Rare Bikes Stolen From Home of New Bernal Neighbor

Neighbor Erik Nohlin moved to Prentiss Street in Bernal Heights one week ago after living on 23rd Street for four years before that. Sadly, his introduction to Bernal Heights included a brazen home intrusion robbery during which six rare bicycles were stolen from his garage.

Neighbor Erik is an industrial designer for Specialized Bicycle Components, the bicycle manufacturer based in Morgan Hill, Calif. Last Monday, Feb. 13, while he was settling into his new Bernal home, someone broke into his garage between 10:30 and 11 pm and took six bikes that represent five years of Neighbor Erik’s work.

Images of all the missing bikes are available here.

“My wife and I were at home and asleep by 11.30 when two SFPD officers knocked on thee back door and said that a neighbor had seen the door open when he got home, so he called the police,” Neighbor Erik told Bernalwood. “I walked down the garage with the officers and we found that my entire bicycle collection was gone, the  wire was cut and u-locks gone.”

The thieves stole the bikes in just a few minutes, without making a sound. Examination of the scene revealed they had used a wire to reach through the garage mail slot and release the garage latch.

This sprint bike was among those stolen from a Prentiss St. garage on Feb. 13.

Neighbor Erik says the stolen bikes are one-of-a-kind creations.

A cash reward of $1000 has been offered to anyone who returns the bikes, no questions asked. “The bikes are so well known and high profile that turning them will be hard – they’re too hot,” he says.  “I would hate to see these disassembled and sold as parts or sprayed black, as they’re so unique with their stories, not only to me but to cycling history.”

Bernal neighborErik Nohlin’s name appears on some of the stolen bike frames.

Anyone with information that might lead to the recovery of the bikes is asked to call 415 696 1434, or contact the SFPD at <brian.fogarty@sfgov.org>.

“We thought we had moved out of the more exposed 23rd Street to a safer place, but we certainly learned a lesson,” Neighbor Erik says. “It’s San Francisco and you need triple locks and eyes peeled 24/7.”

Rebel Cartographer Burrito Justice Analyzes New 29th Street Bike Share Station

New bike share station on 29th Street

When he’s not fomenting insurrection, agitating for territorial autonomy, or weaponizing Mexican food, Burrito Justice, the rebel Spokeblogger for the La Lenguan people of the Bernal flatlands, also likes to dabble in cartography and map-making.

Last week,Burrito Justice applied those skils to analyze the controversial new bike share station on 29th Street (which just happens to be around the corner from his secret command post). Today, by permission — and in the spirit of science —Bernalwood shares this communique from Burrito Justice:

Before I rode my bike to work, I used to think people who biked, even from La Lengua to Civic Center, were CRAZYTOWN. Now, well, I think they are less crazy. I can bike downtown faster than via transit, and often driving.
It’s pretty hard to get sense of how long it takes to ride places. How long does it take to bike a mile? Two miles? A half mile? I ride every day, and I still don’t have a great feel for distance. Anyway, there is one way to solve this: MAPS. (Shocking I know).

There are these cool things called isochrones, which show travel distances of equal time as lines (thank the ancient Greeks, iso = equal, chronos = time). I happen to work for a mapping company that has an isochrone service, and now I know how to make these things.

Here’s a map showing 5, 10, 15 and 20 minute bike isochrones from La Lengua:

5/10/15/20 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

These isochrones take into account hills, prefer bike lanes, and use a relatively moderate biking speed. Actual travel times might be a little slower or faster for some folks, but this gives a pretty reasonable indication of how far you can get on a bike across town.

You can get surprisingly far in just 5 or 10 minutes (the two darkest blue rings).

Speaking of bike lanes, it’s always nice to see where it’s safe/less dangerous to bike. It just so happens I have the technology to put bike lanes into this map.

5/10/15/20 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua, with bike routes shown

Green indicates protected bike lanes, while orange are OK bike lanes based on a bunch of different parameters (bike infrastructure, road type, etc). Here’s the key:

mapzen_bike_legend

While I love to walk, it’s a haul. Here are 5/10/15/20 minute walking isochrones for La Lengua. (No wonder I never go to Noe Valley OMG SO FAR. And no wonder I rarely see the Valley People in La Lengua — you might as well need a visa.)

5/10/15/20 minute walking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

OK this may shock you, but I made a GIF of walking vs biking isochrones (the same shades of blue indicate 5, 10, 15, 20 min travel time whether by bike or by foot):

bike_vs_walk

Walking vs. Biking: 5/10/15/20 minute travel distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you know that they’re expanding bike share stations throughout the Mission and La Lengua (sorry Bernal). While you think that this would be celebrated, there are… opinions. These involve parking spots (shocking) and gentrification (shocking). But just look at how many bikeshare stations (pink circles) you can get to in five or ten or 15 minutes!

la_lengua_bikeshare_5_10

Detail: 5/10/15 minute biking distances from 29th Street in La Lengua

And guess what — you can bike TO La Lengua! (Oh man, biking from 24th St. BART to the 29th St bikeshare station, that will be sweet.)

While it may take some effort to realize that biking is a possibility, don’t stress about the bikeshare stations! They let you get places fast, and they let people get HERE easily. Here’s a quick map of just some of the restaurants, bars and businesses that are within 200 yards from the bikeshare station on 29th and Tiffany:

la_lengua_businesses_no_labels

Restaurants, bars and businesses within 200 yards of 29th St. bike share station. The aqua-colored circles are business that have closed or gone — Cole Hardware, 3300, El Gran Taco Loco…

Wwe have a pretty sweet little commercial corridor along 29th and on Mission in La Lengua, and you can look at these isochrones the other way around — folks who might never walk over can bike here in 5 or 10 minutes and enjoy our superior food and drinking and shopping establishments such as Rock Bar, The Front Porch, Good Frickin Chicken, PizzaHacker, Fumi Curry, Ichi Sushi, Coco Ramen, Old Bus Tavern, Mitchell’s, Iron & Gold, Los Panchos, Royal Cuckoo, Secession, and many, many more. And won’t have to worry about parking.

You can drill into a dynamic slippy map here (work in progress!) Drop me a line if you want me to show you how to make isochrones from your neighborhood or business district.

Cyclists Boycott Businesses Seeking Removal of Bernal Bike-Share Station

The new bike share station on 29th Street (Photo: Telstar Logistics)

An effort by some merchants along Mission Street in Bernal Heights to seek the immediate removal of the new bike share station on 29th Street triggered a strong response from San Francisco bicyclists, with some cyclists saying they plan to avoid businesses that oppose the bike share program.

Last week, San Francisco Examiner reporter Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez broke the story that the MIssion-Bernal Merchants Association (MBMA) asked the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to immediately remove a new Ford Go-Bike bike share station installed in front of the UPS Store at 60 29th Street between Tiffany and Mission.

In addition, Bernalwood has confirmed MBMA also raised concerns about the new bike-share stations on Valencia at Cesar Chavez and in Precita Park, as all three stations fall within MBMA’s membership “blueprint area.”

MBMA says they weren’t properly notified about the installation of the new bike-share stations, with most merchants only learning about them when notices went up a few days before station installation began.

At least one other Bernal neighborhood organization echoes the complaint about notification. Despite appearing in Ford GoBike’s Outreach Report  as one of the program’s “Planning and Community Partners,” Demece Garepis of the Precita Valley Neighbors says her group had to reach out proactively last January to get information about the bike share program and discuss preferred station locations around Precita Park. After some brief exchanges with bike-share coordinators, Precita Valley Neighbors then heard nothing until July, when an email notification arrived the day before the new Precita Park bike share station was installed. “Above all the pros or cons and real concerns, a day in advance is not reasonable notification,” Garepis says.

Community notification requirements for the creation of bike share stations were established by SFMTA and codified in vendor Motivate/Ford GoBike’s contract with the City. In addition to soliciting public feedback online, during workshops, and in community meetings, each potential bike share station location is also subjected to a traffic engineering analysis to ensure it meets safety standards.

On 29th Street, MBMA says the new bike share station creates a safety hazard by compounding congestion problems along the busy 29th Street corridor, where the existing UPS store and adjacent STEMful learning center generate significant amounts of vehicular pick-up and drop-off activity.

Apart from the struggles caused by the 2016 Cole Hardware Fire, the arrival of the bike share stations has compounded Mission Street merchants’ frustrations with the establishment of an express “red carpet” lane for Muni buses and months of disruption caused by the streetscape construction along Valencia between Mission and Cesar Chavez

In a statement sent to Bernalwood, MBMA president Eden Stein and co-coordinator Ani Rivera said:

MBMA’s request to SFMTA is to immediately remove/suspend the Ford Bike Share Program on 29th Street and a comprehensive analysis (study and survey) to be conducted to determine if the program is suitable, desired and safe in any future identified locations.  In addition, we also request that SFMTA include in its outreach MBMA’s input when decisions and designs are being made that will affect any aspect of the MBMA corridor.

According to the Examiner, Kevin Cline, an MBMA member and owner of the Rock Bar and The Front Porch on 29th Street, also told SFMTA that the 29th Street bike share station should be removed immediately.

Cline tells Bernalwood the arrival of the bike share station had changed traffic patterns on the street. “I’m not a virulent anti-bike share person, but it would have been nice if they consulted the businesses that are right there,” he says.

Cline says there were curbside meters in front of the UPS Store before the bike share station was installed, including a 10 minute-only green meter zone, but parking turnover was frequent. Now, he says, UPS trucks and customers double-park because they can no longer park in front of the store legally.

“I would love [bike share vendor] Motivate to join us at a merchants meeting to discuss this,” says Cline, who has co-owned The Front Porch for 11 years and lives a few blocks east on 29th Street. “When I opened my business, I had to reach out to all my neighbors, and I had to change some things. That’s what being a good merchant is about.”

Reaction to MBMA’s efforts to remove the bike share stations has been intense, both on Bernalwood and elsewhere. In response to bike share opposition, some cyclists say they will likely avoid going to Rock Bar and The Front Porch, and any other merchants that seek to have bike share stations removed.

Cyclist Kevin Flaherty says he’s only rarely decided to boycott anything, but he’s considering it now. “I’m not promoting a backlash, but I’m not particularly fond of giving material support to a group that is against reducing parking and undermining a system I depend upon.” said Flaherty, 41, who grew up in the Sunset and now lives in the Mission. Flaherty adds he’d previously visited Rock Bar three or four times.

David Gouldin, a cyclist who lives near Dolores Park, points to SFMTA surveys that show merchants may over-estimate how many of their customers arrive by car, so they complain when parking spaces are converted to other uses. He adds that City officials and Motivate/Ford GoBike held many neighborhood workshops and information sessions about the bike share program, so “when a business like Rock Bar or Front Porch opposes bike share, after years of planning and public meetings, that’s ridiculous. I don’t want to give my money to a business like that. I hope other cyclists will consider doing the same.”

While stopping short of a boycott, cyclist Brian Coyne from The Mission says it’s a “jerk move” when businesses oppose bike share, and that such efforts influence perceptions of local merchants and neighborhood organizations. He says having to accept other people’s amenities in public space is just part of city life. “For example, I don’t own a car,”  he says, “but the streetspace directly in front of my house is public car parking.”

“As someone who loves the food at the Front Porch, I’m disappointed in the owners for taking this line,” Coyne says.

Kevin Cline from The Front Porch and Rock Bar says he has “real concerns” about the possibility of a boycott. “We’re only in business because we take care to listen to our customers,”  he says. “Obviously, I don’t want anyone to avoid my restaurant because I worry about their safety while crossing the street.”

Cline adds that while he thinks the 29th Street bike share station should be removed, he would accept another one nearby. “It’s not like I don’t want them in my back yard,” he says. “I wouldn’t mind if they were closer to my back yard! But I don’t think the current location is a good one.”

Cyclist Brian Coyne says he understands that the transition to alternative modes of transportation is awkward — though he expects that the initial friction will eventually fade. “Bike share isn’t for everyone,” he says,  “But it’s clearly the best transportation option for some people, and I think all of us, whether we own businesses or not, ought to accept that some public space will be used for it.”

Bernal Merchant Seeks Immediate Removal of 29th Street Bikeshare Station

The San Francisco Examiner reports that the Mission-Bernal Merchants Association is protesting the installation of a bikeshare station on 29th Street:

In June, Ford GoBike launched its newest expansion, providing 3,500 blue bikes available to be rented, or “shared,” by smartphone app. That expansion was met with opposition from neighbors and merchants near Mission District’s 24th Street in community meetings.

At the SFMTA meeting on Tuesday, Ani Rivera, director of Galería De La Raza and a co-coordinator at the Mission Bernal Merchants Association, decried the lack of outreach on the part of Motivate, which administers Ford GoBike.

Kevin Cline, an owner of both Rock Bar and The Front Porch in San Francisco, said a Ford GoBike kiosk near his restaurant on 29th Street prompted drivers to increasingly double park.

“We’re not entirely against bikeshare programs,” he told the SFMTA board. “I do resent a complete lack of outreach. I didn’t get a letter or phone call.”

Cline requested the kiosk “be removed immediately until Ford makes an effort to reach out.”

Video Captures Bad Bike Accident on Steeps of Cortland

Neighbors who live along the eastern end of Cortland Avenue are puzzling over a security camera video that captured a frightening bicycle accident at the southeast corner of Cortland and Bronte.

The accident, which occurred last Thursday morning, August 3, may have also involved a Cadillac SUV. While the exact sequence of events is unclear, the cyclist may have lost control after the Cadillac turned left onto Bronte while traveling west on  Cortland.

The cyclist has not been identified, and there is no further information about the cyclist’s condition. Neighbors say the Cadillac left the scene after the accident, and the driver has also not been identified.

Cyclists Say Homeless Encampment on “Hairball” Bike Path Is Unsafe

Cyclists from several neighborhoods in southeast San Francisco have recently expressed concern about the expansion of homeless encampments along the narrow bike lane through the Chavez/101 “Hairball” interchange. The bike path is the only safe route for cyclists who need to traverse 101, but today it’s nearly impassable.

Neighbor Angela from Prospect Ave. in Bernal Heights uses the bike path daily, and yesterday she sent this email to several local officials, including D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen,  D10 Supervisor Malia Cohen,  Department of Public Works chief Mohammed Neru, and SFMTA chief Ed Reiskin.  Bernalwood was cc’d on the email as well.

Neighbor Angela writes:

Dear Supervisors and SF Public Works and CalTrans:

The bike path along Cesar Chavez St, under the 101 freeway (both eastbound and westbound) is nearly unpassable for bikes due to the tents, tarps, junk, garbage and animals that have taken it over.

This is a dangerous situation for the bicyclists, people and pets that are there.

There is no viable alternate route for bicyclists from the Mission/Bernal Heights/Glen Park/Noe Valley to CalTrain and eastern parts of the City. Riding on the street with cars under the overpass is also extremely dangerous.

I live in Bernal Heights and ride my bike every day to get to CalTrain to go to Palo Alto. This is what my morning commute is like:

What you don’t see is the big puff of crack smoke the first woman on the left exhaled just as I rode by.

I have registered requests for enforcement and complaints with different City services, but I find the cases get closed with no action taken.

While I do understand the complexities of the situation, leaving the bike path in this state is untenable. Please find a way to join forces to address this issue as soon as possible.

On behalf of all the bicyclists who just want to ride safely, thank you.

UPDATE 1:45 pm, 30 June: More than 24 hours after her note was sent, Neighbor Angela says she has yet to receive a response from any of the City officials addressed in it.

PHOTO: Screenshot from Neighbor Angela’s video of the bike route through the Hairball

Join the Gang Biking From Bernal to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass on Saturday

bikingbernalhill

Live in Bernal? Love to bike? Hate traffic? Heading to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park on Saturday?

If you nodded vigorously to all the above, then you’re in luck, because there’s a convoy of bikes departing from Precita Park on Saturday morning, October 1, and you’re invited to join the pedal posse.

Neighbor Lauren says:

Greetings from Precitaville!

I wanted to alert you to a fun, free bike ride to Hardly Strictly that I’m leading this Saturday morning. This is an easy, kid- and family-friendly, slow rolling bike ride meeting at 9am in Precita Park and departing at 9:30 sharp, All are welcome, so please feel free to shout it from the hilltops!

We’ll make stops in the Mission and Duboce Triangle to pick up additional riders on our mostly flat, 6-mile ride. We should get to Hellman Hollow around 10:40, giving folks time to valet check or lock up their bikes before the music starts at 11am.

I ask that participants wear helmets and can arrange for free loaners if needed – interested parties should e-mail blazinglauren@gmail.com no later than Friday morning to coordinate.p.s. Here’s the approximate itinerary including “train stations” and route details:

  • 9am, gather in “Bernal Flats” (as I like to call it), on the west side of Precita Park, at Folsom and Precita
  • Precita Park is our first station.
  • 9:30am sharp, depart Precita Park, heading west to Valencia Street
  • Approx 9:45am, arrive at the Deeplet parklet, on Valencia between 20th and 21st Streets
  • Deeplet Parklet is our second station.
  • No earlier than 9:50am (i.e., arrive by 9:50 to join us here), depart the Deeplet, cycling north and west to the Wiggle
  • Approx 10:05am, arrive to the east side of Duboce Park, at Steiner and Hermann
  • Duboce Park is our third station.
  • No earlier than 10:10am, depart Duboce Park, wiggling along to the panhandle
  • Approx 10:40am, arrive at Hellman Hollow 11am, bluegrass commences

PHOTO: Courtesy of Neighbor Lauren