Three years ago, reporting on a meeting I attended, I mentioned the Hidden Garden Steps project. The other day, a friend told me it was done, and of course I wanted to see it. So off we went.
It starts at Lawton and 16th, next to a painted bench, and connects to Kirkham. Here’s the first flight up, with a snail…
If you want to see each flight of steps in more detail – and even read the names on them – there’s a website with photographs HERE.
And there are views – including one of my favorites, the beautiful Sutro Forest.
A few days ago, I posted a photo of a painting someone had mounted on their fence. And soon after, neighbor Nola sent a message on Facebook saying that by the time I posted the photo here, the original picture had been vandalized. Today, I went to have a look – and sure enough, someone had scrawled glasses and a Hitlerian mustache and forelock on it in runny paint.
I’m sad. Why would someone do this? (Unless it was the artist himself doing a Marcel DuChamp tribute.)
Here’s the original:
So some months ago, I’d asked – Did someone save the Squat and Gobble trees?
Squat and Gobble, the West Portal eatery that was being rebuilt after the fire there, had sought approval to remove a tree to provide heavy machinery access to the site. (I’d thought it was two trees that were scheduled for removal, but it was one.) But, as I reported then, work was well underway and both trees were still there. I was glad; West Portal has lost some beautiful trees, most notably an old one near the tunnel entrance when work was done there.
I wrote to Carla Short at the Department of Public Works, asking if the trees had been saved. She didn’t know. She replied:
As for the West Portal trees, only one tree was approved for removal in order to accommodate the crane for construction. I have not heard that they are planning to preserve that tree, so it may be still coming out. Their permit is valid for six months. If they found a way to work around it, though, perhaps they are preserving it, I just haven’t heard anything. If it does get removed, they will be required to plant a replacement tree, and some additional trees on the West Portal frontage.
Well, the tree was there through much of the construction, but when Squat and Gobble reopened, I found it was gone. Even the tree-basin the tree had grown in was gone. There’s no replacement tree there, nor any along the West Portal frontage. I hope they’re planning to put them in.
It’s just one tree, and it was removed through a proper permitting process. But I’m beginning to see an anti-tree ethos in this city. Whenever there’s a project, whether private or City-led, trees are the casualty. There seems to be no emphasis on trying to preserve and work around them.
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.”
- William Blake, The Letters, 1799
The other night, going for a walk, I was intrigued to see this picture on a neighbor’s fence. Since it was dark, my photos didn’t come out well, with a splotchy white reflection from the flash. But a couple of days ago, I actually made it during the day.
Thanks, whoever put it up – It’s a quirky addition to our beautiful neighborhood.
I went back to the West Portal Arts Fair yesterday afternoon. It was sunny and windy, nice for a stroll to admire all the interesting things the artists and crafters had brought. I got a bunch of photographs – used here with permission from the stall-holders. If you’re interested – go today. It ends at 4 p.m., and after that it’s gone until next year.
I tried getting a list of all the stall-holders and what they were selling, but I couldn’t find the organizer. People kept telling me he was on the other side of the road… which was rather like “jam tomorrow.” Next year, maybe I’ll try email.
Meanwhile, here’s a bunch of the stalls that I stopped at. (I ended the trip with a shoulder bag with froggy yogis, and a small welded-scrap owl.)
SOME OF THE STALLS
Across the road, this stall was selling colorful switchplates and small salt-and-pepper sets.
This one had such cute kiddy clothes, it made me wish I’d someone to buy them for. Unusually, it had some neat stuff for little boys as well, with dinosaurs and sharks and pirates.
This was unusual – photographs printed on slate (yes, the rock) and then mounted in slate frames. If I had any wall space left, I’d probably have got one … some pieces were really beautiful. The slate gave them a texture and a solidity one doesn’t associate with photographs.
These bags were simple, and beautifully made. But what made them special was the whimsical fabrics the artist chose. (I got a bag with froggy yogis on it – frogs in yoga poses.)
Comfortable clothes that still have an artisanal look attracted quite a few visitors.
A few artists let me photograph their work. (Some others didn’t want their work photographed, I guess because people sometimes rip them off by making cheaper copies.)
Figurines dressed as old men accompanied by furry animals, made of real fur – this stall seemed like it was planning ahead for winter and maybe Christmas.
I’d seen welded scrap sculptures before, but this lot from Metal Souls were unusual – it had Dr Who themed stuff like the Tardis and Daleks, Star Wars figures like Darth Vader, a few dragons, and a whole menagerie of animals from alligators to owls.
The San Francisco-themed photographs here showed scenes familiar to us San Franciscans.
Organic cosmetics, with none of the strange-sounding additives of commercial brands.
The bold jewelry designs here were quite elegant.
Each of these salt-cellars and pots was hand-made.
Ramos Designs had really pretty sparkly and unusual necklaces and earrings.
This man was explaining an odd-looking piece of furniture – the bed desk. It’s like a little book-holder, and can lock into various positions so it can become an easel, a snack tray, or a lap-top table. It folds flat. There’s a great little brochure that explains its versatility – or you could visit the Fair and get a demo.
The silver jewelry in this case was very pretty and delicate.
And the last stall I photographed: wooden toys. They were beautifully made.
Of course, that’s not all the stalls, even if I include the ones I saw yesterday. Some people didn’t want their work photographed, and I didn’t manage to get to all of the stalls anyway. (If anyone wants to send me more photos, I’d be happy to run them.)
I was at West Portal today, meeting friends for lunch. The weather was pleasantly sunny after overnight rain, and I was delighted to see the West Portal Arts Fair had arrived. Both sides of the street were lined with stalls set up by crafters and artists. I recognized some from previous years, but others were new.
By the time we’d finished lunch (and made a detour to West Portal Books), the sun was gone. Nevertheless, I stopped at a few stalls, buying ear rings for a gift, a beautiful handmade wooden spatula from the same stall where I bought a coffee scoop last year, and yearned after some wonderful Zapotec rugs and handmade marquetry mirrors with naturalistic designs. One of them had a great blue heron, another had cherry blossoms, and yet another had mother-of-pearl inlaid in the wood, representing glass windows. A stall I didn’t recall from last year had adorable clothes for kids, I’m guessing mostly for little girls. And the White Rose Boutique had a Festival special – and an eye-catching display of hats that apparently made your feet happy…
By this time, a drizzle had started up, and the vendors were covering or packing up their stalls. I decided to go back tomorrow; the forecast is for better weather.
In other West Portal news: The Squat and Gobble restaurant, which had burned out in October 2012, is back! We ate there the other night. They have a broader range of offerings now, and the food is predictably decent. The new decor, though, is quite bland – nothing like the rotating art they used to have initially, and the mural that replaced it.
I just got an email from the SFMTA with updates to proposed route changes. “Your participation has made a difference!” it said. It continued with an explanation of the changes proposed by the Policy and Governance Committee (PAG).
Among them: “36 Teresita: The PAG supports maintaining the entirety of the existing 36 alignment.”
Thanks, everyone who spoke up, commented, and wrote in against the original plan and particularly to those who spearheaded this effort. Clearly, our voices were heard.
[Special thanks also to our District 7 Supervisor, Norman Yee, for his assistance.]
Here’s the text of the whole message, in case you’re interested in other routes. There’ll be a meeting on March 28th, 8 a.m. at City Hall during which the final decision will be made. It’s expected to be in line with the recommendations.
Your participation has made a difference!
The service change proposals of the Transit Effectiveness Project, an ongoing project to make Muni more reliable for its customers, were reviewed by the SFMTA Policy and Governance Committee (PAG) on Friday, March 21. Based on their input, staff is recommending the following proposal modifications outlined below. Staff will present the following recommendations to the SFMTA Board on Friday, March 28. These modifications aim to retain the benefits of the initial proposals, while addressing key community concerns.
Here’s what we proposed, what we modified based on what we heard, and what we will be recommending to the SFMTA Board:
2 Clement: The PAG supports the recommended proposal of using existing overhead wires to implement 2 Clement trolley service on the entire Sutter/Post Street corridor, adding service on the Sutter Street route segment, and realigning the 2 line to operate on California Street to Eighth Avenue, on Eighth Avenue south to Clement Street, on Clement Street between Eighth and Sixth Avenues, and to California via Sixth Avenue. Service will be discontinued on Clement Street; between Arguello Boulevard and 6th Avenue, and 8th and 15th Avenues.
3 Jackson: The PAG supports maintaining service on the 3 Jackson with reduced frequency to better match customer demand.
6 Parnassus: The PAG supported maintaining the 6 Parnassus in the line’s current alignment through Ashbury Heights to UCSF and Golden Gate Heights and to reduce the frequency of the line to better match customer demand west of Masonic Avenue. Service will be further increased on the 71L Haight/Noriega Limited.
8X Bayshore Express: The PAG supports the continuation of 8X service north of Broadway for every other trip.
10 Townsend: The PAG supports the current 10 Townsend (Sansome) proposal to reroute through Mission Bay.
17 Parkmerced: The PAG supports the revised 17 realignment proposal, which shifts service to portions of Lake Merced Boulevard and Brotherhood Way to access the Daly City BART Station.
22 Fillmore and 33 Stanyan: The PAG supports the original realignment proposals for these routes, which include realigning the 22 along 16th Street to provide a direct transit connection to Mission Bay and realigning the 33 Stanyan off of Potrero Avenue and along the former 22 Fillmore alignment into the Dogpatch neighborhood. The PAG also supports increasing 33 service from 15 minute service to 12 minute service all day.
27 Bryant: The PAG supports maintaining the entirety of the existing 27 alignment.
28/28L 19th Avenue: The PAG supports the revised proposal for the 28 and 28L, which calls for the termination of the 28L in the Richmond District to Park Presidio and California Street and extension to the Balboa Park BART Station and the Mission corridor, as well as the continuation of the 28 to the Marina District via the Golden Gate Bridge to a new terminal at Van Ness Avenue and North Point Street.
35 Eureka: The PAG supports the revised proposal for the 35, which includes the continuation of service on Moffitt, Farnum, Addison, and Bemis Streets, and the extension of service to the Glen Park BART Station via Miguel and Chenery Streets.
36 Teresita: The PAG supports maintaining the entirety of the existing 36 alignment.
43 Masonic: The PAG supports connecting the route with the Presidio Transit Center while maintaining the existing route segment on Letterman Drive and Lombard Street.
47 Van Ness: The PAG supports maintaining 47 line service on 11th Street between Mission and Bryant Streets, rather than on 13th Street as originally proposed.
48 Quintara/24th Street: The PAG supports the original 48 service change proposal to remove service in the vicinity of Hoffman and Grandview Streets and instead straighten service along Clipper and Douglass Streets. However, the PAG supports maintaining the 48’s current alignment until the new 58 24th Street route is introduced, which is proposed to serve the former 48 alignment along Douglass Street, 21st Street, and Grandview Avenue.
56 Rutland: The PAG supports maintaining the entirety of the existing 56 alignment.
What’s next? See your input in action!
Proposed service and route changes to be reviewed by SFMTA Board of Directors at the following upcoming public hearings at City Hall Room 400, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlet Place
Friday March 28, 2014 at 8am
TEP Service change recommendations will be presented. (SFMTA board will make decisions at this meeting)