July 27, 2014

Proposed: Traffic Signal For Intersection Of Church And Cesar Chavez Streets

There's a small sign posted on a pole at Cesar Chavez and Church Streets announcing a hearing about a proposed traffic signal for that intersection. Pretty big news, right? There have been calls for a stoplight at 24th/Church, but this is the first we've heard of one at this busy intersection. Our initial reaction is that it's not necessary unless it can smooth the interaction of pedestrian traffic on Church and all the cars trying to get to 101. Otherwise, this intersection flows pretty smoothly. So where did this proposal come from? Follow us down the rabbit hole (and watch out for PDFs).

Remember the SFMTA's Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP)? When we covered it in 2008 the main issue was bus routes - there was a strong push to alter routes and eliminate stops to speed up the service. Then in 2012 the J Church line was included in Muni Forward's Travel Time Reduction Proposal (TTRP). Basically, the proposal aims to speed the J Church along its route by reducing stops, relocating boarding areas, creating transit-only lanes and (this is the key part) including "traffic calming" at certain intersections (more on that below). The SFMTA study says changes will "reduce the travel time of the J Church within the study area by about 6.5 minutes total in both directions."

Projects like this are never easy in San Francisco, and of course there was an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). The huge public response sent everyone back to the drawing board, and many changes were made (for fellow planning dorks here are the three huge PDFs documenting response to public feedback: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). The end result is that the amended EIR was approved with changes on May 22, 2014.

Approval of said EIR is what grants the SFMTA authority to add a traffic signal to Cesar Chavez and Church Streets. But what isn't clear is why the SFMTA is pursing a stoplight at this intersection only. The TTRP stipulates changes along the Church St route at 25th, 26th, and Day Streets -- the "expanded alternative" asks for unspecified "traffic calming" measures for those intersections, but offers a "moderate alternative" that will instead install traffic signals. (The TTRP makes clear that 24th and Church will get a light, but other changes there make for a bigger project that will likely happen later.) The August 1 hearing is asking the public to approve one of those traffic signals without addressing the rest of the J Church route.

If you have an opinion on this traffic light want your voice heard please attend the August 1 hearing at City Hall: 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 416 at 10:00am.

Can't make the hearing? Per SFMTA hearing guidelines (emphasis ours):
Opinions on these proposed changes may be filed in writing prior to the hearing by email (link to sustainable.streets@sfmta.com) with the subject line “Public Hearing.” Written opinions may also be transmitted to the Sustainable Streets Division via fax at 415.701.4737 or by mail: Engineering Public Hearing, Sustainable Streets Division, One South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103-5417. Submitted opinions will become part of the official public record and will be brought to the attention of the person(s) conducting the hearing.

July 26, 2014

This Week In Noe Valley: New Mystery Restaurant Announced, Neighbors Thwart Penthouse, And SF Progressives Against Progress

News from, about and for Noe Valley from around the interwebs:
[Photo: Hangin' BBQin' via thenorthsouth]

July 24, 2014

New Mural on Outer Church by Local Artist Amos Goldbaum

The building at the corner of Church and Day (now the home of Cardio-Tone and before that Kohler-Jones) is in the process of getting a mural painted by local artist Amos Goldbaum. A native of Bernal Heights, Goldbaum's style is hand-drawn images of iconic, local, and historic San Francisco landmarks. The finished mural will cover the entire building wall and feature lots of recognizable local touches (similar to what you'll find on the designs on his shirts). Here's a shot of the artist at work today:

Longtime Noe Valley residents will remember another funkier rainbow mural that used to be on the building when it was occupied by Mikeytom Market. That mural was called "Make Love" and was the work of Castro Street resident Brad Mossman (before it was a mural it was a street-level billboard which explains the smaller format of Mossman's mural).

A neighbor who spoke to the artist told us Goldbaum expects the mural to be done in about 2 weeks or less. Check it out while it's being created and you can meet the artist. Or you can follow the progress on Goldbaum's Instagram feed and on Twitter.

It already looks great and should be a gorgeous addition to the area.

[Photos: top images NVSF, bottom image a screenshot from B. Mossman's site]

July 21, 2014

Bloody Scene On 24th St

Fast breaking news from 24th St this evening. It started with this tweet at 7:39pm:
Based on the amount of blood in the above picture by Sara Gudernatch we assumed a stabbing or shooting. Close:

The man was subdued with non-lethal rounds by SFPD. More info:

The unidentified man was taken to the hospital. We hope he does well and gets the care he needs. At this time no other information is known, but we're glad no one was the victim of someone else's violence.We'll update as more information is available.

As for the blood in the street?

Noe Valley is quiet again.

Update (7/23):

[Photo: @GuderGoesGreen]

July 13, 2014

Coming Soon: A Healthy Corner Market On Sanchez St

There are plans for a new market in the space at Sanchez and 29th St and we're pretty excited.

A longtime local favorite corner store St. Paul's Market closed in March. There was a rumor the rent doubled and a "health situation." It was ultimately confirmed the owner has cancer in the Noe Valley Voice (which is impossible to link to properly). We learned via the Twitter that the owner tried to sell to family but couldn't, and that he wants to live out the rest of his life without the stress of the market. So St. Paul's close for good on April 14th.

Since the closing, there has been a some work done to the facade of the building at 1598 Sanchez, which according to Planning Department records was to settle a complaint and restore the original glass design. But other than that no word on what may go in that space.

And then a couple weeks ago we stumbled across this ad for a general manager at a new store called Little Jug in Noe Valley:
Little Jug offers urban communities convenient access to delicious and healthy food, beverages, and essential housewares–all in a compact, clean and well-organized footprint. Our markets stock hand-selected local and international beer, wine, tea and coffee, prepared foods, limited seasonal produce, fresh cheese, local bread, and an array of home necessities including toiletries, herbal and over-the-counter remedies, and cleaning supplies. Little Jug is opening its first market in Noe Valley in September 2014.

The co-founders are long-time San Franciscans and food lovers with strong leadership experience in design, food, finance, technology, and operations. We are passionate about taste, quality, neighborhoods, simplicity, honesty, and generosity.
We reached out to one of the principals, Shivani Ganguly, to get some more details on what was planned for the space and when:
You’re calling the new place Little Jug. How did you land on that as a name?
Little Jug is actually a working name, and we're still finalizing the name that we're going to launch with. Once we've figured it out, we'll let you know!

What made you decide to choose Noe Valley (and that specific spot)?
I'd been looking for a market space in Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, or the Mission for several months. St. Paul's Market was one of the original inspirations for opening a corner market - Alex is a beloved community member, but I couldn't find the kind of products I need on a daily basis there, or healthy and fresh meals and snacks. So when a friend who lives a couple of blocks away let me know that the space was available, I contacted the landlord immediately, and everything fell into place from there! I love the sunny corner location and often do my own errands in that neighborhood (more on that below).

You’re advertising openings for a chef, general manager and a beer and wine manager. Describe what the market will offer … give us a tour.
We aim to offer all the daily essentials for the neighborhood community, and some special treats too. What makes our market stand out from others is our focus on providing fresh, local, and ethical options for both food and home products. Healthy meals, artisanal wine and beer, local produce, and environmentally friendly alternatives for household needs are hard to come by in your typical corner store, and we want to change that.

In terms of the nitty gritty of what we're offering, we'll have an excellent selection of beer and wine, with both local and further afield options at reasonable prices. We'll serve espresso drinks, tea, and a light breakfast in the morning for guests on their way to work or school. At lunchtime, we'll offer delicious salads and sandwiches with a Mediterranean flare. In the evening, we'll have a variety of entrees and sides to assemble into dinner for individuals, family and friends. Guests can grab these prepared foods to go, or eat at our communal table or outdoor seating.

In addition to wine, beer, and prepared foods, we'll offer cheese, charcuterie, pickles, dairy, bread, snacks, limited seasonal produce, flowers, magazines, and other grocery staples. We'll also have an array of home necessities including health and beauty items and cleaning supplies.

Your bio says you’re an entrepreneur and consultant focused on leadership and social enterprises. Tell us some more about yourself and why you want to get into the market business?
To me, access to delicious, healthy, affordable food and staples is a cornerstone of good urban living. I'm excited to have the opportunity to build a business that provides delicious food, beer, wine, and delightful products to the neighborhood while partnering with community organizations and providing good jobs.

I also love traveling, and am inspired by the European approach to shopping for food - picking up great products at affordable prices every day or two rather than stocking up once a week.

Shivani Ganguly
In terms of my background, I grew up in an old farm house in Connecticut where we grew much of our own food, and moved out here to go to Stanford in 1995. I've lived in the Bay Area ever since, and have worked in technology startups and nonprofits. I've always been interested in food and community, and in using business as a mechanism for social change. I decided to return to school for an MBA at Presidio Graduate School in 2009 to explore these interests. I also started my consulting firm, Friday Consulting, around that time and have helped build and scale a variety of food and wellness businesses for the past five years, focusing on finance, operations, and human capital management. With good food, health, ethical practices, and community at the core of the market, I'm looking forward to melding my passion for food and social impact with my expertise in building food and health startups to make the market a thriving business for the neighborhood.

Are you opening Little Jug by yourself or with partners - and if there are other partners who are they?
I'm working with friends and consultants. Brook Lane is an amazing designer who's heading up the store design and buildout, and Alli Ball, a former store manager at Bi-Rite Market, is helping us to get up and running operationally. I'm also looking for several key staff members, including a general manager, chef, and a beer and wine manager.

Why open a market now?
I'm a long-time San Francisco resident, and I've lived in the Mission for the last 15 years. (And I'm actually moving to Pacifica in a couple of weeks - I got married recently and though we love San Francisco we aren't able to buy a home here right now.)

I'm opening a market now because I believe that there's a need for urban spaces that bring communities together through food. It's also the right time for me personally to take on this project - I've built a successful consulting firm that I'll continue to run while also having the opportunity to put into practice the methods and principles that I believe in.

What do you think you can do differently than what other markets in the area offer?
In most corner markets, it's difficult to find healthy prepared meals, fresh produce, and environmentally friendly alternatives for household items. We want to make these products available to the neighborhood at affordable prices, fostering a healthy and strong community. We envision the market to be far more than just a place where you buy your groceries; it's a communal space where neighborhood families, friends, and local businesses come together to support one another and share in delicious food and wonderful service.

And a note for early bird and late night shoppers, we're currently planning our hours to be 7am to 11pm. 
What other places do you love and frequent in Noe Valley?
I often shop at Drewes, Church Produce, Omnivore Books, and the Noe Valley Pet Company. I plan to work with these businesses to provide a complimentary selection of products. I also love La Ciccia (I've celebrated many birthdays there), Hamano Sushi, and Chloe's for a meal in Noe Valley. And my favorite nail place is at Church and 27th Street.
There's been no work to the interior of the space yet [Update 7/14: work begins today] but Shivani says she hopes to see the new store open by mid October. Here's looking forward to a new fresh, healthy local market on Sanchez.

Update (10/1/14): The market will be called Bom Dia and will open in November.

[Photo: composite of Emmy C on Yelp]

July 10, 2014

Hearing: Dedicated On-Street Parking For Carshare Vehicles

There's a hearing at City Hall tomorrow morning asking for public comment on dedicating certain on-street parking spaces to car share vehicles (Zipcar, City CarShare, etc.). In other words, you can't park your car in those spots. Parking is a big deal to some in Noe Valley, so we were glad to get this from Heather World:
The city’s program to dedicate on-street parking to car-sharing vehicles leaps forward July 11 when residents are invited to comment on 100 proposed sites, including seven in Noe Valley.

Two spots are proposed for 22nd Street and Noe and for Clipper and Sanchez. One spot is proposed for 24th Street at Sanchez, 29th Street at Dolores, and San Jose Avenue and Duncan Street.

The pilot program is part of the city’s effort to improve congestion and encourage car sharing, said project manager Andy Thornley.

About 450 of the city’s 275,000 parking spots have been identified as possible dedicated spaces for City CarShare, Zipcar and Getaround vehicles, though only 40 have been approved by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Board of Directors so far.

Noe would be the site of about two dozen sites, which will be vetted at public meetings.

The pilot ends in August, 2015. Car sharing companies are required to collect data from each car.

“We can see whether a given parking space is productive,” he said. The city will evaluate each space, looking at use and impact. “If it doesn’t prove out, it won’t be a permanent thing.”

The July 11 hearing, hosted by the SFMTA Sustainable Streets Division, will take place at 10 a.m. in Room 416 at City Hall.
Here's a link to more information about the Car Sharing Policy and Pilot Program, as well as a map of all locations in San Francisco [PDF]. If you can't make the meeting you can send your comments to Andy Thornley.

What: Hearing about proposed sites for dedicated on-street carshare parking
When: July 11, 10am
Where: City Hall, Room 416

[SFMTA: Car Sharing Policy and Pilot Program]
[Photo: SFMTA]