Neighbor Creates Amazing, Intricate String-Art Map of Bernal Heights

To the ever-expanding genre of artwork inspired by maps of Bernal Heights, Neighbor Naomi shares news about a very cool string-art piece she recently created.

Derived from the 5′ topographic map of Bernal Heights that local carto-wizard Eric Fischer produced in 2012, Neighbor Naomi tells Bernalwood how her piece came together:

I saw the post of Eric Fisher’s map on Bernalwood years ago and it got my wheels turning. I love textile arts (where my knittahs at?!), and my first idea was to do a quilt where the stitching followed the contours of the elevation lines.

That project stuck in my head for a while without becoming a reality (as these things do). Then I began noticing artists doing interesting things with nails and thread – Kumi Yamashita and Dominique Falla are two examples. The thought of the contour map came back to me as a cool subject for that technique.

I made an abridged version of the map with fewer elevation contours (every 20′ instead of 5′) and simpler, more segmented lines. That became my template for where to place the nails on a large piece of prepped plywood. Then, with regular sewing thread in several colors, I just started winding!

To make it a little easier to navigate between the nails, I threaded the strand through the casing of a ball-point pen, which actually made it feel a lot like drawing with string.

Special bonus! Neighbor Naomi also shared this fantastic time-lapse GIF showing how her piece came together:

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):

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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!

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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:

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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.

New York Times Exposes La Lengua’s Diabolical Climate Change Hoax

At long last, the simmering geo-political rivalry between Bernal Heights and those meddling rebel separatists from the La Lengua flatlands has reached the pinnacle of the mainstream media.

In the cover story of today’s Sunday New York Times Magazine, former Bernal neighbor Jon Mooallem reveals the shocking climate change conspiracy that prompted forward-looking Bernal Heights speculators to began hoarding prime beachfront property near the top of Bernal Hill.

Jon Mooallem writes:

A few years ago, a locally famous blogger in San Francisco, known as Burrito Justice, created an exquisitely disorienting map, with help from a cartographer named Brian Stokle, and started selling copies of it online. The map imagined the city in the year 2072, after 60 years of rapid sea-level rise totaling 200 feet.

At present, San Francisco is a roughly square-shaped, peninsular city. But on the map, it is severed clean from the mainland and shaved into a long, fat smudge. The shape of the land resembles a sea bird diving underwater for prey, with odd bays chewing into the coastlines and, farther out, a sprawl of bulging and wispy islands that used to be hills. If you lived in San Francisco, it was a map of where you already were and, simultaneously, where you worried you might be heading. “The San Francisco Archipelago,” Burrito Justice called it — a formerly coherent city in shards.

The map wasn’t science; it didn’t even pretend to be. I want to be very clear about that, because I worry it’s reckless to inject any more false facts into a conversation about climate change. Projecting the effect of sea-level rise on a specific location typically involves recondite computer models and calculations; Burrito Justice was just a fascinated hobbyist, futzing around on his laptop in his backyard. His entire premise was unscientific; for now, it is unthinkable that seas will rise so high so quickly. Even as most credible scientific estimates keep increasing and the poles melt faster than imagined, those estimates currently reach only between six and eight feet by the year 2100.

That’s still potentially cataclysmic: Water would push into numerous cities, like Shanghai, London and New York, and displace hundreds of millions of people. And yes, there are some fringe, perfect-storm thought experiments out there that can get you close to 200 feet by the end of the century. But in truth, Burrito Justice settled on that number only because that’s how high he needed to jack up the world’s oceans if he wanted to wash out a particular road near his house. He has a friendly rivalry with another blogger, who lives in an adjacent neighborhood known for being a cloistered hamlet, and Burrito Justice thought it would be funny to see it literally become an island. So again: The map wasn’t science. It didn’t pretend to be. The point, initially, was just to needle this other guy named Todd.

Of course, even if the science remains unsettled, preparation is still the better part of success. That’s why Bernalwood urges all residents to again consider our 2013 proposal to adapt to our waterlogged, island future by redeveloping Bernal Heights as a fashionable beachfront resort destination.

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Bache Street Residents Unsure How to Pronounce “Bache Street”

Bache Street is a residential lane nestled on the stylish south side of Bernal Heights, just off Crescent Avenue between Porter and Andover.

It’s a lovely place, but there’s a problem:  According to @RadioChert, not even people who live on Bache Street can agree on how to pronounce it. That’s why an ad hoc referendum is now underway to reach a consensus on the matter.

As of Wednesday morning, the pronunciation tally seems to be:

Bah-chee  – 2
Bay-shh – 1
Bach-ae – 0
Batch – 1
Bay-shee – 0
Bay-ch – 1
Bay-sh – 0

While the voting on Bache Street continues, historians and geo-genealogists are cordially invited to opine on this matter.

HAT-TIP AND PHOTO: Courtesy of @RadioChert

New “Lake Alemany” Entices Local Media and Watersports Enthusiasts

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After several days of nonstop rain, Lake Alemany has taken form beneath the 101-280 “Spaghetti Bowl,” in southeast Bernal, and the new reservoir quickly attracted the attention of local television crews.

Neighbor John was also on the scene at Bernal’s own version of the Salton Sea, and he reports that Lake Alemany is 1-2 feet deep in the middle, and about 30′ wide. Here’s a close-up:

lakealemanydetail
No word yet on whether the Recreation and Parks Department plans to open Lake Alemany for bumper-wakeboarding and alligator hunting, but Bernal residents are advised to keep their air boats, amphibious vehicles, and fishing equipment at the ready, just in case.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Neighbor John

Bernal Heights Is Getting a New Street (With No Muss, No Fuss)

newmartinavemap

Oh hey. Bernal Heights is getting  new street.

Don’t worry: There won’t be lots of messy construction, weeks of temporary parking restrictions, and cumbersome detours that make it harder to get around. No, there won’t be any of that, because our new street already exists — but until now, it didn’t really have a name.

Yesterday the City’s Land Use and Transportation Committee approved the creation of  Martin Avenue on the east side of Bernal Heights. Our friends at CurbedSF broke the story and provide the essential background:

It’s a humble affair, just a short stretch of pavement in Bernal Heights, near the Dogpatch Miller Garden.

Previously, these blocks were home to a messy, confusing triangle, as Brewster Street splits into two before terminating at Mullen Avenue, creating a weird, nameless stretch on city-owned land.

Today the Land Use and Transportation Committee is set to approve a measure conferring the name Martin Avenue on the corridor.

Why Martin Avenue? Well, that’s where this story gets downright charming.

According to the relevant paperwork, the name honors “Martin Ron, a land surveyor whose admiration for his adopted city inspired him to dedicate his career to achieving expertise in San Francisco land surveying.”

Ron established a firm in 1969 (although the city says 1968) that’s done survey work for almost every major project in the city for decades, including the likes of SFMOMA, Millennium Tower, AT&T Park, and even fix-ups on landmarks like the Cliff House and the Golden Gate Bridge.

Cool!

To be honest, it wasn’t easy to figure out exactly where our new Martin Avenue is located. The maps provided in the official documents are a bit disjointed, and Google Maps makes things a little more confusing by labeling the previously unnamed street as an offshoot of (the otherwise contiguous) Brewster Street. As shown:

notbrewster-2

Don’t blame Google; the current street signs also indicate this is was part of Brewster:

brewstersign

But no. That’s not Brewster Street; it’s now officially Martin Avenue.

Once you find it, Martin Avenue turns out to be a lovely little lane. This is Martin Avenue, just west of the point where it connects with Mullen:

martinstreetviewIt’s not clear if any Bernalese humans will have a Martin Avenue address, but earlier this year, I actually (and unknowingly) visited Martin Avenue with Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter to capture a sighting of a coyote hiding in an adjacent thicket:

wolf001

Very fashionable!

Neighbor Builds Stunning 3D Topographical Map of Bernal Heights

Cardboard Bernal Hill, from the northeast. That's 101 on the far left.

3D Bernal Hill, from the northeast. That’s 101 on the far left.

Bernal Hill, from the northwest

3D Bernal Hill, from the northwest

A few weeks ago, Neighbor John from Lundys Lane invited your Bernalwood editor to see his latest project: A 3D topographical map of Bernal Heights, made entirely from sheets of cardboard.

It’s so cool! So incredible! So WOW! Bernalwood asked Neighbor John to tell us more about how he did it:

I started the project to create a three dimensional piece of art for my living room. I was inspired by some abstract landscape brass reliefs, and I’d been searching for an inspiring idea. Then I saw a very detailed Bernal topographic map, and knew I had my subject.

I was able to get a version of the data for the topographic map. The original data had lines for every 5 feet of elevation, which was too detailed, so I removed every other line to create a elevations for every 10 feet. This took a bit of time, but it was super cool to engage with the detailed topography of Bernal, especially since I run or walk on the hill almost every morning.

The next step was to decide on a material to use for each elevation layer. Through this process I met almost-Bernal neighbor Alex at Pagoda Arts. He convinced me that architectural chipboard would be relatively easy to work with, and it came in the right thickness so that the total height of the piece would be between four and five inches — three dimensional, but still hangable on a wall.

I created a file that Alex could use for his laser cutter, and he cut forty-five layers for me. I then glued them together using high quality tacky glue.

The gluing process was laborious and tense. The layers are very detailed, so positioning them precisely was required, all with fast-drying glue. But it was amazing to watch Bernal Heights grow from the top of my work bench. At the end I could hardly wait to get the next layers on.

We live on a beautiful hill, and it’s fun to see it from this perspective.

Here are a few more pics:

View from southeast

View from southeast

sutritositefromsouth

Sutrito Tower site on Bernal Hill, viewed from the south

Funny thing about these photos, of course, is that it’s hard to tell that it’s a physical object.  So here are a few more pics, with objects added to provide more depth and scale. Here’s a pair of glasses sitting on Cortland Avenue around Nevada Street:

carbernal.glasses

And here’s a Sharpie pen, roughly following the path of Gates Street:

cardbernal.sharpie

Amazing!

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Data Visualization Reveals Parking Availability Trends in Bernal Heights

bernalparkingavail-1

Street parking  —and anxiety about street parking — is an evergreen topic for the Citizens of Bernalwood. And no wonder; for better or worse, parking is one of those daily chores that directly impact perceptions of quality of life. But how hard is it to park in Bernal Heights, really?

We all know the answer to that question varies from street-to-street and block-to-block. But a new data-visualization from Trulia and Parknav allows us to identify the streets in Bernal Heights with the best and worst parking. Here’s Trulia’s explanation of the methodology:

We created parking scores for neighborhoods, streets and actual Trulia rental listings using Parknav’s proprietary street parking availability data. We did this by looking at how difficult or easy it is to park on five typical days including weekdays and a Saturday, during evening and morning times, on a street-by-street level. Parking scores ranged from 0 to 100, where 0 means parking is impossible and 100 means parking is easy.

We calculated street parking scores by averaging all of the parking probability samples assigned to a given street within a city.

We then calculated listing parking scores by averaging the street parking score of each street that was within a mile distance from actual homes for rent on Trulia between January 2015 and October 2015

On the bright side, Bernal didn’t make the list of the 10 worst San Francisco neighborhoods for street parking. But we didn’t crack the Top 10 list for abundant street parking either. Generally, parking seems to be hardest in central and northwest Bernal, but it’s relatively easy in the southeast part of our dominion.

Since context is king, here’s a San Francisco map to give you a sense of how (somewhat favorably) Bernal compares to our neighbors in other parts of town:

Trulia Parking Map SF

MAPS: via Trulia

Bernal Artist Offers Handy, Handmade Moon Calendars For 2016

moonmap4

After our spooky moon sightings and a super rare bloodmoon, it’s already been a great lunar year. Luckily, Neighbor Annie on Precita near York has been making moon calendars for the past five years, and she recently cooked up a new batch.

Wolf moon! Snow moon! Sturgeon moon! Beaver moon! Who knew there were so many moons?

Neighbor Annie says:

I originally began making these calendars as holiday gifts for loved ones when I moved here from Canada five years ago. They were so popular that I kept doing it, changing the design each time since I knew I wouldn’t want to look at the same calendar every year. Plus, it keeps it fun! This year, I was looking to give it a bit of an art nouveau/architectural feel. I hope it reads that way!

If you’re in the neighbourhood and you want to do a local pick up, just send me a message and we can arrange one.

Alternatively, you can also pick them up on her online store. They’re two-color screenprints that measure 16×20 inches — plenty big enough to ensure you’ll never to miss another full moon again. Plus, they’ll look great on the wall of your personal observatory.

PHOTO: via Annie Axtell

Space Station Astronaut Captures View of Bernal Hill from Outer Space

SFfromISS.bernalwood

Good morning, earthlings of Bernal Heights! Perhaps you saw that tweet from ISS astronaut Scott Kelley on Saturday morning? The one that had a remarkable image of San Francisco, as seen from the International Space Station?

If you saw the image, you were probably grateful for the extensive training you received as a Bernal Heights astro-navigator. You remember, right?

Locating Bernal Heights from outer space is actually pretty easy. The trick is to know what local landmarks to look for.

Bernal Heights sits roughly at the intersection of two imaginary, perpendicular lines that extend from Islais Creek Channel to the east of Bernal Heights and Aquatic Park to the north. Both of these have a distinctive, easy-to-spot profile when viewed from above, so just find the intersection where the lines come together and then… hey, you have located your home, Earth creature.

As you can see, that technique works quite well with the image Scott Kelly shared over the weekend:

SFfromISS.grid

Here’s an unedited version of the image. Can you find your house?

Ye Shall Walk Bernal Streets, And Know They Are (Really, Still) Steepest

bernalgrades

Every few years, a young quant-geek with a passion for data analysis and a sadistic taste for urban cycling attempts to answer an important local question:  If San Francisco is a city famous for its steep hills, which streets in San Francisco are really the steepest?

The question was asked in 2011, and in 2013, and (like clockwork) it was asked again this week, as a young quant geek from the excellent Pricenomics blog studied the topographic datasets for San Francisco and concluded (once again) that Bernal Heights has the steepest streets in San Francisco — and quite possibly the world.

To which any hill-toned Bernalese can only say: DUH!

steepestchart

Pricenomics writes:

Containing 5 gradients over 25% (four of which are over 30%), Bernal Heights claims bragging rights as the city’s steepest living quarters. Prior to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the neighborhood was largely undeveloped due to its hilliness. But shortly thereafter, merchants settled there, and houses were built along some unusually steep pitches.

steepneighborhoods

They were particularly fascinated by the steep block of Bradford at Tompkins just above the Farmer’s Market:

With an astonishing 41% grade, Bradford Street, in the hilly Bernal Heights neighborhood, is the city’s steepest (at least of those surveyed). Admittedly, this stretch is quite short: the majority of Bradford Street climbs steadily at about a 24% grade before exploding into a 30-foot stretch of 41% paved road. “On such a slope,” writes Von Worley, “gravity alone pulls a one-ton car downhill with 800 pounds of force, accelerating it from zero to sixty in 7.2 seconds.”

“My (totally unsubstantiated) theory,” he tells us, “is that if you somehow got a high-center-of-gravity vehicle (like an SUV) sideways on the 41% section, then wiggled it the wrong way, it might actually roll over.”

bradfordsteepsx2

They act surprised.

Anyway, this brings Bernalwood back to our original conclusion about the intense steepness of our streetscapes, and what this means for our identity and self-image as a neighborhood. As we wrote in 2011:

Let’s face it: Bernal Heights may not always be the smartest, or the prettiest, or the most popular neighborhood in the world. But we may rest secure in the knowledge that we will always be the steepest.

GRAPHICS: via Pricenomics

New Map Reveals the Lost Waterways of Bernal Heights

seepcity.bernaldetail

In his amazing new Seep City map of San Francisco’s lost creeks, springs and waterways, natural history researcher Joel Pomerantz reveals the places where groundwater once flowed in Bernal Heights.

Here’s the story it tells:

[On the map] today’s land forms are shown with 5-foot-interval contour lines. At this level of detail, we can easily see where human activity has filled extensive portions of the bay and where streets, highways, reservoirs and railroad grades cut into hills.

Our city had significantly more water before it was developed. Consequently, most of the water shown is from historical sources. The purple squiggles are bedrock springs found today. Natural and artificial lakes present today are outlined in white. Creeks of today are highlighted yellow.

Only a couple creeks still flow on the surface today. Finding them can be a challenge without this map. Some are virtually unknown.

The detail is remarkable. Here’s a close crop of northeast Bernal, with Precita Creek running along the upper part of the map and draining into the intricate Islais Creek watershed (where Bayshore stands today). Notice also the two active springs on the northern slope of Bernal Hill:

Bernal.SeepCity.bwood

And when you pull back to look at the city as a whole, you see how Bernal fits in to a much larger ecosystem:

SeepCitymap.bernalwood

Want a copy of Joel’s maptastic creation? Visit his Kickstarter page, where you can order a map in your favorite size.

IMAGES: Courtesy of Joel Pomerantz

Bernal Neighbor Creates Clever Cardboard Contour of Cortland Avenue

cortland.cardboard3

milesepstein2-1

During a recent constitutional in Cortlandia, your Bernalwood editor met Neighbor Miles Epstein as he was preparing to photograph his new artwork: a topographically accurate cross-section of Cortland Avenue, created entirely from sheets of cardboard. Neighbor Miles writes:

3D Surface Modeling – The Cortland Map Project
Inspired by finishing an extraordinarily flat cork tabletop, I fell into this idea of modeling our local commercial street. Cortland Avenue runs east/west for 0.9miles. Branching off Mission St at 140 feet above sea level Cortland crests at 240 feet before descending sharply to Bayshore Ave, resting flat at just 20 feet above the waves.

Turns out, Neighbor Miles is friendly with the folks at New Wheel on Cortland, and his 3-D map was assembled from scrap cardboard collected from the store.

He mapped it out based on the amazing 5′ topo map of Bernal Heights created by the legendary Eric Fisher (and shared on Bernalwood a few years ago). Then Neighbor Miles reproduced the contours of Bernal by gluing custom-cut pieces of cardboard together to create the entire length of Cortland from Mission to Bayshore. Take a closer took:

cortland.cardboarddetail
Neighbor Miles tells Bernalwood he was directly inspired by the work of Neighbor Gregory Gavin, and on his website, Neighbor Miles reveals that he even built a version of his Cardboard Cortland that uses the streets as structural ribs.  Check this out:

corland.cardboardribs

Woa. Mind blown! Amazing! Geektastic! Brilliant! Inspiring!

Well done, Neighbor Miles.

Now… A CARDBOARD CONTOUR OF ALL OF BERNAL HEIGHTS, PLEASE?

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics (above) and Miles Epstein (below)