Archive for the ‘Development’ Category

Bullet Train hits Snag in LA/SF/SD Route

Pacific Union has withheld their “Right of Way” over key segments of the LA/SF corridor that the Bullet Train would traverse. They claim safety issues as the reason.

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From the LA Times last week:

Officials at Union Pacific railroad recently told the California High Speed Rail Authority that they have safety and operational concerns about running a bullet train close to lumbering freight trains.

“Just look at what happened in L.A. a few years ago,” said Scott Moore, a Union Pacific vice president, citing the 2005 crash of a Metrolink passenger train that killed 11 and hampered rail operations.

“Those accidents happen.”

This is kind of a big roadblock from what I’ve gathered. And if you’re motivated, for or against, drop them a line here.

Here is a sample trip:

  • SF to LA
  • Distance: 432 Miles
  • CO2/Saved per trip: 324 lbs
  • Travel Time: 2hrs, 38 mins.
  • Estimated Cost: Train $55, Car $86, Air $120

Poll and linkage

Trend-reporting firm publishes SF "Snapshot"

psfk_cover.jpgA couple weeks ago on the MediaBistro site Agency Spy, a blog about the advertising industry, there was a post about a mysterious (to me) booklet published by “an international trends-led publishing, events and consultancy business” called Piers Fawkes. The booklet, PSFK Snapshot, purported to be a sort of guidebook to San Francisco’s most cutting-edge culture, the places to find the real trend-setters, or “influencers,” which I think is the more current term.

Curious, I ordered the book (seen at left). It’s a square booklet about 4 inches on a side, and about 56 pages long. It lists a few cafes, restaurants, art galleries, community events and so on. The list is pretty standard hipster fare: Blue Bottle Coffee, Red Poppy Art House, The Crucible, Maker Faire, Burning Man. In other words, nothing you wouldn’t learn living in San Francisco for one week, or by reading this blog, SFist, and BoingBoing for a month or so.

I got through the whole book in about 90 seconds, and when I was done I understood even less what the book was for. Suppose it is absolutely essential to know that the most snobbish coffee fanatics go to Blue Bottle. If I’m in the advertising industry, what is that knowledge going to get me?

In fact, I was much more interested in the booklet as a product of the Blurb publishing website, where you can upload photos and text and have them print a pretty little book. If I were a photographer, or preparing a booklet for my mother’s 70th birthday or something, it looks like a great service.

more thoughts after the jump

Newsom walking Castro for Prop. G, no on Prop. F

Newsome Visiting Bars in Castro June 1, 2008

Gavin Newsom was walking from bar to bar in the Castro district of San Francisco yesterday urging voters to vote YES on Prop. G. No on Prop. F.

Proponents of Prop. G say it will clean up the shipyard; make new housing, shops and park area available to San Franciscans. They also say the deal with Lennar Corp. to develop the area will not go through if Prop. F is passed.

Opponents of Prop. G say Prop. F will guarantee 50% of all developed housing be affordable to people who already live in the area. The proposed townhouses for the area would start at least $500,000, and be out of reach of the neighborhood families financially.

Whatever you choose, get out and vote on Tuesday!

Clean and Green Summit 2008

Want to get involved with the greening of San Francisco, need to work off some of that consumer guilt you have been carrying around all year?

The 2008 NEN Clean & Green Summit will feature…

  • A resource fair featuring dozens of agencies & non profits committed to helping you make a difference in your community
  • Five different break out groups that you can pre-register for online
  • How to use Solar and Wind to power your home and /or business
  • Rainwater Harvesting: How you can capture rainwater to use in your garden
  • Demystifying the community challenge grant process
  • How to build community in your neighborhood around being cleaner and greener
  • How to make your home more earth friendly
  • Walking tours of the Mission including a stop at the “Greenest” home in San Francisco – truly an amazing structure!

Date: Saturday May 31st, 2008
Location: Cesar Chavez Elementary School (23rd St. and Folsom).
Cost: FREE

A lunch will be provided by Norcal and the California Culinary Academy to registrants.

Schedule and Links

Cal Academy Wins Award of Excellence!

The Green Roof Industry Association has awarded the new Cal Academy of Sciences with an award of excellence for their green roof installation. The new Academy opens on September 27, 2008. The living roof is a key part of the platinum LEED certification the museum has accomplished. From the southeast view the building truly blends in to the landscape. From the west, see picture below, still a sight to behold.

The roof also retains 2 million gallons of rainwater, preventing 70% of the rainwater that falls on the roof from becoming runoff. The water that does run off the roof is collected in basement-level cisterns and reused for roof irrigation. No potable water will be used to irrigate the living roof.

The roof covers an ambitious 197,000 sq. ft. to a depth of 6-7 inches and cost $17 per sq. ft. In conjunction with the building’s other innovative sustainable features, the living roof contributes to many of the anticipated LEED® points, which, when achieved, will make the Academy the world’s largest LEED® Platinum -certified public space

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Photo Credit: Peter Kaminski. H/t to Inhabitat.

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The Unforeseen Screening in SF

unforeseenposterfinal500.jpgIn what looks to be an amazing film, The Unforeseen, we get a look at a battle between a storied Austin developer and a community that finds itself on the brink of losing one of it’s long held treasures. Imho it’s not development that is the enemy, it’s the nature of the way things are developed today. The capitalists version of development is essentially the oldest get rich quick schemes our society has ever known, and it’s this brand of short term thinking that clashes with a newfound american values of heritage and stewardship.

An ambitious west Texas farm boy with grandiose plans tires of living at the mercy of nature and sets out to find a life with more control. He heads to Austin where he becomes a real estate developer and skillfully capitalizes on the growth of this 1970s boomtown. At the peak of his powers, he transforms 4,000 acres of pristine Hill Country into one of the state’s largest and fastest selling subdivisions. When the development threatens a local treasure, a fragile limestone aquifer and a naturally spring-fed swimming hole, the community fights back. In the conflict that ensues, we see in miniature a struggle that today plays out in communities across the country.

Screening at the Red Vic Movie House, 5/18/08 – 5/19/08.

Trailer after the jump

Pacific Heights in Reverse?

pacheightsfilm.jpg
We’ve all heard variants of this story before, this time the details are flowing from the courts. If you haven’t seen Pacific Heights and you are a renter in SF, you need to check out this older film. The film’s tagline is: “It seemed like the perfect house. He seemed like the perfect tenant. Until they asked him to leave.”

Now this story from the Chronicle yesterday, SF Landlord Couple plead not guilty

A San Francisco landlord couple who are accused of waging a campaign of terror at a South of Market apartment building to drive out their renters are the victims of a lawsuit-happy tenant and did nothing wrong, their attorneys said Friday.

This gets interesting in this notable exchange where the landlords attorney ask for a reduction in bail.

“There were no actual threats of injury,” Whelan said, adding of Nicole Macy, “She’s clearly not a safety risk to society in general.”
Peltz said cutting out Morrow’s floor supports put him at risk of injury. He also said the couple had made death threats against tenants.

There was a developer who would burn his own buildings to the ground to get around the permitting process in SF a few years back. This doesn’t seem beyond comprehension that these owners would start to dismantle their own building to get their tenants out.

h/t to SFGate.

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My Cup of Joe

Peets @Embarcadero Station

As I exited the Embarcadero BART/Muni station, contemplating my public transportation frustrations, I noticed the spectacle pictured above.

At first glance, I thought nothing of it. I remembered the construction walls were up for the better part of the year. Once I realized the change in scenery, I hopped down the escalator (I was going up) to snap a a picture.

I don’t know what compelled me. Maybe it was the thought of looking forward to a nice Cup of Joe after expelling myself from one of my most frustrating morning rituals: dealing with the N-Judah on a daily basis. (I mean, come on! How many people can you fit in one train during rush hour?)

It seemed like the light at the end of a very long tunnel. And then I thought of how much better life would be if Muni would invest just as much into running their trains on time, or having an adequate amount of trains during rush hour. Of course, being from the South (as in Southern California), I really can’t complain about public transportation. Muni is by far the best in comparison.

Still, I really do despise the N-Judah with every fiber of my being. But, the bright side is that after waiting up to 20 minutes* for a 30 minute* ride in a sardine-packed streetcar, I’ll get to wait in what I expect to be a very long line of aggrevated train riding coffee drinkers. Oh joy! [/Sarcasm]

The real bright side is that this might mean the lines will probably lessen a bit aboveground!

Check out the San Francisco Business Times article if you’re not hip to the BART/Peets news.

Muni Transit Effectiveness Project community meetings

The SF Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) community meetings kicked off this week. On 4/19 at West Portal Elementary was the first meeting, with meetings upcoming on the following dates/places.

In April and May, the TEP will share preliminary proposals for Muni service changes and reliability improvements at a series of 11 community meetings throughout San Francisco. With your help, a revitalized Muni system will not only benefit current transit customers, but will improve mobility for everyone who lives, works in or visits San Francisco. Interpretation in Cantonese and Spanish will be provided, and there will be a Fast Pass raffle at each meeting.

  • 4.24 – 6pm – The SF Jewish Community Center – map
  • 4.26 – 10:30am – Dianne Feinstein Elementary – map
  • 4.28 – 6pm – Southeast Community Facility – map
  • 4.30 – 6pm – City College Mission Campus – map

Meetings will continue into May, for a full schedule visit the meetings page on the TEP website.

Related

Triangle Planning Meeting 4/30

map of the triangle
There’s a general workshop on what to do with the “triangle”- that is the parking lot that is now Parks & Rec property, bordered by Columbus, Lombard & Mason. At the North Beach Clubhouse (we have a clubhouse?) 4/30, 7pm.
official info from SFPL

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