Tag Archives: Improving Streets and Traffic

Innovative traffic-calming at Quesada Gardens

Images by Shane King

John and friend

Shane King lives on the upper side of Quesada Avenue, which has a speed limit of 15 MPH, and he’s tired of seeing and hearing cars whiz by his house.

A speed bump was installed, to little avail. So King, Co-Chair of Quesada Gardens Initiative, brought up the idea of traffic calming cutouts shaped like local children and pets. He thought that putting up cutouts of the people and pets who actually live on the block might make speeders think about who lives here. Maybe they will slow down.

“I thought of this solution for three reasons,” King said “It’s a reminder that speed limit is 15 MPH on the street, it’s a way to show speeders who’s lives they are risking, and it is a way to show all the kids on the street they are honored members of our community.”

kids cutoutsThere are nine kids under ten on the 1700 block of Quesada. The cutouts should be finished and placed by mid-August. They will be placed in the garden in view of drivers.

If you have an idea for our community and would like to get involved, Quesada Gardens Initiative welcomes you to join us at our community building meetings the first Thursday of each month at 6pm. All community members are welcome.


India Basin Neighborhood Coalition at Speakeasy

Photo: IBNA

The India Basin Neighborhood Coalition will host its annual General Meeting on Saturday, February 1st beginning at 4pm at Speakeasy Ales and Lager (1195 Evans).

IBNA’s Sean Karlin describes India Basin as “that small strip of neighborhood between 3rd and the Shipyard.”

It may not be big, but it’s in the middle of some big changes at Hunters Point and all along the waterfront.

One highlight of the upcoming meeting, Sean tells Footprints, is a screening of a video done to advocate that the City acquire the Shipwright’s Cottage. Other topics of interest to IBNA is the completion of the Blue-Greenway bike path and the improvement of sidewalks and utilities in the area.

The group will also review past accomplishments and future plans. Supervisor Malia Cohen is expected to speak. And, since the meeting is being held at Speakeasy, drinking beer made the agenda.

Email Sean for more information and visit IBNA online.

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Oakdale construction riles residents

Photo: Footprints October 21st

What happened to the Berkeley Farms milk carton sign that used to hang from a warehouse building on Oakdale and Selby, near the overpass? For that matter, what happened to the building it hung from?

Those questions were on the minds of community members when they saw that two buildings, representing over 11,000 square feet of commercial space, had been reduced to rubble, and over 800 cubic feet of soil removed.

The work at 2065 Oakdale began on October 17th. A report was filed with the City’s Department of Public Works, on October 18th, notifying the agency that demolition was occurring without necessary protections to traffic and pedestrians.
But by the next day it was too late. The site was laid bare.
More work was performed at the site, despite a stop work placard placed there by a Department of Building Inspection inspector on November 7th.

Dan Dodt, with support from Supervisor Malia Cohen‘s office and several Bayview residents, is challenging the project through the Board of Permit Appeals. The demolition, their research suggests, was done on the basis of an over-the-counter “Alteration Permit” issued to Jack Tsang on October 9th.

The scope of the work, Dan and others say, clearly calls for a “Demolition Permit” which would have required the usual notification of neighbors, as well as more stringent health and safety procedures.
A brief prepared for a San Francisco Board of Permit Appeals meeting scheduled for December 5thlists a number of requests, including that the initial Alteration Permit be revoked retroactively, that governmental oversight of such demolition be strengthened, and that a moratorium on new building construction at 2065 Oakdale be put in place.
Dan also wants that cool sign back.
Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

DPW Annual Report – southeast perspective

It takes some time to leaf through the 102 page SF Department of Public Works’ 2012 Annual Report to find items relevant to the Southeast Sector. So Bayview Footprints did it for you.
Stairs by Margot Bors
The Arelious Stairway as it now looks.
Photo courtesy Margo Bors

According to the report which was released last month, the Arelious Stairway Replacement project “stives to provide safer public access and further enhance the character and livability of the neighborhood.”

Other highlights:

DPW responded to 22,728 reports of illegal dumping this year, dispatching crews to clear debris from sidewalks and streets — approximately 62 reports each day.” (p11)

“DPW continued to clean 25 hotspots in southeastern San Francisco with the CalRecycle grant, which funds two years of cleaning.” (p17)

The Corridors Ambassador Program has hired and trained 150 street sweepers who are dedicated to specific communities. Hiring for the program is a partnership with SF Human Services Agency, Goodwill, Mission Neighoborhood Center and Ecnonomic Opportunity Council.

Spruce Up by Sun Up is “an inspection program where DPW inspectors set out before dawn to look for and address issues that affect the quality of life in San Francisco, such as missing or inadequate garbage service, sidewalk cleanliness, and graffiti and blight issues.”

In one 20-week period, 6,060 deficiencies were found “including 1687 instances of graffiti on public and private property, 1883 tree-related issues, 1186 private entity issues, and 667 other city agency issues. 361 properties were cited for no garbage service and 933 Notices of Violation (NOV) were issued to property owners for grimy, littered sidewalks or excessive cigarette butts.” (p21)

“Currently, DPW BDC is managing the construction of the Heron’s Head Park Improvement project, which upon completion will enhance the educational and recreational use of the park with the followuing new features: a parking lot, a meadow, a dog run, picnic areas with barbeque pits and tables, composting toilets, solar powered light fixtures, and paving for the 12′ wide path which leads over half a mile into the San Francisco Bay with GraniteCrete, a patented paving product…” (p36)

“A ground breaking ceremony for the new Bayview Branch Library was held and the building is scheduled to be completed in early 2013.” (p53)

– Jeffrey Betcher

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Quint Street Bridge Replacement Project

To resolve a scheduling conflict, the Authority Board has now scheduled consideration of a staff recommendation on the Quint Street Bridge Replacement Project at its December meetings.

Chris Waddling has kept his finger on the pulse of the bridge project, which has proven to be one of the neighborhood’s more complicated planning processes.

by Chris Waddling

The Quint Street Bridge shows its age.
The Caltrain Bridge over Quint Street in Silver Terrace is more than 100 years old, is cracked, and needs immediate replacement. The situation is so bad that Caltrain recently issued a “slow-down” order over this bridge to keep it from collapsing.

Caltrain has $25 million available to replace the bridge. But this area is home to many projects that make designing the bridge’s replacement extremely complex: an Oakdale Caltrain station is planned; the SFPUC’s is planning its renovation of the wastewater treatment facility; and the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market will soon be building at 901 Rankin and renovating the remainder of its aging facility.

Simply replacing the bridge with one like that which was installed in 2011 across Jerrold Ave would not accommodate a future Caltrain station at Oakdale Ave, while installing a bridge that would accommodate a station would cost up to $10M more than is in the budget.

The “recommended” proposal, which first came to light in a CADOT memo in 2009 and that was first introduced to the community in 2011, is being referred to today by the SFCTA as Option 1: Berm Design and Connector Road. It would replace the existing bridge with a berm (a raised earthen embankment) for $20 million and construct a new Quint-Jerrold Connector Road for $5-8M, providing access to Jerrold for 75% of vehicular traffic. It facilitates a future Oakdale Caltrain station but closes through access on Quint Street.

Vacation of Quint Street northeast of the Caltrain tracks is part of the proposal, and would be compatible with adjacent future uses including the Master Planning efforts at the SFPUC’s Southeast Water Pollution Control Plant. Vacation of Quint St would also facilitate construction staging of both the berm and the connector road projects.

With the berm/embankment cost at $20M, the remaining $5M in the existing budget would be used to help fund construction of the connector road. Cost estimates as high as $8M for this have been proposed, however, so there may still be a cost gap that needs to be overcome in this proposal. The funding for costs above the budget would need to come from the purchase by SFPUC of the Quint St Vacation Area, which is about 2/3 of an acre and could be valued at roughly $3M. This would adequately and fully fund the connector road portion of the project.

The main priority of the project has so far been the replacement of the bridge. Discussions surrounding the connector road have been mostly framed in terms of “if and when funding becomes available” and that it would be completed only “after the bridge has been replaced.” Fortunately, some progress has been made in addressing this.

In response to community-based concerns, Supervisor Cohen, who is also a SFCTA board member charged with deciding which direction to go on this project, has agreed to insert wording into the SFCTA proposal that would insist that the connector road be prioritized and built first so that the community loses a minimum amount of vehicular access between Silver Terrace and Bayview during construction of the berm.

Other concerns remain to be addressed, however. The physical appearance of the berm on its western side has not been adequately discussed. This area is currently a significant dumping and graffiti site, and the embankment has the potential to exacerbate this problem and end up being an even uglier eyesore than the existing bridge and surrounding area.

Because the SFPUC benefits beyond the mere value of the land itself, the community would continue to require that, as part of their purchase of the “vacation area,” that the SFPUC set aside funds for beautification, landscaping, security, and traffic flow improvements, both on the western side of the berm as well as on surrounding streets.

Finally, it remains to be addressed that the connector road would eliminate the legal left turn onto Jerrold that roughly 25% of motorists make on a daily basis. A simple solution, that has not been mentioned in any of the public meetings, is a traffic circle located at the Quint St Connector to Jerrold.

At a diameter up to the size of the one at Division and Townsend near Showplace Square, roughly 160-ft, a traffic circle would slow traffic, allow for a left turn onto Jerrold from Quint St, provide smooth transition onto an improved Innes St. around the renovated Produce Market, and would offer an opportunity for greening and landscaping. Use of a “truck apron” around the center of the circle would allow truck traffic to continue unimpeded.

Also published on Chris’ blog, D10 Watch.
Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Palou neighbors mix wood, poetry & community

by Peg Conley
In San Francisco’s Bayview neighborhood, creativity, connectivity, ingenuity and perspiration are ingredients for building community and, in the case of Sarah Stangle and Chris Buck, fences.

Last April, Sarah and Chris sent a letter to their neighbors about replacing the dilapidated fence located at 1665 Palou Avenue just off 3rd Street near where the couple and daughter Taylor live.

Tapping the goodwill they had built up over the years, these highly involved community members brought neighbors together to procure materials, and to build and paint the fence. They solicited donations to cover other costs.

Once the fence was in place, the organizers embellished it with a quote, “Good fences make good neighbors!” from a poem written by Robert Frost (American poet born in San Francisco) titled “Mending Wall”. The entire poem is also on 2 slats of the fence.

Though the project is finished, and the neighborhood is benefitting, the organizers have another $150 in costs to cover. It’s easy to donate online, or drop by with a check (note “fence project”) or cash to 1657 Palou.

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Good neighbor, Mohammed Nuru

SF DPW Director Mohammed Nuru thanks well-wishers
as community leader Marlene Tran looks on.

Bayview resident Mohammed Nuru has been doing the work for so long folks know him as “Mr. Clean.” At last, the “interim” was dropped from his title and he has officially taken the reins of the SF Department of Public Works, one of the City’s most important departments.

On Thursday, April 19th, the Bayview Hill Neighborhood Association hosted a celebration of Director Nuru that was attended by dignitaries and fans alike.

The appreciation was palpable as speakers, one after the other, acknowledged Director Nuru’s accomplishments with DPW, the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, and many project and community groups.

“He’s not only a member of the Bayview Hill Neighborhood Association,” said organizer Shirley Moore. “He pays his dues!”

Congratulations Mohammed Nuru, and thank you for all you do to keep Bayview Hunters Point and the entire City looking good!
Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Centurian bridge to be replaced

100 year old Quint Bridge
Current bridge seismically unsound.

Three options are being considered for the replacement of the century-old Quint Street Rail Bridge:

  • Replacing the existing bridge with a berm for $20 million, closing private vehicle access under the tracks on Quint Street;
  • Replacing the existing bridge with a $25 million structure that maintains vehicle access under the tracks but would need to be rebuilt to accommodate a future Oakdale Caltrain station; and
  • Replacing the existing bridge with a $35 million structure designed to accommodate future station platforms (exceeding available funding by $10 million).
The lower cost of option one opens the potential for a Quint-Jerrold Connector Road, running along the west side of the Caltrain tracks, that would increase accessibility to adjacent land uses and provide alternate access to areas on the other side of the Caltrain tracks via Jerrold Avenue.

A decision is expected in late spring or early summer.  

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Newcomb residents enjoy their Model Block

The Newcomb Model Block project, between Phelps and Newhall, was completed at the end of 2011. Chicane parking and plantscapes are among the improvements

by Elizabeth Skow

The quality of life results of the Newcomb Avenue Model Block Project are beginning to be felt as neighbors enjoy stronger social connections, and as young trees and a variety of plants begin to establish themselves. 

The Model Block showcases some of the most promising urban planning practices such as chicane parking (parallel parking on one side of the street, perpendicular on the other), and permeable pavement and sidewalks that filter rainwater.

“Working on this project together made us all realize the wealth of skills and resources we had right on this block,” said resident and organizer Michelle Mouton. “This project really brought the people on the block together, and I got to know my neighbors.”
Mouton said that traffic is much slower, though double parking continues to be a problem. 
According to Vanessa Dandridge who worked on the project from its conception in 2004 through 2009, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency “wanted to complete a project that helped Bayview residents who already had housing, as well as create new housing opportunities.”

The Model Block Project had a total price tag of $1.5 million with one-third of that funding coming from the US Environmental Protection Agency, about $600,000 from the SF Redevelopment Agency, and the remainder from the SF Community Challenge Grant program.  

The SF Redevelopment Agency’s housing division created the project to accompany several new buildings planned for Third Street such as the completed 4800 Third and 5800 Third projects.

The main goals of the project were greening the area, a waste water solution, traffic calming, and community improvement and ongoing care through community stewardship.

While the long-term effects of the physical improvements are difficult to predict, the effects of an improved social environment are evident.  People on the block have agreed to keep organizing to control trash dumping that remains a problem, and to replace dead plants when needed.

“They just finished the project, so it might take some time to measure the overall success of the project,” Dandridge said. “I’m glad I was involved. It will be nice to drive down the block later and see the work that was done.”

The curbs curve out at the ends of the street, adding visual interest while forcing cars to slow down.

Past coverage of the Newcomb Model Block Project

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org

Dumping prevention campaign launches

Don’t Leave it on the Sidewalk,” a community education campaign of the SF Department of Public Works, was launched in the Bayview neighborhood on November 17th as phase one of what will become a citywide effort.

The new campaign highlights property-owners’ responsibility for removing items that have been illegally dumped on sidewalks. Failure to do so could result in a $1,000 fine.

Marginalized communities are especially vulnerable to commercial and other dumping on streets and open spaces. Bayview’s proximity to the area’s largest legal dumping facility means that the neighborhood has the dubious distinction of being the last stop before a fee is required to drop-off waste where it should go.

Quesada Gardens Initiative builds community in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood. www.quesadagardens.org