UCSF’s Space Ceiling Saga

UCSF Feb 2014 meeting for LRDP 1From time to time, I attend UCSF’s Long Range Development Plan meetings. My main concern is the forest on Mt Sutro, but I’m also interested in what’s happening down at Parnassus. Yesterday, I learned more about the ongoing saga of the Space Ceiling. (My last report on that was HERE and it provides background on some of the issues.)

The Space Ceiling was a self-imposed limit to growth that UCSF decided on in 1976. [See that here:1976-regents-resolution ] That was when it got into a huge battle with its Inner Sunset neighbors as the University spilled out in all directions, and started changing nearby neighborhoods. At the time, the limit was set at 3.55 million square feet. By 1996, it was at 3.66 mn (or 6%  over) with a plan to reduce it to only 2% over by 2012. Instead, by 2012, it was 8.2% over the limit, at 3.84 mn sq ft.

WIN SOME, LOSE SOME

What’s happened since? Three things, which left them with a tiny net increase in the space to 3.844 mn sq feet, or 8.3% over the Ceiling.

  • They knocked down the building at 735 Parnassus, gaining 2,766 square feet.
  • They gained another 3,121 sq feet when they converted the office building at 1486-1488 Parnassus to student housing, which doesn’t count against the space ceiling. (The only housing that counts toward the Space Ceiling are the student housing units at Aldea, up above Forest Knolls off of Clarendon Avenue.)
  •  However, they also did a careful re-measuring of the existing square footage of the Parnassus campus. They found that two changes increased the actual square footage: They enclosed the Food Court, which made it an inside space instead of an outside space; and they converted a mechanical space in Moffet Hospital into an “occupied space.” They also found some of the old measurements were inaccurate. So all told, they found that the actual existing space had been understated by 10,700 sq feet.

It’s really difficult to start knocking things down mainly to get UCSF under the Space Ceiling, so while it’s doing some demolition, UCSF is also converting more space to student housing (which, as we said, doesn’t count). They expect to double the amount of student housing at Parnassus.

They are also going to ask the Regents to revise the Ceiling specifications so that Aldea housing doesn’t count either.

Here are the current plans:

UCSF LRDP Feb 2014 -1
Click on map for larger version

THE RESTRICTION ZONE

Restriction Zone 1The other restriction on growth was on purchase or acquisition of properties in the “restriction zone” that includes Forest Knolls – see below.  (UCSF’s aggressive acquisitions had been changing neighborhoods around it, and neighbors wanted it to stop.)

Anyway, UCSF reaffirmed their commitment to observing that Zone, but noted that they weren’t prohibited from leasing commercial properties, or affiliating with other public agencies in this area.

Here’s a closer view of the Restriction Zone. It includes Forest Knolls, Edgewood, Inner Sunset and Cole Valley.

Restriction Zone 2

OTHER ISSUES

They seem to have given up on the 16,000-a-day people limit. It’s crossed 18, 000 now. But they’ve promised an annual community meeting to monitor all the parameters.

Neighbors have been concerned with truck traffic, and UCSF did a traffic study. They’re looking for solutions like making loading/ unloading more efficient by having a permanent dockmaster stationed at Medical Center Way; using some of the demolished areas on Koret as additional truck parking, and consolidating deliveries elsewhere into UCSF trucks, so reducing the number of trips.

One commenter spoke about the problems of living next to the UCSF campus – glaring lights by the ammonia tank; 30-50 smokers daily, who were not allowed to smoke on UCSF’s Smoke-Free campus ended up under his window;  noise from blaring radios on vehicles as they waited to move; and syringes being tossed over his fence. Not a great environment for his two small kids.

MOUNT SUTRO FOREST

sutro forest commitmentThough the University wasn’t planning to discuss Sutro Forest, some of the changes planned will have a (apparently quite minor) impact on the forest. Also, supporters and opponents of UCSF’s current plan for Sutro Forest took the opportunity of this meeting to speak up. The report is HERE.

At this meeting, UCSF reiterated its commitment to keeping Mount Sutro as publicly accessible open space. (Some commenters had suggested that the University might have other plans.)

GOING FORWARD

Here are the milestones going forward. The LRDP is to be adopted in November 2014.

LRDP Milestones

Uncaptured Moonrise Over the Bay

Driving back from an errand over Twin Peaks last evening, I saw someone pull his car over, stop, and get out. He  was looking fixedly toward the East. I wondered what he’d seen.

moonrise jan 17 2014

It was the moon, rising redly from a low-lying belt of haze. I pulled over, too, in a wide space on the road, and tried to get some photographs with my cellphone.  It didn’t work. None of them captured the red color of the rising moon.

I tried to adjust the color in the picture below, but that didn’t work either: it made the whole picture reddish. Still, it has a painterly look I rather like, even if it doesn’t look like the moonrise I saw.

moonrise

All I can do is to say, like Shakespeare, “This blogger, with cellphone, car, and bush of thorn/ Presenteth Moonshine” and hope you can imagine it.

moon through thorn bush

The Barn Owl Died of Rat Poison

dead barn owlI just heard back about the dead barn owl found in Glen Canyon. It was found to have died of rat poison. Here’s what they wrote us:

The dead Barn Owl we found and took to WildCare for rodenticide testing, Patient #1754, was found, indeed, to have died of rat poisoning.

Many people don’t know that when a hawk or owl or other predator eats a poisoned rodent, that animal gets poisoned too. Please STOP using rat poisons (rodenticides)! These poisons are killing the very animals, like this Barn Owl, that naturally control rodents.

The Barn Owl was found to be internally toxic, diffusely discolored and badly hemorrhaged throughout. There was evidence of a heavy load of the rodenticide brodifacoum in her system — enough to kill her.

Shockingly, over 86% of tested WildCare patients show evidence of exposure to rat poisons! These animals are eating poisoned rodents and carrying varying loads of toxic poison in their systems as a result. Rat poison used by residents of San Francisco is having dangerous and detrimental effects on the wildlife of our area. A Great Horned Owl was found dead last year due to the same rat poisoning.

Rat poisons kill by making whatever animal eats them bleed to death internally – slowly and painfully. While the poisoned rats or mice are still alive, they (and their deadly load of poison) can be consumed by other predators including cats and dogs. Rodents are the basic food source for a number of different predators all the way up the food chain. It is a terrifying prospect; to kill many animals while targeting only one. We need to find better ways to live well with wildlife.

If you need help with any wildlife issues, please contact WildCare Solutions at 415.456.7283 (456-SAVE), or http://www.wildcarebayarea.org/wildlifesolutions.

Barn Owls are one of the most common owl species in the country, but seeing one, especially in the City, is always a treat. These silent nocturnal hunters often appear completely white against the night sky as they glide over open spaces in search of rodent prey. A family of Barn Owls can eat over 3,000 rodents in a single 4-month breeding season, which makes them a magnificent source of rodent pest control, but also one of the most common victims of secondary rodenticide poisoning. Barn Owls nest early in the season, usually producing eggs sometime between January and March.

A special thanks to everyone who made a contribution to the testing, especially to the San Francisco Forest Alliance for their substantial donation.

I’ve seen barn owls very occasionally in our area. They’re beautiful. I am so sorry this happened.

[FOUND!] LOST Black Dog – Nina – on Crestmont (with photo)

[Edited to Add: She’s been found! Here’s the note from her people:

“We are happy to report Nina has been found, and is safe at home. She made her way to the SF Zoo, and the wonderful staff got in touch with us. Thank you for all of your support and help!  Hanna and Nick” ]

Please keep a look out for the black dog Nina who got lost last night. She ran off from Crestmont Drive, Forest Knolls, San Francisco 94131 on New Year’s 2014.

nina lost dog poster

Nina2 dogHere’s another picture of her.

“She was spooked by the fireworks and ran off. Please help her come home. She has a blue collar with a Marin County dog license and an oversized leather teardrop tag. Nina is a 7 year old small/medium sized black dog with brown stockings and salt & pepper toes on her hind legs.

 

[FOUND] LOST DOG: Crestmont Drive – Medium size Black Dog

Edited to add: The DOG IS HOME!

I got this comment on the ‘pets’ page,  but am posting it here for better circulation. If I get a photo, I’ll post it here too. And if Nina comes home, please let me know!

Our dog, Nina, was last seen at 1am on New Years Eve in Forest Knolls on the hillside above Crestmont Drive.

She was spooked by the fireworks and ran off. Please help her come home.

She has a blue collar with a Marin County dog license and an oversized leather teardrop tag.

Nina is a 7 year old small/medium sized black dog with brown stockings and salt & pepper toes on her hind legs. She has two brown spots above her eyes and a white spot on her chest. There is some graying around her snout. We’re working on getting her photo posted here as well.

Save Off-Leash Dog Walking In The GGNRA!

I was sent this note by two of our neighbors. Though I don’t personally have a dog, I believe that dogs and their walkers make areas safer for *everyone* to use.

Joel Engardio, Candidate for Supervisor in San Francisco's District 7, takes a stand on dogs

Why? It’s because dog-walkers are around. In all weathers, every day of the year, dogs need their walks. Who else uses the parks? Joggers do, but they usually go by running, often with their music on. So do hikers and trekkers and parents with their kids – but they usually select nice weather and convenient times. Dog walkers are the eyes and ears of our parks.

Paws in our parks means eyes in our parks.

So I’m pleased that our neighborhood is dog-friendly, and I’m happy to post this – for the dog-walkers, and for people like me who benefit from their presence. I’ve made some minor edits and corrected the deadline date.

SAVE OFF-LEASH DOG WALKING IN THE GGNRA!

What’s the Deal?

This past September, the GGNRA released a revised version of its Dog Management Plan in the form of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or SEIS. This document proposes eliminating 90% of off-leash dog access, and severely restricting all dog walking in 21 existing GGNRA sites in Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo counties, as well as in all future sites managed by the GGNRA.

Why Should I care?

If the GGNRA implements their preferred alternatives, Marin will lose off-leash access to the Oakwood Valley Trail, Muir Beach and almost all other GGNRA trails. The only off-leash opportunity in Marin would be Rodeo Beach, the one beach that is only reachable by car by any and all users. And most trails within the GGNRA in Marin would no longer allow any use by people with their dogs, leashed or unleashed. People and their dogs would go from having access to an already tiny 1 % of the GGNRA down to a mere .1 %, effectively removing an entire user group from the GGNRA.

Several years ago, when the plan was first unveiled, public comment ran 3-1 against the GGNRA’s preferred alternatives. But the GGNRA apparently isn’t listening. They’ve re-heated the same plan, with even more restrictions in many locations. And they are requiring new comments for the “new” plan. Even if you commented a couple of years ago, you need to do it again.

What can I do about it?

Comments close on 18 Feb 2014 at 11 p.m. [Webmaster; It’s been extended from January 11th, 2014]. You must submit substantive comments that directly address aspects of the SEIS. No form letters or petitions will be accepted or counted. The GGNRA is making it difficult for a reason. Comments mailed in the old fashioned way always carry more weight. We’ve tried to make it easy for you: key points/phrases to include in your comments are listed below. You may also comment on the NPS website, by clicking on the “Comment on Document” button. Here’s the link: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=303&projectID=11759&documentID=55416

HERE ARE SOME IMPORTANT POINTS TO MAKE IN YOUR COMMENTS

  • Mention where you walk, how long you ‘ve walked there, and what impact this will have on you as a dog guardian and as a citizen.
  • The SEIS lacks scientific data. Instead, it makes assumptions and assertions with absolutely no peer reviewed site-specific studies as required by law. Without these studies and corresponding data, there is no legitimate or legal foundation for these policy changes.
  • The plan doesn’t differentiate between impacts caused by humans or other animals. It just assumes all the negative impacts are caused by dogs.
  •  If the GGNRA further limits dog walking as recreation, what few surrounding parks and trails that do allow off-leash will become overcrowded and overburdened. We need more access, not less.
  • A well-exercised dog is a well-behaved dog. The SFSPCA and Marin Humane Society, as well countless other dog behaviorists are opposed to GGNRA’s preferred alternatives.
  • There is no federally designated critical habitat in the GGNRA. Yet they cite possible impacts on critical habitat as a reason to ban dogs or restrict access to dog owners.
  •  The GGNRA is an urban park, not a wilderness area. It’s critical recreational open space for a densely populated urban area. By severely reducing off leash dog walking, the GGNRA is in violation of its enabling legislation that allows different user groups -it specifically mentions off-leash dog walkers -to recreate.
  •  Oppose the GGNRA’s preferred alternative and tell them you support the NO ACTION alternative.
  • Tell the GGNRA to enforce the existing (and adequate) rules to manage dogs.

For more info, visit saveoffleash.com

Send comments to: Frank Dean, General Superintendent Golden Gate National Recreation Area Fort Mason Building 201 San Francisco, CA 94123-002

 SPREAD THE WORD! TOGETHER WE CAN KEEP THE GGNRA DOG FRIENDLY!

offleash dogs

Don’t Leave Your Garage Door Opener Outside

car broken windshieldSometimes, we need to leave our cars outside for convenience. If you’re doing that – bring your garage door opener inside. Thieves are breaking into cars, and snagging openers. As someone pointed out,  a thief,  can check the car’s registration papers to get the probable address. And then they’re into the garage and maybe the house.

I thought our neighborhood was pretty safe, but it happened on Devonshire yesterday. Here’s what a neighbor posted on our Yahoo Group:

Our car was unlocked last night, mistakenly, and someone opened it, got the garage remote and opened our garage door during the night. Apparently nothing was stolen except for the remote, but it’s scary and creepy.  The same thing happened a few weeks ago, when the car was parked on a different street, and the remote was found a block away.

Let’s all keep a neighborhood watch –

PLEASE REPORT SUSPICIOUS PEOPLE and ACTIONS TO POLICE
Non-Emergency Situations – 415-553-0123

Lock your house and your cars.
Keep the holidays safe and happy.

Thanks to the original poster for the heads up and the warning.

The House Collapse

collapsed house on Graystone San Francisco Dec 2013

Just over on the other side of the hill, someone was getting a house renovated. They were lifting the whole house to strengthen the foundations so they could build higher. On Monday night, it collapsed and slid 50 feet downhill.

According to the SF Chronicle news report, the owner had wanted to demolish the dilapidated 1400-square foot rental and build a 4200-square foot house instead. He couldn’t get Planning Commission permission for that since it would reduce rental housing stock; instead he went with a major “remodel.” Neighbors fought the plan for 6 years, saying the larger house would be out of keeping with the neighborhood. But in the end, the Planning Commission approved it 5-2.

Looks like the house is totaled and the owner (Port Commissioner Melvin Murphy) will need to demolish and rebuild after all!

The good news: No one was hurt.  Although another building apparently had to be evacuated, I think it was found to be safe and everyone was let back in.  When I went by to take this photograph, they were allowing traffic through on Graystone Terrace, the narrow winding road below the structure.

It did make me think, though, about building on steep hillsides, and collateral risk. Hope whoever finally builds San Francisco Overlook is a lot more careful.

Halloween 2013 Thanks!

halloween 2013 forest knolls smI missed Halloween this year because I was away. So I was really glad to see a note from Laura Bloch (who organized the Forest Knolls Halloween Loop) together with some pictures from Eleanor Marquez (reproduced here with permission from both).

Thank you to all the folks who handed out treats AND all the kids who went trick-or-treating. It’s terrific to have a neighborhood event like this!
Next year we’ll promote the event more so we get even more participating households and more participating kids. Kevin on Warren gave me some great ideas. (Thanks, Kevin.)
These wonderful photos are courtesy of Eleanor Marquez. Thank you, Eleanor, for being our official photographer!

Our neighbors, Brooke and Jack on Oak Park responded:

Thanks for putting on this great neighborhood event! Please let us know how else we can help out. It was great to see all the kids in their costumes and hear then say that we had one of the scariest houses 😉

Thanks, Laura Bloch, Eleanor, and Walter for this event. Even though I missed it, I’m so glad Forest Knolls had a wonderful Halloween!

forest knolls halloween 2013

We Have Speed Humps and Speed Cushions

I’ve written here about neighbor Beverly Mack’s long battle to get traffic calming on Warren Drive. Then, finally, there were emails from SFMTA that they had approved two speed humps for Oak Park Drive, and two speed cushions for Warren Drive. Recently, someone let me know they’d actually been installed. And here they are. (Thanks, Beverly! It’s taken 5 years, but it’s done!)

OAK PARK DRIVE

Oak Park has two speed humps – like a gentle speed bump, on the stretch of road below the hillside. I drove over them, and I found them quite benign, they didn’t jerk my car.

Speed hump sign on Oak Park drive

Speed hump on Oak Park Drive

WARREN DRIVE

Warren has speed cushions – like speed bumps, but with gaps so that a bus (or fire-truck) can avoid going over it.

speed cushion on Warren Drive

While I was taking pictures, the 36 Teresita bus came by.

The 36 teresita approaches speed cushion on Warren Drive

It needs to cross the double-yellow line to get past the speed cushion without going over it, but seemed to have no problem navigating it.

The 36 Teresita crosses the speed cushion on Warren Drive

On the other hand, while I was waiting on Oak Park to turn left onto Warren, a car came by pretty fast on Warren Drive – from the direction on the speed cushions. So I think they’re a good thing, but maybe they haven’t slowed things down all that much. I’d still be careful on Warren.

Nearing Halloween

My evening walks are getting deliciously Halloween-flavored.

What better phase of the moon for an eerie picture than a waxing crescent?

crescent moon

(I found out quite late that if the moon is ‘D’ shaped, it’s waxing, and if it’s ‘C’-shaped, it’s waning. The mnemonic is ‘Dogs advance, Cats retreat.’ But it only works in the Northern hemisphere; Down Under, it’s the other way.)

Here’s the moon and Venus, taken a night or two later. [Edited to Add: Looking closely at this picture again, I can just see the Old Moon in the New Moon’s arms – the earthshine on the non-illuminated part of the moon. The Wikipedia says it’s light reflected from earth onto the moon.]

moon and venus

I was on Tank Hill recently, where I always take photographs even though very few actually come out. This time, though, with a little brightening of the image and upping the contrast, I got these Halloween trees.

halloween trees on tank hillLast night, I didn’t encounter a single dog-walker – but, appropriately, there were two cats. Here’s one:

cat 1And here’s the other – don’t miss the Halloween eyes. (Okay, it’s normal eyeshine, but it looked cool!)

cat 2

And some neighbors have started putting up their Halloween decorations, like this happy family of jack o’ lanterns. Looking forward to seeing more decorations as we get closer to the date!

halloween pumpkins 1

Cal Academy of Sciences – 94131 Free Days Fri-Sun

CalAcademy entrance

On the California Academy of Sciences Facebook page:

Do you live in zip codes 94110, 94114, 94117, 94127, 94131, or 94132? We invite you to come to the Academy – for free! – this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. San Francisco Neighborhood Free Days are generously sponsored by Target.

Forest Knolls is of course in 94131, and if you aren’t a member of Cal Academy, this is a great offer. They do these free days from time to time. It’s limited to six kids per adult, and both photo ID and proof of residency are required. (A driving license will do both.)

(We wrote about Cal Academy free days in more detail back in April 2013.)

This time, the free days for our neighborhood coincide with Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in Golden Gate Park, so traffic will be heavy and parking tough. The next neighborhood free day will be in Feb 28 – March 2,  2014.

If you’re planning to go, here’s the relevant page on their website.

This Tree…

tree on Claremont, San Francisco

This tree is near West Portal, and I pass it probably twenty times a week. I’ve admired it for years. It dominates the street; there’s no other tree of that size or beauty near there.

A few years ago, I was writing a piece on Memorable Trees, and wanted to add this one. But around that time, the owners had it pruned. It was very well done, not butchered, but still the tree looked shorn, like a child after the kind of haircut you get them when you don’t want to have to struggle with it too often.

For a tree, unlike a kid’s hair, it takes quite a time to come all the way back. In the last year or so, I’ve been noticing it again, and I thought I’d better get photographs before it’s time for another pruning.

To the owners of the tree, should they encounter this post – Thank you!

Thanks for caring for it. It’s a grace to the whole community.

this tree 2

Continuing Saga of Trashcans and Raccoons

I’d gone for a walk toward Tank Hill, the other evening, when I saw a shape scurrying across the road. Raccoon! And sure enough, it was Garbage Night, and there was the overturned trashcan. As I approached, I made out its tail, sticking out of the trashcan, and then, as it heard me, it came out and tried to decide whether to stay or run.

The light was poor, and the picture worse, but here you are. (It scampered off before I could get anything better.)

trashcan with racoon

I’ve been wondering what’s happened – raccoons never used to up-end trashcans like this. They’ve been on a learning curve, it seems. Apparently, that’s what urban wild-life does – it becomes smarter.  Here’s an article from Wired Science:  How City Living Is Reshaping the Brains and Behavior of Urban Animals

Article from Wired Science: How City Living is Changing Animals’ Brains

THREE TRASHCAN SOLUTIONS

trashcan with cross-over bungeesMeanwhile, our latest solution seems to be holding up – two crossed bungees, snagged outside the lid hinges on one side, and on either side of the main lip of the trashcan lid on the other. Like in this picture.

trashcan with bolt 2Walking around the neighborhood on garbage nights, we’ve seen other solutions.

One neighbor drilled a hole in the lid, and attached a strap with a bolt and washer. They then snagged the strap to the bar below.

 But the solution that looked simple and ingenious was the one that tied up the trashcans with a bow, like shoe-laces in a larger size. Because it’s rope, not bungee, it doesn’t stretch, so presumably it’s difficult for the raccoons to pry off.

Wonder when they’ll learn to untie shoe-laces…

trashcans tied in a bow

Stow Lake September Twilight

Today was a day of intermittent sunshine and beautiful clouds. In the evening,  a misty fog blew in and Stow Lake looked like something out of a romantic historical film. You half expected to see a lady on a white horse, or an armor-clad knight.

stow lake twilight

But even without the fantasy, it’s an interesting place at twilight; you never know what you’ll see.  (The downside is that my current camera, which hates low-light conditions, doesn’t get very good pics.)

By the time we got there, most of the crowds had left.  Only a few late walkers like us wandered around the lake.  The last boat of the evening paddled toward the jetty. The mallards, geese and Muscovy ducks circled the edges of the lake hopefully before the last visitors disappeared.

A gull near the Boathouse hopped down to the edge of lake and came up with – something. It was reddish and scrawny and didn’t look like a piece of sandwich or candy. It brought its catch ashore to deal with it, and I got a closer look. It was a small red crayfish. I wouldn’t have recognized it, except that some months ago, I actually saw a much bigger crayfish at Stow Lake. The gull gobbled it down before I could even whip out my camera.

A flight of birds passed overhead, looking somewhat like swans and calling to each other. Then I realized it was actually Canada Geese, bleached by mist and twilight. They swept around and landed on the lake.

From Strawberry Hill, a Great Horned Owl called softly  It sounded tentative, almost thoughtful. Probably just waking up and wanted its coffee.

On the other side of the lake, we noticed some black-and-white critters contrasting with the broad yellowish bare path on Strawberry Hill. Though the light was now quite poor, I looked carefully and realized it was a Mama Skunk with two kittens, hurrying along the path and occasionally detouring off it. Then I saw a bushy tail on our side, but it quickly hid amid the rocks at the lake-edge. It may be in the picture below – or not.

stow lake with hidden skunk

We passed the old stone bridge, and then, on cue at 7.55 p.m, I saw a bat, followed soon by several others. I tried for a photograph, but as usual, got only some smudges.  (My technique is to point my camera in their general direction and keep clicking madly.) Spot the bats?

bat smudge 2

bat smudge 1

a bat-smudge

The geese took off in small flocks, flying away to an unknown destination – maybe the Botanic Garden. It was so quiet I could hear the whistle of the wind in their wings.

Further along, the city noises returned – the rush of traffic along the 19th avenue intersecting the park.  It was back to our car, and back to the real world.

twlight tree

Homeowners! 16 Sept 2013 Assessment Deadline

neighborhood-housesWe received this letter from the office of Assessor Carmen Chu, with a request to publicize it.  Homeowners who want to appeal the 2013-2014 of their property have until September 16th to do so.

It’s available here for download as a PDF:  2013.8.27_AAB Filing Period Deadline

Here’s a picture of the letter:

assessor letter

Of Raccoons, Trashcans, and Bungee Cords

single bungee on compostables trash can

A few days ago, I’d posted about the raccoon that visited our trashcans… and knocked them over to raid them.

Several neighbors suggested using bungee cords to keep them closed. Some were kind enough to send a detailed explanation of how to bungee a trashcan so the raccoons couldn’t open it.  So we duly got some cords, and fastened down the lids of the green “compostables” bin, and the black “landfill” bin. (We didn’t bother about the blue bin; we figured recyclable paper and plastic and cans wouldn’t interest the critters.)  And it worked!  I added a note to my previous post to say so.

Until it didn’t.

raccoon at night 2a

A few nights later, they pushed over the green bin, and then deftly moved aside the bungee cord enough to open the lid and drag out its contents.  Now what? we wondered. Someone suggested boring a hole through the lid of the trashcan and putting a chain through it.

Instead, we decided to try a double bungee, two cords on each bin.

So a few nights ago, I heard the now-familiar crash. They’d pushed the trashcan over. But this time the bungee cord held, and the bin stayed shut.  We hurried out, and saw a couple of raccoons scamper off.  We may have a solution.

trashcan with bungee cords

If we do, it’s this:

  • Fasten each bin with two bungee cords in parallel, hooked over the handle, and the bar on the other side that’s used to lift the trashcan over the truck. You may have to open the hooks a little with pliers so they can grab the bars; at least we did.
  • Remember to replace them every time you put something in the trashcan. My experience is the raccoons come around 1-5 a.m., but who knows? Maybe they come earlier on some days and some places. [Edited to Add: The other evening, they showed up before 10 p.m.]
  • Remember to remove the cords in the morning before the garbage trucks come round, or they won’t clear the garbage.

Of course, it’s a lot easier if you can just keep the trashcans in your garage, and put them out only on the morning of Garbage Day. But if you have two cars parked inside, or a garage full of Stuff, it may not be feasible.

SFMTA Approved Speed Cushions for Warren, Speed Humps for Oak Park

Not so likely now!
Not so likely now!

I got an email from Dan Provence of SFMTA. The measures –  speed humps on Oak Park Drive, and speed cushions on Warren Drive – were approved. This is from the e-mail:

Thank you for all of the input regarding the proposed speed humps on Oak Park and the proposed speed cushions on Warren.  The ballot results found that 89% of responding households were in favor of speed humps on Oak Park and 67% of responding households were in favor of speed cushions on Warren.  We also received 6 emails in favor of the proposals and 3 emails against.  These were presented to the public hearing officer prior to the hearing for consideration.  At the hearing were several residents in favor of the proposals and none opposed.  All of the measures were approved.

We will work with the Department of Public Works to schedule construction and we will be in touch with more details soon.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Dan Provence, Livable Streets Subdivision

He’s at:

SFMTA | Municipal Transportation Agency , Sustainable Streets Division
1 South Van Ness Ave, 7th floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415.701.4448
Fax: 415.701.4343

email: Dan.Provence@sfmta.com

(Note: The photo is of a 2011 accident on Devonshire, but it’s the kind of thing we fear could happen elsewhere.)

Aug 2, 2013 Hearing: Speed Controls on Warren Drive

CORRECTION: AUGUST 2, 2013 at 10 A.M.!

Drunken CarWe’re nearly there on the speed bumps for Warren Drive!  The majority of the neighbors voted for it. This means it’s going on to the next stage, a public hearing.  That’s on August 2nd 3rd at 10 a.m. in Room 416 at City Hall.

What they’re proposing to install are ‘speed cushions.’ Those are even better than speed bumps, being gentler and less noisy. They are “lower and wider” than the usual speed-bumps, and have indentations so buses can pass by without bumping.  (I’ve driven over these things elsewhere, and they really do slow you down without axle-wrecking bumps.)

As many readers know, neighbor Beverly Mack has been working since 2008 to get traffic improvements on Warren Drive, which sometimes becomes a dangerous speed track. Now she – and the neighborhood – need your support to get it done. Please attend if you can, and send a letter (or email) in support if you can’t to Dan.Provence@sfmta.com.

These things could save lives.

speedcushions warren drive