April 5, 2010

Pavement To Parks: Bevan Dufty Throws In The Towel Before Community Meeting?

From the Examiner:
Supervisor Bevan Dufty said there already has been so much uproar about the closure that the idea will probably die before it progresses further.

“I’m not closing the door forever,” Dufty said. “I’m just saying that at this stage I sense enough division and opposition that I don’t even feel that it can work on even a trial basis. The notion isn’t to create conflict, it’s to create more public spaces.”
[SFE: Noe Valley ‘village hub’ remains up in the air]

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not the kind of quality I'm looking for in a mayor.

Anonymous said...

Wow...I am not impressed in the least bit. I agree this is NOT what I am looking for in a mayor.

Bevan Dufty you should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

I am impressed. A politician who actually listens to his constituents. This is a victory for residents over academic planners.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great. This isn't about a fight for who is right or wrong. It's a park for the community, that's the idea. The community opposed a certain incarnation of the park (the closing of Noe street). So, if the community has stated that there is something that is FOR the community that they don't want, it makes sense that he wouldn't push a political agenda on the people and do the park.

Carrie said...

It will be great to see Bevan tell a room full of supporters for the TRIAL plaza that he won't run a TRIAL to see if traffic worsens or improves because he has heard from one side on this issue and that's enough for him.

He lost my vote. I like elected officals that wait to hear from both sides before they make up their mind.

I'm very curious to hear from Gavin about how Bevan was deemed sole judge and jury on a Planning Department project....

rocky's dad said...

Congratulations to the neighborhood who spoke up against the closing of Noe St. and thanks to Bevan Dufty for listening and making the right choice.

Now let's move forward and see what happens with either a small parklet or some more permanent landscaping and benches.

Anonymous said...

"A politician who actually listens to his constituents"

Bevan sat in a small room with a handful of opponents, and has not sought out the input of those in favor of the plaza. That's a very narrow definition of "listening to your constituents"

If a dozen people were enough division and opposition to kill a project, we would not have Whole Foods. If Bevan tried to kill Whole Foods he would have been hung off the Sutro tower.

cr said...

"A politician who actually listens to his constituents"

Listening = making up your mind BEFORE the community meeting specifically convened to gauge community support?

"The community opposed a certain incarnation of the park (the closing of Noe street)"

Who is the community? How do you know they oppose it? How did Bevan hear from them? Again, he's making up his mind BEFORE the community speaks.

Unless by "community" you mean a small minority of neighborhood residents who organized themselves against it before anyone else had even heard of it and who have a direct line to Bevan's ear. Not what I'm looking for in a mayor, either.

Gwen said...

Why can't we try this? Why are people opposed to seeing what impact something like this would make? If it makes the negative impact that so many fear, then we'll actually KNOW something for sure. If it doesn't create those negative impacts, it could actually have positive impacts that never occurred to us. Either way, we won't truly KNOW anything unless we try it. Opposition to trying something and learning something is very difficult for me to swallow. This is an opportunity. It's failure will hopefully bring better ideas for the future.

Gwen said...

I mean, try it and fail, of course. Even if it fails, we'll know more than we did before. :-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with CR - making up your mind before the community? You lost my vote and respect, Bevan.

Anonymous said...

I think part of the problem is that there is a wink-wink nod-nod going on that these "trial" parklets are essentially permanent and are privately acknowledged as so from the first. How many of them have been removed citywide? Zero. That's why those against it were so aggressive. If a trial were truly a trial, I think people would feel differently about them. Look at the ugly one on Guerrero/San Jose. I live nearby and go past there many times during the week and have never seen anyone there. And it's so ugly it just looks like someone dumped a bunch of trash there. These trials are a great concept to see if something works, but only if they are truly trials and not a permanent change in disguise.

cr said...

I don't think that's really the case. The Castro plaza was a true trial, very controversial at the start and there was a good chance that it would be temporary only. The reason none of the P2P projects have been reversed is because they have been wildly successful (and most are still in the test phase BTW). Former opponents have switched their opinion when they see the plazas in action.

http://sf.streetsblog.org/2009/07/10/17th-street-plaza-trial-extended-four-months/

If this trial creates problems for neighbors, I will be the first person in line to help find solutions, and if we can't find solutions, then the street goes back to the way it was or we try something else.

If we can all join in constructive discussion, this doesn't have to be a wink-wink, nod-nod trial. Let's make it a true, temporary test. We can define standards for success and a timeline for the trial. We can have a pre-trial, then a possible trial extension, then possible permanence. We can agree on a process by which it will be evaluated at every step. But in order to do that we need to engage each other honestly on this, not just reflexively kill a trial because of the fear that it will be permanent.

Say yes, Noe Valley. Show up on April 8.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the City is trying to create new parks while it's firing the few gardeners trying to take care of existing parks.

Anonymous said...

I disagree. What is the point of the "trials" anyway? They really have proved nothing. Well, except that people will sit almost anywhere a bench and a potted plant shows up. The Castro parklet is windy and cold quite often, the traffic noise is harsh and the fumes are unhealthy. The parklet on Guerrero at San Jose is truly ugly; it looks like a pile of junk was dropped off by the city. I have never seen anyone sitting there, even on the weekends.

cr said...

The trial allows us to see if there are negative impacts. Right now, people have a bunch of fears (traffic, noise, etc.) The point of the trial is to see if those fears have any basis in reality. In the Castro, they did not. The Castro trial proved that people like to sit on chairs outside, yes, but it also proved that traffic decreased on Hartford St., that merchants welcomed the increased foot traffic and business, and that community residents felt more connected as the result of having a shared public space to define the heart of the neighborhood. There are surveys to back all of that up, as well as formal traffic counts and statistics.

Guerrero/San Jose is supported by neighbors for its traffic calming effect. You are right that it doesn't get as much foot traffic; neither do the sidewalks in that area. Different strokes for different neighborhoods.

(Please, Anonymouses, sign your name or a pseudonym to your posts. It helps to create civil conversation.)

Anonymous said...

@cr said: get real. like your name here makes your comments more legit or civil? give me a break.

the name doesnt matter. the opinion does.

ok, for you today, I'll call myself doris..how's that?

DaveO said...

Good for Dufty, and good for Noe.

cr said...

Well, for one, "cr" lets you connect this idea here with some other idea I may have written earlier with some other idea on another blog and let you form an opinion about my honesty, good-neighorliness, and reason. If you've formed a negative opinion, I'm sorry to hear it. This conversation has been muddled by a chorus of Anonymouses who may or may not be informed on the subject, who may be one person or may be 100 people. It creates noise not dialogue.

But yeah, if you want to post as anonymous, I really have no problem with it. It just makes it hard for me to engage you(s) in dialogue. Assuming that's what you want.

Anonymous said...

crsaid, you need to put down whatever you're smoking. you come off as arrogant and self-righteous.

so by being anonymous we are "not informed". we create "noise" but you by calling yourself crsaid are "honest, neighborly, and reasonable"?

you offend me.

all of the comments here, whether anonymous or some made up "name" I take seriously here.

You should too. signed, Doris.

cr said...

Sorry, Doris.

I think most of the Anonymouses are neighborly. Most are well informed. Some aren't. I can't tell which ones are which. If they have pseudonyms I could. I never said being anonymous means you are not informed. I said being anonymous means I can't connect one informed thing you say with another informed thing you say. The overall effect, yes, is noise.

I listen to them all, though.

I'm trying to be reasonable, but yes my patience wears thin as well. Bye for now.

Beth said...

In typical Noe Valley todler-esque fashion, when someone presents an idea and the people speak against it, the whiners start complaining. Just because they don't get their way with having a park or a plaza or a parklet or a plazalet, they pout and start the name calling.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Supervisor Dufty for listening to the people.

rocky's dad said...

well said Beth: I agree. Despite the image of Noe Valley being liberal and open minded, in fact there are many here who complain about those who have differing opinions from their own. they tend to dismiss other opinions as uninformed, or as just creating noise. With that attitude they will not convince me to listen to them, but only become more turned off by their arrogance.

Supervisor Dufty is a very open minded person and he, in fact, has listened to the neighborhood, and hopefully will continue to voice his opposition to the closing of Noe St. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, thank you Bevan Dufty for listening to your constituents.
And for those of you who are saying that he only listened to a few complainers, please keep in mind that those complainers were the people who would be directly effected by the parklet, those who live next to it, above it, around it. Those who live there have votes that are weighed more heavily, as they should. It's their front yard. You can't force someone to have a party at their house. You can't show up uninvited. So, they asked those who would be directly affected. They said no. It makes sense to me.

Liz said...

Dufty is open-minded, but he has a history of greasing the squeakiest wheel. The Castro & Guerrero parklets are highly popular, but some people hate them. The same will no doubt be the case for Noe as well. Nay-sayers should not always have veto power. Maybe the answer is for parklet supporters to be even "squeaekier"...

Dolores Guerrero said...

Naysayers having veto power is how this city works. Regardless of its effect on others - witness our screwed up rent control laws. Unfortunate but true.

Just to make cr happy and know that I am a real person with valid opinions, I will sign myself Dolores Guerrero from now on. And I am the Anonymous person who first complained about the ugliness of the San Jose/Guerrero parklet and questioned the nature of these "trial" runs.

cr said...

Hey, great. Nice to meet you Dolores Guerrero. Like I said, I listen to all anonymous opinions. But it's nice to be able to connect this comment with your previous comment so I know where you're coming from. (Maybe it's just me who thinks that way, but I doubt it.)

What I hear is that NV landscape architect Flora Grubb would donate services for design of the temporary space, even if it doesn't become permanent. The goal is to make it look nice during the trial (without breaking pavement or installing permanent fixtures, of course). IF it becomes permanent then additional design would go into making it look even better. With community input, naturally.

The Pavement to Parks guy will be there on Thursday to talk about the way in which the trials are evaluated. It sounds like fair, neutral, objective methodology to me, but let's wait to hear what he has to say.

Anonymous said...

I am going to remain anonymous like others, and not be concerned that my opinion is not as valid as CR, who, in reality, is just as anonymous as I am.

Bevan Dufty has done a good job listening to both sides, and he feels strongly that a plaza is not the solution at this location in Noe valley, and I support his decision.
I am quite concerned about the plaza and/or parklets becoming one more place where unleashed dogs will leave their messes for others to step in. This is an ongoing problem on 24th St.

cr said...

Once again, I never said anonymous opinions are not valid.

I said they make it harder to have a conversation.

And I'm not talking about anonymous opinions that come with a pseudonym. I'm talking about opinions posted as "Anonymous."

But you knew that.

Anonymous said...

Since all comments here are date and time stamped, one can easily refer to a particular "anonymous" comment pretty easily.

But, of course, you left that little bitty detail out.

WB said...

@Liz - you are right. We supporters need to be "squeakier." C'mon supporters - get your neighbors to turn out on April 8. Let's make this parklet happen.

ooeygooey said...

ARG! What CR is trying to say is that if you post as "anonymous" no one knows if this conversation is between two people or 100 people! No one can connect *all* the comments you post to *you*! This is not hard to understand, but it does seem to prove that in this particular discussion, density is more than one-issue-deep...

Matt said...

I have to agree with CR: just being anonymous clouds the conversation.

Chose the Name/URL option and make yourself a nickname. Identifying the intersection or neighborhood where you live is helpful too.

That said - as someone who lives in the bullseye of this proposal - I do feel put on the spot. I get that some prefer to remain completely anonymous.

There's alot of confusion in this thread. The Noe Valley Voice article is pretty straight on the matter.

Briefly though:
-Andres Power, a note-taking colleague from Planning, and Debra Niemann of the CBD met with immediate Noe Neighbors at one of our apartments on March 10. They indicated that they were taken by surprise by the SF Chronicle announcement. Whole Foods donated snack platters and beverages.

-This was a public meeting, however the immediate neighbors were the only ones invited.

-We have not as a group met with Bevan Dufty. Though it is possible that some neighbors have.


I hope that that clears up some opacity. I'll see many of you this Thursday.

cr said...

Matt,

Glad to see you back. I've enjoyed your comments from the beginning, and I'm sorry that you and others feel the heat of being in the spotlight.

Every human interaction I've had about this issue in the "real world" has been positive and I've learned something, from opponents as well as supporters.

Bevan Dufty's public calendar for March is located at

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28867949/bevan-dufty-calendar

It shows an additional meeting on March 24 regarding the Noe Street closing. I understand that was with neighbors who are opposed to the plaza trial.

I'm very glad we'll all finally have a chance to get together on Thursday, so that everyone's voice can be heard.

Anonymous said...

It does NOT matter if you post anonymously or not here. What matters is your opinion. Don't be pressured or bullied into believing you have to post with a name to be taken seriously. This is bs.

Then we get someone who thinks you should post your location/intersection too. How bout your exact address and phone number? More bs.

I would suggest sticking to the message, dont worry about the medium. Be who you want to be.

Richard Mlynarik said...

Quick!

Can anybody name ANY SINGLE EXAMPLE of a case where Bevan "Willie's Boy" Newsom HASN'T put parking and traffic ahead of the interests of his "constituents"?

I for one am drawing a big white blank.

Good boy! The RBA and and POA and BOA and GGNRA will look after you! Atta boy! Mini-me for mayor!

Richard Mlynarik said...

Err... "GGRA" as in Golden Gate Restaurant Association's do-what-we-tell-you election slush fund ... not GGNRA, as in Golden Gate National Recreation Area, where evil plovers trample on the sacred constitutional rights of off-leash dogs.

Matt said...

CR - I was unaware of that meeting. And yes that was with neighbors who are opposed to the closing of Noe.

Anonymous said...

I support the trial plaza. There's lots of talk about the positives and negatives (all supported by evidence), and I would like to see for myself what would happen in THAT particular location.

If a success or failure, the trial would be a great case study for all future proposed plazas in SF in high pedestrian and traffic areas (unlike the Guerrero/San Jose one).

Anonymous said...

Just another example of commercial interests winning out over public interests.

Is anyone really surprised Bevan would side with the commercial interests?!

Anonymous said...

That's not true at all. I don't believe Bevan has made a final statement at all. He has simply noted that there is much division about creating any kind of plaza, whether the comments come from business owners or homeowners.

Anonymous said...

Huh? How is Dufty siding with "commercial interests" if he is j"throwing in the towel" Nearby residents don't want the plaza and the merchants and Noe Valley Association do.

Geez. Dufty is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't Remember folks, the plan was proposed by the NVA last fall to the Mayor's "pavement to parks"

Is the Tea Party mentality gripping this neighborhood. It seems condemnation and finger-pointing sets the tone of all these comments.