Thursday, December 31, 2009

BIKE NOPA Visitors: Thanks to All 31,300 of You

NOPA's first BIKE THE BLOCK party

Wiggle your way to NOPA

An end-of-the-year THANK YOU to all BIKE NOPA visitors. We appreciate your interest and curiosity and hope to engage you even more in the New Year. Since a bit of a wonky start in late June, BIKE NOPA posts have appeared almost every day with a focus on bicycling and livability in the North Panhandle neighborhood and sometimes beyond.

The blog received an unexpected huge boost in August when wise or whimsical Blogger reps selected BIKE NOPA as a "Blog of the Day." Suddenly global hits registered: 22,000 unique visitors in that one month. What's NOPA's worldwide appeal? Once the days of fame passed, BIKE NOPA's numbers settled into something a bit more realistic. From September through December this year, the monthly averages*:
  • 3300 page loads
  • 2250 unique visitors
  • 663 returning visitors
And the daily averages over those four months:
  • 74 unique visitors
  • 52 returning visitors
  • with spikes of 150-250 visitors 1-3 times a week
What to expect in 2010? BIKE NOPA will continue to present everything related to bicycling within, to, and from the North Panhandle and as much on walking our sidewalks and using our public spaces in new and diverse ways as time permits.

A few upcoming posts:
  • The annual Bicycle Buddhist Pilgrimage organized by a NOPA neighbor
  • "How We Talk About How We Travel"
  • "Pedestrians First: Keep It Simple, Make It Absolute"
  • "Is Masonic Fixed Yet?"
  • "Keeping NOPA Together: One Cup of Tea or Coffee at a Time"
See you in 2010!

* For those who know about these things much better than me, yes, these numbers are qualified by visitors with or without cookies enabled, etc.

NOPA's Marta Fry Makes Top 10 in Best SF Architecture For 1st Decade of 21st Century

SF Images using GND-9 by evleensf.
Flickr photo by evleensf

IMG_0066.jpg by AodhGraem.
Flickr photo by AodhGraem

Marta Fry and her much-lauded landscape operation, Marta Fry Landscape Associates, claimed one of the top ten spots for best architecture in San Francisco during the first decade of the 21st century, according to San Francisco Chronicle architecture critic John King.* Fry's Mission Creek Park, completed in 2008, is "a surprising joy" unexpectedly found beneath freeway ramps "with such flourishes as the swale of Japanese bloodgrass snaking past athletic courts." Fry's work adds to a park space that "makes a redevelopment district start to feel like a real neighborhood." Her MFLA studio worked on much of the Mission Bay make-over, including the Master Plan, the Streetscape Plan, and the Mid-Block Mews development.** She has undertaken local, national, and international projects and has won several awards including one for Visionary Landscapes for the 21st Century.

Mission Creek Park shares honors with the deYoung Memorial Museum (2006), the restored Ferry Building (2003), and AT&T Park (2000) in the Chronicle's end-of-the-decade assessment. Others to take a closer look at include David Baker + Partners' Soma Studios & Family Apartments (2004) and the Roma Group's Pier 14 (2006).

Congratulations to all and especially to our Turk Street neighbor, Marta Fry.

* For John King's take on a bright new building in NOPA, see this previous post.

** For an earlier study and proposal for the Mission Creek Area, developed by several partner organizations including the SF Bicycle Coalition and Rails to Trails Conservancy, see Mission Creek Bikeway and Greenbelt Concept Plan.

Note: to see a fine collection of Mission Creek Park photos, visit San Francisco Photo Blog. But now, after all this introduction, get outdoors and visit Mission Creek by foot, bike, or transit!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SF Chronicle Notes NOPA Bright Spot

John King wrote about the new school building across the street;
I like the old building too as a complement.

These beat the city's new inverted U bike locks any day.

The neighborhood's color spot, Pacific Primary School, has gained another admirer: John King, the San Francisco Chronicle's architecture critic. In his column "Cityscape" -- "a weekly look at a distinct slice of San Francisco" -- King hailed the school at Grove and Baker Streets as "Bright and Bold, Fun to Behold." He noted the color cubes "overlap with a depth that plays off the rhythm of the nearby Victorians."

King also touted the playfulness of the building including the new bicycle racks, previously reported here. But another comment in the brief piece caught my eye. King remarked that the light-hearted touch of color and form was especially welcome "in a neighborhood that can be grim." Too many Victorian and Edwardian buildings in NOPA? Not enough diversity in architecture? In response to our inquiry, King explained in a follow-up email that he was referring to the "occasional problems with crime" in the neighborhood. Fair enough and accurate too. NOPNA implements a vigorous neighborhood watch program to deter problems and to increase livability.

At the same time, we enjoy the attention to our bright spot.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Seen While Biking: More BIKE NOPA Signs

BIKE NOPA in Lucky's

BIKE NOPA at the corner store

Help spread the BIKE NOPA message:
  • Better bicycling and more livability in the North Panhandle
  • Safer passage for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists
  • More diverse use of public space
  • Neighbor-to-neighbor involvement
  • Sustainable living
Contact me if you would like to post a BIKE NOPA sign in your window:

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day Riders in NOPA

A perfect San Francisco bicycling day with a Must-Stop & Pose in NOPA:

Flickr Photos: Patricia Decker

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from Michael & Dale and Lucca too

Photo: Nathan Frankel

Our best holiday wishes to all our BIKE NOPA visitors!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

SFBC Reports, Gets Repaired NOPA Sinkhole

Emerging sinkhole on Golden Gate between Masonic and Central

17th & Dolores Streets,
before the patch paving of crosswalk

What started as a smooth but deep dip in the pavement along Golden Gate Avenue became a crumbling crevice and a real hazard to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists earlier this month. Fortunately, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's (SFBC) Good Roads volunteers were spinning through NOPA on their first-Saturday-of-the-month ride December 5th. The group of eight stopped, circled the emerging sinkhole with white spray paint to alert others of the defect, noted the nearby address, and later reported it to 311. Within days, a work crew from the Department of Public Works (DPW) repaired the hole and smoothed the surface. The "pothole intervention" is one way that SFBC and bicycle advocates work to improve city streets for all users.

In operation for nearly two years, the Good Roads campaign has turned in more than 1500 potholes, cracks, and sunken manholes found on city streets, especially along bike routes. The SFBC has developed a good working relationship with DPW, and together they manage to make much of the city's bike network safer and smoother for cyclists. While many streets in the city require complete resurfacing for safe use by cyclists and motorists, the pothole repairs take care of immediate problems.

Neal Patel, SFBC Community Planner, notes that Good Roads volunteers help the city do what it lacks the manpower for -- being "eyes on the street" to identify pavement problems needing repair. "We bring a small group of people together to identify a large number of hazards in a short period of time in one geographic area," Patel said.

The Good Roads Campaign benefits more than bicyclists. During their monthly excursions, the riders also report damaged crosswalks, missing utility covers in the streets and sidewalks, and gaping holes in lanes of traffic. For example, the SFBC volunteers requested advanced re-paving for two blocks of 17th near Potrero due to excessive pavement cracking, wide patch-paving for the Dolores Street crosswalk at 17th Street in the Mission, and replacement of missing manhole covers on Palou Avenue in the Bayview.

The Good Roads Ride is open to bicyclists who want to make San Francisco safer for everyone. Volunteers visit a different neighborhood every ride, and first-timers are always welcome. Check the SFBC Good Roads site or contact for more information. The next ride is Saturday, Jan. 9th -- delaying by a week the usual first Saturday ride for those recovering from the holidays.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's Official: Sunday Streets Coming to NOPA

great graphic from

photo by Michael Helquist

Sunday Streets @ San Francisco by slowpoke_sf.
photo by slowpoke_sf on Flickr

photo by steverhodes on Flickr

The buoyant, smile-inducing, bike spinning, pedestrian-safe celebration known as Sunday Streets will course through NOPA in 2010. Fine-tuning of the new Western Addition route is underway, but the blocks expected to involve NOPA include Central Avenue, Grove Street, Baker Street, and Golden Gate Avenue. Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today the dates and neighborhood locations for nine Sundays from March through October next year. NOPA's chance to host part of the route will come on September 19th, when the city is most assured of sunny, warm weather.

Next year's Western Addition/Alamo Square/NOPA route will be the first foray into mostly residential neighborhoods for Sunday Streets. Cheryl Brinkman, president of the board of Livable City, noted how successful Sunday Streets was this year in the Mission's commercial area. She added, "We hope with NOPA and the Western Addition to have the same success with a primarily residential route. It's a great opportunity to give residents a respite from car traffic on their streets and see what they make of it."

Kevin Rafter, President of the North Panhandle Neighborhood Association, thinks the event is right on target. "NOPNA is always eager to support events that build community and get more neighbors out on the streets. We know that so many of our neighbors bike to school, work, and in-between so this event makes a lot of sense to us. We're eager to make this event a success in NoPa."

At the same time, NOPA's merchants can expect a big boost in business from Sunday Streets.* The Central Avenue and Fulton Street cafes, restaurants and stores, the "Baker Street Beat" sites for foodies, corner grocery stores, and Divisadero outlets of every sort will have the chance to meet, greet, and serve San Franciscans from all over the city. One segment of the route being considered would stop at the Divisadero Farmers' Market, and manager Dmitrius Spartos couldn't be more psyched about it: "This event is all about having fun while honoring San Francisco's path towards a sustainable urban ecology, and farmers' markets are a definite part of that equation. It makes sense to join forces."

NOPA's own BIKE THE BLOCK party this past September was inspired by Sunday Streets, and our one-block focus attracted hundreds of neighbors and friends. Bicyclists will certainly be prominent among Sunday Streeters, but the event reaches out to everyone. Marc Caswell, NOPA neighbor and Program Manager for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, is eager to have Sunday Streets come to this part of town. He also takes a larger view of the occasion: "Events like this allow people to re-envision public space and help show that streets have more uses than transporting vehicles."

The route through NOPA will permit two-way travel on the selected streets and will be open to festivities from 10 am to 3 pm. Organizers will provide extensive advance notice to residents, businesses, and churches located on the affected blocks to help them prepare for the occasion.

The full list of dates and locations include:

March 14: Embarcadero

April 11: Along the Great Highway

April 18: Bayview

May 23: Bayview

June 20: Mission

July 11: Mission

August 22: Great Highway/Golden Gate Park

September 19: NEW: Western Addition

October 24: NEW Civic Center/Tenderloin

In addition to this ambitious expanded version of Sunday Streets, the mayor and SFMTA will launch a pilot project next year to bring car-free days in one or more neighborhoods, somewhat similar to the Sunday closure of JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park. Presumably, these "block party"-type events will not entail the rather steep application fees to close the block to car traffic.

BIKE NOPA will feature further news on Sunday Streets in the months ahead. Also check for information from these sites: Livable City, the SF Bicycle Coalition, Alamo Square Neighborhood Association, MTA, and NOPNA at . BIKE NOPA first suggested including NOPA in the 2010 roster in this Oct. 6th post.

* For those new to Sunday Streets, the event is not envisioned as a giant street fair with vendors taking the place of parked vehicles. People enjoying the streets usually frequent nearby stores, restaurants, and cafes or find the curb a good spot to watch the passing scene.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Are NOPA Holiday Lights Green Enough?

Let's not even go there. LED fixtures or not, enjoy the lights of NOPA, including a special engagement by Betty Boop.

Extravaganza on Hayes Street between Masonic and Central.

Ms. Betty Boop comes to NOPA (close-up of house above)

Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

MTA Cites Bike Injunction for Delay on Fell/ARCO Hazard

Photo by Michael Helquist

The Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) has decided to wait
until the bicycle injunction is lifted before implementing risk reduction interventions on Fell Street before the ARCO service station. Mike Sallaberry, Associate Traffic Engineer for the MTA, wrote in an email that several of the alternatives under consideration were "deemed undoable" under the court injunction. If the Superior Court lifts the injunction at a scheduled June 2010 hearing, or later, the MTA will then consider the full range of options -- including barriers or soft-hit posts along the bike lane.

The hazards of this stretch of Fell Street have been well-known to the MTA and certainly to bicyclists and pedestrians for a long time. The agency has undertaken thorough studies of the problem,* and one set of recommendations did result in the Fell Street bike lane in 2002. But studies of the traffic hazards at the ARCO station have not resulted in interventions.

Andy Thornley, Program Director for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition responded at some length to this new delay. "We don't know why the SFMTA would be timid about commencing a trial of safe-hit posts as a barrier to vehicles intruding in, and on, the Fell Street bike lane. It really doesn't need any more legal permission to emphasize and reinforce what's already been legislated for over ten years," he wrote in an email.

With a nod to possible concerns that the barriers might pose a liability risk to the city, Thornley countered with the SFBC's view of a far greater risk. "If anything the City's liability exposure is much greater for the ever-more likely prospect of someone being hurt or killed while riding a bike on Fell Street than any challenge to gluing some white plastic sticks on the white bike lane stripes." He concluded with the sentiments also expressed by the great number of cyclists who travel to, through, and from NOPA and use the Fell Street lane. "It's time -- it's long past time -- to defend the bike lane and the thousands of people who travel in the bike lane."

In October of this year, MTA developed a proposal to remove three parking spaces on the south side of Fell to guide motorists into a waiting zone out of the way of traffic and bicyclists. Once that option was introduced in a BIKE NOPA post, NOPA and Alamo Square residents and staff of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition suggested alternatives including removal of more parking spaces to create a buffer zone, enforced waiting for motorists in the traffic lane only, and a bike lane protected by a flexible barrier. At a November 19th meeting of the North Panhandle Neighborhood Association (NOPNA), MTA's initial proposal was grouped with the other alternatives for discussion and no specific actions were outlined. At that time, bicycle and livability activists were hoping the bike injunction would be be lifted in early December. Instead, only ten new bicycle lanes were permitted along with new bike parking and several trial proposals. Another hearing was scheduled in June of next year to consider the merits of the case further before, possibly, lifting altogether the injunction that has blocked a full roster of bicycle improvements for more than three years.

San Francisco's first protected bike lane on Market Street between 9th & 10th. Photo by Bryan Goebel

Although the MTA plans to hold off on a protected barrier for Fell Street, the agency is currently experimenting with these same devices on Market Street between 9th and 10th, as reported by Streetsblog here. And, of course, this trial has been implemented under the constraints of the court injunction.

Photo by Bryan Goebel

* For review of the SFMTA studies, see

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Look What Portland Does with Its Green Bike Box

Curtis & Tricia Portland 062108 067.JPG by ccorlew.
Part of Portland's marketing campaign for using bike boxes.
photo by ccorlew on flickr

San Francisco wants to become the premiere bicycling city of North America, according to Nathaniel Ford, Executive Director of the city's Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA). But first we have to catch up with Portland, our green city to the north that seems to spin out cutting-edge bike facilities left and right and down the center lane. Take bike boxes, for example.

Earlier this month MTA's Ford joined Mayor Gavin Newsom and three supervisors to tout the city's new green bike box on Scott Street at Oak, as we posted here on December 4th. They even painted it in unison. But there it sits today: it's bright green, it has a purpose, many bicyclists know how to use it, some motorists know to stop behind it when the north-bound traffic signal is red. But something is missing.

Before the press conference and the green paint, there was an asphalt gray bike box at that exact location with a bicyclist icon in it, suggesting its use by, well, bicyclists. (Even that left cyclists and drivers guessing, since no signs were posted with any how-to-use directions). Today there's no bicyclist icon, sharrows, "wait here" message, or anything else.

So take a look at how Portland uses its bike boxes:

Bike Box by itdp.
photo by itdp on Flickr

portland bike box2 by Beach650.
photo by Beach650 on Flickr

Better yet, check out this new Streetfilms video. Caution: "bike box envy" may result from one or more viewings of "Bike Box." So, MTA, where's the rest of the bike box?

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Sharrows Coming to NOPA

Sharrow tailcard 5_05

NOPA will get more Shared Lane Markings on its streets in the next several weeks as part of the Municipal Transportation Agency's effort to make bicycling safer in the city. Twelve of the markings, also known as "sharrows," will appear on Hayes Street from Baker to Scott while another eight will be painted on Baker Street from Fell to Page. (Nearby Parker Street west of Masonic between Golden Gate and Turk Streets will also get a pair of the markings). Sharrows aren't completely new to NOPA. In fact, Hayes Street between Baker and Divisadero already sports sets of the markings.

The sharrows are part of the city's bike plan that the Superior Court recently allowed with a partial lifting of the injunction that has stymied bike improvements for more than three years. The city currently has 23 miles of sharrows but expects to increase that number by 326% in the next six months, according to a December 3rd report in Streetsblog, usually four to a block, two on either side of two-way streets.

The markings have a big job to do, if they provide the safety benefits that traffic engineers intend:
  • direct cyclists away from the dangerous "door zone"
  • discourage wrong way bicycling on a busy street
  • discourage bicycling on sidewalks which cyclists sometimes do when the street is especially unfriendly and risky
  • discourage motorists from squeezing cyclists against curbs or parked cars
The MTA notes in a recent presentation that these shared markings have been found to improve bicycling safety in all the ways listed above, but they are not meant to be substitutes for dedicated bike lanes.

A word about that name, "sharrows": until you know, it doesn't make much sense. The easiest explanation is to think of "shared use" and "arrows." The chevron marking, double arrows, and the accompanying bicycle icon indicate that bicyclists should generally stay within the sharrows area to avoid getting doored or getting squeezed by passing vehicles. And motorists should really share the roadway. SFMTA's Program Manager Oliver Gajda gets the credit for coining the term "sharrows."

Bicyclists debate the usefulness of the sharrows. Some question whether the markings give a false sense of security when drivers often ignore the markings or see them as a reason to speed up and try to pass a cyclist with little regard for the hazards they create. Others cite their own experiences or studies that suggest the markings do help. Most recognize that beginning bicyclists appreciate the sharrows to guide their route and to alert drivers to their presence.

Sharrows come at a good price: about $150-200 per marking. They also last a reasonably long time: from two to five years, depending on vehicle use of the marked street.

Sharrows are a San Francisco creation! In 1998 San Francisco refined an early version of a bike icon within an "arrow house" (see the drawing for this to make sense) developed in Denver.

Bike in house sharrows by Michael Snyder.
Photo by Michael Snyder on Flickr

San Francisco officials created the current design (below), studied its impact, and then obtained approval from the state to include sharrows in the official Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices or MUTCD. (We extend our sympathy to traffic engineers who have to use, or pronounce, acronyms like this). Now cities all over the country -- even Portland -- have adopted sharrows in their bicycle programs. So NOPA: share the lane, enjoy the sharrows.

Image of a sharrow.

For the full report "Shared Lane Markings: Where and When to Use Them," by Mike Sallaberry, see this pdf doc on the SFMTA site.

Friday, December 11, 2009

JFK Drive West: First, the New Curb Cuts

Transverse and JFK Drive

Safer Pedestrian Improvements

How many previous repairs can you count?

What we won't miss

With unidentified "issues" evidently resolved, construction work on John F. Kennedy Drive from Transverse to the Great Highway has really, finally begun. While a contract was granted the first of November with a 60 day work order, not much on-the-street happened until the last several days. But now several curb cuts at intersections and and other stops along the drive are being installed. The road surface repaving can only begin once the curbs are set.

All along Rick Thall, Project Manager for Recreation and Parks Department, has assured us that the full mill-and-fill operation (removing the old pavement and applying new asphalt) for this long stretch of JFK Drive would require about ten days. With a December 31st deadline looming, we remain cautiously hopeful that the New Year will bring an astoundingly smoother and safer ride through the west end of the city's premier park.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Seen While Biking: Bold On Message

Good to support the San Francisco Conservation Corps, and bold advertising often pushes the message. But gun images in NOPA on Muni shelters a block or two from two homicides involving guns? What do you think?

The SFCC's Opportunity Campaign blurb:

"We know the power of opportunity. For over 26 years, we’ve seen it empower the lives of low-income young adults, enhance their communities, and improve the environment. But what happens to those who don’t have the opportunity? That’s the question we pose to the city of San Francisco in our latest ad campaign.

We want to remind people of SFCC’s vital role. During the past 26 years, the SFCC has engaged the lives of nearly 5,000 young adults who have contributed more than 4,120,000 hours of community service improving San Francisco’s neighborhoods. For many of our young adults, SFCC is a crucial chance for success."

For this NOPA resident, I wish the SFCC's Opportunity Campaign greeted me on the sidewalk and street with this visual instead (copied from their website):

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pedestrian Fatality on Fell Street: Melissa Dennison Case Still Not Resolved

Melissa Dennison memorial at Fell and Broderick

The circumstances of the Melissa Dennison pedestrian fatality case remain "under investigation" as of December 7th with "nothing new at this point," according to the SFPD Hit and Run Unit investigator assigned to the case. The "nothing new" comment should not be misconstrued into concluding that nothing is being done. In addition to on-the-street examinations and witness interviews -- these have presumably been completed given that the fatality occurred Sept. 15th -- an autopsy and a full medical report are required to complete the investigation. When all reports are finalized, the District Attorney's office will determine the disposition of the case and announce whether charges against the motorist are merited.

In addition, an investigation by the "hit and run" unit does not necessarily suggest that criminal charges will result from a review of the circumstances. All incidents are different and these are factored into the investigation.

What triggers a "hit and run" investigation rather than a "traffic collision"? If a motorist hits a pedestrian or another vehicle or other private property and leaves the scene without returning, then clearly there is a "hit and run" case. But sometimes drivers get scared or confused at the site but soon thereafter turn themselves in to a SFPD district station or officer. Others may relatively soon return to the scene of the collision. If the motorist stays at the scene from the start, the matter becomes a "traffic collision." The San Francisco Examiner reported on Sept. 16th, the day after the fatality, that "the motorist initially left the scene, but drove back and told police he had been unable to find a place to stop his car."

Accident reports are filed for traffic collisions and hit and run cases, and these are sometimes released to the public once they are cleared by the SFPD Legal Division. SFPD Legal has not authorized the release of the Melissa Dennison report 84 days after the fatality.

Note: Melissa Dennison, age 24, was struck and killed by a motorist on Fell Street near Broderick at about 6:15 a.m. September 15th this year. One newspaper report stated that a 19 year-old man struck Dennison with his Honda Civic as he drove around a car stopped in front of him on Fell Street. Dennison died at the scene. A memorial to her has been maintained at the corner of Fell and Broderick Streets ever since.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Panhandle Cyclists: Now You're Legal

This bicyclist didn't look like he was about to break the law.

Designed and designated for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Now legal.

Last month Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a measure that makes legal what bicyclists have been doing all along: riding across Masonic Avenue on the Panhandle Path. No matter how carefully bicyclists shared the path with pedestrians and other cyclists and no matter that they only crossed the street with a green bike light before, they were still breaking the law. The problem was with the interpretation a law that governed use of the crosswalk. The previous wording of the law allowed an interpretation that cyclists should get off their bike and walk across a street like Masonic.

Although the new law was tucked into a general transportation bill meant to clean up, clarify, and deal with non-controversial changes to laws, there were real negative impacts from the previous wording. Marc Caswell, Program Manager for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, explained that the SFBC occasionally received reports of insurance companies challenging claims by bicyclists who said they were hit by a motorist while biking across Masonic at the Fell. "This law will help cyclists get their fair share should they be unlucky enough to be hit by a driver at this key intersection," Caswell remarked.

Senate bill 734 (in pdf here), introduced by Senator Alan Lowenthal, rectified the problem by defining a "bicycle path crossing" as any portion of a roadway clearly marked and indicated for use by bicyclists. In other words, bicyclists have the right to use the bicycle paths designated for their use even when the path crosses a street that connects segments of the route. Sometimes the law lags behind common sense and reasonable use. Both the California Bicycle Coalition and SFBC supported the bill.

So, cyclists: enjoy your new legal status as you cross Masonic on your daily commutes or weekend spins to Marin.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Neighbors Across Town Share NOPA's Traffic Speed Problems

The North of the Panhandle seems a bit far away from Monterey Boulevard: on the other side of both Mt. Sutro and Mt. Davidson. But neighbors in both areas are dealing with at least one similar problem: the impact of speeding traffic. Many NOPA residents focus on the Masonic, Fell & Oak, and Turk Street corridors while our neighbors to the south have their hands full with Monterey Boulevard.

Not quite today's scene on Monterey Blvd.

Recently Friends of Monterey Blvd (FOMB) started a "SLOW DOWN" window sign campaign to try to get the message to drivers. Now the group is pushing to lower the speed limit from 30 to 25 mph. And the group has launched a blog to focus on achieving a more livable -- and safer -- street and community. Perhaps FIX MASONIC, the North Panhandle's grassroots advocacy group, could advise the FOMB of the impact of posting lower speed signs along Masonic, also from 30 to 25, in July of 2008. Does Masonic traffic seem slower to anyone as a result?

FOMB is also looking at changes in street design to lower risks and increase livability; they cite Dangerous by Design: Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths (and Making Great Neighborhoods), a report from the Transportation for America campaign that is well worth a read.

Window sign in Monterey Blvd. campaign

Adrienne Johnson and Jon Winston, the founders of FOMB, wrote in a post, "Why We Do This," that they started their new campaign on Dec. 3rd after seeing the Fell Street memorial to Melissa Dennison, the NOPA neighbor struck and killed by a motorist on Sept. 15th. "We do not want the next memorial to be on Monterey Blvd.," they wrote. "The chances of it being a memorial for someone we know, someone in our own homes is too high."

BIKE NOPA tries to be "all about bicycling AND livability" in our 30 square block neighborhood. We look forward to comparing strategies and building momentum for more livable streets with our neighbors to the south.