Bicyclist’s Death Reveals San Francisco’s Real Criminals

August 26th, 2013 by Morganic 3 comments »

On August 14th, 24 year old Amelie Le Moullac was killed while riding her bicycle in a bike lane eastbound on Folsom at 6th St. She lost her life when the driver of a large truck made a right turn from Folsom onto 6th, crushing Amelie in his wheels in the process.

Meanwhile, sitting on a shelf somewhere in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s building was a plan for a redesigned Folsom Street featuring two-way traffic and upgraded bike facilities that would have made it much more difficult for the tragic confluence of events that ended Amelie’s life to have occurred. That plan has been sitting on that shelf for years.

Amelie’s co-workers created this image in her remembrance

Shortly after the incident, the San Francisco Police Department showed up to the scene, drew some circles on the ground, and spoke to the driver of the truck who had pulled over after the collision, determining that he was not impaired by drugs or alcohol.

Soon, the media descended. When asked if the driver would be cited for any traffic violations (making a right turn from anywhere besides the right-most lane of a street, in this case the bike lane, is a violation of California Vehicle Code 21717) or charged with a crime, representatives from the SFPD indicated that while the investigation is ongoing, it was unlikely there would be any citations or charges - it was just an accident, they said. Just an accident, just like the other two times a bicyclist had been run over and killed by a truck driver on our city’s streets this year – just an accident.

Before making that determination, the SFPD of course did the most basic of police work by walking around to nearby businesses to check and see if perhaps the incident happened to be recorded by a security camera. Certainly such footage would be greatly helpful in determining exactly what happened at that fateful moment. Alas, none of the cameras were on or trained on the site at the moment of impact.

Or so they claimed. In fact, not a single member of the San Francisco Police Department engaged in this bare minimum of investigative work, this most basic effort to honor a young woman’s life by attempting to determine what actually happened that morning. They showed up, saw a big truck, a mangled bike and a dead body, and said “Eh, just an accident. Fuck this, let’s go get some coffee.”

The reason we know the SFPD lied about checking the nearby security camera footage is because San Francisco citizen Marc Caswell actually did walk around to the local businesses to see if perhaps there were any the police might have missed. When Mr. Caswell asked if the police had come around to check the tapes, every business owner said no. No – the San Francisco Police Department did not care enough to check the local security cameras even though they knew that was a valuable enough investigative technique that they actually lied and claimed to have done it. It turns out the incident was in fact recorded by a camera belonging to the Golden Auto repair shop located on the opposite corner of the intersection.

Appalling, I know. But there’s more. » Read more: Bicyclist’s Death Reveals San Francisco’s Real Criminals

Wigg Party Endorsement for Supervisor

September 18th, 2012 by Morganic 1 comment »
The Wigg Party recently hosted a debate for all eight of the candidates for the office of District 5 Supervisor. We wanted to hear directly from the candidates on a range of issues, from bikes to public space to gentrification, and following the debate we are now ready to make our endorsements.

Before we get into the details of who we endorse and why, we would just like to acknowledge all of the candidates for a high-spirited evening and a generally positive attitude throughout the campaign so far. Quite frankly, the biggest thing that came out of our debate is that each candidate seems like a quality human being who generally has a good grasp of the concerns of the district. We hope this overall quality of the candidates continues through the November 6th election (and beyond for whomever is fortunate enough to win).

As you probably know we have Ranked Choice Voting here in the great city of San Francisco, which means we get three choices. For a complete explanation of how RCV works, visit this site.

So we’re just going to come out and name our endorsements and then explain a little bit about why we are supporting these particular candidates over others.

1. Julian Davis
2. Thea Selby
3. Andrew Resignato

The two primary reasons why we are supporting these three candidates are 1) that each of these candidates fully understands and supports the community-based approach that the Wigg Party employs as we try to transform our neighborhood in the face of the various planetary crises and 2) each of these » Read more: Wigg Party Endorsement for Supervisor

A Very Wiggle Weekend

March 27th, 2012 by Morganic 1 comment »

We just wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that we have the Wiggliest Weekend we’ve had in a while coming up this Saturday and Sunday!

This is what we want

First up is the very important 4th public feedback meeting for the Fell and Oak Separated Bikeways. The project has come a long way in the last year and we’re excited to finally see some proposed designs! Unfortunately there is an increasingly vocal minority of folks who are opposed to this incredibly needed improvement. Despite the huge outpouring of support from the majority of the community over the entire last year, the MTA and Mayor Lee are listening to the small-picture opposition who can’t get past the idea that 80 parking spots will be subtracted from the 440,000+ around the city to make room for 1 single safe bike lane from the east side of town to the west.

Please come out to the San Francisco Day School this Saturday 3/31 any time from 10 am – 2 pm to show your support for this project! You can find more information here.

Appropriately enough, on the heels of this landmark day for bike improvements for the Wiggle, we at the Wigg Party are producing our first (of many) Wiggle Appreciation Day! We’ll be creating a PARK(ing) Day style set-up on Haight St. in front of P-Kok and the Eden on Haight spa located in the back. We’ll have some couches to hang out on, some designs for improvements to the Wiggle to show off, some tea and other refreshments, some music, and some surveys to fill out too. We’ll also be offering free massage and free access to the sauna located in Eden on Haight!

PARK(ing) Day!

If this weren’t enough, we’ll also be doing some fun things up and down the Wiggle. We’ll be doing some pothole gardening to turn dastardly holes into bright green happiness; we’ll be spreading some love throughout the Wiggle by installing the Aqui Love project with hearts strung over wires in multiple locations along the Wiggle; and we’ll have our chalkboard signs out to show our appreciation to YOU, the Wiggle rider (and walker (and skateboarder)).

So if you are riding your bike on the Wiggle on Sunday, or just want to come out to enjoy the fun, stop by our spot on Haight St and say hello. Sunday is the day to let your Wiggle love shine through! You can find more information here.

Rain will postpone :(

Hope to see you during this Very Wiggle Weekend!

Wigglers Unite!

March 22nd, 2012 by allyse No comments »

How do you build intentional community in an urban space? How do you organize around a (really large) neighborhood? How do you teach sustainability in a way that honors and thrives on diversity? How do you build an organization that’s both fiscally healthy and fiercely grassroots? Well, we’re figuring that out and learning as we go.

We know it helps to start with strong principles, a fun name, awesome parties, and a healthy dose of irreverence. But it’s also essential to have an effective process in place for making decisions, as well as great people participating in that process and co-creating the organization from the ground up. That vibrant core driving the Wigg Party forward is the Crankset.

The Crankset meets twice a month to discuss Wigg Party projects, infrastructure, administration, and whatever else needs doing. In short: we translate raw people power into organized motion. And you’re invited!

Crankset Meetings
1st & 3rd Thursdays
6:30 arrival, 7:00 start
Sunshine Castle, 1571 Fulton St @ Lyon

Love the Wigg Party and want to get more involved? Totally dork out over organizational development? Looking for the perfect way to spend every other Thursday evening? Join us! Meetings are potluck, and the food’s usually pretty damn good.

Transportationism – Revealing Rampant Prejudice against Bicyclists

February 9th, 2012 by Morganic 4 comments »

Recently, I’ve found myself getting into numerous debates online about the behavior of bicyclists on the streets of San Francisco. There seems to be a prevailing view, held by a wide variety of people – drivers, pedestrians and even cyclists – that the majority of people on bicycles act in a way that is totally inappropriate and are a general menace on the road. This view is espoused on message boards, at public meetings, and in our private conversations. “I have never once seen a cyclist stop for a pedestrian on 15th St” “60% of cyclists ride disrespectfully” “The majority of cyclists in the Mission don’t yield when they should” and on and on. This view always struck  me as peculiar, considering that I am a cyclist and I try to be respectful on the road and most of my bike riding friends are really good people. It just didn’t seem to add up.

Then, the other day I was riding on the Wiggle when I saw a cop pulling over two cyclists for not stopping at a stop sign as they took a right turn off Waller onto Steiner. These riders were obviously not bad riders… just in the wrong place at the wrong time. This was the final straw. I decided to spend my afternoon at four different intersections on the Wiggle to simply observe how cyclists were riding and to see if people were right when they say the majority of cyclists ride like assholes. While I do not pretend that the data I gathered in one day can definitively rest the case, what I observed is that the idea that the majority of cyclists are disrespectful and bad riders is a complete and total myth, and, moreover, that the people who take the actions of a very small minority of cyclists (and this minority does indeed exist) and let it stand for their view of all cyclists are displaying a new, disturbing form of bigotry in our society – what I call transportationism. This bigotry is not to be taken lightly – it wrongly pits citizen against citizen and actually contributes to cyclists being denied the basic right to safety that any class of people should expect. My hope is that this humble essay will help shed light on this insidious element in today’s society and help to empower people to stand up and call out this prejudice wherever it arises.

» Read more: Transportationism – Revealing Rampant Prejudice against Bicyclists

Fell and Oak Bikeways – Wigg Party Endorsement

December 2nd, 2011 by Morganic 1 comment »
As some of you may have heard, the San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority is looking to build better bike lanes on Fell and Oak Streets between Scott and Baker Streets. These dual three block stretches are, of course, critical in connecting the comfortable Panhandle multi-use path with the Wiggle proper. Currently, there is a fairly treacherous bike lane on Fell Street, and absolutely no bike infrastructure on Oak Street. The MTA recognizes that these two streets are the ones most heavily used for bicyclists heading to Golden Gate Park or down to the Mission or downtown, and so they are putting together a plan to create separated bikeways for these three blocks on each street. There is a workshop being held on Saturday December 3rd from 10 am to 2 pm where you can come check out the latest designs and provide your feedback.
We’d like to encourage you to not only show up to provide your input, but we at the Wigg Party are specifically endorsing the option of removing parking along one side of Fell and Oak for these three blocks to accommodate the new bike lanes. Here’s why.
The MTA has narrowed the options down to three. Each of the three options include one-way separated bike facilities on both Oak and Fell Streets. They previously were considering a two-way bike facility on either Oak or Fell but they have determined that a two-way bikeway offers more problems than solutions (Can you imagine relying on drivers on one-way Fell and Oak to account for bicycle traffic coming the opposite direction? We can’t either). Therefore, the only question that remains is how do we reconfigure Fell and Oak to make room for the separated bikeways.
The three options are:
  1. Remove parking along one side of both Fell and Oak between Scott and Baker
  2. Remove a travel lane from both Fell and Oak between Scott and Baker (taking them from 3 to 2 lanes along this stretch)
  3. Create a “tow-away” lane on Fell and Oak between Scott and Baker. This means that there would be two permanent travel lanes and one lane that would be traffic during the day and parking at night.
We’re going to take the options in reverse order.

The Tow-Away Lane

In many ways, this seems like the perfect best of both worlds option. There’s even the added bonus that we may have actually provided the original idea for this about a year ago. In this configuration, you get the full 3 travel lanes when you need them, and residents get to keep their parking spots at night. However, when you dig a little deeper, it’s less a “best of both worlds” and more a “worst of both worlds.” Not only would this option require an incredibly ingenious design so that the different uses at different times would be naturally intuitive to drivers, but you would need intense outreach to educate drivers about this unique set-up. Honestly, even if this was all done really well, we’d put the over/under of crashes along this stretch at +/- 2 per week, particularly at that tricky 7 pm (or whenever it is) changeover. Rear-end city. Not only is the design a significant challenge, but one has to ask whether having a parking spot that requires you to move your car at 6 am is really worth very much to folks. The whole option seems nice in theory, but is pretty much guaranteed to suck in practice.

Removing a Travel Lane

This option is pretty much an awful idea. Even though most people like to think all bicyclists are narcissistic, ego-maniacs who wouldn’t care if all the roads in our city dropped cars directly in the ocean, we actually understand that Fell and Oak, while being the only appropriate cross-town route for bicyclists, are also important major thoroughfares for cars too. And this plan would pretty much screw that up. Sure, having two lanes on Fell and Oak between Scott and Baker could potentially be made feasible by carefully timing the lights and other traffic engineer magic tricks, but what happens when somebody who lives on these three blocks needs to move? Chaos, and a major backlash for bicyclists, that’s what. Not to mention that removing this travel lane would require a CEQA Environmental Impact Report which would basically delay the project for approximately infinite years. All in all, if you think removing a travel lane is the right option then you are a certifiable moron.

Removing Parking

Which brings us to the only sane option on the table, removing the parking along one side of Fell and Oak respectively. We don’t have the exact numbers of how many parking spots are in question here but we’ll ballpark it at around 75. Now, we know that parking in this neighborhood is already pretty tough (although we can pretty much guarantee that anybody who whines about this fact isn’t aware of the tragically underused parking available at the DMV lot every night). Instead of focusing on the number of parking spots that will be removed, we’d like to focus on two other figures: 441,541 and 0. The first is the number of personal automobile parking spots that exist in the city of San Francisco and the second is the number of safe, accessible bicycle routes that connect the east side of town with the west. And that’s really the most important thing to remember here – not building these separated bikeways is really not an option. If we want to be a Transit First city, if we want to get more people on bicycles and, therefore, out of there cars, thereby lessening auto traffic and freeing up more parking spaces for the stubborn or infirm, then we absolutely must find a way to connect the Panhandle to the Wiggle. We realize removing parking is going to automatically upset some people (it’s not called the “third rail of local politics” for nothing) but we can make up those parking spaces elsewhere (like the DMV parking lot… where they already exist).

In conclusion, please come out to the MTA workshop this Saturday, December 3rd from 10 am to 2 pm (it’s a workshop so you can just drop in at your leisure). It is hosted at the San Francisco Day School at 350 Masonic and Golden Gate. Check out the facebook event if you have any other questions.

AND VOTE TO REMOVE THE  PARKING ALONG THESE THREE BLOCKS OF FELL AND OAK STREET! Tell them the Wigg Party sent you.

Facebook Link Digest 7/13

July 13th, 2011 by Morganic No comments »

Wigg Party Contribution to HuffPost SF

July 13th, 2011 by Morganic No comments »

I know you all are anxiously counting down the hours to the Wigg Party Party this Thursday evening (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=133693926712330), but to keep you occupied in the meantime, check out this article we just contributed to the brand new San Francisco version of the Huffington Post. Enjoy!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/morgan-fitzgibbons/its-on-us-san-francisco_b_887109.html

Facebook Digest 6/21

June 21st, 2011 by Morganic No comments »

Facebook Link Daily Digest

May 19th, 2011 by Morganic No comments »