New Trail from Clarendon up to Laguna Honda

Recently, I saw a new trail marker/ map on Clarendon Avenue, across the street from “The Woods” townhome complex, and decided to explore.

It goes through the ravine that probably was part of the lake in olden times. It’s now dry, and forested with eucalyptus and understoried with blackberry. Laguna Honda Hospital (LHH) gets it cleared out occasionally with goats. It’s quite delightful, a narrow winding trail that climbs up the other side of the ravine and comes out in LHH’s front yard.

Hiker and blogger Tony Holiday tried out the same hike – though he went a bit further, beyond the juvenile detention facility – and has given me permission to use his story and some pictures here. (For lots more great pictures, see his blog post, Daisies, on his site Stairways Are Heaven. It’s also a great resource for transit-friendly hikes.)

* * *

From DAISIES by Tony Holiday

Thanks again to a good Facebook friend who told me about a new multi-use trail. And it’s a beauty!

The trailhead is on the Midtown Terrace side of Clarendon, just past Laguna Honda Reservoir. This is the south side of Clarendon, across the street from “The Woods” residences. There’s a sign with a map at the trailhead. It’s also a short distance from Olympia Way and the Midtown Terrace Playground.

Does this trail have an official name? If not, how ‘bout the “Woods” Trail?
Loved it immediately. Lush, narrow, definitely magical, with beautiful old trees.

It curves round, winding up to a south ridge.

 

 

No one on the trail but me (and Karl the Fog).

Nearer the summit was chainlink fencing and some old trash just off the trail. The cans, etc. will probably eventually be cleaned up. An old dumpsite for Laguna Honda Hospital?

To my left as I climbed were backs of Dellbrook Ave. homes. To my right, above, some of the many hospital buildings, old and new.

Then there were all these amazing white daisies along the trail.

There are benches just inside the hospital grounds behind one of the buildings. Still no one around but me. Continued up to a way out at a hospital parking lot.

From here delighted to see more woods just ahead.

Hidden away in the forest here are two huge graffiti-covered tanks.

Started down (west) alongside the hospital grounds to my right; to the left the Juvenile Probation Dept. Down at street level was Woodside & Idora. Continued curving downhill to the #43 bus stop that’s just across from the Forest Hill Metro Station.

Another treat —the colorful mural at the entrance to the hospital grounds on Laguna Honda at the bus stop. I think this has to be my favorite of all murals seen so far. [For lots more mural photos, see Tony’s original blog post.]

 

 

– THE END –

Weekend Night Closures – Forest Hill and West Portal Stations –

I was taking the Muni downtown yesterday, when a Muni employee stopped me. She handed me the flyer below, and told me the station would be closed weekend nights (Friday and Saturday) from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. It’ll last through June 17th, and they’ll have buses. All the details are available at SFMTA.com, or on 311.

I really appreciated the outreach. I’m seldom that late on the Muni, but when I am – it’s often a weekend.

 

Forest Knolls Neighborhood – Staying connected on the Internet

computerBy request, I am reprising this post that lets everyone know how to stay connected with our neighborhood on the Internet. It’s been slightly edited and updated.

There are several ways to connect to what’s happening in our neighborhood.

1. NextDoor Forest Knolls

Right now, Nextdoor is probably the most active platform (which I wrote about HERE). It’s different from the Yahoo Group in that you need to give your actual name and address (and NextDoor will verify the address). It’s the opposite of anonymity. The idea is to facilitate the building of community and trust. There are group leaders who can act if someone seems to be violating community norms. I’m one for Forest Knolls. So far, there’ve been no problems.

It’s relatively private, in that only others on NextDoor will see it. It won’t show up on a Google Search, for instance. But I’d warn that it’s private, not confidential. There’s no way of knowing who might copy or forward your post to someone else. Also, over time people who move away might not bother to change the details on their Nextdoor account unless they want to set up a new account where they’ve moved.

If you use the “Nearby Neighborhoods” feature, it gives access to neighborhood-housesNextdoor in 10 other neighborhoods. That means when you post something on Nextdoor, you can decide whether to post it just to Forest Knolls, or to the whole bunch of neighborhoods. (If you post to all the nearby neighborhoods as well, around 4800 people could see your post.)

You can turn off some of the neighborhoods if they are not really of interest. People have been using it for things like recommendations for contractors, baby-sitters, household stuff for sale, announcements of neighborhood or commercial events – and warnings about crime and other safety issues. It’s a good way to meet up with others who have similar interests, say, for instance, small kids.

If you’d like to join, that link is HERE

2. This website and blog, www.ForestKnolls.info (not dot com or dot org ! dot INFO)

This runs stuff of general interest, occasional pictures and articles, and announcements. It’s a good place for laying out or updating any neighborhood issues. It’s completely public – anyone anywhere with internet access can read it (should they want to).

It’s got a Pets page, so if you’d like to add a picture of any Forest Knolls pet to it, send it in to fk94131@yahoo.com – with the name of the animal if you want it included. So far, we only have dogs and cats, but I’m completely open to pictures of iguanas or macaws or even the odd tarantula. Send them in!

If you want to stay updated whenever there’s a new post, you can subscribe to the site for emails. (Go HERE and enter your email address in the box on the right side.) Your email does not become public, but the Webmaster can see it.

3. The Forest_Knolls_Neighborhood Yahoo Group.

Anyone can join, though it’s really of interest to people within the Forest Knolls neighborhood. It’s managed by Mary Allen. You can give your actual name or not as you prefer. Your email address will be visible. It’s also public, but people are unlikely to search it out. They could if they wanted, though.

Here’s what I wrote about it with instructions for joining:

“This is a free group. Anyone can join, though of course its greatest value is to people in the neighborhood. And, as groups go, it’s civilized. I’ve seen groups where participants forget they’re in a public space, and start flame-wars or post overly personal information. This is not that kind of group.”

If you’d like to join that, the link is HERE. Look for the button that says “Join This Group!”

4. Forest Knolls Group on Facebook

Anyone who’s on Facebook can join, but you have to ask the administrator (right now, that would be me). I’d love for more people to join and post stuff. It’s a good place to share pictures or anything you like. It’s public to anyone on Facebook.

Here’s the link:

Join us on Facebook

WHAT SHOULD I JOIN?

What you decide to join really depends on how you want to use it.

  • The ForestKnolls.info website is intended to keep you informed, but it’s really dependent on the Webmaster. Stuff can slip by me. If there’s something you think the neighborhood should know, email me.  It’s pretty easy reading. It also has neighborhood information.
  • Nextdoor is good if it’s important to know who you’re talking to. Real names, real addresses. I think it’s pretty practical for the kind of thing you’d like to do in person. As of now, it’s got about 230 neighbors in Forest Knolls, and around 4,800 including the 10 nearby neighborhoods.
  • The Yahoo Group has around 100 members, though all of them may not be from the neighborhood. (There’s no requirement they should be.) It’s relatively quiet now; I think many of the functions it served have been overtaken by Nextdoor. But it does exist and is functioning.
  • Facebook is neat if you tend to go there anyway. It has the advantage that anyone in the group can post there – pictures, issues, just comments – it’s all welcome.

For myself – I’m on all of them. It’s neat that our neighborhood can be connected on the web. I hope more people join in – spread the word!

Two Days Left for Free Workout at UCSF Gym

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.

Forest Knolls Keeps Its Bus!

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.

 

sfmta-transit-update_originalYour 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)

311-text-for-flyer-email_original

Join a UC Berkeley Study to Improve MUNI

muni busI was away for a few days, and came back to this letter in my email:

May I extend the invitation below to your neighborhood? I am a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley, and we are working on an innovative, smartphone-based research study to improve Muni. We are going to start next week, and it involves a free Muni pass for anybody who participates! I would greatly appreciate it if you could help us get the word out about this study, and perhaps via a mailing list you maintain or the blog?

Thank you very much!

Andre Carrel,  Ph.D. Candidate, University of California, Berkeley

I don’t know how many spots they have, or how long it will take to fill up – but here it is:
Subject: Free Muni pass for a month!

Dear San Francisco Resident,

Would you like to receive a free Muni pass and help improve transportation in San Francisco?

The University of California, Berkeley invites you to participate in the San Francisco Travel Quality Study. This is an innovative, smartphone-based study in which you can give direct feedback to improve Muni. Whether you are a driver who is tired of traffic, parking hassles, and $4 gas, or a Muni rider who would like to tell us about your experiences, we want to hear from you! For more information, and to apply, please visit:http://sftravelstudy.berkeley.edu

Help improve your city, reduce congestion, and help the environment.

Hurry! Limited slots are available and will fill quickly.

Please forward this opportunity to anyone you know who might be interested in participating.

Sincerely,

Andre Carrel, Ph.D. student, UC Berkeley

On a different, slightly-related, topic: Did you know that Muni buses are watching you? Among the notes on the side of the vehicle is this one: “WARNING”/ YOUR PICTURE AND VOICE/ MAY BE RECORDED ON THIS VEHICLE

muni bus is watching you

Forest Knolls Neighborhood on the Web

computerI thought I’d write this post to let everyone know the various ways we can connect on the Internet. For now, there are the following:

1. This website and blog, www.ForestKnolls.info (not dot com or dot org ! dot INFO)

This runs stuff of general interest, occasional pictures and articles, and announcements. It’s a good place for laying out or updating any neighborhood issues. It’s completely public – anyone anywhere with internet access can read it (should they want to).

It’s got a Pets page, so if you’d like to add a picture of any Forest Knolls pet to it, send it in to fk94131@yahoo.com – with the name of the animal if you want it included. So far, we only have dogs and cats, but I’m completely open to pictures of iguanas or macaws or even the odd tarantula. Send them in!

If you want to stay updated whenever there’s a new post, you can subscribe to the site for emails. (Go HERE and enter your email address in the box on the right side.) Your email does not become public, but the Webmaster can see it.

2. The Forest_Knolls_Neighborhood Yahoo Group.

Anyone can join, though it’s really of interest to people within the Forest Knolls neighborhood.You can give your actual name or not as you prefer. Your email address will be visible. It’s also public, but people are unlikely to search it out. They could if they wanted, though.

Here’s what I wrote about it two years ago, with instructions for joining:

“This  group, managed by Mary Allen, is  helpful for anyone living in the neighborhood… people send out heads-ups, share information, and occasionally post lost or found pet notices. We get recommendations for handymen and other service providers, as well as neighborhood safety information. I generally post a notice there when I have something new out here, too.

“This is a free group. Anyone can join, though of course its greatest value is to people in the neighborhood. And, as groups go, it’s civilized.  I’ve seen groups where participants forget they’re in a public space, and start flame-wars or post overly personal information. This is not that kind of group.”

If you’d like to join that, the link is HERE. Look for the button that says “Join This Group!”

3. NextDoor Forest Knolls

Nextdoor is a new platform (which I wrote about HERE). It’s different from the Yahoo Group in that you need to give your actual name and address (and NextDoor will verify the address).  It’s the opposite of anonymity. The idea is to facilitate the building of community and trust.

It’s relatively private, in that only others on NextDoor will see it. It won’t show up on a Google Search, for instance.  But I’d warn that it’s private, not confidential. There’s no way of knowing who might copy or forward your post to someone else.

Recently, our neighborhood got the “Nearby Neighborhoods” feature, which gives access to neighborhood-housesNextdoor in 9 other neighborhoods. That means when you post something on Nextdoor, you can decide whether to post it just to Forest Knolls, or to the whole bunch of neighborhoods. (If you post to all the nearby neighborhoods as well, around 1000 people will see your post.) You can even turn off some of the neighborhoods if they are not really of interest. People have been using it for things like recommendations for contractors, baby-sitters, household stuff for sale – and discussions about Sutro Forest. It’s a good way to meet up with others who have similar interests, say, for instance, small kids.

If you’d like to join, that link is HERE.

4. Forest Knolls Group on Facebook

That’s just started up. Anyone who’s on Facebook can join, but you have to ask the administrator (right now, that would be me).  I’d love for more people to join and post stuff. It’s a good place to share pictures or anything you like. It’s public to anyone on Facebook.

Here’s the link:

Join us on Facebook

WHAT SHOULD I JOIN?

What you decide to join really depends on how you want to use it.

  • The ForestKnolls.info website is intended to keep you informed, but it’s really dependent on the Webmaster. Stuff can slip by me. (If there’s something you think the neighborhood should know, email me.) It’s pretty easy reading. It also has neighborhood information.
  • The Yahoo Group has the most members right now, though all of them may not be from the neighborhood. (There’s no requirement they should be.) I think it probably reaches the most neighbors.
  • Nextdoor is good if it’s important to know who you’re talking to. Real names, real addresses. I think it’s pretty practical for the kind of thing you’d like to do in person.
  • Facebook is neat if you tend to go there anyway. It has the advantage that anyone in the group can post there – pictures, issues, just comments – it’s all welcome.

For myself – I’m on all of them. It’s neat that our neighborhood can be connected on the web. I hope more people join in  – spread the word!

Forest Knolls Neighborhood on Facebook

LIKE us on FacebookWe’re on Facebook! There’s now a community group called Forest Knolls Neighborhood, San Francisco. If you’re on Facebook, come join.

Right now, there’s not much up there.  If you have comments, stories, blog-posts or pictures to contribute, so much the better.  It’s at  https://www.facebook.com/groups/590570520956031/

“NextDoor” in Forest Knolls

neighborhood-houses[Edited to Add on 31 March 2013: We have the needed number of people to launch the group. So Nextdoor Forest Knolls exists. Come join if you’re interested.]

There’s a new platform for groups in town: Nextdoor. It’s like our Forest Knolls Neighborhood Yahoo Group, but unlike that, no one can be anonymous. Nextdoor is a closed group, and you can only join if you live within a specified neighborhood. They verify addresses and everyone uses their real names. Our Forest Knolls Nextdoor group will only launch if we can get at least 4 more members in the next week. We have a sort of pilot going on now. I’ve heard some reports from people in other neighborhoods who like NextDoor.

(Me, I’ve joined both.  The Forest_Knolls_Neighborhood Yahoo Group and NextDoor.)

Here’s an FAQ – and if you have more questions, post them to comments and either I’ll answer them or someone from NextDoor will.

1. How is this different from the Forest Knolls Yahoo Group that anyone can join?

Two main differences: First, it’s not anonymous; everyone who joins gives their name and address.

Second, it has more functions – it can have subgroups, like for instance a dog-owners group, or a parents group. Here’s a list:

  • A neighborhood directory, which is built on top of real profile pages, making it possible to really get to know your neighbors (as well as having a dynamically updated directory of contact info).
  • A neighborhood map.
  • The ability to create public or private groups (sub-groups) within the neighborhood or to communicate with people who live near you but outside the neighborhood through the Nearby Neighborhoods feature.
  • The ability for users to control their email settings based on the types of messages they want to receive.
  • An Urgent Alerts feature, which makes it possible to blast out urgent information (emergency, crime, etc.) by text message as well as email.
  • A Recommendations section which archives recommendations by category making it much easier to browse and find information over time.
  •  Event functionality with RSVPs.
  • Classifieds and Free Items categories which makes this kind of exchange easier and more efficient than a purely message based solution.
  • A dedicated Crime and Safety section.

2. How do I join?

You need an invitation, and then once you agree to join, your address needs to be verified. (This can be done by credit card – not with a charge, just for address verification – or by postcard.)  If you  click on this link, I’ll invite you to sign up:  https://forestknolls.nextdoor.com/invitation_email/?is=navbar

You can learn more at http://www.nextdoor.com

3. Why should I join?

It’s an easy way to stay in touch with neighbors, and start discussions about things that are important to the neighborhood. For instance, if we want to start a discussion about the new route-plan for the 36-Teresita, we could do so.

4. Can we post photographs and documents?

Yes, you can add one attachment to an original post.  (More functionality may be added later on.)

5. How private is it, anyway?

Well, it’s a private forum. Anyone who lives within the community and joins Nextdoor Forest Knolls can read it. If you choose to publish a post to nearby neighborhoods instead of just Forest Knolls, people in nearby neighborhoods can read it as well.  There’s nothing to stop anyone from cutting and pasting and sending a message to other people. So you can post things there that you don’t necessarily want to tell the whole world – but I wouldn’t recommend putting anything on that’s *really* private.

6. Does it cost anything?

No, Nextdoor is free. Later on they may add advertisements from local business to support the service. (The company intends to focus on local businesses as much as possible.)

Flyer: Midtown Terrace Playground

Midtown Terrace PlaygroundSome time ago, we’d posted about the renovations at the Midtown Terrace Playground. Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization sent round a flyer with details of what’s going on there — a latchkey program for 5-11 year-olds, and a daycamp — as well as hours and contact details. Here it is:

As usual, clicking on it twice will give a larger image. (We checked Terry Trejo’s email address in the Parks website, and it’s stated as Teresa.Kuchinsky.Trejo@sfgov.org — so if the one above doesn’t work, try this. Or call her!)

(FKNO is at http://www.forestknolls.org, not forestknolls.com — a cheap realty website, nor www.forestknolls.info — which is the site you’re on now. Note the different extensions: org, com, and info.)

Muni, Clipper and Me

On Saturday  (2 Oct 2010) I took the Muni downtown from Forest Hill Station. I do this often enough that I know the drill, but seldom enough that I don’t carry a pass – or have the correct change. I always need to use the change machines.

But on Saturday they were out of service. Every single one was blocked with yellow tape. I looked at the station-master in puzzlement. She waved me over to new ticket machines on the other side of the station. Those didn’t need the exact change, they worked with credit cards. And they issued paper tickets at $2 for a single trip, $4 for a return fare.

Whatever happened to the transfer with the 90-minute validity? I wasn’t sure.  (It was academic, anyway. I was meeting friends for lunch; it would take more than 90 minutes.) After a little fumbling, I got a return ticket. It had a nice picture of the ballpark on the front.

On the back were a couple of icons indicating how to pay (just tap your card on the reader); and some fine print.

I couldn’t figure out what was meant by “A 90-minute transfer will be calculated automatically from initial time of entry.” I went looking on the SFMTA website, but that was some miles away from being crystal clear…

By contrast, here’s what the old-now-obsolete transfer said on the back:

That’s crystal clear.

So anyway, I called 311, and within a minute or two (at 11.30 at night!) got a helpful lady who assured me that I could use the colorful-but-baffling ticket in exactly the same way as the old Muni transfer. It really was valid for 90 minutes from the time of entry, so if I took a short trip downtown, I didn’t have to buy a return ticket.

I’ll be trying it out one of these days, and will update this post then. I might even break down and get a Clipper card. It’s the San Franciscan thing to do. [ETA: It works. It’s valid for 90 minutes, no problem.]

(Other than that confusion, things were going reasonably well. Transit staff were on duty everywhere telling people what they needed to do.)

Disaster Preparedness Class

This is being circulated in another Group. It’s reproduced here in case anyone wants to go.

************************************************************

Come join your neighbors for a FREE TRAINING FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

Offered by SF SAFE and the San Francisco Fire Department’s

Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT)

WHO: For everyone – bring your friends, family and neighbors!

WHAT: Free Two-Hour Preparedness Workshop

This workshop will cover what everyone should know to prepare personally, as a business and as a community for a disaster, large or small.
Topics Include:

  • Risk Awareness
  • Disaster Supplies
  • Personal Disaster Planning
  • Utilities Overview
  • NERT Overview
  • Disaster Pre-Planning with NERT and SF SAFE

WHERE: Park Police Station Community Room, 1899 Waller Street

WHEN: Wednesday May 5, 6:30 to 9 PM

HOW: RSVP to sffdnert@sfgov.org or call 415-970-2024 to register

For more information about NERT, visit www.sfgov.org/sfnert

And about SF SAFE and Neighborhood Watch, visit www.sfsafe.org

WHY: For your safety in times of emergency, it matters what you do today!

QUESTIONS?: Please contact Bill Lafferty (415-661-1750) if you have any questions.

We encourage participation from people with disabilities and seniors.  The location is wheelchair accessible, and Assisted Listening Devices will be available by request.  For real-time captioning, sign language interpretation, or any other accommodation, please contact Erica Arteseros at ph: 415-970-2022 email: sffdnert@sfgov.org.

************************************************************

Around: Stow Lake Evening

A marvelous feature of our neighborhood is that it’s so close to Golden Gate Park.

Mt Sutro from Stow Lake – shows UCSF (Photo credit: LC)

The park is full of wonders, from the carousel to the Japanese Garden to the museums and golf-course and windmill… but Stow Lake remains a favorite. (Not just with me – this neat essay talks about looking for microbes in Stow Lake water.)

Stow Lake is an artificial lake that feels natural. With the island of Strawberry Hill in the middle, and smaller islands where birds can safely nest, it’s become a bird and animal habitat. At the same time, it’s very accessible.  It’s paved all round, which means that even people who can’t safely walk trails can go around the lake. For those who want more, Strawberry Hill has trails encircling it and climbing it. And there are the boats, or at least, if you go early enough and are willing to pay the fees, there are boats. (Stow Lake access is free.) Parking is seldom a problem.

Old postcard from Save Stow Lake Boathouse website shows college that became UCSF. (Click on pic to go to website.)

Being San Francisco, of course there’s a controversy: A historic boat house and snack stand on the edge of the lake may be turned into a cafe (this links to a PDF file from Rec and Parks, describing the project and asking for proposals from interested concessionaires.) Opponents  fighting to prevent a restaurant fear it will alter the historic character of the boat-house and destroy the peace of the area. I wonder if this latest iteration (dated 5 March 2010) which notes that Rec and Parks don’t want a restaurant with table-service (i.e., upscale) represents an acceptable compromise?

I was at the lake one evening, not long ago. It was too late for the boats, late enough that most people had left, except for a few joggers and dog-walkers.  The lake had ducks, coots, Canada geese, and seagulls, but most of them had called it a day. Even the herons in the nesting colony in the trees near the boathouse had settled down.

A rat ran through the undergrowth, and a few squirrels. This one glared at me from a redwood. They’re pretty unafraid, out at Stow Lake. They know we’re not going to eat them, and who knows, maybe we’ll feed them.

The birds were starting to look for places to roost, and I heard the soft, resonant hoot of a Great Horned Owl. Bats emerged in ones and twos, fluttering and swinging across the sky.

Finally the moon rose over the pines. Peaceful.

West Portal Festival (Apr 10-11, 2010)

Someone called to tell me about a great little art festival at West Portal this weekend.  “There are stalls all the way down on both sides,” he said, “You should check it out.”

I did, of course, intending to browse for a bit.   It was not so little – there were something like seventy stalls. There were ceramics. Art glass (including one artist whose work reminded me of Dale Chihuly’s). Handcrafted jewelry of fused glass or silver or beautiful stones. Handmade clothing, dramatic and unique. Furniture. Inlaid wood mirrors. Artistic switchplates. Books made into boxes.  And wonderful art, from oil paintings to beautiful photographs to prints and hand-drawn pictures and water-colors.  Kaleidoscopes. Handmade dolls’ clothing to fit “American Girl” dolls. Wooden toys. Handmade dolls and animals, including a few monsters.

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I got a few photographs for this website which I’ve set up as a slide-show above. (See if it works for you, this is the first time I’ve tried one. You should be able to either click through, or let the pictures change automatically.) Not everyone wanted their stalls photographed. (Some have had their designs stolen by people who photograph and reproduce them.)

The mood was mellow and friendly, with artists all willing to talk about their work.  Some of the regular West Portal merchants had taken advantage of the activity to put out their own outside displays. It’s on tomorrow and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a nice place to pick up one-of-a-kind gifts for your friends, your home,yourself. I hadn’t planned to buy anything, but I did anyway. I’ll probably go back tomorrow.

On the street and at our feet

The pink paint marking the drains, and the broken water main a few months ago, drew attention to all the stuff that’s happening below our streets. So the other day, we wandered around with our cameras pointing at all the circles and rectangles on the sidewalk. There were a lot of them: a wealth of services beneath our feet, representing civilization, urban comfort, and the conveniences of Forest Knolls. It’s strange to think we’re only a couple of generations away from fetching water from wells, using outhouses, and lighting our nights with candles and our streets with gas.

PG&E

It was an interesting mix of covers. This grating was like a piece of modern art, with the ladder reaching down to a reflective circle of water below. At first, it appeared to be a drain of some sort… but it’s got the words  PG&E and “High Voltage.”

High Voltage

Another “High Voltage” cover was more prosaic, a simple concrete rectangle.

PG&E high voltage

PG&E-C

In fact, quite a few covers on the street were from PG&E. This manhole cover with a nice geometric design seems to be, though it’s difficult to know which cover does what. (If anyone knows, leave a comment! Or email us at fk94131@yahoo.com)

WATER DEPARTMENT

Another whole bunch were from the Water Department. (The sewer cover’s included here, though it’s actually labeled SFDPW.)

SFWD, Two covers

SFDPW sewer

The little square with holes in it is most probably a drain cover.

Scott Co (drain cover?)

But the handsomest cover on the street is a cast iron oval with the Golden Gate Bridge on it, labeled San Francisco Water Department Meter Box. Wonder when it was made? Some time in the 1950s, when Forest Knolls was built?

SFWD meter box

TELEPHONES AND TV AND ALL KINDS OF THINGS

And then there’s the Telephones.  And the TV Cable. And  the Survey Monument, which doesn’t represent a utility but instead helps put us on the map and define the lots on which our homes are built.  And the Street Lights. And “Electrical” again, but it’s not clear what and why, though it may be connected with the Street Lights since the covers are together and next to a lamp post.

Telephone
Survey Monument
Telephone (with graffiti?)
TV Cable

 

Electrical
Street Lighting

And then there was this odd-looking pair of covers labeled PT-T. Anyone know what they are?

Pacific Telephones and Telegraph

.Edited to Add: PT-T probably stands for Pacific Telephones and Telegraphs… (see the comment to this post – Thanks, Laura).

Or why X marks the spot on this sewer-cover?

X marked sewer

Edited to Add: Just saw this — the moss has picked out “Bell System” on this cover.

After the rain, moss picks out BELL SYSTEM

 

Charming Little Farmer’s Market on Sundays

We knew we shouldn’t have gone late. But it was already noon last Sunday, and the Inner Sunset Farmer’s Market at 9th and Irving ends at 1 p.m. We’d forgotten all about… parking.

So we barely made it, getting there at 12.30, but it was worth it. It’s a charming neighborhood market, year round, Sunday mornings until 1 p.m.

It only has about 20-30 stalls, which makes it just the right size to browse through. In addition to the fresh, local (and some organic) produce, there were some interesting products like soap and various kinds of foods. The Urban Farm Girls, contrary to their name, don’t farm; they do garden design, including container gardens.

We were especially delighted by City Bees, which actually has beehives all over the city. It may have been their bees up on Twin Peaks, browsing in the oxalis and lupin. Their honey is labeled by origin: we bought some Marin Blackberry, though it was a tough choice between that and the Star Thistle honey. 

The stalls looked to be doing well. “Are we all sold out of the red chard?” someone said  at one booth. Good!

We stopped for stuffed grape leaves at this friendly Mediterranean place:

And tasted the spicy carrot and beetroot pickles here, regretfully deciding not to buy a jar because both were delicious, but we’d never finish them. Pity they didn’t have little jars.

The Extra Virgin Olive Oil was also very tempting, but was forgone for the same reason.

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The market had an attractive medley of fruit and flowers, including some gorgeous orchids.

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Dogs aren’t allowed into the Market (that’s regulations) but the Inner Sunset Park Neighbors, the neighborhood association responsible for the market, has arrangements:

Eat your heart out, Mr Wordsworth!

A host of golden oxalis...

I wandered lonely as a cloud

[If a cloud wore a windcheater and carried a pocket-camera]

That floats on high o’er vales and hills

[Cole Valley and Twin Peaks, I guess]

When all at once I saw a crowd/ A host of golden daffodils;

[Or Bermuda Buttercups, alias oxalis]

Beside the lake

[Or above the reservoir, anyway]

Beneath the trees,

[Nope, no trees]

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

[Oh, yes. That.]

Forest Knolls seen from Twin Peaks, with flowers

It’s a wonderful feature of our neighborhood, having the iconic lookout point of Twin Peaks so close by. But at this time of the year, Twin Peaks is worth not just looking from, it’s worth looking at. Today, Sunday 28 February 2010, it’s particularly splendid. Twin Peaks is glorious with oxalis now, and scented with sweet alyssum.

I know oxalis is a weed, but it’s an extraordinarily lovely one. My take on it is, you can despise it and try to exterminate it; or you can enjoy it and try to photograph it.

There are a host of other flowers, native and not: Mustard, California poppy, wild iris, calendula, lupine. All set against the bright green of lush growing grass.

Go now, if you want to see it. (Sunny mornings are the best.) From March 2-16, they will start spraying Garlon, a toxic herbicide. You wouldn’t want to be there then, and by the time it’s done, the flowers will be gone.

MUNI Again…meetings in March/April 2010

Someone gave us a heads up on Muni – it’s short of funds, it needs more cuts, and its having public meetings about it.

Here’s the MUNI letter:

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“Dear Community Leaders and Transit Colleagues,
The SFMTA Board of Directors confronts a challenging budget situation for both the current fiscal year and the next two-year budget cycle. After layoffs and other cost-cutting measures that began last November, the SFMTA still faces a current-year $16.9 million shortfall.
The solutions before the Agency and those impacted by its decisions are both painful and unpopular.
Proposed solutions include:
Reduced frequencies and shorter service hours for Muni
• Muni fare increases and parking fee and fine increases

Your opinion counts. Please attend one of the following meetings to learn more and to provide public comment.

FY 2010 Focus
Town Hall Meetings, One South Van Ness Ave. @ Market St., 2nd Floor Atrium
Saturday, Feb. 6 – 10 a.m. to noon
Tuesday, Feb. 9 – 6 to 8 p.m.

SFMTA Board Meeting, City Hall Room 400
Tuesday, Feb. 16 – 9 a.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)

FY 2011-2012 Focus
Town Hall Meetings, One South Van Ness Ave. @ Market St., 2nd Floor Atrium
Wednesday, March 10 – 6 p.m.
Saturday, March 20 – 10 a.m.

SFMTA Board Meetings, City Hall Room 400
Tuesday, March 30 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, April 6 – 2 p.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)
Tuesday, April 20 – 2 p.m. (public hearing and possible Board action)

If you cannot attend one of the meetings, visit www.sfmta.com for details or send an e-mail to sfmtabudget@ sfmta.com or call 311.

Sincerely,

Judson True
Communications Manager

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As of now, the proposal for reduced frequencies does not appear to affect the 36 Teresita bus service.  It does affect the K,L,M lines that pass through Forest Hill Station, and several others as well.

Midtown Terrace Playground

New Picnic Table
New Picnic Table

Edited to Add: “DW” e-mailed to say the playground is now open and “they did a nice job.” ( 6 Nov 09)

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The playground still isn’t open (3 Nov 09) even though it was supposed to be. It looks like it’s ready, though.

There’s a new picnic table, and a basketball court where the “big swings” used to be. The newlaid grass is neatly mowed, and the play structure seems to be installed.

The Recreation Center has a new (or at least, repaired) roof. (ETA: The Director told me the roof had actually been repaired some years ago. The inside is much the same, but she said they had new improved bathrooms.)

Midtown Terrace Playground
The New Play Structure

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Basketball Court at Midtown Terrace Playground