April 28, 2010

Noe Valley Restaurant Ban Nearly Over

With a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors repealed the Noe Valley restriction, meaning restaurants need only conditional-use permits to open along the commercial stretch of 24th Street. The permit process requires a public hearing before the Planning Commission and public notification. A granted permit can be appealed to the Board of Supervisors.
The final (procedural) vote is next week.

[SFE: New eateries in Noe Valley given green light]]
[NVSF: Update: Planning Commission Allows More Restaurants In Noe Valley]

Residential Parking Permits: Good Or Bad?

We've been meaning to cover this topic for months--do residential parking permits help or hurt parking in Noe Valley and elsewhere? This comment from cr sums up the issue nicely:
I'm interested in this idea that blocks that opt into the permit zoning are being "privatized" (Anon@11:37). Is that the right way to think about it? Street space is a valuable public commodity that "we" (the city public via our elected government) have to decide how to share. In neighborhoods where cars outnumber parking spaces, we have to allocate that scarce resource somehow. Residential permit zones encourage some kinds of parking over others, but I don't really see it as "privatization." It's public space that we agree to share in a different way.

Neighborhoods like the Castro, with similar population density to Noe Valley, are almost entirely covered with permit zones -- far from the commercial center -- while Noe Valley has big holes. (The map is here[PDF].)

If you live adjacent to a permit zone, you can get together with your neighbors and expand the zone through a petition. Ross, you suggest that's "exacerbating the problem," but couldn't it also be part of the solution? It's a dense, urban neighborhood with parking capacity above 95% on many blocks. Is it time for all of central Noe Valley to be a permit zone?

I don't have a fixed opinion on this. I'm genuinely interested to hear more. Up where I'm at (23rd & Sanchez) we're sandwiched between the Castro and Noe Valley permit zones while being part of neither, and parking is much more scarce than it was when I lived in a residential zone in the Castro. So it's a salient issue for me...
It takes a "petition signed by more than fifty percent of the households on each proposed block" (owners or renters; one signature per household) to apply for a permit. A rubber-stamp hearing makes it happen, and weeks later signs go up and fees for parking are collected. There is no master plan.

The fee for a residential parking permit sticker (should you be so lucky as to live on a restricted block) is currently $96/year. You cannot apply for a sticker unless you live on such a block. Around the corner? Too bad.

And if those people who signed the petition move out in 6 months? Good luck getting rid of the permit area on your block.

So...good or bad?

April 27, 2010

Passive Aggressive in Noe Valley: Parking Entitlement

Could this be a sign of the times - and the growing tension around parking, parklets and traffic in Noe? We got this recent note via email from a reader:
I thought you would be amused by the sense of entitlement that oozes from this note. The writer, a driver of large silver Mercedes, parked illegally in front of my driveway of my Noe Valley residence. The driveway has a well marked red zone, yet his front tire extended beyond that and the hood of his car was a good two feet into my rather narrow driveway. Apparently he believes it is my responsibility to maneuver around him (if possible) rather than his responsibility to find a parking place where his car fits even close to legally. And apparently he cares so deeply about our “community” that he is reaching out to me with this wonderful little note. The reference to Nazi Germany is priceless – I mean I knew that the Nazis were bad, but who knew that the essence of their evil was the enforcement of parking regulations!
Text from the "NastyGram":
Find something else to do with your time -- if you can't back out of your house, you shouldn't have a license. This is a community, not Nazi Germany. Get a clue.
No idea if that curb is legally painted.

April 21, 2010

Pavement To Parks: Feedback Appreciated

Via email:
Dear Noe Valley Community Member,

I would like to thank you for taking the time to send an email expressing your opinions and thoughts about the proposed Noe Valley Pavement to Park. We have received hundreds of emails, both supportive of and opposed to the trial, and unfortunately, we cannot respond individually to each. I would like to assure you that every email has been read and noted. Based on comments we heard at the April 8th community meeting, we are conducting some additional analysis in advance of a meeting tentatively scheduled for late May. I will send out an email invitation for the next meeting as the date gets a bit closer.

Again, thanks for taking the time to make your voice heard. It's much appreciated.


Andres Power
Pavement to Parks Project Manager
[NVSF: Parklets and Plazas: Notes from the April 8 Noe Valley Community Meeting]

April 11, 2010

Spring In Noe Valley: Seeds On Streets

We completely missed this (but think we may have an excuse as the chica wearing the parka reminds us how unspring-like the weather is thanks to El NiƱo). Feel the Earth, led by "award-winning visionary leader" Jonathan Silverman, was on 24th St yesterday. From the website:
Our community goal is using public space to support local urban food production. For 4 hours we will gather 200 participants to work together to seed 50 flats.

Over 2,000 vegetables/herbs/flowers seedlings are to be distributed throughout the needs of various schools and local community gardens that are established in San Francisco.
[Picasa: Seeds on Streets]
[Feel The Earth]

Closing: Lisa Violetto

The lease is up, the landlord is "kind of a jerk," and life is taking the owners in other directions says a clerk behind the counter, so Lisa Violetto is going away. The store will close for good at the end of the month and will not relocate. Stop in now for deals on just about everything the store carries.

And with that, the transformation is complete. Noe Valley Video, Aveda, GNC - every one of the shops along that stretch of retail has turned over in the last 18 months.

April 9, 2010

Crime Beat: Noe Valley Homicide

Via the Examiner, a man was killed tonight at 28th and Sanchez:
A man was fatally stabbed in San Francisco’s Noe Valley neighborhood Thursday night, a police spokesman said.

Officers responded to an altercation near the intersection of 28th and Sanchez streets shortly after 9 p.m. and found a man suffering multiple stab wounds, Officer Boaz Mariles said.

The victim, who appeared to be in his 20s, was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 10:07 p.m., according to Mariles.
Update (via SFGate):
Charles McAleer-Bonilla, 30, of San Francisco was attacked near the corner of 28th and Sanchez streets at about 9 p.m. Thursday, authorities said.

McAleer-Bonilla was pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital.

No arrests have been made, and a motive for the slaying is under investigation, said Officer Bo Mariles, a San Francisco Police Department spokesman.
[Examiner: Man fatally stabbed in Noe Valley]
[SFGate: Noe Valley slaying victim identified]

April 8, 2010

Parklets and Plazas: Notes from the April 8 Noe Valley Community Meeting

The Noe Valley Community Meeting to discuss the proposed parklet and plaza at 24th and Noe Streets was at least as well attended as the Whole Foods community meeting with a serious turnout from all sides of the debate.

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):
  • Traffic
  • 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

Audience Questions
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?

What about bongos and street music?
No acoustics in the plan.

If Noe fails, are Sanchez and other streets on the table?

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.

Bevan's wrapup:

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.

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]

April 3, 2010

More Pavement to Parks - and the Noe Valley Master Plan

Here's some further reading for those who want to be well-prepared for the Community Meeting on April 8 at 6:30PM at St. Philip's (665 Elizabeth Street) to discuss the proposed parklet/plaza at Noe and 24th:
  • The Noe Valley Association (NVA) has assembled a Questions & Answers document (PDF) to address Noe Valley community questions and concerns regarding the Pavement to Parks Program options for the neighborhood.

  • The Noe Valley Long-Term Plan is a 29-page PDF of the NVA's long-range plan developed for 24th Street involving extensive public meetings and community input starting in 2006. From the report:
  • The plan proposes strategies that would enhance the pedestrian experience of the street while addressing the need for amenities that encourage community interaction and taking into account environmental concerns…

  • Reader Murphstahoe highlights sketches of the proposed plaza/parklet on a blog dedicated to the creation of the plaza persuasively titled Yes Noe Valley.

  • And Kit Hodge, director of the San Francisco Great Streets Project points us to analysis his organization has done on the impact of other Pavement to Parks projects. He emphasizes that these are "independent reports; the City does its own data collection on traffic and other issues. But our analysis might help answer some questions for the curious." Also, the "before" study of the parklet on Divisadero is done; the group will be completing the "after" portion and issuing a report in a few months.

NVV: We Read It So You Don't Have To

The Noe Valley Voice is published ten times a year and has been a neighborhood fixture since 1977. Here are notable highlights from the latest issue. Links are to stories we've covered here on NVSF or outside sources as the Voice doesn't post stories until the middle of the month.

April 2010

Front Page
: Celebrate Book Week April 10-17 (Phoenix Books turns 25); a breathless story about the Noe Valley Dream House Raffle to benefit Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (sorry, raffle ended yesterday final deadline to buy tickets is May 28); neighbors up in arms about a proposed pedestrian mini park on Noe at 24th; local musician Jimmy Goetz joins a band and teaches music to kids to make ends meet.

Letters: A bicycle commuter calls for Muni reform, not more meter hours or parking fines (employee pay hikes are out of step with the economy); local renter calls the Feb 25 community meeting to discuss lifting the ban on new restaurants on 24th Street "a sham"; an older pedestrian reports a "dangerous cyclist" that ran a stop sign at 24th and Sanchez; a local is surprised to learn that one of the top 5 sellers at Whole Foods is bottled water (and begs people to drink tap, buy a reusable bottle, and carry reusable shopping bags); plus a last-minute letter from an opponent to the proposed Noe parklet.

Cost of Living in Noe: Unchanged from this time last year; single-family homes still going for over asking.

Traveling Voice
: Kenya.

Store Trek
: Pixie Hall Studios; When Modern Was.

: Half a page of Noe trivia (a sample: What was the name of the restaurant at the corner of 24th and Sanchez in 1970? A: Linder's); Noe Valley Democratic Club open forum debate on March 25 featured Rebecca Prozan (top Noe issues: public schools, housing, planning), Scott Weiner ("the economical development" of 24th Street, public shools, transportation); and Rafael Mandelman (public shools, J-Church, vacant stores); Little Chihuahua opening in May in the Bistro 24 space; Patxi's pizza opening in late September in the old Mi Lindo Yucatan space; When Modern Was antique store is now in the old Riki space and closing its Church Street location by May 1 after a "blowout sale" (-Ed note: Everything in the Church store is currently 40-50% off; the gardening store that occupies 1/2 of the space, Independent Nature, is not closing - and not taking over the whole storefront).

[The Noe Valley Voice]

Doorstep Menus: Yummy House

San Francisco restaurants are required to post inspection scores where patrons can see them. But not all restaurants cater to eat-in customers - they do most of their business as take-out or delivery. Here we report inspection scores for restaurants leaving menus on Noe Valley doorsteps. We'll update the post for each eatery as new information becomes available.

Name: Yummy House
Address: 4829 Mission St

Current Score: 82/100 (December 2009)

Moderate Risk: Improper hot/cold holding temperatures; Foods not separated or protected
Low Risk: Floors, walls, ceilings improperly constructed, in disrepair, not clean; Improper food storage/Improper container ID; VERMIN - Rodents/Roaches/Flies; Improper storage: equipment, utensils, linens

Previous Inspections:

Aug 2009: 3/5 stars
Feb 2009: 3/5 stars
Aug 2008: 3/5 stars
Nov 2007: 4/5 stars

Getting a doorstep menu that we're not? Send us a picture of the menu and we'll post about it.

[Health Code: SB 180]
[SFDPH Scores: Environmental Health]
[Clean Scores: Yummy House]
[NVSF: All Doorstep Menu Posts]