Bevan Dufty kicked off the meeting with a contrite apology for declaring the project dead before this community hearing. He also noted he hadn't seen this much division in the community since the Real Foods/Neutraceutical dispute and recommended more community meetings about big issues like this, as well as smaller issues like parking striping or homelessness (oops on that last one, but we get the idea).
For those who missed the meeting or want a recap, here are the highlights:
Parks to Pavement
Andres Powers of the planning department gave a short presentation of other Pavement to Parks projects around the city. He then described what a trial means, and in carefully-worded language outlined the main concerns of some neighbors (a trial would not move forward without responding to these concerns):
- Noe is one of the fastest thoroughfares from Noe to Market St
- Loading trucks for Starbucks and Toast (where will they go?)
- Impacts to local businesses
- Emergency vehicle transit (ambulances, fire trucks)
Don't Block Noe
Mary, a 4th generation Noe Valleyean outlined the main points for those against the plan:
- Measure first, try after we have data
- Other places need more beautification than Noe (Bernal, Mission - zing!)
- Let's do something bigger that everyone can enjoy
Just Try It!
John Murphy went for PowerPoint on the Plaza for the People:
- Tables and seating!
- Significant outdoor space for people to gather
- No business has gone out of business due to too many customers
Answered by Andres and Bevan (heavily paraphrased for brevity):
Will property owners be compensated for the change in value of their house? Anecdotal evidence from other trials is that property values in the park areas increase not decrease.
Why did Noe get this money? The Noe Valley Association (a coalition of property owners in the commercial district) applied for a grant and got it. They also put up some money for it.
Why Noe Street? Community input from the NVA deemed this the best spot.
If the next step is a traffic assessment, how long will that take? 1-2 weeks.
What's the cost of a 2 month trial? $30K with $8K set aside just in case. Another $20K+ is donated in design services and materials.
How much will it take to take the parklet/plaza it down if the trial fails? Insignificant cost – few hours of time.
Plaza, parklet… are there any other designs in this proposal? No.
What about bongos and street music? No acoustics in the plan.
If Noe fails, are Sanchez and other streets on the table? Yes.
Why not beef up existing parks? They are not part of the Pavement to Parks charter of reclaiming more vehicle space for pedestrians.
What about the Radio Shack parking lot? Good idea but ditto question above. A different city organization is looking for sites like those to acquire and convert to parks but it's outside the charter of Pavement to Parks.
Why is this a Starbucks boondoggle – what about homegrown coffee shops? Good point – send your suggestions.
Open comments from the community
People then lined up stage left and right and said their piece in 2 minutes or less (alternating for and against). Most people were civil, but there was some grandstanding and emotion, and a lots of venting about the process.
1. Need more data collected and analyzed before a trial.
2. There will be another meeting soon to present the data to the community. Send an email to Andres Powers if you want to stay involved.
Did we miss anything? Add it in the comments.