Merchants Affected By Construction Projects Could Receive Loans & Grants

by Teresa Hammerl : hoodline – excerpt

As major construction and streetscaping projects in the city have brought traffic jams, blocked parking and limited visibility for small businesses, merchants across San Francisco are frustrated.

Now, the city’s supervisors are looking at how they could better support business owners, including with loans and grants.

The Board of Supervisors Government Audits & Oversight Committee met on Wednesday to discuss the economic impact of construction.

“We’re in a construction boom in the private sector and public sphere—with more investments going into capital improvements—than we’ve seen in years,” said District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee, whose district includes West Portal and parts of the Inner Sunset. “What we’re discussing today is the unavoidable impacts these projects have on our merchants and commercial corridors.”…

Kim said that her office had already secured $100,000 add-back for construction mitigation, as well as an additional $95,000 dedicated to merchant assistance.

She also said that she was considering a fee for private developers that would go into a larger citywide fund to help support business owners during private construction projects.

“I know we have a lot of fees on our private developers, but we should consider a small one based on the cost of construction,” she said… (more)

New elevator, upgrades coming to Milk plaza

With transit officials set to add a second elevator at the Muni station in the Castro, they are also floating ideas to remodel the public plaza that surrounds it.

Named for Harvey Milk, the city’s first gay elected official who was killed in office in 1978, the plaza has long vexed neighborhood leaders since it first opened nearly four decades ago. Its design has been derided as uninviting with poorly laid out spaces little used other than by smokers or homeless people…

Now two city agencies, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and San Francisco Public Works, are proposing to make several changes to the plaza’s design as part of a project to improve pedestrian access throughout the space.

“We have been working with folks in the neighborhood and the SFMTA and DPW for a while now brainstorming ideas, with the overall goal being to open up the plaza and to turn this space into a useable plaza,” said District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener, a gay man who represents the Castro at City Hall. “The way it is designed right now, it is so broken up with narrow spaces it is not useable. It ends up leading to problem activities.”… (more)

NO MORE TAXES. What does making a useable plaza have to do with SFMTA’s mission of transporting people and goods around the city? This is why we are opposing any new taxes. Re-designing public space by digging up concrete and re-pouring it in different configurations is a waste of taxpayer funds that should be dedicated to improving public transportation. DPW should not spend time or energy on this either. They are far behind on street and pothole repairs. NO MORE TAXES.

Oh My, It’s ARBOR-GEDDON 2015 – The SFMTA Wants to Kill Hundreds of Healthy Street Trees to Slow Down Traffic on Masonic

sfcitizen – excerpt

SPEED UP MUNI BUSES? Nope. In fact, the Plan will slow down MUNI buses, like part of the Plan is already doing that already, at Ewing Terrace, for example. (The nearby City Target had some mad money so it gave a quarter million to the SFMTA to put in a new light at Ewing in order to gain support for The Plan from a woman who lives on The Terrace.) This plan will slow down MUNI. Simply. Yet somehow, it will “increase access” to transit, by giving people the right to sit longer at bus stops?

SPEED UP THE REST OF TRAFFIC ON MASONIC, THE GREAT CONNECTOR WHAT LINKS THE PARKSIDE, THE SUNSET, AND THE RICHMOND WITH THE REST OF SAN FRANCISCO, CONNECTING BUSH PINE WITH LINCOLN, FULTON, OAK, FELL, TURK, BALBOA, AND GEARY? Oh, Hell no. Masonic will turn into a congested parking lot during the morning and evening drives, ala Oak Street, ala Octavia Boulevard. Buses will no longer pull over into stops – they’ll simply stop and block the slow lane, leaving the solitary remaining lane, the “fast” lane, to temporarily serve as the only way for motorized traffic to travel on Masonic.

INCREASE “ACCESS” TO MUNI? We’ll see. The SFMTA is claiming that rebuilt bus stops will be the big benefit to MUNI riders.

INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES IN THE AREA? Oh no. In fact, the Plan will remove 100-something 22-hour-a-day parking spaces from Masonic. (For some this is a feature and not a detriment.)

BENEFIT CYCLISTS? Perhaps. This, see below, is what people do these days, for the most part – they ride their bikes on the wide wide sidewalks, going uphill, for the most part, as I’ve been doing for a couple decades. SFGov is free to make this practice legal on Masonic, but it chooses not to. In fact, SFGov is sometimes reluctant to make piecemeal changes, for safety or whatever, because SFGov shuns so-called “chop-shop” projects – SFGov prefers giant pork-barrel projects paid for by, among others, people living in North Dakota. And then, if residents started to think that Masonic was then “fixed,” through small changes, that would lessen the pressure for a big pork barrel project using money from the Feds and Sacramento.  Anywho, most of the coming changes to Masonic appear to favor bike riders, so yes, we’ll be getting separated lanes up and down Masonic… (more)

We are speechless. Comments to the Chronicle and letters to the Mayor might be most appropriate. Removing mature trees that need no watering and planting new ones that require a lot of water to establish themselves, is bad any time, but quite offensive during a drought.

S.F.’s parklets program learns from failure, moves ahead

By : – excerpt

On Haight Street, two new parking spaces where a parklet was recently removed highlight the growing pains of a popular open-space program and what The City can learn from the failure.
In July, a parklet outside of Martin Macks bar in the Upper Haight was the first to be removed after nearly a year of controversy, and Planning Department officials running the program have learned from this incident and others that have cropped up around The City.
San Francisco pioneered parklets, starting in 2009 when then-Mayor Gavin Newsom asked the Department of Public Works, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the Planning Department to come up with a “temporary urbanism program.” The concept the agencies came up with allows businesses, nonprofits and property owners to apply for permits to convert adjacent on-street parking into open spaces that are open and accessible, though also removable… (more)

Details on 2nd Street Protected Bike Lanes, Ped Upgrades Come Into Focus

by Aaron Bialick : sfstreetsblog – excerpt

The plan for raised, parking-protected bike lanes and pedestrian safety improvements on Second Street is shaping up after the Department of Public Works presented new details [PDF] last week…
Despite surveys showing broad support for the proposed improvements, as well as praise for DPW’s extensive community outreach from residents and city officials, discussion at the latest meeting was hijacked by a contingent of residents from a building at 355 Bryant Street who said they were recently caught off guard by the project…
Those residents mostly voiced fears about traffic congestion and problems with loading that they claimed would result from the project. When one man argued that the proposed safety improvements couldn’t be made because car commuters need all four existing traffic lanes to get to and from the Bay Bridge, Olea said the improvements should discourage those drivers from using Second as an alternative to the main motor routes like First and Third Streets…
“Our overall vision is to de-emphasize Second Street as a route to the freeway,” said Olea. “It’s not an arterial.”… (more)

Channel Street Used As Private Parking Lot

By Sarah Mcdonald : – excerpt – July 2010

… he City and County of San Francisco is losing a potential revenue source from a public street located near the Central Waterfront that’s being used for private parking.  Channel Street, which is 628 feet long and runs from Carolina to 7th streets, is fenced off on both entrances, and flanked on either side by private businesses.  Rows of Ride the Ducks and Classic Cable Car tour buses, and Budget rental trucks, are parked inside the fenced area.  According to Barbara Moy, acting manager for the Bureau of Street Use and Mapping, San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW), the businesses don’t have a permit to park on the street.  Mario Balestrieri, manager at San Francisco Mini Storage, which parks Budget trucks on Channel Street, said he doesn’t believe his company has a parking permit. “We’ve maintained the property and kept it closed,” he said, “because if we didn’t the homeless would move in.”  The fence was installed with the City’s permission in 1992 by Moody Property Management to keep out vagrants…
Last year Norcal Waste Systems, now Recology SF, acquired half of Channel Street from the City in exchange for a plot of land adjacent to Little Hollywood Park, splitting the 100 foot wide street down the middle.  According to Robert Reed, Recology SF’s public relations manager, all of Recology’s trucks are parked on their own land.  Leading up to the land swap, community groups had advocated that Channel Street become a park.  Instead, Hooper Street, from 7th to 8th, is being considered as potential green space by the Planning Department.
Leshne was disappointed with the land transfer, but believes that what’s left of Channel Street has potential to serve as beneficial public space.  The formerly industrial neighborhood is being steadily transformed into residential developments, including Leshne’s building, where 224 units were completed in 2008.  The neighborhood is short on sidewalks and other walkways.  “There’s still enough area to improve and make it a good space to walk through,” she said…
“If people want this opened, we can certainly look into getting it opened,” she said.  But Reed said if that happens he hopes the City will maintain the area.  He pointed to problems with dumping, vandalism and theft, with fenced-off streets a common solution. “A lot of the landowners end up bearing the brunt of the City’s shortfalls,” he said. “I could see why the streets were closed off.” Leshne agreed that the street should be further developed to turn it into a public walkway. “Just opening the gates, I don’t know what that does,” she said.  Moy plans to consult with Planning Department staff about Channel Street’s future… (more)

Once Controversial Land Swap Passes Board of Supervisors