Oct 21, 2011

Panhandle Pathway connections to East and West making news

News this week about changes to the connections for cycling to the east and west of the Panhandle:

To the west, one-way cycle tracks for John F. Kennedy Drive received strong support from Mayor Ed Lee and General Manager Phil Ginsburg and were approved by the Rec and Park Commission on Thursday Oct 20. The Rec and Park Department has been collaborating with SFMTA and conducting public outreach on the project for about a year. This project is important for folks who want to be able to continue their bike ride from the Panhandle Path, and continue west, without having to ride on the open roadway of JFK Ave alongside cars, buses, and trucks.

To the east, a project for Fell and Oak Streets between Scott and Baker has been moving forward under the SFMTA, with Luis Montoya as Project Manager. One-way cycle tracks on these streets could be installed if we either remove a lane of car parking or a travel lane. Montoya started talking with neighbors this summer, and helped us set up public meetings, including one on July 26 held in conjunction with NOPNA that was a forum to discuss how the proposed project might impact the Panhandle Park.

Last week, an SF Examiner story reported that the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association opposes all options under study in the Fell/Oak project. You can click to download HAIA's letter to the SFMTA. NOPNA & other neighborhood groups seem to be informing the community about the issues so that people can provide input and make a better end product. I'll continue to speak out about potential impacts on the already crowded multi-use path and the need for better street-path transitions, especially at Baker Street. I'll post info about what's next for this project as information becomes available. In the meantime, it seems like an opportune moment to let your elected representatives know your thoughts about the proposals and the process.

UPDATE: Luis Montoya from SFMTA replied to an email inquiry. He said that he is working on finalizing the exact time/place of public workshop that will happen in December. He also pointed out that it is too early to identify "one-way cycle tracks" as the only option under consideration for Fell/Oak; the two-way method is also being looked at. Even though the one-way option was chosen for JFK, the two-way configuration may have advantages for this very different project. 

Oct 10, 2011

October Workday wrap-up

My pictures don't do  justice to the beautiful weather or to the amazing spirits of all the volunteers who came out for our workday on Saturday in the Panhandle.
Clearing leaves from the path and the meadow
We were joined by an awesome group of families from the San Francisco Day School, who joined the main group of volunteers on a job that at first appeared daunting and thankless - raking up eucalyptus leaves in a big area between Clayton and Cole Street on both sides of the north path. But with a lot of people getting to work, and with help from RPD, raking leaves in the sunshine actually turned out to be pretty fun. With a huge amount of leaf litter removed, the grass is going to have a much better chance to resprout with the coming fall rains.

The area we were working in was adjacent to a cluster of redwoods on the north side of the park, and a crew from RPD arrived to work with Charlie (pictured above) on clearing some burl growth as well as clipping back English Elm suckers coming up from the ground. During break we took a closer look at the redwoods and began learning more about them and thinking about a biodiversity project that we hope to bring to the multiple redwood clusters found in the Panhandle.  

In the shade of the redwoods on a sunny fall morning

Meanwhile, Nancy and Michael traveled down to the east end to tackle a special project: clipping back the large bush from the north path. This bush grows quickly, and can reduce visibility for people traveling on the path. Safety on the path is an ongoing concern, and the commencement of cross-town, park-to-park bike rentals is bound to bring even more people riding bikes in the Panhandle. Meanwhile the city is moving forward with approval of a separated bike way along JFK Drive, just west of the Panhandle bike path, so we can expect cycling to continue to increase in the coming year. 
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Oct 5, 2011

First work day of the fall coming up this Saturday in the Panhandle

Join us this Saturday, October 8 for the first Panhandle work day of the fall season. 

We gather at 9 a.m. at the Bulletin Board near the Panhandle playgrounds, and continue until 11:30 or 12 noon. 

We'll be joined by some families from SF Day School, which has begun a new school year and confirmed plans to continue lending a hand to the Panhandle Park Stewards this fall.

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