Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Marinwood CSD meeting August 10. 2021


 The Marinwood CSD did not want to share it with the public. As a continuing public service, we will post videos of our local CSD meetings. Why do you suppose they hide reporting of activities behind closed doors, cryptic meeting notes and will not answer questions or engage with the public? Ask Eric Dreikosen, Marinwood CSD manager and the Board of Directors who allow this.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

A Simple and Effective solution to Keeping the Peace between Trail Users


Opinion: Put a Bell on It






AMY JURRIES|JULY 17, 2017



Mountain bike bells go a long way toward keeping the peace between trail users.

Last summer, I was steadily grinding up Pinecone above Park City on my way to Wasatch Crest. As I rounded a sharp corner, another rider came careening down the trail straight at me. He slammed on his brakes and promptly crashed into a shrub, barely missing me. He was so close I could feel the wind on my face.

Thankfully, everyone was OK, and he got away without too many scratches on his $8,000 bike. You could argue that the rider was going too fast, but if either (or both) of us had bike bells, the whole situation might have been avoided, with precious frame paint still intact.


Sounding a bell from a distance announces your presence without making it seem like you have more right to be on the trail than anyone else.

To mitigate accidents (and angst between user groups of multi-use trails), I’d argue we would do the entire outdoor community a huge service by setting aside the “too cool for school” mentality and slapping a bell on our bikes. This makes the trails safer and friendlier—not only for us bikers, but also for hikers, trail runners and equestrians.

Sure, shouting “On your left!” to pass someone can work, but it doesn’t always get the reaction you expect—a startled person is rarely a happy one—and often they hesitate like a squirrel in the road or even jump right in your path. By comparison, sounding a bell from a distance announces your presence without making it seem like you have more right to be on the trail than anyone else, which is how it can seem when you shout.

Bonus: If you live in bear country, this saves you from either having to sing during your entire ride or worse yet, surprising a bear and possibly getting attacked. What’s more, a bell’s ring carries farther than a voice. A ranger I interviewed says that people on the trails can hear bells from a few hundred yards. Horses and other animals can often hear them from over a quarter mile.

Mountain bike bells are not without their haters, however. This is clear.


Is there another rider around that curve? | Photo: Dan Engel

“I hate bells,” said one Pacific Northwest rider I interviewed who wished to remain anonymous. “They are super annoying. If I rang a bell going into every corner, I’d drive myself crazy. Why not just ride under control and speak nicely to people as you approach?”

That does sound like a great idea (and a common sentiment), but that isn’t what always happens out there so some concerned bikers are taking matters into their own hands.

Places like San Luis Obispo County along the Central Coast of California are fully on board with mountain bike bells, so much so that the local bike community placed cowbells at every trailhead for bikers to borrow on their rides. In the last six years, Central Coast Concerned Mountain Bikers (CCCMB) partnered with nearly a dozen local bike shops and other local business to supply about 2,000 bells per year at local trail systems such as Montaña de Oro State Park.


The bell stash at Montaña de Oro State Park | Photo: Amy Jurries

“The use of bells far surpassed our expectations,” said Bill Jenkins, CCCMB Sponsorship Chair. “The equestrians, hikers and bikers are very happy with the bells even though some of the bikers were reluctant to use them at first. Within a year of using the bells, negative encounters between the various groups decreased. It’s a great feeling when hikers thank us for using the bells whenever we meet them on the trails.”

Keep in mind, however, that simply sporting a bell does not grant you a special privilege to ride like you’re the only one out there—the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s rules of the trail (and good old common courtesy) still very much apply. Whether dinging or not, mountain bikers still yield to all other trail users.


I’m not waiting for an official bell installation at every trailhead—and you shouldn’t either.

The cowbell program worked so well that it led the State Park Supervisor to open up miles of singletrack in Montaña de Oro State Park for the first time to bikers—the result of which is the now über popular Oats Peak Trail. Imagine the results for riders (and new trails) if similar programs happen across the country.

But I’m not waiting for an official bell installation at every trailhead—and you shouldn’t either. On a recent trip back to Park City, I, along with numerous other riders in our group, sported every variety of mountain bike bells. Rounding a sharp corner on Mid Mountain, we approached a set of hikers, including children. They had heard our bells in the distance and already moved well off the trail to let us through. With a huge smile and “thanks for using bells!” they waved as we rode on down the trail.
My Top 3 Reasons to Use a Bell
That little ding alerts other trails users well in advance of your approach.
It’s less startling or confrontational than shouting at someone, especially if they are wearing headphones.
It helps to ensure we all just get along. You don’t want to be that person that gets bikes banned from a trail system.
Sweet Dings


From left to right: Timber Mountain Bike Bell, Knog Oi

[Timber Mountain Bike Bell] This always-on bell creates a pleasant, cowbell-esque jingle with an easy access switch to silence the ringer for those times you don’t need it. Using two rubber O-rings, the bell secures to pretty much any size handlebar. I’ve found that hikers and even dogs are standing at the side of the trail in anticipation of my approach so there’s no need to shout apart from “Thanks and have a great day!” as I ride by. ($20)

[Knog Oi] If you don’t want your bell to, uh, look like a bell, this dinger offers a sleek, inconspicuous alternative. The high-pitched ring cuts through even the loudest of headphone music but doesn’t carry as far as the others. The Oi comes in a variety of sizes depending on your handlebar circumference. Con: Like many traditional bike bells, it needs a thumb-flick to ding, which can be tricky if you’re bombing downhill. ($20)

[DIY] For a couple of bucks, you can copy the Montaña de Oro State Park bells with Velcro tape and a mini cowbell.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Marinwood CSD meeting July 13, 2021 Opps!

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Marinwood CSD meeting of July 13, 2021.   Marinwood CSD manager Eric Dreikosen admits the construction plan is NOT APPROVED due to problems with the design.  Just a few months prior he represented the plan as fully approved and urged the acceptance of a $1.3 million construction contract PLUS another $650k loan for "additional work".  The newly elected Marinwood CSD board members were pressured to adapt the plan due to "Rising Costs".  The Marinwood Maintenance Shed project will be THE MOST EXPENSIVE IN MARIN COUNTY history.  Essentially it is a very expensive garage to house landscaping equipment.  The huge cost is due to overdesign using exotic architectural materials and building a kitchenette and shower room.  The unusual design features make the actual movement of vehicles and equipment difficult and the essential function of moving materials virtually impossible.  Opps!

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Marinwood CSD Meeting June 8, 2021


Marinwood CSD board borrows another $650,000 to spend on Marinwood Maintenance Shed project and leases Marinwood Park to lender. Despite many less expensive options, the Marinwood CSD Board of Directors have approved a $2 million dollar maintenance shed designed by former Marinwood CSD politician, Bill Hansell. Early estimates of this project using standardized building components and construction was $100k. The project is filled with luxury material and customized building components. It will be the MOST EXPENSIVE MAINTENANCE SHED in Marin County History. It is a positively shameless waste of Marinwood CSD resources.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Trolls ?

 

Trolls are popping up in Oakland's Dimond Canyon

Bebe, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif. A trio of anonymous local artists has installed a hilarious collection of wooden sculptures called

Bebe, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif. A trio of anonymous local artists has installed a hilarious collection of wooden sculptures called "The Bridgeview Trolls" throughout Oakland's upper Dimond Canyon.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Dimond Canyon in the East Oakland hills has long been a hotspot for graffiti artists. Spray-painted monikers of daredevil taggers adorn the underside of Leimert Bridge, which spans the forested gorge. Below, a tunnel that Sausal Creek runs through provides a subterranean gallery for those not willing to risk the 100-plus foot drop. In recent months, however, a more kiddie-friendly kind of public art has been drawing big crowds to the upper end of the park.

Quincy, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, hangs from a line on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Quincy, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, hangs from a line on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

In September 2020, a wooden figure with shaggy hair made from frayed rope appeared at the base of a redwood tree. In the following months, more scrappy statues began popping up along the entire length of the Bridgeview Trail.

Arthur was one of the first trolls along the Bridgeview Trail.

Arthur was one of the first trolls along the Bridgeview Trail.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

A blockheaded doll lounged in a mini-hammock strung up in the crotch of an oak. A giant caterpillar constructed from a twisted log, with pool balls for eyes, slithered near the rope swings. Amongst the ivy-covered hillsides, grinning creatures fashioned from fallen branches and construction detritus peered out at hikers.

Frank and Filbert, two of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Frank and Filbert, two of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

So far this spring, the sun-dappled canyon has been crawling with children in a scene reminiscent of the Pokémon GO craze, except now kids are searching for endearingly makeshift statues instead of digital monsters. On a Nextdoor post about the mysterious creatures, one neighborhood resident exclaimed, “This is better than ‘Where’s Waldo!’”

Jennifer Griest points out for her son Quentin one of the trolls, named Bebe, along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Jennifer Griest points out for her son Quentin one of the trolls, named Bebe, along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

The anonymous trio of artists behind “The Bridgeview Trolls,” the name for this ongoing project, is thrilled by the response. “We just did it for fun,” one of them told me, in their first media interview. “To see happy families out there is great, because a lot of kids don't want to go outside, they just want to play video games.”

Grandpa, of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Grandpa, of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

The trollmakers only want to be identified by their initials (C, D, and M), but they were willing to share some details about themselves and the origins of this whimsical installation series. C is a graphic designer, D is an electrician, and M is C’s 8-year-old son, who just received his first set of tools for Christmas. While C and D — they’re a couple — handle most of the troll design and construction, M claims credit for the idea of “putting little guys in the woods.” The inspiration struck while the trio was strolling along Bridgeview Trail. “We realized that there are all these little alcoves and the redwoods form a kind of cathedral. So many great little places to tuck things,” D said, explaining how they chose the location of their unsanctioned “pandemic project.”

A family points out Iggy Fozzwich, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

A family points out Iggy Fozzwich, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

The mythological connection between trolls and bridges led to the name of this motley assortment. Taking a cue from the Danish artist Thomas Dambo, who constructs massive trolls from recycled materials, C, D and M fashion their trolls using materials they find in the forest and whatever other scraps happen to be lying around. The body of the first troll, “Arthur,” is a chunk of redwood left over from a Victorian house that D had been rehabbing; his legs are lichen-covered sticks. In the vein of jazz musicians, the trio improvise as they work, with final creations sometimes bearing little resemblance to initial sketches.

Kramer, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Kramer, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Their biggest limitation is space. The laboratory where the trolls are born is C’s dining room, although she got rid of her table and replaced it with a work bench, so little dining takes place there now. Plus, her small apartment is now perpetually covered in sawdust.

Mokee, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, hangs from a tree branch on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Mokee, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail, hangs from a tree branch on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

They often run into fans of their work while installing new trolls, which usually happens on weekends. During these visits, the trio also collects poop bags left by careless dog owners and other trash they see along the trail. “So far, we've gotten really good feedback,” C said. “And we're trying to do it in the least invasive way possible, so we don’t hurt the environment.”

A hiker climbs some steps along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

A hiker climbs some steps along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Despite these efforts to limit negative impacts, a few local residents have complained of increased noise (likely the squeals of laughing children) and overcrowded parking on nearby residential streets. In order to encourage good behavior, C, D and M have begun leaving maps of the trolls’ locations at the trailheads, which include recommendations on respecting the neighborhood and where to park (Due to very limited parking on Bridgeview Drive, Monterey Boulevard is strongly encouraged).

Jupiter, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Jupiter, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

The maps also include the trolls’ names, which have proceeded in mostly alphabetical order from Arthur and Bebe up through Tabitha, the most recent addition. The next member to join the crew will be Sad Stu, although his arrival may be delayed by the fact that much of the trio’s efforts are now devoted to repairing the existing trolls. Besides contending with wind and rain, several of the figures have lost limbs at the hands of overzealous children.

Tabitha, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Tabitha, one of the trolls along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

The artists are committed to completing the alphabetical assortment, but they’re “locked in a heated debate” about what to do after Z. Placing trolls in other parks throughout Oakland is one option, but C said that they “don’t want to jump the shark” and acknowledged that “at some point, the trolls will just have to live on their own in the woods” without the trio’s constant upkeep.

If the history of unsanctioned public art projects in the East Bay is any indication, other amateur artists will build on the Bridgeview Trolls in exciting and unexpected ways. From the towering “mudflat sculptures” that once lined the Emeryville shoreline to the many eclectic installations on Albany Bulb to the beloved gnomes still seen at the base of countless utility poles throughout Oakland, this region has a long track record of spontaneous collaboration. The first “guest troll” just popped up on Bridgeview Trail and C, D and M are thrilled by its mysterious appearance.

A "guest troll" that appeared along the Bridgeview Trail on March 31, 2021, in Oakland, Calif.

Douglas Zimmerman/SFGATE

Liam O’Donoghue is the host of "East Bay Yesterday," a podcast that explores the history of Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Follow him on Twitter.