Monday, April 26, 2010

Muni Do

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

"My, That's a Lot of Blood! Can I Offer You a Band-Aid?"

"It will be a smaller system," says Muni chief Nat Ford. As a direct result of the 'leadership' of mayor Gavin Newsom and his appointees on the SFMTA Board, the San Francisco Municipal Railway that has served San Francisco for almost 100 years will be serving fewer people.

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

Welcoming Division Back to San Francisco

Welcome to San Francisco

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

Minding Narrowness

Wow, this blog out of LA does some amazing work visualizing that city's wide streets as more urbane and pedestrian-friendly... in a word, narrower. SF has its share of too-wide streets, and my mind is already buzzing with visuals of how SoMa, for example, could look in this new and improved universe.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Noe Plaza Opponents Have Dufty on Their Side

It looks like Noe Valleys elected representative, Supervisor Bevan Dufty, is poised to quash the nascent pedestrian plaza in Noe Valley. There will be a community meeting on Thursday evening for neighbors to learn more and discuss the project but Dufty, as quoted in today's Examiner, sounds like he's already made up his mind:
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.