Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Turk & Lyon Closer To A Greener, Friendlier Future

Green Possibilities for Turk Street near Lyon
Image: James Munden, Marta Fry Landscape Architects

Green Turk & Lyon Fundraiser at Chile Pies Photos: Dale Danley

Jarie Bolander (left), NOPNA President, Recalling First Contact with Honoree
(We worked it out)

Thanks to everyone who joined the party and fundraiser at Chile Pies (& Ice Cream) last week -- all 60 of you and those unable to attend who also donated to the Green Turk & Lyon project. Your support helped raise $1100 that will bring greener sidewalks, benches and bike racks to the southeast corner of Turk and Lyon.

For me the best part of the evening was being among so many friends and advocates who contribute every day to a better neighborhood, district and city. We are all privileged to work together. An occasion like this is always the result of help and contributions from many people. Special thanks to --
  • Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi for designating me District 5 Person of the Month for June and especially for all his efforts to support individuals and groups in this amazing district
  • Vallie Brown, Ross's legislative aide, who takes good ideas and guides them to implementation
  • Trevor Logan, owner of Green Chile Kitchen and Chile Pies. His generosity and support of the fundraiser has been remarkable
  • Kalie Nickless, manager of Chile Pies, who made all arrangements incredibly easy
  • James Munden, neighbor and landscape architect with Marta Fry Landscape Architects, whose images of the Green Turk & Lyon project inspire us to create a model for green permeable sidewalks in NOPA
  • The members of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, led by Pastor Will Scott, for their ongoing engagement with the community and eagerness to transform the sidewalks along the church property for a green neighborhood respite
  • NOPNA, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Sunday Streets, Walk SF, Fix Masonic and NOPA VELO for co-sponsoring the fundraiser
Next steps for the project will be a community meeting in July to review designs, workplans, and a timeline for removing the concrete and enlivening the Turk and Lyon corner. Date and time will be posted here on BIKE NOPA. More detailed information is available here. Take a look at the corner this Saturday night, June 4, before a special concert, an Evening of Song, at Cyprian's.

Interested in volunteering or want more information?: greenturkandlyon@gmail.com
To donate to the project: so far we're set up to accept checks made out to St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church; please write on memo line: "Turk & Lyon Project". All donations will go to a separate Turk & Lyon account. Thank you!

NOPA Cyclists Ride & Party: NOPA VELO Re-Cap & SF Bike Party This Friday Night

22nd & Guerrero Pavement-to-Parks stop
Photo: Michael Helquist

Photo: Dale Danley

Ron Stanford of Step3 Studio on parklet construction at Fulton & Masonic
Photo: Dale Danley

Eighteen cyclists -- and two dogs -- spun around town with stops at parks and parklets on Memorial Day Monday for the latest NOPA VELO bike ride. Regulars were happy to greet eight first-timers including four who made this ride their first outing on San Francisco streets. The two-hour ride started at the new parklet outside Cafe Abir at Divisadero and Fulton and stopped by new parks at Showplace Triangle and 22nd & Guerrero and one more parklet at 22nd & Bartlett. Lunch at Nopalito restaurant brought everyone back to home base.

For previous NOPA VELO rides, check here.

Image: San Francisco Bike Party

From a hyper-local bike group to an all city encompassing party on wheels:

San Francisco Bike Party Pride (In The Name Of Love) Ride

Friday, June 3
Gather: 7:30 PM, Rollout: 8 PM
Meetup: Panhandle (near Ashbury and Oak)
Route: here

June is almost here, San Francisco! What kind of ride would we be if we didn’t show our PRIDE!? Come on out and be with the Party as we show you all of the great things this proud City has to offer- architecture, people, history, hills, amazing views, the fabulous Castro, and who knows what else? It is SF, after all, we can only predict so much.

How We Ride:
Stay in the right lane

Stop at red lights

Leave No Trace

Ride predictably and in control
Roll past conflict

Ride Prepared

When in doubt, “Bike Party!!”

Your First Ride With Us?

We try to maintain a leisurely cruising speed. Routes are designed for a wide range of riders to keep pace. Though, with hundreds of riders on different types of bikes, some will find hills more challenging, or have flats and mechanical troubles. Before the ride, make sure your bicycle is in good working order. You should be comfortable riding San Francisco streets which may have traffic, train tracks, occasional steep hills, and other hazards. Bring friends and make new ones riding at your speed. Within your friends be prepared with a flat kit or to fix basic mechanical troubles. If you see someone in need, it’s good bike etiquette to help. That’s also a great way to make new friends in the biking community. Which is what the Bike Party is all about!

Stay in the Loop:
WEB: http://www.sfbikeparty.org/

EMAIL LIST: http://groups.google.com/group/bike-party-sf/boxsubscribe

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Francisco-Bike-Party/118246874907825

TWITTER: http://twitter.com/SFBikeP

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's Not A NOPA VELO Ride Without The Poster

Image: Rick Helf www.helf.com

There wouldn't be a NOPA VELO ride without another outstanding image created by Rick Helf. His collection of ride posters will soon be ready for public viewing in NOPA.

Memorial Day Monday, NOPA folks and friends. Everyone welcome.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

NOPA VELO's Pavement-to-Parks and Parklets Ride

The pavement before at Guerrero and 28th Photos: SF Pavement to Parks

The park after

Showplace Triangle today

The North Panhandle’s only neighborhood-based bike ride is about to spin out again on Monday, May 30, Memorial Day. NOPA VELO is all about urban parks for this easy-to-moderate, nine mile ride. (See route here).

Riders will check out new green projects in the city, including the pavement-to-parks sites at Guerrero Park and Showplace Triangle as well as two parklets, starting with NOPA’s latest on Fulton at Divisadero. Route organizer and Panhandle Park Stewards leader Dale Danley reports he’s especially eager to see the how the plants are faring at Guerrero Park. “I see how much the shrubs and succulents in front of the Mojo Bike Café parklet have thrived in a year,” he said. “Now I want to see how much the plants have grown at the other sites.”

As NOPA VELO riders view the new urbanized landscaping, they’ll learn about the process of bringing more green to our city. How did the city get past the “good-studies-sitting-on-the-shelf” routine and actually start implementing innovative uses for our public space? A recent Streetsblog interview with Andres Power, Project Manager for SF Planning, gives an excellent behind-the-scenes report on how city government managed to kick-start the process. One observation by Power:
Change is always hard. Beyond the actual projects that the Pavement to Parks program has installed, I think in my mind the most beneficial change is really pushing the city family to be okay with experimentation.
And don't forget, for an even greener city: You can help green another corner of NOPA by stopping by Chile Pies, 601 Baker at Fulton, on Wednesday, May 25, 5:30 to 7:30 pm for a community party and fundraiser. Get a free pie slice, beer, wine, sodas, New Mexican hot chocolate and more with each admission. More info here.

NOPA VELO ‘s Pavement-to-Parks and Parklets Ride
Monday, May 30, Memorial Day

9:30 am - Meet at Cafe Abir, 1300 Fulton @ Divisadero
10:00 am - Ride begins
All level riders welcome. Kids on own bikes OK if with guardian.
Pets too if on bike or leash.
Info: Lenore at 415-300-6744, lmcjunker@gmail.com

Join NOPA-VELO Google Group:

Check out our previous rides here.

NOPA Gets a New Parklet on Fulton Street

New Parklet on Fulton in front of Tsunami Sushi Panhandle and Cafe Abir

Continuous benches and planting with concrete pavers the full length

Two, possibly, three new bike racks to be installed (the one in photo will be moved)

Ron Stanford (l) and Evan Bowman (r) of Step 3 Studio, contractor for the parklet

The North Panhandle's second parklet is under construction with completion expected within the next several days. Located on Fulton at Divisadero in front of the busy Cafe Abir and Tsunami Sushi Panhandle, the parklet replaces two parking spaces and provides a long, continuous bench for outdoor seating. Movable tables and chairs will be positioned on the smooth, concrete pavers that expand the normally crowded sidewalk. Another feature of the Fulton parklet design is the addition of a built-up corners for an enhanced sense of protection from traffic.

Ron Stanford, founder of the San-Francisco based collective Step 3 Studio, obtained the contract for the city's latest parklet, following his construction of the Greenhouse at the Hayes Valley Farm. He said the permit and approval process had been relatively easy.
It took six to eight weeks. A few people in the area expressed concern about the removal of two parking spaces, but no one officially objected so we didn't need to go to a public hearing.
An unexpected complication for parklet construction came with restrictions against using Brazilian hardwood for the planters and bench. (Harvesting Brazilian hardwoods is linked to depletion of the country's rain forest and exploitation of laborers). Stanford explained the difficulty he has encountered.
The city decided to no longer permit the hardwood. The other options -- redwood and cedar -- are too soft for a public project. We ended up importing compressed bamboo from China. Unfortunately, our container of bamboo was one randomly selected for close inspection, and it's still sitting in port.
Stanford said they were eager to get the product, finish the planters, and start adding the aromatic Tuscan rosemary, lavenders and succulents to the boxes.

The Fulton parklet is the first of dozens to follow now that the city's phase of demonstration projects has concluded. NOPA's first parklet outside Mojo Bicycle Cafe on Divisadero was among the first demonstration projects.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Pies for Parklets -- You're All Invited to Celebrate and Bring Some More Green to our City

Envision a greener Lyon Street at Turk along exterior of St. Cyprian's Church
Images: James Munden, Marta Fry Landscape Architects

Creating community with a greener, more sustainable space

Dear BIKE NOPA Friends, Neighbors, Colleagues,

Which do you like best when it comes to pies? Sweet or savory? Peach blueberry or green chile apple? Or perhaps an organic pinot noir, a chocolate stout, or ecco organic coffee? Take your pick at this upcoming event and help green the corner of Turk and Lyon.

On May 25, NOPNA, Sunday Streets, St. Cyprian’s Church and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will co-host a community celebration of an honor that has come my way, and, more importantly, to kick-off a plan to make our neighborhood greener and more sustainable.

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has named me the District 5 Person of the Month for June. In his words:
Michael has contributed to so many organizations in the district and citywide, including the North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association, Fix Masonic, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Sunday Streets, NOPA VELO, and, most recently, the community development work of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church. The district and the city are fortunate to reap the benefits of his efforts. Michael wants to celebrate this honor with a community fundraiser to benefit a new streetscape project for Turk and Lyon streets. I encourage everyone to join in.
A huge thanks to Supervisor Mirkarimi. I want to share it with all of you who do so much to make this a great district.

Let’s meet up and make something very cool happen at the same time: Raise some bucks to remove concrete slabs of sidewalk and replace them with trees and shrubs, benches and bike racks. Let's transform the SE corner of Turk and Lyon and create community at the same time. Neighbors have been meeting at Turk and Lyon since last year about how to make the corner greener and more sustainable. Now they're ready to share the vision and engage the community even more in a design that benefit everyone.

Putting it all together:

Wednesday, May 25, 5:30 to 7:30 pm
Chile Pies (& ice cream), 601 Baker @ Fulton
Free treat with each $15-$20 donation (slice of pie, drinks and more)
Live music in the works
All proceeds will fund the Green Turk and Lyon project

Questions? please contact greenturkandlyon@gmail.com
Can’t attend but want to donate? Checks payable to St. Cyprian’s Episcopal Church, Green Turk and Lyon account, 2097 Turk, SF 94115.

Please save the date. Stop by for good cheer, check out the other renderings, and help make D5 even greener. The fundraiser will be followed in the weeks ahead with neighborhood meetings and then the good stuff: replacing concrete with soil, stones and native plants, benches and bike racks.

Check out the concerts and events at Cyprian's, the new venue in town, at Turk and Lyon where St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church has been an active in the community since 1960.

Thank you, Chile Pies!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Masonic Boulevard Proposal Approved: History in the Making

Fix Masonic members distribute community meeting notices door-to-door in 2010
Mariana Parreiras, Dale Danley, Ben Caldwell, Marc Caswell (l to r)

Just a brief notice for now: this morning after an hour and a half of testimony from dozens of individuals, the city's proposal for remaking Masonic into a safer street that works for everyone was approved and sent to the SFMTA Board of Commissioners!

Javad Mirabdal, the SFMTA project manager for the Masonic re-design effort, commented after the hearing had concluded: "This is history."

Look for more complete coverage this afternoon at Streetsblog. (I was not in reporter mode during the hearing).

Congratulations to everyone who worked so long and so hard for a safer Masonic for all of us. After a needed break, let's focus on how to make the Boulevard proposal work as well as possible for everyone, certainly including those who were not in favor.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SF Day School Backs "Complete Streets" Treatment for Masonic; Community Honors Fallen Pedestrian

Bruno Peguese, member of St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, reflects on loss of James Hudson

SFPD Capt. Denis O'Leary affirms need for increased enforcement on Masonic

Candles left in April to remember Yannick Linke who was killed on Masonic last year

Dr. David E. Jackson, Head of the San Francisco Day School (SFDS), confirmed tonight that his institution will support the city's efforts to bring significant traffic calming to Masonic Avenue. He said the concerns for safety along the corridor prompted the school to endorse the Boulevard proposal. SFDS is located on the SE corner of Masonic and Golden Gate Avenue.

Staff and parents have witnessed many collisions in front of the school, and several former and current teachers have expressed concern about the risks for children when crossing Masonic given the frequently speeding traffic. Students at the school cross the corridor every day to use recreation facilities at the University of San Francisco campus west of Masonic. SFDS hosted the three city-sponsored community meetings convened last year to review and refine plans for traffic calming along Masonic from Fell to Geary.

Dr. Jackson confirmed that staff would submit a letter of support for the Boulevard plan to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency prior to Friday morning's public hearing at City Hall. Jackson made his remarks following the vigil for James Hudson, the 61-year-old pedestrian who was struck and killed by a drunk driver on May 6th. Twenty people gathered in the SFDS courtyard before walking a block north to Turk, crossing the street, and pausing to reflect at the site of fatality. Community members and representatives from the North Panhandle Neighborhood Association, Fix Masonic, St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church, and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition stood in silence to honor all those who have died or been injured on Masonic. Several commented on the need to act to protect all users of the corridor. Supervisor Eric Mar and SFPD Captain Denis O'Leary participated in the vigil. O'Leary said he is committed to increasing and maintaining enforcement of the speed limit on Masonic. Individuals close to the motorist charged in the fatal incident also participated in the vigil.

Walk San Francisco on Masonic Re-design: Narrow the Street, Calm the Traffic, Reduce Speeding

May 10, 2011

To the SFMTA:

Walk San Francisco is writing to strongly support the “boulevard” option for Masonic Avenue.

Today, Masonic Avenue is tragically unsafe. Just last Friday, 61-year-old James Hudson was killed by a speeding car while walking in a crosswalk. The circumstances were similar to those of Nils Yannick Linke, killed there last year on his bike. Last month, a woman was hit by a speeding car on Masonic at Grove and very seriously injured.

In our city, 100 people are seriously injured or killed every year. One of the most powerful things we can do to change this is to reduce traffic speeds on our arterial streets like Masonic. These wide fast streets are where the worst crashes occur, and where we have the most potential to save lives.

Some say that, because the two recent deaths on Masonic were caused by drunk drivers, that redesigning the street will not help. We strongly disagree. Design drives behavior, and the design of this stretch of Masonic Avenue encourages speeding, whatever the condition of the driver.

Last year there were four pedestrian injury collisions along Masonic: two were at Hayes and O’Farrell, and the other two were just outside the study area; at Oak and at Haight. Many other collisions occur along this stretch that do not involve pedestrians – Bike NOPA reported two serious collisions at Masonic and Hayes just in the last four days.

The boulevard option for redesigning Masonic will narrow the street, calm the traffic, and reduce speeding. This will make the area safer for pedestrians, and in fact, for all road users.

Walk San Francisco supports the boulevard option because it includes:

· A road diet, removing lanes to narrow the street and reduce speeding
· A tree-planted median; trees visually narrow the street
· Expanded sidewalks (bulb-outs) at corners and bus stops to shorten crossing distances and improve pedestrian visibility
· More visible crosswalks to improve pedestrian visibility and encourage yielding
· Separate cycle tracks to provide a buffer between cars and pedestrians

Walk San Francisco encourages you to lose no time in moving forward to rebuild Masonic to safer speeds with the boulevard option.


Elizabeth Stampe
Executive Director
Walk San Francisco

Reprinted with permission.

Send your message now for a Safer, Better Masonic: sustainable.streets@sfmta.com ; write "Public Hearing" in the subject line.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two More Injury Collisions on Masonic Since Pedestrian Fatality Last Friday

Collision from red light running this morning at Masonic & Hayes

Northbound motorist (silver Volvo) and westbound driver (silver Honda) collide

Smash-up in the busy crosswalk leading to John Adams campus of City College

This morning at about 6:35 two motorists collided in the Masonic and Hayes intersection, pushing both vehicles into the east-west crosswalk. One driver was badly shaken and possibly injured but he decided against a trip to the hospital. The man told BIKE NOPA that he was driving his silver Honda Prelude westbound on Hayes and that he crossed Masonic with a green light when he was struck by a northbound motorist, a woman, in a silver Volvo SUV. The driver of the Volvo talked with police officers and appeared uninjured. She was overheard stating that she crossed Masonic with a green light. The investigation is still underway, and the police provided no further details. The neighbor who alerted us to the collision, said she lived a half-block from Masonic and that she "hears these crashes out there all the time."

The red-light running collision this morning follows a much worse smash-up on Masonic with serious injuries resulting from a speeding motorist on Saturday, May 7, at approximately 7:30 pm. One eyewitness relayed the events:

"It happened ... as the sun was about to set. A white BMW flew down Masonic, trying to beat the light and get across Fell. A whole bunch of cyclists and joggers were just about to cross. He almost clipped the female jogger, who stopped mere feet away mid-stride, as she was about to cross the street. On a walking sign! This was how blatant he was, timing-wise trying to run this light.

"He missed the jogger, and I panned my head to follow him to the intersection. A motorcyclist collided with him. Both are going a good 60 MPH plus. The motorcyclist ran right into the side of the car, and flew over 15 feet into the air. His shoe actually flew off, and landed all the way across the intersection, right by me. The bike just exploded, totalled. I think I saw him raise his arms at
first, so hopefully he's alive. A huge crowd of people, rushed over to him, and police
and ambulances arrived soon after."
This witness recounted that he was in shock following the incident. He added that he hopes the driver is jailed "with at least two counts against him: one for almost killing the cyclist and one for almost killing the jogger."

Both incidents follow the tragic death of James Hudson, the 61-year-old man killed while crossing Masonic, in the crosswalk, by a drunk driver in the early hours of Friday, May 6th. (A vigil for Hudson followed by a street safety strategy session will be held Wednesday, May 11). Last month a 35-year-old woman was struck by a red-light running motorist on Masonic at Grove and suffered broken legs, head and internal injuries.

On Friday, May 13 the public is invited to attend and testify at a hearing that will review the city's plan for re-designing Masonic Avenue to make the corridor safer for all users. Those unable to attend can also send a message to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) before Friday to have the opinions considered as part of the hearing. (send opinions to sustainable.streets@sfmta.com with the subject heading "Public Hearing." For a review of the comprehensive safety plan developed by city planners and Masonic neighbors, check the SFMTA site here or the BIKE NOPA summary here.

For previous articles in the A Better Masonic series, check here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ammiano, Mar, Mirkarimi, Capt. O'Leary Endorse Masonic Boulevard Proposal; Vigil Scheduled for Hit-and-Run Fatality

Remembrance on Masonic, April 2011 Photo: Michael Helquist

The hit-and-run fatality on Masonic near Turk last week shocked San Franciscans, especially those who regularly use the street and, in the most tragic manner, made the case for comprehensive safety improvements along the busy corridor.

Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, District 1 Supervisor Eric Mar, District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, and SFPD Captain Denis O'Leary of Park Station have endorsed the Boulevard proposal developed by city staff and community members in a series of meetings held last year. As previously reported, the Boulevard plan includes extensive traffic calming measures to reduce the speedway aspect of Masonic and would install facilities for safer walking, bus use, and biking while keeping vehicle traffic to the 25 MPH speed limit.
"I hope that the SFMTA embraces this opportunity to show long-term vision for the transformation of Masonic from a heavily trafficked, dangerous street to an improved, livable corridor." Assemblymember Tom Ammiano (ed: statement released before last week's fatality)
"I definitely support the Boulevard plan for Masonic along with the many area residents and community groups." Supervisor Eric Mar
"This fatality is another reason all forces in City Hall to correct the conditions of Masonic Avenue. These changes are long overdue. The incremental measures taken to increase safety have not been adequate. One major step would be quick adoption and installation of the Boulevard project for Masonic."
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi
Capt. Denis O'Leary hopes to testify at the public hearing in support of the Boulevard proposal. He has also increased monitoring of traffic speeds and safe pedestrian crossings along Masonic.

Public Hearing on Masonic
Friday, May 13, 2011, at 10:00 am
Room 416 (Hearing Room 4), City Hall
(located on Van Ness Avenue between McAllister and Grove Streets)

Opinions on these proposed changes may be filed in writing prior to the hearing with SFMTA Transportation Engineering, 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103-5417.
Written opinions may also be transmitted by fax to (415) 701-4737 or by
email to sustainable.streets@sfmta.com with subject line “Public Hearing.” Submitted opinions will become part of the official public record and will be brought to the attention of the person(s) conducting the hearing.


Last year's tragic death of Yannick Linke on Masonic near Turk followed by just three days a city-sponsored community meeting focused on making Masonic a safer street for all users. The most recent Masonic fatality -- resulting in the loss of James Hudson last Friday while he was crossing the street -- occurred just one week prior to the City Hall public hearing to review the result of that community planning process. The deaths of both men, and the injuries of many others, impress upon neighborhood residents even more the need for comprehensive, integrated traffic calming on Masonic. Neighbors have organized a memorial for James Hudson for this Wednesday evening. After honoring his life, a street safety discussion will follow for those interested.

Vigil for a Fallen Pedestrian
Wednesday, May 11, 6:15 to 7:15 pm
Meet 6:15; Vigil starts 6:30
Meet on sidewalk at San Francisco Day School (350 Masonic at Golden Gate)

Safety dialogue at 7:15 pm
Gather at Blood Centers of the Pacific, 270 Masonic (at Turk)
For further information: Jarie Bolander, 415-385-22348 jarie.bolander@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

History Races Through NOPA May 15th

Look for the Ambassadors in T-shirts; better yet: wear one

2010 racers on Fell near Masonic Photo: Michael Helquist

Brits Get Traction, Or Friction Photo: Michael Helquist

Countdown to 100th Anniversary Bay to Breakers Race
10 days
16 hours
17 minutes
05 seconds

Bay to Breakers is back and this is the big 100th. The longest continuously operating footrace zips through the North Panhandle on Sunday, May 15th. The party -- all wacky, bare, and safe -- continues long after the sprinters flash through on Fell Street. Hopes are stoked and
last year's flare-ups are tamped down. Everyone seems poised for a good time, even with different takes on what that will mean.

A coalition of eight neighborhood associations has worked to ensure the 100th race is crazy fun without the trash behavior many felt followed last year's romp. Besides the precautions for limiting participation in the race, the ban on alcohol in the race, more monitoring and more portable toilets, the group leaders have launched a Neighborhood Ambassador program for the centennial 12k run.

According to Jarie Bolander, President of NOPNA, the Neighborhood Ambassadors will help participants and visitors with the basic information they need
  • Locations of restrooms
  • Locations of trash collection areas
  • Location of EMS services
  • General event information
  • General directions related to the neighborhood and course
  • Provide the hotline number for neighbors and participants
Ambassadors then agree to
  • Assist with clean-up efforts
  • Assist with identification of problem situations or locations
But volunteers will by no means police or enforce any laws. Instead, they will observe, report and have a great time. All while wearing the limited-edition Zazzle Bay to Breakers Volunteer T-shirts.

Sound like work? Shifts are only for two hours and you can't beat the people watching. Organizers urge, "Be Part of History." Sign up at the Zazzle Bay to Breakers site .

Check more stories in the B2B at 100 series here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Rick Helf: Bicyclist, Artist, NOPA Fan

Art that keeps his mind "firmly planted on the rightside"

Rick Helf

Image: Rick Helf www.helf.com

Rick Helf started bicycling in San Francisco in 1977 -- a time when train tracks crossed and lined so many city streets. He still looks out for them, although they've been gone for years. He lived on the corner of Laguna and Pacific and always ended his rides with one of the steepest hills in the city.

Although he now lives in Marin, Helf still bikes into and around San Francisco. Last year, he combined his love of bicycling with his passion for design and illustration by creating the distinctive images that announced the monthly NOPA VELO bike rides. His NOPA VELO premiere featured one-time radical Patty Hearst heavily armed with a bike frame. Riders now anticipate the new images that get them spinning each ride. Rick also created the design for Cyprian's, the new performance venue in NOPA at Turk and Lyon.

Helf's work appears throughout San Francisco and reflects his remarkably diverse talent. He mentioned a few of the locations for his designs and illustrations.
"I worked on the Keyhole house at Bay and Columbus with Flying Colors back in 1979. My painting is still up on Kearny street at the steps. I have done permanent historic exhibits at the US Customs House in SF, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the International terminal at SFO. I've completed historic books on the Ninth Circuit Court Building, and the California Supreme Court Building."
On a grander scale, Helf just completed a 6000 square foot mural on the side of a transport ship.

The North Panhandle seems to have found a fan in Helf. His most recent undertaking is an exhibit of new work at Mini Bar on Divisadero. He considers these pieces a return to fine art and a way to stretch his creativity and "keep my mind firmly planted on the rightside." They reflect his interest in "the progress and the beauty in the aging process, in the case of these works, leaves." Helf's art at the exhibit has been called contemporary Momento Mori (Remember You Are Mortal). But he said he prefers to live by Momento Vivre (Remember To Live).

To see previous NOPA VELO posters, check here.

Image: Rick Helf www.helf.com