Sunday, May 31, 2009

My Green Thumb << Mom's Green Thumb

A few weeks back Mom and Dad were in town. They are great. My Mom is really into the whole garden in Healdsburg, but she was sort of stepping on my mojo. I have 2 decent sized raised beds that are set up with drip irrigation. She carried a set of Bean Seeds from Colorado and announced she would plant some beans for me.

This was a bit disconcerting to me. I had just purchased a couple of cucumber and zucchini starts - given that I had killed the cucumber starts I had planted and the snails took out my zucchini. She laid down three rows of bean seeds, taking up half of one of my precious raised beds as I watched in horror. With one of the beds half gone due to a gigantic lavender plant this meant I was down half of my beds before i even started. (I have attempted to rip out the Lavender but my wife protests - we have 16 lavender plants in another section of the yard!). There are two tomato plants in the raised beds and they take up a lot of space, and cast shade on anything near them. I found some place to slap the zucchini in, and later just put the cucumber next to the bean seeds.

Thing is, beans shouldn't grow in the heat we get in Healdsburg. She planted them too close together. And I had sowed direct seed into the beds trying to get dill, cliantro, basil, you name it and the snails all got the tiny plants. These beans weren't going anywhere.

Either that or they were going to go completely nuts. This picture taken *after* I thinned them back a bit.

At least I do have the first tomato setting on the plants.

The garden had a special guest too!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gavin Newsom Quote of the Day.

Regarding new bus shelter, from Streetsblog

"I'm looking forward to seeing this shelter looking like this four, five, ten years from now. I'll be driving by--and riding by, because little do you know I take Muni in spite of some of those who wish I didn't so they'd have another reason to criticize me."

This guy has the thinnest skin on the planet.

Apparently he doesn't take the bus on Sundays however, since he is so opposed to Sunday meter enforcement.

Then again, why would he park at a meter anyway.

Consider me one of the critics Mayor Newsom.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cyclist Pedestrian interaction

This morning, riding to Caltrain. Turning right off of Bryant onto Division. There was a red light, which turns green. As I approach the intersection I see that several pedestrians are crossing Division. Division in this spot has 2 Eastbound lanes. The pedestrians are still in the first lane, so I whip by them and turn right into the farther lane, probably going 15 MPH or so.

Pedestrian shouts "Whoa!"

I motored on but this got me to thinking. I probably gave them 2 yards or so of space. That's 6 feet, "not even close" in my parlance - I mean, it's hard to get various states to institutionalize THREE feet be given to cyclists being passed by multiple ton vehicles going 65 MPH. Of course, a pedestrian in that spot is not expecting *anything* to be whipping into the further travel lane and is sure to be startled. Nobody wants their stroll to be interrupted with a heart attack.

Karmically speaking, should I have slowed, let them get across, and turned right into the rightmost lane behind the pedestrians? Or was there plenty of room and they should grow a pair?

I don't want to get into the whole "engendering relationships with pedestrians" thing - they entered the crosswalk at the exit of a parking lot, and it's doubtful they were spotting me 3 feet when they were behind the wheel of their car 2 minutes earlier...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The drivers of Mill Valley vis-a-vis cyclists - part 2

Claire Diepenbrock, 26, was sideswiped and knocked down at 5 p.m. on Shoreline Highway near Tennessee Avenue by a northbound driver who may have been intoxicated on painkillers, police said. Diepenbrock was struck by another driver shortly after the first accident.

First reaction includes "Don't ride Shoreline". Shoreline up from Tam Valley blows. But that does not mean you should not be able to ride it, and ride it safely. Just because I choose roads that are safer doesn't mean I think it's correct to cede them.

Nonetheless, if headed up to Tam, go through Downtown Mill Valley. Of course, if you are not headed up Tam, but headed to visit someone who lives on Shoreline, what's the option?

The roadway should be improved, and lacking that drivers should take a chill pill. And by that I don't mean getting "intoxicated on painkillers?" What is with these people.

Update: From an anonymous source - it will be a long road to hoe, but Claire will see another day and another bike ride if she chooses. No brain damage, but plenty of structural damage - that will heal over time.

Update2: from the Marin IJ.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Drinking and Driving, the American Way

Disclaimers in the body of the text don't excuse a stupid subject line. Like the subject of this dumbass post on SFist

"Remember to Buckle Up, Take Muni, Cab if Drinking This Weekend"

This is of course, because it is Memorial Day Weekend and you might get busted because there will be checkpoints. Nevermind that if you drive drunk anytime, you might kill several people including yourself. Just don't get a DUI ticket, that would really suck.

I don't get it - even my Mother is not immune to the contradictions, driving back from Healdsburg she saw two cyclists roll a stop sign and said "They're not following the rules". Of course their behavior is many orders of magnitude less dangerous than drinking and driving, yet there is still amazingly little societal backlash against it.

Reminds me of another blog topic I had on the back burner. I saw an story on the news about drivers getting information on their car GPS devices that tell them where the red light cameras are. So let me get this straight, there is all this backlash about a cyclist rolling a stop sign - because clearly that is a bad thing. If they are so high and mighty, why are they investing money into devices that warn them "Don't run the red light - ticket ahead!", after they just got done pontificating about how bad it is to break the traffic laws.

And without opening the "great helmet debate" up, you are supposed to buckle your seatbelt if "driving".

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Ray LaHood rules? Yes, Ray LaHood rules!

From Streetsblog

Asked if his emphasis on livable communities was, as Will's column argued, a veiled effort to "make driving more torturous" and "coerce people out of their cars," LaHood was unbowed.

"It is a way to coerce people out of their cars," he said, observing that few people enjoy spending an hour behind the wheel to travel to work or run an errand. While every community cannot be redesigned to coax more residents onto transit or bikes, he added, the encouragement of those opportunities is important.

"The only person I've heard object to this is George Will," LaHood said. Pressed again to answer conservative critics who see the hand of Big Government in his agenda, the former Republican congressman quipped: "About everything we do around here is government intrusion in people's lives."

Wow. Just wow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Caltrain Bombardier with expanded Bike Capacity


Two racks on one end (Southernmost) of the cab car. They removed one bench and slid the original rack southward to fit them both in. You can see that people are using the bench facing the racks, unlike the first gallery cars that had benches facing the racks, these protect the rider from the bikes via the cage on the rack, and there's actually pretty decent legroom - better than in the other seats. One more rack on the North end for 24 total slots.

And they said it could not be done. Over, and over, and over.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Walk Score - Irony

I just checked my Walk Score and it's pretty darn good. 85 of 100, very walkable.

Of course, a major component is that 4 elementary schools are within one half a mile of our house. The probability that our son will be able to attend one of them (3 are Public Schools...)

Almost zero.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sometimes you have to sacrifice for the team

True in cycling, true if you are an Asian Pear.

I probably put seven or eight hundred asian pearlings on the ground. But there are still enough on the tree for a Harry and David basket for everyone reading this post. And thanks to the sacrifice of the dead soldiers they'll be juicy and firm.


Video of the whole orchard posted at Healdsburg Blog

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bike to Work Day - aimlessly.

Original plan. Get up, walk dog, kiss wife, get to Panhandle Peet's by 6:30 and ride in on Skyline with Google folks. Of course this did not happen, I helped my wife with Liam, watched the end of the Giro stage, and started to think about just getting to work, worrying that I'd be bumped off of Caltrain (I wonder - does Bike to Work day have the effect that so many people avoid bike on Caltrain that day, that it ends up less busy?). I check twitter for some reason - and see this...

@Caltrain O: @6:43am, SB206 struck trespasser near 25th Ave. San Mateo. All trains stopped while emergency personnel respond to scene. T07:39

Great. Aside from the delay, Caltrain will cancel trains and reduce their throughput, on a day when it can be expected there will be more bikes. I walked the dog and considered my options.

The pro move would be to get on my bike and start riding towards work, perhaps saving 20 minutes by BARTing to Millbrae first. If Caltrain resurrects itself I would be south of the single track section, headed far enough south that I don't get bumped. But I started riding towards downtown instead, what the heck I'll grab my bike to work day schwag/snack. I grabbed a bag, a banana, and a photo.

I wandered over to Market St to see the hullabaloo, Market is always jammed with bikes at this time of day, but Bike To Work Day even more so. And it was seriously jammed. I considered going to the BTWD press conference starting just about then, but instead just kept going. At 4th St I thought about going to Caltrain, the tweets weren't saying much good or bad. Since I was just distressed about the whole thing I called a crazy audible. Next thing you know I was here...

Union City BART. I considered going to Castro Valley or Dublin, wistfully looking at Palomares and Calaveras roads on the BART map, but in theory I had an 11 AM meeting, so I headed towards Fremont. The pro move - go to Fremont and navigate through Milpitas to work - fast. But the absurdity of it all drove me to conclude I should ride over the Dumbarton Bridge - way off route into Palo Alto, but catching some mid-bay scenery. One good thing...

I discovered a BTWD schwag station at UC BART. It was sort of late for them to still be there, but I stopped by. They tried to give me another bag, but I settled for a bar of Scharffenberger Chocolate. Good schwag!

I headed over towards the Dumbarton. Back in the day I actually rode a fair amount in Fremont/Union City for some reason, so I knew the way. Of course, I got onto the bridge and promptly took a wrong turn while on the bridge. Yes, it is possible, I headed out onto the fishing pier instead of the skyrise part of the bridge. I stopped for my proof of purchase photo.

At the bottom of the other side, around 10:30 AM I spotted a blue tent. Surprisingly there was another BTWD station at the south foot of the Dumbarton. I pulled up and they offered me... a Hot Dog. This was their LAST Hot Dog, they were so happy someone showed up this late to take the last Hot Dog!

While I am not really into Hot Dogs, and I hated to reinforce the notion that Hot Dogs are appropriate Bike to Work Day snacks, this day had gotten pretty absurd so I went ahead and chowed down.

I noted a tweet from @njudah about cyclists almost mowing down an elderly woman on the sidewalk. I noted that someone in Union City had told me to get the hell off the road. Confused, I went with the road.

Realizing I was going to miss my 11 AM, I called my boss and rode on. I guess the pro move would have been to follow the Google route to Shoreline, but I went over University instead. That is one sketchy overpass, Willow - while crazy in its own way - is much better.

The rest of the ride was uneventful down Bryant and Central. Having scarfed a hot dog I decided I really didn't need lunch. But this day had reached a high level of absurdity so my bike led me into Carl's Jr...

For an Oreo Shake. Yum.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bike to Work Day Special Edition - How to avoid bicycle theft!

Bicycle theft. Huge problem. Personally I think bike thieves should get a date with Dick Cheney's stormtroopers. Heck, waterboarding's too good for them. Bike theft is a heartbreaking thing, with few happy endings. Rot in hell bike thieves!

How to avoid bike theft?

First off, good locks. U-lock, small ones better than big ones. I also booby trap my bike by locking a master lock to the chainring, around the chain, making the bike unrideable. I may act all full of angst, but you know I am a bit of a softie, because while I have thought of setting out an unlocked bike on the street, with the padlock on the chainring, to see what hilarity ensues, I have never acted on this impulse. Fortunately I have also never forgotten to take the master lock. Usually my tactic is "don't leave my good bike far from my sight", meaning I will wander through Safeway with my rig in tow, rather than lock it up outside if I am at say, the 4th/King Safeway. Actually, at 4th and King I check my bike at Warm Planet, go shopping, then go get my bike back.

Second - for god's sake don't store your bike in the garage! Especially if it is not your own private garage. I seriously think bike thieves hang out at the Lombard Gate, then follow people with expensive road bikes into the Marina, to see who leaves bikes locked in shared garages. A shared garage is great for a thief - once you get inside you can work on the lock, unfettered, for hours. Even a non-shared garage is very sketchy. Seems every time I get an email entitled "Stolen Bike Please Help!" the thing was stolen from the garage. If you must store your bike in the garage, I recommend the following tactic. Hide the good bike under something that really obscures the fact that it is there, and go get the cheapest beater you can and store that one in plain sight. Maybe the thief will take the crappy bike.

Or not. You see, the best way to keep your bike from being stolen is to have a bike nobody would ever want to steal. Case and point...

Behold the Crappy Pink Diamondback!

This bike has been on my street on this street cleaning sign ever since I moved into our house in August. Sometime in December, the saddle disappeared. In February - as you can see - the LOCK disappeared. 3 months later, the bike is still there, not even the street cleaners who show up the 2nd and 4th Monday of each month will take it away. It's so crappy that the owner decided they apparently had more use for the lock than the bike itself, and left it barren and unlocked, daring any and all to take it. Yet the Diamondback stays put, in the heart of a major city rife with bike theft. The bike is not in some obscure place that no thief would dare to go, given that some cretin already relieved the bike of its fine taiwan-made throne, yet felt no need to remove any of the other components or take the whole bike.

So there you go - if you are willing to rock the Crappy Pink Diamondback you will fear not the slings and arrows of bike thievery. Do it if you dare!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

San Francisco in a nutshell

Streetsblog has been livetweeting the Board of Supervisors meeting regarding the MTA budget. It's been a contentious negotiation apparently, with the topic continued, back door meetings, etc... very heated.

Example tweet...

StreetsblogSF Chiu will support some changes that have been between the budget and the Mayor's office.
2 minutes ago from web

StreetsblogSF More behind-the-scenes negotiations underway on MTA budget. Supes meeting now in public comment.
about 1 hour ago from web

OK, so between one hour and 2 minutes from me writing this blog, the MTA budget was actively being negotiated in City Hall

Meanwnile on Planet Gavin...

GavinNewsom Great response to petition supporting President Obama for health care reform. Click to sign petition. Thanks for the help!
26 minutes ago from web

Sums it up for me right there... and I thought twitter was causing ME to be distracted at work!

Write Bevan Dufty and Sophie Maxwell if you heart MUNI

The man who wants to be Mayor Bevan Dufty is kissing up to the current Mayor by siding with him and against David Chiu (who is THE MAN by the way).

Fed up with the way departments outside of MUNI have been raiding the budget of MUNI, resulting in a MUNI budget that will raise fares and cut service , Chiu has rallied a majority of the Board of Supervisors to reject MUNI's budget and force them back to the drawing board. It is becoming a showdown with our so-called Mayor Gavin Newsom. The problem - the Board of Supervisors needs 7 votes, not 6, to reject the budget.

The key point in the streetsblog article referenced above - Bevan Dufty who voted in committee to reject the budget, has been arm-twisted by Gavin or by monied interests to now vote against the measure. I find this extremely disappointing, Dufty had gotten in front of some important issues lately and now he decides to not be the key vote on a key issue. Politics at its finest. I'm hoping that this backfires on Bevan, crippling him in the Mayoral race.

Time to let Bevan know. If you are a San Francisco resident, write this guy NOW and tell him to wake up. If you are in district 8, you are a consitituent now, if you aren't, he will be wanting your vote for Mayor. I intend to tell him my vote hinges on his vote on this issue alone.

Another email needs to go to Sophie Maxwell. She is the District 10 Supervisor (Potrero Hill/Bayview) and is now the swing vote. Chiu, Daly, Mirkarimi, Campos, Avalos, and Mar supporting. Newsom's tools - Alioto-Pier, Elsbernd, and Chu oppose.

Time to repudiate Newsom's treatment of San Francisco's citizenry by sending a message. Yes, it's the MTA budget but as Streetsblog quotes him...

"It will be devastating to the impact of our general fund money," said Newsom, who has been accused by some advocates of using scare tactics in the debate over the MTA budget.

San Francisco's transit system is one of the cornerstones of the city, not an afterthought. Newsom should be worried about the devastating impact the budget is having on MUNI, not the other way around.

Mail Bevan -
Mail Sophie -

Friday, May 8, 2009

Public Transport in the Stimulus Universe.

BART is breaking ground on an extension to San Jose! Excellent!

Meanwhile... in the real world, Bay Area Transit Riders step up to the plate.

Strike 1: BART

With the agency facing a $54 million deficit for the coming fiscal year, BART officials have outlined a proposal that would hike fares by ten percent and cut back on the number of trains operating at night and on weekends.

The agency is also considering charging parking fees at some stations where parking is now free.

If approved, the changes would go in effect July 1.

Annoyingly (to me anyway), the hardest plank to push through politically is an increase in parking rates. Parking in most East Bay stations is $1 per day. Riders who drive into the stations complain very loudly that BART is killing the incentive to use public transportation - yet were they to drive to San Francisco they would pay $20 per day or more for parking. The highest price to park in the system is in West Oakland - but not because there are so many drivers in West Oakland. Drivers from far flung places were bypassing their local stations to park just on the East side of the Bay Bridge Toll and San Francisco Parking costs. Regardless, most clearly this little Warm Springs Project moves ahead while current riders get the shaft.

Strike 2: San Francisco MUNI

Muni chief Nathaniel Ford released the performance record Tuesday, and today the Budget & Finance Committee for the supervisors will meet to discuss the transit agency's budget, which calls for cutting service, raising fares to $2 and boosting parking fees.

A showdown is setting up between the Board of Supervisors and California Gubernatorial Candidate Gavin Newsom - who is also ostensibly the Mayor of San Francisco. Can there be a duel if one combatant is in San Francisco and the other is in Washington DC, Palo Alto, La Jolla, or whatever other gladhanding destination is on the agenda today?

Supervisor David Chiu just might have the votes to block the MTA budget and make them go back to the drawing board.

Budget Committee Chairman John Avalos said that's not enough.

"Muni is one of those core services that San Franciscans rely on, and it needs to be protected," he said.

Newsom said that's a position that can play well with the public but doesn't take into account the economic reality that there's not enough money to meet the demand for services citywide.

"We're at the point now where we can't get down to zero (deficit) without tough decisions," Newsom said. "I hate the idea of raising fares. I don't want to cut Muni service. But I ask (critics), 'What ideas do you have that do not eviscerate public safety and health and human services?' "

Newsom is in a bad spot here, in my opinion, and he's using a red herring to distract from the situation, using a scare card against the Supervisors. Another problem - if the battle gets more tense, will Newsom have to leave the road and come back to San Francisco at the expense of his fundraising, only to lose a political battle at home?

Strike 3: Caltrain

Starting in October Caltrain may stop running weekend service, levy a $1 surcharge on bicyclists and raise rider fares for the second time this year, agency officials said today.

Caltrain - which I take every workday - is in my opinion one of the best values in public transit around - from a taxpayer standpoint. Held together with bubble gum and bailing wire, the service is relatively inexpensive (compared to say - BART), and runs a 98% on time record. And you can take your bike on it, allowing seamless connection to your destination on the Peninsula, which is a transportation desert.

Removal of weekend service would render the Peninsula a car-must place, replacement service on VTA or SamTrans is less frequent and much slower. A bike surcharge would by any reasonable analysis cost Caltrain money, between fare collection and enforcement and by riders abandoning the train - the base fare is on average 4 times as much as the proposed surcharge. Raising fares I would grudgingly accept, but it is incredibly ironic that just as the public is starting to turn to public transportation, with all of its inherent value to society, fares are being increased.

It seems bitterly ironic that with an $800 billion stimulus package going out the door in Washington, basic public transportation is being slashed and burned - especially three systems in the populous Bay Area that have heavy adoption - 300,000, 700,000, and 40,000 daily riders respectively on BART, MUNI, and Caltrain.

Santa Clara Deputy pleads Guilty in deaths of Gough and Peterson

Per the Mercury News

Council will be sentenced to four months in county jail and 800 hours of community service, according to Cornell. He will also be placed on three years' formal probation, ordered to pay restitution to the victims' families and standard fines and fees.

At least he spends some time in the can, but it's pretty weak. Is there a way to get those 800 hours of community service devoted to educating drivers?

UPDATE He gets to serve his sentence in home detention! What the hell.

At the very least he must lose his job. Police work is nothing if not a constant exercise in judgement. By getting behind the wheel that day Council showed very clearly he has poor judgement. There is a bar over which you must pass in order to take on a job like a Sheriff's Deputy, someone who has an accident like this is flat out unqualified. I'm sure he's a "nice guy" but he just doesn't have what it takes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The drivers of Mill Valley vis-a-vis cyclists...

From my buddy Troy...

Short story, and I have a genuine question to ask

This morning, a woman (old, crotchety, grumpy, elitist sort) drove up behind me, started honking and yelling while I was commuting to work on shoreline highway just below my house. I was ~18 inches to the RIGHT of the white line, and fully following CA traffic laws "as far right as practicable.. except when reasonably necessary to avoid conditions (including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards, or substandard width lanes)." I was not impeding traffic in ANY way. She honks and yells, and I wave at her and yell out, "What? What do you want me to do?" then she speeds off yelling and gesturing. I catch up to her at Tam Junction, and calmly (honestly, I was calm and courteous... no really, I was!) say, "please calm down and be safe, I don't want an accident. Please just be safe, you could kill me." She yells some more to 'move over' to the surprise of other drivers (who saw what happened), and I ride off to let her have a shitty day.

I go to the Mill Valley police website since her license plate was easy (license plate redacted) to remember, and I file a report and a complaint. Apparently the Mill Valley police will send a letter chastizing her, but with no legal implications at all unless several more complaints are lodged.

Now, I know I was legally and morally in the right, but I also know she 1) doesn't recognize that she probably shouldn't be driving if she can't determine that she can easily and safely go by, and 2) probably hates cyclists and will never learn to be polite under any circumstances.

Here's the question: Does my notifying the police and trying to talk to her help us as cyclists?
- The woman doesn't care, will this make her more hostile toward cyclists? Or is there a slim chance she will tone done her aggression?
- The police should know that cyclists matter and have a voice, but in a broad generalization, we're more looked upon as a revenue source for tickets than a valid class of vehicles, and therefore much diminished in clout. Does this annoy cops or help get our message across?
- I tried to be extra polite when I caught her, partly because I knew she'd continue yelling, and mostly because other drivers were watching and would potentially hear what I had to say. Does this help at all (again, I highly doubt it helped the driver see the error, but perhaps her teenage granddaughter in the backseat will talk to her later?) or does it simply make more drivers think 'there goes another asshole cyclist'?

I simply dream for a day when everyone has to ride a bike at least once a month to learn how to be better members of the driving and human community.

Honestly, your input is appreciated. Doesn't need to be a huge group discussion, I just want your feedback and can follow up with anyone who wants the full group input.


MUNI sucks

Yesterday went from bad to stupid. After losing an hour in the AM due to a Caltrain suicide - exacerbated by not having my bike with me, not having my bike at the end of the day really cost me.

My wife called - "pick up some green sauce and diapers". This is a trivial errand with my bike, I'd probably stop at Rainbow for the sauce and the Noe Valley Walgreens for the diapers, unless I was feeling frisky and ride up to Mollie Stone's in Miraloma Park for both, giving me a hill climb up O'Shaugnessy in the process. Without a bike, I had to strategize. I was on Caltrain 275 which does not connect to BART or stop at 22nd St. I decided the best play was the 4th/King Safeway. As we pulled in I checked Nextbus - the T to the Castro in 10 minutes as I arrived at the station.

Run into Safeway - 10 minutes to grab a can of sauce and some diapers. Safeway was out of #1 diapers. Argh. I spy Walgreens across the street. Fine, I'll get the sauce and if I make the T, I will go to the Castro, otherwise, go into Walgreens and do a MUNI check. The cashier line was 6 deep! Aiyah! Who are these people? I didn't realize so many people lived in SoMa. I miss the T, and head to Walgreens.

I spy a 47 bus outside Walgreens. The 47 rules. Low traffic streets and cuts me right to Van Ness station. Of course it pulls out just as I get there. Fine, go into Walgreens which of course does not have the diapers I need. Now, it gets real comical.

I fumble with my Iphone for 2 minutes to check the T - 1 minute! Run to the T stop 1 block away, miss the T. Check the N Judah. 15 minutes. The 47 - 10 minutes. T - 15 minutes. I walk BACK to the 47 stop. 10 minutes pass, during which no 47 arrives to start the run, but an N Judah departs! Argh! Finally a 47 shows up, and the driver promptly goes around the corner for a smoke break. Another guy decides he will take the 10, which he sees is headed our way. Too late I decide this is a good idea, I walk around the corner to see that 10 bus pulling out. The T is on the way, so I head over there. Before it arrives, the 47 driver decides to put out his cigarrette and start his run - which would have surely outpace the T I finally just waited for.

MUNI FAIL. The problem at this spot is that there are 6 semi-useful lines, only 2 of which stop at the same place, the 45 and 30. NextMUNI will give you predictions for multiple lines at the same stop, but if the stops are catty-corner (like the 47 vs the 30) it won't, so navigating competing bus predictions on a Iphone may simply result in you first checking the prediction for a line that is 20 minutes away, then navigating to the line that is ARRIVING - 200 yards from where you stand.

The T and the N are at the same intersection but it takes 3-4 minutes to cross the dangerous intersection. The N Judah and the 47 begin at this spot so the NextBus predictors are completely useless, witness the non-existent 47 that eventually turned into a smoke-break bus, and the N-Judah that wasn't supposed to be there that magically appeared and departed while I awaited the 47.

If I ever found the time to write an Iphone App I would write the "4th and King - nextbus collection app" to get all the buses leaving this general area, do some general math, and rank the "fastest way to Montgomery", "Fastest way to the Castro" etc... putting a DANGER disclaimer on anything containing the 47, N, 30, or 45 which all being their runs at this spot (I think this also applies to a couple of the commuter lines - the 81 or something like that).

And of course the Walgreens in the Castro also didn't have the diapers....

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2 Caltrain Suicides in 2 days.

After a slow start to the year with nary a problem on Caltrain (I haven't even been bumped more than 5-6 times thanks to the rain and dark and whatnot of the early part of the year), we had 2 fatalities, both suicides, in 2 days.

Monday wasn't so bad, it happened at noon and didn't affect the commute. This morning, some unfortunate soul decided to end their life at 8:20 AM. Another unfortunate soul was feeling not so smug this AM as he had taken MUNI to Caltrain instead of riding his bike. I finagled a trip on the VTA 522 to Santa Clara and hopped the 60. I did my good deed of the day alerting 2 other riders on the 522 how to make the switch to get to Mission College.

The twitter feeds were firing this AM. I read a pretty cool analysis about it at What I hear You Saying Is - good stuff.

Here's hoping the return trip is smoother.

Interview I'd pay to hear - Newsom interviewing Andy Thornley from SFBC (not Rob Anderson)(

Gavin Newsom is running for Governor. And he's on Twitter because he's oh so "Tech-Savvy."

Of course this tech savvyness shows in his Diary on Daily Kos. Penned by "Gavin Newsom". Of course, down in the comments, there is a comment "Help Newsom Raise $20,000 Online Today" also by "Gavin Newsom", but the comment is signed "Theo Yedinsky". I guess Gavin isn't so much "tech-savvy" as he is savvy about hiring people who are "tech-savvy".

I find it very amusing that the Kos post also has the following set of tags, all in a row, right after "Gavin Newsom" and "CA-Gov". "Environment", "Green Energy", "Green Jobs", "Green Living". It appears he - I mean Theo - forgot "Greenwashed" (and maybe "Blogwashed"). And by "Green Living" apparently he means "Making an incognito excursion on Muni" - which he might think actually burns more gas than his pixie dust powered "Hybrid Police Car" - which is an armor plated Tahoe SUV that probably gets 10 MPG even with the Hybrid Engine, and which he had someone drive to Montana and back for his wedding.

Anyway, Theo-Gav has Twitter challenge - who should be the next guest on his radio show. Sadly the current leader seems to be Carrie Prejean, the surgically enhanced homophobic Miss California. What a softball. Even Gavin could eat her up for lunch.

Here's who I want on the show. Andy Thornley from the San Francisco Bike Coalition If Gavin wants to show he can deal with an aggrieved State Assemblyman he should be able to talk to a spokesman for an issue that he's failed on.

Regardless, it will force Gavin to make a definitive statement on cycling infrastructure in San Francisco, go on record with his point of view, and discuss why the City hasn't fast tracked the EIR process and gotten things going.

Let's go people. Get your twitter accounts going and ask Gavin to get Andy Thornley on his show.

UPDATE - I've re-written this blog - my obsession with crazy Rob Anderson is showing. He is fading into irrellevance and doesn't deserve a forum as I originally called for.

Please keep ideas coming -Miss California (as topical as her story is)-- can't be the top choice?!
2:30 PM May 3rd from txt