This Can't Be Good

Bike Share Expansion Into Mission & Castro Delayed Due to Vendor Bankruptcy

Following the fairly successful rollout of Bay Area Bike Share last summer in downtown areas, SFMTA was poised to expand the bike-sharing program to residential neighborhoods earlier this year.  However, that expansion has been delayed until the fall “at the soonest” as Bixi, the company that provides the hardware and software for BABS, has filed for bankruptcyStreetsblog reports:

“Our main technology and software provider is actually for sale,” said [SFMTA bike-share program manager Heath Maddox]. “We should know what becomes of that sale later this month. Hopefully, it’ll be bought by our current operations and maintenance provider [Alta Bicycle Share], and they could just move, without a hitch, and once again fire up production.”

Maddox said after the sale and re-organization is completed, “it takes five to six months to produce the equipment once it’s ordered.”

The immediate future of the program looks pretty grim, as Maddox noted the fall expansion would only happen if “everything went very well.”  Of course, the local bike thief business community might bring bike-share to the neighborhoods soon enough.

[Photo: Streetsblog]

Dolores Whole Foods Boasts Shoeshining Station, Oyster Shucking Pop-Up, Emergency Fedora Resupply Center

It's been a big week for new Mission-area supermarkets, first with the debut of Local Mission Market at 22nd and Harrison and now the grand opening of Whole Foods at Dolores and Market.  But whereas Local Mission Market the glorified Terminal 2 gift shop fails at providing any semblance of selection, Whole Foods has everything a preposterous person could possibly want.

Perched atop what appears to be a coffin for a very wide man is Whole Foods Presents: A Shine & Co's Steampunk Shoeshining Station.  For $10, a grossly underemployed gentleman will give you the standard shoeshine beneath light fixtures made from reclaimed hats.  And for the discriminating tech noblemen amongst us, there's the $25 “Gold Medal” shoeshine (the value-add of the gold package is unclear, other than that they'll probably polish your gold bricks for you).

“But what if I accidentally forgot my fedora at home?” you're probably asking yourself right now.  Well lucky for you, old sport, Whole Foods' new “sundries” section has a vast selection of fedoras in every fedora style, and it is conveniently placed beside the flagship shoeshinery:

The SF Business Times touches upon some of the new Whole Foods' more desirable features:

Like the brand's other neighborhood stores before it, the store is tailored to serve the city’s Mission Dolores and Castro neighborhoods with features that include a drink bar, an oyster shucking pop-up and a shoeshine station.

These things are obviously not food-related, but our focus is on community and giving the community different reasons to come in and congregate,” said Rob Twyman, who was hired last year to oversee the company’s expansion in the region.

Shine on, you crazy skrillionaires.

[Photos by Ananda Neil and Brad Thompson]

Visionary Utility Box Imagines a Better Start to the Wiggle

No matter how many times I've biked past the front of Mona Caron's utility box at Duboce and Church, I never thought to get off and see what was on the other side.  Big mistake.

Here's what Mona had to say about what the utopian future holds in store for Safeway:

The demolished mega-supermarket replaced with a farmer’s market, with the Duboce Bikeway mural wall still propped up, are details taken from Chris Carlsson’s utopian novel ‘After the Deluge

[via Castro Biscuit]

Chipotle's Roots in the Mission

Everyone in San Francisco knows Chipotle is the worst.  They took the Mission Burrito, dumbed it down to a Mission-inspired burrito, and then made it acceptable to the flavor palette of New Englanders.  Now Chipotle's founder is richer than God, and credits his success to Colorado and his generous father.

This doesn't sit well with San Francisco's burrito lineage, who played an untold role in building the 11 billion dollar company.  Casey Deeha of the Bay Area Review of Burritos (a must read for anyone remotely interested in foil-wrapped tube food, by the way) caught up with El Faro's Hugo Ontiveros, the son of Mission-style burrito forefather Febronio Ontiveros, for some background on the matter:

If you navigate your way to the 'Chipotle Story' tab on their website, you'll find three sections: 'The Chipotle Story', 'Where Did We Come From', and 'Steve's Story'. Clicking on any one of them will reveal anything from neat little animations showing the beginnings of the chain to a piece of lined school paper on which Steve Ells writes a first hand account of his humble story - in courier type font no less. In all instances, Steve Ells and Chipotlesauraus begins in Colorado when Steve used an $85,000 investment from his father to convert a Madison ice cream parlour into a taqueria. And this is true - he did begin in Colorado. However, “beginnings” are never as straight forward as one thinks and Ells' pre-beginnings place him in San Francisco, where according to Hugo, he frequented the taquerias of the Mission while working as a line chef at Stars in the Civic Center shortly after attending the Culinary Institute of America in New York. Hugo went on to explain that there is no doubt that Ells often visited the taquerias of the Mission, including  El Faro, to not only enjoy the burritos, but also to “study” the methods says Ontiveros.  Hugo, of course, is not alone in making this suggestion. David A. Kaplan from CNN writes, “Ells loved the little taquerías in the Mission District and decided to open one back in Colorado, where he'd grown up.” Ells himself, in an interview with Jessica Shambora with CNN Money, stated:

“One day, while sitting in a taqueria called Zona Rosa close to my house, I watched how the line crew took care of people in very short order. I took out a napkin and jotted down what I thought the average check was and how many people were going through the line, and I timed it. I thought, Wow, this thing makes a lot of money — it could be a little cash cow that could fund my real restaurant. My dad gave me $85,000 — part loan, part equity. I packed up within a couple of weeks and drove back to Colorado. It was the summer of 1992. The first Chipotle opened in Denver on July 13, 1993.”

While Zona Rosa, as we all know, is on Haight St. and not the Mission, Ontiveros goes on to say that Ells frequented many taquerias in the Mission with the same purpose in mind. Ontiveros goes on to point out that, 'there was no competition in Colorado' as far as quality taquerias were concerned, which propelled Chipotle to quickly gain the revenue to attract investors such as McDonalds and then rule the mexican fast food chain world.

The resentment doesn't stem from Ells' lifting of El Faro's “classic” burrito-building methodology, according to Deeha.  Instead, the absence of any mention of the Mission in 'Chipotle's Story' is what really bothers Ontiveros.

Meanwhile, on Cinco de Mayo, Chipotle was found on Market Street in the Castro, “bribing” passersby with brownbags of chips and guacamole in exchange for signing a petition in support of bringing the restaurant even closer to its ancestral home.

[BARB, and also check out their review of the Chipotle on Lakeshore Ave. in Oakland]

Procrastinating Potheads Get Swept Up Into SF's Line-Standing Craze

San Francisco has long been famous for its masochistic lines for brunch and men's haircuts, which see throngs of well-to-doers thumb tirelessly at their iPhones to pass the time, beta testing the very apps they are paid to develop.  However, ahead of Saturday's activist Hallmark holiday, a line for the more populist activity of buying danke herb could be found outside of Apothecarium on Market and Church. (We have no doubt that the city was cured of its collective back pain this weekend.)

Sadly, without iPhones and weed itself to make the dulling process of standing in line more tolerable, these folks were forced to slouch about with arm-crossing sobriety.  Truly, this elevates these patient partiers to the very top of the line-waiting meritocracy.

Tonight: The Marriage Equality Rally to End All Marriage Equality Rallies

Admittedly, we don't post much about gay rights here at Uptown Almanac (although maybe we should), but we can't help but feel tonight's rally is especially important.

As you most certainly know, the US Supreme Court is set to hear the Prop 8 case tomorrow, and the DOMA case the following day—an issue which even DOMA-signatory President Clinton has endorsed overturning.  And while we're perfectly confident Chief Justice Roberts will flip and side with the bench's liberals, upholding the Ninth Circuit of Appeals' decision and overturning Prop 8, getting out there and showing the world We're Over It is nevertheless urgent.

Event co-organizer and friend of the blog Patrick Connors makes the case:

[LGBT and AIDS activist] Cleve Jones gathered a few of us (me included) to beat the drums and get people to participate in the March 4 Equality rally at Harvey Milk Plaza on Monday, March 25 (a day I refer to as SCOTUS Eve) followed by a march to City Hall (for the 2,000,000th time).

I'm being a bit sarcastic, but this could very well be the LAST time any organizing has to be done against Prop 8. This is the last chapter (knock on wood) and considering that DOMA is also on the chopping block, there is history—maybe even life changing history—about to be made.

So I'm encouraging EVERYONE who wants to make news to appear one last time for the photo op of all photo ops that will hopefully show the media/country/assholes of the world that many many many people are paying attention and eager to end this bullshit.

Of the 150+ sister events being held across the country, San Francisco's is set to be among the largest.  And the event has been endorsed from folks all over the local political spectrum, from Chris Daly to Scott Wiener to Dennis Herrera.

So there you go, folks.  End this bullshit.


Then they came for the nudes…

I warned of the slippery, oiled-up slope we were on back in April. Now the city's verdict is clear: your genitals must be shamefully concealed from sight as G-d intended.

Put them away and think of the children for once!

Nudist's last stand, San Francisco 2012


New Bike Lanes to Help Cyclists Crossing Muni Tracks Not Fall On Their Faces

Striking a blow to the schadenfreude of watching fellow cyclists eat it while biking across Muni tracks, SFMTA has decided to experiment with new bike lanes that cross 17th and Church's front wheel slip-n-slide:

The SFMTA added guidance markings this week to the intersection of 17th and Church Streets, where the 17th Street bike lane meets Muni’s F-Market and J-Church streetcar lines. Car parking spots near the corners were also removed to improve visibility and provide more room for cyclists to maneuver safely.

The dashed lines and sharrows direct cyclists to cross the tracks at nearly a perpendicular angle, which minimizes the risk that bike wheels will get caught in the track crevices — a common bicycling hazard in San Francisco. Similar treatments have been used in Seattle.

More pics of paint and people not falling over at Streetsblog.