Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Pulse of the City

The incomparable Eric Fischer has made his move into video, showing us the movement of every Muni bus in June all lumped together into one imaginary day:

Eric's work is at the forefront of public analysis of transit agency data.  By opening up its bus GPS data, the SFMTA has created a unique environment where smart and creative people like Mr. Fischer have the tools to do what it can't be expected to do itself.  That is to show us our Muni in novel ways that give us unexpected insight into its workings.

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

Sunday Streets Western Addition Route Announced

It's not up on their website yet, but the Sunday Streets Facebook page has posted a map of September 19th's Western Addition route.  Winding through a dense residential neighborhood and along part of the Fillmore commercial corridor, this event promises to be much more like the popular Mission District route than the next event in line, a Great Highway route scheduled for August 22nd.

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

Rise Above It

Commenter Gary snapped this great panoramic shot of New York City's High Line park back in July.  Click through to Flickr to see the larger size.  The development/planning-minded person will recognize the potential infill site where that ugly parking lot is, and indeed the High Line is part of an impressive redevelopment of its surrounding area.

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

Walk Across America

With the weekend close enough to taste, here's a video my coworker sent me to pass the minutes until quitting time:

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

The Last Train to Sparseville

Welcome to San Francisco, Jarrett Walker.

Anyone not familiar with Mr. Walker should definitely take the time to read through all the gold at Humantransit.org

Published with Blogger-droid v1.4.8

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Google Demolishes the Central Freeway

As part of its ongoing effort to not be evil, Google has torn down the hulking Central Freeway in San Francisco.

Well, almost.

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.

 15th Street and San Bruno Avenue in Google's freeway-less future (top) and in real life (bottom)

Play around with it for yourself, it's refreshing to see what an improvement all that blue sky can make.  More pics after the jump.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pedestrian Removal Project

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

$3 Per Person

I've been cleaning a bunch of old photos out of my cell phone, and I came across this one of the cable car information sign at the Van Ness terminal of the California line.

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 Tea Party of Noe Valley

Regrettably, I missed last night's meeting of Noe Valley residents with members of the Pavement to Parks program.  At least I thought it was regrettable before I heard about what happened.

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.