July 15, 2010

Pavement To Parks Says No To Plaza Trial, Yes To Parklets

Dear Noe Valleyans,

As we have mentioned previously, the intent of Pavement to Parks projects is to unite the community around trial public space improvements. The Noe Street Plaza has been quite a contentious proposal, much more so than any other Pavement to Parks project to date. Many in the community have advocated very strongly for a trial to proceed while many others feel uncomfortable with any type of trial street closure. There have been petitions for and petitions against the Noe Valley proposal. Both drives have secured hundreds of signatures.

We believed that with civil discourse and debate we could all eventually come together around a common proposal for Noe Valley. As most of you will probably agree, a consensus has been very difficult to attain.

While not an alternative to or part of Pavement to Parks, one of the ideas generated at an early community meeting - a public space at the Noe Valley Ministry parking lot - is now being discussed further and we are pleased to see this important conversation moving forward independent of Pavement to Parks.

We are excited to report that of all the different ideas talked about over the past few months, Parklets on 24th Street have gained the most support in Noe Valley (a survey at the June 30th workshop, for example, demonstrated 3 to 1 support for this proposal). Parklets do not affect traffic circulation and instead use two parking spaces to build out a deck for landscaping, tables and chairs, and other pedestrian elements (see sfpavementtoparks.sfplanning.org for images of Parklets in other parts of town). If all goes to plan, we would like to add two Parklets along 24th Street this Fall. We will be working with the merchant community to identify the most suitable locations but it is important to note that these spaces will be open and free to use by anyone. As in all Pavement to Parks projects, these Parklets will be trial and closely monitored for success. If they do not work out, they will be removed.

I would like to personally thank everyone for being so patient and for contributing to an important and productive community dialogue. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Andres Power


Anonymous said...

Two people killed this project:

Backdoor waffler wannabe mayor Bevan Dufty and asshole blowhard Joel Panzer of RMC Realty.

Vote with your feet.

troymccluresf said...

Wait. So instead of a proper plaza, a church parking lot might get some trees?

Anonymous said...

Imagine how great it would be if we could just pour amber over the entire city and preserve it exactly how it is today with no change ever?


Anonymous said...

Just as long as it's amber we can drive through. Don't block my major thoroughfare with your fossil resin!

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

"We believed that with civil discourse and debate we could all eventually come together around a common proposal for Noe Valley."

We didn't have civil discourse and debate. We had a shouting match refereed by a mob, on this blog and in the community hall.

"I would like to personally thank everyone for being so patient and for contributing to an important and productive community dialogue."

Which is why this last paragraph rings so hollow.

I get it, I really do. The Planning Dept. has a lot of good things to spend its time on and they can't be hanging out in Noe Valley forever educating folks who "feel uncomfortable" with a three-month TRIAL street closure. But let's not pretend that we had a good process here. It was a mess from start to finish.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, I never understood how that's considered a "major thoroughfare". I'm disappointed that we do not even get a chance to have a *trial* to then determine how good/bad things really are, instead of theoretical handwaving.

troymccluresf said...

Agreed with the 1:20pm comment. Anyone who tries to get anywhere via 24th Street... well, not really sure there is a slower way.

cr said...

Alas, Troy, it's not even 24th that they consider a major thoroughfare. It's Noe St.

Do not underestimate the crazy.

Nelson said...


Just yesterday I hung out for 20 minutes at 17th and Castro. Such a nice little plaza. Shame we can't have that in Noe Valley.

Anonymous said...

Sad! So Sad! I kept telling my friends and family back in Europe how great Americans are. So much more flexible and always willing to try something new; and if it doesn't work, they change it back.

Unfortunately I cannot say this any longer. I know it's not the majority, but there are obviously enough people who are as conservative and stuck in their patterns as they are in Europe.

A sad day for Noe! This is not the San Francisco I used to like so much.

Anonymous said...

You may not have like the process or the results, but we did have a process. Are you going to dismiss those who opposed the plaza, just because you didn't get your way?

And name calling like anon @12:18 does, is just not called for. and let's be clear, both sides engaged in that kind of low behavior.

now let's move on.

Anonymous said...

Now we have to clean up the vitriol left all over the place.

The plaza was never going to look like the image posted on the blog. The talented volunteer gardener, Flora Grubb, made no bones about the reality of how much, er, little could be done with $38,000. There wouldn't be tall trees or large bushes. So instead of a dreary plaza, Noe Valley may get a real community center and park/plaza.

That doesn't seem so bad.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone who is angry that this didn't happen notice the part of the announcement that reads: parklets on 24th Street have gained the most support in Noe Valley (a survey at the June 30th workshop, for example, demonstrated 3 to 1 support for this proposal).

That means that more people want parklets than want to close a street or want a plaza. You don't know who all the people on either side are, so making presumptions that the people who disagree with a plaza are old or mean or somehow against progress is unfair.

First of all most of the "old" people in the neighborhood, like my aunt, have been politically active over genuinely serious things like overseas wars, so this seems stupid to them. Second of all, like me some of the people who didn't care about a plaza are bike riders who don't own cars and who work in stores on the street while going to college. I'm just saying, calling people you don't know names is really a cheap shot.

Todd David said...

Looking forward to seeing everyone at St. Philip's tonight at 6:30 to begin the discussion regarding the potential purchase of the Noe Valley Ministry's Parking.
Todd David

Todd David said...

That should read "Noe Valley Ministry's Parking Lot". Sorry for the confusion
Todd David

Anonymous said...

I feel ambivalent about this outcome.

On the one hand, I really wanted this project to go forward to trial and succeed, and I am really afraid that this sets a bad precedent in Noe Valley (scream like a child to get your way) and in terms of future Pavements to Parks projects.

On the other hand, it always seemed like an place for a plaza to me. 24th and Noe is unlike 17th and Market or Guerrero and 28th. Noe is a real through street that is regularly used (though admittedly, not "major"). Closing only the southern part of the intersection seems frivolous.

I think a real town square would involve closing the entire intersection and all adjacent blocks (one block each south, west, north and east) all converging at the intersection with a nice community area on Noe stretching from Jersey to Elisabeth, and a promenade + transit on 24th stretching from Sanchez to Castro (morning deliveries allowed).

If sidewalks are removed on 24th street (as in "shared street") and a roundabout is placed in the middle of the intersection, the 48 bus should be able to negotiate with pedestrians as it crosses the intersection, while allowing a seating area/fountain in the roundabout.

Of course, that would never happen.

Anonymous said...

OMG anon @5:49:

Not sure you've been following the past several months of comments..Your idea is so off base and ridiculous...not gonna happen in our lifetimes..not here.

why not focus on the proposed new plaza at the parking lot down the street. much more viable idea.

Anonymous said...

OMG anon @6:25:

Not sure if you read the last sentence of 5:49's post.

Anonymous said...

sure did...the first paragraphs sounded like they actually thought about this, or was smoking some funny stuff.

last sentence was full of sarcasm.

Richard Mlynarik said...

Can anybody recall a single instance of Gavin "Willie's Boy" Dufty ever acting remotely according to any sort of principle on any issue that could potentially have even the slightest cost to him?

He's been "my" supervisor for 8 years, and all I've ever seen is one example of craven pandering after another. Of course I don't expect my interests to be represented exclusively in a representative democracy, but to be tossed under the bus every single time is pretty depressing, if completely unsurprising.

I guess he can look forward to a job in the Lieutenant Governor's office somewhere in the unlikely event that floods of developer slush funding fail to wash him as our second generation of proxy Williemayor. Loyalty can have its rewards. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

I can just imagine the rolling eyes at the planning dept -- real issues to deal with city-wide, and they're stuck refereeing squabbles between a bunch of over-privileged yuppies.

murphstahoe said...

"they're stuck refereeing squabbles between a bunch of over-privileged yuppies."

Actual quote from the Ministry Lot meeting last night. "The city should start paying attention to less wealthy neighborhoods like Noe Valley".

Regardless - I had a lot of fun at the meeting last night, and not just because of comedic effect.

rocky's dad said...

Many of us are quite pleased that the Noe St. closure issue is behind us and we can move on to much more important things. Thank you to the Planning Dept. and Andres Power and Bevan Dufty for listening to reason.

And thank you to all of the hundreds of NV residents who signed the petition against the street closure and "temporary" plaza.

So we may get a cute little temporary parklet out of this whole thing, to be installed on 24th St. So be it. It will have minimal negative impact on the street and may be a charming spot to sit with a latte, while keeping the whiny hipsters happy..for the moment.

Now let's move on to the more important and long term possibility of a permanent Noe Valley plaza installed at the Ministry parking lot on 24th. The potential is exciting and the rewards could be great for the whole neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Damn, Rocky's Dad, you sure ventilated a lot about what you apparently think of as an unimportant thing.

So did you go to ministry meeting lot last night, or are you all talk?

rocky's dad said...

hey anon: start by getting a legitimate name here.

Nobody is ventilating. Especially me. I'm commenting..Don't like it. then don't read this blog.

If you are still angry that your "side" didn't get the street closure, take your attitude and anger elsewhere. You're wasting our time..again.

Nails Doverspike said...

It would be nice if all of you would stop sniping one another. What bores.

Anonymous said...

I take it that's a no on the Ministry Lot meeting.

Anonymous said...

No, RD was not there. He has no need to actually spend his time in FAVOR of improving the neighborhood.

rocky's dad said...

One of the great things about the potential of the parking lot to become a permanent public space is how many different green and sustainable materials could be incorporated into the overall design:

1. Permeable paving that allows rainwater to drain naturally into the earth. The paving accommodates the farmers market in designated zones.
2. Solar powered cells for night lighting.
3. Drought tolerant plant materials.
4. Street furniture made of recyclable plastics.

And many other possibilities...

Anonymous said...

How is it we have the money for solar cells but the Noe location was going to be ugly because we had no money to make it nice?

The open space fund only pays for land purchase. I hope to see Rocky's dad do more than pontificate about what he thinks we should do and help raise money!

rocky's dad said...

Ah, ok..but who said we had the money right now for solar cells or any amenities? I sure didn't. My suggestions are only part of the long term plan to make this plaza viable.

You're confusing long term vision with negative thinking on your part.

There are tons of ways out there to apply for neighborhood grants..there are donors..there are fund raising events.The list goes on.

Stop whining and get out and do something.

Anonymous said...

Says the guy who didn't go to the meeting.

Anonymous said...

Says the guy who did everything possible to shut down the most viable option for getting a public plaza in Noe Valley.

Rank hypocrisy.

rocky's dad said...

I love the power you guys assume I have..if only it were true.

So that must mean that as I help support and promote the parking lot as plaza idea, it will, in fact come true?

Then it's gonna happen. I'll do my part to help.

Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering if your part includes anything other than commenting on this blog.

What will you do to support the town square?

rocky's dad said...

Was just gonna ask you the same thing.

Your turn.

Anonymous said...

Well, for one thing I went to the meeting. I'm just trying to be a more informed bloviator than you. Winning so far!

Anonymous said...

I don't know anon. it does seem like you are just interested in "winning"..whatever that means.

I'm curious. why are you so concerned about who did or did not go to any meeting? why does it matter?

Anonymous said...

I'm not the only anon commenting here, but speaking for me I'm not interested in winning. That was tongue-in-cheek.

I'm interested in Rocky's Dad being accountable for his statements. I'm just wondering what "his part to help" is going to be. His armchair activism damaged the neighborhood over the last three months in my opinion and I want to know what he's going to do to fix it.

Anonymous said...

gee, why is it your business? your life kinda empty right now?

what does he need to fix?

with your logic, shouldn't others be also "accountable" for their statements as well? remember, there were many others who were against the plaza too.
and really...isnt this a moot issue? the plaza on noe st is a dead issue. thgout we were now focused on a new location..

dont get yur fixation.

Plaza blah blah said...

As I understand it, a handful of people - some of whom are frequent commenters on this blog - quashed the possibility of a plaza on Noe Street. So now instead of having a larger, centralized public gathering space, we'll have a couple of parklets instead. Fine. But what I find really amusing is that some of those very same people are now proposing that as a neighborhood, we will somehow come up with millions of dollars - not to mention a wellspring of goodwill and brotherly love, from the city and from one another - to convert a parking lot into a plaza instead. After complaining that the city was wasting its money ($38,000) on the Noe Street plaza, and screaming that the planning department should listen to you because you pay their salaries, do you really think that same planning department is going to help you realize your (multi-million dollar) dream of a plaza two blocks east? Really?

Well, best of luck to you. I still think that a plaza would be lovely. But forgive me for not thinking this one is worth my time and energy.

Chiming said...

I went to the last two Plaza meetings and NOBODY themself was able to tip the scales in either direction. It was the hundreds of people on both sides of the table who voted for or against. It showed the neighborhood was divided and not a strong majority for what you would expect for such a project. And the Parklet option at the last meeting was voted in favor by a 3-1 margin. I just see some pretty bitter pro-plaza people here lately.

murphstahoe said...

The meeting was held at 7:30 on a school night. No survey taken at that time has any merit. I have told Bevan and Andres that while I am disappointed about the outcome but can deal with it - to quote that survey in the notification is an insult to the 600 people who signed our support statement - the vast majority of whom were not at that meeting. Ironically, at the ministry lot meeting there was a call for getting "those people" more involved.

"Those people" just got jobbed. Todd has work to do.

rocky's dad said...

I agree Chiming. the pro-plaza people, especially one tahoe lover in particular, remain bitter and angry. They can't seem to let it go and move on to other important issues. They continue to complain about the past. I'm tired of their whining and ranting on every blog in SF.

And whether people attend every neighborhood meeting or not is irrelevant. Getting involved can take many forms of activism, including emailing, phone calling, distributing literature and door to door networking. All are valid.

I do hope the pro-plaza Noe st. closure people are able to re-direct their energies to helping us with the long term work ahead in making the Ministry parking lot into a great new public space. That's what I'll be doing.

murphstahoe said...

Rocky/chiming - you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Calling the people who supported the prior project "bitter" will not make Todd's life any easier.

Meanwhile - myself and the core suppporters of the Noe location...

1) Showed up to the meeting, participated, applauded, got involved.

2) emailed our large distribution list a report, indicating that the project was interesting, had merit, that we were concerned about convincing the City to fund it but that if anyone could do it, Todd David could.

It seems like we are making positive moves towards the Ministry lot project and you are making things worse.

Occams razor... Are you trying to sink this one too?

rocky's dad said...

Good murph. you are coming around. Let's be clear that I, among others, months ago began casually suggesting the great potential of the Ministry parking lot. It was a long shot, but I threw it out there to Andres Power and others.

I have outlined here and on other blogs the positive aspects and floated ideas around as to how this could become a permanent public open space, including using it for the farmers market..and many other venues. I'm glad you're finally believing that it has "merit and was interesting..". I stated that months ago.

Now that many of are working toward this common goal..please allow people to work, network and participate in their own way. And, please don't start harping again about "do it my way, cause I know what's best for you.."..Oh, and don't break your arm by patting yourself on the back too hard...

Thanks for listening to me and chiming and others. Now let's all move forward to make this work.

Anonymous said...

Geez, Rocky's Dad, speaking of patting yourself on the back...

The idea for the Ministry parking lot town square was seeded long before you began casually suggesting its great potential. It was never an alternative to the Noe St. plaza. It was an entirely separate thing.

I'm glad it's moving forward now. Looks like Murph's involved with that effort. Looks like you keep telling people to get involved without actually doing so yourself.

Anonymous said...

I'm still confused by the people that stood up and spoke out against the City spending $38K on the Plaza because (a) other neighborhoods were more deserving or (b) our schools are underfunded or (c) our parks have trees that are falling on people (Rocky's Dad, Mary, Joel, Tom and other screamers) yet are now more than happy to take $2 million from the City for a Noe Valley Plaza in a different location. I guess those teachers Mary was so concerned about are no longer a concern, at least judging from her eager participation in design ideas for the parking lot!

Chiming said...

Anon 12:01, don't know why you are confused? There were many reasons against the plaza that didn't have anything to do with a, b or c or spending in general. Actually, the argument against of "other neighorhoods are more deserving" came up in the April 8 meeting and I cringed. There was no need for that and made Noe sound high and mighty.

Murph, I wasn't labeling the pro-plaza team as bitter but quite a few posts have been pretty nasty of late. Rocky's Dad has been taking lumps yet has been trying to help in his own ways.

Anonymous said...

Sure there were other reasons for opposition, but then why did they all bring up their concern over city spending? It makes them look so ridiculous now that they are in favor of the new project. You would think $2 million for a plaza would make them even MORE outraged! Instead, their spending concerns have been forgotten.

Anonymous said...

They are outraged at the thought of spending $2M instead of $38k. Their egos just don't allow their outrage to show. That would put them too squarely in the NO TO EVERYTHING camp to live with themselves.

Irony can be painfully beautiful sometimes.

murphstahoe said...

The opening salvo in the Parklet Debate has been fired.


murphstahoe said...

Martha's Parklet blog post with actual hyperlink.

Parklet Feedback on Martha's Location from Vicksburg residents

Anonymous said...

Hey Murph--that blogger has some basic facts wrong e.g. who wrote the grant (it was the NVA not the "NVMA" the parklet zone in 'tween Sanchez and Vicksburg on 24th and according to the Noe Valley Voice, P2P is looking at spaces in front of Martha's, the ministry parking lot, and Noe Bagels and Toast/ambiance. Moreover p2p evidently will hold no more meetings before they choose the spots for the two parklets they say were "approved" by 80% of the neighborhood 200+/-residents who showed up at the June 30 "workshop"

murphstahoe said...

The blogger is me. The stuff in the quoted area is an email taken verbatim that I received last night from someone on Vicksburg

I will fix NVA/NVMA, that was an error on my part.

The rest of your comment is missing a parentheses and is a run on sentence so I'm trying to decipher it - which are basic facts that I messed up, and which are pieces of new information you are adding to the dialogue.

Regardless of P2P having meetings or not, Andres Power's email address is well known and it appears he reads it - he replied to the Vicksburg resident within minutes of the original missive.

The list of potential sites for parklets is news to me - the only exposure I have had to that was I told Debra from the "NVA" to 'put one in front of the Valley Tavern so I can drink outside' - which sounds fun but is not really realistic. So I'll go back to drinking in my garage like a good Noe Valleyan.

As I tried to make it clear - I don't have anything to do with it other than being an interested citizen. Don't shoot the messenger (feel free to shoot the snarky blogger however).