Hey Muni, We Need a Bus to Dogpatch & 22nd Street Caltrain via Cesar Chavez

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Neighbor Mark lives on Alabama Street in Bernal Heights. He’s not a transit planner, but he’s a transit rider, and he sees a gaping hole in Muni’s bus service along Cesar Chavez Boulevard to the (booming) 22nd Street Caltrain Station.

To remedy this, Neighbor Mark wants MUNI to create revive a bus line that goes from Noe Valley to Dogpatch via Cesar Chavez. Here’s his modest proposal:

There isn’t very much industry along the eastern part of Cesar Chavez, east of Hwy. 101, anymore. But there are two big reasons for a line that goes along Cesar Chavez to Third Street and thence to the 22nd St. Caltrain station.

First, Yellow Cab and FedEx drivers could take the bus to their workplaces, which are within a block of this stretch of Cesar Chavez. But primarily, Caltrain has become an essential way for SIlicon Valley workers to get to their jobs. Catrain ridership is at historic highs, and 1500 workers now board Caltrain at 22nd St. every morning, headed for points south.

Right now, there’s no easy way to get to the 22nd Street Station. Yes, you can take the 48-Quintara down 24th St. and over the hill, but this takes a very long time. It would be so much quicker for the bus to head down our remade Cesar Chavez, bypassing Potrero Hill, making a turn at Third St., and heading straight for the station. I’ll bet it would save at least 15 minutes vs. a comparable trip on the 48.

You could start the route at Castro and 26th, or (as I have it) at Church and Cesar Chavez to connect with the J-Church.

Curious as to whether Muni ever had a line down Cesar Chavez, I looked around and found a 1947 Muni map posted by Eric Fischer.

Sure enough, this map shows that a 54M bus began at Castro and 26th, went down 26th and Army Streets all the way to the very end of Army, east of Third Street. Here’s a highlighted version of the 54 line from that 1947 route map:

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As a recovering Caltrain/22nd Street commuter, your Bernalwood editor would like to second Neighbor Mark’s proposal.

Muni, let’s do this.

 

 

Posted in Infrastructure, Transportation | 32 Comments

Hard Hat Chic: Groundbreaking Begins New St. Luke’s Hospital Construction Effort

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There was a fashionable groundbreaking ceremony last Friday to mark the (long-debated) start of construction of the new California Pacific Medical Center facility on the grounds of  St. Luke’s Hospital at Cesar Chavez near Valencia — Bernal’s home-team hospital.

The San Francisco Appeal covered the event:

The new state-of-the-art hospital will be constructed adjacent to the old hospital on San Jose Avenue just south of Cesar Chavez Street, CPMC spokesman Dean Frye said.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee attended [Friday's] groundbreaking ceremony and dug out a symbolic shovel full of dirt. He said via Twitter that the project will provide a “new seismically safe hospital and year-round jobs for #SF residents.”

CPMC chief executive officer Warren Browner joined the mayor and members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to celebrate construction of the new St. Luke’s campus, which will begin in October, Frye said.

The new hospital comes after years of negotiations, including a 2012 development agreement that was shelved by members of the city’s Board of Supervisors, in part because of concerns over an escape clause that could have let CPMC close St. Luke’s hospital if its operating margin stayed negative for two straight years.

The new deal hashed out in 2013 omitted the escape clause, required that at least 30 percent of construction jobs go to San Francisco residents, and included higher contributions by the hospital group to the city for charity care.

The new St. Luke’s facility is scheduled to open in 2019, at which point the existing hospital building will be demolished. No major disruption in hospital services is anticipated along the way.

History buffs will note that St. Luke’s was also the site of the original Jose Cornelio Bernal homestead (which sat on the north side of present-day Duncan),  so it’s good to see a new chapter beginning, at last, on this hallowed patch of Bernal Heights ground.

IMAGES: Top: Mayor Ed Lee at St. Luke’s groundbreaking, via @mayoredlee. Rendering of new St. Luke’s Hospital, via CPMC. Jose Bernal house map via Burrito Justice.

Posted in Coming Soon, Fashion, Infrastructure, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Two Authors from One Bernal Block Dominated Last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine

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This is a photograph of Ellsworth Street in Bernal Heights. It’s a rather typical Bernal block in many ways, but last weekend,this humble block produced two of the main feature articles that appeared in last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine.

Well, to be more precise, the block didn’t produce the articles — two superstar journalists who live on this block did. The writers are Jon Mooallem and Liz Weil, and each of them had a big, honking feature in the NYT Mag you may have perused while drinking your Sunday coffee.

Neighbor Jon’s article is all about Lanai, that island in Hawaii that ex-Oracle CEO Larry Ellison bought for himself.

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Neighbor Jon writes:

Like a lot of omnipotent forces, Ellison has remained mostly invisible. He has visited Lanai many times — locals told me they can tell he’s on the island when they see his yacht hitched in the harbor — but he seems determined to keep a formal distance from the community, shielding himself behind the executive team of Pulama Lanai, the management company he set up to oversee the island’s transformation. Although Pulama holds frequent public meetings on Lanai, Ellison has declined to attend any or to address residents directly. Several residents told me that they’d resorted to reading biographies of Ellison to learn more about the man — books that have somewhat disquieting titles like “Everyone Else Must Fail” and “The Difference Between God and Larry Ellison,” the punch line being: “God doesn’t think he’s Larry Ellison.”

Next comes Neighbor’s Liz article about a woman who walked 10,000 miles during a three-year, solo trek:

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Neighbor Liz profiled explorer Sarah Marquis:

The first six months on Marquis’s trips are always harrowing. She describes it as “the washing machine”: endless agitation, physical pain, emotional pain, nonstop bargaining among opposing internal voices — the inner demons that whisper, Remember the delicious foam on the cafe latte? and the inner angels that reprimand, Coffee isn’t accessible now, so why talk about it? “You can’t move your hands, you can’t move your feet, you just want to die,” Marquis said. “You think about sleep all the time, because maybe sleep will set things straight.”

A few months into her journey, Marquis shot a video of herself in her sleeping bag. Like a hostage clutching a newspaper, she holds a thermometer that reads minus 20 Celsius. “I don’t sleep much these days. I do not know what time it is. Maybe midnight, or something like that?” In the next day’s video, she looks wrecked. The previous night a wind- and sandstorm ripped across the Mongolian plains. To keep the nylon of her tent from tearing, Marquis removed the metal poles holding it up. But she still feared the gales would blow away her gear, so she unzipped herself from her collapsed shelter and lay atop her pack, tent and cart.

So there you have it; Two Bernal writers, ruling the mediasphere from quiet Ellsworth Street. Nice work, Jon and Liz.

PHOTO: Ellsworth Street, as tweeted by Liz Weil

Posted in Media | 6 Comments

Watch the Amazing Film from the Bernal-Born Director that Won “Best of Bernal” at the 2014 Outdoor Cinema Festival

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Neighbor Joe Talbot is a filmmaker who has lived on Montcalm for his whole life. At the 2014 Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival, Neighbor Joe walked away with the “Best of Bernal” award for the trailer he directed for an in-progress film, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco.”

Neighbor Joe shared the award-winning trailer with us, and we’ll share it with you in a moment. But first, let’s let Joe introduce himself:

I grew up running around Bernal with a ragtag production team made up of local kids. I was usually at the helm, doing my best impersonation of what I thought a despotic director looked like. I’m just old enough that our early years pre-dated computer editing software, so we cut our chops doing in-camera edits and wreaking havoc on our side of the hill.

Bernal neighbors were an integral part of our informal film education, whether they knew it or not. Our mischievous and often wild antics were almost always met with nothing but kind support. Neighbor Buck Bagot turned on to his street once to find us running full-speed down the middle of it, pushing a rickety old wheelchair as a dolly. We noticed his approaching car and offered to move out of the way, to which Buck yelled, “No way man! I don’t fuck with the arts!” He abruptly busted a u-turn and drove the long way around the block, as not to disrupt our set.

Most of the kids I knew have since shipped off to college. Some of the unlucky ones lost their homes during various financial crises, and drifted inland to suburbia. My parents were fortunate enough to keep our house, and unfortunate enough to keep me along with it.

My last remaining collaborator today is Jimmie Fails, a kid I first crossed paths with almost ten years ago. Jimmie was living in the Army St. projects at the time, and we quickly formed a closeness. Over midnight walks through Bernal’s roller-coaster hills, Jimmie would weave tales of his strange family story.

These talks would become the basis for our film to-be, The Last Black Man in San Francisco. The film, which we’re currently trying to raise money to shoot, pulls heavily from Jimmie’s own story, and examines what it’s like to feel out of place in your own hometown.

The video is a trailer we shot, on a dime, to help raise funds to shoot the feature-length film. You’ll notice that Bernal plays a major role in the trailer. How could it not?

Indeed. How could it not? Here’s a still from the trailer:

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It’s a nice image, and we all recognize the location. Nice location! But the trailer for Neighbor Joe’s film is even better. In fact, Joe’s film is amazing. In fact, it’s officially the “Best of Bernal.”

Watch and enjoy:

Big congrats to Neighbor Joe Talbot, Jimmie Fails, and their entire team!

PS: Joe can be reached at joe *AT* longshotfeatures.com.

Posted in Art, Media, People | 8 Comments

To Assuage Bernal-Envy, Noe Valley Commissions Bernal Artist to Create Gorgeous New Mural

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Pity, those poor souls from Noe Valley, and the cruel torment of their Gatsby Complex.

It’s well known that many residents to our west suffer from a deep-seated sense of longing and envy as they stare at the glamorous majesty of Bernal Hill from their homes in Noe Valley. So it should perhaps come as no surprise that even if those tormented Noe Valley people can never hope to be us, some have realized that they can at least acquire pieces of Bernal awesomeness — in the form of large-scale paintings by Bernal artists.

Case in point is the new mural that was recently completed on the side of a building at the corner of Church and Day. It’s a gorgeous creation from Neighbor Amos Goldbaum, who was born and raised in Bernal Heights and still lives in tony Precitaville.

Neighbor Amos’s Bernal Hill t-shirts have become a must-have fashion accessory for in-the-know Bernalese, so his many fans here will instantly recognize his style when they see the new mural in Noe Valley. It’s classic Amos Goldbaum:

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amosmural3The (excruciatingly envious) Noe Valley Voice ran a picture of the Neighbor Amos’s new mural on the cover of the September 2014 issue, and they report that the mural is based on a 1945 photo Neighbor Amos found of the intersection at Dolores and 25th Streets:

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Meanwhile, Neighbor Amos also unveiled a new t-shirt design, featuring his own riff on the San Francisco city seal. You know, that cute little logo-thing that summarizes the early history of San Francisco on the doors of Our City’s luxurious vehicle fleet? The one that’s all, Oro en Paz! Fierro en Guerra! and all that?

Neighbor Amos turned that into a t-shirt, and Bernalwood snapped this (strangely daemonic) photo of him with it during a recent street fair:

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Supplies are limited, but you can get a better look at Neighbor Amos’s new City Seal shirt here, or view his entire — and entirely fashionable — t-shirt collection here.

Congrats on the mural, Neighbor Amos!

PHOTOS: Amos on ladder courtesy of Amos Goldbaum. All other photos by Telstar Logistics

Posted in Art | 11 Comments

Here’s the View of Bernal Hill from the Other End of South Van Ness

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Yesterday I went to a meeting at 1455 Market Street, a big high-rise right at the corner of Market and 11th Street. The office was in one of the building’s upper stories, and it had incredible views of Our Faire City.

As I gazed south, I realized I was staring straight down South Van Ness to Bernal Hill, which looked particularly rakish and handsome.

In other words, I was basically eye-to-eye with Bernal Hill from a vantage point directly opposite those stone benches at the curve in the closed section of Bernal Heights Boulevard. You know… the ones that look straight up South Van Ness. Because when you sit on one of those benches, here’s what you see:

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That’s South Van Ness slicing through the center, and the photo at the top of this post was taken from the building highlighted by the arrow.

To see both vantage points, let’s take in the view from the Bernalwood SkyCam:

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Bonus Fun Fact! As the crow flies, the distance between the benches on Bernal Hill and 1455 Market is about 11,427 feet, or 2.16 miles.

And now you know how we look from that distance when workers inside 1455 Market look back (enviously) at us.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics. Aerial image courtesy of Google Earth

Posted in Bernal Hill, Geography, Photography | 2 Comments

Rumor Report: Gourmet Food Store Coming to Former Red Hill Books Space

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A nosy curious Bernal neighbor heard some innnnnnteresting things about what’s planned for the former (and much-lamented) Red Hill/Badger Books space on Cortland at Bennington:

I caught Matt locking up the old Red Hill Books and asked if I could be nosy and ask what he’s planning…

He was sweet, said it’s not a secret. The corner of Cortland and Bennington will become The Epicurean Trader — gourmet and local packaged goods. He’s hoping that locals will tell them what’s missing from the other nearby shops so he can keep us all stocked in fav products (not compete with Good Life or Avedanos). They also plan to invite local purveyors to present and so on and such  I think he also mentioned selling wine and beer too, but not positive.

Hmmmmmm. Bernalwood reached out to the owner of the building for comment, but we have not yet received a response.

Treat this as a rumor for now, although in the last few days several other Cortland merchants and curious neighbors have also told Bernalwood more-or-less the same thing about the plan for this storefront. Stay tuned…

PHOTO: via Google Maps

Posted in Coming Soon, Cortland, Food and Drink, Merchants | 32 Comments