Noe Valley Plaza Debate: It’s the Traffic, Stupid

Don__t_block_Noe_small.jpgSigns like this hang from windows on streets all around 24th and Noe Streets. Photos: Matthew Roth

Just outside St. Phillip’s Church in Noe Valley, where more than 100 people showed up last night to weigh in on the proposal to close Noe Street at 24th Street for two months to build a trial pedestrian plaza, I asked a woman to point me to the entrance to the community room.

"For or against?" she demanded.

"Neither," I said. I’m just writing a follow-up story on it for Streetsblog.

Then I got to the meeting, and Mary McFadden, a resident living at 24th and Noe and the spokesperson for those opposed to the trial, helped make up my mind immediately.

Despite the claim by Supervisor Bevan Dufty in his opening remarks that "What makes Noe Valley unique is that, going forward, we find a
way to build community and do better things," plaza opponents like McFadden characterized increased public space not as an amenity, but a burden.

"For someone who’s going to be there for an hour a week, it’s not the
same as having to live with it, live there 24/7 and live with the
people, live with the noise and the garbage and the traffic jams that
are sure to erupt," she said.

Not only do I find those comments antithetical to community, they seem incredibly counter-intuitive. You’re getting an extension on your front yard and that’s a problem?

McFadden: "Those of us who oppose this are not opposed to change.
As I said, I’ve been here four generations, I’ve seen a lot of it —
good, bad. We just want change that’s well thought out, well planned and
contributes to the community."

And not in the way of traffic?

McFadden: "My concern about the trial is that all these measurements have to be
done first before the trial. And I’m not sure how we measure the
inconvenience."

That’s what I thought, it’s the traffic.

noe_and_24th_small.jpgThe location in question.

McFadden: "The idea that people will all be taking the bus or not driving, that’s
just not true. That’s like saying we will cut down our garbage by
removing all the trash bins. The garbage is still there, it’s just going
to go someplace. The traffic will still be there, it will just go
someplace else, onto those side streets and make for more difficult
passage."

Yup, definitely the traffic.

Based on the emails sent to the Planning Department, Andres Power
said he estimated that 90 percent of complaints were about traffic, with the
arguments coming down to two points: 1) How will I drive to Market Street
on Noe if the plaza is there and 2) You’re going to create a traffic
nightmare on the parallel streets and on 24th Street.

These traffic fears are identical to concerns voiced by neighbors
on Hartford Street
before the 17th and Castro Street plaza trial
started
, and those fears turned out to be unfounded. In fact, as one commenter
living near the Castro Plaza noted last night, traffic has decreased on
the streets around the Castro plaza, as have noise levels and sanitation
concerns.

Plaza proponents argued that there really is no way to know what the traffic impacts will be
without trying it.
If it leads to mayhem, take it out. But there’s no better way to answer the questions without a trial.

If it had only been about the traffic, I could have understood the opponents’ complaints as fear of change, which happens almost any time you mess with traffic, but then McFadden said this:

"Frankly I think that other areas need a lot more
beautification than
Noe
Valley does."

Audience: applause.

McFadden: "I think a way to invest ourselves not just in Noe
Valley but in the
city is to maybe spend this money and our time into helping a nearby
location that isn’t as nice as Noe Valley: Bernal, Mission."

Audience: applause.

Power said the city will return in a month to respond to the issues raised at the meeting, including the effects of traffic, but maybe that would be a waste of time. Maybe the city should just reprogram the money now, put it into a neighborhood with real public
health and open space problems. There are plenty of them. 

As a person living at the crossroads of those dumpy neighborhoods some Noe residents disdain, I could think of a lot of ways $38,000 could improve public spaces near me.

I wouldn’t want to force money on Noe when there are so many other neighborhoods that aren’t nearly as nice.

crowd_small.jpg

  • @Myner = here’s your response.

    14 parking spots lost in the lot on 24th Street will impede traffic far more than blocking Noe St and the loss of 4 spots there. That’s the primary issue. Visitors to the neighborhood are far more willing to have to go around Noe than to be able to go straight through Noe and find no parking when they get there. The merchants would probably blanche at this one.

    Last I checked nobody lives in the middle of Noe Street. If you are referring to living next to Noe Street, there are residences above the businesses on both sides of the parking lot.

    A park in that location would be sub-optimal for many reasons. The park itself would be very narrow – remember that with the blocked off Noe Street the current sidewalks provdide extra spatial buffer between the edge of the park and the sides of the adjoining buildings. The parking lot is long and narrow, the back section of the lot would be fa

    r away from the street itself, making it less valuable as a streetside plaza than the wider shorter Noe plan. This has the additonal problem that it would be tricky to police – it is a cul-de-sac park and police driving by would be unable to monitor what is going on at the back of the park unlike the more open plan at Noe. There has been an expressed concern about homeless/vagrants using the Noe St plaza, this problem would be more acute and trickier to correct in a cul-de-sac plaza.

    That parking lot currently has a noise problem late at night with the patrons of the Bliss Bar spilling out and making noise in the lot. A park in that lot would fix that problem and benefit the person living on the other side of the back wall of the parking lot, which is good, but it performs *worse* regarding many of the concerns of the plaza opponents – traffic, parking, and problems with undesireables, and performs worse regarding the benefits touted by the plaza supporters – it does not remove a pedestrian/traffic interaction, most of the space does not front the street and it would be less pleasant, which along with the extra removal of parking means it’s not a big benefit for the merchants.

  • To reiterate some of the above points most important to me, a resident of Noe Valley:

    1.) That parking lot is not where people naturally gather in Noe Valley. The intersection of 24th and Noe is the heart of Noe Valley. It’s where people want to hang out. If a park was put in that parking lot next to Le Zinc, few would use it. It would fail to create community in the way that a plaza at Noe and 24th would. Also, a plaza at 24th and Noe would get better sun. (Though the other location might have less wind.)

    2.) A park in that parking lot wouldn’t calm traffic the way the plaza at 24th would. It wouldn’t improve pedestrian safety in that intersection. It wouldn’t make the people sitting, chatting and enjoying the camaraderie of Noe Valley visible for everyone to see. Cars are what should be hidden away, not public space.

    Why not try out the plaza? If it doesn’t make Noe Valley a happier, better neighborhood, it can be undone. Think of Times Square in New York, and the remarkable change for the better that has been.

  • Seems to me that if you hide public space behind walls then spending time in public space is something that should be hidden.

    One of the things that Noe Valley has that Glen Park shares is a village feeling. Every good village in the world has a public square, smack dab in the middle of it, where the villagers can get together to discuss the business and life of the village. It usually has a few tables for the old guys to play chess or dominoes. There are shady places to park the strollers while the babies sleep (and come one, if there is one thing NV needs it is stroller parking. There are picnic tables to eat your lunch on or spread your newspaper out on so you can read the news and complain to your neighbor about how much better the world used to be…. In other words, space for all of us to behave the way people are supposed to behave- like we are part of a community that values us as individuals and part of the collective.

  • I missed the last North Beach Neighbors meeting, and I guess the board voted to not support another temporary closure of Mason street for a farmers market. The details are hazy because I wasn’t present, but the battle is more then heated in my neck of the woods too. I won’t be missing any more meetings (as best I can) because I guess I’ll have to be a loud dissenting voice for reason.

    Hopefully a this Noe Valley thing goes well and I can point to it as an example. Somehow people are still able to brush off the success of 17th/Castro.

  • Noe St. Local

    Pedestrian mall info, facts and figures, in the form of a .pdf file:

    http://rapidshare.com/files/378647837/pedestrian_mall_info.pdf.html

    To download, just click on the “Free User” button, then click on the “Download” button.

  • Er, that seems to be broken, assuming it’s not a trojan horse. Why don’t you post it up on scribd?

  • Oppose

    I don’t think the issue of the content of the plaza has been adequately addressed. People talk about how this would finally create a space for, for example, “Young couples to play dominoes,” as though the benches and chess table just up the street are ever full. They also refer to the “greening” of the area, as though the “Pavement to Parks” plan were anything more than a “Pavement to Cement” plan. One thing that might make the proposed area attractive, especially to those with young children (so many Noe Valley residents), would be some grass! How is this plaza really any different than a wider sidewalk?

  • There is nothing prohibiting the city from planting grass in this spot in the future, should the plaza become permanent. But it would be a real bummer to rip up the asphalt, plant grass, and then find out that there are problems that cannot be resolved.

    What is currently on the table is a trial. The goal is to make it nice enough to be enjoyed this summer for what it is, and to study the impacts, while spending an amount of money that is not unacceptable for such a trial.

    Should the trial (and any extensions) eventually lead to a reasonable consensus that we want to keep this thing indefinitely, then we have an open palette to do whatever we want. For example, Noe Street has a gradient at that spot – we could pour concrete forms to level the plaza out and build steps up to it on the Jersey side, leaving however many openings for soil and drainage to plant trees, grass, demonstration gardens, whatever. 40 years from now, the 6th generation Noe Valleyans will not even know there was a road there, except for the signs in ancient storefronts saying “It will always be Noe Street!”

    The problem with the benches/chess tables is thus. If you buy a coffee from Bernies, are you thinking “I will now go sit down at the chess table and drink my coffee” ? No – because you would walk a block to perhaps find nowhere to sit. Noe Valley Bakery is within eyesight but no other takeout establishment is. The one by the farmer’s market competes with benches at Martha’s and tables at Boulange, but doesn’t attract clientele from further out.

  • JohnB

    JohnM

    Establishments come and go. Boulange hasn’t been there very long. If there was a viable outdoor seating space, people might buy their items at the much cheaper WholeFoods (also new) rather than a cafe since the inferior ambience of WF would now be irrelevant.

    Plus a new cafe might open closer if they knew for sure that space was a free and permanent de facto patio area for their customers.

    I’m not convinced about this idea either but cannot think of a better location in Noe Valley.

  • JohnB – the Whole Foods in Noe Valley doesn’t have a deli. This was a negotiated decision based on not wanting the WF to put our cafes out of business, WF went along because well, it’s the 5th most profitable location in the state even without a deli. They do have the “Food Bar” but as bikesnobnyc astutely points out – “I once made the mistake of purchasing lunch at a Whole Foods and was horrified when a moderate helping of some sort of Indian dish (even I occasionally flirt with irregularity) cost me four times what it would have cost me at a nearby Indian restaurant.”

    There is currently an open store front 3 doors down from the plaza.

  • JohnB

    JohnM

    That WF has a salad bar. I can’t imagine it doesn’t have coffee or bakery products although I don’t specifically recall.

    So OK it doesn’t have a deli counter but if you can get coffee, baked items, soft drinks and salads, then you’ve got most of what the cafes sell anyway.

    But yeah, I shouldn’t have said “the much cheaper WholeFoods”. What was I thinking? Then again, if Noe Valley folks can’t afford WF, who can?

  • Dude, don’t mess with me, I’m like Nabokov.

    Whole Foods does in fact have bakery products – which are sourced from… drumroll please… Boulange. So if WF is cleaning up on baked goods, Boulange will not be hurting…

  • noearch

    There are many reasons why this plaza should not go ahead, and is simply bad urban planning for Noe Valley. Among the reasons (there are many more):

    1. It will block a main artery that many people, including emergency vehicles use to get to Market St. and to Davies Hospital.
    2. Traffic will become a nightmare on the smaller side streets.
    3. Create more traffic problems on 24th st. including delivery trucks double parking even more than now.
    4. We have other open spaces and lots of benches now. The sidewalks at the side of Starbucks are very wide and would be an ideal area for more benches, more landscaping.
    5. There have been NO studies done to suggest this plaza, even temporary, will not cause more traffic problems.

  • 1. It will block a main artery that many people, including emergency vehicles use to get to Market St. and to Davies Hospital

    –> Red Herring. Regards emergency vehicles, this has already been discussed with the relevant city departments, MTA, SFPD, SFFD, etc… and they have declared it a non-issue. Regards non-emergency vehicles, Castro runs to Davies, without the hill and jawbone at Liberty.

    2. Traffic will become a nightmare on the smaller side streets.

    –> Statement without evidence.

    3. Create more traffic problems on 24th st. including delivery trucks double parking even more than now.

    –> Again no evidence, and ignores already proposed mitigation proposals including the removal of the bus stop at 24th/Noe and turning it into a 5 AM-11 AM loading zone, with general parking outside of those hours (replacing the spots lost on Noe St)

    4. We have other open spaces and lots of benches now. The sidewalks at the side of Starbucks are very wide and would be an ideal area for more benches, more landscaping.

    –> We have no *large* spaces appropriate for the uses the neighborhood is demanding by its support for this project. The chessboard at Radio Shack and the benches by the Farmer’s Market pale in comparison.

    5. There have been NO studies done to suggest this plaza, even temporary, will not cause more traffic problems.

    –> Absolutely. The trial itself *is* the study. If the trial plaza causes traffic problems that cannot be mitigated, there is your evidence to support points #2 and #3. An EIR would be far less accurate and cost more than the trial itself. This plan is good government, plain and simple.

  • noearch

    Sorry, but you have not convinced me or many others of the true benefits to closing off a public street to please some.

    A public street is a STREET, not a potential park or plaza or hang-out strip.

    We don’t need “evidence” to state our position or opinion. Do you define everything by just pure raw data and statistics? I don’t.

    You cleverly ignore the comments about using existing very wide sidewalks for more benches and green space. Just flat out ignore those ideas.

    Noe valley does not need a plaza. There are plenty of places nearby to hangout. The so called temporary plaza idea is a pure waste of time and city money. Use the money for better things like more trees on 24th, more benches, cleaning up existing parks, etc.

  • noearch – There is no point us debating the specifics of the plaza. We are both pretty settled in our position. Let me say this instead.

    You appear to have followed this issue.

    Here, you state – “Use the money for better things like more trees on 24th, more benches, cleaning up existing parks, etc.”

    If you have been following this issue, and it appears you have, then you know that this money is from a specific grant for a P2P project. The money does not belong to Noe Valley and we can only use it to build this plaza. We cannot use it anywhere else. If we do not go forward with the trial plaza, the money will revert to P2P and go to another neighborhood for a P2P project. You are willing to convince people that we can use this money to build a bench for Bernie’s (they just got a new one from the NVA) or fix up Noe Courts, because that plays well.

    In other words, you are lying to, or at the very least misleading your neighbors regarding the details of this project. Your comrades in arms have done the same thing, claiming that the plaza will block 24th, that it will block garages on Noe St, etc…

    The result of this misdirection on your part has had a very clear trajectory. I talk to someone and they say “I think it’s crazy to block 24th Street”. I clear up their misunderstanding and they point out that someone standing at 24th and Noe told them that it would. They quickly conclude that the opposition of the plaza is dishonest, hates change, hates public space, etc… without my prompting. This includes residents of Jersey Street.

    The fencesitters quickly turn towards support of the plaza. While this benefits the cause of putting a plaza in place, it has the negative impact that the biggest stakeholders who are not in support of the plaza may become marginalized. And if the plaza trial goes through, their concerns may get lost in the shuffle and ignored. That would be a bad thing.

    I for one have gone on record that Andres should hear ALL the concerns and those should be built into clear metrics on which to grade the plaza should the trial happen.

    Make legitimate points. Engage in the process. You might even succeed in stopping the trial. But if you continue to lie and mislead, you’ll probably get run over, and while there are people who probably would not mind seeing that happen, I am not one of them.

    You don’t have to believe me on this. See you at the next meeting.

  • JohnB

    No and JohnM,

    If this were in my neighborhood, I would oppose it. I think that these little parklets are a nice idea if they are in existing non-street places and do not impede traffic or remove parking.

    A nice infill site where an old building used to be, for instance. Somewhere with wide sidewalks. Or that otherwise derelict corner sliver of land at Market and Castro.

    But it should not detract from an existing public right of way, IMO.

    Whether the money is “use it or lose it2 is irrelevant.

    Having said that, it is up to the people of Noe Valley to decide. And since the two sides are so opposed, they might as well quit debating on it and have a simple vote. although you’d need to find a way of having a fair vote, as the pro activisits usually do a good job of cramming public meetings.

  • noearch

    Good points Johnb: Thank you for your comments! I agree completely.

    A public street is just that: A STREET; It’s not a public amenity, paid by our taxes, just to be taken over by a few people who want place to sit.

    It has been a ridiculous notion all along. There are plenty of places to sit and watch people that exist now along 24th St.

    As for the money that’s available to the P2P plan. Big deal. If not used here in Noe, it can go to some other uses in a neighborhood that needs green space and trees more than we do.

    Let’s keep thee street just as it is and intended. No to the plaza!

  • JohnB

    Noe

    Yes, it’s a slippery slope argument that these folks use. They’ll assert “Oh, it’s only taking 4 parking spots” or ” Vehicles can still pass through”.

    But concede and next year they are back with a bike lane here, a traffic calming measure there, and before you know it, you have to park 15 blocks from your home and take a cab home (ask people in NYC – it happens).

    What I like about Noe is the idiosyncracity of the folks there. They will ban chain stores but also ban earth-first hipsters. In my book, anyone who can’t be pigeon-holed nor be shamed into being politically correct is an advanced lifeform.

  • noearch

    Oh yea…right on comments. I have found thru comments from the pro-plaza people that they really try to crucify you if you speak any opposition to this street closing idea. Despite their professed open-mindedness, many of the more vocal ones simply want to crush the opposition and refuse to listen.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love street trees, and more sidewalk landscaping. I have done some volunteering in that effort with Friends of the Urban Forest.

    Whether we need an entirely new plaza or park at 24th St. is debatable. There are already many areas for casual seating and hanging out.

    The pro-plaza people have to remember this: We are a dense urban city. We’re not some suburban mall. We need streets for traffic to keep moving and for all citizens. Streets are not for sitting in.

    Let’s encourage them to be more open minded and think about a few ways to add benches, if they so desire, without taking over an entire street. Thanks for your comments and support.

  • In other words, if it ain’t broken – don’t fix it. Right?

    from the former owner of the French Tulip.

    Due to dwindling sales and factors beyond our control we were forced to close the doors in early April and have since dissolved the business. This was not something that was easy for us to do after owning the shop for the past 8 years and working there for nearly 6 more. It was with heavy hearts and even heavier financial debt that we were forced to close.

    It is difficult to be small business owners in today’s economy, many changes we’ve watched over the past 14 years have surprised and shocked us. We’d like to remind everyone that in order to keep local shops open your business is crucial. While it is too late for us, there are several other Noe Valley businesses on the brink of closure. Rather than save $5 at the grocery store or large retail outlet consider shopping with small local merchants. They need you now more than ever.

    -Laetitia Phelps

  • JohnB

    JohnM

    I don’t see where in that lament from a closed business that he blames it on the fact that roads aren’t closed.

    Businesses come and go for all kinds of reasons. It’s called the invisible hand.

    I’d worry far more if we sought to protect any business from ever failing. Having said that, I do support local shopping. But I can’t shop locally if my route is blocked and I can’t find a parking spot.

    Let this poor, sad thing die. Noe Valley will be just fine.

  • noearch

    Yea, essentially same sentiment here as Johnb…

    I don’t feel bad at all ’bout that flower shop closing. They were more expensive than the other ones, anyway.

    Sure, it can be tough running a business..also, can be rewarding, if you make it successful.

    Success comes from happy customers who like your product and service. If not, they won’t shop there and it will fail..That’s a key part of the open market system we have in this country.

  • Alias

    Its ironic that Ms Phelps is lamenting the lack of support for small business in Noe Valley. When the weekly Farmer’s Market started, it was the owner of the French Tulip who refused to allow a flower vendor at the market as it would create competition…

  • John R.

    Reading through the comments of those opposed to the plaza, I can’t help feeling that I’m listening to the sounds of a way of thinking that is on the wane; an auto-centric urbanism where the “free flow of traffic” and parking are the holy grail. Like the car loving North Beach dwellers who fought the park on Mason St, the spectre of a detour seems to represent a barrier to their personal freedom. You’d think they were talking about the Berlin Wall. How can people be so devoted to driving across 24th St. on Noe that an interruption in the form of a public plaza can seem so objectionable? I think JohnB’s comment puts it well, “…concede and next year they are back with a bike lane here, a traffic calming measure there, and before you know it, you have to park 15 blocks from your home and take a cab home.” God forbid! Bike Lanes! Traffic Calming! Is the urban ideal really all about car owners zooming around unimpeded to wherever they’re going next? Luckily, there’s another way of thinking about the commercial cores of urban neighborhoods that is gaining credence in the US, favoring public spaces, pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, greenery, and protection from vehicular mayhem. That Noe Valley has an opportunity to try out some of these ideas is exciting, and shouldn’t be held back by vehicular NIMBYists.

  • none

    JohnB: “that otherwise derelict corner sliver of land at Market and Castro”.

    What was the vehicle traffic count on 17th st. vs the traffic count on Noe?

  • noearch

    I don’t think JohnR gets it yet. Statistics all point out to the very small fraction of SF residents who actually ride a bike for work, pleasure or shopping. Very, Very small group, seriously.

    And yet, there is this continued to push, and extraordinary cost to add bike lanes on more and more streets. These bike lanes serve an extremely small minority of citizens. In many cases, the bike lanes have increased congestion and traffic flow on some major streets.

    But, getting back to the Noe plaza issue: This proposed hindrance to movement in the city is similar to the bike lane issue. A plaza really serves a very small group of people, and mostly during daylight hours, and in fact, probably during nice sunny days. Let’s see how many people are going to sit out there sipping their latte on a cold, windy, foggy day in July..or December..or? You get my point.

    Simply put, we are not European, we are not Amsterdam, or Sienna, where the culture there is deeply entrenched in plazas and pedestrian thoroughfares that have existing for centuries.

    We are a modern, urban, american city where people rely a great deal on ease of movement using a vehicle, or at times on public transit. Perhaps if we had the best transit system in the country, we could eliminate some car travel. Not gonna happen soon.

    And biking everywhere by everyone, and sitting in cute little wind swept plazas is not gonna happen soon either.

  • noearch, I guess we could go back and forth, but you are the one who doesn’t get it. The private auto is fading. I know that the perceived ease and comfort are something you will probably hold onto and fight for (from stopping the Noe Plaza to bombing the middle east), but it isn’t sustainable. The global markets are in ruins and China/India will soon be using much more fossil fuels. We aren’t Europe, you are right; we spent our national wealth investing in a lifestyle that is about to become history, much faster then many of care to admit.

    The thing that gets me the most about this whole debate is that it is a trial. If everything the No crowd is saying will come to pass, then you have nothing to worry about. If it goes unused or if traffic blows a hole in the utopia that is Noe Valley, then it goes away. End of story. What are you so scared of? Residential streets are not thru-streets. San Francisco is a grid, if you need to get from A to B, there are a million ways to do it, especially in a car where hills don’t hinder.

    I think you are afraid it will be a success. Afraid that people will like it and use it. Afraid that you may have to drive a block over and lose 30 secs. Afraid that your way of life is slowly (well more quickly now) becoming obsolete.

  • noearch

    More than happy to go back and forth with a debate. But, seriously? The private auto is fading? Really? ah………where? You seem very reactionary and quick to spread fear…wasn’t that part of the Bush regime?

    The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

    You seem to forget that we are learning more and more everyday about sustainable alternate energy sources, such as wind power, solar and hybrid/electric cars. We are moving in that direction. But the use of the “private auto” won’t be going away any time soon.

    And bikes won’t replace cars anytime soon either.

    As for the plaza issue, the supporters keep using the term “trial” as if they invented this new notion of change and shift in land use. BS. As I’ve said before, there are already legitimate processes in place to analyze and study a proposed plaza or change in street use, or other tax-payer supported public amenity. If the so called “trial” approach was a viable way to make change, then let’s use that thinking to put up some high rises out in Noe..let’s try it! if people don’t like them after a while, we can tear them down.

    Let’s try some fast food chain stores! Bring in McDonald’s. It might work. if not, then we’ll ask them to leave. Let’s trying installing just some tiny, litte oil wells out in the bay. gosh, there might be oil there! let’s give try, you know…can’t hurt. if we don’t find out, then..well….we can just take out the darn things and try them down the coast somewhere..

    Sorry, I digress. No, I’m not really afraid of anything……well….maybe somethings..I hate snakes…and I’m really afraid of tiny, yapping dogs..and, well. sitting next to snotty babies on a plane.

    I love trees. I love parks. I love street landscaping. I love benches to hang out and watch people. I do like my car. and I do love to walk.

    I, like many others, just don’t want an important cross town public street taken over by a few people for their use as a park. You know what the street is really for.

    It’s for those fading private autos.Mine included.

  • We obviously don’t see eye to eye, and I’m not spreading fear. You and JohnB should meet up for a drink. I’d join, but I’m allergic to tea.

    Maybe you are right, maybe with China and India’s growing middle class, we will find enough oil and steel to build all those cars. Then maybe we’ll find more oil to power them. But you say electric is the wave of the future? Ok, but the cars still need to be made, the plants still need to be built, and the roads still need to get paved.

    And you are right about the private auto, it isn’t going away soon. I misspoke. It’s just going to get really expensive to operate. And we now live in a country where 95% of the citizens have to own a car in order to be considered productive members of society. The disconnect is glaring! Sadly, we built our landscape in such a way as to render the private auto the only way to get around; however, this is pretty much the exact opposite case here in SF. You are able to walk, bike, and take MUNI to pretty much every corner of the city quickly and easily.

    And comparing putting in a temporary plaza to building a sky rise or digging an oil well is a sad joke. I’m not even going to touch that.

    Noe is an important cross town public street? To who? You? There are so many other options (Castro, Sanchez). Don’t let your own greed blind you from the public good.

    Also, I “know what the street is really for?” No, I guess I don’t. I don’t view the world through a windshield.

  • Mike – put this guy (and his new psuedonym) in your killfile, even though having him vent on Streetsblog is fairly useful, in that he doesn’t have an audience here, so he accomplishes nothing. But you accomplish nothing either.

    Next thing you know he’ll be claiming that the plaza would endanger Noe Valley by giving the Taliban a new target just like Times Square.

  • You are right, John. Stepping away from the keyboard.

  • noearch

    Well, I enjoy dialogue and differing opinions. They don’t scare me or make me step away from the keyboard.

    Some don’t agree with me. Many do. Witness the now over 500 people who have signed the petition opposing the Noe plaza trial..and the permanent idea too.

    Including Bevan Dufty.

    Guys, you gotta face up to it. Cars are not going away. Cars and the people who drive them are not evil.

    Since you’re stepping away from the keyboard now, don’t let me catch you peeking in here.

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Noe Valley Gets Sidewalk Extensions and Decorative Crosswalks on 24th

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City officials celebrated new brick-trimmed crosswalks and sidewalk bulb-outs on 24th Street in Noe Valley at a ribbon-cutting ceremony today. The changes will make for a more pedestrian- and transit-friendly environment on Noe Valley’s commercial corridor. At Castro and Noe Streets, the transit bulb-outs — curb extensions at bus stops — will help speed up Muni’s 24 and […]

A Tale of Two Plazas

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Artist’s rendering of the proposed plaza on the south side of Noe and 24th Streets. Image: Planning Department. While public reaction to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Pavement to Parks plazas and parklets has been generally positive and the city is about to make the Castro trial more permanent, the proposal to close a Noe […]

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The Mayor holds up a copy of The Better Streets Plan at a press conference yesterday: "Eat your heart out Portland." Photo by Bryan Goebel. Standing in the glaring Mission District sun yesterday on a wide new sidewalk, before a crowd of advocates, city planners, merchants, construction crews, artists and many others celebrating the completion […]

Eyes on the Street: Noe Valley Parklet Installation Begins

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Construction of the two newest parklets in San Francisco began today with the installation of a sidewalk extension on 24th Street between Sanchez Street and Vicksburg Street, with another to follow shortly on 24th near Noe Street. The new spaces were designed by Riyad Ghannam, who designed and built the first parklet in the city […]

Bulb-Outs: Noe Valley’s Getting Them, Outer Balboa’s Got Them

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Two business corridors are getting a boost from sidewalk bulb-outs: Balboa Street in the Outer Richmond recently had some finished, and 24th Street in Noe Valley will get them this fall. The dozen-odd sidewalk extensions on outer Balboa were completed in May as part of a larger project under construction since last year that also includes […]