Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Transit planners eye five Castro locations for SF Bike Share pods

An example of one of the SF Bike Share pods

The SF Bike Share station near the Caltrain Station on 4th Street.

Transit planners in San Francisco are eying five locations in the city’s gay Castro district to install additional bike share stations as they look to expand the program outside of downtown neighborhoods.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted on its blog last October, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency set a goal of installing 15 new stations and adding 150 bikes to the program in 2014. In addition to the Castro, the agency said it would target Hayes Valley, the Mission, and Mission Bay for expansion sites.

During this morning’s (May 1) Castro Merchants meeting, SFMTA senior transportation planner Heath Maddox presented the various locations along upper Market Street the agency is considering to place the new bike share stations.

The list included the intersections of Market and Duboce, Market and Church, Market and Sanchez, Market and 16th, and Market and Castro. Other locations being eyed include both Duboce and Dolores parks.

“We have had overwhelming demand for these,” said Maddox. “People want to see it where they live, work, play and shop.”

Castro area merchants voiced concerns about seeing coveted parking spaces in the business corridor be taken over by the bike share stations. Each station would have 19 to 23 bikes and take up three parking spaces to install.

Between Dolores and Castro Street along Market Street, the SFMTA is looking to use 12 parking spaces to expand the bike share program. Nine would be located on Market Street and three on Church Street.

“These are preliminary, there is some flexibility in where you put them down,” said Maddox. “We understand, of course, it is a hot button issue. We are looking at ways to lessen the impact.”

The agency would like to have a final decision on the locations for the bike share stations by the end of the year.

“Our approach is to go where we are wanted,” stressed Maddox. “If Castro merchants and residents said, ‘Do not bring bike sharing,’ we would certainly listen to that.”

There are currently 350 bikes scattered across 35 stations in San Francisco. Regionally, there is a total of 700 bikes and 70 stations.

It costs $88 for an annual pass, $22 for a three-day pass and $9 for a daily pass. Each pass provides for unlimited 30-minute trips during the membership period.

Trips longer than 30 minutes cost an additional $4 for the next 30 to 60 minutes and $7 for each additional 30 minutes after that.


— Matthew S. Bajko, May 1, 2014 @ 4:01 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

Man pleads no contest after trying to extort married dad who’d sought sex

Emmanuel Darabi (Photo: San Mateo County Sheriff's Department)

Emmanuel Darabi (Photo: San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department)

A Bay Area man who tried to extort $40,000 from a married father who’d been seeking sex with cross-dressing men pleaded no contest in the case this week.

Emmanuel Darabi, who’s 28 and lived in Foster City at the time the case started, entered his plea Wednesday, April 30 in San Mateo Count Superior Court, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

The victim is a married father and business owner who lives in Belmont. The two men never met, Wagstaffe said in a summary of the case.

The case started in January when the victim’s daughter found an envelope on her car, which was parked outside the victim’s home, Wagstaffe said in a summary.

“The envelope contained a Craigslist ad of the victim seeking cross-dressing men for sex,” said Wagstaffe. There was also “a note demanding [the] victim drop off $40,000″ in San Mateo’s Central Park or “his secret life would be exposed.”

The victim acknowledged to his family and police that he’d had “a secret sex life,” but he said that had never included underage males, according to Wagstaffe.

Police placed hidden cameras at the park and saw Darabi there. After the victim didn’t show up, Darabi “sent him an angry email,” said Wagstaffe.

When the victim told Darabi that he was demanding too much money, he agreed to settle for $15,000, and another drop-off was planned at a post office.

An undercover detective who posed as the victim dropped off a bag in the bushes near the post office, and Darabi picked up the bag, said Wagstaffe.

After police confronted and arrested Darabi, they found papers in his car that had the victim’s address, phone number, and email, according to the DA.

Darabi, who’s out of custody on a $25,000 bail bond, was originally charged with two counts of extortion and one count of resisting arrest.

Wednesday, Superior Court Judge Clifford Cretan granted the district attorney’s motion to add a count of felony attempted extortion, to which Darabi pleaded no contest.

In exchange, Darabi will get to stay out of prison, and he’s expected to serve a maximum of six months in county jail, said Wagstaffe. It’s likely that the other three charges are being dismissed. A plea of no contest is similar to a guilty plea.

The next court date is June 27 for the pre-sentence report and imposition of sentence.

Someone who answered the phone at a number listed for Darabi said he wasn’t available, and the person wouldn’t take a message. An online phone directory indicates Darabi currently lives in the East Bay town of Moraga.

Attorney Majeed Samara, who’s representing Darabi, declined to comment on the case, since it’s pending, and hung up on a reporter.

The prosecutor in the case is Deputy District Attorney Shin-Mee Chang.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 2:23 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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