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SFPD Chief Sees Streets of San Francisco by Bike

Back in September 2009, when Streetsblog San Francisco editor Bryan Goebel interviewed newly arrived SFPD Chief George Gascón, he invited him out for a bike ride. Gascón accepted. Sixth months later, we're pleased to report that the chief made good on his promise.

With Andy Thornley of the San Francisco Bike Coalition serving as a trusty guide, Gascón embarked on a short, breezy excursion from the Marina, exploring the local streets for a couple of miles.  The chief's message isn't complicated. "We all need to co-exist," and motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists need to respect each other's rights and safety, he says.  He's working toward fostering that goal through education and establishing a liaison to the cycling community.

Though the ride was a historic first in San Francisco and a step forward for mutual understanding, it was also seen as more of a starter ride. Advocates hope to take the chief on a grittier bike trip -- perhaps down bustling Market Street -- in a few months.

Andy Thornley: [0:01] We are about to make history in San Francisco. We're down in the Marina, and we're about to take a bike ride with San Francisco Police Department Chief George Gascon. We've never had a Chief of Police on a bike rolling around the city, so this should be fun.
Bryan Goebel: [0:14] We did an interview with the Police Chief last year, and we said, "Hey, Chief! We'd love it if you go on a bike ride with us." He agreed, and today is that day. Chief George Gascon: [0:22] It's a great low-impact sport and so a great way to get your cardiovascular going. It's a tremendous contributor to a healthy lifestyle.
Bryan Goebel: [0:31] Chief, it was a short bike ride. But what was your impression? George: [0:34] Well, you know first of all it's a beautiful day, so that made it fun. It raises obviously the level of awareness of some of the things that we can do it in order to make cycling a safer endeavor in the city. Obviously, the conditions of our streets in some areas could use some improvement.

[0:50] I think it's really good that we're beginning to mark some of the streets in order to facilitate riders. We want to make sure so we keep everybody safe, and we want to keep the cyclists safe. We want to provide for a safe environment for motorists. We want to make sure the traffic is moving, and the education piece is very critical.

[1:10] The more that we educate people as to how do you coexist, whether it's pedestrians, cyclists, or motorists--the better that we're all going to be. The more bike riding that we do, obviously the more health that we promote. And that's a good thing not only for the individual, but it's good public policy.

[1:27] I think also riding a bike we avoid having to burn fossil fuels, and it goes without saying that that is a good thing for us to do. And we reduce congestion.

Bryan Goebel: [1:37] The last time we talked, Chief, you had indicated a willingness to appoint a liaison to the bicycle community. George: [1:44] Right.
Bryan Goebel: [1:44] What's the update on that? George: [1:45] We're having discussions. I think the issue of appointing a liaison is a no brainer. I think that the question is we're building up our community relations office, and the cycling liaison will come out of that office. We're also looking, as I said, how do we improve the public education campaign for everyone?
Bryan Goebel: [2:02] Now that I've got you here on camera could I ask you, would you commit to going on another ride with us this summer? George: [2:07] Oh, absolutely! As a matter of fact, one of the things that my wife and I are planning to do is buy a bike. We live in an area here that we're very fortunate, a lot of good places to ride a bike. We're looking forward to doing so. I'm generally a runner, but I've also cycled before. There's so many triathlons here, so also I enjoy riding a bike.
Bryan Goebel: [2:27] Well, Chief, we appreciate your willingness to come out and talk to us today. George: [2:30] My pleasure.
Andy Thornley: [2:30] We got out and rode around his neighborhood, which I think is very powerful. Showed him his streets. We got a little bit of a motor vehicle interaction in a few places, but no egregious behavior. Too bad! I was really kind of hoping for a bread truck to cut us off or something. [2:45] But everybody played nice. The Chief had a good ride. I think he already gets it. I'm very pleased with his interaction and the things he's saying. So I think it was a good ride all around.


Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/msonn mikesonn

    Clarence, it was great to meet you. I always enjoy your films.

    While it was great to get the police chief out (can't over state that - it was huge!), I think he sees biking as more of a recreation activity. I picked up on it several times in the interview.

    That being said, it's a great first step!

    Hope you enjoyed the city Clarence.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/velobry Bryan Goebel

    Mike, I'll have more on what the chief said in a post next week. This is definitely a positive first step.

  • Clarence

    Mike,

    You could argue he sees them from his perspective as a recreational activity, but he obviously does get it, especially much more than most chiefs or commissioners.

    He's a very amiable guy and I think there is certainly future ways to work with him. Frankly if we had a guy of his caliber in charge in NYC, I would see alot of potential.

  • patrick

    Yeah, I definitely see it as a positive thing that he is willing to go on a ride with. Even if he sees cycling as recreational, this can only help him understand the issues of those who use bikes as transportation.

  • ROBO

    That Andy Thornley is a goddam superstar!

  • Charlie

    Now he just needs to come out to critical mass tonight and we'd be in business!

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Green_Idea_Factory Todd Edelman

    Hooray! If there is a way to get the Gascóns to get city bikes, please do it! Some kind of dress like Andy thing, also with a similar basket. (Remember that Rosey Grier did not lose any presence because he knitted).

    I cannot imagine the Chief being shown without a styrocap, but also try to influence him buying something stylish (Bryan, if you are gonna wear a helmet, please adjust the straps correctly!).

    Perhaps get some cycle chic chicks to take Mrs. Gascón bike shopping on her own.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/jamie jamie

    I'm so glad Heather Fong moved along ...

  • Nick

    The Marina is a nice neighborhood to ride in, but it's not typical of how the rest of the city is designed. For example, the streets are wide and slow and there are plenty of physically separated paths to ride on.

    The rest of the city is fast, dirty, and mean. That's the best way to put it.

    Another example: the whole neighborhood of Pacific Heights has a Stop sign on each and every single block. All ways, for miles. And how much do we have to fight to get one on a bike route in other neighborhoods?

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/velobry Bryan Goebel

    @Nick: We didn't have a choice on the route. We definitely want to get the Chief out of the Marina next time!

  • Paul Tay

    Biking wit cops is kinda like dating the preacher's daughter.  Ya never know how far to first base.  To blow the red or not?  Dat is da ongoing, distracting question.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick

    I hear an accent... where's he from?

  • IntermodalTiger

    Awesome ... and he knows that the sunglass goes over the helmut strap! Bike Snob Approved!

    Gascon is originally from the poopie chute of Caulifornia - LA.

    Note: This commenter is from LA himself ... so don't get your panties in a bunch.

  • cyclotronic

    riding side by side? don't try that over in sausalito. they got signs against it.

    once he gets a bike, maybe he can do some tooling around without cameras and a posse and get a real feel for what its like. maybe rush hour on market, if he feels that's not too dangerous for a man in his position.

  • cyclotronic

    @nick - the stop signs at every block in pacific heights actually make it more dangerous for cyclists. those stop signs get run by cars more than any others in town.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick

    Intermodal - haha, I'm from the area (Thousand Oaks). I swear it sounds like he's originally from another country or something though.

  • Marc Brandt

    Excellent piece, hit so many right notes. Great work on everyone's part.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/thornley Andy Thornley

    Chief Gascon is a Cuban expat, that's the flavor you hear in his speech:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jun/04/local/me-onthelaw4

    However artificial and brief this ride was, it broke the ice in a really important way -- I do think we're going to be taking more rides with the Chief and his district commanders, more casually and naturally, over the coming months, to everyone's benefit. I love a cop on a bike . . .

  • patrick

    Totally agree Andy, this is important stuff!

  • Ed Pino

    Can we try to do this with Kelly?

  • eric

    The one rider without a helmet stuck out like a sore thumb, worse yet if he is a coalition member or employee. Nothing says "the rules don't apply to me" than a member of advocacy group who is more worried about mussing his hair instead of a head injury.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/bikeculturetheory Justin

    Eric, welcome to the great helmet debate.

    Please read up on the state of the debate before you bore us with your assumptions about AT's motivations for not wearing a helmet, or any other person's for that matter.

    Who makes the rules and why? You might still think wearing a helmet is a good idea, I often do. But compulsory helmet wearing for all adults? The research is a mixed and complex bag.

    Critical thought is a beautiful thing!

    - J

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Green_Idea_Factory Todd Edelman

    Eric! Admit it! Andy looked stylish, and the Chief looked sporty. But there is no "rule" for adults to wear styrocaps in California! (To be sure, the Bike Coalition does very softly endorse them: http://www.sfbike.org/?dress)

    Here are some things to look at for your Helmets 101 correspondence course:

    Feds get caught red-handed: "Handy Lessons from Overseas" at http://www.copenhagenize.com/2010/03/good-news-from-over-there.html

    Sanyo loses face? E-bike brochure with more Photoshopped helmets onto photos shot for European market, pg. 2: http://site.nycewheels.com/Documents/sanyo-electric-bike.pdf

    My favorite pro-choice helmet page: http://www.cicle.org/bike_now/helmets.php

    More good stuff here: http://www.copenhagenize.com/search?q=helmet

    English female pop stars breaking the "rules":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xB67guV1dGg
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1wnOUH2jk8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVNK_VDQY8I

    20/20's well-known and interesting piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdoE2YCvwdM

    Still with us, dear? Perhaps you are feeling a little more liberated and this will lubricate you even further: http://tinyurl.com/yzlnv94
    Or this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ja_tBjqEzeg

    Finally, on a musical (and intermodal) note, I hope you don't consider some retroactive legal action about any safety issues in this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OfWqCFQEGZM

  • eric

    Justin, I am a chapter coordinator with a youth cycling program. One of my volunteers just brought in his helmet with three big cracks in it due to a crash. There were no cracks in his head.

    Ask yourself this, "is my my head worth $50.00". I can tell you from personal experience that head injuries need very little impact to occur and a helmet will make the difference.

    Please do your homework before you bore me with bad research on your part about helmets. Talk to emergency room doctors and nurses. This isn't about rules, its about commonsense., Yours is questionable.

  • eric

    Justin,

    It seems that Mr. Thornley can't even follow the suggestion about helmets on the web page he is responsible for
    http://www.sfbike.org/?dress

    Scroll down and you'll find this:
    "HELMET! You can redo your hair when you get to the office. You can't redo your skull if you crash."

  • Matthew Roth

    Hey Eric,
    There's been a lot of debate on this around the Streetsblog network. Try this one on for size:
    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2009/06/15/helmet-on-your-head-or-egg-on-your-face/

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick

    Welcome to Streetsblog Eric :D always nice to see readership growing.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick

    Btw, if I may speak for Andy (do come in and correct me if you see this), he's told me his policy is this: wear a helmet if it'll get you on a bike, if it makes you feel safer and more comfortable. But it's up to you. (I'm pretty much in line with this.)

    The SFBC doesn't take a strong stance on helmet usage - notice that mention on the page you linked is all the way at the bottom.

    It's a fascinating and complex topic, I recommend you do research and consider the many aspects - helmets' effect on driver behavior (of both bikes and cars), the significance of other factors in measuring risk, the social effects in regards to identity and perceptions of cycling, results of mandatory helmet usage (i.e. australia), helmet promotion as a defense of the status quo, the history of helmet manufacturing & use in the U.S. vs Europe, comparisons of deaths/ accidents/ infrastructure/ helmet usage in U.S. vs other countries, levels of helmet usage as an indicator of safe streets, I could go on...

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick

    Oh, ok that article Matthew linked actually does a very good job of summing up an intro to the whole thing as well as Andy's policy haha.

    Also check this out! http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/videoLogin?id=3878244

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick
  • eric

    Mathew try this on for size. If you read the article you posted the link to you would have seen this quote by Mr. Thornley:
    ""Helmet wearing is about your fourth layer of defense; first, make every practice to not get hit by a car."

    Mr Thornley makes the classic mistake that every over confident cyclist does, they think the only accident that can occur is getting hit by a car. In twenty five years of riding I have had three accidents, a pedestrian who stepped off the curb I had to avoid, a pot hole and trolley tracks.

    The fact that Mr. Thornely maintains a web page that advocates the use of a helmet is hypocritical on his part and appalling on the part of his employer.

  • eric

    Aaron, your link is dead, the video does not load. As well as the fact that a three year old news report, 11/16/2007, is hardly a current example.

    Let me guess, the report makes a claim that wearing helmets makes cyclists more reckless. Does wearing your seat belt and having air bags in your car make you more reckless?

  • Matthew Roth

    Eric, I not only read that article, I wrote it. I know what Andy said in it.

  • Clarence

    I will say that there are varying degrees of research on helmet use and I am not going to engage in any long discussion as every blog that goes in this direction, the discussion just breaks down into lots of yelling and screaming by proponents on both sides.

    But I will say that personally I think everyone should wear a helmet. But it should not be a requirement either. There are different styles of riding, and depending on which of my bikes I use I ride an average of anywhere from 6 to 8 mph an hour to all the way up in the high teens. IF you are regularly riding, and riding slow & deliberate and are taking low-travelled streets, I have felt that at times while riding my slow Dutch bike that I might be able to go without a helmet. But I am not there yet, and may never be - wearing a helmet allows me the comfort of knowing I have a degree of error and protection.

    To each his own, as long as you are not a kid (all kids should be required to wear helmets), then responsible adults need to make their own decisions. I know people in NYC that have had many accidents while wearing helmets and I also know someone who hasn't had any in 30 years of riding WITHOUT a helmet.

    I think it is best to leave it up to the individual, but to highly stress that wearing a helmet is smart and good for safety.

  • eric

    What I find appalling in all of this is an employee of a cycling advocacy group, that maintains a web page about cycling safety including helmet use. He makes public statements about how he is the exception and does not need a helmet.

    The youth cycling program I am part of requires all volunteers and employees to wear helmets when they are on the clock. Not only do we have to walk the talk, we also do this because of insurance liability.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick

    "Mr Thornley makes the classic mistake that every over confident cyclist does, they think the only accident that can occur is getting hit by a car."

    No, not really - that's a straw man argument. Cars are just by far the biggest danger and deterrent to using bikes. I don't think anyone has meant to exclude other hazards, and I'm sorry about your accidents, but your anecdote isn't exactly empirical evidence of the whole, and realistically we could probably find at least 10 anecdotes involving cars for every non-car one.

    "Mr. Thornely maintains a web page that advocates the use of a helmet"

    Where did you get that out of it..?

    "a three year old news report, 11/16/2007, is hardly a current example."

    Egh, yeah, looks like it's not workng now - here's another one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdoE2YCvwdM
    Hmmm... sorry, I guess I didn't realize how much driving a bike or a car have changed in the last 2 1/2 years..?

    "Does wearing your seat belt and having air bags in your car make you more reckless?"

    Actually, probably - but more like less attentive. It'd be interesting to study - I'd bet people who are used to wearing seatbelts in a car would drive more carefully if they weren't wearing one. The idea you'll see in the report is about the sense of security safety measures can give us that can be counter-productive.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick

    P.S. I'm done - as we've said, the arguments have already played out too many times on Streetsblog alone.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Green_Idea_Factory Todd Edelman

    In relation to the issue of seatbelts and airbags making drivers take more risks, see this from John Adams from the UK: "Britain’s seat belt law should be repealed" at http://john-adams.co.uk/2006/12/16/britains-seat-belt-law-should-be-repealed/ and then the follow up articles at http://john-adams.co.uk/?s=seatbelts, reading from the bottom.

  • Nick

    Inexperienced cyclists wearing helmets are more at risk of injury than experienced cyclists not wearing them.

    Accident avoidance is the goal. However, I biked 3 blocks to the coffee shop one day (without a helmet) and a car lost control and skidded right past me. So yes, I'll wear one for some degree of protection against freak accidents or my own occasional lack of coordination.

  • eric

    ""Mr. Thornely maintains a web page that advocates the use of a helmet"

    Where did you get that out of it..?"

    Aaron scroll all the way down to the end of the page and there is an e-mail link to Mr. Thornley that says "Got more tips to add? Send them to Andy Thornley, Program Director, and we'll add them to the list!"

  • eric

    "a three year old news report, 11/16/2007, is hardly a current example."

    Egh, yeah, looks like it's not workng now - here's another one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdoE2YCvwdM"

    So here's my take on it. You have one scientist who does a handful of tests that generates limited test data. And a news reporter who provides anecdotal experiences. What they don't show is what people happens to people who do have head injuries.

    Spend some time with a Neuropsychologist who works with patients that have had head injuries. Part of their job is to teach adults how to tie their shoes and eat with a fork. This made more difficult by the fact that they know that they used to know how to do these things. After a few hours of watching people go through this you will want to wear a helmet than end up like them.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/thornley Andy Thornley

    Hey Eric, thanks for your comments, I admire your passion and conviction and I'm glad you're working to get more kids on bikes, that's where it's at. To be clear, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is pro-choice on the matter of bicycle safety helmets, as has already been said:

    If wearing a helmet will help you feel comfortable bicycling in the city, please wear one (but make sure it's properly fitted); if wearing a helmet discourages you from bicycling in the city, than don't feel obliged (but be sure to ride predictably and visibly and follow the rules of the road).

    One of those rules: Bicycle riders under age 18 must wear a helmet under California law, riders 18 and older can decide for themselves. We're also big on rules like turn-taking and right-of-way respect, Golden Rule kind of stuff that will keep you healthy and popular among your neighbors on the street, for instance:

    http://sfbike.org/download/right_of_way_thief.pdf

    and:

    http://sfbike.org/download/give_get_sf.pdf

    We've educated thousands of people through our LAB-curriculum Adult Bike Ed classes, taught by League Cycling Instructors, providing people with information about safety gear and practice, including helmets and their use. Our youth and family education programs are likewise full of information about safety gear and practice, and helmet-wearing and -fitting is a centerpiece of this.

    Like the League of American Bicyclists and most bicycle advocacy groups around the world, the SFBC does not support laws mandating helmet use for bicycle riders. There is an obvious particular benefit to an individual wearing a safety helmet, in cases where the circumstances of a crash put that individual's (properly-fitted) helmet between his head and the pavement / car fender / lightpost / trolly car, at the right speed and angle, but the aggregate effects of obligatory helmet policy have been repeatedly demonstrated to depress the overall participation in routine everyday bicycling and help to mis-characterize bicycling as an intrinsically dangerous activity, out of proportion to the actual objective danger of bicycling. As Meyer Hillman illustrated in his celebrated research for the British Medical Association, bicycling's health benefits add an average of 20 years to an individual's life for every year that bicycing's hazards take away -- not bicycling can kill you! It's a difficult balance to promote safety while not contributing to the widespread and pernicious misunderstandings about cycling which build fear and "otherness," probably the greatest obstacle to success in our work.

    http://copenhagenize.com/2009/09/fear-of-cycling-03-helmet-promotion.html

    So again, if wearing a helmet will help you feel comfortable bicycling in the city, please wear one (but for the love of Buddha make sure it's properly fitted); if wearing a helmet discourages you from bicycling in the city, than don't feel obliged (but be sure to ride predictably and visibly and follow the rules of the road). Hiding under your bed isn't going to help any of us . . .

  • patrick

    eric, anecdotal stories are useless, neuropsychologists (and doctors in general) are not experts on injury prevention, only diagnosis and treatment post injury. A broken helmet is not evidence of a prevented injury, just evidence of a helmet that failed. Finally, cycling is no more dangerous than driving, so if you don't harass people who drive without helmets then don't harass cyclists that ride without them.

  • Marc Brandt

    I use a helmet much of the time, but sometimes I don't and frankly it mostly depends on the expected pace of the effort and level of car traffic I anticipate. If I'm going down to the Crissy Field promenade for a fun gentle ride on a bike with an upright position I likely won't bring a helmet.

    Wearing a helmet has really helped me in numerous situations such as races on the track or other mass start competitions. I wore my helmet (club rule San Jose Bicycle Club.. thank you Don Peterson) for all training rides when I raced years ago. I wear one for commuting where there's also an impetus to focus on tempo.

    In the video we're seeing a cyclist with an upright position who's riding at a comfortable pace. Just contrast that for a moment with a gent bent over going at a hard tempo. One thing about an upright position is one can see better and seeing better is a big part of safety.

  • eric

    Patrick do you even read what you post?
    " Finally, cycling is no more dangerous than driving, so if you don't harass people who drive without helmets then don't harass cyclists that ride without them."
    Cars have seat belts and air bags, try driving one and I'm sure you'll find them.

    If you hit the ground hard enough to crack a helmet than that is hard enough to break your skull. The helmet didn't fail, it did its job, it took the brunt of the impact instead of your skull.

    Medical personnel are often the best to know what can prevent an injury. Because the see the difference between cyclist with head injuries that wera helmets and those who don't

  • eric

    Andy, since the Sf Bike Coalition seems to have a devil may care attitude towards helmets than I think you need to remove this quote from your "WQhat to Wear" page from
    "HELMET! You can redo your hair when you get to the office. You can't redo your skull if you crash."

    to

    "If wearing a helmet will help you feel comfortable bicycling in the city, please wear one (but make sure it's properly fitted); if wearing a helmet discourages you from bicycling in the city, than don't feel obliged (but be sure to ride predictably and visibly and follow the rules of the road)."

    Your organization either encourages people ride with helmets like in the first quote or makes it optional like in the second one.

    You can be part of the problem or part of the solution. This isn't about laws it about commonsense and I wonder if there is any within your organization.

  • patrick

    "Cars have seat belts and air bags, try driving one and I'm sure you'll find them."

    yes, and bike riding, with or without a helmet, is just as safe as riding in a car with seatbelts & airbags.

    You are welcome to wear a helmet when you bike, and when you drive, and when you walk down the street, all of those activities have roughly the same level of hazard. You are not welcome to scare people away from cycling by implying that it is dangerous, particularly without any evidence to the contrary.

    If a helmet breaks, it has failed, in fact in helmet testing any helmet that breaks is considered to have failed, and does not pass testing.

    Bicycle helmets are neither tested nor designed to withstand the type of injuries that will typically result in death or serious injury. In fact they have lower standards than football helmets, hockey helmets, baseball helmets, and just about any other helmet designed for sports use, much less protection from collision with a fast moving automobile.

    And I reiterate that cycling is a perfectly safe activity, so even if the helmets were designed to provide real protection, and I was guaranteed to survive any potential head impact, I still wouldn't bother to wear a helmet, just like I don't wear a helmet when I walk, or go jogging.

    Don't agree that cycling is safe? Then provide some evidence to the contrary. If you think helmets provide protection, then provide some evidence supporting such a claim. Your claims of common sense are not a substitute for arguments support by evidence.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/thornley Andy Thornley

    You're right, Eric, that last point on the "What to Wear?" page doesn't make sense, I've reworked it:

    http://sfbike.org/?dress

    There are some cool helmets out there and you shouldn't feel awkward about wearing one because they're ugly or clunky, you can find something to suit your style and street sense. Supervisor Chu loves the helmet that Gary Fisher and I gave her, and she looks like a movie star . . .

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/Aaron_B Aaron Bialick

    "Cars have seat belts and air bags, try driving one and I'm sure you'll find them."

    If you look at the statistics, the rate of injury and deaths are about the same on a bike or in a car. And studies have found promoting motorist helmets would be 17x more effective in reducing head injuries than with bicyclists. (Sorry I'm not invested enough to find the source right now.)

  • http://jcsnotes.tumblr.com JC

    Great video. That part of the Marina (Marina Blvd south to Chestnut) also has stop signs on most blocks. And the fact is, in that 'hood and Pac Heights that the stop signs have less to do with cars and bikes than they do with protecting pedestrians. Marina Blvd is 10 times more safe for walkers going over to the Presidio than it used to be. Is it perfect? No - cars and bikes still run them. But any removal of those signs in Pac Heights is going to have to cope with how to protect pedestrians.

    Still, I'm really happy to see that the Chief did this. Breath of fresh air compared to his predecessor(s).