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Continued Progress – Design Mtg. #2

July 29, 2011

Last night SFUR and SFRPD held the second Community Design Meeting at John McLaren School just across from the proposed bike park site. Many of the same faces from Design Meeting #1 were there to continue to help design San Francisco’s first bike park.

After introductions from Alex Randolph, SFRPD, and a brief description of where were are in the process from SFUR’s Dan Schneider and Dustin Smith, Alpine Bike Parks’ Judd de Vall took attendees through photos of various bike park features that were suggested in Design Meeting #1 as well as a few thoughts on how to effectively integrate BMX features into a predominately dirt park. After much productive discussion, we moved into comparison/contrast of the three conceptual bike park layouts that Alpine had created.

Concepts A and B had a similar overall layout with a secondary start hill dividing a L/XL slopestyle section of the park from a more intermediate and beginner section. Concept C eliminated that separation and unified the entire slopestyle area. There was much discussion around this main structure of the park, but the consensus was to keep the two areas separate for a few reasons: 1. It’s safer to keep levels of experience a bit separate from one another. 2. Two slopestyle sections will allow for variety and more berms and turns vs. a few long trails all the way down the hill.

Most attendees preferred the option of a single slalom course and short track DH option in option B,  to more Freeride trails in option A. How many pumptracks, placement and level of difficulty was another primary discussion. Almost unanimously, a small kid pumptrack and/or roller area was preferred to a flat space for kids to learn how to ride. All felt that could be done in a parking lot or tennis court. Rolling features may be incorporated into a youth pumptrack toward the bottom of the park in the revised design. A more expert level pumptrack may be incorporated into the XL Slopestyle course. There was a lot of discussion around this as everyone wants at least 2 pumptracks, but doesn’t want to give up too much space in the plan to get them. We all look forward to Alpine’s proposed solution in the next meeting.

Everyone attending the meeting was given a few minutes to talk about their personal style of riding and what each would want in the park. That’s a big perk of showing up. You will be heard. And you will play a real and tangible role in the design of this park.

Sharon Hewitt from the Sunndyale neighborhood, and project manager for CLAER (Community Leadership Academy Emergency Response) stopped by to talk to the group for a few minutes as well. She told some heartening stories about past gang violence in the neighborhood and offered her help with the park in whatever ways are needed. Her request was that we all work together to further the development of this great city and help stop the violence that plagues the Sunnydale neighborhood. SFUR feels that a bike park will help to more integrate all demographics of the city. Two wheels can unite any two people.

The next step is for Alpine to incorporate feedback from Meeting #2 and comments on the design options into one conceptual park design. In the next round we will see more actual features incorporated into the open sections of the current concept plans which focus on the flow and layout of the park.

Look for details on MBP Design Meeting #3 to come. The tentative date is September 1st from 6:30 to 8pm. Location may be the same, but please check back for details. Thanks so so so so much to everyone that came and played a part in the meeting.

Community input from Meeting #1

July 23, 2011

The purpose of design meeting #1 was to gather ideas from our key user group (cyclists of course) as well as from community groups and residents. We all went into the meeting with no pre-conceptions and an open mind to everyone’s ideas. Some common themes and requests came out of the meeting including:

  1. A kids skills area. Caution against making the park a kiddie playground.
  2. A perimeter loop for all skill levels. Allow it to flow, not stop and start.
  3. Progressive jumps and table top lines catering to 3 levels of riders, but stacked with flow, berms and turns. The expert lines should be set up to encourage tricks. Don’t just line table tops up in a row.
  4. Slopestyle features including drops, wallrides and berms. Integrate them into the hillside, rocks and through the trees.
  5. Grind rails and bike park elements, but integrated into the dirt features.
  6. Skills features for all ages and skill levels like logs and skinnies, rollers and pumptracks.
  7. The ability to have competitions to raise money for park maintenance, etc. A competitive jump line (amateur and pro), Highly technical Short track DH run, Dual and/or single timed slalom, Trials area, Cyclocross elements…
  8. Take all entry points and trails/paths from all neighborhoods into consideration when designing the park.
  9. Build awareness of hikers and other usergroups so that safety and etiquette are top of mind.
  10. Create a space for bike maintenance, and bike loan program. Educate neighborhood youth on how to keep up their bikes as well as how to ride them safely.
  11. Take all natural areas, plants and terrain into consideration when designing and building the park. Restore and plant native species where possible.

All who attended the meeting filled out comment forms. Click here to see a consolidated list.

Throughout the course of the meeting, notes from the discussion were written on easel cards. Those notes unedited are as follows:

  • Progression (for all skill levels)
  • Rainwater catchment (to water trails and irrigate)
  • Natural water feature – rain garden – using stormwater
  • 3 categories: Beginners Loop, Intermediate Pump Track/Terrain, Advanced – For broad appeal
  • Will require on-site water recycling (SFPUC)
  • Incorporate green elements
  • Trail surfacing – clayey consistency for durability
  • Expense of asphalt removal? Needs testing and review of alternatives. $80k!
  • Clarify 3 design meetings:
  • 1. Gather input
  • 2. Present 3 alternative concepts
  • 3. present draft concept plan
  • 3 neighborhoods involved…
  • Is the proposed location the best? How was location decided? Some folks want community garden here.
  • Look at Brazil Street site
  • Put comments form on R+P website
  • Dust control – try to minimize water needed by using tackifiers.
  • Love the contained park.  How to avoid conflicts w/ hikers elsewhere in park?
  • Educate riders.
  • Good signage for trail etiquette
  • 3 lines of dirt jumps: Tabletops, gaps
  • Starting hill
  • A local’s park
  • 1st priority for young kids , then go to more extreme
  • Even where kids can learn to ride
  • Pump track good for wide age range
  • Opportunity to borrow bikes (SFUR is trying for grants to buy bikes) SFRPD can provide programming.
  • Storage for bikes, repair shop
  • Bathroom
  • Repair skills classes
  • Step on step off
  • shade structure
  • Hang out / gathering area
  • bleachers up at top of hill
  • adequate parking
  • facilities for kids to just ride around
  • Challenging = fun tot track
  • skills course
  • cyclocross course/features
  • Need safe routes to bike to park
  • kids area at bottom where flatter
  • Kid area: Fenced play area, part paved/part dirt, clubhouse for parents, buffer from older kids (doubles as rain garden)
  • Fencing/buffer to keep kids safe. Not needed throughout.
  • Fencing along road to prevent night use. Aesthetically pleasing/soft. And to keep people off fast trails.
  • Tree plantings for wind block.
  • Integration between Cr-Am. + Sunnydale.
  • Crosswalks/traffic calming.
  • Needs transportation plan.
  • Typical route: from persia bike lanes on S.D. separated from road
  • Current sidewalk is bad.
  • Complete streets
  • Landscaping around features
  • Family route should be long and continuous
  • overpass
  • Don’t make it exclusive kids park. Something for everybody.
  • Picnic/rest area – nook out of wind
  • “Filer features” at top of trails.
  • Buffers so bikes don’t fly onto another trail
  • Safety checks, maintained properly
  • Younger riders talk with older to learn.
  • Shop can be social space to blur the user groups
  • Security/Theft concerns
  • Sunnydale slated for redevelopment – 4x more people – review architect’s plan.
  • Program events for revenue
  • Donor Recognition Program
  • Rideable artwork
  • Ramps will get tagged
  • Maybe invite artists to do good art
  • Give them time to do pro graffiti art. Give them a place in the bike culture
In The MBP Community Design Meeting #2 on July 28th, we’ll be reviewing three bike park design options created by Alpine Bike Parks that incorporate the feedback above. Meeting #2 will  help us narrow to one design which will most likely incorporate elements from all three as well as new ideas that arise in the meeting. Come out and be a part of designing San Francisco’s first bike park…

McLaren Bike Park Design Workshop #2

Thursday July 28th  from 6pm-8pm
Location:  John McLaren Elementary School   – Cafeteria
2055 Sunnydale Ave  SF, CA  94112


MBP Community Design Meeting #1 a Success

July 17, 2011

Getting a bike park built generally is a long, drawn out process, but the McLaren Bike Park is on its way to becoming a reality. We’ve held our first community design meeting, and are getting ready and prepared for the next one. (Design Meeting #2 just got approved by SFRPD for Thursday July 28th at 6pm. For more info scroll to the bottom of this post)

Before we go over what happens next, here’s a recap of what happened at the first meeting for those that couldn’t make it.

After everyone had assembled at the community center and picked up maps, bike park enthusiasts headed over to the potential park site to assess the space in person.

Grouping at the community center before heading to the potential park site

Grouping at the community center before heading to the potential park site

We had a slight delay in getting started, as there was a golf advertisement filming when the group arrived. Our group waiting patiently until they finished their final takes; then it was time to walk around and explore the space we would be working with.

The space is larger than it appears at a first glance.

The space is larger than it appears at a first glance.

While a number of us have been to the prospective site, walking through the entire space really demonstrated that the space feels larger that one’s first impression, especially if the space in the trees becomes available.

Designing their dream bike park.

Matt and Jesse, designing their dream bike park.

A number of ideas were batted around by those present, and splitting up, we wandered through the site to get a feel for the site, and began to work on envisioning our dream bike park. After some time, the group headed back to the community center for the official meeting. Alex Randolph from SFRPD welcomed everyone. Dan Schneider, SFUR Executive Director talked about the mission of SF Urban Riders. Dustin Smith, MBP Project Manager explained the goals of meeting #1. Judd from Alpine Bike Parks gave a presentation about some of the possible features we could have incorporated into the park — pump tracks, flow trails, dirt jumps, wall rides and more were discussed. Getting a bike park built is a much bigger discussion than what kind of features we’ll want to ride though. Parking, bathrooms, windbreaks, and landscaping are just some of the additional details that need to be addressed in the design. Some of the local residents brought up a number of additional concerns regarding the space in general as well.

Now - just an empty wasted space... hopefully not for long.

Now - just an empty wasted space... hopefully not for long.

Judd from Alpine Bike Parks discusses the possibilities.

Judd from Alpine Bike Parks discusses the possibilities.

Riders in attendance included freestyle BMX concrete park enthusiasts, cross country mountain bikers, and gravity oriented mountain bikers.

It is exciting stuff- to quote SFUR Executive Director, Dan Schneider, “We are entering the exciting territory of real bike park design input…. and needless to say we all want the best 2 acre bike bark in the world!”

McLaren Bike Park Community Design Meeting #2

Thursday July 28th  from 6pm-8pm
Location:  John McLaren Elementary School   – Cafeteria
2055 Sunnydale Ave  SF, CA  94112

map link:   http://maps.google.com

Big School complex across from MBP Site ( Google marker is not accurate)

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The Valmont Park Opens! Is MBP next?

June 17, 2011

In just a few short days, our initial McLaren Bike Park Community Design Meeting will be talking place at the Crocker Amazon Clubhouse. This Saturday at 1pm, Alpine Bike Parks will be helping SFUR with the Community Design Process, hopefully with many of you in attendance. We’re extremely excited to be working with Alpine on this project- if you haven’t been seeing the coverage online of the grand opening of Boulder, Colorado’s Valmont Bike Park, take a quick look at the dirt and wood masterpiece Alpine has created:

The Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO.

The Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO.

We realize that a new bike park located in Colorado may not excite everyone, as a trip to Boulder is quite a journey that many of us in the Bay Area may not get to make in the near future. However, hopefully this gets us all thinking of the possibilities of what we could build in our own backyard.

While the above photo highlights some of the larger and camera friendly features of the Valmont Park, the park consists of more than just big jumps for aspiring stuntmen.

MTB skills features for kids of all ages

Alpine designs and builds MTB skills features for kids of all ages. Photo courtesy of Alpine Bike Parks.

Alpine Bike Parks comes to us fresh off the construction of Valmont, which is the most progressive and ambitious public bike park outside of a ski area/ resort to date. Their park design resume consists of building features for all levels of riding, as well as riding styles. In addition to the media friendly slopestyle course, there are multiple pump and jump tracks that cater to beginner and intermediate skill levels as well as “flow trails.” There are also beginner and intermediate single track loops with challenge sections designed to foster technical skills.

A challenge section on the trails at Valmont.

A challenge section on the trails at Valmont.

There is even a cyclocross course.

There is even a cyclocross course.

One of the more progressive areas of park design they have been driving is the use of more sustainable building materials like wood and steel. Making park features from dirt results in an intensive maintenance schedule, and comes with the need for constant watering and reshaping of lips. By spending a bit more initially, our park will be around much longer for years to come.

Construction of one of the jump features of the Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO

Construction of one of the wood jump features of the Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, CO.

Of course, our park won’t just be made from wood and steel. We love riding dirt just as much as you, and variety is one of the reasons the SFUR McLaren Bike Park committee chose Alpine to help us during the design process. Most of the park will feature natural materials like earth and rock.

Beautifully shaped piles of dirt, ready for your shredding pleasure.

Beautifully shaped piles of dirt, ready for your shredding pleasure.

Alpine comes to us with their book of designs ready to be repurposed for use here locally, and many of their park features are ready to be plugged straight  into our park project. It will also help keep park costs down, which as you all probably know is one of the big hurdles we still have to face in bringing our very own bike park to reality. Since funding is still one of the challenges we still face, remember to help spread the word about this Saturday’s Community Design Workshop, and raising awareness of this potentially incredible project. We’ll also have MBP shirts for sale for $20 (cash) with all proceeds to go to Bike Park Design. We hope to see you there.

All photos courtesy of Alpine Bike Parks

SFRPD promotes MBP Design Mtg #1

June 10, 2011

Just got this flyer from SFRPD’s planning folks and its pretty obvious they’re psyched about the meeting. Great flyer guys! And thanks for the support! Looking forward to Saturday, June 18th. It’s gonna be a fun and important day for MBP, SFUR and SFRPD!

Let’s Design a Bike Park!!!

June 1, 2011

To the general biking public, it may have seemed like this whole MBP thing had stalled out. I’ve been out riding and can’t count the times someone’s asked “What’s up with the bike park?” My answer: A lot. These things never move as quickly as you think, or in the ways you think they’re gonna move. There’s quite the checklist of players that all have an important stake in how this thing goes, and if this thing goes. And not just cyclists. In fact, more non-cylists, and by a landslide. Neighboring communities will be affected and need their say. Naturalists want to insure we’re taking mother nature into account. Youth programs are a key ingredient to the success of this bike park. Scores of groups, organizations, and neighbors need to be a part of the process.

That’s why we’ve gone a bit dark lately. It’s not real sexy to talk about meeting with neighborhood groups, or sitting down with SFRPD to talk about potential boundaries of the park, if we need an EIR or Soil testing, or have to remove the asphalt, or cap it with soil, and how we’re going to get the money to do all of it. So, we’ve spared you the unsexy bits, and are inviting you to the beginning of the culmination of all the meetings, and community outreach, and emails, and phone calls that have been out of the view of most of you. If you are a part of a community group we’ve met with, thank you for your time and support. If not, now’s the time to become a part of the MBP Community Design Process!!!

On Saturday June 18th, SFUR and SFRPD will be hosting the first McLaren Bike Park Community Design Meeting. We’ll meet at the Crocker Amazon Clubhouse at 1:00pm, then take a short bike ride over to the proposed bike park location on Sunnydale Avenue near the entrance to Glen Eagles Golf Course. We’ll return to the Clubhouse for our meeting start at 2:00. We’ll finish up between 3:30 and 4:00. The site visit will help inform the meeting, so if you can make it, awesome. If not, hopefully you can make it to the meeting.

We’ve been jockeying dates to hold this meeting for quite some time, but the recent support letters from  SFRPD General Manager Phil Ginsburg and District 11 Supervisor (and now Mayoral candidate) John Avalos, have given us the political capital we’ve needed to start this process. We don’t have a green light on the Park itself… yet. That will most likely come in the Commission meeting on September 22nd when we present the final bike park design.

To work with us through the Community Design Process, SFUR has retained Alpine Bike Parks of Whistler, BC. Alpine’s most recent project is Valmont Bike Park in Boulder, Colorado, set to open June 11th, just one week before our first community meeting. Look for another Alpine specific story here shortly.

SF Urban Riders wants to give a big thanks to everyone in the McLaren Community. There are too many groups and individuals to list. We also want to thank SF Recreation and Parks Department for their openness and partnership in the development of this project.

MBP shirts will be for sale for $20 cash. All proceeds to go to Bike Park Design. Available in Red and Black. Three layer screenprint on American Apparel Triblend high-quality short sleeve shirts. Adult and kids sizes available.

Thank you for your time and support!!!

McLaren Bike Park Community Meeting

November 29, 2010

On November 16th, SF Urban Riders and the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department held their first community meeting to discuss the possibility of a bike skills park in McLaren Park. The area in consideration is the partially paved unused area just outside Glen Eagles Golf Course along Sunnydale Ave.

This meeting is a huge step towards the realization of the first bike park in San Francisco. Over the course of the last year, there were a series of McLaren needs assessment meetings where bikes were not on the agenda. These previous meetings focused on sidewalk improvements, play areas, and general park maintenance. All very much needed, by the way. But, SF Urban Riders turned out a majority of bike park supporters that raised their hands, commented, and ultimately made their voices heard. The November 16th meeting was the culmination of the community support received at past meetings. Sometimes it may seem like a long road, and it may not seem like coming to a meeting and listening makes a difference, but this is proof that it does. Thank you to all have helped get us to this point.

At the Nov. 16th community meeting SFRPD Sports and Athletics Manager and native McLaren resident Bob Palacio, opened the meeting and told of McLaren Park’s BMX past. He handed off to SFRPD’s Leisure Services Manager, James Wheeler who explained his recently created role and the Extreme Sports programming that SFRPD is looking to create. He then introduced SFUR’s Executive Director, Dan Schneider and MBP Project Manager, Dustin Smith who presented the case to local community groups, leaders and families from the neighborhood surrounding McLaren Park.

The centerpiece of the presentation? Kids, bikes and more kids. Kids are the future (sorry to sound cliche’) and our future relies on getting kids outside and on bikes. As proof of SFUR’s commitment to the kids and the community, a dozen or so past SFUR events were showcased in the presentation such as the Vis Valley Street Fair, Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, McLaren Wrench Day, the SF Bike Expo Pumptrack and numerous trailwork events on Mt. Sutro and at McLaren Park itself. Pictures and stories of these events, as well as a strong partnership with the YMCA and SFRPD in creating kids mountain bike programs, demonstrated that SFUR is not a fly-by-night group of self-serving cyclists. We’re here to build a bike park AND strengthen the community and it’s children.

The presentation itself was also designed to explain exactly what a bike park looks like, who might use the bike park, and how it could benefit the community. Overall, the project received much support that Tuesday evening. There were many questions and comments about how a bike park would affect current paths and trails. Points of concern were the Sunnydale housing and how a bike park would serve it’s residents. And how bikes flocking to the bike park would affect traffic on the trails. Dan, Dustin and James responsed to those questions as best as possible, but a more detailed follow up will be posted shortly for public viewing.

Of the many positive comments a few favorites (paraphrased) were: “Are you sure this space is big enough?” and “That asphalt dumping area has been there for at least 20 years. Now you’ve got a group that wants to come and make something useful out of it? I say we should let them. And give them as much support as possible”. The latter comment was met with a room full of applause.

Thanks again to everyone that came out to the meeting. There will be more meetings. And each will be more important than the last. So, if you want a bike park, it’s time to get involved. Please stay tuned for next steps and future meetings.

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