you lunch in a peaceful meadow on Mount Sutro, and the chance to win some cool raffle prizes. Proceeds go to support Walk San Francisco, which is an awesome organization that does a ton of great work to make SF a better place to walk (I'm on the Board of WalkSF so I'm totally not impartial, but I mean it).
Sign up now before it's too late, and I'll see you there!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Friday, October 8, 2010
But as I noted before, if you can’t afford your infrastructure, and you can’t afford to provide basic services, what you’re really saying is that you can’t afford to be state and are holding a slow motion going out of business sale.Worth remembering as Election Day nears.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
If you missed a chance to join your neighbors walking to school today, then please try to make a point of practicing Walk to School Day everyday. Safe, active streets must be safe and welcoming for the smallest among us, and an active childhood is much likelier to be a healthy childhood than one spent in the backseat.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Europe was for reals, and as soon as I'm slightly less jet-lagged I'll do a decent writeup.
One random point about being without my Translink card for a few days: I got to use the new Muni ticket machines at Civic Center station today. The machines are the product of Clipper maker Cubix, which also runs London's OysterCard system. For a brief moment this morning, until the faregates closed behind me, it honestly seemed like I could have been in a Tube station.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Park in the street, and it’s totally legal here for anyone waking by to bash your windshield in with a bat. Really, it is. We’re very progressive and don’t have a lot of outlets [for] our stockpiles of rage. Do not tempt us.Oh, he knows me so well.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Speaking of slowness, I know I haven't posted in a while. You hear it on blogs all the time, but I've been super busy at work. And after this week I'm off to a much needed vacation in Europe. I hope to see some shining examples of transit and urban infrastructure while I'm there - and I might have a chance to post some of it here while I'm over there. But fair warning, I'm k-k-kinda busy.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Click through the image above for a closer look - I'll see you all there!
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
What a simple thing to do - to show us a video of where every bus goes in a day - and yet its effect is like the first time Google published a satellite view on its maps. We now have a whole new perspective from which to view Muni. Many perspectives, in fact, as Eric continues to come up with new ways to crunch and mash up the raw data to show us something that was never visible before.
Monday, July 26, 2010
The Western Addition route is a first for Sunday Streets, and will be followed in October by another new route - through the Tenderloin.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
But this image also beautifully shows a woman enjoying the peace of the park, with great views of Manhattan, oblivious to the blight below. You can get a feel for her perspective by watching around 1:48 of Pedestrianism Vol. 6. Well done, Gary!
Friday, July 23, 2010
It's more like other Pixilation-style videos than my Pedestrianism series, and must have taken an incredible amount of work. The effect is totally amazing!
Have a great weekend, everyone!
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I was playing around with the Google Earth plug-in for Google's online maps, which lets you pan around and fly through 3-D buildings and topographic features, when I noticed they didn't include a 3-D model of the elevated freeway structure. Comparing the resulting freeway-less images with the real-life Street View is like looking at before and after pictures of a future in which the skyway has been torn down. One I hope we'll someday see.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
If you've walked down Van Ness between Market and City Hall lately, you've seen the results of a recent "Streetscape Improvement Project," new landscaping along the sidewalk planted with bamboo and London Plane trees.
Landscaping along the sidewalk can beautify a street and absorb stormwater but, if poorly designed, it can impede pedestrian traffic and lower the overall quality of the street. And these new plantings on Van Ness are poorly designed. They take up half the sidewalk and are surrounded by a raised lip of granite, which will prevent them from absorbing any rainwater that falls on the sidewalk around them.
Van Ness, particularly this section of Van Ness, is well-used by people on foot. These new plantings take needed space away from them in order to, in my opinion, make the street prettier to people in cars. Bad idea.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Of course, the fare for a cable car ride has been $5.00 since 2005 - this sign has been out of date for five years.
While the price of a cable car ride won't be going down any time soon, the SFMTA Board just voted unanimously to restore half of the recent service cuts. Starting September 4th service on some of Muni's most crowded lines will get moderately better than it has been for the last couple months. It's a small step in the right direction.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
The video in the SFist post corroborates the first-hand accounts I heard. Opponents of the trial stood up and shouted over Planning Department staff, as well as their own neighbors. I'm not the first to compare the opponents to the Tea-Baggers who interrupted a slew of town hall meetings last summer. The behavior was way out of proportion with the perceived harm, completely inappropriate, and shockingly childish. The grown people who treated members of their own community so poorly ought to be ashamed of themselves and, IMHO, they ought to apologize.
I'm a pedestrian and I support any project that increases the safety, or enjoyment of our pedestrian realm, so I support this trial. But I don't live here, and I don't have a personal reason to support a plaza in Noe Valley over one in a neighborhood that will welcome it - or at least treat each other like humans when discussing the proposal.
Get it together, Noe Valley.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
So what about a pedestrian Critical Mass? From the comments on a MissionMission blog post it seems somewhat popular at first glance. I'd be lying if I said I didn't fantasize about having such a hard-to-ignore show of pedestrian support after narrowly avoiding a car or bike on the sidewalk or in a crosswalk. And who knows, if someone gets one going it could be a good thing for pedestrians.
But for now I'm skeptical that's the best focus for our effort. Let's not wait for someone to jerry-rig a boom box on a granny cart and tell us all to meet at Justin Herman Plaza. Let's all just walk more. Let's fill up the sidewalks, and then let's work to get the sidewalks widened. Personally, I think it's better if drivers expect to see more of us everywhere than if we create an event that's an easy target of rage. But if someone wants to get something started, let me know how it goes :-)
Thursday, June 24, 2010
I first wrote about the laneway housing program over a year ago, and this is a good time to follow-up on the program - which seems to be quite popular - after the president of the SF Planning Commission and some SPUR members recently suggested adding new housing to the
Vancouver's experience is still unfolding, but I see plenty of room to be optimistic that sensible planning can add density to otherwise phobic neighborhoods without drastically changing their beloved character.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
According to Helquist, attendees broke into small groups to brainstorm designs for the street. In summary, attendees wanted:
But they also wanted to re-design or at least enhance the corridor by
- Smooth and steady flowing traffic lanes for vehicles and Muni buses
- The current 25 mph speed limit
- A designated bike route
- Wide sidewalks for walkers
- Curb-side parking
- Improving safety and the perception of safety for all users on the street
- Enhancing a sense of community or neighborliness that is blunted now by a corridor that separates east from west with several lanes of speeding vehicles
- Normalizing traffic flow by removing the changes in number of lanes along the corridor
Quieting the street with landscaping and other sidewalk features
- Installing a new landscaped median with refuges for safer pedestrian crossings
- Installing a dedicated, perhaps separated, bike lane on one or both sides of the street
- Providing for safer crossings for people walking
Sunday, June 13, 2010
But no. After parking in the center lane, he walked into Tartine bakery and waited in line to order something sweet. Nothing better to do, I guess...
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
- Anyone in the Portland area should check out Portland Afoot, a monthly guide to car-free and car-lite living.
- Villaraigosa's "30/10" plan to cram 30 years worth of regional transit projects into 10 years with the help of Federal loans is moving quickly, apparently! Great news for LA - let's hope SF's leaders are watching closely.
- A recent meta-analysis suggests that the intersection density of a city or neighborhood has the largest effect on its walkability.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
In his proposal, Jacobson analyzes the potential economic development, environmental benefits, ridership, cost and funding, as well as the line's design and possible extensions. The analysis is meticulous, and the proposal is impressive. Oakland officials should thoroughly read and seriously consider this plan.
Monday, June 7, 2010
This year's event is bigger than ever, with the addition of Harrison Street to the car-free lineup and a later end time: 3pm. Read more at the Sunday Streets website.
Thursday, June 3, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 28, 2010
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
These two spaces are in front of roll-up doors that bear stenciled 'NO PARKING' signs and curb cuts. Naturally, these are driveways. Hence, no parking meters, right? Not so. Immediately behind the roll-up doors is a plate glass window.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
And if, like me, you're already car-free you can and should still sign up!
Monday, April 26, 2010
My friend Lola snapped this photo a couple weeks ago. Apparently the skyline continued around this guy's whole head. I love the cellphone camera's depth of focus showing the packed bus (which will be increasingly less reliable and more crowded thanks to Gavin Newsom).
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This meltdown is readily perceived by Muni riders, and there's a lot of political hay being made by claiming to know how to fix it. Supervisor Sean Elsbernd is riding a wave of bus driver and union contempt to push a ballot measure that he hopes will save Muni some money. And SF Weekly drew a lot of eyeballs with its thorough feature on a large number of ways that Muni wastes some of the money it gets.
Bad management takes its toll on the Muni system, but $3 million in wage cuts here and $7 million in service cuts there won't solve the real underlying problem: Lack. Of. Money.
Monday, April 12, 2010
If I said it was the ugliest place in San Francisco, you'd be hard-pressed to prove me wrong. It's the aquamarine elephant in the room that's left standing whenever we celebrate the demolition of the Central Freeway. In fact, that stub of a freeway was only partially torn down, only as far as Market Street. And, today, the place where the freeway starts is where the urban renaissance of Hayes Valley ends.
Believe it or not there's a street under there, a street with more problems than just the shadows and noise of the elevated structure. Duboce Avenue, 13th and Division Streets have been combined into a six-lane expressway with narrow, incomplete sidewalks, cyclone fences and driveways, and piles of illegally dumped garbage. If this place is ever going to be a healthy thread in San Francisco's urban fabric, this corridor will need to become a walkable, livable street.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
I’m not closing the door forever. I’m just saying that at this stage I sense enough division and opposition that I don’t even feel that it can work on even a trial basis. The notion isn’t to create conflict, it’s to create more public spaces.If you live in the neighborhood and care about public space there, you may want to send Dufty an email. Please also make sure to attend the meeting at 6:30pm on Thursday. It's been added to the calendar in the sidebar.
Please note that the dead-tree version of today's Ex contains an important error. There is no plan to close 24th Street. The proposed plaza would close a small section of Noe Street, just South of 24th. The online edition has since been corrected.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A few neighbors weren't too happy when they got word of the plans, however. They're trying to push Andres Power, manager of the Pavement to Parks program, to scrap the plaza design. Power has responded by drafting a second option for the intersection. Instead of a plaza, they could build a "parklet" (bulbout) on either side of the street, keeping Noe open for cars.
Supervisor Bevan Dufty will be holding a community meeting to gauge public support for the two proposals on April 8th at 6:30 p.m. at St. Philips Church Community Room (725 Diamond).
There's a group of neighbors working to demonstrate support for the full plaza. You should join their effort, if you're so inclined, and attend the meeting next Thursday to let Mr. Dufty know you support Noe Plaza.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Well now Governor Schwarzenegger has agreed to a (dubious) gas tax swap that will give the SFMTA $36 million dollars for Muni. My first reaction was not 'Hooray, no more service cuts or fare hikes.' It was 'Great, there go the revenue measures.' I had hoped I was wrong, but it's looking like the MTA staff is considering just what I was afraid of. Lame, lame, lame.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Read the email message after the jump.
I spotted this bus stop driving away down Brannan Street this morning. It turned right on 5th and looked like it was about to turn right again onto Townsend as I walked away. I have no idea which line it could have been from because the numbers had already been removed from the sides.
It could either be from a stop that's been removed as part of the incessant service cuts we've seen, or one that's been replaced with a new
Thursday, March 18, 2010
You may have noticed I like to walk around this city, and I consider myself to be very familiar with its pedestrian realm. The sidewalk is my primary point of view, almost all of my interactions with public space are on the sidewalk.
And I'm not afraid of people sitting or lying down on it.
Streetsblog posted a piece on the Newsom-Gascon sit-lie law, which generated some controversy. And I'm glad they did because this law will directly affect the public space that Streetsblog and all livability advocates fight for. The law as proposed would prohibit behavior that's beneficial for such spaces because, ostensibly, the SFPD currently lacks the tools to deal with the bad behavior of a tiny few.
The proximate motivation for this law is a group of street kids on Haight who are harassing passersby. Gascon has told the Bay Guardian that he knows these street kids wouldn't be harassing anyone if cops regularly walked up and down Haight Street. So he acknowledges that adequate tools already exist to keep the peace. This law is not necessary to protect the citizens of the Haigh-Ashbury neighborhood, nor is it likely to be effective without the same increased police presence that Gascon says would solve the problem on its own.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
My how time flies. The first of this year's 9 Sunday Streets events is already upon us! Check out a car-free Third Street/Embarcadero from Mariposa Street to Fisherman's Wharf this Sunday, March 14th, from 10am-3pm.
That's right! This year's events will last an hour longer - until 3pm! See you there! (map after the jump)
I spotted these on my walk to work Friday. When I took this picture the North (Northwest, geographically) side of Brannan Street between 7th and 8th was dotted along half its length by the poles you see, while the other half had fresh holes drilled in the concrete. This entire block now has the poles which, based on their height and spacing, seem to be harbingers of parking meters to come.
I hope DPT plans to collect the money they're entitled to from these meters.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Most people at the meeting came because of their involvement in one of a large number of organizations that signed on as co-sponsors of the summit. That's to be expected, but several commenters noted that the makeup of the group was not reflective of Muni's ridership. Indeed, more than one person who stood in front of the room to speak described themselves as 'lapsed Muni riders,' meaning they no longer ride the system.
The hour and a half or so of public comment was the most insightful. Commenters were encouraged to keep their statements positive and constructive, rather than to generally gripe about Muni service. I wasn't able to catch a lot of the names, but I tried to jot down as many of the ideas proposed, which you can read below:
Thursday, March 4, 2010
With a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, the police traffic detail along with a civilian crime prevention unit are educating people and enforcing traffic laws. -KCBSImagine that, enforcing traffic laws. But before you get too excited, this is apparently what Captain Steve Tacchini means by 'enforcing traffic laws:'
One of the things we see is people stepping off the curbs before the lights change, trying to run across against the reds, trying to catch Muni running up to buses or not looking for vehicles making right turns.That last one is a gem. Mr. Tacchini doesn't seem to remember the section of the Driver Handbook on how to make a right turn (if he's interested in a refresher, I have a couple extra copies he can borrow).
To make a right turn ... Stop behind the limit line. Look both ways and turn when it is safe. Do not turn wide into another lane. Complete your turn in the right lane.Right turn against a red light–Signal and stop for a red traffic light at the limit line or at the corner. If there is no sign to prohibit the turn, you may turn right. Yield to pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists, or other vehicles moving on their green light. (emphasis mine)
To report crosswalk incidents or red light running:call SFPD at (415) 553-0123 (for non-emergencies)
Thursday, February 25, 2010
- Require the Premium Fast Pass to ride express buses and cable cars
- Reduce service by 10% across the board by by reducing the frequency of buses along some lines as well as shortening operating hours
- Raise the fares for seniors, disabled and youth passes to $30/month, triple what it was just 6 months
And even without this latest fare increase, the cost of those Fast Passes will still go up by $5.00 in May as part of the last round of fare hikes (remember those? The ones that brought the Adult pass to $55.00 last July followed by the $60-M/$70-A pass split just under two months ago?) And all of this is to bridge a $16.9 million budget gap predicted between now and June 30th. On July 1st the new fiscal year will begin with an estimated $100 million hole. Make no mistake about it, what happens tomorrow is the tip of a very large iceberg.
For anyone who enjoys the mobility that Muni provides, or who cares about public transit or the state of government, this is really freaking depressing. And the insistence of the MTA Board to make up the budget deficit almost entirely on the backs of Muni riders is absolutely infuriating. The Board is obligated under the City Charter (SF's Constitution and the very same piece of paper that gives the mayor his executive power - in other words a seriously binding document) to diligently seek out new revenue sources for Muni. They have refused to do that because the Board members are appointed by the mayor and so feel they ought to carry his water.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Recent moves by the BOS to curb (to cut? to cut curb cuts?) the incessant expansion of parking in this city are certainly to be commended, but are we moving quickly and decisively enough?
Got questions about the project? Then read and listen to the piece above, as well as Transbay Blog's thorough writeup on this 'blingfrastructure' project.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Curbed has a sneak preview of the permanent design for the plaza at Market, Castro and 17th Streets, "subject, of course, to further modification and budgetary limitations."
My first reaction: maybe it's the drawing but it seems a little too fortressy. Dialing back some of those planters would give pedestrians more freedom to mill about in any direction. And with the entire space dedicated to pedestrians, it seems odd to me that we would still be funneled diagonally along the old crosswalk.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Gotta love that H-line :-)
Friday, February 12, 2010
Since my letter of January 15th, FTA staff and BART have worked diligently but unsuccessfully on the development of a corrective action plan that might be acceptable. I am required to now inform you that your plan is rejected.This means that the $70 million of Federal stimulus funds will instead be distributed to regional transit agencies. Muni's chunk: $17.5 million rebuild the trucks on its light rail vehicles and add ADA-compliant voice announcements to those LRVs.
In unrelated(?) news, Rachel Gordon reports in today's
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Yesterday Curbed reported via the Castro Courier that the plaza at 17th, Castro, and Market Streets will likely become permanent after a vote by the SFMTA and BOS in May or June. This plaza has been wildly successful since day one, despite being cobbled together from some of the cheapest salvaged and donated materials. The plaza tames what was once a dangerous intersection for pedestrians, but its temporary materials are looking less and less civic after this season's rains.
And from New York we have word that the seven sections of Broadway at Times Square that were closed to provide pedestrian refuges and calm traffic on a trial basis have now officially been deemed a success. "The new Broadway is here to stay," said NYC DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. And apparently work will soon begin on designing a more beautiful plaza to replace the temporary materials used at the crossroads of the world.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
It's been a while since my last Pedestrianism video. The spectacle of last June's Sunday Streets in the Mission District was hard to top!
Monday, January 25, 2010
Wednesday, January 279:00amMTC Headquarters101 Eighth Street, Oakland
Monday, January 18, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
That number, in case you missed it, is 415-553-1200. Press 1 for English (if so inclined) followed by 6 to report sidewalk parking. Rinse, repeat.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Transit planner Jarret Walker offers a great metaphor for the health of transportation networks with specific regard to Muni and the looming specter of yet more service cuts. Must. Read.