Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bike Commuter of the Year

I'll say the thing was fixed, but take the flattery. I was named Bike Commuter of the Year for San Francisco, giving me the opportunity to link to the story at Cyclelicious

This is the "new father version" of a Sub 20 Old La Honda.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Costanoa Lodge

My wife, son, and I are going to Costanoa Lodge in Pescadero this weekend. We're driving (gasp! - though I am going straight to work on Monday via bike while she goes home to SF) but there is a deal for this place if you can bike there.

In the Green Zebra coupon book, available for $25, there is a 25% off lodging and spa services when you arrive Sun-Thu IF - you arrive via eco-friendly transport method. This includes foot, bike, "Alternative Fuel Vehicle" or covered wagon.

There are a lot of other good coupons in the green zebra book, and proceeds go to Summer Sprouts

Oil Rig sinks in gulf of Mexico, 11 missing.

From Daily Kos

One of the comments I found amusing.

I hope that everyone who's reading this...
who uses a car as their primary mode of transportation is on the waiting list for an electric car (or trying to get on such a waiting list). Price is no longer an excuse. Nissan's Leaf, after the federal tax credit, will be $25k nationwide and as low as $19k in some states -- yet can run at about two cents a mile and has almost no maintenance. Mitsubishi's MiEV will be at least $2.5k cheaper. And there are all sorts of other offerings coming out.

You've all got no excuses now! If we don't switch to electric, how can we expect others to?

Cuz you know, 11 people died.

Of course, 44 percent of US electricity generation comes from Coal.

Short memories people.

April 9, 2010 West Virginia Coal Mine Disaster: Funerals Begin as Hope Dwindles

Friday, April 16, 2010

Backwards Bicycle Policy

From the Examiner

Backward bicycle policy

Caltrain has proclaimed near-bankruptcy, but it continues to drive away customers by denying service to cyclists due to insufficient bicycle capacity. Caltrain chooses to run empty seats up and down the line instead of accommodating its most-loyal customers by adding more space onboard for bikes. It’s hard to sympathize with an agency that declares financial collapse but favors empty seats over paying passengers.

John Murphy, San Francisco

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Support New Restaurant Rules in Noe Valley

From Carol Yenne - owner of Small Frys. Email (again!) on this one...


Dear Friends, next Monday is the day for the Land Use hearing on allowing
restaurants in Noe Valley with conditional use.
April 19th at 1:00 at the Board's Land Use Committee.


Twenty years+ ago the 24th Street neighborhood opted for a NO on any new
food places in Noe Valley, This was in response to the fear of fast food
chain restaurants in the neighborhood, i.e. McDonalds which had just opened
up in the Haight etc. This outright ban affects only 24th street. It was
not imposed on Church or Valencia or other adjacent streets which helps
explain why the restaurants have opened up in these locations rather than on
24th Street. These neighborhoods have conditional use restrictions on
restaurants opening except those chain restrictions imposed city wide.

The unintended consequences of this outright ban is that it has made every
restaurant permit in the street a "commodity" that only chains can afford to
purchase and because there is no CONDITIONAL USE permit when a restaurant
turns over there is no control by the neighborhood as to types of
restaurants that come in or equipment used to alleviate smell/noise which is
the objection of some neighbors.

Ten years ago a members survey done by Friends of Noe Valley indicated that
a majority of members of Friends now wanted more restaurant options. Four
years ago Friends of Noe Valley and Merchants and other groups joined
together to support the opening of the window to allow for 3 new restaurants
without conditional use. Because of the cost of space, availibility of
suitable space and arcane & clumsy system used by the city we got
1(Contigo). This opening for three new restaurants is going to expire next
year with the net result of one.

City planning has suggested we change the zoning to allow for new
restaurants/food options WITH CONDITIONAL USE for each one. This compromise
would set up a system where any new restaurant that replaced an existing
restaurant or comes in would have to come to the neighborhood groups first
to get permission/work with neighbors on noise/smell concerns or risk being
opposed at city hall. We could say yes to mom/pop restaurant i.e. Contigo
and no to Applebee's, we could demand the high level of noise/smell
abatement etc.

We have even gotten the support of many established food operators like Noe
Valley Bakery & Noe Valley Deli as well as businesses like Tuggies Hardware
who understand that restaurants bring more foot traffic into the
neighborhood which helps all businesses and especially supports the small
mom/pop shops that sell flower, hardware, gifts, clothing etc that so many
people fear loosing from Noe Valley.

Last fall the Noe Valley Merchants and Professionals association voted to
work to request this change in zoning. City Planning took up the issue for
our neighborhood as well as others and approved our request unanimously.
Then a community meeting was recently held by Supervisor Dufty at St.
Philips Church with a 2 -3 to one majority vote in favor of this change to
our zoning.

However, there are a number of residents in the neighborhood who will fight
any new food option for a variety of reasons not really understanding that
this conditional use actually gives the neighborhood more power over food
operators. They plan to be at this hearing to try and stop this from going
forward. Therefore I ask for support in attending the hearing and/or
letters of support to Bevan Dufty & Boe Hayward at the address above.
Details on the hearing are below.

Thank You.

Carol Yenne

Dear All,
We will hear the Noe Valley restaurant item on April 19th at 1:00 at the
Board's Land Use Committee.

The Committee allows for public comment on each item, so people will be able
to speak in favor or in opposition to our proposal for new restaurants via a
Conditional Use along 24th Street .

Please let me know if you have any questions about the item and please let
me know if you will be able to attend.


Monday, April 12, 2010

If you think I pontificate on the keyboard

You should see me with a microphone...

I was clever enough to put my wife up there to distract from my ugly mug.

Fun stuff. I haven't spoken in front of an audience that large for a long time, and I've never spoken in front of an audience containing 50% people who were actively against what I had to say. I mean sure, in debate finals, there were the buddies of the team we were going against, and hoped I would lose, but they weren't actively disagreeing with what I was saying.

And they sure as heck weren't heckling me, as I was heckled Thursday night. Oh well, I'm a big boy.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Caltrain - Broke?

I received a surprising, shocking email today at work.

From: Richards, Gary
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 1:52 PM
To: John Murphy
Subject: RE: Mercury News: Caltrain story

Hi John.

We are working on this story. Can you tell me what impact it would have on you? Can you get back to me asap? Thanks


Caltrain officials on Thursday said the agency has gone broke and will almost assuredly need to wipe out half its trains. There will be no service on weekends, and on weekdays trains will stop running during the midday and after 8 p.m. Officials said at this rate they may go belly up and completely halt service before the agency can finish its rescue plan to electrify trains, which will be much cheaper, by 2015. It comes as San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Francisco counties – which provide about 40 percent of Caltrain’s revenue – said they will cut about 70 percent of their contributions. The cuts could start as early as this fall and be complete by next spring. Rosenberg

Gary Richards

San Jose Mercury News

Mr. Roadshow just won an award for his journalism, I'll give him credit, he pulled my email addresses out of the depths of his mailboxes, wherein lay an email to him where I mentioned I take Caltrain. And he did it to get a source for someone else's story. Long live journalism.

I was quoted in the story in the Merc.

John Murphy rides Caltrain from San Francisco to work in Santa Clara, balancing the commute with taking care of his young son. He said the midday cuts would be "horrible" and would force him and his wife to buy a second car, move closer to his office or switch jobs.

"All the jobs I can do are down here (in the Valley)," Murphy said. "My wife is in marketing — all her jobs are up (in San Francisco). Caltrain makes it work."

Among other things, this means no service for Giants or Sharks games. That should make things fun for the CHP. One of the biggest contingents on Caltrain is Stanford Grad Students, who must compete for housing in Palo Alto with the likes of Steve Jobs, so they often live up or down the Caltrain line - with the added convenience that all Stanford employees get a free Caltrain pass. But if your first class is at noon - sorry bud, last train to PA is at 9:30 AM. And if you are working late on some research, instead of that 10:30 PM train, you have to be out at 8 PM.

But who cares - what do Stanford Grads do - do they even provide any jobs? Sergey? Larry?