For the last several weeks, we have been lucky to host three interns from Stanford University through a service-learning course in the Urban Studies Department. Sustainable Cities is a project-based class where students collaborate with different organizations to support their sustainability efforts. The four partners for this semester were the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, Fair Oaks Health Center, and Friends of Caltrain.
Amy, Eric, and Laetitia have been hard at work surveying our members and local residents, meeting with different organizations and using data analysis to improve access to Golden Gate Park. As many know, the experience of biking on the Panhandle and crossing Stanyan to enter Golden Gate Park can be stressful and confusing. Then there’s Lincoln Way, a high-speed corridor with low visibility and dangerous crosswalks leading to unmarked entrances. Parks provide a welcoming refuge from chaotic city life, but we have to get there first before we can kick back and relax.
We first took Amy, Eric, and Laetitia on a bicycle tour, starting in Hayes Valley and riding the Wiggle, then pedaling up Fell Street through the Panhandle. From there, they were able to experience both JFK Drive and MLK Drive as we took frequent stops to observe the Lincoln Way access to Golden Gate Park. As part of the tour, we met up with former SF Bicycle Coalition intern, Ramon, who is a lifelong resident of the Sunset District. We also spoke with a resident that lives in Outer Sunset who is regularly concerned by the elderly who struggle to get across Lincoln Way in order to visit the park.
Since then, they’ve met with Supervisor Tang, spent a Sunday morning surveying park visitors, held a workshop with an 8th grade class at Lawton School and held in-person interviews with SF Bicycle Coalition members at our office. Thanks to our members, we’ve already collected over a hundred survey responses highlighting ways to improve access to Golden Gate Park. If you haven’t had a chance, take a few minutes to fill out the survey here.
Of course, the most important piece is implementation: How do we turn your ideas into real, on-the-ground improvements? We recently wrote a blog post about why it takes so long for a bikeway to get constructed. It’s a cumbersome process, but there are opportunities for near-term improvements. SFMTA is streamlining their spot improvement program, with access to Golden Gate Park at the top of their list for improving comfort and convenience when it comes to biking. For the Panhandle, neighborhood groups are working together to apply for a grant that could bring substantial funding to improve the paths and wayfinding. There are workshops throughout March where you can speak up for better biking, especially as the Panhandle path gets more and more crowded.
Sustainable Cities Final Presentation
Wednesday, March 12, 2-4PM
SF Main Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St.
To learn more about these projects, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or come to the final presentation next week to talk in person.