Author Archives: Adrienne Johnson

Broken Water Main

water main failure

You may have noticed a lot of water pouring out from under the median at Acadia for the last couple of days. I thought it might be just a lot of runoff from all of the rain coming down the mountain (Have you seen all of the water coming down the hills in Glen Canyon? Forget seen, have you heard it? There is water everywhere in there!). Turns out, it was a broken water main. Repairs began today- just in time for rush hour! Hopefully you didn’t get caught in the crazy.

Addendum- My husband tells me he saw the tale end of a bicycle v truck collision  this morning, possibly caused by the flooding water. Anyone out there know anything about this?

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When Your Kid Can’t Cross Your Street

Tonight I got a little wake up call. Nothing dramatic. In fact, it didn’t really strike me until I was trying to fall asleep.

My kids are all pretty big at this point. They are all old enough to get themselves to and from wherever it is they need to go without my intervention. Fully loaded Clipper cards have been supplied, and they each have smart phones that let them access all the transportation maps they could ever need. Muni is their friend and the bus stops 10 feet from our front door. There is rarely a time when I worry about how my kids will get to where they are going, even when the rain is horizontal, as it was tonight when my daughter came home from school around 5:30.

When she walked in the door, she was in a good mood, but drenched from head to foot. She told me it was way too windy for her umbrella and she had walked the two blocks from Safeway to get home. I asked if the bus had broken down or she had stopped to buy something at the store.

“No. The rain is crazy and there was no way I was going to try to cross at Edna or Detroit! Those drivers are nuts, they can’t see anything, and they aren’t stopping!”.

Think about that for a moment. The conditions for a pedestrian on Monterey Blvd. were so bad that it made more sense to walk two long blocks, in horizontal rain from winds so fierce the trees are dropping their branches on our heads than ride all the way home and get off a dry bus and cross the street at Detroit (basically straight into our front door) for the benefit of the only real traffic control on this end of the boulevard (at Foerster).

My twelve year old son would not have done that. He would have tried dashing across Detroit, where no one stops when the rain starts (not that they stop much when the sun is out).  It makes little difference that I have told him a million times not to. That is how being a twelve year old boy goes. He would have been stuck in the median long enough that he would have chanced running across when on coming cars looked like they were far enough away for him to make it, just to get out of the storm.

In his farewell address to the United States tonight, Barack Obama reminded us all that we are the ones who can change what we see. We need to work for what we want, fight for what is right. Jon and I started working for a better boulevard 7 years ago. Recently, we have started to pick up that flag again. Tonight I was reminded, again and on a directly personal level, why. We live here. We should be able to walk here, even in horizontal rain.

 

 

It’s Raining Trees!

Mother Nature had a rager on the Boulevard last night! A sample from my block.

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It is sure to be another night of falling foliage, so be careful out there! Make sure your street drains are clear. Maybe wear a helmet if you are out walking : )

Thursday Afternoon Walk

I took a walk down the boulevard, today. I thought a few photos of things I was thinking about would be interesting.

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What will go in here? I never went in when it was a martial arts dojo, but I was sad when it closed. Will it be developed into another single family home? Will flats go in? Will a new business take over? In my head, I wish it would become a cosy cafe and bookstore combo or a really good shoe repair and tailor.

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This street is always good for a little sidewalk shopping (and when the traffic isn’t too bad it is a pleasant place to ride your bicycle). It has been a few years since I felt a need to take anything large home, but someone left out a quite nice Nikon bag the other day and I was grateful. The drawers that match my futon (the actual matching pair I couldn’t afford when I bought the futon) appeared at Detroit at just the time I needed them, too. Hopefully, the water filter I left out the other day made someone happy.

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Christmas bicycles and daily dog walks. Every year for decades, this scene has changed very little.

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These buses get more crowded and used every year. Some people complain, but I like to think about how people choose to get around. I wish the trolley still ran down Monterey.

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When children can ride freely in a space, it is a good space. I wish I saw more kid’s bicycles locked up on the street, waiting for their riders. It is hard to be unhappy seeing those streamers!

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Decorative gourde season seems to last a while around here! With the rains actually coming to us this year, and weather cold enough for our deciduous trees to actually turn, have you considered adopting a drain so none of us get flooded? It doesn’t take much and makes a huge difference to everyone!

Had an interesting walk on the boulevard recently?

Is Monterey Blvd. A Woman Friendly Street?

“In 1999, officials in Vienna handed out a questionnaire about how people in the city used transportation. The men filled it out in five minutes: go to work in the morning, come home at night. The women couldn’t stop writing.

The things they wrote were about dropping the kids off at school on the way to work, or taking them to the doctor some mornings, or helping their own aging parents buy groceries, or picking the kids up from activities.

It was an extremely more varied pattern of use—with far more walking and public transport—and one that resulted in several changes to the city’s infrastructure: easier access to public transport, wider pavements, ramps for pushchairs and buggies. This thinking is part of a movement called gender mainstreaming—assessing how planning and policy decisions will specifically affect both women and men.”

 

I read this today in an interesting article about designing streets and transportation for the people who use them most. It got me thinking about how I feel about Monterey Blvd. when I am walking on it. When I was still pushing strollers around the neighborhood I was driven crazy by the cracks and ruts and slanting sidewalks that made it nearly impossible; a feeling I revisited when my husband crushed his foot in a motorcycle accident and was forced to get around on one of those knee scooters they give out now . This street is not knee scooter friendly (or walker, or wheelchair, or blind cane…). I am especially reminded of how unfriendly Monterey Blvd. can be to pedestrians, and especially women, at night when I am walking alone; the dark doorways and staircases, the poor street lighting, the narrow sidewalks flanked by car doors and bushes, the giant cracks to trip on, the cars blocking the sidewalk that force me either into the street or someone’s doorway to get through… I find myself thinking of the time I was mugged for my camera on my own block by a gang that used our freeway offramp and unobstructed street to target victims and get away quick in a rented/stolen car.

Monterey Blvd. doesn’t feel like a place designed for people, at least not to me. What do you think? If you are woman, do you feel safe walking MB alone at night? Is it easily navigable with a stroller? Do you feel safe walking your children along the boulevard? Read the article and leave some of your  thoughts and ideas in the comments here!

 

Open Letter to Supervisor Yee

Jon and I wanted to share the letter we sent to Supervisor Yee on the subject of traffic safety on the Boulevard. We hope this will inspire you to write to him, too! Let him know how you feel about the appalling traffic danger to pedestrians and bicyclists that we live with every day. After all, if you have never had to grit your teeth and let your kids cross this craziness on their own, how would you know what it is like? If you do write a letter, share it with us here! Let’s publish all of these letters so everyone can see what we are demanding of our City.

 

Mr. Yee,

We are writing to you as the founders of Friends of Monterey Boulevard, and residents of Sunnyside, to express our concern over the recent near fatal car vs human events that occurred on Monterey Blvd. Ming Louie and Bob Donjacour are both long time residents of your district and both were hit and nearly killed by high speed drivers, one of whom left the scene. These terrible, avoidable incidents have focused the fear and frustration of all of those who live and work on Monterey Boulevard. These last two weeks are simply the most extreme version of what anyone who spends any time on this street experiences everyday.

Monterey Boulevard has too many cars and there is no traffic control between Congo and Edna streets- yet, at the point where drivers are the most likely to be speeding (Detroit), there is an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing across 4 lanes of traffic and bookended by popular bus stops. The intersection at Edna has very high rates of drivers failing to come to a complete stop at an identified school crossing. With a corner store and bus stops that attract many, many children from the 2 schools within 1000 feet of Monterey Boulevard, this is another “accident” waiting to happen. All of these things contribute greatly to the danger of this street.

Recommendations to improve Monterey Boulevard have been made over the years, and some improvements have been made (most notably the speed limit reduction to 25 MPH and introduction of 15 MPH school zones). Other recommendations, such as a pedestrian demand crossing light at Detroit, radar speed signs between Congo and Edna, increased speed limit signage all along the boulevard, and a comprehensive study of how to reduce car usage and prioritize the pedestrians and cyclists that use this corridor daily MUST be followed through on. These recommendations were first presented officially to the City and SFMTA, and agreed upon by all parties, six years ago by The Friends of Monterey Boulevard after a traffic study was performed and published. What is needed here has been known officially for many years. That it has not been followed through with is a severe oversight that needs to be corrected immediately.

Supervisor Yee, we are sending you this letter because, as our District 7 representative to the City of San Francisco, we have elected you to use your voice and the power of your office to ensure that what this area needs to be safe is done. We want pedestrian centered light controls at the Detroit and Edna intersections. We want radar sign enforced traffic speeds along the fastest parts of the Monterey Boulevard corridor between Baden and Edna. We want up to date, comprehensive traffic calming studies conducted and implemented within the next 12 months. We invite you to partner with us to make that happen.

We at Friends of Monterey Boulevard look forward to working with you to make our street a safer place!

Thank You,

Adrienne Johnson and Jon Winston

Friends of Monterey Boulevard

October 20, 2016

 

Why We Do This

I saw this sign at Fell and Broderick on my way to pick up my son, today.  The woman who was killed at this intersection was Melissa Hope.  She was 24.  She died in September but this is the first time I noticed the sign.

This is why Jon and I started this project.  We do not want the next memorial to be on Monterey Blvd.  The chances of it being a memorial for someone we know, someone in our own homes is too high

Friends of Monterey is primarily about  finding ways to improve our street.  More than that, though, we hope that FOM can be a way to help people from all over the City express their desire for a calmer, more sane and livable place.  Everyone of us represents and is represented by our wonderful city.  Every person killed on our streets is someone we should keep in our thoughts and remember for being one of us.

Please.  Slow down.  Work for a better Monterey.  Work for a better San Francisco.  We do not need another roadside memorial.  We have enough.

More on this story at Bike NOPA, and the Examiner.

posted by Adrienne Johnson