We Built This City

Broadcasting live from "Little Switzerland," San Francisco. Twitter @TheRealWBTC. E-mail me here. An explanation of the title here. My other blog: The Sutro Tower Fan Club. And no, he's not a greyhound, he's a whippet named Chase (Rocket passed away in March). PLEASE DON'T message me on Tumblr, I don't check those. Yes, it's a real tattoo.

Memorial at Lotta’s Fountain this morning. Happy Earthquake Day!

Sunnyside Conservatory, my neighborhood’s hidden gem

Sunnyside Conservatory, my neighborhood’s hidden gem

Above: A Google bus taking about 30 seconds to turn left, through a red light, from Valencia onto 24th Street, at rush hour.

It’s taken me a long time to crystallize my thoughts on the tech buses, but watching this spectacle this morning really brought it together for me. 

First of all, let me say that focusing gentrification outrage on people taking a bus is misguided at best. I won’t go down that rathole of an argument, as there are plenty of thoughtful pieces of writing and debate out there about it already, by people who are smarter than I am. 

But this bus SHOULD NOT BE ON THIS STREET. These double-decker behemoths are too huge and too slow for streets like Valencia and 24th. They can’t even turn left without blithely running red lights long after they’ve turned yellow. They slow down city busses. They’re so wide that even bikes can’t go around them safely. Charging $1 per stop does nothing to address this problem. 

The Genentech bus that detours off the freeway to pick up passengers in the large Glen Park BART loading zone: FINE. The Apple shuttle that picks up workers at Daly City BART after they’ve taken transit out of the City: FINE. This bus turning left from one very narrow street onto another: NOT FINE. 

I encourage the Supervisors to focus on channeling these busses onto approved corridors: Say, all the way down Van Ness to Potrero, then onto the freeway. Heavily fine those that stray. People can take public transit to get to central pickup points, helping to fund our transit infrastructure. 

We can’t stop growth (nor should we), but we DO need to channel its impacts in an intelligent way, and I think a change like this would help.

Above: A Google bus taking about 30 seconds to turn left, through a red light, from Valencia onto 24th Street, at rush hour.

It’s taken me a long time to crystallize my thoughts on the tech buses, but watching this spectacle this morning really brought it together for me.

First of all, let me say that focusing gentrification outrage on people taking a bus is misguided at best. I won’t go down that rathole of an argument, as there are plenty of thoughtful pieces of writing and debate out there about it already, by people who are smarter than I am.

But this bus SHOULD NOT BE ON THIS STREET. These double-decker behemoths are too huge and too slow for streets like Valencia and 24th. They can’t even turn left without blithely running red lights long after they’ve turned yellow. They slow down city busses. They’re so wide that even bikes can’t go around them safely. Charging $1 per stop does nothing to address this problem.

The Genentech bus that detours off the freeway to pick up passengers in the large Glen Park BART loading zone: FINE. The Apple shuttle that picks up workers at Daly City BART after they’ve taken transit out of the City: FINE. This bus turning left from one very narrow street onto another: NOT FINE.

I encourage the Supervisors to focus on channeling these busses onto approved corridors: Say, all the way down Van Ness to Potrero, then onto the freeway. Heavily fine those that stray. People can take public transit to get to central pickup points, helping to fund our transit infrastructure.

We can’t stop growth (nor should we), but we DO need to channel its impacts in an intelligent way, and I think a change like this would help.

Bernal Hill serenade

Bernal Hill serenade

Old and new, side by side. On Coleridge in La Lengua.

Old and new, side by side. On Coleridge in La Lengua.

1963 Volvo PV 544 in La Lengua

1963 Volvo PV 544 in La Lengua

Beautiful Great Blue Heron art on the former Locavore in La Lengua

Beautiful Great Blue Heron art on the former Locavore in La Lengua

Piano on Market at 6th

Mad pimpin’ in the window of a store on Market at Sixth

WHOSAGOODFOOFBALL

WHOSAGOODFOOFBALL

Ranunculus from the @CUESA Ferry Building farmers’ market, which currently takes place Tues. & Thurs. at lunch (also Saturdays, but hopefully you’re not in the office then!)

Ranunculus from the @CUESA Ferry Building farmers’ market, which currently takes place Tues. & Thurs. at lunch (also Saturdays, but hopefully you’re not in the office then!)

Frank Chu, asking the hard questions.

Frank Chu, asking the hard questions.

Interior views of the new model BART car on display today

Model of the new BART cars on display at Justin Herman Plaza earlier today

Model of the new BART cars on display at Justin Herman Plaza earlier today

Nice touch from the AT&T Park caterers for Triple Alley events

Nice touch from the AT&T Park caterers for Triple Alley events