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Bye bye Marina – Final Doyle Ramp Closure Takes Effect Feb. 17

Starting Wednesday, February 17 at 8pm, the southbound ramp that connects Park Presidio Boulevard to Doyle Drive will be closed through 2011 (more info). This is the ramp you might take when trying to reach the Marina District from the Richmond.

Unlike the northbound ramp closure, there really is no convenient detour for this route. If you want to get to the Marina from our neighborhood, you’ll need to take surface streets or travel through the Presidio.

So hunker down because we have a long wait until these shortcuts are back in operation. It was nice knowing ya, Marina!

For more information on the Presidio Parkway project, visit their website.

Sarah B.

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 7:23 am | Posted under Traffic | 1 comment

Police Blotter – February 12, 2010

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of February 12, 2010. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org or visit their website.]

Please join us to at the next Police Community Relations Forum to discuss public safety issues and learn about community safety programs. The forum is scheduled for Tuesday, February 16, 2010 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Richmond Recreation Center Auditorium (251 – 18th Avenue). Our guest speaker is Mr. Ronald Walton from Sunset Scavengers.

During the past week, there were 23 traffic accidents, 7 involving injuries. There were 3 citations issued for driving without a license or driving on a suspended license. There were 2 arrests for driving under the influence.

On 02/05/10 at 6:55pm a victim exited a 38 Geary MUNI bus at 6th Avenue and Geary and walked westbound. She noticed that a suspect, who had also been on the bus, also got off and was walking behind her. Suddenly the suspect grabbed her purse and ran north on 7th Ave, towards Clement Street. The victim began yelling “help” as she chased after the suspect. Three males, heard the victim screaming and tackled the male at 7th Avenue and Clement, and took the victims purse from the suspect. The suspect then got up and walked away. An off-duty police officer, who was driving down Clement Street, saw the three males tackle the suspect and saw the suspect walk away. He asked the three what had happened and when told of the incident, he saw the suspect get on a 2 Clement MUNI line. The off duty officer notified police dispatch. Officers responded and took the suspect into custody at 6th and Clement. Further investigation revealed that the suspect had committed a robbery at 25th Avenue & Geary less that an hour prior (See noteworthy incident below). The suspect, a 19 year old male, (who had just been released from the County Jail at 3:30pm that day) was charged with robbery and possession of stolen property.

On 02/08/10 at 4:55pm on the 2400 block of Lake Street. a tenant in a lower flat heard the sound of glass breaking from the unit above and then a thumping noise as if someone had jumped inside. The tenant, who knew that the unit was vacant, called 911. Officers responded and went to the front and back of the building. The officers in the back could see that the back window had been shattered and was in an open position. Officers announced their presence and almost immediately the suspect ran down a set of interior stairs towards the front door, carrying a DVD player. Upon seeing the officers through the glass panel door, the suspect then ran back up the stairs and eventually surrendered to the officers at the rear window. The suspect, a 56 year old male parolee parole was charged with burglary. It should be noted that the downstairs unit was broken into two days prior. (See noteworthy incident below)

On 02/05/10 at 6:00pm a victim had just gotten of a 38 Geary MUNI line at 25th Avenue and Geary. As she walked east on Geary the suspect came up from behind her and grabbed her purse. After a brief struggle, the suspect pushed the victim to the ground and ran off with her purse east on Geary. The victim told the officers that the suspect had been on the same bus as her prior to the incident. The loss was her purse, wallet and cell phone.

On 02/06/10 between 5:00pm and 7:25pm on the 2400 block of Lake Street a suspect gained entry into a residence by breaking a rear window. The suspect took a camera, laptops and jewelry.

Between 02/07/10 at 3:00pm and 02/09/10 at 9:30am, on the 200 block of 5th Avenue, a suspect gained entry into an apartment building by forcing open the front door. Once inside, the suspect went into an apartment and took bedding.

Between 02/08/10 at 8:30pm and 02/09/10 at 7:30am on the 300 block of Lake Street, a suspect gained entry into a storage room in a garage and took tools and stereo equipment. There were no signs of forced entry.

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 2:48 pm | Posted under Crime | 1 comment

And the Cartier winners are…

Janet L. and Stacey J! They answered the trivia questions correctly and were drawn at random. They’ll each get two tickets to the Cartier and America exhibition at the Legion of Honor. Did you think I had jewelry for them? ;)

And if you were playing along, here are the answers to the contest questions:

Q: The exhibit includes a pair of bracelets worn by Gloria Swanson in what classic Hollywood film?
A: Sunset Boulevard

Q: The exhibit also includes the engagement ring of Princess Grace of Monaco. What cut diamond does it contain and how many carats is it?
A: a 10.47-carat emerald-cut diamond set with two baguette diamonds mounted in platinum (Wowsa!)

Thanks to everyone who entered! The Cartier and America exhibit runs through April 18, 2010 at the Legion of Honor, open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am – 5:15 pm (closed on Mondays).

Thanks to everyone who entered for a chance to win. Have a great Valentine’s Day!

Sarah B.

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 11:48 pm | Posted under Museums | Comments Off

Before it’s too late…

RichmondSFBlog reader Joanne sent this in to me after reading our post What to do with the Alexandria Theater?. She originally designed the poster for a graphics design class.

What would Joanne like to see happen with the Alexandria? “I’d like the theater to become a theater again. If they could show plays and stuff that would be even better, we have so few fun nightspots in the Richmond and it was so beautiful inside.”

Sarah B.

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 2:12 pm | Posted under History, Real Estate | 5 comments

Buffalo Soldiers history lecture, Feb. 18

On Thursday, February 18th, the Richmond District Public Library will present a free lecture, “Legacy of the Buffalo Soldiers” from 6:30 to 8pm.

At the turn of the 19th century, Congress established the Buffalo Soldiers as the first peacetime African American regiment in the U.S. Army. The nickname was given by the Native American tribes they fought.

Frederik Penn, interpreter and educator at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, will lecture about the role the Buffalo Soldiers played in shaping the national park system with an emphasis on the 9th Cavalry stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco.

On a related note, there is a free screening on February 12 of the documentary “Inside Buffalo”, which tells the story of the 92nd infantry division, an African-American combat unit that fought heroically in Italy during World War II. 6:30pm at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio. SFCitizen has all the details.

Sarah B.

Buffalo Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Regiment, 1890

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 6:58 am | Posted under Events, History | 2 comments

Local musician Shane performs at Velo Rouge, Friday night

Richmond District resident and musician, Shane Papatolicas, has a show this Friday night at the Velo Rouge Cafe.

Shane first came to San Francisco in 2000 where he wrote and played music in a trio for a few years. In 2004, Shane’s friends pooled together $1200 to buy him enough studio time to record his first album, Going My Way.

San Fran Voice had this to say about his debut album: “Shane Papatolicas is one of those San Francisco musicians that captures the sound of California, infuses it with the life specific to San Francisco and tells it as a story through his own perception. And he’s a San Francisco musician that you should pay attention to.”

I stopped by Shane’s site where I listened to some of his music, including a hyper-local tune called “Sometimes on the 38″, a fun, lyrical reflection on life and his fellow MUNI passengers. Listen to it below:

Watch Shane peform “Daydreams” in the video below, and catch him in person at the Velo Rouge Cafe this Friday night at 7pm (798 Arguello at McAllister). Admission is free.

Sarah B.

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 5:25 am | Posted under Live Music, Music | Comments Off

The case of the headless man at Paul’s Hats

This is almost as disturbing as the case of Thomas the Hippopotamus

Paul’s Hats was taken over last year by four young women who are on a mission to “bring the hat back”. Part of their mission includes great window displays and a unique, 7-foot wooden statue of a man in a top hat and tails that welcomes visitors outside the 100+ year old shop.

Unfortunately, the tall man has some dastardly admirers. Last month, someone tried to steal him so the ladies put him back into place, securing him with chains and bolts. Not content to leave the man in peace, someone then came and broke off his hand and snatched it away.

Recently, there was another skirmish between scoundrels and the wooden man. Paul’s describes the fiery incident on their blog:

…he was knocked down, knocking his head off and breaking the whole man off the base. As the culprits ran off, our good neighbor shot off his gun in the air twice, and they dropped the man but took the head.

That reads like a scene from the Wild West! I can only imagine the Richmond police responding to that call…

Sadly, the tall man’s head (and top hat!!) has not been returned and as you can see from the picture, it’s a disturbing and sad sight.

The Pauls, as they call themselves, are offering a reward for the return of the head and hat. If you have any clues, call them at 221-5332 or email them at howdy@hatworksbypaul.com.

Special thanks to The Pauls for the pics.

Sarah B.

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 5:24 pm | Posted under Crime | Comments Off

Richmond part of SFpark pilot program

You may have noticed new white bumps next to some metered parking spaces on Clement and Geary. They are part of a system the city is testing in their SFpark pilot program, designed to make parking in the city easier and convenient.

The white bumps are wireless “smart sensors” that transmit real-time information on parking space availability. According to the program’s website, “drivers will have access to real-time garage availability information by text message, on the web, and on a new network of variable message signs in key locations which will be complemented by supplementary wayfinding signs.”

Aside from the potential added convenience to drivers, the sensors will also help the city gather and analyze parking data to determine peak parking times. They can then use this data to offer “just right” prices for parking that can better balance the load between metered street parking, parking garages and lots, and block parking; or encourage drivers to park at off-peak times.

The ultimate goal is to have at least 10% of parking spaces in the city free at all times – that’s about one space per block by SFpark estimates.

According to the SFpark website, “Adjustments will prevent prices that are “too low,” which encourage drivers to double park or circle and wait for an inexpensive spot on a crowded block to open up. These adjustments will also prevent prices that are “too high” causing drivers to look elsewhere. Rather than too high or too low, SFMTA will use “Just Right” pricing.”

The city anticipates adjusting parking prices every 4 to 6 weeks. “SFpark will use “Just Right” pricing to adjust prices at SFMTA-managed parking garages every four to six weeks to encourage drivers to park in garages yet ensuring that SFMTA garages always have space available. Similarly, for metered on-street parking, prices will be adjusted every four to six weeks to help redistribute the demand for parking.”

The program also calls for upgrading meters to be able to accept payment with coins, credit cards, and the SFMTA Smart Card.

At a forum about the program last month, SFpark manager Jay Primus told attendees that the program will also help MUNI run more reliably and efficiently. MissonLocal writes, “At Thursday’s downtown forum, he blamed circling and congestion from parking issues for “why Muni isn’t as fast or reliable as it could be.”

According to MissionLocal, the outer Richmond is being used as a control group during the pilot program. Data is being collected but no adjustments are being made to meter pricing in our area.

It’s unclear how safe this kind of parking notification system will be. Driver distractions are at an all-time high (video); even Oprah is promoting a no phone zone pledge for drivers. Has the SFMTA ever looked closely at the current vulture-like behavior of SF drivers when it comes to parking? Split secod u-turns, driving across double yellow lines, three point U-turns on a side street to get a spot on the other side… we know all the tricks.

When I read about a system like this, I envision drivers racing around corners to get to the block where a spot is free. Or double parking to consult their smart phones to find an open parking space.

Even if they’re not using cell phones, do we really want more signage along our streets, displaying wholly uninteresting things like “There’s 1 parking space on Clement and 3rd Avenue”? Oh wait, I am sure each sign will have space for an ad or will rotate in ads between messages. More $$ for the city!

MissionLocal also raises an interesting point about languages. In a multicultural neighborhood like the Richmond, will signs also be in Chinese, Russian and even Spanish? I get a dolor de cabeza just thinking about it.

In the SFMTA’s most recent budget proposals, paek and off-peak meter parking pricing was noticeably absent. Mayor Newsom has said that he would not support metered parking in the evenings, but he is in favor of meters running on Sundays, primarily to help turnover for merchants.

What do you think? Will a program like this help alleviate parking problems here in the Richmond and across the city?

Sarah B.

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 3:06 pm | Posted under Traffic | 4 comments