June 30, 2010

Noe Valley Plaza: Tea Party Filibuster Hijacks Community Meeting

Apparently some people missed the memo - tonight's community meeting was never intended to be a town meeting.

Even so, the boos and jeers started as soon as Andres Power started speaking. The "Don't Block Noe" crowd was at tonight's meeting in force and insisted on being heard. What was supposed to be a 20 minute presentation of the results of the traffic study and the status of the project so far twice had Planning staffer Sarah Dennis-Phillips scolding the crowd: "Next time Andres is interrupted Planning is leaving and none of you will be heard." Momentary quiet.

The shouting resumed 2 minutes later after Andres said the words "easily removable" and "if the project moved forward" at least 20 more times. Despite angry shushing, Bevan Dufty (who arrived late from a budget meeting) had to take the mic and also had the quote of the evening: "It will make the news if we have to call the police to a meeting in Noe Valley." Nervous laughter.

General gist voiced by Bevan, Andres and other members of the Planning staff: "It will be difficult to move forward" with this project given the "vocal opposition."

This will not be resolved anytime soon.

Update: Video uploaded to Youtube by sattvicwarrior


Anonymous said...

You insult the tea party.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I thought the teabagger comparison was a little inflammatory before, but those folks really earned the label tonight. Are they going to firebomb the plaza?

Sounds like Bevan Dufty is ready to call it quits. Is he really going to give veto power to this insane minority in the name of "consensus"?

Whoever shouts loudest wins. What a sad day for the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Is Joel Panzer really running for president of Friends of Noe Valley like the Voice says? After standing up to interrupt a presentation, shouting, jabbing his finger in the air? I thought Friends of Noe Valley were supposed to be, like, friendly or something. When a mild-mannered supervisor threatens to call the cops you at a public meeting, that's a pretty good sign you shouldn't be president of anything.

Anonymous said...

Time to move? This little village is so nice on the surface but what a bunch of self-righteous jerks. I get really sick of idiots like Joel Panzer and his crew shouting at civil servants about "paying their salaries". What a fricking joke. All of these "old generation" Noe Valleans who live in their parents' houses and pay $47 a month in property taxes (thanks to prop 13) shouting about taxes. Get a life. How about showing a little respect to the new people who moved in, fixed up half of these house, and pay a ridiculously higher share of property taxes. Tea baggers, indeed... I'm really starting to regret that I invested in this neighborhood. The only saving grace is that a lot of my "friendly neighbors" are getting pretty long in the tooth.

Anonymous said...

Is there any data on what the people who live on Noe between 24th and Jersey think about it? Just curious, cause if the majority of those people is against it that should be considered. To all those opponents who are crying about having to drive an extra block after the picked up a carton of milk at Whole Foods, please get a life. Unfortunately the people who haven't got a life have way too much time on their hands to make such a visible protest. I'd love to see some independent survey data.

cr said...

What a strange scene tonight. Some people object to the process. They complain that their voice hasn't been heard. They want to have a discussion. And then their idea of due "process" is to get absolutely belligerent and shout down everyone else.

No wonder some people don't understand why their neighbors support this innovative public space. They have no idea how to act in public.

I enjoyed talking with people (pro and con) later on during the breakout sessions. I wish we could have had that earlier in the night.

Anonymous said...

They don't want to object to the "process" It's a ruse. A farce. They believe that if they throw a tantrum then the City will throw up it's hands and walk away. They don't want a fair process; they want to win...

Thanks to a total lack of leadership from our Supervisor on this issue, tantrums seem to be winning the day. If you really want a plaza, it seems that you should lay down in the middle of the street, suck your thumb, and cry. That type of behavior seems to win favor with Bevan.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
oddnoc said...

The opponents really embarrassed themselves and the neighborhood last night (although I'm certain they don't see it that way). What a disgrace! It was a throwback to last August's shout-downs at the national health-care town meetings, complete with rudeness and fake "facts" and irrelevant distractions. Bevan Dufty is making a sad mistake to suggest that temper tantrums by a vocal few ought to thwart a removable trial improvement to the neighborhood.

To Anonymous above who says "FU" to Noe Valley: you're as bad as the opponents. Don't live here? Why post on this blog?

Jota Boombaba said...

I was at the meeting last night. It was clear that those who object to the plaza were frustrated by the manipulative process of those in favor.

The tea party comparison -- which is unfair to tea partiers -- could be equally made to those on both sides of the issue. Once the objectors got to speak, thanks to Beven Dufty, proponents of the plaza began shouting them down.

Those who live in glass houses...

By the way, who moderates this blog? Unless I missed something, there's no profile available, no name of anyone who's responsible for the posts. If that's the case, that's a rather cowardly act -- just like all the cowardly anonymous comments posted by plaza proponents and critics of those who object.

If you're gonna stand up and let your voice be heard, show some integrity by identifying yourself.

Godot said...

Wow. Sorry to have missed THAT. I think the park (temporary or permanent) is a silly idea, personally, but I am seeing less evidence of civility in politics, business, and between neighbors.

It's very disheartening. I mean, you can make a joke, OK? But for high-income, liberal Noe Valley to become home to the Tea Party? This neighborhood has changed quite a bit over the past 20 years, folks, thanks in part to those who "pay a ridiculously higher share of property taxes" so thus feel they deserve some sort of entitlement (you don't, OK?), but also thanks to the general gestalt of America. Too bad we reflect it so well.

rocky's dad said...

Well, I think most of you still have it all wrong. It's not about lack of civility or not in politics. It's not about being loudly vocal or not. It's not about entitled people or not.

The bottom line, it seems to me, is that a lot of regular Noe Valley residents simply do NOT want an important street closed to create a plaza, temporary or permanent. It's pretty simple.

Maybe being loud and vocal about your opposition to this ridiculous idea in the first place, is the only way to get our voices heard. We don't trust the powers to be that say the trial plaza can be "easily removed". Many of us believe if this dumb idea is pushed on the neighborhood as temporary, it will NOT be easily removed. We simply don't believe that.

We don't trust the Planning Dept. and we don't trust Bevan Dufty. They are not being leaders and they are not listening to a large majority of people who oppose this plaza. Many of us don't trust the suburban mindset of the pro plaza side, and their bully tactics attempting to want us to "live just like them", and other plaza supporters who insist on instilling more "soul" into Noe Valley.

All hype. All bs..Let's move on to more important issues like fixing the potholes, planting more trees, cleaning up the dog shit, and making our streets safer.

Keep Noe OPEN!

Chiming said...

To one of the anon posts above, there is an informal survey going on in regards to the residents on Noe between 24th and Jersey; see the signs against :)

I was at the meeting last night and in my opinion, the meeting only regurgitated the same traffic study that was posted in advance on this blog and then the breakout groups did little other than to encourage graffiti. I guess I "missed the memo" about not hearing many in the community to speak; for or against.

I think we can expect Parklets for sure as the plaza fight goes on.

Anonymous said...

Wow Rocky's Dad. Where to begin.

What about those who are undecided, don't they deserve to hear what the planning commission has to say? Or is it only your opinion that matters, and thus those in dissent should be shouted down?

Where is the data that says those opposed are in the majority? Where is the data that says those are for are in the majority? No one has shared this, so no one can claim it.

Who are you to call someone a bully when you support tactics that can only be defined as bullying?

I'm for the plaza, but will concede that if public sentiment is too close to call, that is that there is not a clear (even simple) majortity, than the plaza shouldn't happen.

I am not for anyone forgoing civility and reasoned debate on an issue that impacts the entire community. Especially when these actions prevent people from making considered decisions on my own.

From my perspective anyone that advocates or participates in the behavior that took place last night loses a seat at the table.

murphstahoe said...

There is no way to characterize Panzer's behavior other than that he was completely out of line and trying to intimidate Andres. Period.

murphstahoe said...

My only regret is that I did not videotape this farce. But I did see flip cameras in the hands of some people in the front row. If you believe so passionately that you have been wronged, you will certainly post the evidence on YouTube.

Anonymous said...

here you go


rocky's dad said...

I'm simply going to ignore ALL anonymous opinions here. They are no longer valid.

@murph: I know that you and I are on pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum with the plaza issue.

But I hope you can see the incredible amount of mistrust, and, yes, anger that this issue causes many Noe resident who do NOT want one of our major street blocked..for anything, anywhere, ever. We are not against change, never have been. We ARE against poorly conceived changes, and changes that appear to be the "trend of the moment"..

I'll continue to oppose the plaza in any form, but I will (with some reluctance) support some sort of "parklet" even though I fee those also are flimsy, transitory and of little value to the area.

What I would strongly support is a permanent widening of the sidewalks on each side of Noe at 24th, and the planting of substantial landscaping and trees, and permanent benches. Yes, make the street narrower, give up some metered parking, but allow the traffic to continue thru smoothly and add some pleasant seating to both sides. That would work.


Anonymous said...

What a bunch of sissies that run this city.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with this poster:

"Thanks to a total lack of leadership from our Supervisor on this issue, tantrums seem to be winning the day. If you really want a plaza, it seems that you should lay down in the middle of the street, suck your thumb, and cry. That type of behavior seems to win favor with Bevan."

Whether you are for or against the Plaza, you have to be embarassed for the adults that stood up uninvited and stomped their feet and shouted like two year olds during a public meeting. Next time I see Joel or any of the other screamers on the street I will treat them to a free copy of Tommy the Train to enjoy as their bedtime reading with their glass of warm milk and blankie. I feel pity for them.

Jota Boombaba said...

Regarding the video on You Tube (address posted above): What it does not pick up is the amount of dissenting chatter further back from the front row when Bevan tried to allow for opponents of the plaza to speak.

There were comments about "this not being an open forum." Also, there were documents being shown by some opponents, docs from City Hall, that suggested breaking big audiences into smaller groups as a way of mitigating the voice of opposition groups so that select projects can be passed with seemingly little opposition.

Following this video, Bevan got Andres to agree to take 10 more minutes to make his presentation. Andres took a bit more than ten minutes, then turned the mike over to another presenter from City Hall. After more than 20 minutes had passed the opponents became irritiated as they had once again been lied to.

The video also does not show Tom Abbot, an SF Fireman, who got up to make the rebuttal. While he spoke, proponents of the plaza began to ignore him and circulate around the room to view the posters City Hall had posted.

It was pretty clear that proponents had little interest in hearing the views of their fellow neighbors, only in advancing their own cause. Perhaps someone will post video as evidence of this.

murphstahoe said...

Tom Abbot was supposedly going to talk about the plaza. He went on to talk about how he asks his kids "Who's the boss", "Mommy is", "OK, but who's the chief".

He also told us that 200 rec and parks gardeners have been laid off and this is a big problem because "PEOPLE ARE DYING WALKING THEIR DOGS", and tied that to this project.

That is not serious discussion.

Anonymous said...

Amusing in that video - "THIS IS FOR STARBUCKS" as opposed to local businesses like Bernie's and Martha's.

This is bitterly ironic in that Starbuck's landlord is none other than Mary McFadden - primary opponent of this plaza. If you have an issue with a Starbucks being on 24th Street, take it up with Mary. And you accuse Sue Bowie of selling out 24th Street???

Chiming said...

Point Tom was trying to make was that 60 grand could be better used elsewhere and specifically mentioned the tree pruning issues that have been in the press lately (Park Presidio). Perhaps he did go off topic there at the end.

I agree, let's not spend 60 Gs on cheap furniture, street paint and painted flower pots. And to spend the money and then possibly remove (which in my opinion would be just as difficult to put this plaza in) would be a waste of resources.

cr said...

Tom Abbott is woefully misinformed about the plaza trial. He made false statements about how much it costs. He made false statements about where the money comes from. He made a false statement it would block emergency vehicles. (The Planning Dept. has talked to emergency departments and they have no problems.) His major complaint was that SF Planning hasn't defined "the matrix" for how this decision would be made at a meeting where SF Planning was doing exactly that (who will make the decision, what the criteria will be, what the timeline and process will be). If the plaza opponents were listening they would have heard that. But they didn't listen. And they didn't let the neighborhood listen.

On top of that Tom Abbott he made bigoted and nativist comments dismissing the opinion of anyone who hasn't lived in the neighborhood for generations.

There is no defense for the childish behavior of the plaza opponents and there is no equivalance to what supporters are doing. We're trying to have a conversation here.

murphstahoe said...

$60,000 - please give us a citation for that number.

The tree that fell in Stern Grove on the car was a Eucalyptus. The only way we stop them from ever falling over is to cut them all out. Maybe we can kill the plaza project because of the falling Eucalyptus, and make way for a protest against cutting down the Eucalyptus.


Anonymous said...

w/respect to your post about wanting this blog to show who author's it, I don't think this blog has to do that. It's not a public/city sponsored thing. If you or anyone doesn't like it, then you can post that fact (which you did), or choose not to read the blog, or go to another blog, or start one yourself. Lots of options there, and either of those are better than more name-calling.

My personal view: I'm just slightly in favor of the park, if only because it can be reversed. I'm more in favor of a some sort of vote, but I don't know the best way to do that?

In terms of folks not trusting the city to remove it later, I don't fully understand that. You seem to trust the city's fire dept, water dept, police dept, otherwise you wouldn't live here, right?

So then, in all seriousness, what would you propose the city to do in order to measure if it's a success or not, say, 6 months after installation?

Should the city take a vote after 6 months? Or to show traffic patterns 6 months later? I am really curious. If they did that, would that make you feel like you could believe that they would reverse it if it proves not to meet those guidelines?

Anonymous said...

And, oh by the way, did anyone notice the flow chart on this blog showing the big arrow "you are here". We are not THERE! Someone super-imposed that arrow. We are at "square one" according to the city planning department. We are still in the discussion square with no understanding of how we move out of the box either to "work with designers" or "no further action". What's the next step? Does anyone know?

Chiming said...

Anon@1:20 / I think removing a plaza could be a bureaucratic nightmare. City services like SF Fire, Police, Water (leaks?), etc have to react to situations without thinking twice.

I think Tom mentioned 60 grand in his presentation but I thought the budget was 52k. Whatever. Still a lot of money to potentially waste on something that could be "removed." Let's not have the city start a dangerous precedent of closing streets.

Chiming said...

Quick humor: has anyone else laughed at the fact that a Sue Bowie photo, circa 1985 was posted on this site? I'd look just a little different myself back then :) . Actually I think I was wearing braces and I need them AGAIN.

rocky's dad said...

Here's one reason why I don't trust the planning dept. or Andres Power anymore:
How bout when 4 of the highly paid planning staff were caught downloading porn, during office time, on office computers? And the Zoning Administrator, Lawrence Badiner knew about it and did nothing. Trust them? not likely.

Let's put this issue on the November ballot and put it to a city wide vote. Ridiculous? perhaps, but it may be the only way to resolve this divisive issue.

suzee said...

@chiming: yea, that is pretty funny; that very dated photo of Sue Bowie, probably over 20 years ago...

another example of how realtors love to give out false information. What else is new?

noe valley resident said...

AS a resident of noe valley I can honestly say it was WONDERFUL to hear people speak so openly and passionately about their neighborhood.
one thing is certain
you CANT trust the planning commission. They have shown over and over again how they feed the neighborhoods with LIES, and backtrack on their words. You can NEVER get the same answer twice. It also comes to our attention that various city entities used this small group workshop- agenda to nullify opposition to city proposals as a tactic ,, This time the residents were not going to stand and play a this game with them
Its only fair that all the residents given the facts that they have taken to the time out to come to this meeting to have equal time. and received information ….
BRAVO to the neighbors who could stand up and think OUTSIDE the BOX….
and to all those that were verbal, cause the planning commission in the long run COULDN’T CARE LESS….. The so called opposition .. is hardly in opposition of the pavement to parks. its in opposition to CLOSING OFF A MAJOR street.
that's all it boils down to..

suzee said...

That is the crux of the entire issue: The CLOSING OFF OF A MAJOR STREET.

The pro plaza people don't get that. If they are successful at CLOSING OFF NOE STREET, what street will be next?

Many of us do, in fact, support the Pavement to Parks program. They are doing some great things.

But trying to close off a major street that thousands of drivers use every day is NOT one of the great things the P2P program will be doing.

Anonymous said...

It is time to play hardball with these knuckleheads. They are a tiny minority and they know that, or they wouldn't be so vocal.

I am boycotting all businesses that have that ugly and nasty thumbs down sign in their store window and I encourage all of my fellow Noe Valley residents to do the same.

Anonymous said...

Don't boycott the hardware store. I like those guys. Just educate them.

As for Joel Panzer of RMC Realty, I'm tempted to picket out front and turn away his clients. The video of him yelling and shouting is online and it's appalling for an adult. If his clients could see that, I bet they'd go elsewhere.

Mike said...

This is the first time I will comment on this blog. I have been following it for some time with some interest, but this is the first issue I have found myself wanting to comment on.

Firstly, I will state that I did not attend the meeting and I live four blocks away from 24th & Noe. I drive. I feel fortunate to live in the neighborhood and my father grew up there, so I have been familiar with Noe Valley all my life. I firmly oppose the plaza idea.

It is obvious to me that the only people in favor of the plaza idea are the people A) who don't drive through that intersection, and/or B) don't live or do business on that block and will not have to live right next to the increased noise levels (families, musicians, clipboard enthusiasts, etc.) it will create, and consequently c) people who will utilize it. Other than those folks, I cannot imagine why anyone who knows the area would want to close Noe St. down.

I drive through that intersection on a regular basis, though I sometimes use other routes. It's a straight, though somewhat narrow, shot to Market St. and less congested than Castro St. It is a very busy intersection during the day. Though it is outside the realm of this discussion, I would much rather see a traffic signal installed at that intersection than a plaza, particularly for the safety of pedestrians, who tend not to look for cars that have already entered the intersection, and the drivers who have waited patiently, especially keeping an eye open for cops who tend to linger at Starbucks, and just want to get through the intersection without feeling like a nuisance. Can you imagine the reaction the traffic signal idea would bring from the plaza supporters?

Chiming said...

I think we need less people walking/talking/texting on cell phones (myself included) as too much blame is pinned on the drivers in this city. Can't count how many times that's a reason for an incident that almost happened.

johnnyawe said...

1) I live at 24th and Chatanooga and while I'm not informed on this issue, in genral I stongly support any effort that uses public space for people instead of cars.

2) What is the best way to learn more about this issue?

3) The arguments on this thread, against the plaza, are hilarious, in that they make no attempt to analyze the benefit for the neighborhood as a whole. You might have to drive an extra block? You want to make sure the community doesn't have a place to gather because they might make "too much noise"? -- Why do you live in Noe Valley? It seems you folks would be much better served by moving to the suburbs where you can drive free and live up on a high hill where you never have to look at other people.

4) The video was sickening.

suzee said...

Not sure where you've been all these past months, johnnyawe...but there has been tons of info issued by the P2P program and the planning dept. Check out their latest pdf here on this blog.

But I think just telling people they should move to the suburbs if they dont want a plaza is...well...just plain immature and an easy way for you to blow off dissenters. Not cool.

Dialogue and discussion on both sides of the issue is important. Don't just dismiss someone cause you dont like their viewpoint.

cr said...


Thanks for your support. You can sign the petition at www.noevalleyplaza.com, and email noevalleyplaza@gmail.com with any questions.

Anonymous said...

I think people are right to be concerned that a plaza would not be easily removed if "people don't like it." What if the people whose homes front the plaza hate it, but a larger number of people who live on the other side of the neighborhood like it? How will this be decided?

Personally, I'm undecided... I like the idea of more public space in principle and prefer to have more urban space devoted to people rather than cars. On the other hand, if I had toddlers shrieking outside my window 10 hours a day every day, I'd go insane!

Unknown said...

@Johnnyawe:don't bother to post until you at least make an attempt to understand the issues.

All "anonymous" posters: it is interesting that almost every one of you supports the plaza. Or maybe Anonymous is really only one person. Interesting also that nearly all those opposed to the plaza do NOT post anonymously.

To those who believe that businesses like Starbucks, Toast, etc. support the plaza or the parklets: might want to actually ask the business owners as many of them have expressed concerns that parklets in particular will not attract more paying customers but in fact could be detrimental to their businesses because of concerns about who may take up the tables for extended periods of time. Since it is the businesses who must maintain the parklets, that's a legitimate concern.

@murphstahoe: you're as misguided as the idiots who disrupted the meeting the other night. None of you are willing to be carry on a civilized dialogue about this, so you have effectivly disqualified yourselves as participants in this process.

wtf said...

Yes, johnnyawe, don't post here asking where you can learn more about the issues, until Andrea says it's okay you can ask that question. Oh, and you can't ask that question until you've learned more about the issues.

Mike said...

I should rephrase what I had written about the "only people in favor of the plaza idea;" that was not fair of me.

Johnnyawe: Yes, I do think increased noise levels are going to have an effect on the people who live in the immediate area. Have you noticed the signs in the windows on that block? Is it not obvious most of the folks that live there do not support the idea? You would have to ask those folks why they choose to live in Noe Valley, but I gather that they like it the way it is. Come to think of it 24th and Chatanooga (between 24th & Jersey) would be a prime spot for this plaza. The street is not as wide, but Chatanooga St. is only 3.5 blocks longs and has no access to any arterial roads other than 24th St., and Jersey St. terminates at Dolores. Plus, it's right next to the J Church line for folks from out of the area who want to enjoy Noe Valley. How would you feel if this was plaza was being planned right next to where you live?

And Yes, myself and hundreds of other drivers would find driving another block (but if I was really just trying to cross 24th, as I do, I would have to drive two blocks coming and going) inconvenient.

suzee said...

I think johnnyawe is a fake name for someone else here...or he's had his head in the sand for the last few months. There have TONS of public information all over the place, from this blog to the Noe Valley Voice.

How can one live on 24th and Chattanooga and NOT know about the issues?

ok, johnny! get real, get serious and educate yourself..and feel free to comment all you want.

Plaza blah blah said...

Oh, Johnny. How could you possibly not be as obsessed with this issue as everyone else posting here seems to be? You must not be real.

Anyway, you're right, the whole thing is hilarious. You might expect this sort of righteous indignation if people were selling drugs, or holding us up at gunpoint - not over closing a single intersection to cars. People are calling Noe a major thoroughfare without any hint of irony. No, really, they are - shocked me too. As for the shouting at the meeting - it made me laugh, but I'm also glad that video didn't get picked up by any major media outlets. Living here could become a real embarrassment.

Jim Ausman said...

So let me get this straight, your main objection is that you might have to listen to the sound of children playing? That is really that offensive to you? It is hard to take that objection with a straight face, but I will suggest that perhaps City living is not for the misanthrope.

I am certainly in favor of the plaza, the other argument that driving an extra block or two is more important than a place for our children to play does not convince me.

Anonymous said...

Pedestrian Mall Info, Facts & Figures

Pedestrian Mall
A pedestrian mall (also known as a pedestrian street) is the most common form of pedestrian zone in
large cities. It is a street lined with storefronts and closed off to most automobile traffic. Emergency
vehicles have access at all times and delivery vehicles are restricted to either limited delivery hours or entrances on side streets.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedestrian_mall

Pedestrian Zones
Pedestrian zones (also known as auto-free zones and car-free zones) are areas of a city or town in which automobile traffic is prohibited. They are instituted by communities who feel that it is desirable to have areas not dominated by the automobile. Converting a street or an area to car-free use is called

North America
In North America, where a more commonly used term is pedestrian mall, such areas are still in their
infancy. Few cities have pedestrian zones, but some have pedestrianized single streets. Many pedestrian streets are surfaced with cobblestones, or pavement bricks, thus discouraging any kind of wheeled traffic, including wheelchairs. They are rarely completely free of motor vehicles. Often, all of the cross
streets are open to motorized traffic, which thus intrudes on the pedestrian flow at every street corner. In a few pedestrian streets with no cross street cars or trucks deliveries are made by trucks by night.

The term "pedestrianised zone" is used in British English, and most other European countries use a
similar term (French: zone piétonne, German: Fußgängerzone, Spanish: zona peatonal). The first purpose-built pedestrian street in Europe was the Lijnbaan in Rotterdam opened 1953. The
first pedestrianized shopping centre in the United Kingdom was in Stevenage in 1959.

A large number of European towns and cities have made part of their centres car-free since the early
1960s. These are often accompanied by car parks on the edge of the pedestrianised zone, and, in the
larger cases, park and ride schemes. Central Copenhagen is one of the largest and oldest examples: the auto-free zone is centered on Strøget, a pedestrian shopping street, which is in fact not a single street but a series of interconnected avenues which create a very large auto-free zone, although it is crossed in
places by streets with vehicular traffic. Most of these zones allow delivery trucks to service the
businesses located there during the early morning, and street-cleaning vehicles will usually go through these streets after most shops have closed for the night.


Anonymous said...

Examples Worldwide

United States
In 2009 there were some 75 pedestrian malls in the United States.

Source: http://www.urbanreviewstl.com/?cat=676

The Pearl Street Mall in Boulder continues to thrive with its college crowd atmosphere and the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica thrives on tourist traffic. The Downtown Mall in Charlottesville,
Virginia, now a vital business, entertainment, and retail area, spent roughly twenty years as a somewhat depressed stretch until an ice skating rink and multiplex opened on it in the mid-1990s. Broadway St. in Eugene, Oregon, is finally being developed with a hotel, movie theater, and retail after decades of limited economic activity following its experiment with a pedestrian mall. The Federal Plaza in Downtown Youngstown, Ohio is a similar case. Since the unsuccessful Federal Plaza has been ripped
up and redesigned in 2004, the city of Youngstown has seen the development of a new entertainment
district erupt. A new arena, two new courthouses, federal buildings, bistros and other new night-spots have placed themselves in Youngstown's core.

Burlington, Vermont's Church Street Marketplace has been expanded from the original three blocks to four, encompassing the entirety of the city's commercial "main street," and remains a thriving cultural center with shops, restaurants, vendor carts, sidewalk performers and special events which does not appear to be affected by the development of big box store farms in neighboring Williston. The San Antonio River Walk is a special-case pedestrian street, one level down from the automobile street. The River Walk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks lined with restaurants and shops, connecting the major tourist draws from Alamo Plaza to Rivercenter, to HemisFair Plaza, to the Transit Tower. Most downtown buildings have street entrances and separate river entrances one level below.
This separates the automotive service grid (delivery and ambulance/police vehicles) from pedestrian traffic below, provides bridges, walkways, and staircases, and attempts to balance retail, commercial, office, green space and cultural uses.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pedestrian_mall

Anonymous said...

Empirical studies by Jan Gehl indicate an increase of pedestrian traffic as result of public domain
improvements in the centers of Melbourne with 39% increase between 1994-2004 and Perth with 13% increase between 1993-2009.

Source: http://www.cityofperth.wa.gov.au/web/Council/Plans-and-Projects/Current-Plans-and-Studies/

Since the zebra crossings and traffic signs were replaced with a spacious fountain, benches and other street furniture, the Skvallertorget square in Norrköping has experienced no accidents, mean traffic speeds have dropped from 21 to 16 km/h (13 to 10 mph) and livability has increased.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shared_space

suzee said...

Oh dear. NoeValleyJim, you are indeed very self righteous. Some us actually don't like screaming, spoiled kids. Anywhere around us.

Neither do we like unleashed dogs who have owners allowing them to shit and piss wherever they want.

We like well behaved kids, and leashed dogs. Nothing wrong with that.

We also love our city. Remember it's also for humans like us: gay, straight, young, old, black, white, asian, latino, etc. with or without kids, pierced or not, hipster or not. You know all kinds.

The City isn't just for families either, and neither is Noe Valley. It's for all of us.

Besides, there are already plenty of parks for the rugrats to crawl around in.

Anonymous said...

In Essen, Germany, merchants found that even on rainy days, pedestrian streets are frequented by leisurely strollers, suggesting that heavy traffic is a greater impediment to walking than bad weather. Many cities, including Bonn, Cologne, Hamburg, and Munich have all reported a visitor increase of 50% following the creation of pedestrian areas. Merchants on Copenhagen's Stroget-who initially opposed closing the street to vehicles-reported sales increases of 25-40%. An interesting phenomenon
was thus observed: people in cars do not window shop, people on foot do.

City planners in Germany stated that one objective of closing off a street to traffic was to improve
traffic flow. This may not seem logical at first. Intuitively, most people assume that the traffic from the closed street will automatically move to the side streets. Interestingly enough, evidence from numerous
street closures shows that 100% of the traffic does not go to the adjoining streets. In Copenhagen only 72% of vehicles formerly on Stroget, now a pedestrian mall, reappeared on parallel streets. During peak hours the percentage of cars displaced to parallel streets dropped to 38 %. Another example can be found in Norwich, where only 40% of the traffic from London Street was found in surrounding areas
after its closure.

Objectives given by German city planners related to closing a street to automobiles:

* preserving central city functions
* facilitating access for shoppers
* enhancing city's image
* reducing noise and air-pollution
* improving a city's appearance

Following a street closure in Bonn, property value along the street went up, the number of consumers increased, as did the amount of retail trade. An experimental closing of Madison Avenue in NYC found that the number of pedestrians more than doubled without any decrease in the foot traffic along the
equally popular Fifth avenue. This seems to indicate that people who wouldn't have otherwise left the
confines of their office ventured out once walking was more pleasant. Shopkeepers along pedestrian malls, initially in opposition to the street closure, are now said to believe that people take more interest in window displays in traffic-free zones than elsewhere. While people in cars tend to be cut off from
their surroundings, people in pedestrian areas are said to be more considerate.

Source: http://www.culturechange.org/issue14/pedestrianmall.html

Anonymous said...

Global Mix
In Germany, a pedestrian mall is called a fussgangerzone. Frankfort, Germany, is home to one of the most popular German pedestrian malls. It's located on a street called The Zeil and clothing shops, fruit stands, bakeries and eateries are found in this vehicle-free zone. In Shanghai, China, the Nanjing Road
Pedestrian Mall is a big tourist attraction. The mall includes hotels, theaters, sculptures and a tour train for sightseers. The shops in the Nanjing Road mall are a mix of old and new as well as Chinese and Western. Fast-food chain restaurants blend with silk shops.

Success tips for pedestrian mall creation include choosing a location near subways, bus stops and car parking lots. Stores selling large items such as refrigerators and dining sets don't usually do as well in
pedestrian malls. Shops such as clothing and art boutiques are popular pedestrian mall destinations, as are open-air cafes and restaurants.

Source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-pedestrian-mall.htm

Anonymous said...

Suzee says, "Some us actually don't like screaming, spoiled kids. Anywhere around us."

I take it you don't like Joel Panzer then?

Anonymous said...

Parallel thread on SocketSite: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2010/07/this_will_make_news_in_noe_valley.html#comments

johnnyawe said...

Suzee: johnnyawe is my "real name" (on the internet). You can google search this site and see that I've posted a handful times in the past few years. I'm more than happy to meet in person, if you'd like.

Andrea and Suzee: Some of us who work 40-50 hours/week don't always have time to catch up on the latest neighborhood gossip. I was extremly careful to refrain from comment on the actual project, and focus on more general issues: NIMBY-ism, pedestrian vs. cars, individual vs. community, etc.

Mike: Your insinuation that I would be of a different opinion if the project were in my back yard, is extremely insulting. Wow. I would never criticize another human being without first thinking through how I would react in the same situation.

Mike: The way I read your argument, which is essentially the classic NIMBY arguement, is like this: "If the people who happen to live closest to a planned structure don't like it, then it shouldn't happen". This makes no sense - and if it were followed - no structure in the history of civilization would ever have been built. What we should be asking is this: does a minor inconvenience to a small number of people in the direct vicinity outweigh a great benefit to the neighborhood as a whole? In my opinion, it obviously depends on how minor the inconenience and how great the benefit. What I'm hearing from your camp, on this thread: the inconvience is extremely minor, and possibly non-existent. I'll do my own research, but I can tell you right now, if your best arguments are the hassle of driving an extra 2 blocks and possible noise, I'm going to support this project.

Plazablahblah and wtf: You guys are right on the money. I could not agree more with your comments.

suzee said...

@johnnyawe: well, you need to read a lot more about this project, and understand the research that has already gone into this.

Clever of you to call the traffic re-routing a minor inconvenience to a small amount of people..How bout 4000-6000 cars a day re-routed to the smaller streets.

Read about all the other aspects of this project, and be sure to understand the alternatives.

Otherwise, you are just inflaming the issue by pretending to downplay the importance of the issues.

laurie bk said...

If you mute the video volume and play Pink Floyd's "Us and Them" to this, it's really trippy how it synchronizes.

Anonymous said...

>>How bout 4000-6000 cars a day re-routed to the smaller streets.

What makes you think all 4,000-6,000 cars will be re-routed to adjacent streets, when empirical evidence suggests fewer cars will drive through the area?

What also makes you think that whatever traffic that does remain will choose to use smaller adjacent streets and not larger ones?

Your logic has errors.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing to me how knee-jerk all these comments are! Grasping for logic---the globalization of Noe Street.

Anonymous said...

One has to believe that one of the major problems with this project is that Andres Powers is involved. Those who have been involved with him in other matters know that he has a very clear vision of what he wants and is not very interested in hearing about other ideas. I have no strong views on this project and it seems to me that some compromise could be reached. Unfortunately, Mr. Powers is not the type of person to reach and to those who have different views and try to incorporate them into the process. Instead, he tends to shut out those who disagree and just work with those who agree with him. I think he forgets that he works for ALL citizens of San Francisco. The opponents obviously get that vibe too, which is why there is so much animosity to him.

Jim Ausman said...

Self-righteous? That must be a bit of projection, or perhaps your conscience speaking. Do visions of oil-soaked birds and Iraqi war dead haunt your dreams suzee? They should, they died to support your profligate lifestyle.

But you are right that San Francisco is for all of its residents, not just those who chose to drive automobiles. Parking and driving are not the only legitimate uses of public space and the nearest park is many blocks away.

suzee said...

@noevalleyjim: now you're showing your immaturity..and really really reaching for connections when you start to throw in the Iraqi war and the oil spill into the plaza issue.

But then, when people are desperate for rebuttals, that's all they can do.

Make sure you call everyone equally evil who have ever driven or owned a car, or those who presently do.

Seriously. You need to focus. This debate is about closing off a public street, well used, to idly create a windswept, asphalt paved seating area for a few people.

Have you seen all the "Don't Close Noe" signs going up. more and more every day. Lots of new ones on Sanchez St.

Have a nice 4th.

johnnyase said...

Suzee, I think I'm informed on the issue now! I've read through the pavement to parks website, the noevalleyplaza website, and the informative postings on this blog. I'm also personally familiar with the intersection and traffic / walking patterns, having lived in the neighborhood for about 4 years now.

I can now say without qualification that I fully support the plaza project. If your side has any material, other than the comments on here and other sites - let me know where to find it and I will read through it.

Basically the only significant negative I could find, is that traffic could increase by up to 55% on Sanchez between Jersey and 24th. (I understand you think there are plenty of other negatives; I'm saying this is the only one I found to have merit).

I believe the benefit to the neighborhood far outweighs this negative, and I would feel the same way if I lived on the affected block. Living on 24th St, it is mind-boggling to me that Sanchez and other side street residents could be so selfish as to deprive the entire neighborhood of a public space, just so they don't have to endure a relativly minor increase in traffic. (Myself living on 24th St, yes I consider an extra 2000+ cars / day to be a "minor inconvenience". Especially on side streets where people are driving at much slower speeds due to stop signs).

Why do you hate this plaza? Do you live on one of the nearby side streets?

johnnyawe said...

NoeValleyJim: I completely agree with what you said: "Parking and driving are not the only legitimate uses of public space".

Ease of driving / parking does not a good neighborhood make. If it did, the Outer Sunset would be some of the most valuable real estate on the planet.

Anonymous said...

>>Grasping for logic---the globalization of Noe Street.

Actually, the "grasping for logic" rationale would assume Noe Street is somehow different from other streets globally.

The "logical" rationale would assume Noe Street will be effected like other streets globally when it receives a public plaza.

Until the anti brigade produces examples of how public plazas increase motor traffic, the "logical" thing is to take the many examples of how public plazas decrease motor traffic and apply this knowledge to Noe Street.

Foreign as the thought might be, even Noe Street is a member of the global community, and subject to many of the laws that guide other members worldwide. To assume otherwise in the absence of evidence would be, well, "grasping for logic."

Jim Ausman said...

"now you're showing your immaturity."

"another example of how realtors love to give out false information. "

"...just plain immature..."

"...ok, johnny! get real, get serious and educate yourself."

"...you are indeed very self righteous. Some us actually don't like screaming, spoiled kids."

Do you have any comments on the issue that aren't personal attacks?

The Ad Hominem Fallacy

Anonymous said...

suzee=Rocky's Dad=Doug

Charles said...

While I understand there are some very heated opinions on both sides, it appears to me that after reading through all of the discussions and the various information posted that the cons associated with the plaza are relatively minimal. And I know many people (myself included) who would like a central location to meet and talk. The location at Noe Street meets these qualifications and I hope that the city is able test the plaza to make sure the positive aspects are greater than the cons.

Jym said...

=v= Gotta love how the YouTube video has all these barely-literate popup text comments, giving it the feel of a Tea Party event. Pure teabonics.

Then the anonymous videographer shows her/his/its "warrior" side by fussing against every followup comment with classy exchanges like the following:

>> i am surprised to see such petulant and disrespectful behavior from adults.
> oh please louise!!!!!!!!!!!!...lie down and take your meds youll be ok. honest.

Charm like that just can't be taught. Nor, apparently, can grammar and punctuation.

rocky's dad said...

I walked by and into the Guerrero plaza over the past long weekend, over a period of 4 days. During that time I saw exactly 3 people in the plaza sitting in it or walking thru it. Typically it's pretty windy there and like the proposed Noe plaza, this is the same thing that would happen.

Many of the neighbors on the Guerrero plaza objected to it, but they were bullied into taking it by the city and pro plaza people.

Let's not let this happen to Noe St. I am seeing more and more Don't close Noe street signs popping up all over. Maybe eventually the City will begin to listen.

Chiming said...

Thanks RD. I would encourage the pro plaza folks to go look at Guerrero Park if you haven't already. Like Andres said at the April 8 meeting; "either you love it or hate it." That's what scares me with this proposal as I firmly believe that such a plaza will be very tough to remove once in and that's why I consider a trial a "yes" vote.

I agree with Suzee in that I don't see why an asphalt seating area is so attractive to some. Let's try and convert some of the "dead space" as previously discussed in this blog.

Anonymous said...

I was at the meeting, and don't quite get the statements from opponents that the supporters were disruptive, but whatever.

I did hear, from letters in the Noe Valley Voice that she received an "unfriendly hand gestures from passing bicyclists as I walked to BART"

As a supporter I apologize to Mary that this happened to her. I have good knowledge to the fact that the offending cyclist was in fact "avid cyclist", plaza supporter, and all around warrior Larry Kulig - I am sure that Larry regrets this action, among other things.

Tom said...

RD & Chiming,

You know full well that the design of Guerrero Park is completely irrelevant. If you want to state that some neighbors objected and were bullied, please present some evidence of that. Actually, I'm sure some neighbors did object - when was the last time a proposed project had zero opposition?

We get you don't like the look of Guerrero Park but it is TEMPORARY. If it's deemed a success it will upgraded and built as a permanent solution. If it's deemed unsuccessful it is removed and never seen again.

The temporary Noe Plaza will be designed by Boor Bridges and Flora Grubb who should be able to present a modern professional design.

Your comparison to Guerrero is simple misleading fear-mongering. Why not wait until you actually see the proposed design before saying it will be an eyesore? Are you worried it might actually be really nice and people might be swayed in favor of the plaza?

Personally, I'm on the fence about the plaza, but assuming the design will be unattractive is not a valid reason to oppose.

murphstahoe said...

More wisdom from rocky's dad over on Curbed...

"The petition is FAKE. No one will read it. Don't sign it. Once they get you to sign it, along with your address, email and phone number, they use this information to harass you by calling you for a small donation to help pay for street furniture. If they get your address, they also mail you more junk mail, and they sell your addresses to other businesses for the same purpose."

Suffice to say this is not near the truth.

They are crazy. Unfortunately for them, I am crazier.

suzeerdchimingtomanonjymnvjim said...

We know that.

Anonymous said...

Why was the following post removed from this thread and who did so?

Anonymous said...

>>Grasping for logic---the globalization of Noe Street.

Actually, the "grasping for logic" rationale would assume Noe Street is somehow different from other streets globally.

The "logical" rationale would assume Noe Street will be effected like other streets globally when it receives a public plaza.

Until the anti brigade produces examples of how public plazas increase motor traffic, the "logical" thing is to take the many examples of how public plazas decrease motor traffic and apply this knowledge to Noe Street.

Foreign as the thought might be, even Noe Street is a member of the global community, and subject to many of the laws that guide other members worldwide. To assume otherwise in the absence of evidence would be, well, "grasping for logic."

July 5, 2010 8:29 AM

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't you assume that the editors of this blog have every prerogative to remove whatever posts they choose?

I mean it is their blog.

Anonymous said...

While it would be reasonable to assume the editors (?) of this blog have every prerogative to remove whatever posts they choose, it would be unreasonable to assume they removed the post in question because it was objectionable.

At least they inferred as much earlier today when discussing the same disappearance symptom in another thread on this site:

Noe Valley, SF said...

Not sure what's up with the missing comments -- we didn't do it. Blogger hiccup?

July 6, 2010 11:22 AM

Do you feel the post above warranted removal from this thread, and if so why?

Anonymous said...

While it would be reasonable to assume the editors (?) of this blog have every prerogative to remove whatever posts they choose, it would be unreasonable to assume they removed the post in question because it was objectionable.

At least they inferred as much earlier today when discussing the same disappearance symptom in another thread on this site:

Noe Valley, SF said...

Not sure what's up with the missing comments -- we didn't do it. Blogger hiccup?

July 6, 2010 11:22 AM

Do you feel the post above warranted removal from this thread, and if so why?

Anonymous said...

While it would be reasonable to assume the editors (?) of this blog remove posts of their choosing, it would be unreasonable to assume they removed the post in question because they found it objectionable.

At least they suggested as much when commenting on another thread about other logically angled messages that have gone missing.

To the point, do you feel the post in question is unreasonable, and if so how?

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly, I could care less if the removed post is reasonable or not.

why don't you tell us?

Remember we are here, I would assume as invited guests and commenters on this blog.

I strongly support the blog owners right to do what they want.

Anonymous said...

I signed the petition.


What was on display at that meeting by plaza opponents was appalling and embarrassing. The individuals involved should be ashamed, and should be forced to publicly apologize for their behavior before being allowed back into any meeting on the topic.

Is that the example you wish to set for your children? Is that the way mountains are moved in a democracy? Frankly, I'm disgusted and disappointed to see my neighbors behaving like spoiled tyrant two-year olds.

Come back to the table when you can participate in civilized discourse.

-15 Year Resident of Noe Valley,
South of 24th Street

Chiming said...

Tom, don't you think that the people who planned Guerrero Park did so with a "permanent" state of mind? So we could look at this as they put their best foot forward for support and that's the best they came up with?

Boor Bridges, Grubb, I have no idea what those names mean. I've seen the proposed plans and we will still have portable items sprinkled across the street; like you would see at a block party that's meant only for a day.

Anonymous said...

@chiming: you may have hit on something: the suburban, brainless hipsters who are so hot for this plaza, in fact, think that block parties on pavement are the ultimate hang out spot.

Just add a jumpy house for over active brats, some wild, untrained dogs who shit all over, a large stroller parking lot, big screen tv for the dads, cell phone corral for the bored, but preggers moms..and there you have it: instant Noe Valley plaza!

Ok..sorry if I offended anyone. Just kidding.

Tom said...

@Chiming - The temporary installations are done on tight budgets and this means using available recycled materials in a creative manner. I think to assess Guerrero you need to consider the open space and planted areas created and not the building materials utilized. Also consider any traffic calming improvements to the area.

In my opinion the space is ok, speeding cars still nearby, but better than a large patch of unused asphalt. If I lived on San Jose I would be thankful to have much slower traffic, but perhaps some residents think it's inconvenient.

It's funny in cities like London and NYC there are awkward intersection similar to Guerrero and San Jose, and they create cozy pocket parks by enclosing the space with a wall and fence, planting enough trees to create a canopy, thrown in groundcover, gravel paths and a few benches. To me Guerrero is too open to be comfortable.

The design team for Noe Plaza has been presented by the Planning Dept. and if you can't do a quick search to find out one is a very creative architectural firm and the other is a highly celebrated nursery who have collaborated on past projects then I really don't know what to tell you. The team has not proposed any design yet - I believe the rendering shown was done by the Planning Dept or a third party - does anyone know where that originated?

Anonymous said...

At 7pm I saw three kids playing basketball in Guerrero Park. In the wind no less.

Is it jammed packed? No. But there are lots more people using the park than rocky'sdad comment implies. More comment to that point over at my site.

I do love how the no forces try to have it both ways -- either these parks will be used too much (yelling whiny kids, drunken rocknroll debauchery!), or not enough (windswept, deserted wasteland). Which is it? (I've long given up expecting an answer or a coherent argument.)

The louder their protests against a *trial* plaza, the more I realize "the No's" are afraid people will actually like it and want to keep it.

Anonymous said...


"I've seen the proposed plans and we will still have portable items sprinkled across the street; like you would see at a block party that's meant only for a day."

This is false. There are no plans yet. Flora Grubb and Boor Bridges are well respected designers and landscape architects. Research them. They are donating their time, and they will not be asked to design plans until it is determined whether a trial goes forward. So you haven't seen any plans yet, because they haven't been drawn up. Sorry, it's impossible.

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny how people complain about anonymous comments. I am sorry, but this is the Internet. I don't care if people here in Noe Valley find out that I am FOR the plaza - but for me data protection and privacy on the internet is a big issue.

Besides, 'Andrea' is linked to a profile that is not accessible for the public and Rocky's dad seems to be a cat.

I am sure, you guys who post 20 comments/hour here all know each other, but somehow I doubt I am the only one on this blog who don't know you.

And for the record: I did sign the petition months ago and I haven't received any spam calls or mail...

Anyway, I am still voting for closing 24th St for traffic and convert it into a pedestrian mall.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the immediately preceding Anon. The current plaza plan is thinking way, way too small. All of 24th from Vicksburg to Castro should be closed to traffic and turned into a pedestrian mall. Think about how nice that would be.

That sound you just heard was rockysdad's head exploding.

rocky's dad said...

Some of you are funny. Some are not. I don't really care.

Trouble is, most of you are not very visionary, like me.

I would LOVE to see studies showing the long term closure of ALL of the 24th St. and make it an awesome pedestrian zone..and guess what? no cars. See you already have me typecast all wrong.

I have been to many outstanding pedestrian zones, including Amsterdam, sections of London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Spain, and even the Santa Monica 3rd St. Promenade. They are all incredible spaces.

And they took YEARS to plan and millions of dollars. But, yes, I'd love to see that happen someday in Noe. Here's the challenge: The real need to provide parking for those who wish to drive, and have to drive to shop. That means parking garages (like Santa Monica). That means solving retail delivery problems (like Santa Monica)..it's all possible. And it means solving the re-routing, long term of traffic problems. All doable, all solvable, with good planning studies, and lots of $$$.

The difference in the closure of Noe St. to accommodate an outdoor space, temporary or permanent is that the Planning Dept. has not produced, in my opinion, enough long term studies to solve the aforementioned problems resulting from a street closure.

So, for those of you who wish to typecast me, go ahead. But, like many others, I am very open to well developed, long term pedestrian friendly solutions for Noe and the City than you realize. thanks for listening.

BTW: Rocky is an extremely intelligent and articulate feline.

Anonymous said...

"BTW: Rocky is an extremely intelligent and articulate feline"

Sometimes the apple... oh screw it...

w o w said...

I live in Noe. Reading these posts, and thinking about the fact that the people who wrote them live near me, I want to move. Most of you people either didn't graduate from 3rd grade, or the school you went to should be closed. The logic in this thread is so sad that reading through it, I cried.

Whatever they do with the park, which I am still undecided about, one thing is certain. Some of you people need some serious therapy.

Anonymous said...

Yes, perhaps some do.

But more of you need a sense of humor.

Chiming said...

W O W, if you cried reading the posts, YOU might need that same therapist you recommended :)

Anonymous said...

Charming, Chiming, you have a heart of gold. I'm not one to cry myself, but anyone who watches that video and reads the hysterical (in all senses of the words) posts here is justified to feel sad about the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

oh, come on! why would anyone feel sad? sounds rather judgmental to me.

It's really just people expressing strong opinions about something they feel strong about, perhaps expressing it in a rather emotional way, but so what?

Process and change never happened in this country, alone, by people speaking passively and without feeling.

Talk to your therapist if you really feel sad.

Anonymous said...

I too have been reading these posts, have read the information on both sides, not commented before, and support the idea of a trial plaza.

I find the "No" on the Plaza voices really sad too.(July 7 4:38) It seems that residents in Noe Valley have given up the 234 year old principle of majority- rule democracy for decision making by whoever yells the loudest.

Ironic, that in a city that prides itself on supporting the candidates and ideals of "change", and touts that it wants to be green and progressive, we can't get a "trial plaza" off the ground. A plaza that could be for all sorts of uses and essentially "free" public space.

If the trial plaza doesn't happen will we see plaza opponents put their money where their mouths are, go to the next community meeting and get out their personal check books to help purchase the multi million dollar lot that currently holds the farmers market as an alternative to a free plaza?

Or will we, as I suspect, watch the opponents to the Plaza just go back home to their car noise intersections, continue to do nothing for the community, and congratulate themselves on making sure nothing new was given a chance to be tried in the Noe Valley they remember from the past.

Anonymous said...


Your quiet voice of reason warms my heart.

Anonymous said...

@anon 1:46:

Here's what we will see when the plaza does not happen. First off, we won't see your inflammatory diatribe describing noisy intersections, etc.

What we will see, as a possibility, is a long term study as to how to purchase the parking lot owned by St. Phillips and turned into a permanent public plaza, with all sides contributing time and money to this cause.

Plaza blah blah said...

Hang on a minute, @2:28. If this plaza - for which money has already been allocated - gets shouted down, you think you will see "all sides contributing time and money" to try to buy a multi-million dollar parking lot? Am I reading that correctly?

I need to stop reading these comments.

Anonymous said...

Plaza blah blah, perhaps you missed the fireman's rousing speech inspiring us all to march together to save the parking lot like our ancestors did and show mommy who's the chief. It was something like that, I think.

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's exactly what I mean.

Maybe you do need to stop reading this comments.

murphstahoe said...

How come we haven't gotten SOMEONE to post the Abbott Manifesto.

And why aren't we soliciting private donations to save the life-saving jobs of the parks and recs guys, instead of buying a chunk of asphalt?

Speaking of which - "How many parks and recs guys does it take to mow Noe Courts?" Answer - Three. One guy to drive the truck, one to open the gate, and one to mow the lawn.

No - I'm not joking. I might have the roles wrong - but the numbers are correct.

Jim Ausman said...

What is the stance of the various candidates for Supervisor on the plaza?

cr said...

Scott Wiener is for a plaza trial. He spoke in favor of a trial at the first community meeting in April, acknowledging the concerns of some residents but also stating unequivocally that he believes the plaza has the potential to be a great thing for Noe Valley and the trial deserves a shot. I have a lot of faith that if a trial goes forward with him in the supervisor seat, he will ensure that it's a fair process. He signed the "yes" petition at www.noevalleyplaza.com on the first day it was up.

Rebecca Prozan originally signed the "no" petition after talking with a resident on the street. However, I believe she now supports a plaza trial. I think she's in the position that a lot of people are in signing the "no" petition. They were swayed by some residents fears, and they wanted to be sure that the concerns were heard. Now that we've had a few months of debate, now that we have some traffic stats as a baseline and a clear understanding of the process for how a trial would be evaluated, many folks are coming around to the conclusion that the possible benefits outweigh the fears of traffic and noise, and we should have a trial to see how it goes. I think Rebecca is one of these folks; I talked with her at the second community meeting in July, and she said she thinks things are moving in the right direction. (She missed the outburst at the beginning.) I'm not sure what her position is currently. Might be a thing to ask her at the next debate.

Rafael Mandelman, to my knowledge, has not taken a public position.

cr said...

"second community meeting in July"

typo, I mean the June 30 meeting

murphstahoe said...

There has been some concern that doing things like removing parking for a public space would damage businesses in the area.

There is a new parklet at 22nd and Bartlett in the Mission. Two businesses nearby were in fact damaged by the parklet - because their rents were increased higher than they could sustain - which only happens if someone is willing to pay even more to get that retail space.

Certainly it's too early to attribute the rent increase to the parklet, but if the parklet were making the space *less* attractive to retailers, the property manager - a certain "J J Panzer" would not be able to increase the rents.


Anonymous said...

cr---how do you know what the current position of any of the candidates for Supe? Have you talked to them recently, if at all? Maybe you can give each one a call and report back to us all what they tell you. You may be surprised!

rocky's dad said...

I spoke with Rebecca Prozan in person just last Saturday in front of the farmers market. She stated that she signed the no petition regarding the plaza, and, unless I'm mistaken still takes that position. She said nothing to me with regard to her changing her stance.

She may have since then, but I'm not aware of that.

murphstahoe said...

cr and I met with Rebecca for an hour, the day before the Tea Party, at her invitation. I should be careful with repeating anything out of turn, but I did leave with the impression that she had signed Joel's petition, but that was not representative of her current position.

I have an email from Scott Wiener. I asked him the following question.

"Scott - The Noe Valley Voice is calling me asking for the number of people that have signed the petition in support of the Noe Valley plaza, and she's digging and asking things like "have any of the D8 candidates signed". We have a privacy policy that we will not divulge the names to anyone other than basically Bevan, and only if he asks to see the names. I'd mention you did sign it if you felt that were "appropriate""

Scott replied that yes, we could divulge that he signed our petition. I highly doubt Scott's position has changed. I did not speak to him at the Tea Party.

I have an email from Rafael Mandelman on this topic as well. I have not asked his permission to reprint anything. At the first meeting he stated that we needed to do more investigation into how the immediate neighbors felt about the project, and he has not publically changed that position. I chatted with him briefly at the Tea Party, only to confirm that I owed him a phone call.

I have not talked to William Hemenger. Or Starchild :)

rocky's dad said...

Ok murph: we get it. you're doing some homework, some research..checking data. that's all fine and good.

But PLEASE..stop using the words Tea Party in any part of the discussion and dialogue..

It's offensive, it's stupid..it serves no purpose other than to inflame even more. You know better.

We can disagree on and on, and I'm ok with that. But, stop using those words. Please.

murphstahoe said...

I think I just threw up.

Tom said...

Murph stop using those words if RC agrees to stop calling supporters of the plaza hipsters or newly-transplanted suburbanites since those terms are simply used to distract or enflame the discussion at hand.

On the other hand, hipsters really do have a reputation for liking parklets and Tea Partiers do have a reputation for screaming very loudly at their opposition.

Anonymous said...

Rocky's Dad, would you agree that the behavior in the video above is out of line? If so, maybe we can agree to call these folks garden-variety assholes and proceed to ignore them?

If you don't agree, then Tea Party seems like a perfectly apt descriptor.

Jym said...

=v= I'm amused that anyone could possibly be more concerned about the incivility of some label than of the behavior captured on the video.

People like this are an embarrassment, and it is an inadvertent public service when one of them puts up a video to show themselves in action, and show how much they don't represent the rest of us. Before the YouTube era, our usual source for this sort of information has been the NVV, which can be counted on to ruffle a few feathers.

In the past, when the With Friends Like These Who Needs Enemies? of Noe Valley crowd said that handicapped ramps can should be relocated to the bottom of the hill to preserve car parking, or that the mosaics at the Muni stop are too "ethnic," it was recounted as if part of a congenial conversation. The type you might have at another type of tea party.

Here, we see the unmediated truth, replete with the teabonics popup text comments.

Jym said...

=v= UNruffle. The Noe Valley Voice is in the feather-UNruffling business. D'oh!

Jim Ausman said...

This is why we can't have nice things.

murphstahoe said...

The hooligans win.

Anonymous said...

I am very glad to see Tuggey's hardware going out of business. We should boycott all the anti-park businesses until we can get a group of more family friendly crowd on 24th Street.

What other businesses were opposed to the park? Help me create a list here guys.

Anonymous said...

Noe Valley Pizza, Cosmic Wizard, Mi Lindo Yucatan, Kookez, City Grill, Bistro 24, Twin Peaks Properties, Urban Nest, Ladybug Ladybug, Cooks Blvd.