notes.husk.org. scribblings by Paul Mison.

2014-08-27

post/95936363694

photo 21:22:28
I was thinking about freeways the other day.
Recently, photos of Hayes Valley (in central San Francisco) before the freeway demolition have been doing the rounds. The Central Freeway used to pass through the area, flying over Octavia Street.
Now, Hayes Valley is desirable, full of fancy ice cream and brunch places, and generally a nice place to hang out, but as recently as fifteen years ago it was, frankly, a bit of a dump. Luckily, after the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished in the wake of suffering damage during the Lomo Prieta earthquake, SF residents had come to realise that these roads didn’t have to be there, and Octavia was the next to go.
The thing I realised last week is that this was only possible because the original freeway revolt, in the 1950s, stopped the entire plan from happening. If the Embarcadero Freeway had connected, as the map above shows, to Broadway and then the Golden Gate Bridge, the pressure to rebuild it would have been much greater.
Similarly, the Central Freeway spur was intended to connect to both the Panhandle Freeway and an expressway carrying 101 north along Van Ness. If those had been in place, pushing the freeway’s exit to street level to Market would have been impossible.
The thing is, SF still has loose ends and spurs. The remainder of the Central Freeway runs above 13th from I-80 to Market Street at Octavia, while I-280 ends abruptly at 4th and King, by the Caltrain station. The fact that the latter needs grade separation has led to feasibility studies in removing its flyovers, too.
In other words, it’s mainly thanks to the original freeway opponents that the incomplete system can now be unravelled bit by bit. Thanks, 1950s.
(Map source: Eric Fischer’s fantastic Flickr collection of San Francisco traffic plans. See also.)

I was thinking about freeways the other day.

Recently, photos of Hayes Valley (in central San Francisco) before the freeway demolition have been doing the rounds. The Central Freeway used to pass through the area, flying over Octavia Street.

Now, Hayes Valley is desirable, full of fancy ice cream and brunch places, and generally a nice place to hang out, but as recently as fifteen years ago it was, frankly, a bit of a dump. Luckily, after the Embarcadero Freeway was demolished in the wake of suffering damage during the Lomo Prieta earthquake, SF residents had come to realise that these roads didn’t have to be there, and Octavia was the next to go.

The thing I realised last week is that this was only possible because the original freeway revolt, in the 1950s, stopped the entire plan from happening. If the Embarcadero Freeway had connected, as the map above shows, to Broadway and then the Golden Gate Bridge, the pressure to rebuild it would have been much greater.

Similarly, the Central Freeway spur was intended to connect to both the Panhandle Freeway and an expressway carrying 101 north along Van Ness. If those had been in place, pushing the freeway’s exit to street level to Market would have been impossible.

The thing is, SF still has loose ends and spurs. The remainder of the Central Freeway runs above 13th from I-80 to Market Street at Octavia, while I-280 ends abruptly at 4th and King, by the Caltrain station. The fact that the latter needs grade separation has led to feasibility studies in removing its flyovers, too.

In other words, it’s mainly thanks to the original freeway opponents that the incomplete system can now be unravelled bit by bit. Thanks, 1950s.

(Map source: Eric Fischer’s fantastic Flickr collection of San Francisco traffic plans. See also.)

2014-08-10

post/94371580494

photo 22:38:00
pyone, via sfmuniverse:

The Raiders are going up against the Vikings in their first pre-season match up. Go Raiders!

I hate it when Muni buses do this. Admittedly, it’s far less of a problem than it would be in, say, London, where different routes use the same bus stop (whereas in SF if you’re on Divisadero there’s only the 24, pretty much), but even so, it annoys.
It’s of a piece with the displays on Muni bus stops that spend half their time telling you what their Twitter handle is and BART’s displays warning you repeatedly about CCTV not being a guarantee against theft. Apparently displays aren’t really meant to be informative.
(By the way, what sport are we even talking about here?)

pyone, via sfmuniverse:

The Raiders are going up against the Vikings in their first pre-season match up. Go Raiders!

I hate it when Muni buses do this. Admittedly, it’s far less of a problem than it would be in, say, London, where different routes use the same bus stop (whereas in SF if you’re on Divisadero there’s only the 24, pretty much), but even so, it annoys.

It’s of a piece with the displays on Muni bus stops that spend half their time telling you what their Twitter handle is and BART’s displays warning you repeatedly about CCTV not being a guarantee against theft. Apparently displays aren’t really meant to be informative.

(By the way, what sport are we even talking about here?)

2014-07-09

post/91254087772

quote 15:35:24
“ The new Bay Bridge raises several important considerations for policy analysts of megaprojects. … It is important to recognize that the pursuit of the technological sublime may derail public processes and negatively affect a project’s design, budget, and schedule. Participants may be blinded by an overly optimistic belief that design and engineering can overcome the technical complexities and risks associated with implementing large-scale projects. ”

2014-07-02

post/90500567304

quote 00:23:05
“ "Repealing Sunday parking meter operations is in response to the mayor’s call to make San Francisco a little more affordable for people who live, work and visit the city," SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said. Another wave of changes — including a single-trip fare increase of a quarter to $2.25 and a $2 increase in the monthly Muni pass to $68 — will go into effect Sept. 1. ”

As Jameson Wieser wrote at Muniverse, “Making it more expensive to ride Muni is an odd way to make the city more affordable.”

The original quote is from the SF Examiner’s story, Fee increases, free Sunday parking take effect this week.

2014-07-01

post/90467559154

quote 17:54:29
“ To fully understand what’s happening here, let’s zoom out and take in the wider picture. San Francisco is a relatively small part of a much larger nine-county metropolitan area of over seven million people. Within this area, governance is fragmented at the county and city levels and it is served by a slew of separate transportation agencies, including six separate but overlapping bus agencies and four regional rail or light rail agencies. There are three major airports, run by separate agencies, and while regional housing policy is supposed to mandate that all municipalities provide their respective shares of housing demand, based on employment patterns, this is often undermined at the local level. ”

Mark Hogan, in Living In A Fool’s Paradise for Boom, a journal of California, a site from the LA Review of Books.

As someone who comes from a country where there’s strong central government, this level of fragmentation in politics is baffling. That said, it’s hardly as if London and the UK is a great example of housing policy either.

2014-06-27

post/90061041873

photo 15:12:24
toffeemilkshake:

frankie-roberto:

Caught sight of this yesterday. It’s pretty heavily ‘ESPNFC.COM’ branded (and meanwhile the team names are abbreviated to three letters — does everyone really know what CIV, BIH and CRC mean?)

Yeah, I saw one at London Bridge the other day where the display is only two lines deep so I had no idea how long I was going to have to wait if I didn’t force my way on to the sardine tin that had just arrived at the station. Harumph!

At least you can read, at the worst case, one train time still, unlike Muni, whose bus stops loop through three displays of “You can follow Muni on Twitter / follow sfmta_muni / Nextbus predictions” before bothering to display the two next bus arrival times for about ten seconds before the loop starts again.
Don’t even get me started on the amount of guff BART spools over its displays, or the either broken or useless displays in Muni Metro stations.

toffeemilkshake:

frankie-roberto:

Caught sight of this yesterday. It’s pretty heavily ‘ESPNFC.COM’ branded (and meanwhile the team names are abbreviated to three letters — does everyone really know what CIV, BIH and CRC mean?)

Yeah, I saw one at London Bridge the other day where the display is only two lines deep so I had no idea how long I was going to have to wait if I didn’t force my way on to the sardine tin that had just arrived at the station. Harumph!

At least you can read, at the worst case, one train time still, unlike Muni, whose bus stops loop through three displays of “You can follow Muni on Twitter / follow sfmta_muni / Nextbus predictions” before bothering to display the two next bus arrival times for about ten seconds before the loop starts again.

Don’t even get me started on the amount of guff BART spools over its displays, or the either broken or useless displays in Muni Metro stations.

post/90004185599

photos 00:02:29

Play Artfully adverts at Embarcadero Muni station, captured (somewhat wonkily) by the iPhone’s panorama and me wandering up and down the platform while avoiding trains and waiting passengers.

The games are part of SFMOMA’s On The Go programme, which is keeping the museum in the public eye during the two and a half years that the main building’s being extended.

If anyone’s interested I can try to dig out the individual photos of some of the game descriptions- just let me know.

2014-06-24

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photo 23:32:01
Living below 51°N is scary.

Living below 51°N is scary.

2014-06-21

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photos 00:54:00

Street alignment plots for London, New York City, and San Francisco, from Demeter Sztanko's Stonehenge in your City project (via Dan W)

As he explains it,

There are many streets in the cities which are aligned along the direction of rising sun of the solstice. I have found all of them.

These plots appear at the corner of the maps for the respective cities, and show the frequency of streets with a given alignment overlaid by the lines showing summer solstice sunrise / winter solstice sunset (orange) and summer solstice sunset / winter solstice sunrise (red).

It’s clear that London’s streets are much, much closer to being randomly aligned than those of New York City, while San Francisco is even more dominated by its grid (especially for north-south streets). Good stuff, and it’s not even the point of the project. Top marks.

2014-06-20

post/89390338584

quote 21:49:52
“ Google is using technology to make the world a better place. ”
Wendy Steiner: Things You’ll Never Hear San Franciscans Say for the Bold Italic.

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