May 31, 2011

Shuttle Buses: SFCTA Releases Final Draft Of Strategic Analysis Report

In 2009 Bevan Dufty initiated a studdy of corporate/private shuttle buses operating in San Francisco neighborhoods. Concerns at the time were that while the busses took drivers off the road and increased foot traffic to local business the busses were too big, too loud and took up space at MUNI stops -- all true to varying degrees according to the SAR finalized on May 25, 2011. Other claims were unfounded (for instance, Google was not paying to use MUNI stops).

After studying use patterns of employer and regional shuttles in the Marina, Glen Park, and Noe Valley (as well as in Seattle, New York City and Washington, DC), the SFCTA came up with two recommendations:
1) More formal management and recognition of shuttles. The SAR recommends the
development of a “Muni Partners” program at the SFMTA and dedicated SFMTA staff to liaise with the shuttle industry, respond to public inquiries and concerns, and provide for the orderly and beneficial growth of the shuttle sector. Shuttle providers would pay a fee to sustain the program which would provide operating guidelines and facilities for safe and complementary shuttle operations with Muni and other road users.

2) Designated shuttle coordinator. The Muni Partners program would include a shuttles staff person at the SFMTA to address management needs and develop regulations, coordinate with shuttle providers and operators, and act as a point of contact for the public. This coordinator would set certification criteria, provide operating guidance, plan needed facilities, set fee structures, conduct monitoring and evaluation activities, coordinate enforcement, and manage growth of the sector. The coordinator would also receive and appropriately direct public inquiries and complaints.
In other words, the shuttles are valuable, need to be regulated and the City sees a potential revenue stream.

Give it a read (PDF). Lots of good info.

[SFCTA: Shuttle SAR]
[SFCTA: SAR Final Report (PDF)]
[SFCTA: SAR Memo to CAC (PDF)]
[NVSF: Meeting: Upper Noe Neighbors]
[NVSF: Shuttle Buses: Useful or Menace?]

May 30, 2011

Tidbits: Opening and Moving in Noe

Press: Works on Paper is a new gallery/paperie that opened this month in East Noe on 22nd Street (yes, it's technically still Noe, though it feels alot like the Mission). The store carries artist prints, letterpress cards, one-of-a-kind wrapping paper, and hard-to-find and vintage architecture and photography books. It's a charming hipster-esque addition to the row of shops that includes Pot + Pantry, a gallery/kitchen store that sells vintage and new kitchen supplies a few doors down. 

Press: Works on Paper, 3492 22nd St. at Dolores
Pot+ Pantry, 3412 22nd St. at Guerrero

The Animal Company next to Firefly on 24th Street is moving into the old Cover to Cover space. The pet store and aviary has been around since 1977 and carries parrots, macaws, cockatoos, finches, canaries, parakeets and more. No indication of exactly when the new digs will open but it looks imminent. And when it does open, "owners, Rick and Ellen French invite you and your pet to stop by their store, say hello, and get a treat."

The Animal Company, 1307 Castro St. at 24th

May 25, 2011

Spin City Gets Square

Square is the hot new mobile payment startup in the Bay Area that its founders hope will someday replace cash registers in small businesses. So of course it's also already being well-used in Noe at the postage-stamp-size Spin City Café (aka the place that serves Blue Bottle on 26th at Sanchez).

Here's how it works: Order a coffee, and when the merchant swipes your credit card, you get your receipt by email. Leave your card on file with Square, and next time you visit the shop you can browse the menu and pay via smartphone.

Tech blog writer and Noe resident Xavier Lanier at GottaBeMobile shot this video of the Square in action at Spin City, featuring the cafe's owner/barista Maricar Lagura and her iPad.

Go say hi and you might get your own Square says Lanier:
"I didn’t just leave with a couple of cups of coffee on this visit. Maricar wouldn’t let me leave without taking a Square dongle for myself. Square’s apparently supporting this word of mouth campaign by loading loyal users up with extra Square dongles, which are compatible with iOS and Android devices."
[Square, Inc.]
[Gottabemobile: Small Business Owners Love Square]

May 17, 2011

Cesar Chavez: Work Starts In June

CC Puede's Fran Taylor sent the following update about the upcoming construction and redesign of the Cesar Chavez corridor:
The May 11 meeting on the Cesar Chavez Street project drew well over 50 people and was crammed with information, which I tried to note down. Here it is, in somewhat higgledy-piggledy fashion.

The sewer work is scheduled to begin in late June, starting at Hampshire and working west. The construction crews will work on three- or four-block chunks at a time. These blocks will have no parking during the work, which will involve digging a trench 10 to 13 feet wide to accommodate the 72 to 84-inch-diameter pipes being installed.

In addition, on the south side of Cesar Chavez, the existing pipes will be relined. Workers will need to block traffic for this as well.

From Hampshire to Treat, the trench is expected to be closer to the north side of the street; west of Treat, the trench is expected to be closer to the middle of the street. Two travel lanes in each direction will be maintained on Cesar Chavez throughout the project, but the lanes will move according to where the trench is. The existing three lanes of traffic west of the project will be gradually merged into two lanes in the construction area.

For the crossing of Mission Street, workers will avoid digging a trench to minimize disruption to Muni and BART service. Instead, they will dig two pits, one each at Capp and Bartlett, and install the pipe with a trenchless method.

In addition to Cesar Chavez, sewer construction work will take place on the following streets in the area as part of this project:
* Harrison: from Cesar Chavez to 26th
* Valencia: from Cesar Chavez to Mission
* Fair: from Mission to Coleridge
* Coleridge: from Fair to Coso
* Coso at Coleridge

Each block should take five to six weeks, and the first large segment from Hampshire to Folsom should take about nine to 10 months. When each three-block chunk is completed and reopened, the street will be striped according to the new streetscape striping, with parking lanes, bike lanes, two car travel lanes in each direction, and turn pockets or turn restrictions as outlined in the approved plan. As part of the streetscape improvements, the greening, repaving, and median work won’t begin until the sewer work reaches Folsom, about nine months after it begins.

The sewer work on Cesar Chavez would take 15 to 16 months, and the streetscape work another nine months, totaling about two years. Work hours will be Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm, with some possible weekend work. City officials emphasized that residents will have local access, and, on the occasions when driveways must be blocked, the contractors will contact households individually to work with them on solutions.

Notices that will be distributed before the project starts will include a 24-hour number for questions and complaints. The city will conduct meetings similar to the one last Wednesday every three or four months to update and obtain feedback from the community.

Alex Murillo of the DPW Office of Communications and Public Affairs will be the contact person for the project, and he gave out his office phone number (415/437-7009) and cell number (415/627-8106). Brave man! He can be reached at The project is also up on the DPW website:

The project manager for the streetscape aspect is Kris Opbroek, who can be reached at or 415/558-4045.

After the presentations, a lively discussion ensued, mostly focused on the approach to combining or separating stormwater runoff from wastewater.

May 5, 2011

Noe Valley Garden Tour Tickets on Sale

Via the Friends of Noe Valley we get this notice that tickets for the Noe Valley Garden Tour are now on sale:
The 5th Annual Noe Valley Garden Tour is set for Sat., May 21, 2011 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 9 private gardens across Noe Valley will be open to the public. Tickets are $15 for adults under 65 and $10 for seniors. Children under 18 are free. Donations from net proceeds will go to Noe Valley beautification projects.

The two neighborhood beautification projects donations will be made to are re-landscaping the Sanchez St. side of the Upper Noe Rec. Center and proving shade structures for the James Lick Middle School garden.
Tickets are available at Independent Nature, Omnivore, Wink, Noe Valley Bakery, Small Fry’s, Patxi’s Chicago Pizza Noe and Urban Nest – and on weekends at the NV Farmer's Market.

Announced: 1st Annual Noe Valley Wine Walk

It had to happen sooner or later. Noe Valley needs a wine walk. The problem, of course, was finding the right partner to pull it off. Who better than the same team that produces formula street fairs around the rest of the City--North Beach, Fillmore, Union Street, etc:
The Noe Valley Merchants Association and Steven Restivo Event Services, LLC. are hosting the 1st Annual Noe Valley Wine Walk on Wednesday, September 14th, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

The tasting event will be located throughout 24th Street from Diamond to Chattanooga and will include restaurants and merchants offering wine samples, finger foods and special treats.

Attendees wishing to participate in the sampling program may purchase a $30 “Tasting Wristband” prior to the event via the web site or on-site (tbd), where they will receive a wine glass and map with all of the tasting locations.
[Steven Restivo Event Services]

NVV May 2011: We Read It So You Don't Have To

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

May 2011

Front Page: St. Paul Church is 100 years old; local artist Eli Noyes designs a sheet of green stamps; car vs. ped accident at 24th and Church spurs local resident Kevin Daniels to pursue better enforcement (or lights) at the 4-way stop.

Letters: Cover to Cover closure lament; Gallery of Jewels adds a ramp for handicap access.

Features: Local resident opens mail-order basket business - the Noe Valley Day Break basket features Noe Valley honey, coffee beans, pastries and a Cafe XO mug; more ADA lawsuits targeting Pasta Pomodoro, Bacco Ristorante and Mailboxes Etc.; food gardening will be showcased at the Noe Valley garden tour on May 21; and 32 AT&T communications boxes are headed for Noe sidewalks if the supes vote yes on May 24 (for more info email AT&T's Mark Blakeman).

Cost of Living in Noe: Zephyr reports 13 homes changed hands in March, including 3 for over $2 million.  High-end homes are hot again in Noe.

Store Trek: Tango Advanced Nutrition (1311 Church St. at 25th); The Urban Chair hair salon (3650 24th St @ Fair Oaks) 

Rumors: None. Mazook's on vacation.

[The Noe Valley Voice]

Closing: San Francisco Mystery Book Store

Noe Valley is losing another independent book store:
A final message to all of my loyal customers. I will be closing the San Francisco Mystery Book Store effective May 31, 2011. My landlords will be renovating the building and thus, I would need to find a new location. Since my current landlords have been SO very generous over the years, I know finding a place which has such a low rent would be next to impossible. I have LOVED my 10+ years here, having the most fun spending time with customers, turning them on to amazing books, mostly out of the ordinary and hopefully have introduced people to new and interesting series.

I will still be in the biz. I am holding on to my seller's permit and I will continue to sell online, but more about that later. I have set up a contact with someone in the UK (no, not the Duchess of Cambridge) who will be able to supply me with amazing novels by amazing authors who are not available here in the US as well as keep you up to date with new releases. Now that I will no longer have a storefront, I will also be reviewing books, and making 'yes' and 'no' recommendations.

Starting Saturday, May 7th, all inventory (including first editions) will be half price. Please stop in and say hello, or goodbye and perhaps even purchase a few books.

Thanks, Diane
[Photo: Google Street View]

May 3, 2011

Closed: Tuttimelon

As it began, so it ends - Tuttimelon will miss the summer season. For that matter, Tuttimelon in Noe Valley will miss every foreseeable summer season. We walked by today and they were loading refrigerators into small pickup trucks. They've had all sorts of issues, so we assumed a remodel. When asked? "We're shut down and clearing out."

Sorry, kids - no more Strawreo flavored Fro-Yo.