Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Es Ley

Yes, BART, Title VI is indeed the law.  It's comforting that BART got the memo, but this doesn't seem to be an accurate sign of what's to come.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Walk More

Today is the last Friday of the month, which means Critical Mass will be moving through city streets later this evening (so don't feign surprise).  Critical Mass has proven to be a popular way for self-identifying bicyclists to gain visibility and increase awareness of cyclists on SF streets.

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

Gentle Densification Follow-up

A year after Vancouver began a pilot program to allow small secondary units along its back alleys, or "lanes," some neighbors are finding problems with some of the development.  From the Globe and Mail article it sounds like the concerns center around a few buildings that may be pushing the limits of the program.

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 forbidden zone West side of town.

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

The Median Mistake

Michael Helquist at BIKE NOPA has a summary of Tuesday nights MTA workshop on redesigning Masonic Avenue.  (I wish I could have attended the meeting but Muni connections to that part of town are slow these days, and I had prior commitments).

According to Helquist, attendees broke into small groups to brainstorm designs for the street.  In summary, attendees wanted:
  • 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
But they also wanted to re-design or at least enhance the corridor by
  • 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
(enphasis mine)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tow or Be Towed

There has been some renewed interest lately in the cars that park illegally along Guerrero, Valencia, and Dolores on Sundays.  At first, I thought that's why a tow truck was pulling up to a row of such cars around 7pm on Sunday June 13th.

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

Help Redesign the Bayshore Caltrain Transit Station

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority will be hosting a workshop next Saturday (June 19th) to give members of the community an opportunity to discuss some proposed changes to the Bayshore Caltrain station in Visitacion Valley.  Those proposals include:
-Extension of the T-Third light rail to Bayshore Station
-Bus Rapid Transit along Geneva Avenue, connecting to Balboa Park BART station
-New local bus and shuttle connections
-Significant new development for Brisbane Baylands, Schlage Lock, and other sites
Check out the Facebook event page for more information.  Deets for the Facebookless after the jump.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Quick News Roundup

I've never done a news roundup before, but three things came across my radar today and I'm running short on time.  Explore at will:
  • 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

The Oakland Streetcar Plan

Daniel Jacobson hasn't been posting many new entries to 21st Century Urban Solutions as of late. Now it's clear why. Jacobson's just released his plan for revitalizing Oakland's downtown with a streetcar connecting Jack London Square with MacArthur Blvd via Broadway. Check it out at

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

Sunday Streets 2010 Mission Route Announced

Last year's Mission District Sunday Streets event was easily my favorite. There's a real qualitative difference between a long, beautiful, but sparsely activated route like the Embarcadero or Great Highway, and this path through a dense residential neighborhood. The former gives bicyclists a chance to ride free from cars, but the latter makes one big pedestrian plaza out of two of the neighborhood's main commercial drags.

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

Grid Talk

Jarrett Walker's posts at Human Transit are always insightful (and his last name's awesome too). In his latest, Jarrett speaks for the street grids, as the grids have no tongues. Have you hugged your four-way stop today?