Are stop signs safer than roundabouts?

A pedestrian crossing the road on Potrero Hill. Photo credit: Lynn Friedman (Flikr)

Potrero Hill. Photo credit: Lynn Friedman (Flikr)

When I was learning to drive in Australia my driving instructor always took me down this out-of-the-way service road so that I could practice stopping at a stop sign. Stop signs just aren’t that common in Melbourne. But here,  they are everywhere! It seems that Melbourne uses roundabouts where SF uses stop signs.

I wonder which of these create a safer environment for pedestrians and cyclists? I personally prefer the stop signs because they cause motorists to actually stop and look,  and negotiate their way across the intersection. Continue reading

22nd Street Caltrain – boarding assistance areas

It’s nice that Caltrain put their boarding assistance areas right near the bases of these staircases at the 22nd Street station. I wonder if they have plans to put in elevators? Surely.

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Following a short Google search, it appears Caltrain have no such plans. According to David Bloom, a local who answered a question on Quora, the 22nd Street station Continue reading

Nutrition non-information panels

I never realized just how useful the consistent “per 100g” measures were on food nutrition information panels in Australia until they weren’t there anymore. These made the salt, sugar, fat and other nutrient contents of food products easily comparable regardless of the type of food. Of course, the content per suggested serving size was there too for a more practical measure.

At first glance the panels on foods here look the same as in Australia, except that they only display a “per serving size” measure which is not always the same across different brands of what is seemingly the same food product. Take the below photos of canned tomatoes for example…

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Continue reading

Sidewalk obstacle courses

There are many factors affecting the walkability of San Francisco’s streets which are the result of systematic issues such as lack of budget for path maintenance, but temporary and preventable obstacles which come at the carelessness of others are very frustrating to find!

Indiana Street

Truck and overgrown bush blocking the path on Indiana Street

Of course I could just go around this truck on the road, it’s quiet anyway. Continue reading

Bike uglification

Riding a bike to get around town is a great way to get daily exercise without making a big point about it, needing to find time or paying to visit the gym.

Sadly I’ve been quite hesitant to ride my new folding bike about town. It’s not so much because I’m worried about the ride itself, but because I’m worried about how safe it will be locked up on the street.
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The hesitation has been enough to keep me off my bike on a number of occasions, particularly when I’ve been visiting the bike theft hotspots of the Mission District or Downtown on Market Street. This map shows the locations of the 813 reported bike thefts in SF last year. Continue reading

Sprawling city vs sprawling suburbia

Sure,  there’s sprawling suburbia in the Bay Area,  but SF is a city that sprawls too. I haven’t done my density research but there seems to be a steady mix of medium to higher density housing much further out from center Downtown than Melbourne has from its CBD.

With this brings life!  Eyes on the streets, people to buy things from shops.  Density to support activity and transport.  Continue reading