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Tick outbreak, pool complaints, learning to ride a bike, and more

Four things to know today

Photo by George Kelly

Welcome to Curbed Cuts, a tri-weekly digest connecting the dots between shelter, structure, parks, transportation, and more.

Tick, tick, boom

This season’s wet winter isn’t just behind huge strawberries and a possible uptick in West Nile, as experts are now warning of a Lyme disease outbreak as a result of last winter’s showers. According to Bonnie Crater, the VP of the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, the tall grass nourished by the recent rains means ticks have even more places to live than usual, so expect to see more of them on Bay Area trails and in parks.

And with ticks, comes Lyme. “We’ve done tick studies all around and every park around the Bay Area, and in every park we found, Lyme Disease in ticks in every single park,” Crater told KRON 4, which notes that “Just a few years ago, Lyme Disease was almost unheard of in the Bay Area.”

Apparently, KRON 4 failed to remember that the person who arguably brought information on Lyme Disease to the mainstream, The Real World: Seattle’s Irene McGee, briefly settled in SF in 2005 following the show to get her Master’s at SF State. A long-time battler of the disease, McGee appeared in the award-winning documentary Under Our Skin. You might also recall McGee’s final moments from the seminal reality show.

ABC 7 reminds us that May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and reports that California records about 100 cases of the disorder per year “but in reality -- doctors miss many times more due to confusing symptoms.” You can learn more about the symptoms of the disease, as well as how to avoid it, here.

Supervisor Carmen Chu speaks in front of City Hall on Bike to Work Day 2012.
Supervisor Carmen Chu speaks in front of City Hall on Bike to Work Day 2012.
Photo by SF Bike

Who wants to teach Carmen Chu to ride a bike?

As you know, Thursday was Bike to Work day. Human Streets reports that Mayor Ed Lee, and Supervisor Jane Kim, London Breed and Katy Tang rode in for their City Hall gigs. Former Supe turned Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu didn’t participate, they report, because “[s]he said a tandem was not available and she would like to learn how to ride a bike.”

This has been an ongoing thing with Chu, who as long ago as 2009 was gamely hopping into a tandem bike to ride in the cycling event. From her June 2009 newsletter, “Supervisor Chu joined 20,000 other cyclists for San Francisco’s 15th annual Bike to Work Day. Once again, the gallant Andy Thornley from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition rode in on a tandem bike with Supervisor Chu.”

With resources like Thornley, who is now a Senior Analyst at the SFMTA, one might assume that there could be another factor that’s keeping Chu from riding solo. But that for many years, despite whatever impediment she’s had with cycling on her own, Chu’s still gotten out there while many of her colleagues don’t bother. She’s proof that if there’s a will to get on a bike (solo or with a pal) there’s a way.

Garfield Pool.

But do they hate Mondays?

The Mission District’s Garfield Pool was “built sometime in the 1950s, due to—according to Kevin, a longtime lifeguard—a wave of pool-building brought on by the machinations of an extraordinarily savvy aquatics supervisor named Helen Center,” Mission Local reported in 2010. That age and, according to some Yelp reviewers, decrepitude is why San Francisco’s been planning a sweeping “renovation of the pool, pool building, and reconfiguration of park indoor facilities, improved park accessibility, and related amenities,” SF Recreation and Parks writes on the program’s webpage.

As with every change in our city, however, there’s controversy afoot. Reporting from last night’s community meeting to discuss the plans, Mission Local says a dozen or so swimmers showed up to protest the plan to shorten the pool “to 75 feet by sectioning off a 25-foot area with a bulkhead, an inflated dividing barrier of sorts, to allow for a swim and programming area for children.”

Garfield Pool is one of the city’s only pools that allows uninterrupted adult lap swimming, so the change means the city is “taking what is really the best pool and saying … ‘we will have a little less quality for more people...It’s a solution that detracts from the quality of swimming at Garfield. It’s disappointing to have it be the same as at other pools.”

As the pool stands now, children under four feet tall are not allowed in the pool. Addressing the group, Toks Ajike, project manager with the Recreation and Parks Department, says that that’s not sustainable, as “There are families that will continue to move into this neighborhood. We need to address this growth that is coming.”

The Rec and Parks Commission is expected to approve the final plans in July, bids for construction contracts will begin in December, and actual construction is expected to begin by May of 2018.

Screengrabs via ABC 7

Walnut Creek’s selfie sensation

A sculpture unveiled Thursday in Walnut Creek is already making a social media smash, as a reported selfie hotspot. The life-sized “Bullman With Bulldog” sculpture was officially installed Thursday at the corner of North Main and Mount Diablo streets, and already the picture-taking has begin, ABC 7 reports.

Termed a “bovine beefcake a work of art,” by the East Bay Times, the sculpture of a suited man with a bull’s head with a leashed bulldog was cast in bronze by artist Gerald Heffernon and was given to the city by developer Brian Hirahara. And now it’s reportedly the new cool place to take selfies, apparently by design, as Walnut Creek Mayor Rich Carlston tells ABC 7 “that's one of the purposes of it.”

"When I saw their renderings, a long time ago I was thrilled with it,” Carlston told ABC7, “but I think the statue is even better than the renderings."

The irascible commenters on Claycord.com tended to disagree, with one saying it “Looks like some sort of golden calf Satan worshiping occultism” and another sneering “if only everyone really knew what the true hidden meaning of this is…I’m surprised the Liberals in WC allow it to even remain…LOL.” Sounds exciting!