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Wrong-side Car – What Would You Do?

January 13, 2015
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I was driving down Diamond Heights Boulevard toward the Safeway. Just before you enter the parking lot, the road slopes down from the Stop sign and splits.  It has a center divide with shrubs and trees, intersected by a couple of gaps that allow you to make a left when you leave the parking lot. The whole area is dimly lit at night. Prime accident territory. A few years ago, I saw a lady in an older car come out of the parking lot, trying to cross the median strip to turn left when another car came zooming down the road and hit her. They both ended up in the median; I hope no one was hurt. car with headlightsToday, I was just entering the dark downslope when I saw headlights … on the wrong side of the road.  A car was facing me.

He’d obviously exited the parking lot, missed the gap in the verge, and turned into the oncoming traffic. I could imagine a head-on collision happening in the next few seconds; it would only take one heedless driver going too fast. So I put on my hazard lights and angled my car across both lanes of traffic and stopped. All the wrong-side driver needed was a few minutes and a clear space to turn around.

Most cars behind me stopped. A few beeped lightly, wondering what was happening. And a few others just nudged past my car. One driver just swerved wildly and zoomed by. My little car really couldn’t block a two lanes effectively. I was relying on other drivers to realize that something was wrong, and hoping they’d give the wrong-side guy a chance to turn his car. But evidently, not everyone did, or maybe they were in a hurry and didn’t care. It did however give the wrong-side car a chance to pull over out of the traffic. I pulled over myself and waited. When he had an opportunity, he did a 3-point turn and got himself facing in the right direction. Everything quickly cleared up. A few minutes later a police car cruised by, perhaps called by one of the people in the traffic. By then, there was nothing to see. But I wondered – what is the appropriate thing to do? What would you have done?

Golden Gate Bridge Closed This Weekend – Jan 10-12, 2015

January 8, 2015

Reminder, everyone! Golden Gate Bridge will be closed this weekend. This is taken from the GoldenGate.org website.

NOTICE OF GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE CLOSURE IN JANUARY 2015
Area Road Closures
Transit Options  |  Press Releases  |  Photos  |  Videos

The Golden Gate Bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic the second weekend of January 2015. The roadway will be closed starting at 12:01am on Saturday, January 10 and will reopen at 4:00 am on Monday, January 12.

The Bridge will be closed to install a moveable median barrier which will provide a safer and more efficient system of separating opposing lanes of traffic.

The Bridge District is issuing a no travel advisory that weekend but if travel between San Francisco and the North Bay Area is necessary, there are several ways to get to your destination:

  • Golden Gate Transit bus service will be allowed to cross the Bridge.
  • Golden Gate Ferry will be offering expanded service that weekend, including late night service.
  • Use alternate routes (Richmond and Bay Bridges)

Bridge’s east sidewalk will remain open to pedestrians and bicyclists but parking lots at the Bridge will be closed.

A new driving experience after installation

With the installation of the moveable median barrier comes a new and different driving experience across the Golden Gate Bridge. Today, plastic tubular pylons are used to separate opposing lanes of traffic on the Bridge. The new barrier system will provide a safer and more efficient system of dividing opposing lanes of traffic.

The barrier will be installed on the 1.7-mile-long Bridge and on the approach portion of Highway 101, north of the Golden Gate Bridge, starting at Alexander Avenue. Using transfer machines, the barrier will be moved several times a day to create more lanes in a particular direction to accommodate variable traffic demands such as the morning and evening commutes.

A new merge will be very different for southbound vehicles. Where drivers current merge from left to right, the new merge will be from right to left. In addition, the speed limit will be dropped to 45 miles per hour from the current 55 miles per hour on the descent down the Waldo Grade. Lastly, with the installation of the barrier, the two inside lanes will lose 6-inches of width. Getting used to driving next to the barrier may take some adjustment for some drivers, and the District advises motorists to take it slow and get used to the new driving conditions.

This new moveable median barrier system will enhance safety by reducing the potential for cross-over collisions and will allow the Bridge District to more efficiently reconfigure lane changes to optimize traffic operations on the bridge.

To view an animation of the new driving experience, click here.

For more information on the Moveable Median Barrier project, click here.

Area Road Closures

North End of the Golden Gate Bridge – Friday, January 9

  • At 8:00 a.m.
    • Southbound Hwy 101 off-ramp at Rodeo Avenue (see map)
  • At 8:00 p.m.
    • Parking lots at north end of Bridge (see map)
    • Alexander Avenue at Conzelman (see map)
  • At 11:30 p.m.
    • Southbound Hwy 101 at Marin City (see map)
    • Southbound Hwy 101 on-ramp at Spencer Avenue (see map)
    • Southbound Hwy 101 on-ramp at Alexander Avenue (see map)
    • Northbound Hwy 101 on-ramp at Alexander Avenue (see map)

South End of the Golden Gate Bridge – Friday, January 9

  • At 8:00 p.m.
    • Parking lots at south end of the Bridge (see map)
  • At 11:30 p.m.
    • Northbound Hwy 101 at Marina Boulevard & Richardson Avenue (see map)
    • Northbound Hwy 1 at Lake Street (see map)
  • At 11:45 p.m.
    • Northbound Hwy 101 off-ramp at Merchant Road (see map)
    • Southbound Hwy 101 off-ramp at Merchant Road (see map)
North End of GGB
Rodeo Ave
Parking lots &
Alexander Ave at Conzelman
Marin City
Spencer Ave
 Alexander Ave
South End of GGB
Parking lots
Marina Blvd
Lake Street
Merchant Road

Transit Service Info

Golden Gate Transit BUS: Weekend service. Click HERE for timetables. Routes 10 and 17 & late night Route 70 trips will NOT operate in Sausalito. Use free shuttle and make all connections in Marin City.

Golden Gate FERRY: Added early-morning to late-night service on Larkspur Ferry. Late-night service added to Sausalito Ferry weekend schedules. Click HERE for timetables.

Press Releases

Sutro Tower Holiday Ornament

January 7, 2015

Red sutro tower holiday ornamentAt the Forest Knolls holiday party last month, Sutro Tower, Inc was one of the sponsors. They attended with some cool giveaways – including this cool red ornament with a picture of the Tower.

Someone posted a picture of it on our Forest Knolls Facebook page, and immediately people were asking where they could get one.

I wrote to Sutro Tower’s “information” email address. VP and General Manager Eric Dausman immediately responded and offered me some. I picked up a dozen, and have them available. (Two are spoken for already, ten left.)

If you live in Forest Knolls and want one, I’d be happy to drop it off at your place. If you live farther afield, we’ll need to make some arrangements. Email me at fk94131 at yahoo dot com either way.

Offer open, as they say, while stocks last.

 

Two Days Left for Free Workout at UCSF Gym

January 7, 2015

aerobic dancerUCSF is offering an open house at its Fitness Center – with free workouts – through January 10, 2015. They’re also offering free enrollments any time in January.  Here’s their message:

Parnassus neighbors:
Happy New Year. UCSF’s Fitness Center is holding an open house event this week that is open to our neighbors. The Fitness Center is offering free workouts now through January 10. If you become a member in January, there is no enrollment fee. Learn more at http://bit.ly/transform2015.

The Fitness Center is located in Millberry Union at 500 Parnassus Avenue.
If you have questions, you can call them at 476-0348.

December in Stow Lake: Ducks and More

January 3, 2015
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What better way to end the year than a walk round Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park? It remains one of my favorite places in San Francisco – user-friendly for people and waterbirds alike.
kid at water edge

Sbare areas with felled treeso I went down there on December 31st in the late afternoon with someone who wanted to try out a new Olympus camera. I carried my trusty Nikon Coolpix. (It’s a little less trusty now for having a strange gray line appear whenever I use the zoom; I’m going to have to fix or replace it).

Unfortunately, Strawberry Hill – the hill in the center of the lake, accessed by a bridge on either side – is a lot more bare than it used to be. They’ve been cutting down trees and removing vegetation. Before, you couldn’t even see the summit from the outside, and it always seemed green and lush.

gulls mallards coots at Stow Lake Dec 2014

We strolled around the lake,  enjoying the amazing birdlife and the clear evening light. On this trip, we saw not just the usual mallards and gulls, but a wealth of American coots…
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This shot reminded me of a hen overseeing a flock of chicks. “Are you our mother?
Are you my mother

This gull allowed a close-up. I tried to figure out its species from my bird books, but couldn’t really narrow it down. Maybe a Thayer’s or a Glaucus-winged? Or a young Western gull? [Edited to add: A friendly bird expert thought it was probably a glaucus-winged, but just possibly could be a Thayer’s.] Gulls are confusing, the more so because some of them hybridize quite happily.

A gull

There were some Northern Shovellers amid the mallards, and I got a picture of this couple.
northern shoveler

Perched on a rock, and preening continuously, we saw this duck – I think it’s a female ruddy duck.
PC310014 female ruddy duck and coot

And there was this smart black and white bufflehead. [Edited to add: The picture shows the green/ purple iridescence, but that wasn’t clearly visible from shore without binoculars – which I forgot to carry with me.] We first saw it near the boat-house, but then it reappeared on the side near the waterfall. I couldn’t tell if it was the same individual or not, it was diving and moving quickly. There were at least two; I have another photo of them which is too blurry to publish.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Double-crested cormorant swam around, low in the water. We saw a couple of others fly off.
double crested cormorantThey always remind me of a nonsense verse I read as a kid: ” The common cormorant or shag/ Lays eggs inside a paper bag/ The reason you will see no doubt/ It is to keep the lightning out/ But what these unobservant birds/ Have never noticed is that herds/ Of wandering bears may come with buns/ And steal the bags to hold the crumbs.” (It’s by Christopher Isherwood and of course it isn’t true – but as a child I had a strong mental image of the birds creeping into brown-paper bags to nest…)

The usual Muscovy ducks (which don’t actually come from Moscow) foraged around the edges of the lake.
muscovy duck at Stow Lake

There were a few of the Canada geese (formerly from Canada, but they live here now and particularly love the new Botanical Garden, which is goose heaven).
canada goose in a pine tree

Instead of a partridge in a pear tree, I offer you a wild goose in a pine tree.

It’s a couple of days late – but wishing everyone who reads this a wonderful year in 2015!

Huge Success: Forest Knolls Winter Party 2014

December 10, 2014

We dropped in on the Forest Knolls winter party on Sunday. Even the approach looked welcoming, with red and green balloons, and a sign saying FOREST KNOLLS.

forest knolls winter party
People were just beginning to arrive. A lot of families showed up, with kids or grandkids. It’s a lovely change that’s happened over the last few years. At one time, there were hardly any children in Forest Knolls; young families had moved in, the kids had grown and flown, and the aging folks stayed on. Now, we have a nice mix, with people from 8 weeks to 80+ years – and many of them came to the party.

kristine signing people in
Kristine Zaback was signing people in and issuing name-tags so neighbors could get to know each other. We talked with Walter Caplan, who had organized the party. “I got money from Sutro Tower,” he told us. The arrangements were great, and the space was really nice. “My Car Club friends decorated it,” he said. They did a lovely job.

lots of food
The party was just getting started when I took these pictures.

people beginning to gather

The Sutro Tower (TM) Public Relations people were there, with a banner that said Sutro Tower TM.
sutro tower cookiesSutro Tower TM
They had red tree decorations with Sutro Tower on it, and quite remarkably, cookies with the Sutro Tower picture on them. I took one, but Walter said, “We’ve got boxes of them,” and handed me three more.

A little label identified the source: Veronica’s Treats. They’re ‘Photo and Logo cookies’ and ‘Party favors and treats.’ Neat idea!

We left soon after Santa arrived. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. I’d like to say this photograph is blurred to preserve the privacy of the kids, but they’re blurred because the camera shook. The privacy is a positive result. (I usually get permission for kids’ pics, or shrink/ blur them so they can’t easily be identified.)

I checked in with Laura Bloch, who helped publicize the party. She was totally enthusiastic: “I can report that the party was a huge success – terrific decorations, great attendance by young and old, a fun raffle, a jolly Santa, plenty of food, and a real feeling of merriment.  Walter, Kristine and their helper-elves did a FANTASTIC job!

santa clausHAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!

Reminder – RSVP Holiday Party 2014!

December 6, 2014

Reminder: Please let Walter Caplan (415 621 0500) know if you plan to attend tomorrow’s party – especially if “you” includes kids! Santa needs to know.

FK xmas party flyer 2014

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