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Knifey … (Piazza, Addis Ababa)
Date by Bike! Two Wheels, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose
portlandmercury, 04.06.14.illustration by Leo Zarsinksi.
» How Cyclists On Telegraph Avenue Mean Business

Despite the fact that it has no bike lane, Telegraph Avenue is one of the most popular routes for cyclists in Oakland. According to city estimates, more than 1,200 cyclists ride Telegraph Avenue every day, competing with cars and buses for space on the busy street. As part of a substantial redesign of this corridor — a critical north-south route that connects downtown Oakland to the Temescal district to Berkeley — officials hope to make the roadway safer for biking. And if they do it right, it’s not just cyclists who will benefit.

The positive correlation between biking and business may seem obvious to full-time cyclists. But for business owners concerned about trading parking spaces for bike lanes, it’s not always an easy sell.

For Stephanie Sockel, general manager of Marc 49, a Telegraph Avenue wine bar, improved bike access is a no-brainer. For starters, it’s a matter of safety: Two of her employees who bike to work have been hit by cars, she said. Sockel also predicted that a Telegraph bike lane would also improve business. “I really think it will give us better curb appeal, honestly. People riding bikes are able to see businesses a bit closer,” she said, adding that a bikeway would enable more patrons to get to her bar. “That will increase the options for people who don’t drive cars or are trying to drive their cars less.”“

read more: ebx, 11.06.14.

» The Art of Neighborhood Creation

In cities like Oakland, there are often concerns that an influx of artists to a neighborhood can be one of the first steps toward gentrification: Artists make areas more attractive to outsiders, prompting landlords to eventually raise rents and price out lower-income, longtime residents. But the gallery owners emphasized that this quiet strip has suffered from inactivity — and that their venues aim to be inclusive and accessible.

"We’re not displacing anybody," Lucas said. "This was a forgotten neighborhood. Now, we’re bringing some light back to it."

For at least one longtime neighborhood tenant, the influx of galleries and shops is welcome. Ricky Ramirez, who has run Ricky’s Tribune Barber Shop on 15th Street for thirteen years, said he is glad to see increased activity on the street and is happy with his new neighbors. “They are very nice people,” said the 79-year-old Ramirez, who has been a barber in downtown Oakland for more than five decades. “We’ve got to have more traffic here. That’s all you need.”

read more: ebx, 11.06.14.

» West Oakland Specific Plan approved

A sprawling debate at Oakland’s Planning Commission last Wednesday night about a proposal for the future of West Oakland in many ways underscored the city’s deeper questions about rising housing costs, changing demographics and urban vitality.

At issue was the city’s West Oakland Specific Plan, a document that lays out how to redevelop the district by changing the zoning of certain areas from commercial to residential, increasing parkland and modernizing streets and avenues.

The Planning Commission approved the plan, 4-2. It has been in the works since July 2011. It will be considered by the City Council in July.

But public comment on the plan became a discussion about gentrification and affordability.

Former Black Panther leader Elaine Brown, center, leads a chant with Causa Justa housing rights lead organizer Robbie Clark, right, during a protest against an Oakland Planning Commission meeting for the West Oakland Specific Plan held at Oakland City Hall on June 11, 2014.

West Oakland has traditionally been the heart of African American culture in the city, if not the Bay Area. But over the past 10 years in some West Oakland census tracts the number of white residents has doubled, bringing their numbers nearly equal with their African American counterparts. Asian and Latino residents have increased as well, while thousands of African American families have left the neighborhood for areas outside the city…

Monsa Nitoto, 65, a West Oakland activist who has lived in the area for 40 years, said the plan had flaws but would bring much-needed investment to West Oakland.

"There is some gentrification going on, but no more than these Occupy folks moving into West Oakland," Nitoto said. "They’re gentrifying while they’re talking about not gentrifying, and they don’t know what is going on."

sfgate, 11.06.14.

yeeah that’s what’s up!
grad school so tiring, though >____>;;;;;;;
» Why Did Castro Street Even Have 21' Traffic Lanes in the First Place?


After months of work relocating utilities and sidewalk widening, repaving is about to begin on Castro Street. The extra space comes from narrowing traffic lanes so absurdly wide they could be two lanes, and often are with cars double parking.

Once upon a time there were two lanes in each direction…


Until the 1906 Earthquake and Fire the Castro Street Cable Car ran on Market Street from the Ferry Building to Castro Street where it made a left and travelled over the hill to 24th and Castro. With the cables and power-houses in ruin transit operators quickly put up overhead wire to run streetcars on the surviving track.

Streetcars and cable cars couldn’t make it over the hill to Noe Valley, so when cable car service was restored, it was only between 18th and 24th Streets. That’s where it met the 8-Market Streetcar line that continued the rest of the way down Market Street to the Ferry Building.

With streetcars laying over on one side of 18th and cable cars on the other, the wide lanes we nessacery if cars and trucks were to get around them.

The cable car was replaced in the early 1940s by the 24-Divisadero bus line while the 8-Market continued as a streetcar line, then a bus line, then a streetcar line when it was replaced by the F-Market. It’s only been a bit been over half a century since Castro Street actually needed those 21’ wide streets.

» Observing, analyzing Portland's stop sign culture

"I used the legal “complete stop” threshold for determining whether behavior qualified as stopping or not. As I tallied up hundreds of commuters, this standard revealed itself as less and less useful when comparing cars and bikes. Because of their slower overall speed, bike riders have just as long, if not longer, to approach an intersection, observe the participants and determine whose turn comes next. For the most part, they slow down sooner and move slowly for longer as they evaluate the timing and safety of crossing. Rarely does this require a complete stop. When a bike rider does make a complete stop, it takes longer for her to get started again than it does for someone driving a car.

As drivers, we approach intersections faster, decelerate later and faster, and spend less time gathering data about the likely traffic pattern. We are also able to accelerate quicker when we start up again.

Because of these dramatic differences in auto travel speed, acceleration and deceleration, when a car driver approaches a stop sign and rolls through without actually coming to a complete stop, it looks more like a stop than when a person does exactly the same thing on a bike. I wondered if police officers are able to overcome this optical bias.

Experienced Portlanders, whether behind the wheel or on the saddle, probably agree that not stopping can often be the most courteous thing to do at intersections. If done safely, it allows the next intersection participant to make their move sooner. “California stoppers” in cars and on bikes tended to treat the other vehicles as respectfully as traditional stoppers, and, I like to think, made the entire interaction more efficient.”

read more: bikeportland, 05.06.14.

there are two infamous traffic circles in portland, and they both have stop signs before entering the traffic circle, which totally defeats the purpose of traffic circles / roundabouts!

i googled myself again. (gotta try to get the correct links to the top!)
and found that another photo of mine got used in an article!
this time on a more legit website, the atlantic’s citylab (crossposted on nrdc’s switchboard blog).
yay! i’m contributing to the world by letting people use my photos under attribution! hooray for creative commons licenses!
i don’t know how the author was able to find my photo, though. flickr somehow messed up all my tags and smushed them into one long word as one tag.. i just fixed it.
anyway, it’s a good article. topic has been discussed before, but if you’re not familiar with it, go ahead and read it. basically about how kids have been designed out of the streets—schools in sprawled locations, effects on kids’ development, etc.
a city with no children. atlanticcitylab, 11.11.13.
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