Random header image... Refresh for more!

Archive for the ‘Traffic’ Category

Mar-7-2014

Residents displeased with new Balboa planters; public meeting March 10


An example of the new Balboa cobblestone planters near 36th Avenue. And don’t get
too excited – those meters will get their tops soon ;)

On February 20th, a meeting was held about the recent Balboa streetscape improvements project. The $3 million project focused on creating a safer corridor for pedestrians, motorists, cyclists and transit riders along outer Balboa Street, via a series of traffic calming measures. Features of the project included wider sidewalks, bulb outs to make street crossings safer, energy efficient light fixtures, and curb ramps.

Outer Balboa residents are happy with those improvements to their street, but there’s another aspect to the project that has them seeing red: the landscaping improvements.

Specifically, the new planters that were installed on several blocks of Balboa. The new raised sidewalk planters feature dark, cobblestone walls and in some cases, very deep wells to accommodate future trees. The project fact sheet states that the “sidewalk planters to be planted with low maintenance, salt spray and drought-tolerant native and adapted plants and trees. Mulched with gravel.”


A rendering of the kind of landscaping the city envisions for some of the Balboa planters

So what’s to complain about? Plenty if RichmondSFBlog readers have anything to say about it. The planters were installed late last year and have yet to be filled with any greenery. As a result, they’ve become collection bins for rainwater, refuse and dog excrement. Not to mention a tripping hazard for pedestrians.

“I trip on the boxes going to Purusha Yoga. I know someone who actually fell. They are full of poop and garbage…,” wrote Jen J. on our Facebook page. And Brian W. wrote, “It’s only a matter of time until someone sues the city for an injury resulting from these planters.”

Others complain about the space the planters take away from the newly widened sidewalks.

“The planting areas are the biggest piece of junk ever!. If you walk down the sidewalk, there is not enough room for more than 2 people maybe to walk down,” Perrin B. wrote.

At the February 20th meeting, discussion got very heated over the planters and despite neighborhood disapproval of the landscaping, city officials told attendees “the decisions were already made” and could not be changed.

To add insult to injury, the city is only committing to planting and maintaining the planters for a period of 3 years. After that, it’s the responsibility of residents and merchants to keep the planters clean and healthy. And we all know how well that DOESN’T work in San Francisco.

Monday night’s meeting will be hosted by the Department of Public Works and Supervisor Eric Mar from 6-7:30pm at the Cabrillo Playground, located at 38th Avenue and Cabrillo (we’re presuming it will be inside the clubhouse at the playground). The goal of the meeting is to discuss the purpose and benefits of the streetscape changes along Balboa Street, and hear community input and answer questions.

What are your thoughts on the new planters along Balboa? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.

10:56 am | Posted under Eric Mar, Safety, Traffic | 42 comments
Mar-1-2014

Photos: Heavy rains uproot a large tree onto a parked car

Reader Chantelle M. sent in these photos of a tree being removed on Clement near 44th Avenue on Friday.

Crews removed the tree in chunks, which had fallen onto the front end of a parked car and out into the roadway. As far as we know, no one was injured when the tree fell.

Sarah B.

11:24 am | Posted under Photos, Traffic, Weather | 2 comments
Feb-24-2014

Family of woman hit on 10th Ave & California is “thankful she’s alive”


Photo by @jdonnellydc

On Thursday, February 6, an elderly woman named Carmen Silva was hit by a driver at the intersection of 10th Avenue and California Streets.

On Sunday night, Carmen’s son Emiliano Lee found the above photo that we posted on Facebook and left a comment with an update on his mother’s condition, and explained what happened that day:

“She had just gotten off the 1 California (we live on 11th) and was crossing the street, in the crosswalk, with the green light. A woman driving a prius turned and drove right into her. Happened so fast my mom didn’t see her until she was being hit… She hit the hood and windshield then was thrown into the street.”

“We are all thankful she’s alive as it could have been much worse,” Emiliano added.

Carmen herself jumped into the Facebook thread to talk about her accident:

“I’ve lived on 11th & Geary 24 years so am a vigilant pedestrian, have been nearly hit too many times. I always look 4 ways and keep looking as I cross. I do not ever use my cell phone when walking. I do not jay walk. And however clichéd, I did not see the car until it was about to hit me. My head, neck, ribs and a knee were damaged. Slow but steady recovery, and I do know it might have been so much worse. Thank you to the many helpful and comforting passers-by and EMTs and SF police.”

We’re glad to hear that Carmen is doing well and on her way to recovery. Thank you to the family for the updates!

Sarah B.

11:15 am | Posted under Traffic | 19 comments
Feb-13-2014

Local Links: Balboa is 88, museum news, new BBQ, 20 years of LGBTQ & more


Photo by Daniel Hoherd

We’ve been storing up a lot of great linkage for ya! Enjoy – Sarah B.

  • The Balboa Theater turns 88 this weekend and is celebrating on Sunday with a party and screening of Frank Capra’s 1926 silent film The Strong Man. Festivities begin at 7pm and tickets are $10 (online or at the box office). Happy 88th Balboa!
  • New traffic lights are coming to the intersections of 22nd Avenue & Geary, and 26th Avenue & Geary. In a recent Richmond District Transportation Updates email, Supervisor Eric Mar wrote “Located near a Jackie Chan Senior Center, a middle school, and a church, these lights will provide much-needed safety improvements.”
  • We wrote last week about the Legion of Honor’s link to the new movie Monuments Men. The museum now has on display Anthony Van Dyck’s Portrait of a Lady (ca. 1620), one of the paintings that Monument Man and Legion Director Thomas Howe Carr, Jr. discovered with the platoon in WWII. The painting was returned to its rightful owner and then passed through various other hands before being donated to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco by Roscoe and Margaret Oakes in the mid-1970s, just a few years after Howe retired.
  • In other museum news, the new Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George exhibition opens at the de Young this Saturday. “From 1918 until the early 1930s, O’Keeffe retreated regularly to Alfred Stieglitz’s family estate on Lake George in upstate New York, where she reveled in the discovery of new subject matter and found respite in the rural setting without the distractions of city life.”
  • Ireland’s 32 will soon expand their offering to include bites from Baby Blues BBQ. The Geary Street bar is currently renovating their kitchen and Baby Blues plans to take over on Saturday March 1st. Menu items include the Badass Burger (blue cheese, two onions, and applewood-smoked bacon ground into the patty), a “rib tickler” (three smoked pork ribs over coleslaw), grilled shrimp over grits topped with rémoulade and much more. [Tablehopper]
  • Muriel Leff mini-park on 7th Avenue just off Geary is hosting a volunteer day on Saturday, February 22 for cleanup and beautification. The park was San Francisco’s first pocket park, established in the former police horse paddock for the Richmond Police Station. The workday runs from 10am until 1pm; lunch and light refreshments provided for those who RSVP to recparkvolunteer@sfgov.org.
  • This Sunday marks the 20th anniversary of Pine United Methodist Church (426 – 33rd Avenue) opening its doors to the LGBTQ community, the first API church to take this historic step. The church is holding a celebration with potluck lunch, music, sharing, community building, and justice-making starting at 1:30pm. The event is free, but please bring a dish to share.
  • The RDNC is offering free nutritious cooking classes for parents and kids focused on “Cooking with the Five Flavors”. Remaining classes are February 20th – Bitter, March 27th – Salty, April 10th – Sweet, and May 15th – Sour. Classes begin at 6pm and are FREE and open to everyone. To reserve a spot email sarah@rvbeacon.org or call 415-750-8554.
  • The new Yoga Tree on 6th Avenue is hosting a Community Party and Opening Reception this Saturday from 2pm to 4pm. All the details here
5:05 am | Posted under Events, Food, Museums, Parks, Traffic | 4 comments
Feb-10-2014

MUNI service changes meeting 2/12; give feedback on commuter shuttle stops


Photo by Thomas Hawk

SFMTA is looking for feedback from the community on two transportation issues facing the city – changes in MUNI service lines including the 2, 28, 28L, and 38L lines, and which MUNI stops residents think would be best for the Silicon Valley commuter shuttles to use.

PROPOSED CHANGES TO MUNI LINES; MEETING FEB. 12
On Wednesday, February 12 from 6-8pm, the SFMTA will hold a public meeting at the Richmond District police station (461 6th Avenue) about proposed changes to the 2, 28, 28L, and 38L lines.

Muni is considering proposed service and route changes as part of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP):

The proposed changes will modernize Muni and make it more efficient, reliable, safe and comfortable for its existing 700,000 daily passengers. Developed over several years of data collection, intensive planning and public outreach efforts, the TEP will restructure transit service on certain lines to improve efficiency and connectivity and implement transit priority changes on the most heavily used lines to give buses and trains more priority on our City streets.

The addition of a 5L Fulton line last Fall was part of the TEP. The SFMTA is proposing the following additional changes which will be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting:

2 Clement: Supplemental trolley coach service between downtown and Presidio Avenue to boost service lost by shutdown of 3 Jackson route. 2 Clement Service Variant proposes an alternative alignment that would use existing overhead wires for trolley coach service on the entire Sutter Street corridor. Instead of operating on Clement Street from Arguello Boulevard to Park Presidio Boulevard, the alignment would continue on California Street to Eighth Avenue south to Clement Street to Sixth Avenue. This service variant would include a terminal loop at Sansome Street in the Downtown area. See project document

38L Geary: Expand limited stop service to Sundays. Coordinate with Geary Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Study currently underway, which aims to achieve significant travel time and reliability improvements. See project document

Changes are also being proposed to the 28 and 28L 19th Avenue routes, which run through the neighborhood on Park Presidio.

WHICH MUNI STOPS SHOULD THE COMMUTER SHUTTLES USE?
Late last month, the SFMTA Board approved an 18-month pilot program that will test sharing a limited number of Muni stops with commuter shuttles, many of which carry employees between the city and tech companies in the South Bay. Shuttles that pay for a permit and commit to complying with permit terms (following operating guidelines, sharing data, paying permit fees, etc.) will be authorized to use the shared stops.

The pilot program is set to start in July 2014 and the SFMTA is hosting an interactive map where residents can suggest locations for shared stops and provide information on conditions that they think should be considered in developing the network.

Click on an existing pointer in the map to add your feedback about a location, or create your own marker with feedback at additional stops.

The deadline to provide information via the interactive map is February 23. From that collected data, SFMTA engineers and planners will develop a proposed network as well as Muni operations and engineering needs.

Sarah B.

4:04 am | Posted under Muni, Traffic, Transportation | 15 comments
Jan-23-2014

SFMTA proposes restrictions on overnight RV parking along outer Clement


The SFMTA is proposing to prohibit overnight parking for oversized vehicles along outer Clement

At their upcoming hearing on January 31, the SFMTA will consider a proposal to restrict the parking of oversize vehicles on certain city streets. The city defines an oversize vehicle as more than 7 feet tall or 22 feet long, into which RV’s squarely fall.

Last June, the SFMTA voted to launch a pilot program to prohibit overnight RV parking in areas of the city, including along Fulton Street in the Richmond District.

The 3 month program, which instituted a $100 fine for violators was considered a success.

“Along La Playa Street and the Great Highway, for example, 21 oversize vehicles were known to park. But after three months of enforcing the new law, just two were counted in October,” the Examiner reported in November.

During the three-month pilot, 74 citations were issued, of which 19 were for mobile homes or buses. Fourteen were issued to vans, including three to the same van. Another 26 were issued to pickups or other trucks. No oversize vehicle was known to have been towed, according to the SFMTA.

In the agenda for the January 31 meeting, the SFMTA will propose an extension of the initial program, restricting parking between 12midnight and 6am for oversize vehicles on streets in several neighborhoods including the Sunset, Mission, Haight/Panhandle, Potrero Hill, Western Addition, and the Richmond.

In the Richmond, the additional targeted streets are Clement Street, north side, between 33rd Avenue and 45th Avenue and Clement Street, south side, between 36th Avenue and 38th Avenue. This stretch of Clement borders the Lincoln Park golf course and Veterans Hospital, and is a popular spot for oversize vehicles to park.

This type of restriction would likely appeal to residents in another part of the Richmond District known as the “greenbelt” along Park Presidio.

The blocks of Funston and 14th Avenue between Lake Street and Fulton is a popular spot for oversize vehicles to park for days at a time. It borders federal park land on one side, and city streets on the other. The dual jurisdiction often causes a debate about which entity is responsible for eradicating the oversize vehicles and homeless encampments that take root inside the greenbelt.

The January 31 meeting, which is open to the public, will take place at City Hall at 10am in Room 416 (Hearing Room 4).

Sarah B.

5:15 am | Posted under Traffic | 10 comments
Dec-31-2013

Top 10 Richmond District stories of 2013

It’s time to take a trip down memory lane and check out the most popular stories from this past year. From faery doors to farmer’s markets to sinkholes to human remains – our readers have a wide range of interests! It’s been our pleasure to cover it all.

Thanks for coming along for the ride in 2013! We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store…

Sarah B.


The original miniature faery door installed near the concourse in Golden Gate Park, filled with offerings from visitors. Photos by Erica Reh

1. The Mysterious Mini-Door in Golden Gate Park
This delightful story captured the hearts and imagination of readers not only in the neighborhood, but around the world. The story was full of whimsy, wishes and even shady politics when Rec & Park decided to remove the door without even serving the faeries an eviction notice. Undeterred, the father and son team behind its creation fashioned another bureaucrat-approved door that they installed in another spot in the park. The faeries even answer their mail from time to time…

2. De Place restaurant on Geary closes after only three weeks
After licking the wounds of Video Cafe closing, neighbors eagerly awaited the new restaurant that would open on the corner of 21st and Geary. It was under construction for months and when it finally opened with the underwhelming name of “De Place”, it sported tv screens, fountains, ample seating and a giant crawfish statue that greeted diners at the door. But after just three weeks, a sign on the door said they were closed, with the vague explanation of “we are not able to enlist the staffs than can assist us with our operation”. Things that make you go hmm.

3. Clement Street Farmer’s Market makes it debut
It took several years to come together but the Richmond District finally made it onto the Farmer’s Market map, debuting the Sunday market on Clement Street between 2nd and 4th Avenues on June 23. The market was an instant hit with shoppers and vendors, and has been approved to run weekly through June of 2014 (and will likely be extended after that).

4. Large HUGE sinkole opens up on Lake and 2nd Avenue
This story brought us one of our best photo ops of the year… Around 5:30pm on a weekday afternoon in May, the road gave way to a huge sinkhole on Lake Street and bungled up traffic for several hours, even attracting news helicopters overhead. The rupture of a 19 inch sewer drain was responsible for the fiasco.

5. Fresh & Easy to close all stores; what will happen to the Richmond District location?
In April, Fresh & Easy’s parent company, Tesco, announced they were planning to close all of the nearly 200 stores in the chain. The Richmond District location on 32nd Avenue and Clement hadn’t even been open two years. In September, we got the news that billionaire investor Ron Burkle was buying the Fresh & Easy chain and that only 50 of the stores would be shuttered – and the Richmon District location is not one of them. Phew!

6. Shooting at 29th & Geary
Thankfully, we don’t see a lot of violent crime in the neighborhood, so when gunshots rang out at 7pm on a Sunday night on Geary near 29th Avenue, it sent a ripple through the neighborhood. A few eyewitnesses left their comments about what happened, and to date, we haven’t heard any news of an arrest of more information about the crime.

7. Bicycle lane on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park cause for concern
We reprinted an article from the Richmond Review (because we agreed with it) about the new, questionable configuration of the bike lanes on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. Like most cycling stories, this set off a debate in the comments, which had both bikers and non-bikers taking both sides of the arguments. SFMTA, what say you?

8. What (or whom?) lies beneath the Legion of Honor?
Readers seemed to enjoy our Halloween photo special of human remains underneath the Legion of Honor Museum. They were discovered during the 1993 renovation and were photographed extensively by Richard Barnes. And yes, they’re still there.


Photo by Richard Barnes

9. Neighborhood’s first traffic circle installed at 23rd & Anza
Heads were being scratched after this roundabout was installed in January. It’s the only one in the Richmond District and it’s unusual/non-standard because it has stop signs on all sides, making it more decorative than calming. So it was hardly surprising when KRON TV’s Stanley Roberts provided video proof of how badly people navigated the circle. SFMTA is supposedly planning more for the neighborhood, ugh.

10. Haig’s Delicacies closing after 57 years
We do love our businesses here in the Richmond District, so many readers were saddened when Haig’s on Clement Street announced they were closing their doors after a half century. Beloved for the selection of spices and hard to find foods, commenters lamented the loss. A new spot (Local’s Cafe?) is under construction in the space, and it’s from one of the owners of Chomp & Swig. We’ll keep you posted.

4:30 am | Posted under Business, Crime, Golden Gate Park, Traffic | 1 comment
Nov-11-2013

Missing in Action: The speed hump at Clement & 36th


Speed hump? Really? Where?

We got a couple of emails recently about a mysterious disappearance in the outer Richmond.

There was a speed hump installed recently on Clement Street near the intersection of 36th Avenue. They even installed a warning sign on the north curb.

But suddenly, late last week, the speed hump vanished. Only the warning sign remains.

The SFMTA has been busy this year installing traffic calming in various spots around the neighborhood including Lake Street, the infamous (and neighborhood’s only) roundabout at 23rd Avenue and Anza, and out on Point Lobos Avenue.

Did they need the concrete from this hump for another project? Or did someone living nearby convince them it’s usefulness had expired? Or did a swampy sinkhole swallow it up?

It was a curious hump, on an uphill block – albeit on a long stretch of Clement Street that has no stop signs.

One reader wrote “it was huge – safe to cross it at 5 mph, no higher.” Maybe it was TOO big? Size does matter when it comes to humps.

If you’ve seen the hump wandering the neighborhood, let it know some residents have been asking about its well being. If we hear back from 311 on the matter, we’ll let you know.

UPDATE: The speed hump was removed because the initial installation was “out of spec” according to the SFMTA. As many of you have commented, the speed hump was too high. It will be replaced, but we were not given a firm date as to when. There are additional speed humps planned for that stretch of Clement as well.

Sarah B.

5:09 pm | Posted under Traffic | 28 comments
css.php