Monday, December 23, 2013

Our ridiculous holiday card!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Letter to Recology SF Regarding Pedestrian and Cyclist Deaths in San Francisco.

Dear Mr. Negron,

I am a resident of San Francisco, an artist, a university and community college instructor and a safer streets citizen-activist. I am also a non-car owning San Franciscan who gets around on a bicycle a majority of the time. Like many members of the San Francisco artist community I have supported the Recology Artist in Residence program over the years by attending exhibitions and applying periodically for a spot in the program. I am also active in promoting the program among my students and to friends and colleagues. I hold a lot of good will for the AIR program and several of my colleagues and friends have been selected for it. I am also, as all residents of SF are, a Recology customer, I pay two bills a month to your company, one at my home, and one at my studio.
It is as a bicycle commuter however that I have seen the dark side of Recology. I have, on two occasions in 2013 been aggressively intimidated and put in danger by Recology fleet drivers. In spring of this year, while cycling to a doctor's appointment on Octavia Boulevard at Market in San Francisco I was forced into the lane of traffic by a construction crane in the frontage street bike lane. I signaled with my arm and exercised my legal right to the lane by safely entering traffic. Just then, a large Recology garbage truck exited I-101 from behind me. Not only did the driver accelerate to within only a few feet of my bicycle while I was riding up hill, he then proceeded to blast his air horn. The situation was jarring and, fearing for my safety, I quickly worked my way around the construction site and returned to the bicycle boulevard/frontage road next to Octavia, a maneuver I would have done anyway if the driver had given me a chance. But he did not notice my obstruction; instead he was intent on intimidating a more vulnerable street user, presumably for his amusement. At the next stoplight I tried to explain the situation to the driver but he laughed and ridiculed me. Less then a week later 21-year-old Dylan Mitchell was killed by another Recology truck, I was chilled to think it might have been the same callous, heedless driver who threatened me the previous week.
On a second occasion in San Francisco several weeks later as I was commuting from my studio to my home in the Mission District, I approached Mariposa Street from Indiana St. heading north, intending to take a left turn, as I approached the intersection to stop a Recology pick-up truck sped around the corner to my left onto Indiana, executed an illegal U turn behind me and then, as I came to a stop at the stop side drove up to my left at the stop sign, intentionally crowding me and cutting off my turn. When I mentioned this to the driver he ridiculed me and told me to stay off the road before speeding off in front of me.
As a cyclist in San Francisco I am constantly on guard against the dangers of reckless, distracted drivers who are legion. More rare are the cases where I am outright intimated and threatened by drivers, but in two of these rare occurrences this year drivers for Recology have been responsible. They have done so in a year where Recology drivers are responsible for killing three vulnerable street users.. To review: three citizens have been killed, and one small child maimed by your drivers in 2013. These events and my personal experience denote a company culture of wanton and heedless disregard for public safety. I will work to see that you are made accountable to the citizens of San Francisco and also to see that members of San Francisco’s Art community who have given so much of them selves to Recology’s AIR program join me in calling for change.
I call upon San Francisco City leaders to make Recology’s contract conditional upon its ability to stop killing and maiming members of the public. Any new events of this sort should result in immediate revoking of your contract. Until concrete changes are made, I will boycott any Recology events and encourage my friends in the art community to join me in doing so and to explain to you why.

Anthony Ryan
Lecturer, Fine Arts Department, San Francisco State University
Instructor, Art Department, Diablo Valley Community College

Anthony Ryan

Mayor Edwin Lee

San Francisco Board of Supervisors:
District 1 Eric Mar
District 2 Mark Farrell
District 3 David Chiu
District 4 Katy Tang
District 5 London Breed
District 6 Jane Kim
District 7 Norman Yee
District 8 Scott Wiener
District 9 David Campos
District 10 Malia Cohen
District 11 John Avalos

Tom Nolan, Director, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority

Recology Artist in Residency Program:
Deborah Munk
Micah Gibson

Sharon Spain
21 year old Dylan Mitchell, killed by a Recology truck this year on his bike.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My letter to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the Office of Sustainability at SFSU where I teach.

Hi Janice,
Thanks for reaching out to SFSU. Any program that addresses mobility in this part of the city has to address the campus there. With a school of this size the potential for reducing auto traffic is huge however students traveling here are faced with cumbersome, indirect transit choices, harrowing pedestrian accommodation and even worse bicycle infrastructure in the adjacent areas. The high level of student car traffic, ( a huge segment of which is students searching for parking by in the surrounding neighborhoods) overlaying the already overburdened 19th St. corridor is appalling but holds many promising potential areas for improvement. 
For example, Holloway Avenue is my commute route to the Fine Art Dept. at SFSU but when I travel there or leave my night class I battle car traffic using the street as a short cut to 280 and the City College area. I also see scores of students hiking from Balboa Park Bart along this route, students who could be on bikes but are most likely put off by the unsafe conditions. Currently the route has sharrows and speed humps but it is not enough. Many times cars have accelerated unsafely past me in the dark against oncoming traffic over the speed humps to make time. Holloway is designed as a quasi-bike boulevard but is actually a very unsafe auto shortcut.
I have proposed at the August meeting of the San Francisco Bicycle Advisory Commitee that this route have traffic diversion at a key point, Ashton Avenue. This would make the street a true bike boulevard, the area would only be open to local residential traffic and bicyclists would feel much safer traveling there. 
Furthermore this would provide a crucial bicycle link between City College and SFSU, it is frankly a no-brainer. 
The success of such a diversion and the resulting bike-friendly boulevard would increase bicycling to SFSU from the eastern parts of the city and BART exponentially. The success of such a diversion could also lead to similar improvements in other parts of the city. It could be a watershed bike improvement project in the history of San Francisco's move towards a low-carbon sustainable future. 
I would be happy to lead any interested parties on a tour of the street and point out the obstacles to safe bicycling there.  
Anthony Ryan 
Lecturer, Fine Arts Department 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I just spent the morning having my front teeth glued back in my head. Long story, it is fallout from being struck by a car in San Francisco almost 2 years ago. The driver who hit me was definitely running a red light, was probably speeding and I have little doubt was distracted by a phone. When I returned home from the dentist I saw a facebook post about another cyclist death in my city.

So far details are skeletal but, on Folsom St., one of the probably 2 busiest cycling commute corridors in SF a 30 year old woman was killed by a right turning driver. In a good sign the police have impounded the vehicle, presumably as evidence.
 I am shaken and angry and well, angry.
It is scary to ride a bike in the City, drivers have never been more distracted, texting while driving is ubiquitous.
I want to see change, I want to push communities to push for vulnerable user ordinances, like the one recently adopted in Sebastapol CA.

I may try to organize a vigil tonight but I have never done that before so, we'll see.

What do I do, make a sign?



Street theater? That can be great but also awful.

What would I accomplish? Simply acknowledging the fact of an unfair loss of life, of someone who was trying to make a positive contribution, killed by a poor road design? distracted driving?

Is that enough?

About Me

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San Francisco, CA, United States
I am an artist and teacher in San Francisco, CA.