Sunday Streets Bayview/Dogpatch
Bikes, Dancers, Advocates, a Tightrope--and Goats
Circus performers, live bands, advocates, and even a few farm animals enjoyed the sunshine of yesterday’s “Sunday Streets” through the Dogpatch and Bayview neighborhoods. This Sunday Streets took up a roughly three-mile stretch of the southbound lanes of Third Street, which was closed to cars from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
And unlike Sunday Streets in other locations, such as the Mission, this one was long enough–with empty stretches–that it was possible to get some biking in too. That said, it still did its primary job of getting people out to meet their neighbors and explore the area. Streetsblog’s first stop was at Cargo Way, where Spock (seen below) and Marvin were busy eating weeds.
These goats are part of a small herd maintained near here by City Grazing, a not-for-profit landscaping business which thinks it has a better–and certainly more ecological–solution than lawn mowers and weed killer for maintaining brush and controlling unwanted plants.
“We have half the herd at the Presidio,” explained Maria Ascarrunz, a volunteer with the group. She said not only do the goats clear the weeds, but they leave the roots–to maintain the stability of hillsides–and, uh, fertilize the soil as they’re working. Plus they can get into difficult corners where lawnmowers have a tough time. “They can also access a steep hillside.” The goats are available for hire for anyone looking to clear some weeds and brush. They even readily eat up some of San Francisco’s nastier plants, such as poison oak.
Meanwhile, Jon Downing of Bay Natives was there with chickens. Downing says they get quite a few customers from Oakland and other places where, he explained, people have some room to keep a few hens–three, he said, is normally the maximum allowed inside the city. Several toddlers were out with their parents enjoying the Sunday Streets events, and the kids seemed delighted to see goats and chickens. Downing said that it’s great to see the reactions of kids who’ve never seen a farm animal “outside of a package in the supermarket.”
Next door to them, the EcoCenter of Heron’s Head Park and Linda Hunter of the Wild Oyster Project were educating children about the role of oyster reefs in protecting the coastline and controlling tidal surges that could flood San Francisco. The EcoCenter had a tray of water that they encouraged children to fill with clay and bead “reefs” to simulate the effect of reefs in slowing down rushing water. The volunteers tilted the trays to show how the waves are attenuated. That’s why these groups are working to encourage more oyster growth in key locations around the Bay. Hunter explained they accomplish this by dropping large hollow balls, made of crushed shell and concrete, that live oysters adhere to. “It gets covered with oysters and other critters,” she said.
Meanwhile, a bit further south, SFMTA had a booth. SFMTA Board Chairman Joél Ramos was there, answering questions and hearing comments. One woman complained that there weren’t enough places to buy and load Clipper cards, so he explained how to use Clipper’s Autoload feature. Adrienne Heim said SFMTA was out there to hear from the community about service issues. She also gave out information on the San Francisco Beautiful/Muni Art program to display artwork in and on transit vehicles.
Streetsblog mentioned to Heim how this particular Sunday Streets seemed to highlight an issue that’s surely on the minds of people who live or work in the area: the slow speed of the T-Third. She explained that speeds, in downtown at least, will improve with the completion of the Central Subway, since the train will have a more direct route to Market Street. Still, it’s hard to understand why such a new line–it opened in 2007–doesn’t get preemption at intersections and doesn’t even have an exclusive lane on much of Third. She said things could be sped up but it will “depend on funding.”
Speaking of which, the lack of a transit-only lane on parts of Third contributed to an unwieldy situation: every southbound train had to be preceded by a truck to clear people off the tracks. Also, closing only the southbound lanes for the event seemed to confuse motorists. Streetsblog saw a couple of cars wander into the closed lanes, only to be shooed away.
On the other hand, the T-Third line stops were integrated into this Sunday Streets, so those who didn’t want to bike or drive could get on and off and travel easily to different parts of the event.
Near one of the stops a band played and there was a tightrope set up (seen in the lead photo) for kids and adults to try out.
There was also a cast of familiar characters from other open-street events, such as Vision Zero’s “Vision Zero Hero.” And the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition was out there recruiting and advocating for more and better bike lanes–which Third Street could certainly use. Although this Sunday was a great time to ride a bike in the Dogpatch and Bayview, having no bike lane on Third makes for some pretty uncomfortable riding on any other day.
It was a delightful event–made all the better by the perfect weather. Did you attend Sunday Streets in the Bayview and Dogpatch neighborhoods? What were your impressions? Comment below.
First, a few more pics.