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Posts tagged "San Francisco"

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Cycle Chic in Copenhagen and Beyond

 

You can trace the term "cycle chic" back to 2006, when Mikael Colville-Andersen launched his Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog. It means different things to different people, but basically, "cycle chic" is about riding in everyday clothes instead of specialized gear like spandex or cycling shoes.
]When I was in Copenhagen last December I had the chance to meet up with Colville-Andersen. After touring the city's first-rate bike infrastructure, I asked him about cycle chic. He said the number of collaborators and followers around the world is constantly growing, making cycle chic a movement-within-a-movement. So for this video, I crowdsourced video from a few other cycle chic bloggers to see what's so hot about using fashion and style to promote bicycling. Enjoy!
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Bay Area Street Portraits: Antonio

[Editor's Note:  This series comes to us from Charlotte Buchen of StreetsblogSF and chronicles residents in the Bay Area and the role transportation plays in their lives.  This is the third in the series.]

Antonio Mendoza has been living in Oakland and sending money home to Mexico for 13 years, but these are especially hard times. For him, riding his bike is a way to relieve stress, get around, and stay fit at the same time. Bicycles are also one way he can stay connected to his son in Mexico: They haven’t seen each other in over a decade, but whenever he can, Antonio fixes up a bike and sends it home so that his son can have something that his father’s hands have touched and loved.

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People, Parklets, and Pavement to Parks (plus Mojo Bicycle Café)

In San Francisco, the Pavement to Parks program has launched an initiative that may someday alter the way many dense U.S. cities decide to treat the streets of their commercial strips.

Taking the PARK(ing) Day concept to a more permanent, logical level, the Parklets Program has begun experimenting with trial spaces allowing businesses to convert parking spaces into outdoor public spaces and cafes.  The first was installed in March outside the Mojo Bicycle Café on Divisdero Street where two parking spaces were reallocated to people-space; now cafe tables & chairs, benches, bike parking, and plants sit over a raised platform over the asphalt.  If all goes well thru the evaluation period, the idea is to eventually turn the process into a regular permitting process that business groups and communities can apply for.  It looks good: owners of Mojo say business is up 30% and they have had to hire more staff.

The Pavement to Parks program has already transformed a number of community spaces in the Castro, Showplace Triangle and Guerrero Park. We briefly look at those at well in this video.

StreetFilms
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San Francisco Celebrates Bike to Work Day 2010

San Francisco set a new record for Bike to Work Day this year. Bicyclists accounted for 75 percent of the morning roadway traffic on Market Street, a big increase over last year.

Throw in sunny skies, some new shiny green bike lanes, just-installed bike corrals, door zone warnings, and other infrastructure, and you realize there was quite a bit to celebrate. Hear from the Mayor, members of the Board of Supervisors, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and bike commuters about why this year's Bike to Work Day was so great.

StreetFilms
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Bay Area Street Portraits: Sal

[Editor's Note:  This series comes to us from Charlotte Buchen of StreetsblogSF and chronicles residents in the Bay Area and the role transportation plays in their lives.  This is the second in the series.]

Sal Bednarz believes in creating community, so when he opened a new café in his beloved neighborhood in Oakland, he gave it bike-friendly features. But Sal’s not trying to make a statement – he just thinks bike parking should come standard.

StreetFilms
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Bay Area Street Portraits: Terri

[Editor's Note:  This series comes to us from Charlotte Buchen of StreetsblogSF and chronicles residents in the Bay Area and the role transportation plays in their lives.  This is the first in the series.]

Terri Saul paints impossible childhood fantasies on canvas. Inspired by her Choctaw-Chickasaw roots as well as memories of childhood bike rides through the outer edges of Los Angeles, many of Terri’s paintings combine classic Tour de France imagery with the regalia of Native American dancers. And now, her daughter Lydia, too, is taking to the magic and independence of the bicycle.

StreetFilms
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Making Muni Faster and More Reliable Through Bus Stop Consolidation

A common complaint among Muni riders is that the bus simply stops too often. It turns out they may be on to something: according to transit experts and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates Muni, consolidating some bus stops is one of the cheapest and quickest ways to speed up Muni. That's the subject of this film, the second in a series on making Muni faster and more reliable.

Muni's stops are actually much closer than its own standards advise. Only 17 percent of Muni's bus stops fall within the recommended range of 800-1,000 feet (closer on steep hills); 70 percent are closer than that. As SFMTA staff has pointed out in the past, nationwide research shows most people are willing to walk a quarter-mile to the nearest bus stop.

The SFMTA's first attempt to consolidate stops -- a pilot project on the 38-Geary in the Tenderloin -- turned out poorly for the agency. Residents got the Board of Supervisors to block the proposal, pointing out that it appeared to speed up service for wealthier commuters from the Richmond by forcing Tenderloin residents to walk farther. Now, the SFMTA hopes it can dispel that impression by proposing a comprehensive consolidation plan, at least on the city's busiest routes.

In the film, we hear from the person responsible for developing that plan, Julie Kirschbaum, project manager for the SFMTA's Transit Effectiveness Project, Livable City's Tom Radulovich, San Francisco Transit Riders Union organizer Dave Snyder, and Senior Action Network's Pi Ra.

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The Wiggle’s Green Bike Box & Left Turn Lane Combo

"The Wiggle" is one of San Francisco's most beloved and cherished bike routes and guides riders the easiest way between two nasty hills. It even has its own Wiki page.

It's so popular, it is hard to stand there at any point of the day and not see mega helpings of cyclists passing thru! (Please note: This is a camera person's dream.)  Recently, after a judge partially lifted a full ban (due to an injunction) on bike amenities, the SF DOT striped a unique combo to aid cyclist's safety and sanity.  A green bike box on Scott Street - believed to be California's first - allows riders to safely wait and queue up for a dedicated left-hand turn lane which runs the length of the entire next block.

Andy Thornley from San Francisco Bike Coalition took us around to show how it works - and some riders voiced their appreciation.

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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.

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Making Muni Faster and More Reliable by Speeding Up Boarding

Some of the most important changes for San Francisco's Muni system are also the simplest ones. In the first of our five-part series on creating a faster Muni, we focus on bus stop boarding. By instituting a prepaid boarding system called proof-of-payment, Muni could dramatically quicken the boarding process, speed service and improve reliability.

Under the system, riders who have a monthly Fast Pass, a transfer, or a TransLink card could board through any door on the bus. Instead of showing the driver proof-of-payment, passengers just hold on to their transfer or ticket, and fare inspectors randomly board vehicles to check for payment. That's already how it works on Muni's light rail vehicles when they run on the street, which has led to faster boarding times and lower fare evasion rates.

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Streetsblog San Francisco shows its political clout!

Every day at Streetsblog San Francisco, our writers and editors marvel at the intelligence and passion of our readership, though we rarely get to meet this community of dedicated urbanists in person. Recently we threw ourselves a birthday party at the LGBT Center in San Francisco to celebrate all that has come in one year and we were joined by 150 of our closest friends and avid readers. We broke bread and raised our glasses in honor of the impact that our brand of advocacy journalism has had on the Bay Area, where Streetsblog San Francisco has quickly become the go-to source for sustainable transportation and smart growth news. The event even became a stop on the campaign trail for current Board of Supervisors candidates intent on pressing palms with some of the smartest and most passionate of their constituents.

Special thanks to Jonathan Weiner, without whom this past year would have been impossible. Thanks also to Katie Brodie and Nico Martin Presents for the great crew of smiling servers, impressive spread and delicious mash potatoes bar (which was quite the hit), B-Haul for the (Tasty) tunes, super volunteer Denyse Trepanier, the LGBT Center, Swirl Wine Bar, SFBC and its volunteers for weathering the rain to provide valet bike parking, Supervisor David Chiu, Supervisor Eric Mar, Judson True, Leah Shahum, Andy Thornley, Gabriel Metcalf, Chris Carlsson, Dave Snyder, John Hamilton (for the great Streetfilm you see above), Mike and Sarah Sonn, Brooke Dubose, Greg Riessen, Gary Fisher, and many, many more...

Here's to a wonderful 2010 and many more reasons to celebrate the San Francisco Bay Area and its improving public realm.

StreetFilms
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Making a Better Market Street in San Francisco

For decades, planners and transportation specialists have debated how San Francisco's most important street could be re-visioned to  make it work better for transit, pedestrians, cyclists, shoppers, and those living on or near it. Now, as the Better Market Street Project moves forward with trial traffic diversions, the Art in Storefronts project, music and programming in public spaces, greening along sidewalks, and pedestrian safety improvements, San Francisco's political class is intent on revitalizing the street for the long haul. Though the concrete vision for what Market Street will eventually look like is some ways off, there is more effort now than in many years to improve the public realm and ensure the street lives up to its great potential.

StreetFilms
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San Francisco: 350 Climate Action

350 parts per million. That’s the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide beyond which many scientists warn the earth’s climate may begin to spiral out of control. At higher concentrations, they say, heat-reflecting ice sheets will disappear and permafrost will melt, releasing vast amounts of additional greenhouse gases and driving sea levels higher in a vicious cycle. The earth’s atmosphere is currently at around 380 parts per million, and climbing.

For a young international movement, 350 is a rallying cry, an organizing principle. On October 24th, climate activists in over 180 countries with the group 350.org staged more than 5,200 demonstrations, pressuring world leaders to take meaningful action on global warming at upcoming United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen. In San Francisco, a ride of 350 cyclists in snorkels and flippers gathered at a downtown rally and traced a route through Bay-side neighborhoods threatened by rising sea levels.

Critics of the movement say the goal of stabilizing the atmosphere is too ambitious, and that even a cap of 450 parts per million would be difficult to achieve with curbs on carbon emissions. But the heated debate on the political possibilities of climate action is up against cold, hard, science.

The head of UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Rajendra Pachauri, recently endorsed the goal of cutting emissions to 350 parts per million or less. Pachauri, who in 2007 split the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore, was not able to advocate for any specific goals as chair of the IPCC, “but as  a human being I am fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very determined at moving toward a 350 target."

StreetFilms
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San Francisco Walks to School

A generation ago, nearly half of all U.S. kids walked or bicycled to school. Today, less than fifteen percent do, with the majority arriving at school in private automobiles. It’s no coincidence, then, that studies show more than a quarter of San Francisco’s children are overweight. But a new program hopes to change that trend, while reducing greenhouse gas pollution and increasing fun.

With the help of a $500,000 grant from the federal government, San Francisco has launched its own “Safe Routes to Schools” program, aimed at encouraging students and parents to walk or bike to school.

At Longfellow Elementary last Wednesday, October 7th, students joined parents on a “walking school bus.” Although the date was part of International Walk to School Day, organizers plan group walks to school every Wednesday—with the ultimate goal of walking to school every day.

StreetFilms
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San Francisco Park(ing) Day 2009

The first Park(ing) Day was launched by Rebar in 2005, right here in San Francisco.  Watch our latest Streetfilm to see how San Francisco re-purposed parking spots during Friday's Park(ing) Day. Just imagine if bike parking and expanded outdoor café seating took over our automobile-filled public spaces every day!