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Gimme Shelter
June 5, 2007 2:40 PM   Subscribe

The San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority is reviewing and asking for your votes and comments on new designs for San Francisco's bus shelters, kiosks, and shared bicycles. SFGate story here.
posted by fandango_matt (30 comments total)

 
The San Francisco Municipal Transit Authority Transportation Agency
posted by fandango_matt at 2:45 PM on June 5, 2007


I would suggest they would be a good place for housing political prisoners.

Well, alternatively, since other people probably already have this bright idea, they should be designed so that they cannot possibly accommodate people sleeping--they are bus stops, not housing for the homeless.
posted by nervousfritz at 2:55 PM on June 5, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is the main design criteria for the shared bikes is that they be too dorky looking to steal?
posted by doctor_negative at 3:30 PM on June 5, 2007


Might I suggest colorful streamers and a horn to give wayward automobiles a firm toot.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 3:59 PM on June 5, 2007


"Is the main design criteria for the shared bikes..."

That was my thought too.
posted by 517 at 4:07 PM on June 5, 2007


doctor_negative: the goal is to fit as much ad space on it as possible. "Contractor #1" is Clear Channel.
posted by you at 4:09 PM on June 5, 2007


How poor do you have to be that you can't afford your own beater bike?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:14 PM on June 5, 2007


I imagine these bikes are more for people who don't want to take their bike on the bus, but would like one to ride when they arrive. Tourists also, I suppose- but then they must be renting bike helmets, too.
posted by oneirodynia at 4:17 PM on June 5, 2007


How poor do you have to be that you can't afford your own beater bike?

Poor enough not to afford a good place to store it, maybe?
posted by katillathehun at 4:17 PM on June 5, 2007


How poor do you have to be that you can't afford your own beater bike?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:14 PM on June 5


Copenhagen!
posted by vacapinta at 4:23 PM on June 5, 2007


I love the opportunity for user input in design - don't get me wrong, I love the power of design. But please, dear gods of transportation, could they please focus on their main service offering - namely, oh, I don't know, transportation, rather than things like the bus shelter designs? The quality of service for MUNI in particular is iffy at best, and no amount of lipstick on a pig like design choices on bus shelters can replace good ol' fashioned, basic, running-on-time service. Street furniture my ass - as the people of SF which is the higher priority, buses or freakin' shelter. (cf. Municide.com, a blog that described some of the problems people have had to endur).

Also what's the deal for with a 16 year old deal with one contractor - is that normal to have it written for that long length?
posted by rmm at 4:29 PM on June 5, 2007


How poor do you have to be that you can't afford your own beater bike?

Owning a bike in SF is a total pain in the ass (unless you also own a relatively spacious home or condo). Apartments are already cramped and lacking in storage space, landlords don't want bikes stored in common areas (like stairwells) and also don't like bike hooks that would let you hang your bike on the wall, and bicycle theft is so rampant that you pretty much know the bike (or its wheels or some other part of it) is going to get stolen eventually -- it's just a matter of time.
posted by treepour at 4:29 PM on June 5, 2007


Have any of the designers actually stood at a bus shelter IN THE RAIN? Very few of these look like they'd actually provide much SHELTER, except 3A1-2, 2C1-2 and 2D1-2.
posted by desjardins at 4:34 PM on June 5, 2007


The last bike design looks a lot like ones already in service as quick-rentals in Copenhagen and London. I can totally see using them occasionally, even though I own a bike.
posted by everichon at 4:37 PM on June 5, 2007


Have any of the designers actually stood at a bus shelter IN THE RAIN?

Not only rain, but a lot of them seem like they'd do a poor job of protecting you from the wind, too. I like my bus shelters to have three sides.
posted by epugachev at 4:43 PM on June 5, 2007


Toronto just signed a 20 year deal for bus shelters, garbage cans, 'info kiosks', and sundry city furniture with a known illegal billboard operator... how depressing. At least our bus shelters have three sides.
posted by anthill at 4:53 PM on June 5, 2007


Sorry, this is a better link. Beware, San Fransisco! Bewaaaaaare.
posted by anthill at 5:03 PM on June 5, 2007


i'm with rmm...let's go back to the old days when a bus stop was just a signpost with the words 'bus stop'...the shelters are useless in the rain anyway since that's when the stinkiest people make them home...

the bike thing is cool and i would totally use it...i'm just not very optimistic that we can become community-minded enough for it...i like sf in a lot of ways, but the behavior here most often doesn't reflect the ideals...
posted by troybob at 5:31 PM on June 5, 2007


Before I quit smoking, the place to light up was behind the building I work in. It's right on a river and there is no overhead protection which meant that we got ever bitterly cold wind and torrential rain dumped right on us.

Many times I looked at the bus stop a half a block away and wondered if I and a couple of co-workers could liberate it.

Eventually it became easier to just not go out.

Looking at some of these designs, I have to agree with desjardins, I don't think I would have wanted to steal one of these. I doubt it would do much to stop either a strong wind or a heavy rain.
posted by quin at 5:34 PM on June 5, 2007


How poor do you have to be that you can't afford your own beater bike?

It's a non-trivial expense in SF. I rarely see beaters at bargain prices at yard sales or on Craigslist. Figure $50 - $100 for a used beater, plus $40 for a decent u-lock and
$60 / yr or so for puncture-resistant tires. Oh, and if you store it outside or on a balcony, U-lock or not, don't plan on it being there in the morning. You'll need either garage space or an apartment big enough to store it.
posted by zippy at 6:24 PM on June 5, 2007


Why is it that none of those bus shelters offer any protection from the elements ... at the front? Does SF rain only ever come from one direction or something?
posted by kaemaril at 6:38 PM on June 5, 2007


I don't know what you people are talking about. That first bike is awesome. With the small front wheel and the apehanger bars, that thing is styling. All it really needs is a banana seat. And maybe some tassles for the grips.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 6:39 PM on June 5, 2007


You'll need either garage space.

Yeah, but I know a guy whose bike got stolen out of his building's garage, so really, it's put it in the apartment or nothing.
posted by epugachev at 6:42 PM on June 5, 2007


The shared bike thing has been tried by many cities, but consistently fails - as it recently did in Paris.
I've heard about steep government expenses to replace stolen and destroyed bikes, as well as dredging canals and combing ravines to remove piles of discarded public bikes at the bottom of them.
The bike industry suffers when these kinds of things get put in place as well. Manufacturers and retailers in an industry that's trying to push a healthy transportation alternative miss out on sales.
It's ridiculous when people take a parking space for their car for granted, but don't have enough square footage to secure a single bicycle. Why don't municipal governments stop shrinking minimum square footage requirements for developers and promote/subsidize car sharing co-ops instead?
posted by Pseudonumb at 7:38 PM on June 5, 2007


This article, focused on Portland Oregon's effort, provides a good overview of Community Bike programs around the world.

Why don't municipal governments stop shrinking minimum square footage requirements for developers and promote/subsidize car sharing co-ops instead?

There's actually three immensely popular car-sharing coops here in SF - two are non-profit, one is private. I think the tack is to try all of the above.
posted by vacapinta at 8:08 PM on June 5, 2007


I like the shared bike idea if they make it work. I looks like it is going to run on a subscription basis which might intrroduce enough accountability into the system so that bikes are returned.

A group tried this in Ann Arbor when I was going to school about 20 years ago. for about two months, you would see these stickers all over campus saying: "The Green Bike Is Not Locked."

After a couple months, a bunch of beater bikes, spray painted green, showed up all over campus. Each bike had a card with the usage rules and an address to which you could take them for maintainance. I used them a couple times, but they pretty much all disappeared pretty quickly.
posted by mach at 8:18 PM on June 5, 2007


With the small front wheel and the apehanger bars, that thing is styling. All it really needs is a banana seat. And maybe some tassles for the grips.

Yeah, the first bike needs one of those big ol' stick shifts on the top tube too. Did Schwinn ever make a Blueberry Krate? (Courtesy of Metafilter's own fixedgear.)

The site suggests the sample bikes are in service in other cities. Does anybody know if that's correct? It seems odd, if that's the case, that bikes two and three are computer models.

IMO, there's just too much wrong with bike one. Seriously, like what is with those lights? They look like they'd get stolen in about half a minute. And rim brake + small front wheel seems like another not-so-hot idea for hilly urban riding.

Bike two is weird. Is the drive chain intentionally on the left to limit stripping for parts or did they just flip the image without thinking? Can't read too much from the image so I'll leave it at that.

I kinda like bike three -- that kickstand is a nice touch and even though it looks like it must weigh like 5,000,000 pounds it looks kinda bulletproof. I was gonna say the space-age fairing has to go but I wonder if it's there to keep people from messing with the cable adjustments -- that'd be a good thing, too. Hopefully that quick-release clamp doesn't let you pull the saddle off the bike or they're going to be missing a lot of seats.

So, I noticed none of the bikes have rear racks or panniers. I wonder if that's to discourage piggyback riders, to make it easier to stack 'em on racks, or it's just the city being cheap. Well, it's probably moot since 90% of the bikes'll end up stolen or in the Bay after week one anyway.

Yes, I have no faith in human nature.
posted by Opposite George at 8:19 PM on June 5, 2007


Ooh, my bad -- that's a plain Sting-Ray.

Here's
a couple of real Krates with the mini front wheel.
posted by Opposite George at 8:30 PM on June 5, 2007


Didn't San Francisco put up a lot of these (formerly cookie-scented) bus shelters fairly recently, like within the last couple of years?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:47 AM on June 6, 2007


The bike industry suffers when these kinds of things get put in place as well. Manufacturers and retailers in an industry that's trying to push a healthy transportation alternative miss out on sales.

Do you have a cite for this? Because my feeling is that people who really enjoy riding a crummy city bike are going to shell out for a nicer one at some point, while the people who use a crummy city bike only four times a year would never have bought a bike in the first place. More bike riders can only be good for the bike industry in general, no matter who owns the bikes they ride; more voices to add to the needs of bikers in a city, and more folks to buy peripheral bike stuff.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:16 AM on June 6, 2007


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