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Caturday at Dolores Park, Bay Area dinosaurs, Haight police, and more

Four things to know today

Photo by duluoz cats

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

A cop on every corner

There’s an oft-repeated anecdote that street crime rates are especially low where the Queen’s Guard (you know, the guys in the red coats and gigantic hats) is posted, because the constant presence of a figure of authority is enough to quell mischief. A similar phenomenon is being noticed at the intersection of Haight and Stanyan Streets, well known as one of SF’s most fraught spots due to the nexus of drug activity, homeless residents, tourists, and dogs.

Fraught until a few months ago, according to this week’s newsletter from SFPD’s Park Station. In February, a uniformed officer was permanently placed at the intersection, near the entrance to the Alvord Lake area of Golden Gate Park. The result:

Undoubtedly, an analysis of the crime data and calls for service confirm that serious and violent crimes have substantially diminished at Haight and Stanyan since the implementation of the fixed Post.

Since February, there have been dozens of calls for service related to well-being checks, and reports of mentally-disturbed persons which officers have intercepted at this location. There have been approximately one hundred calls for service, at this location, which are homeless-related, for which officers have advised subjects accordingly, and also provided resources whenever possible.

Additionally, officers have issued over 30 citations at this location for observed offense. In an effort to prevent and intercept crime, officers assigned to the Fixed Post have made public safety in the area of Haight and Stanyan Streets a top priority of their daily work.

This “fixed post” is only a temporary one, due to “limited resources and personnel” and “it is challenging to facilitate this type of commitment, as the station is (at times) already operating with minimal staffing.”

Will crimes in the area go back up when there isn’t a cop constantly there to watch over the spot? Time will tell.

Jurassic SF

When we in the Bay Area say “dinosaurs” we’re most likely taking about Hummer drivers or people who still use an AOL email address. But long before that, we had literal prehistoric monsters, as KQED reminds us this week.

Though seismic shifts mean we’re low on dinosaur bones or fossils to dig up in our backyards, there’s copious evidence of ancient beasts just off the coast—for example, the Mosasaur. What’s a Mosasaur? Oh, just the “t-rex of the sea,” the Huffington Post reports. (You might remember their appearance in a little art house flick called Jurassic World.)

Since the term “dinosaur” only applies to creatures who lived on land, the Mosasaur isn’t technically a dinosaur, but, you get the idea. There’s also NorCal evidence of pterodactyls and pteranodons, the flying beasts.

“The largest ones may have had a wingspan of around 40 feet, so we’re talking of a flying reptile here the size of a jet fighter,” Sierra College Natural History Museum co-chair Dick Hilton tells KQED.

Other creatures that swam our long-ago waters were plesiosaurus (Hilton describes those guys as ”the Loch Ness monster”) and—possibly—“a duck-billed plant eater known as Augustynolophus morrisi,” which is up for state Assembly consideration as a contender to be California’s state dinosaur.

This might be the best selfie I've ever taken.

A post shared by Eve Batey (@evelb) on

Cat cause

If you’re headed to Dolores Park this weekend, better stock up on allergy medicine and mice. This Saturday, from 1:30-4:30 is “First Caturday,” an event intended to, organizers say, “reclaim the glory of the parks for our fuzzy friends. they are otherwise sadly trapped in the most boring of containers: the inside.”

Cats should be on leashes, organizers say, for their own safety. Given how many cats want to kill other felines, it’s likely that actual catfights pose as much of a threat as runaways.

Felines and those fond of them should meet by the playground. There’s a group photo at 3 p.m., so make sure Fluffy has his hair combed and face clean by then. No word yet if there will be catnip truffles.

A City Grazing staffer takes on SF’s Flower Hill.
Photo courtesy of City Grazing

Portola goats return

Cats might need leashes, but goats surely do not. Four-legged employees of San Francisco’s City , which provides adorable and ecologically-friendly landscaping by way of goats paid by the mouthful, can be trusted to stay where they’re supposed to stay. (Except when they don’t, like when they took off on a Bayview adventure in June of 2014.)

Right now, the City Grazing flock is working at the University Mound Reservoir, the Portola Planet reports. As of publication time, they’re “southern side along Woolsey Street between University and Bowdoin. They will slowly be moved counterclockwise around the reservoir as they chow down on the grass.”

Unlike, say, a bunch of guys with weed whackers and riding mowers, the goats don’t mind if you come to see them. They will even pose for pictures. They’re expected to keep working at the reservoir all weekend, so this is a great time to come say hello. And if you can’t make it out but want to learn more about City Grazing, take a look at this 2015 profile of the company’s general manager, who proudly proclaims, “Goats are the punks of the animal world.”