Streetsblog Comes to San Francisco
While on the West Coast in October for the Railvolution Conference, the announcement went out that San Francisco would become the third chapter in the Streetsblog sisterhood. Hip Hip Hooray!
On Halloween morning, yours truly was invited out to do the person-on-the-street gig at the final Gas-Free Friday event being held by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. We interviewed cyclists and passersby as to what they thought Streetsblog presence would do for the Bay Area and the types of stories they'd like to see. Here is the pulse of their comments.
Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [00:01] Hey everybody, it’s Clarence from Streetfilms. As you may know by now, Streetfilms’ Streetsblog is in San Francisco. We have a chapter that’s opening, fully operational, and we’re out here at one of these Gas-Free Friday events with the San Francisco Bike Coalition interviewing pedestrians and bicyclists trying to get a pulse on this situation, see what they would like to see covered more, what they think needs to be highlighted, ideas that they may have for stories, so let’s check it out.
Speaker: [00:26] The reason I’m excited that the blogs coming to San Francisco is to bring more attention and education to the people in San Francisco about the use of the streets, about bicycle problems and pedestrian problems in the street.
Speaker: [00:37] I think one of the things that’s really special about San Francisco is there’s a really strong community and culture around biking. I’m really excited that Streetsblog is going to be here to kind of showcase some of the cultural biking.
Speaker: [00:50] I think there’s a lot of little details that need to be worked on. There’s things like the street lights and street trees, and just little accoutrements on the street that make the environment just a little bit nicer to deal with.
Speaker: [01:06] Well what we really need is cooperation from our city government and we need to really see some sustainable alternatives become a real priority. We need more bike lanes, we need safer bike lanes, we need more education.
Speaker: [01:19] Ultimately I’d love to see way more cyclists out here, less cars, more trees, more people pedalling, and I think we’d just have a much better city. And better public transportation so that we’re eliminating a lot of this gridlock everyday.
Leah Shahum: [01:32] I am so excited about Streetsblog coming here. We are so ready. We are ready, we are waiting, we’ve got a kazillion story ideas for you guys. We’ve seen a 24% increase in the number of people bike commuting just in the past year. The city has set very ambitious goals to get more people on bikes, on transit, out of their cars. So I feel like all the right elements are in place, but we have huge, huge room to improve, no doubt. 33% of San Francisco adults say they would bicycle more if the city were more welcoming, if it felt more safe on the streets, if there were better bike parking at their destination.
Speaker: [02:08] One thing that’s kind of actually lame, unfortunate about San Francisco is there has been a moratorium and so in 2010 on doing any type of upgrades to bike lanes and so for like that last three or four years bike ridership has grown immensely, but nothing at all legally can be done as far as upgrades to bike lanes, bike signs.
Speaker: [02:25] My biggest thing is, it’s just an epiphany in the last two weeks since I got slammed by a car a couple of weeks ago, is just noticing how awful car drivers are. If we had somebody with a camera on their bike, just to go around and to document things.
Speaker: [02:43] Anything that encourages people to get out of their cars is great. The Sunday Streets, that was a really cool idea. I was down at Fisherman’s Wharf, just walking around and seeing like how crowded the sidewalks were and like thinking about like if you open those streets up to people to be able to walk around, like how could that not be good for business?
Leah Shahum: [03:01]
If we can tap into that third of people who would be biking, think of
what that would do to our streets, to our congestion, to the noise level,
to the liveability. It would just be a tremendous impact for the
whole city. So I think we’re right on the pacifist, we’re
right on the edge of something really big.