22 February 2013

New Restaurant - Same Chairs

A new restaurant has opened on Valencia Street. No it's not on the "hot" block between 18th and 19th, but rather a new Indian restaurant between 18th and Sycamore. Also, the long vacant "furniture store" beside it has had recent construction and looks like it may become an actual activated space in our lifetime.

Curry Up Now - Indian Street Food is now open as a brick and mortar location at 659 Valencia Street. As reported by Grub Street SF, the restaurant, which also operates food trucks, was scheduled to open on February 20, 2013. The place used to be a pizzeria, called Pizzeria, which opened in 2007 and was up for lease over the past 9-12 months. That strange virtually customerless restaurant was next to the equally nearly always empty New Yorker's Buffalo Wings place. I always thought they might be a front for money laundering, in spite of the police station across the street.

I never did have a pizza from the pizzeria, but I did walk in once to buy a soda. Apart from being empty all of the time, the pizzeria (and the buffalo wings place) had strange chairs with big back sides that curved into arm wrests. Not the most inviting seating. Well the new place has the exact same chairs! Luckily the painting and the lighting look like they've changed for the better.

The best news is that there appear to be customers! They are actually coming to the restaurant. This is good news since this mini stretch of Valencia, between 18th Street and Sycamore was strangely quiet in spite of the two restaurants. It is bookended by The Elbo Room and El Buen Savor Taqueria, plus Live Fit gym which has livened up the block a little bit.

Note strange chairs. Tables appear to have changed, but cannot confirm.

Empty Pizzeria. Image: sfpizzeria.com
Image: yelp.com
Now Valencia Street has almost 10 India Restaurants, from Dosa, to Amber Dhara, to Gajalee. Pretty soon there will be one on every block. The street already has a cafe every block, very nearly.

More pics and update on the mystery restaurant space after the break.

13 February 2013

Bring on the cycle tracks - make Valencia safer

San Francisco installed its first true blue bicycle cycle track on JFK Drive in Golden Gate Park several months ago. Now that the "new" form of bike lane has been introduced and isn't thought of as "experimental" let's consider adding more cycle tracks on other streets. One street in San Francisco that could greatly benefit from one is Valencia Street.

Valencia Street with Potential Cycle Track

Post 2010 Valencia Street configuration.

Cycle tracks put bike lanes between the sidewalk and vehicular parking rather than between traffic lanes and vehicular parking. Bicyclists ride in safer conditions. Most of the dangers of classic bike lanes (sandwiched between traffic lanes and vehicular parking) are avoided or lessened. The need to avoid double parked vehicles, car doors opening, and evade exiting parked cars are all eliminated. True, some hazards remain and some new hazards come with cycle tracks. The dangers and conflicts at intersections remain, whether from left turning or right turning cars, although right turning car/straight bike conflicts are mitigated by having a right turn lane adjacent to the bike lane for over 30 feet.
Image: SFMTA