Saturday, December 13, 2008

Supporters Come Together, Make Advancements

Approximately 60 people gathered at the north east corner of Park Blvd. & University Ave. on Dec. 5, 2008 at 5pm, to raise awareness about the unjust removal of Atip's Memorial/Ghost Bike.

The Peaceful Demonstration, announced by Atip's closest friends Mike & Jena, brought concerned cyclists, friends, supporters, urban planners, and advocates together.  

In a public outreach effort we handed out fliers to locals, residents, and pedestrians to inform them about why planning-experts, livable streets-advocates and a wide body of the public support the presence of Atip's Ghost Bike.  

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(Above, is the flier we handed out; a collaborative effort between Jena and I).

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(Above, is the flier Jena made for the peaceful gathering).

The timing of the gathering was convenient in that thousands of people passed through the intersection on their way towards the Winter on the Prado event at the  nearby Balboa Park. 

When we asked pedestrians if they felt that the Park Blvd. & University intersection safely accomodated pedestrians, not one person believed that the intersection was safe enough. 

With Kathy Keehan, Executive Director of the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, and myself, a UCSD-trained Urban Planner & Bicycle Planner, we discussed (long-term) infrastructure improvements to the deadly intersection, on site.

The core group of supporters came to a consensus on what we can do next. We agreed that an appropriate permanent solution would be to pursue a custom roadbike-shaped bike rack, dedicated to Atip.  We'll be working side-by-side w/ the SDCBike Coalition to make this happen.  In fact, the motion from the North Park Planning
Committee and Subcommittee already includes support for a 'permanent solution.'  We'll be returning to the Committees to do a follow up proposal on our confirmed permanent solution.

A highlight of the gathering included crossing paths w/ David Slattery, a wheelchaired pedestrian who I first met at the corner while doing a Site Plan for Atip's Memorial Bike in October. David expressed to me in October that he peronsally observed that the Memorial Bike slowed down 
speeding automobiles.  He was excited and supportive of the fact that we're moving forward w/ plans to raise awareness about the deadly
Park Blvd. & University Ave intersection.

We believe bicycle advocacy ought to be fun, too.
After the gathering, many of us rode our bikes together to a benefit show for the San Diego Bicycle Kitchen (Bikes Del Pueblo).  We danced and celebrated life to the sounds of some of SD's best local garage-rock and roots-rock bands.

75% of all the proceeds that night have gone to the SD Bicycle Kitchen.  The Bike Kitchen is present
every saturday at the City Heights Farmers Market for affordable bike repairs and loaner tools.

25% of the proceeds have gone to fund a permanent solution (discussed above) in memory of Atip.
It's a step in the right direction.  After a couple more benefits we'll have enough money for the bike
rack (approximately 500$) and for the Encroachment Removal Permit (500$) (these fees according to the SDCBC).

Overall, the evening was a success!  Thanks to all the supporters who came out to the intersection and to the Bike Kitchen. Thanks to those who organized the benefit show,  thanks to the bands, and to the volunteers making the Bike Kitchen a reality. We'll be keeping you updated on our advancements. Until then, we hope to see you soon, on two-wheels.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Efforts To Save Atip's Memorial Getting Attention From Livable Streets Advocates Around The Country

The Streetsblog Network, a valuable and informative resource for sustainable transport, smart growth and livable streets advocates and planners across the country, have learned about our efforts to  save Atip's Memorial and improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists in the deadly Park Blvd. 
& University Ave. intersection.

The Los Angeles chapter of has written a review on our blog and on the processes involved to preserve Atip's Memorial.  The full article can be seen here:

It's nice to see that the support from bicycling, sustainable planning, smart growth, and livable streets advocates is growing, not just in San Diego, but beyond it as well.

We didn't originally contact StreetsBlog about our blog, but the fact that they somehow found out about this case is encouraging.  We know that the supportive network is growing.

Cyclists, pedestrians, disabled people, children, and the elderly deserve safer, more livable streets.  The dangerous Park Blvd. & University Ave. intersection, the transit, social, and
cultural center of San Diego, is an ideal place to apply the ideas of the State of California's new Complete Streets Act.

We're working, in parternship w/ the San Diego County Bicycle Coalition, and the backing of
the North Park Planning Committee, towards a real, permanent solution at this deadly intersection.  
Advocates all over the country are fighting similar battles.  Read about them at

Street Divisions Returns Atip's Bike, Yousef Ignores Request For Apology

After a series of hard-hitting emails to Street Divisions Deputy Director Hasan Yousef, requesting (1) an apology over Mr. Yousef's decision to prematurely ruin Atip's Memorial, an important and functional form of public art, requesting (2) an apologetic recognition that Mr. Yousef lied to the public about the removal date of the Memorial Bike ,
and (3) requesting Street Divisions return all the items that were prematurely taken away, Yousef has met one of our requests by agreeing to return all of the Memorial Bike items.  

Under Mr. Yousef's direction, Street Division employees have returned all of the items that were present on the north-east corner of the deadly Park Blvd. and University Ave, including locks, flowers, bike, pictures, Atip's wheel, etc. 

We will be handing the bike back to Atip's best friend, Mike, who technically owns the bike. In addition, we will be handing back the other items to Atip's close friends who request them. 

The bike known as the '2nd Ghost Bike' which was put up by members of the public a few days after the premature removal of the original Memorial/Ghost Bike, was removed a few days later. The '2nd Ghost Bike' has been returned as well.  
Though we did not specifically request that this bike be returned
Street Divisions handed it back anyways.

However, instead of cutting the lock of the 2nd Ghost Bike, Street Divisions cut the entire seat tube of the bike's frame in half; thereby ruining the bike and preventing it from ever being ridden again.  
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(Note: the seat tube of this previously-rideable bike has been unnecessarily sawed in half. CORRECTION: I originally stated that the 2nd Ghost Bike was locked w/ a cable lock. However, I've been informed that it was locked w/ a U-Lock. Regardless, rather than destroy the lock, Street Divisions destroyed the bike, because it was present at the site for only a few days. One less bike.)

Apparently, if you lock a bike to this public pole and Street Divisions decides that it is somehow associated with Atip, they believe they have the right to destroy your frame and saw the seat tube in half.

We've contacted Street Divisions to learn about the guidelines they use to draw the line which determines whether a bike is subject to removal.  When Mr. Yousef responds, we'll let you know what he says.

Keep in mind that there are no bike racks at either corner of the Park/Uni. intersection. Feasible alternatives are currently non-existent. We're working to change that.  Read the next blogs to learn more.

While we're satisfied w/ Mr. Yousef's decision to return all of the items at Atip's Memorial Site, we're disappointed that he ignored our request for an apology in regards to Street Division's premature removal of the functional form of art.  We're also disappointed that he decided to ignore our request for apologetic recognition that he lied to the public about the removal date of the memorial bike. And we're disappointed that he ignored the motion by the North Park Planning Committee, to improve livability in the area.