June 25, 2010

Noe Valley Plaza: Agenda And Fact Sheet For Community Meeting

From Andres Power:
Dear Noe Valleyans,

In preparation for next week's community workshop, attached please find a three-page fact sheet highlighting the goals of Pavement to Parks, some preliminary analysis of the Noe Street option and other locations suggested by the community at our first workshop, and a brief overview of how the options would be evaluated, should they move forward towards a trial.


Andres Power
The fact sheet is here (PDF)

What: Noe Valley Pavement to Parks Community Meeting #2
When: Wednesday, June 30rd, 7:30-9:00pm
Where: St. Philip School, 665 Elizabeth Street @ Diamond

Pixie Hall Studios will provide a calls for kids free of charge so parents can attend the meeting. Details to follow.

[NVSF: All Plaza Posts]


TA said...

Really, no comments yet? I get to start? Awesome.

I'm even more opposed to Noe Plaza now - over 4000 cars EVERY DAY are going to be rerouted! That was even more than I expected and an extra 20-25% traffic on small streets like Jersey & Elizabeth is IMO dangerous for everyone, especially pedestrians, of which I am one. I routinely almost get run over by people using Jersey as a faster route than 24th Street, add 25% to that traffic and it won't be pretty. That's not even talking about the double parking and the great effort to get into or out of driveways without causing an accident.

I don't really understand how building parklets on a slope is any harder than building a plaza on a slope either. Seems like it would be easier!

The analysis of the other streets seems pretty biased and generally boils down to their "periphery" location though I'm still not sure what that means. The main commercial corridor on 24th Street is Castro to Church which is 3.5-4 blocks (counting the shortened Vicksburg block). By my math:
Noe gives you: 1 block west & 2.5-3 blocks east Sanchez: 2 blocks west & 1.5-2 block east Vicksburg: 2-2.5 blocks west & 0.5-1 block east
I will concede that Vicksburg is the least central option but not by much vs Noe. And how do you argue that Sanchez isn't the most central? Not according to this "analysis".

The grade argument seem off base too. If its 4% or 6%, you still need steps up to the plaza on the far side (away from 24th). Having either 3 or 5 steps isn't going to make a difference to people using the plaza.

For traffic reasons, I'm strongly in favor of a Vicksburg plaza trial along with say 2-4 parklets on 24th street near Noe. I think a Sanchez plaza would be better for people & worse for cars but would support a trial there. IMO, Noe is the worst option and I'm still very opposed to this.

Hope this post's comments don't devolve into a flame war like usual since I'd like to hear some reasoned opinion.

Can't be at the meeting but I'm looking forward to murphstahoe's ice cream when I get back. :)

Anonymous said...

Here's some reasoned opinion:

The main commercial corridor is Church to Diamond (not Castro).

Also, the temporary plazas (whatever the grade) will be level with the street and will not have steps, I believe.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused by the traffic impact section of the fact sheet. They say that 4,400 vehicles take Noe each day (2500 southbound, 1900 northbound). But the estimated future volumes represent an increase of 6,400 vehicles--where are the extra cars coming from?

If we take 4,400 cars off of Noe, why does the traffic on the other streets (combined) increase by more than 4,400?

Maybe I'm just reading it wrong.

Plaza blah blah said...

Hmmm... I thought the point was to put a plaza on a relatively heavily trafficked street. You know, to make it safer for pedestrians. That seemed to be the objective of Pavement to Parks. If this "other streets would be better because they have less traffic" direction is now how we're going - why not put the plaza on Jersey Street, since it seems to be the people there who are most concerned about the increase in traffic they might see? Blocking Jersey would solve that problem. What do you say?

Anonymous said...

"I'm even more opposed to Noe Plaza now - over 4000 cars EVERY DAY are going to be rerouted!"

For comparison - Masonic runs 40,000 cars per day through the panhandle. So much for Noe being a "major thoroughfare". 4000 sounds like a large number until you consider that is 4 per minute. 1 car per every 15 seconds.

I will concede that Vicksburg is the least central option but not by much vs Noe. And how do you argue that Sanchez isn't the most central? Not according to this "analysis".

Stand at those three intersections at pretty much anytime of day. There are standing pedestrians at Noe St at most times of day. In the AM on weekends this includes children waiting in groups for a table at Toast, and in the evenings children play while their families wait for a table at Pasta Pomodoro.

Suffice to say - if one were to ask you - "What is the most central intersection on 24th Street" - what is your answer? If the answer is not Noe, you're lying.

Anonymous said...

I am very pleased that it seems the Planning Dept. is finally listening, and exploring many options. It's about time, and that's been there job all along.

Now we're starting to see the potential negative impact that 4000 cars a day can do so the side streets, should a plaza block off Noe St. at 24th. Never did made sense, as I have argued all along, for many months. The parklets are getting more attention finally, even though I still feel they are a largely a frivolous and temporary solution, a trend that will go away in a year, I believe.

Disillusioned neighbor said...

This is a Trojan horse for sure.
Once the trial project is "in" it will NOT go away, just look at all the "temporary" projects that were only to last a few months etc. [ school bungalows is one example] they put them in 20 years ago in some spots and they are STILL there.
Where are they getting the money from when they are closing other parks because of our city deficit.?
I'm totally reversing my position on this street blocking idea.
its a BAD idea, and from simple observation the last thing we need is more traffic congestion even a little amount..
For the planning dept to create such mistrust to promote this, and with all the cards stacked against them it seems they have their own agenda and is using this simply to keep their jobs.
It has nothing to do with a “plaza.”
Everything was so wonderful before they came onto the scene..
Why cant they just go away, like maybe crawl back under their bureaucratic rocks????
Shame on the greedy people who want this, and most likely dont even live in this area.

susoyev said...

For reasons I may never grasp, my beloved SF Bicycle Coalition agreed some time ago to promote the "Pavement to Parks" ("P2P") program and, specifically, the proposal to close Noe Street.

I write as a daily cyclist who lives on Jersey Street, and must point out that even by the P2P program's own estimates, NOTHING about this proposal makes cycling on these narrow, busy residential streets any safer.

Jersey and Elizabeth Streets already serve as parking lots for the 24th Street corridor. They already host steady streams of cars, day and night.

By the P2P office's estimate, distributed today by email, the proposed closure of Noe Street would result in:
-25% more traffic on Jersey Street west of Noe
-20% more traffic on Jersey Street west of Sanchez
-25% more traffic on Elizabeth Street west of Noe
-25% more traffic on Elizabeth Street west of Sanchez
-30% more traffic on Castro Street
-55% more traffic on Sanchez Street (which does not go through to Market)

I'm not some crank trying to stand in the way of progress. I have enthusiastically supported SFBC for years; my favorite birthday gift for cycling friends is a one-year membership. I am also a cyclist who rides to work and all of my shopping and other errands.

The proposal does not, in fact, do anything to facilitate safe cycling in San Francisco. Instead, the City's severely limited money, and our energies, are better spent on projects like these:

-Getting Muni's schedule normalized; reliable public transportation would help keep cars off the streets.

-Patching our city's streets, whose potholes are dire hazards for cyclists.

Shunting more cars onto narrow residential streets does not help.

Blocking streets sounds like a charming idea when it's happening in someone else's neighborhood. There is plenty of blighted real estate in San Francisco that can be developed into parks -- witness the beautiful Hayes Valley Farm, which has risen like a Phoenix bird from the ashes of the old freeway at Laguna and Oak.

I'm concerned that we are acting as if SOME streets have to be blocked, so let's fight over which ones. I propose that we question the assumption that ANY streets should be considered for closure.

Anonymous said...

"If we take 4,400 cars off of Noe, why does the traffic on the other streets (combined) increase by more than 4,400?"

Because the estimates in the table are all "worst-case" scenarios. When you add up the worst case higher traffic for every street it adds up to higher numbers than the "probable case" for each street would be.

Anonymous said...

This confirms that closing Noe is bad idea...30 - 55% increase in traffic on surrounding streets is a very high price to pay.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man. This is what happens when you give people facts but don't give them the context to understand those facts. I hope SF Planning does a better job at the meeting.

rocky's dad said...

Thank you all for the above comments. Very well said. Finally, we are getting some clear answers to the major problems that we would encounter should Noe St. ever be blocked. We can all see now that it is a bad idea, even from a cyclists point of view.

And yes, the City has many more pressing needs and other less fortunate neighborhoods to spend money on. Think about the waste of money and energy our planning dept. has spent so far on this poorly thought out issue. Shame on them.

I have been against the street closure and ANY kind of plaza from day one. Many people have criticized me strongly and simply tried to say I was closed minded. Never farther from the truth. I remain committed to keeping the street opening, and looking at alternate locations (such as the Farmers Market site) for a more permanent long term plaza idea.

Those who started this whole push for the plaza, many of whom are new to Noe Valley from the suburbs: You know who you are; should carefully rethink their focus on what makes a great city; It's simply not just bringing your suburban mall thinking to a dense urban neighborhood.

I look forward to seeing this resolved and moving on to more important issues, like fixing poor streets, more trees and cleaner sidewalks, just to name a few. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Wait, I thought you were blaming it all on hipsters. Suburban mallrats or hipsters, which is it?

Anonymous said...

Is there a difference?

Chiming said...

I like the fact other options are being considered but I, like RD, will be opposed to ANY street closure. I don't think the residents on Vicksburg, Sanchez, etc will be any more excited about the idea and I can see those "against" signs going up if such a proposal goes forward. This would just drag on.

I live on Sanchez Street and wasn't surprised it's the second busiest street in the area noted on the study. My opinion is that's because of the residents coming from Glen Park to go north for whatever reason and Sanchez and Church Streets are the most convenient thoroughfares.

A trial means "YES" despite many posts to the contrary that a temporary plaza would be easy to remove. I hope we can make decision without a trial.

noe valley resident said...

heres a reality check...
a "trial" is a very devious way of putting this awful project in . that way they dont have to go through all the permits etc. Its a very clever and sneaky ploy to fool the people, so they dont have to go through the process fully.
That way they can bypass any input from the residents who want more of a study.
The public doesn’t know that ..
caution here people!!!!!
The planning department is NOT your friend. beware!!!!! im VERY disappointed that our supervisor has not taken the helm in this debacle. Its gonna cost him a LOT of votes if he runs for mayor. the people who live here WONT forget his lack of commitment.

Anonymous said...

Watch out it is a Planning Department conspiracy!! They are power hungry, and they want to take over to exert control over the peons of Noe Valley. This is all part of their master plan to take away our cars and driveways and make walking, biking, and MUNI the only legal modes of transport.

This is in no way an attempt at improving the neighborhood and city. It is an attempt to turn Noe into a suburb. Because everything in the suburbs is horrible and cities are not like suburbs at all - they are complete opposites in fact.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to the community meeting on Wednesday.

One thing I haven't seen discussed is the fact that there are 4400 cars on Noe St. and 3900 cars on Sanchez St. This disproves the point, repeated here and elsewhere, that Noe is a major thoroughfare. It is an average street in the local grid, carrying a relatively low volume of traffic, just like Sanchez (and less than the real north-south arterials: Castro, Church, Dolores, and Guerrero.)

We can close this street to traffic with relatively low impact. As Planning says, "We expect that residents would notice an increase in traffic volumes, but that the total volumes would remain relatively low and consistent with volumes typical of local streets."

In exchange for this, we get a rare chance to try out an innovative new public space that will bring more life to the streets and put some more soul into the neighborhood. (Notice I said "more"; don't get offended.)

We asked for traffic stats. They gave us traffic stats. Are we really now going to raise a ruckus about traffic impacts that are "relatively low and consistent with volumes typical of local streets"?

I'm glad we have these baseline traffic stats, so that we can have a true trial to see the before and after numbers. Contrary to the concerns of Noe Valley Resident above, there are indeed protections in place to ensure that residents' voices are heard throughout the process. Why do you think we're having these meetings? There are many steps that a trial would have to go through in order to become permanent, and it won't become permanent unless a large majority of the neighborhood supports it.

p.s. For the record, RD, I've lived my entire adult life in urban neighborhoods. (Noe Valley is actually the least urban of them.) I live here, as I've lived in other urban neighborhoods, because I value public space and democratized streets that serve all citizens. That's what I support the plaza trial.

YES petition here: www.noevalleyplaza.com

cr said...

The previous comment @1:35, was from me, cr.

rocky's dad said...

I disagree completely with cr:

Whether Noe St. is defined as a major north south street or not is irrelevant. The traffic count figures tells the story. Those 440 cars have to diverted somehwhere and they will end up on Jersey and Elizabeth Streets due to having to travel around the CLOSURE OF NOE ST. for a plaza.

Don't be fooled by the planning dept. A "trial" is a clever and disingenuous way to simply push the street closure on the public without the proper permitting and full hearings, perhaps even an EIR.

I would like to see our Supervisor Dufty, for once, take a firm stand on whether he supports the street closure or not. He needs to stop worrying about collecting votes if he should run for Mayor.

I will continue to fully oppose the NOE STREET CLOSURE in any form. There are many alternates to this poorly conceived idea that remain on the table.

rocky's dad said...

Oh one more thing. This really really irritates me:

The fact that CR or others would want to bring more "soul" to Noe Valley, whatever the hell soul means...is really offensive, undefined, and arrogant.

We don't need more "soul". We need cleaner streets, potholes filled, more trees planted, and safer streets.

cr said...

You know what, Rocky's Dad, you're right. I hate wishy-washy metaphors too. Shouldn't have used this one.

Delete "soul" and replace with "more people on the streets, more neighbors who know each other, more food and drink shared, more Vitamin D, and more fun!"

Sorry to offend your sensibilities.

Read the fact sheet again. Overall traffic in the neighborhood will DECREASE, because some drivers will choose alternate routes outside the neighborhood. Meanwhile, inside the neighborhood, some streets will see more traffic, some will see less, as those 4400 cars (a very small amount relative to most streets in the city) are redistributed on the local grid.

Anonymous said...

"The fact that CR or others would want to bring more "soul" to Noe Valley, whatever the hell soul means...is really offensive, undefined, and arrogant."

Thank you Chris Daly....

rocky's dad said...

@cr:..ok, so you're clever with words. I don't buy it.

You're making some pretty broad assumptions here. So a plaza..I mean STREET CLOSURE will bring more people,more neighbors, more food, more drink, more vitamin D (huh?)more fun (huh, again?"..

You know all this for a fact? or you're just hoping for these things? So, let me get this right: right now we have fewer people, fewer neighbors, less amounts of food and drink, and ah..yea, don't forget this one..LESS fun?

A you serious??????? I would submit that what you WANT is more of all this, cause you don't or can't find it now..Guess what, it already exists and is thriving quite well thank you in Noe Valley and many other great neighborhoods in SF. If you can't find it, you need to look hard inside yourself for the answer.

All we will really get from this STREET CLOSURE is MORE TRAFFIC on smaller streets, more congestion on 24th.

And more disingenuous ideas from the Planning Dept.

cr said...

Thanks for the lesson on soul, Rocky's Dad.

rocky's dad said...

LOL. trust me. sometimes we all need guidance. You sure did.

Anonymous said...

Rocky's Dad, you've argued in the past against the Noe closure because Noe is an "important" or "major" thoroughfare. And now that the stats show Noe is really not a "major" street" that notion becomes irrelevant. Very convenient.

rocky's dad said...

I'm sorry but I don't read anywhere in the traffic studies that Noe is not a major street. What the studies do show is how the traffic would increase on the side streets should Noe St. be closed at 24th. That's what the stats show.

Drivers who are forced to circumvent Noe st. at 24th if a plaza were to block the street could, with great inconvenience take Castro St. heading north. Ever get behind the 24 bus going north on Castro? Can be quite a nightmare, with the bus slowly crawling up the hill to The Castro..or parts north. Does that solve increased traffic? Not at all.

Many of us conclude that closing an important street such as Noe Street to create a plaza is simply the wrong solution, when there are many alternatives to such a poorly developed idea.

Go back and read the previous comments and you'll find similar conclusions.

murphstahoe said...

I told Andres and Bevan in person, and reiterated in email, my belief that this was not about congestion on Jersey. That the opponents are deathly afraid there will be no traffic impact for several self-centered reasons that they are too clever to admit.

Among them - the lack of a bus, pedestrians waiting for buses, and wide sight lines allow drivers to shoot down Noe Street at 55 MPH and give passing notice to stop signs as they roll them. One doesn't have to spend much time a block up from Noe for this to be clear. But nobody would be admit that they just like to drop the lead foot in a residential area.

Nobody that is but rocky's dad.

The problem is less acute South of 24th because the 24 bus is on Noe until 26th, and from 26th to 24th there are more pedestrians. This correlates with the fact the Jersey residents who see slower traffic speeds where they walk and want to drive 50 MPH from Elizabeth to Liberty have signs in their windows, and the people on Elizabeth and 23rd who have to deal with the speeders have signed our petition.

rocky's dad said...

Well, ok. It's hard to understand murphes contorted, long winded, non sensical sentences, but I suppose he has a right to speak here.

Say murph! you might want to go back and read some excellent and intelligent commentary by a fellow cyclist, Susoyev: he makes some very valid points about the increased traffic to Jersey and Elizabeth, just as the survey points out in clear numbers.

He also talks about how the street closure will NOT make street any safer for cyclists..good point, he's right.

He also points out how we could be spending our money and our planning depts. time on much more important issues and helping less fortunate neighborhoods. He's right, and of course I agree with him, as many others do as well.

But murph! seriously, dude. you are inflaming issues when you suggest that drivers go 55mph down Noe st. and/or roll thru stop signs. Seriously? show me your data!

And we won't even talk about all the bike nuts who sail thru every stop sign and stop light almost everywhere in SF..ignoring laws and endangering the public. Let's not go there.

Might bring up some self centered issues that you are deathly afraid to admit.

No, let's not go there.

Chiming said...

Tons of debate on this thread about traffic. Traffic data is of course interesting to look at but I just don't want an eye sore in our neighborhood.

Look at Castro and Guerrero Park locations and reconsider if you would like to roll the dice for a repeat in Noe. I DO NOT and an elevated budget is not going to make it much better. Please, please keep the cheap tables, chairs and painted planters away.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that Guerrero park is pretty ugly..

and rarely is it used by anyone. too windy there, and the traffic so close by is scary.

another waste of money.

Tom said...

C'mon Chiming the topic of visual appearance has been exhausted before on this blokg. The trial version may not look the best since its designed to be temporary, but there is a top-notch design team for the trial so I have confidence even the trial plaza will look good. We're not going to get Guerrero Park at Noe.

And if it becomes permanent then it is rebuilt anew. And if the trial is unsuccessful then its removed. Have you seen the Castro Plaza? I think it looks really good, and they have a very creative solution to installing moveable planters over the spur tracks.

suzee said...

Top notch design team? really? where?

Doesn't matter if they are top notch or not, all they have to work with on this stupid trial plaza idea, if it ever happens, is a bunch of leftover junk and tree trunks from Golden Gate Park.

Chiming said...

Tom you are right, the visual appearance subject has already been raised and so have many comments on this blog either for or against. I do pass by the Castro Plaza all the time and we agree to disagree on it's appearance.

The proposed Noe Plaza will, in my opinion, set a dangerous P2P precedent of closing a street which to me will look ridiculous not to mention aggravate many people including the vocally against residents on Noe.