March 24, 2010

Plaza Vs. Parklet: Your Voice Has Been Heard

Dear Noe Valley Residents,

First of all, I would like to thank you all for the feedback we've received these past couple of weeks regarding the proposed Pavement to Parks project at Noe and 24th Streets. While we have not officially began our public outreach, I do appreciate those of you who have taken the time out of your day to send me initial comments and concerns.

The goal of Pavement to Parks is to identify places throughout the city that have a lot of people and a lot of activity on the streets but not necessarily the accommodations for those people to enjoy outdoor life. Improvements as part of the Pavement to Parks program are all trial (and fully reversible) and are intended to make the neighborhood more comfortable and enjoyable for residents and visitors alike. These improvements include new pedestrian spaces, landscaping, trees, seating, and other people-focussed enhancements.

While we have not began our official public process (scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks, email to follow soon), there has been quite a bit of discussion amongst the community both supportive of and opposed to a Pavement to Parks project at the Noe location. The concern we've heard thus far focusses primarily on impacts to traffic circulation.

As a result of this valued input, the Pavement to Parks program is advancing a second option for this location which leaves vehicular circulation along Noe Street unaffected. This option would involve a Parklet rather than a Plaza. While the Plaza option would necessitate closing roughly a third of a block of Noe Street at 24th Street to vehicles, a Parklet's footprint would remain entirely within the parking lane and would maintain all existing vehicular circulation. Our first
Parklet has been piloted on Divisadero Street and I encourage you to visit the Pavement to Parks website, listed below, for an idea of what a Parklet might look like.

When we begin our public outreach in a few weeks (email confirming date and time will come soon), we will discuss the pros and cons of both options to determine how best we should move forward as a community.

I thank all of you for your input thus far and encourage you to forward this email to others who might be interested. Also, please feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions or concerns.

Best,

Andres Power
Pavement to Parks Project Manager
Andres.Power@sfgov.org
sfpavementtoparks.sfplanning.org

112 comments:

murphstahoe said...

Lame.

Nelson said...

Oh man, I sure hope they don't just do a "parklet". The whole point is to make that intersection have no cars passing through it, so pedestrians are safe to walk. I realize it will inconvenience the folks who live right at 24th and Noe who have to drive a block up to Castro or down to Sanchez. But maybe if we try it temporarily, we'll all find it works pretty well.

Tamagosan said...

Baby steps, Nelson.

I can't wait!

:-)

rocky's dad said...

Well, the planning dept. is at least listening...and I feel, moving in the right direction.

I am all for more greening of our city, more trees, more sidewalk landscaping and more mini-parks. But I am opposed to the CLOSING of any public street to accomplish this. Noe St. running north and south from Duboce to Chenery (yea, check it out) has been a trail, or road or paved street for probably 150 years..and should remain so.

The parklet taking up parking spaces along Noe is an excellent idea.

Anonymous said...

I am kind of curious to see the plaza installed and the user levels. It is hard to imagine people sitting out there in the summer when the afternoon wind picks up or even on a cold foggy morning.

It would be busier in Sept. & Oct. but is it right to block a street for a plaza that might be used mainly from 8AM-3PM?

But if it's not a huge hit then it could be downsized to parklets.

Anonymous said...

The whole idea of Pavement to Parks is that they are 'temporary', no? So why not try it? It might not be as bad as some people think. And if it is, change it back.

Although I would vote for closing 24th St between Church an Castro completely for traffic (exception bus and delivery trucks) and turning it into a European-style pedestrian zone.

murphstahoe said...

rocky's dad said...

"Theparklet taking up parking spaces along Noe is an excellent idea."

rocky's dad said...

"Now all the bike nuts are trying to push these stupid, cheap little parklets on us...so hipster, so useless.."

Anonymous said...

I am all for blocking off a third of Noe Street @ 24th Street for a pedestrian plaza space. I think it is a wonderful idea and a great intersection to utilize for such a neighborhood amenity.

I would really be disappointed in a downsized "parklet". I live between Sanchez and Noe and often use both streets to get to and across 24th street. I really see the traffic problems mentioned as a non-issue. It is only a matter of going one block east or west.

I fully support the plaza option 100% and can not wait to see the completed project.

cr said...

This is why Noe Valley can't have nice things.

@Rocky's Dad

Again, why does Noe Valley need to be a thoroughfare to Market St.? Historic authenticity? Which drivers are served by this route who cannot be equally well served by traveling north-south on Castro or on Church/Dolores/Guerrero?

Blocking Noe St. will improve traffic on 24th St. by channeling drivers to intersections controlled by traffic signals. (Not to mention the enormous benefit to pedestrians and residents from having a full plaza at Noe.)

Anonymous said...

I am very much a fan of blocking off a third of Noe Street @ 24th Street for a pedestrian plaza space!! I think Noe out of all neighborhoods would really benefit from a place to sit with coffee, sandwiches, strollers, etc on a nice (even not so nice) day. The benches across from martha and bros get great use, so I can only imagine places to sit that also green the city would be very successful.

Tara said...

This is ridiculous. What we need in Noe Valley is more parking spaces. And the parking spaces we have now don't accommodate the vehicles that most families drive now. You expect me to haul my groceries from Whole Foods on Muni? That is an unreasonable expectation. Let's plan smartly. If people want to sit outside in a park, they can go to Dolores Park. More parking options NOW!

yizzung said...

murphstahoe said it best: "Lame."

Be sure to send your comments to Andres Power, since most of us here want the plaza. Maybe we can make more noise than the Noe Street NIMBYs...

Anonymous said...

In this case it's NIMFY's

yizzung said...

In this case it's NIMFY's

Good point.

If people want to sit outside in a park, they can go to Dolores Park.

If people want parking garages, they can drive to SOMA...

cr said...

It's NIMVY. Not in my Noe Valley. And it's a big problem in the neighborhood. We're going to be a joke -- the first neighborhood to rally around killing one of the Pavement to Parks.

Proud to be a YIMVY.

Anonymous said...

Lame indeed. I will be so disappointed if they go with a Parklet instead of a Plaza! Can't we not be a walker friendly neighborhood - Why does everything need to be dictated by car drivers? If you want more space to park and drive your cars, please please move to the suburbs.

Anonymous said...

As someone who lives in Noe Valley on 24th street, and relies on the unreliable 48 every day, I am dreading this parklet on the ridiculously congested main drag of Noe Valley. Where will traffic go? Elizabeth? Jersey? Noe Valley abounds in green spaces. If you want more, buy one of the many vacant buildings on the street and build a park there. Don't make getting back and forth on 24th such a nightmare.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone drove down 24th Street recently. It's next to impossible with all of the people crossing the street and the buses. The first thing they need to do is reroute the bus to another street. That would allow traffic to flow more smoothly. And there are plenty of parks already in the neighborhood. People don't want parks they want parking. Thanks Tara for your forthright comment.

murphstahoe said...

Anon - while we see that some are upset about this parklet, surely nobody would be upset if the 48 were moved to Jersey ;)

"People don't want parks they want parking - Pave Noe Courts Now!" - perhaps this can replace my dogs/kids/nail salons mantra.

Anonymous said...

Block it all. A "parklet" sound ridiculous. Make it a plaza. People will get used to driving around it very quickly.

Anonymous said...

Some people here continue to lament "the sky is falling"..

Their mantra is always "it's all or nothing.."...

fact is, more people on the comments here and in the past few days are opposed to a complete closing of Noe St., while liking the idea of a small parklet and additional streetside greening.

Email your comments IN SUPPORT OF THE PARKLET ONLY TO ANDRES POWER AT THE PLANNING DEPT.

yizzung said...

fact is, more people on the comments here and in the past few days are opposed to a complete closing of Noe St., while liking the idea of a small parklet and additional streetside greening.

You have a funny method of arithmetic because I unscientifically count about 13 comments in favor of a full plaza, about 4 for a parklet, and 2 (ironically) seem to actually support parks-to-pavement...

NOT TO BE OUTDONE (IN ALL CAPS, AND BOLD, WITH AN EXCLAMATION POINT) I SAY TO SEND AN EMAIL TO ANDRES VOTING FOR A FULL PLAZA!

Seriously, talk about the sky falling. It's TEMPORARY, people. Quit piddling yourselves and let them build the thing...

Kevin said...

The city is broke. Why are we talking about adding additional resources that will take city money to support. We don't need any more parks or "parklets". We need fiscal management and service cuts.

And I wouldn't mind seeing the 48 discontinued. Does anyone really ride this bus in the neighborhood? Or just people (undesirables) riding through our neighborhood?

Matt said...

I think I like the parklet idea better. I'm going to mull this over some more before I pass judgement on it. A parklet design would still have to incorporate the deliveries, garbage and recycling that go in and out from Toast and Starbucks on Noe at the rear of that building. It might be that the design can address and mitigate these and the other concerns of those of us who live on Noe. At this point it might begin to depend on more specific information.

The park is temporary - with the intent to be permanent.

I want to mention part of the conversation that went on when Andres & Debra first convened the Noe neighbors. At one point we began to name other intersections and ask why not those. We named several different places and good reasons for why we thought those would work better than Noe. But then we caught ourselves we didn't want to be the nimbys (or nvmys or nfmys…) - so it was hardly fair for us to be nominating other blocks. And you'll notice that other than one initial comment about Hary Aleo's parking lot - we haven't done that.

City planning at this scale with this sort of project works best when it uses the knowledge of those who know the place best. We're the 'eyes on the street' and if notice we know our street well and we really care about it.

And projects like this work best when they aren't just plopped down - but really address and solve the intimate problems of the place. When the neighbors and adjacent merchants aren't just on board - but really take the lead to make something out of the possibility.

The one distinguishing fact that I know from the feasibility study that made of 24th Street intersections was that this segment of Noe has the least slope. But I also know that other P2P projects have used Bison Screw Jacks which handle moderate slope amiably.

With that said I want to ask some questions with the truest of intent.

Are there any yimfy!s out there? Do you live in or adjacent to the CBD in a place where this sort of project would really change things for the better? Say where you live and tells us why it belongs there.

Where would those of you who don't live immediately around to 24th St put a temporary park? Look around - if you had the opportunity where would you do something?

Would you really prefer a "Starbucks Plaza" to say a "Bernie's Parklet?" (I wouldn't rule out that Starbucks has tacitly offered part of the private funds for this project. I don't know - or who is on tap for that.)

A few people have cited the closing of Broadway in Manhattan as a successful example. (I think that comparison is off a little - Herb's and Cala were never *that* dirty.) But if you disagree - then why not directly block off 24th itself? Where would you do it?- what if it ran roughly from Whole Foods to Fresca negating the left turn issue?

What about the (apparently) defunct loading dock behind Whole Foods?

I'm not going to push for any of the ideas - they aren't in my front yard and really think several of them aren't very good ideas at all. What I know for my years of design school and working professionally is that with design problems there comes a point when everybody is stuck on One Solution. And they try so hard to make it work that they end up yelling at each other. But it's like a Rubik's Cube - if you get one face but won't let go of it you'll never solve the problem. You have to step back use your imagination, and consider things that you don't even think possible.

The proposal remains at Noe & 24th - but maybe you'll see you didn't before. Maybe we will find a another place where this really fits. As I said above - this works best when the Neighbors make it their own. If you think we're slacking in digesting and negotiating this- well this is your chance to step and claim your street a park.

yizzung said...

Matt, thanks for sober and considerate comments. I'm on Sanchez and 30th, so I'm too far from 24th to claim Sanchez for the plaza, but I am next to Upper Noe Rec Center, so I do know something about living adjacent to public space.

If I could close off all traffic on the south side of the Rec Center, I'd do it in a heartbeat. It's another "major thoroughfare" where cars zoom by, just off the freeway ramp by way of San Jose, and they could care less if kids are cross the street after playing in the park. They need to get home!

There's a crosswalk at 30th and Whitney that is a total joke. Nobody stops, slows or yields for pedestrians. Would it make my commute more of a pain in the ass? Absolutely.

When I lived in Texas (you know, that national bastion of liberal socialism) they closed off the downtown bar/restaurant district to auto traffic twice a week with full barricades. Probably a ten block stretch. It was temporary, but regular. And people came out in droves. Businesses thrived. (Think Noe Valley Harvest Festival, but every single weekend of the year.)

I'd much prefer something bold like that for 24th, but it'll never happen. Too many people angry about sitting in their car for ten extra minutes and clamoring for more parking lots...

For the record, Times Square was no longer dirty when they closed it off for pedestrians. It had been turned into Disneyland ten years before they shut out auto traffic.

rocky's dad said...

Some new info: the parking lot currently where the farmers market is held, is losing money for the church who owns it.

there are discussions underway to remove all of the parking and turn that entire lot into a park, and of course continue the saturday market.

great idea for a permanent park!

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm missing something... but on the few occasions I've tried to cross Noe at 24th in a car, it's taken far longer than it would have to, say, pop over to Castro and wait for the light. It's a traffic black hole already. I sympathize with the residents of that block who worry about where the Starbucks trucks would go - and understand that they would like to see some guarantee that, say, trucks would idle on 24th instead of further up Noe - but I really do not understand concerns that this park would interfere with vehicular traffic. Is there another intersection in the neighborhood with nearly as many pedestrians? For practical purposes, that stretch of Noe might as well be closed off to cars already...

PS - I ride the 48 frequently. I don't think I'm undesirable - I mean, I live in Noe Valley - but perhaps Kevin disagrees?

Carrie said...

I agree 100% with Yizung and Murphstahoe. All of us in favor need to be SURE to contact Andres and let him know of our support. There is an April 8th meeting he has planned that we need to attend. Does anyone have any design talent? If so, how about creating some sort of support logo for the cause that we can print on t-shirts and sell in front of the Farmer's Market and posters we can use for window signs? I will be so bummed if Noe folks kill an opportunity to build a green gathering spot for families and neighbors!

yizzung said...

murphstahoe said it best: "Lame."

Be sure to send your comments to Andres Power, since most of us here want the plaza. Maybe we can make more noise than the Noe Street NIMBYs...

Carrie said...

I should have also said:

Matt- we may disagree about the plaza idea, but I am happy to have you as a neighbor. We need more people in the world that are willing to engage in civil discourse.

Anonymous said...

"And I wouldn't mind seeing the 48 discontinued. Does anyone really ride this bus in the neighborhood? Or just people (undesirables) riding through our neighborhood?"

Troll? Or are you really that much of a dipshit?

murphstahoe said...

I live at 23rd and Douglass. I'd love to have Douglass blocked at 23rd just to disrupt the high speed traffic endangering the parents and kids walking to school, but clearly that impacts those coming from other neighborhoods to Alvarado.

Before my current address disqualifies me - I used to live across from Bliss Bar. I would have supported it then, though I would have been concerned the B&T's at bliss would keep partying in the park. Older and wiser - this problem has not been apparent at the 17th street park and The Castro is much more rowdy than our sleepy burb.

The problem is complex and we can't accurately predict the impacts until we try it. Traffic at that intersection may become better! Pedestrians will gravitate to the South side of 24th due to the unimpeded crossing, hopefully opening up the other three crossings. And it may invent more walking as 24th becomes more attractive for that.

As a parent of a young child this will be a huge boon. And face it - that is a "fairly large" constituency around here...

rocky's dad said...

I have proposed the idea that parklets occur on both sides of Noe St. south of 24th, taking up several parking spaces to Andres Power. That idea is being considered seriously.

Keeping Noe St.open to traffic crossing 24th is important to the plan and the neighborhood. This will eliminate new very heavy traffic being diverted to Jersey St. and Elizabeth St. The planning dept. and several supervisors seem to be in support of this idea.

Don't forget to email Andres Power with your support to keep Noe St. open.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that the Starbucks at this intersection apparently needs 3-5 police cars at all times, wherever will they park if this plan goes through?

Pedestrianist said...

If design work hasn't begun then there are a number of options still available for consideration that can preserve through-traffic on Noe while still calming the intersection and providing much-needed public space.

How about a double-wide parklet on one side of the street, with traffic lanes curving into the opposite parking lane and then back. This would create a chicane that slows traffic to more urbane speeds and increases pedestrian visibility. The double-wide space would allow more flexibility if uses as well.

rocky's dad said...

@pedestrianist: this is also a GREAT idea...provides a nice little parklet and seating area, while at the same time keeping Noe St. open to traffic..very cool.

I support that.

murphstahoe said...

I don't think a parklet is worthwhile on the West side of Noe. There is a hydrant on that corner so the parklet would have to be set back all the way to the edge of Rabat. At that point you might as well put the thing between Jersey and 25th.

It might not even be possible/legal as the parklet might block access to the hydrant - I was assuming this was the side the emergency access would be placed. Certainly cars can be parked there currently so this fear might be unfounded.

The chicane idea leaves the entire parklet (which I assume would be on the East side due to the hydrant issue) in the shade until noon. Check the google street view. With a full plaza, there is ample sun-exposure during the entire time the sun is shining. Without that, the parklet idea will probably fall flat.

As for all the comments regarding parking, rocky's dad has made a very convincing argument that parking is not an issue in Noe Valley. If parking is so precious, a parking lot would not be losing money.

Anonymous said...

Putting parklets on both sides of the traffic lanes, paving the surface in a contrasting material (for example, red brick) and putting in speed bumps would slow down and discourage traffic without totally cutting it off.

Blake said...

Once again, why are we wasting our time and resources on something that is not truly needed?

Kevin, you said it best. The city is broke, people are unemployed and parking is a real problem in our neighborhood. If you want to live by a park, there are plenty that already exist. Let's fix the streets and highways in this city. Some of the potholes almost swallow my Land Rover.

Mary M. said...

As someone directly affected by closing Noe Street, I would like people to be clear about what is being proposed. It's a plaza, not a park. We're talking potted plants and some seating in a windy, open space. As far as I know, there's no plan to store, remove or otherwise take care of the furnishings. The potted plants will be in breakaway containers designed by the fire department to be smashed when and emergency vehicle comes through this, the most direct route from 30th street to Davies hospital and the Duboce Triangle.

This, the base of steep Noe street hill, was also the sight of a horrific accident. Accidents at the base of San Francisco hills area fairly regular occurrence. Putting people in harm's way is a foolish idea.

Blocking a major artery will not encourage the use of our dysfunctional MUNI system. People drive; the merchants need people to drive here and park here to shop here. Setting up a t-bone intersection will not only create a blockage on Noe to Elizabeth as people wait to turn onto 24th, but traffic will increase along Jersey and Elizabeth streets. And, once again, you've put people in the target range for many likely frustrated driver scenarios.

Rather than presume that we who are immediately and dramatically affected by this plan are selfish or evil, those who think this is a good idea might imagine instead the spaces in front of their residences turned into open areas where bad, loud musicians congregate, where people leave their garbage and where the noise and destruction level rises not just with the number of people, but with the amount of alcohol consumed in nearby bars. Add to that scenario the plaza functioning as a loading dock for the 15 to 20 delivery vehicles/day that service restaurants and businesses.

I and all the businesses with their seven or eight garbage cans/day would have to drag them 60 feet back and forth to 24th street for pickup. I can't imagine the bins will make for a scenic rest stop. Neither am I looking forward to adding to the air pollution by driving an extra three blocks down Jersey or Elizabeth,around Castro and back down 24th street, just in the already impossibly rare case there might be an open parking space so I can drop off my groceries, children or elderly mother.

There are many less affluent areas that could use some beautification or it could go toward maintaining a real park. Why give more money to an affluent area that already looks pretty nice? Instead of those sidewalk blocking pet cemeteries at the corner of Noe and 24th, why not ask residents to turn them into mini-parks?

This plaza idea didn't arise from the community; it was forced on us by politicians who live at a distance from the affected area, by those with only an abstract notion of what makes community. They've designed something, a place to sit down, that authorities won't allow individuals to do on their own, without a dime of taxpayer money. This plan is all wrong.

murphstahoe said...

"If you want to live by a park, there are plenty that already exist."

I do live by a park. That's not (in my opinion anyway), the point of this plaza. When I want to go to the park, I go to the park.

Going to the park does not obviate my need to go to 24th Street to shop. It is hard to dispute that many others go to 24th Street to do the same thing. While I am there, I would like to be able to take a load off my feet occasionally, preferably outside. Currently the only "public" space for that is the small set of benches next to the NV Ministry Parking lot, 1.5 blocks away - away from the primary shopping district which is pretty much centered at 24th/Noe, and frequently the benches there are all taken on nice days.

If you dispute the public desire for seating like this, note that Boulange went to lengths to jury-rig outdoor seating when they moved in, and Whole Foods used a (crappy) part of their parking lot to put outdoor tables in. And these tables are in high demand. Witness the crowds in front of Bernie's and Martha's (which are arguably public spaces but decorum somewhat dictates that customers of those stores should prevail).

For the (many!) parents of young children from 1-3 years of age, it provides a place to put the child down to walk around, which may mean the difference between being able to make the trip or not. Similarly someone can sit down with their dog - another indisuputably large constituency - and be away from sidewalk traffic. A parklet does not have the scope to service this need - unlike on Divis where the demographic is hipsters going to the bike cafe.

This amenity is not as important to people who live right off 24th Street because you can quickly just go home and sit down. Perhaps some of you even have outdoor space to do so. For those of us walking from further away, this amenity is a huge addition. And far more people live from two to twelve blocks away than live within 2 blocks. Greater good should prevail - the business district exists to service the whole neighborhood, and the zoning has been made accordingly.

While those choosing to live near that intersection may not have predicted this exact use (I certainly would not have) it's hardly unexpected that you will see drastic changes living in a business district. Where were the "THUMBS DOWN" signs when Whole Foods came in? Whole Foods has disrupted traffic - if you want to dispute this I have hours of video footage to show you. But the majority of residents of the area have voted - witness the crowds inside the store - that the traffic is worth it.

As for MUNI, I have been taking the 48 from Alvarado/Douglas to Caltrain daily the past two weeks. It is empty when I get on, and full by the time we hit Church. Most get off at the BART station, some ride with me to 22nd St. 5 runs an hour are like this from 6-9 AM. If you don't think MUNI is utilized by the NV residents, and functional enough to service our needs, it's just another sign that you don't know your neighbors as well as you think.

I predict that with public outreach, the Noe Valley reaction to this (meaning ALL of Noe Valley) will be overwhelmingly positive. Some on this blog predict otherwise. One of us is wrong, and it might be me. That's why they play the game.

Julia said...

I really don't see any need for this in the neighborhood. My husband and I both work in the South Bay and it is already hard enough getting to the freeway. By the time we drop our children off at private school in the mornings, it takes us more than 30 minutes to get to 280. We need better access to our freeways so that us working people can reduce the amount of time spent in our cars. Building an obstruction to my commute will only exacerbate my frustration with traffic. So I vote NO on this proposal.

rocky's dad said...

In typical fashion, some commenters here see this simply as either winning or losing. It's either right or it's wrong. Black or white.

Nothing in between.

They complain about the "crappy: location for seating provided by Whole Foods..which has nothing to do with the parklet issue. They complain about the only public benches being 1.5 blocks away at the little park across from Marthas..omg, that is a long ways to walk.

In fact there are benches up and down 24th in front of many business, all available to the public.

The parklet, depending on its' size, configuration, layout and location will provide a nice, additional area for seating. It's not intended to be a giant park for dog running or stroller parking. It's just a small about of new public green space.

Closing off Noe at 24th will not serve the community in a positive way. Continue to contact the planners to voice your opposition to the street closure and your support for a parklet.

Anonymous said...

The poster did not "complain" about the seating at Whole Foods or NVM. They were pointing out that even these benches that are not in the ideal setting (crammed into a parking lot, out of the way, etc.) are still heavily utilized and could be pointed to as evidence that a plaza would be also a highly used asset.

The parklets probably would be a good addition to the neighborhood, but a properly designed and programmed plaza could act as a "town square" of sorts. It has a potential that even the best parklets do not hold. That said, I would say the farmer's market parking lot would be the absolute ideal location.

cr said...

I'm still reading a lot about hypothetical traffic snafus with no specifics. Could someone whose commute is affected by the plaza proposal please describe your current route, your alternate route if Noe is blocked, and how much time you think the new route would add to your travel time?

I believe the proposed plaza will speed up travel times for everyone going east-west on 24th -- especially Bus 48 -- and will cause no significant delay for those going north-south. And it provides vital public space and an enhanced pedestrian experience on the street that cannot be matched by the parklet alternative.

cr said...

Mary M., your claim that this proposal is being forced on the neighborhood by politicians is false.

See the fact sheet here: http://www.noevalleyassociation.org/Noe_Valley_Association/Pavement_to_Parks_Q%26A.html

This is being led by the Noe Valley Association (i.e. your neighbors) with significant community input (which is ongoing) and funded by a grant for improving the 24th St. streetscape.

kitchen bitch said...

Bring it on! Give it a try. I hope it happens.

yizzung said...

Mary had a lot of interesting comments. Apparently the Upper Noe Rec Center should be removed because they foolishly positioned at the bottom of a steep hill (Whitney St). Perhaps they should convert it into a parking garage to protect the children... People will make up all kinds of "facts" to support their points of view.

In case you haven't noticed, there are quite a few breaks in the Noe grid system. Cesar Chavez has two breaks at Noe and Diamond. Castro terminates at 28th. Duncan terminates at Noe. The list goes on and on. Ambulances and firetrucks are able to safely navigate these "treacherous" conditions every day without running over pedestrians or crashing through barricades but somehow a plaza is going to render these drivers useless.

I've lived here ten years and never once used Noe to get to Market St. Castro or Church always seems more logical but maybe I'm missing something. I guess I will start rocketing up Noe since it seems to be the best thoroughfare.

Whatever. People are obviously passionate about this. Just like all the people who fought against the creation of Canyon Market in Glen Park. It was going to dwarf all the neighboring architecture and drive everyone on the block out of business. People hated it. Now they love it.

The most hilarious thing is that this is a temporary space. An experiment. I find it really funny (and slightly sad) that people are so paranoid about even giving it a shot. Oh well, good luck to all of us.

Matt said...

I want to say thanks to all of you. I've learned a lot reading the comments this evening.

murphstahoe & fizzing - I want to thank you both for mentioning where you live. Also note that I don't think that you need a CBD to get into this program.

rocky's dad - you've left a trail of interesting notes too - thanks.

I particularly appreciate many of the more specific comments that have been made - park benches, stroller parking and so on. More of this please.

I have more to say later. But I do have a few tidbits tonight:

Pavements to Parks is 'temp to perm.' The idea is that if doesn't work then it just goes away. A lot of people do want something - let's get it as right as we can from the outset. (The Noe Nimfy fear that it won't work for us and that it won't go away.)

murphstahoe makes a very good point about the hydrant at Rabat on the west side of Noe.

Don't overlook MaryM saying: "I and all the businesses with their seven or eight garbage cans/day would have to drag them 60 feet back and forth to 24th street for pickup." This is a significant issue for the East side of Noe.

Anonymous said...

Why would people have to bring their bins up to 24th? Maybe I misunderstand the problem, but there are a lot of deadend streets in Noe and SF. The bin collectors are able to these deadend streets. They don't make people drag their bins back and forth to the next through street once a week.

Matt said...

I was fighting with an agressive spell check last night - and even after I thought I turned it off - it won.

yizzung - it insisted on calling you fizzing.

murphstahoe said...

There is some interesting stuff since I left my last "comment" but in tribute to Matt's excellent, rational approach, I will call this one closed from my end (until the next time!)

Those in *support* of a plaza (not a parklet) please do email me at tahoe@murphstahoe.com for further discussion.

Thanks

John

Anonymous said...

Hi Matt,

I want to join those thanking you for your rational good-neighborliness. Since you asked where we live, I'm at 23rd & Sanchez -- close enough to understand how traffic flows off 24th, but not close enough to have a claim on the block in question. I am in strong support of a plaza (not a parklet) and from what I've heard so far, I still like Noe St. as the best location, but I appreciate hearing your thoughts. See y'all at the public comment meeting, when it happens.

rocky's dad said...

This morning I did an informal door to door survey on 24th St. asking merchants of businesses how they felt about the plaza, parklet, and/or closing of Noe st. I stopped in at 16 businesses, somewhat random from Church St. to Castro St. Here's what I found:
1. 15 did not want Noe St. closed; increased traffic on 24th and the adjacent streets was a big concern.
2. 6 liked the small parklet;
3. 8 had no opinion or didn't care.
4. 1 was ok with Noe St. being closed only on weekends.
5. 12 thought it was a waste of city money and time; more important issues such as homelessness, Muni, etc.

Obviously, some expressed an opinion on more than one issue. Interesting sampling and results.

Tamagosan said...

Julia is hilarious. Been a long time since I've laughed this much:

"I really don't see any need for this in the neighborhood. My husband and I both work in the South Bay and it is already hard enough getting to the freeway. By the time we drop our children off at private school in the mornings, it takes us more than 30 minutes to get to 280. We need better access to our freeways so that us working people can reduce the amount of time spent in our cars. Building an obstruction to my commute will only exacerbate my frustration with traffic. So I vote NO on this proposal."

I love how she pokes fun at so many stereotypes of Noe Valleyans not being invested in their neighborhood as a whole community, being focused only on the perks of being here on the weekend for the kid scene, because they're too weak to admit that they just belong in the suburbs where their jobs are closer and schools good enough to not have to go to private school.

Christopher said...

Parks. Yes. Thank you!

cr said...

Anon @ 2:19 is me, "cr." Forgot to sign my name.

Julia said...

@Tamagosan - I don't see the humor in my post although I'm glad that you got a good laugh out of it. As Rocky's Dad posted, most of the businesses believe this is a waste of hard-earned taxpayer money. Can we first work on eliminating the neighborhood blight? The streets need to be paved and widened, better access to major thoroughfares need to be created and violent crime is such a problem. On some weekends, I'm afraid to walk my children down 24th Street because of the gangs and homeless. It's really dangerous. I think if you read the posts, you get a sense that others do not want this as well.

RCR said...

I took Julia's first post as someone attempting irony by creating a statement from someone who spends a minority of their time in the neighborhood but being the loudest and most outspoken against this project. I think the last post suggests "Julia" may be fictional - gangs?

whir said...

@Julia - assuming you aren't just having a laugh, do you really think there's a lot of violent crime on 24th in Noe Valley? (Or gangs?) I mean, I'll grant you 24th and Treat, but up in Noe Valley I have rarely feared for my life.

As far as the money is concerned, the whole point of these projects is that they operate on recycled city property and donated time, thus costing very little money. The 17th Street plaza, for instance, cost $20,000. That's not nothing, but in the grand scheme of the $6.5 billion city budget it's a very small amount of taxpayer money. Widening the streets, whatever the merits of that idea, would certainly be magnitudes of order more expensive.

yizzung said...

Yes, let's definitely widen all the roads. Maybe turn Noe into six lanes, just like Cesar Chavez. (It's sure done wonders for that neighborhood...) Perhaps an elevated freeway? And how about a few drive-thrus?

STROLLER MOMMIEZ said...

WE LOOKIN FOR U NOW JULIA. DONT MESS WID US - WE DA BADDEST GANG IN DA VALLEY!!!

Mary M said...

To reply:

Sunset Scavenger charges more if they have to go a distance to retrieve bins. The blockade creates a loading dock, where we would have to bring the bins to where garbage trucks pull in, then back up down Noe to Jersey street. More likely, we will be required to bring the bins to 24th.

People need to be clear about what's being proposed not by the neighborhood, but by a the city and a small organization, none of whose members live on 24th street. This isn't a pretty little park, this is a busy, windy corner with some potted plants and some chairs.

The other mini parks are in oddball spaces that were not major thoroughfares. Even so, they're not particularly pretty and not the rest areas people imagine. They're near busy streets, so kids can't run around as they might at a real park. Even the Castro one doesn't get a lot of people sitting around. Other plazas are part of a traffic reflow plan. The traffic plan was stretched into a "parklet" plan.

On a larger issue, I question priorities. Why there is nearly half a million dollars in tax money for projects like this but not for more important things? The money set aside for these parklets would pay salary and benefits for six teachers; it would buy 30,000 books and database subscriptions for the library; it would keep the rec centers we raised money to repair open for another day a week. Homeless and domestic violence shelters, SF General & public health services have been cut, but hey, we get plants and chairs?!

Noe Valley is already pretty nice. There are lots of gathering spots that don't wreak havok. We've been gathering for years without a "plaza," how does creating animosity (as this idea and so many of these posts do) contribute to a sense of community? Other neighborhoods need trees or gardens more than we do. This is just such a waste of money, time and energy. And it will waste more over time.

rocky's dad said...

to Mary M: Very well said. thank you for your insightful comments. I agree completely. There are so many other far more important issues The City can be solving than spending money on a silly little parklet (largely proposed by trendy, hipster mentality, with a dash of cyclist cool thrown in).
There are already LOTS of benches and seating areas on 24th St. we have a mini park already across from Marthas.

cr said...

Mary, Again, thoroughfare to where? I haven't been able to get anybody to answer this question. What does Noe St. do that Castro St. can't do better?

Rocky's Dad, Hipster mentality? Really? Are you referring to the radical uber-trendy Noe Valley Association stocked with, um, mainstream Noe Valley business owners? Or are you referring to the great cohort of Noe Valley stroller moms and dads looking for a safe and friendly place to ride circles on their fixies and slam cheap beer?

Seriously, dude. Your cultural biases are getting in the way of reason and good neighborliness.

As noted above, this project is extremely low cost and killing it will not save any money for schools or social services. The larger budget of the Pavement to Parks program is not an issue here, unless you want to take it up with the rest of the city residents, who overwhelmingly support this program in their own neighborhoods. (Maybe they know something we don't?)

Anonymous said...

The proposed budget is actually $50,000.00 for this particular parklet. That's enough money to pay one teacher for a whole year. Doing the cost/benefit analysis here, I'd say it's not worth it for a few potted plants and some park benches.

yizzung said...

For the record, plazas and parks are not the same thing. For those who have never been to Sienna, Italy, the center of town prominently features the Piazza del Campo. In this plaza, strangers hang out and talk to one another. Teenagers hold hands. Tourists gawk. Kiddies eat gelato.

It's literally the plaza to end all plazas. It's what a public plaza can be. Do a google search and check out the photos. (Go ahead, I'll wait.) I suppose they could just fill the thing in with a parking garage and toss in a few park benches nearby. Probably would be just as great, right?

Now, would the proposed "Noe plaza" approach that level of amenity? No... I'm realistic. But does it take much imagination to expect that we Noe Valley residents might occasionally hang out together, eat some gelato, and be neighborly in a space like the (tiny) public plaza that's currently proposed? (It takes a lot less imagination than a few folks have used to dream up some of the opposition that I've heard on here.)

There are clearly legitimate concerns by people who live in the immediate vicinity. I buy all the complaints about trash cans and noise. I'm eager to hear whether or not the City could address the legit concerns while simultaneously addressing clear and unmistakable desire that many of us have expressed to try out the plaza experiment.

Unfortunately, many of legit concerns get mixed in with the "noise" of cultural bias and outright fabrications in order to delegitimize the project before it has any chance to get off the ground. That's disappointing.

Examples? The list is long:

plazas at the bottom of a hill bring death and carnage due to runaway vehicles;

this location is too "windy" for people to congregate;

plazas are for hipsters;

no businesses want a bunch of extra patrons hanging around;

(the overly bizarre) Noe Valley is "already pretty nice" and (conversely) full of gangs and potholes;

Noe St is a "major thoroughfare" that must be preserved (if not widened and "expressified");

emergency vehicles will never be able to figure this out change;

24th Street will be massively overburdened with traffic (from where exactly?);

I will be inconvenienced by driving one extra block...

yizzung said...

...and lastly, that the City's priorities are misguided.

Really? The City needs better priorities than to try to beautify common areas by using a minimal investment of resources? I can play this game too: How in the hell can we spend on text books when criminals roam the streets freely at night? How can we afford street cleaning when there's graffiti to clean up? Why are we paying the fire department when NONE of the houses on my block are on fire at the moment?

I detect major, major B.S. when people passionately try to kill THIS project to pay $50k to a teacher. Give me a break. We divert $7 million "hard earned tax payer dollars" every year away from teachers and books to the freaking zoo. I don't see you taking your torches and pitchforks to the zoo. (Maybe it's because the zoo isn't in your back yard?)

It's challenging to have constructive discourse online. Rather than continue to flog this dead horse or argue with the lamp post about the merits of allocating tax dollars toward competing initiatives, I'll direct my comments squarely at the folks who still have an open mind about the project: think about plazas that you've visited on your travels (or seen on TV) and then imagine what one would be like to have a nice little one in your neighborhood. Then vote.

I loved the earlier commenter who suggested that we close off 24th altogether, turning the entire thing into a plaza. That's imagination. That's the kind of bold thinking that tears down the Embarcadero Freeway or creates an oasis for people (rather than cars) in the middle of Times Square.

As a final note, I'd like to point out that I'm almost 40 years old. So I guess if I'm a "hipster", then being a hipster must not be terribly hip...

Carrie said...

A few things...

1. I am in support of TESTING OUT a plaza at this location and will contact John @ tahoe@murphstahoe.com so that we can all get organized. No, I am not in favor of a few metal chairs and a few cardboard planters, but I am hopeful that we can create a pretty, green plaza where the elderly can sit and read the paper, families can park a stroller for a bit while they eat a bite of food, and neighbors can gather. If that can happen at the Ministry's parking lot or Aleo's lot instead that's fine, but neither have offered to donate their land for this use.
2. This is a trial run. If the neighborhood feels it's not well used or it disturbs traffic too much- it goes away. I think those that oppose the plaza will have a very hard time justifying their opposition to a *temporary* test phase. Opposing a *trial run* of anything that could potentially benefit the neighborhood is a tough argument to win. Is it fear of permanence? It will only become permanent if the majority of the neighborhood likes it and wants it to stay, right?
3. Which brings me to point #3. How exactly does this process work? Do the CBD representatives, planning department employees, supporters and opposition group members each create their own informal and unscientific surveys and then present "evidence" to support their respective cases? Is there a simple majority vote? When/where do we vote? How many votes are required before the Planning Dept considers it "enough" to make a decision? If there is no vote, how exactly will the Planning Department measure support or opposition- by which side screams the loudest and writes the most letters? I think all of us need to better understand the decision-making process.
4. Julia is clearly someone's clever invention. Pretty funny!

Sean said...

Listen, the only way people will ever be able to get over their "me me me" love affair with their automebiles is when the situation is so bad and they can't drive off to show the world their automebile.

The one thing that most people will be able to figure out without the use of their i phone (should be renamed me phone) is that every time we build more roads to accommodate the me people and their smart cars, the more we need to builds more roads.

Please disprove this if you can.

So let 'em have it, build, build and then build some more roads. Creates jobs!Right?

When we have no more room to build and you still cannot find parking while stuck in traffic and or being able breath then maybe we will be able to remove our respirators long enough to see that closing a block of traffic for the community wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Andy said...

I don't have much to add except to add a voice fully in support of the full plaza EXPERIMENT.

p.s. I live 1/2 block off of Noe and use it all the time when heading North to the Casto & beyond. I can live with using other streets.

robertol said...

Good spirited debate. I like what they've done at Castro & Market and for the record, I'd love to have a plaza in front of my house on Duncan St. It would slow traffic down and increase the value of my property.

I also would have loved to have the plaza on Noe St. when I lived on 24th b/w Noe and Castro. As someone who knows that corner well, I find the arguments against the plaza to be rather narrow and weak. Yizzung did a good job of breaking these down. And again, if this ends up being as bad as opponents say, it is only temporary.

And, am I the only one that finds parking in Noe to be rather easy? (yes, even with a kid and groceries)

Texas2SF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Texas2SF said...

I was hoping for more than just a "Parklet", I was hoping for a real plaza. As to traffic, 24th Street is a nightmare to drive. Why not go completely European and make it a street more for Transit, Bikes, Foot Traffic, and Truck to deliver.

Donald said...

Yizzung,

Just wanted to say that I second all your points and think you wrote some great op-ed here. Send it around to local papers maybe?

But really, nice comments.

-- Donald (on 25th in the Mission, but I eat breakfast in Noe Valley all the time and think the trial closure sounds like a great idea.)

rocky's dad said...

Email your comments and thoughts to both Andres Power @sfgov.org and Bevan Dufty, supervisor about your concerns for the flimsy, temporary parklet.

Let's suggest to them a more permanent solution such as building out two parking spaces on EACH side of Noe south of 24th, with full curbs, permanent landscaping, trees and benches. I believe a far more workable solution to achieve, and spend our money, than the temporary, flimsy parklet idea.

murphstahoe said...

"Let's suggest to them a more permanent solution such as building out two parking spaces on EACH side of Noe south of 24th, with full curbs, permanent landscaping, trees and benches. I believe a far more workable solution to achieve, and spend our money, than the temporary, flimsy parklet idea."

While trying to deftly avoid the trap that is keeping cooler heads from killing the Central Subway...

Pavement to Parks has 500k and is making grants, Noe Valley won a grant for 50k (this is my understanding of the numbers). Building the suggestion above cannot fall under pavement to parks' budget, we give back the 50k, and have to get in line (behind Valencia, Doyle Drive, Townsend, etc...) with DPW. And since it's a permanent alteration to the streetscape, we get to (cue Rob Anderson) do an Environmental Impact Report!

Anonymous said...

For those who are pro the park, please think about this. Most of you who are for it don't live in the immediate vicinity. It's like you're saying to the people who live at 24th & Noe, "what do you mean we can't have a party in your front yard you assholes, we're doing it whether you like it or not." We never asked for this and we don't want it. We don't want the noise, we don't want the traffic, we don't want the vagrants. They are forcing this on us. It's pretty unfair.

Pedestrianist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yes, and what Rob Anderson done is require The City to look more critically at the entire bike plan city wide; instead of allowing the bike anarchists to force an expensive and sometimes wasteful approach to put bike lanes on nearly every street here.

That's really all he as done, as a citizen, and I think it's great. Maybe the park/plaza idea needs an EIR before it is forced down our throats here in Noe Valley.

murphstahoe said...

@Pedestrianist - they are not the same Mary - Mary Miles (Rob's Attorney) lives in a different valley. And while I may not agree with Noe Valley Mary's viewpoint, I can understand her viewpoint. Mary Miles... I can't comprehend a word she says.

Anonymous said...

Not to go off on a total tangent, but please someone please point me to a single bike lane anywhere in Noe Valley...

And by all means, City, quit cramming parks and other nice things down our throats! We hate nice things!

Pedestrianist said...

@murphstahoe

duly noted and withdrawn

murphstahoe said...

Just facts - no editorial comment let's not spawn a crazy tangential thread.

Noe Valley has a new bike lane on Clipper from Douglas to Diamond Heights in each direction.

Chattanooga was marked with Bike Sharrows recently.

Also 3 new racks were installed by the city in front of Whole Foods.

Anonymous said...

you know, I can just see all the cylists riding UP that damn steep long grade on Clipper St.to Diamond Hts. totally ridiculous and quite frankly, a waste of tax payers money and city workers time.

But the bike anarchists will continue to try and add bike lanes to every street in this city. I hope Rob Anderson keeps up his good work requiring city reviews and EIR's on the bike lanes.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the community meeting.

cr said...

Yes Noe Valley!

http://yesnoevalley.blogspot.com/

Cathy said...

This is a trial, folks. I'm 100% in favor.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is a trial folks: but let's not make BLOCKING OFF NOE ST. part of the trial.

Anonymous said...

Wait, I just changed my mind. Plazas are awesome. Let's go ahead and block it off as part of the trial.

-Anonymous

Anonymous said...

My family lives within walking distance of 24th and Noe, and we walk down regularly. Having traffic blocked off and a nice open plaza area would be a dream.

San Francisco has woefully few parks and plazas compared to other comparable cities and this would further humanize our neighborhood.

People use benches set out on 24th St. People come out in droves to enjoy Sunday Streets. There is little doubt that people -- lots of people -- would really enjoy a proper plaza.

Most certainly worth a trial!

- Philip
(Resident of Noe St.)

Carrie said...

Philip-

We have found many, many nearby residents, many on Noe Street, are in favor of this TRIAL plaza. Please be sure to come to the meeting on April 8th at 6:30 p.m. at St. Philips.

What's most disappointing about this is our neighbors' attitude about how this could affect them personally, without any seeming concern for how this might benefit the majority of families in Noe Valley.

It's a trial. We wouldn't have cars, or pavement, if someone hadn't given something new a try. Those opposed have already closed their minds to the fact that they might actually see an IMPROVEMENT in traffic after 60 days. I'd bet that those opposed have at some point said to their very own children "How do you know you don't like it if you haven't even tried it?" They might want to listen to their own good advice on this one.

If it doesn't work out and causes the neighborhood issues it goes back to the way it is, and those opposed can sit back and say I told you so and have a good laugh. No problem!

See you all on April 8th.

Anonymous said...

There are also many, many residents on Jersey and Elizabeth Streets who are opposed to this plaza, knowing the increased amount of traffic that will come thru their streets.

There will NOT be an improvement to traffic in 60s days. No one has proven that. The fact is: traffic on Noe going north or south will have NO choice but to divert to 24th St, or Elizabeth or Jersey to continue on their way. The congestion will increase dramatically on 24th.

As a sub comment: Some of are getting tired of this "family" centric attitude, talking about kids, dogs, strollers, families as if they are the only people living in Noe Valley. There are single people, straight and gay, with and without kids, there are seniors also. Sometimes using the term "family" is a code for gathering sympathy for those with kids and no where to let them play. Don't be fooled. Kids are fine, but this parklet/plaza idea and the closing of Noe St. is not just for them.

Keep Noe St. open to traffic in both directions!

cr said...

"This parklet/plaza idea and the closing of Noe St. is not just for them."

Absolutely right. It's for all of us -- familied, unfamilied, gay, straight, young, old -- who want more public space on OUR street. Plazas for the people.

What that has to do with keeping Noe St. open for traffic, I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

I made two comments. One was noted as a sub comment.

My larger comment was about the increased amount of traffic that WILL occur along 24th, Elizabeth and Jersey streets if a portion of Noe is closed to thru traffic. That's what I meant and you know that's what I meant.

Anonymous said...

Wow, it almost sounds like a TRIAL might actually settle the traffic debate... but it sounds like somebody already consulted the psychic lady on 24th and determined that traffic will indeed get worse. Problem solved! No trial needed! Thanks, psychic lady.

Anonymous said...

Visitors from elsewhere in the world would be shocked at how much of the US - and San Franciscan - public realm has been dedicated to the movement and storage of cars and cars only.

In most countries, people appreciate plazas, squares, and anywhere that lets them congregate and enjoy their communities. Those people do not bemoan not being able to drive through every inch of public space.

Think about it: How much public space do you give to cars and how much to citizens? Is it wrong to equalize the balance a little?

Opposing the Noe & 24th plaza idea on the grounds of needing more parking spaces is a very natural response, especially when you're used to having public space only for cars. But it is a presumption that more parking spaces equals better parking: Often, more spaces and roads leads to more driving, and we come out no better - apart from losing the public realm for people.

As Andres Power says, why not try this out first? If it doesn't work, you can reverse it back to car space again. If it does work, you have a brand new community area.

rocky's dad said...

There are also some other potential locations on 24th St. to create new permanent parks:

1. The parking lot next to Radio Shack. Get rid of all the parking; turn this south facing piece of land into a wonderful, permanent park with trees, grass, benches, etc.

2. The parking lot currently owned by Noe Valley Ministry, across from Martha Bros. coffee. Get rid of all the parking spaces and the parking shed. Make this a permanent park space, with trees, grass, benches, and open paved areas for the farmers market. This area is large, south facing and would be a great retreat from the hustle of 24th St. Reports say that the parking lot is currently losing money for the church.

Since many here are pushing for a more transit friendly environment, and less parking and fewer cars, these two suburban style parking lots would make great locations for permanent parks, would not require the closing of any streets.

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the meeting this Thursday. Has anyone asked what residents east of Noe Street will do, upon exiting Whole Foods? Will we finally then be able to make the left out of the parking lot?? If not, we will then have to either then go down Castro or circle around Elizabeth back around..

Anonymous said...

As a fellow Noe resident, I think Rocky's Dad makes great suggestions for additional public space, but I don't think those are public spaces. Seems like they are both private spaces and it seems presumptuous to assume that we (the public) can just take them over for our own purposes. The streets, on the other hand, belong to us.

And although I applaud thinking outside-the-box to find interesting solutions, I don't understand why we must preserve every single existing street in the City for car use. I'm not trying to pick a fight; I just honestly don't understand this position.

I mean, Noe Valley is laid out on a grid so why is that particular street so important when Diamond, Castro, Sanchez, Church, Dolores, and Guerrero are all viable, convenient ways to travel north/south by car?

If I drive on Noe Steet all the way to the north, it dead ends at Duboce Park. It sure would be a lot more convenient if it plowed right on through to Pierce St, slicing the park in half. But something tells me that the park would be pretty lame if that were the case. Somehow, residents near Duboce Park seem to manage without an expressway every 100 meters.

rocky's dad said...

@anon: you raise some good points, but I am not advocating taking over of any space, public or private. The two parking lots I mentioned, I believe, are potentially GREAT locations for a permanent public park/plaza. Certainly, they would have to go thru a long public review process and negotiations for that change to happen. I may be mistaken, but I believe the parking lot next to Radio Shack, is in fact, a public lot, donated years ago by the realtor across the street.

By that same logic, a public street such as Noe is not simply available to be "taken over" by a small minority who deems it appropriate to create a public plaza in the roadway. The street is there for ALL of the public to use as a roadway (cars or bikes). Our street grid today is very much a part of San Francisco history and urban planning layout that began well over a century ago. For better or worse, the current street grid exists for the larger good of ALL the people who use it.

I don't know the complete history of why Noe St. ends at Duboce park but I suspect that park was created well over a century ago, and simply was the end point for Noe.

I am all for more greening of Noe Valley, for more open spaces, more benches, trees, etc. The two parking lots I mentioned, perhaps, have some great potential in the long term to become a great open space for all of Noe Valley.

Closing off a portion of an important public street for the short term goal of more open space is not the right approach.

Anonymous said...

Actually, there was a pond at this intersection, so if you want historical accuracy, we need to flood the street and create a foot bridge.

http://burritojustice.com/2010/04/05/just-say-no-valley/

Anonymous said...

I do think rockysdad has made some going points and offered some excellent ideas for long term thinking about a permanent park/plaza along 24th st.

As for the flooding of the street idea to create historical accuracy..well..when you begin to offer serious commentary, then we can listen to you.

Anonymous said...

They extra park locations aren't bad ideas but he still didn't answer the question. Our grid has been here for 100 years, so there you go? It was here so we're stuck with it? That's a lame answer.

By that logic, we should tear down the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay Bridge. Neither were here 100 years ago. Why change anything about our system ever?

A "small minority" wanted to tear down the Embarcadero Freeway on the waterfront. Although rocky's dad may have thought that idea impossible, I'm glad that "small minority" wasn't so narrow minded in their thinking about how great our city could be... Here's to big thinkers everywhere.

Anonymous said...

@rocky's dad, I don't understand why are you so opposed to a trial? You are so sure of yourself that this will be a total failure so why in the world do you care if the trial goes forward? You've said over and over again, this change won't serve the neighborhood and everyone will instantly hate it. So you really have nothing to lose. Isn't that what trials are for? Why should we have to take your word for it?

rocky's dad said...

You don't.

Chiming said...

I for one, think we need a decision either way vs a trial. Removing a park could be the equivalent of political suicide..just like removing a stop sign. Have you ever seen a stop sign taken down? I just hope that if something is installed, it looks nothing like what is now Guerrero Park.

Anonymous said...

Good comment. If a plaza is installed, permanent or say temporary, yes, it could become extremely difficult to remove it, if many people decide they didnt like it. Those who like it would scream bloody murder, probably file all kinds of legal actions to keep it in place.

and yea, that Guerrero/San Jose temporary park is hideous, junky, windy and barely used. Waste of time and money.

Anonymous said...

Was it a failure? On what criteria? That you don't personally don't like it?

These plantings and plaza aren’t just about aesthetics: the expanding array of planting projects along with other traffic calming measures, dedicated pedestrian enforcement stings and new traffic signals, the collision rate for the 11 blocks on Guerrero between Cesar Chavez and Randall Street, where the San Jose/Guerrero park is located, has been reduced by 53 percent since 2004.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/22/pavement-to-parks/

I bet the homeowner whose house was previous hit by a car is more than happy about the new space.

What's wrong with having an open mind instead of rejecting everything as junky and stupid?

Anonymous said...

Seriously?

There's no direct correlation between accident reductions in that area and the addition of this temporary park. Perhaps the accidents were reduced for other reasons?

Better drivers? good weather? courtesy?

If a car wants to plow thru the cheap temporary planters, it's still going to happen. they might stop a bike but not a car.

I walk by this parklet a lot. I have maybe seen 2 people out there at the most..and on sunny days. go figure.

TA said...

Wow, just spent two hours of my life reading everything I could about this issue and writing an email to the "powers that be" since I can't be at the meeting tomorrow. As a Jersey street resident, I'm opposed to the plaza idea but like the parklet idea.

While I may be biased, the comments indicate that the proponents are equally as (or more) closed minded that they accuse the opponents of being. Its a Plaza or Nothing / Everything the opponents say is not relevant / Its about everyone, not just you who live next door (i.e. its for me and my kids, I don't care if it inconveniences you).

Some comments:
- I have been to many cities in Europe and this will not be a piazza in any sense. Mary is right, its a windy street with chairs and trees in cardboard containers -> go look at Castro & 17th
- Can't cars use other routes/why not close one of the grid streets? Yes cars will adapt and create more traffic on all the adjacent streets. That's one of the purposes of a grid system, to distribute the traffic among multiple streets so there is less traffic on each one.
- Relax, its just a trial! Once its there, no politician will ever remove it unless 90%+ of the people raise up pitchforks to get rid of it. Saying its a trial is naive at best and an underhanded ploy at worst.
- Why can't a proper traffic study be done FIRST? We'll see how many cars actually drive through Noe, Jersey, Elizabeth, Sanchez, 24th, and Castro. Then we can estimate the impact instead of just saying, "try it, you'll like it".
- All the scenarios proponents visualize are basically talking about Sat & Sun mornings. So for the benefit of those 10-12 hrs/wk, we'll block a street 24/7/365? Speaking of which, why can't we try a temporary blockade with a removable park on wknds only? And to show I'm not an evil NIMFY, you can store the chairs in my driveway. ;)
- Rocky's Dad has provided alternatives & reasonable arguments and aside from a tiny handful of open minded commenters, no one else seems to care. And you're complaining about the level of discourse, debate, and NIMFYism? Pot, Kettle

Anonymous said...

My suggestion would be for everyone to calmly walk away from the keyboard. There are 100+ comments on this board and it's probably mostly from the same 2-3 people. When "Anonymous" tells "Anonymous" that he's being a jerk, I don't really think anybody wins... I'll be at the meeting tonight and I won't be calling anyone a jerk or a NIMFY or a kettle. Stop feeding trolls.

Sincerely,
Anonymous

rocky's dad said...

Thank you TA:

I have taken a great deal of time to blog here, and offer my comments, criticisms and alternate solutions.I believe I am extremely open minded. As a liberal, gay man, that's how I live my life; listening to lots of ideas, but forming my own opinions as well.
It's disappointing that some (perhaps many) here have labeled me a Nimby..and closed minded. That is simply not who I am. I love Noe Valley, I love and welcome change, I constantly push for more trees, streetside landscaping, safe biking and a sense of community. I have considered and re-considered ideas. I have visited a number of the parklet/plazas in the city, and those have helped me form my opinions.
You have additionally brought up some very valid and well thought out points. I have made my voice clear hear as well, and I am just one of many opinions. I have never called anyone a jerk, nimby or other juvenile terms.
Let's see what happens at the meeting and move forward with a plan and set of ideas that works for most of the neighborhood. Best of luck.