Monday, November 29, 2010

Now That's Marketing

In Boulder, Colorado stores along the Pearl Street Mall were doing well on Black Friday.  One shoe store in particular has come up with a great marketing gimmick for this pedestrian-only street:

Monday, November 22, 2010

Museums In Motion

With apologies to the Market Street Railway for borrowing their tagline for the F-Market streetcars, I'd like to take a moment to reflect on another vintage trolley line of sorts: the 49-Van Ness/Mission.

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

It Should Be Free

A little late to the punch, the San Jose Mercury News published an article on SF's proposed congestion pricing plan.  The quoted reactions of Peninsula officials are predictable, but I love this one:
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 Mateo
Sounds like an argument for free public transit to me.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Enforcements Speeds Up Muni Buses

Tucked away at the end of an article in the Examiner is an encouraging few paragraphs on the enforcement of double-parking laws.  You might remember way back about three years ago State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma got us a law passed that allowed Muni to install cameras on buses to catch drivers who double park and slow down Muni vehicles.  Since then, according to the Ex, the program was not widely used and results - as you might guess if you've been on a bus int he past three years - haven't been overwhelming.

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 Examiner
I 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

Excuse me

Parking on the sidewalk was bad enough, but now we're driving on it?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

SFist gets it right on Prop L

In a summary of SF Appeal's post-mortem analysis of Prop L, SFist juxtaposes a story on last week's successful  measure to pass a Sit/Lie law - ostensibly to protect pedestrians on our city's sidewalks - with a photo of one of the more common and real threats to walking life.

While the get-off-our-lawn set is celebrating the passage of a law that will never be used to improve SF's pedestrian realm, hundreds of thousands of people are dodging the illegally parked cars and ever-proliferating curb cuts that really are lowering the quality of life.  Well done, SFist.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Doing Good on the 9L

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."

Good man.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Today is Election Day, so please please please make sure you vote! On the off chance you haven't made up your mind, here are some thoughts on some of the measures on today's ballot:

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.