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my runs tend to develop into a "no frills" directions as I design them, because I have a hard time thinking of interesting side encounters or details that make the run memorable.
For example, such an encounter would not be a gang war in the Barrens but the strange troll houngan that runs his cursing & healing business among the runs and gangs.
What encounters of that type have you included in your runs?

Simple: just have the gang doing something odd. Decide what, out of a large range of suspects available in the critters/MITS sourcebook, is leading the gang and exactly what odd behaviour/powers the gang have. Vampires could cause kidnapping, free spirits do whatever they want, A blood/toxic/insect shaman may be involved (equals big cash prizes from the Draco Foundation Bounty). A shaman may be mind-controlling a gang to fight against a particular corp. The group may be hired to wipe-out the gang but, if they switch to the gang's side, there could be extra karma in it for them. Give the players a choice between cash and karma, doing good or evil, and it will probably make for an interesting run (if you don't do it too often).
It's easier if your players are pro-active and frag themselves.

The other thing you can do is introduce seperate "plot hooks" that the characters trip over and try to solve or at least play with.

The "Street Sprawl" lists pages of random encounters that you can drop in the middle of your usual adventure.

Think of them as "mini" adventures for your players to discover -- but be prepared to wing it if, in the course of the primary run, the characters go 90 degrees off-center.

Let your runners, on their way to a meet, get stuck in traffic because Lonestar has block off the street to fight a mutated crocodile that broke through a manhole into the streets. Or perhaps they're not fighting a mutant croc, but are they redirecting away from a strange, extremely small and local manastorm.
one of my favorites is to have the ancients howl through the street they are in... they dont attack the PC's (unless attacked) and they dont attack any civvies, they are jsut out for a ride.

I guarantee you one of your pc's will fire on them, and Having the ancients pissed at you is NOT FUN!
The other one is to react to what the players worry about. For example, I ran a small, solo run with one of my characters the other day and half-way through he mentioned, "Gee, I hope after attacking all of these guards I haven't guess poorly about the people they're guarding." If you keep your face still, you could throw a hell of a twist at them right there. Or just save the idea for later devil.gif
Hot Wheels
Minor traffic accidents- some guy rear ends you. Or maybe you see a hit and run
A traffic stop "wearing your seat belt sir?"
Some guy in a bar/diner gets too frisky with a waitress.
A pan hanfdler doesn't want to take no for an answer.

All are perfectly normal in a day, but how do characters react when they are carrying guns and expecting trouble? The guy who rear ends them is just a harmless corp wage slave off to his office, but they see the CAP pin in his lapel. Is this a hit? A delay? Maybe a Johnson making a meet? Is he going for his insurance card or a gun?
I was running a game where the characters were sneaking down a riverbed near New Orleans to break into somebodys house. The whole crew was in the river except the decker. As they were swimming/walking along to their goal the decker saw a truck rolling alongside the river. It was a pickup truck with police markings and a couple of cops in the back with a spotlight and a rifle..scanning the river.

This was a geek test. Sort of like the ancients tearing though the streets from another post. The idea is just to see if the characters freak out and kill the cops, souring the whole run.

The cops were really just keeping the local rodent population down.
People sometimes get so wrapped up in the "darkness" of SR that they forget some of the more colorful encounters.

Try having the run or the escape route go right through some huge media circus. I once had my PCs do a run on a secret lab in the heart of Downtown, they ended up taking a secret tunnel to escape, the tunnel came out in a 4th floor apartment right next to a movie theatre, where there was a complete circus as it was the premiere of Johhny Crow's "Avenging Angel III", several famous urban brawl players, Lorelei Angel, Maria Mercurial... it was your basic Hollywood type affair.

Now imagine what J-Lo's security would be like in Shadowrun? Now multiply that by 12... now throw your PCs, armed, carrying wounded teamates and stolen cargo, unable to go back through the tunnel with no other option but to either a) stay in the apartment till the corp special ops guys show up or... try to get through the mess in one piece.

It was a lot of fun as there were TONS of camera drones everywhere, and the PCs ended up using physical masks to cover their weapons and wounds and ended up in a crowd foot chase through the gathered crowd, good fun.

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