By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt
San Francisco’s preliminary plan to make part of Stockton Street a car-free pedestrian walkway may be threatened by opposition from Chinatown community organizer Rose Pak.
Pak slammed the car-free project as harmful to Chinatown in an email June 16 to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, which the San Francisco Examiner obtained…
The SFMTA and businesses agreed in February to research making the walkway permanent after construction is complete…
n her letter, Pak wrote on behalf of the San Francisco Chinese Chamber of Commerce that the neighborhood “understood we would suffer” inconveniences due to construction of the Central Subway, but believed they would be temporary.
However, making the project permanent also would “make permanent all the problems we’ve experienced,” she wrote, calling it “unacceptable to our community.”
The proposal would need to go before the SFMTA Board of Directors for community input and subsequent approval, which hasn’t yet been scheduled, said SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose.
Karin Flood, executive director of the Union Square Business Improvement District said property owners on Stockton Street generally support the project.
“They’ve seen it as a boost to sales,” she said.
Pak later told the Examiner she met with Reiskin to discuss Chinatown’s concerns.
She said “he apologized they never did a better job of outreach” to the Chinatown community, and “he has agreed” the project would not work, because closing that section of Stockton Street would stop the flow of traffic into Chinatown and harm businesses.
“So I consider the issue closed,” Pak said… (more)
Rose is wise to see the folly in the plan to cut Chinatown off from the rest of the city.
When is the SFMTA and City Hall going to consider how dangerous it is to cut a neighborhood out of the normal traffic pattern of the city? How will trucks and other regular delivery services get to Chinatown with no easy access? How will emergency vehicles get in and out? Many people could be trapped in an emergency evacuation situation.