Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Anonymous Has A Case of the Mondays; Crossbows As Self-Defense in SoCal; Parklets? No, Pooplets.

Protesters, deciding that it would be alright to come out of their mom's basements two days a week, have moved their pointless disruption routine to Thursday. They also muttered something about using the funeral of that Apple engineer who was struck and killed over the weekend as an excuse to leave work early on Thursday.  Like the mask inside your desk didn't give you away, already.


photo courtesy of goddesssophiawalker.com
Crossbows are something you don't see everyday. This changed for a 16 year old San Diego boy yesterday, when he was struck in the side by an arrow from the passenger window of an SUV at which he was throwing rocks. The boy was taken to a hospital, treated and released to his guardian.

His name wasn't released.

Nobody has been arrested.



Outdoor toilets in India (left) and Amsterdam (right)

Urinating in public has always been seen as a last resort in America. However, in many other countries this proces has been embraced as a natural part of humans living in close proximity to each other. In an ever progressive stance, the city of San Francisco is thinking of constructing Pooplets (similar to a parklet in size and location) where specifically homeless people can relieve themselves in a sheltered, but still open space. These shelters would be similar in size to a bus stop, with multiple entrances, and enough clearance at ground level for police to easily enforce scofflaws and drug addicts from using these facilities nefariously. Scott James from The Bay Citizen researched how the new toilets differ from the existing ones, and where the biggest amount of crap is found in San Francisco.  Surprise, it's in the Tenderloin!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New BART GM Misses Seattle, The Shire

Grace Crunican comes to BART via Seattle, WA via Hobbiton. File photo.
After a long and arduous journey BART's new general manager, Grace Crunican, will be arriving in the Bay Area in mid-September to begin her tenure. She takes over amid multiple BART police shootings, BART's decision to cut-off cell service inside stations during protests over the shootings, and updating BART's entire vehicle fleet by securing federal transportation funding and voter-funded ballot measures.  Coming to us from Seattle, WA, Crunican replaces Dorothy Duggar, who was asked to resign on claims she withheld information from the board, and resisted delegating responsibilities to subordinates. Duggar, however, brought accountability and transparency to the financial books of the long-embroiled transit agency.

Monday, August 29, 2011

SFPD Not Targeting Bicyclists; How to Counter-protest 'Anonymous';

Some drivers ignore the mandatory right-turn at 10th Street. Photo courtesy of SFExaminer.com
   Recent claims made by Streetsblog and other transit websites that the San Francisco Police Department have been selectively targeting bicyclists has been proven speculative.  Evidenced by the repeated enforcement (they run this sting quite regularly) by the SFPD of motorists disobeying the mandatory turn-lanes along Market Street at 6th and 10th Streets. Let's call them Cartyrs, people who refuse to believe they are the 'small guys' on the playground and continually peacock and posture until their noticed.  Trust me, as a pedestrian I "Notice" you everyday whizzing by me in crosswalks, pedestrian areas, and even inside BART stations.
  Again, these websites' agendas overshadow their noble and rational reasons for the fight; everyone should feel safe on our streets. Yet they seek some legitimized form of anarchy by believing they are above the law, or at least always the victim in the battle for street space. This seems eerily similar to the motorist's "arrogant" behavior they so often deem entitlement.
  Contrarian at best, their continued police bashing doesn't win them any leverage in their eventual fight for any future expansion of the San Francisco Bike Plan (SFBP) beyond the proposed build-out scheduled for completion late next year. I guess upholding the law isn't something these people want from a police department any more. Stop turning our brave men and women into scapegoats in the public media, karma's a bitch.


photo courtesy of phonejammer.com
  Here's a novel way of participating in the counter-protest to 'Anonymous' and their senseless and misdirected claims about BART Police.  In response, I'll offer my own non-violent, quasi-legal way of making Anonymous truly anonymous. You can purchase portable cell-signal blocking technology that fits in your pocket.  
  Just show up during a scheduled protest and stay close to protesters outside the station moderating or coordinating social media, blogs, and forums.  This is the crucial link in cutting off communication to the their fringe elements and the rest of the world. This will also block nearby news reporters from using their cell phones, so be careful.  Fight for your right to safe and convenient public transit, and take back the trains from these terrorists.  BTW, MUNI drivers have struck and killed NINE people this year, BART Police TWO.  Where are your priorities?

Friday, August 26, 2011

New Phelan Avenue Left-Turn Lane Endangers Pedestrians, Bicyclists

Students crossing the loop entrance of are constantly in fear of being struck by NB and SB motorists entering the college
  Upon arriving on the City College campus this week for the fall semester, I noticed a new left-turn lane has been installed on southbound Phelan Avenue into the City College campus loop.  This left turn is critical for drivers arriving from the north side of campus in order to access the loop, however, this new turn lane has created a dangerous conflict for pedestrians walking along the east side of Phelan Avenue. The newly installed bicycle lane on Phelan was also not taken into consideration during the redesign process.
  As the photo suggests, pedestrians must dodge cars entering the loop, or run to avoid being harassed by impatient drivers for blocking the entrance. This is the most widely used entrance to the campus by drivers picking up students, disabled-access vehicles, campus police, and faculty accessing the parking lot in front of Conlan Hall.  This was already a dangerous place for pedestrians crossing the entrance to the loop, now it is a death trap.
The existing conditions at the CCSF loop entrance looking Northbound

Suggested lowest-cost option for the CCSF loop entrance
  Options include installing a wide, brightly painted crosswalk, adding curb bulbouts to reduce the distance needed for pedestrians to cross, or adding a dotted line to link the bike lane on either side of the intersection. Pavement markings in the actual turn-lane could instruct drivers to yield to pedestrians for left turns into the loop.  Besides the curb bulb-outs, these other options are low-cost, simple solutions to a situation that can only get worse.
  All the intersections along Phelan Avenue were poorly designed to begin with (due to the bureaucracies involved in the initial design of the avenue) since the SFMTA, the fire department on Ocean, City College, and the City all had a say in the final design. Since no consensus was ever reached on the safest designs for these intersections due to bickering, we now have to redesign this street for everyone who uses it; without regard for red tape and the opinions of those who probably rarely walk or bike through the Phelan corridor.
  A copy of this blog post has been forwarded to the maintenance department of City College, the City College Police, and the CCSF Student Association to make them all aware of the importance of safety for pedestrians and bicyclists who attend or visit City College.