January 26, 2002

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District
P.O. Box 9000
Presidio Station
San Francisco, CA  94129

Attn:  the big meanies who lock the West side (bicycle path) gates on the weekends


I have a word problem for you guys, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Let's say there's
this bridge--for the sake of argument, we'll call it the "Golden Gate Bridge"--and
say it spans between the town of Sausalito to the North and the city of San
Francisco to the South (see fig. 1).  Now, there's a West path on this bridge,
with a gate at either end.  On the Sausalito end, when closed, the gate can only
be opened from the inside (the bridge side).  On the San Francisco side, when
closed, the gate is locked up with a shiny golden padlock (see fig. 2).

You with me so far?  I know, I hate word problems, too, but it gets better. 
Let's say that bicyclists are free to travel on the West side pathway, but only
some of the time; e.g., until, oh, 6pm on a Saturday, January 26th.

Now, here's the question:  which gate do you close first, to best trap unwary
bicyclists on the bridge?

I know you already know the answer, since I discovered your policy myself tonight: 
first, you lock the San Francisco end with the shiny padlock.  But, here's the tricky
bit:  you leave the gate open on the Sausalito side!  Yes, that's right, if a
girl on a slow-moving bike passes through the open gate on the Sausalito side at
a hair before 6pm, by the time she reaches the San Francisco side, the gate will
already be padlocked!  Isn't that fun!  With any luck, she won't try to throw her
bike over the fence and then shimmy over, or even try to mess with the padlock
(fig. 2), seeing as she might fear that the national guard with their big
semiautomatic weapons could take umbrage.  Instead, she will have to ride all the
way back to Sausalito and pass through the now-closed gate (that opens from the
inside), pass under the bridge, and then ride all the way back to San Francisco
again on the pedestrian (East side path) of the bridge!  It's just priceless.

Oh sure, I suppose you could choose answer (B): always close the Sausalito gate first,
at 6pm, and leave 15 minutes or so for any bicyclists traveling South to exit the
San Francisco side before padlocking the gate there, but whatever for? The
Northbound bicyclists would hardly be inconvenienced at all, they'd only have to
open the gate and pass through to their chosen destination.  I mean, where's the
fun in that?

I ask you.  

And remain yours most sincerely,

the girl who unwontedly courted hypothermia,  

Cynsa Bonorris
55 Norfolk Street #301
San Francisco, CA 94103

P.S.:   For extra bonus points, describe (with illustrations) the reasoning behind 
        letting one suspicious girl-figure lurk unhindered in a restricted area 
        for 20 minutes. 

cc:     Everyone I Could Think Of on the Golden Gate Bridge, 
	Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors:

	Harold C. Brown, Jr., President, GGBHT Board of Directors
	Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
	Mark Leno, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
	Tony Hall, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
	John Kress, Marin Board of Supervisors
	Leland Yee, San Francisco Board of Supervisors
	Michael J. Cale, Sonoma Board of Supervisors
	Leah Shahum, Program Director, SF Bike Coalition
	Albert J. Boro, Mayor of San Rafael


fig. 1   (figure not drawn to scale)

fig. 2

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