Imagine There’s No Autos, It’s Easy If You Try

Few cities consider themselves as progressive as San Francisco, so it’s only slightly surprising to find out that officials there are considering limiting the use of “private cars” on Market Street in order to increase the flow of busses, pedestrians and cyclists.

While I don’t live in San Fran, I spend more time there than any other big city, and I’ve done more riding there than any other metropolis, and I can scarcely count the number of times I’ve been almost struck and killed by vehicles on Market. I’m a pretty savvy urban cyclist but I go out of my way to avoid that thoroughfare while in the area.

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Even suggesting that Market Street be made off-limits to cars is a massive move, it’s akin to the idea of converting part of Manhattan’s Broadway into a pedestrian mall and it’s not likely to happen quickly. Still, the city is looking at plans to take the busiest two-mile stretch of roadway (from Van Ness to the Embarcadero) into a car-free zone.

Tilly Chang, deputy director of planning for the S.F. County Transportation Authority says of the project “having been a great street, Market Street has the scale, the social and historical significance, the architectural profile and the infrastructure, and hence the potential, to be great once again.” Run-on sentences aside, that’s a sweeping statement about a street that goes from posh shopping to porn-theater in under two blocks but it indicates San Francisco’s desire to reclaim the streets from cars, and with that action reclaim the grandeur of the heart of the city.

For the next few months Ms. Chang’s authority will look at problems that the restrictions would cause on nearby streets, (personally I think it would cause calamity for tons of motorists, which is exactly what author Tom Vanderbilt says is needed to move people to mass transit in his book Traffic, so I’m all for it.

While the plan, first suggested by mayor Willie Brown, died in its original incarnation, this time it seems to have (ahem) legs and might actually move forward as the mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom says he’d approve the changes if studies show that they wouldn’t hurt businesses in the area. (You don’t want to hurt the business at Market Street Cinemas after all.)

Custom Painted Big Dummy

Here at Bike Hugger, we’re constantly riding and blogging about Barney and Bettie the Bike Hugger Big Dummy’s. If you’ve been on the fence about getting your own Dummy, this might be your opportunity. From now through Friday at midnight Xtracycle is collecting entries for the grand finale of their Month of Love promotion. One lucky winner will have the opportunity to purchase a Big Dummy Frame and Xtracycle will have it powder coated in any color you can dream up! Check it out after the jump.

Uploaded by Dapper Lad Cycles | more from the Dapper Lad Cycles Photostream.

Knog Porn Patches revisited

While at Frostbike, I got to see the production version of Knog’s glueless tire patch kit, called Porn Patches, that I saw at Interbike last September. I can’t enough of these things.

Lazer Helmets

I’ve got this thing against inappropriate use of the letter z. Like when people use it at the end of a word instead of an s, in an effort to communicate coolness and plurality simultaneously. I also hate it when a “z” is meant to confer high tech. Like when people spell the word laser with a z, because the word laser is an acronym. And it doesn’t mean:

Light Amplified by Ztimulated Emissions of Radiation

But in the case of Lazer helmets, based in Belgium, I’ll have to overlook this transgression. Because I found their helmets to be unexpectedly rich in technical features, key among them is what Lazer calls “Rollsys”.

Wired: Freak Bikes

Wired picks up our post on the Air-Bongo Water Bike and adds their own Freak Bike finds, including the Treadmill Bike. Our all-time favs are the Turkey Bike Rotisserie and Bucking 4 Glory shown here with the optional camera rigging.

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