Mission Street Redesign Moves Forward

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En Español.

A small group of neighbors and planners set their critical eyes towards Mission Street Wednesday in the Planning Department’s first public open house to seek input for its Mission Public Life Plan, a project that would redesign aspects of one of the city’s most important corridors. Once dubbed the “Miracle Mile,” those gathered expressed the general sense that Mission Street, with its blighted properties and slow transit, could use the help—figuring out what that help will look like kept the evening lively.

Change is already underway for one of the city’s most famous shopping areas as huge projects such as the redevelopment of the New Mission Theater break ground. But in its early stages, the city’s Mission Public Life Plan has yet to include any more definitive future designs but has focused so far on studying the nature of the corridor and its users.

“There’s a lot of change in the neighborhood and anxiety about that change, but by working collectively on the next steps, maybe we can make Mission Street work for more people,” said the project’s plan manager Ilaria Salvadori.

The project aims to improve the experience for businesses and pedestrians along Mission Street, but at this point its immediate goals are aimed at better understanding the needs of both. The project has so far conducted a comprehensive land use study, a public survey about how the street gets used, and has conducted interviews with relevant stakeholders. Wednesday night’s event, held at City College’s Mission Campus, let the broader community share ideas and concerns.

“I hope that this is just the beginning of a conversation with you,” Salvadori said to the gathered small crowd of about 20. “The dimensions of the street is not just physical, but human.”

Towards this end of understanding the human dimension of Mission Street, the open house included a giant map of the project’s target area, Mission Street from Randall in Bernal to the place near market where Mission meets South Van Ness.

Following the short presentation, participants were encouraged to annotate the map with ideas as well as green and red stickers to mark their favorite and least favorite parts of Mission Street.

Judy Berkowitz, a leading member of the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, leaned over the map and wrote that she wanted all parking spots preserved and bike lanes left out to ease bus and car flow.

Gregory Dicum, an organizer for the Central Mission Neighborhood Organization, perused Berkowitz’s list and said to her with a smile: “Wow, these are contrary to everything I wrote!”

Central goals of the Mission Street Life Project are to heighten pedestrian safety, revitalize public spaces, improve transit on the corridor, design spaces for public art installations and support local business. The project’s organizers plan to have preliminary designs in April.

Over the course of an hour the giant map quickly filled up with red and green stickers indicating places on the street that work and those that need improvement. Handwritten notes pointed to places frequented by the homeless, intersections where bikes frequently had accidents, empty lots and more.

Of those who contributed to the exercise, the sentiment for the project’s intent seemed mostly enthusiastic.

“I think it will be positive for the street,” said Alejandro Angeles, a member of 24th Street BART Plaza’s weekend artisan market. “I don’t really know the details yet, this is just the first meeting, but I’m excited about this, I think.”

In one corner of the room, two small business owners discussed Mission Street’s famous history as a retail corridor and the detrimental impact BART had when it first arrived on the corridor in 1970s. Karen Heisler, owner of Mission Pie, speaking with Robert Patterson, of Ken Ken Ramen and the clothing store Voyager, said she hopes that whatever comes of this project it will respect the diverse character of Mission Street.

“I think I feel somewhere between interested and facing in optimistic direction,” said Heisler about the project. “There’s always a risk with this type of thing….Mission Street’s vitality, partly because when you walk a block it’s completely different types of business on each new block.”

Patterson agreed. “Hopefully we can keep the mix of businesses but step it up with street improvements,” he said.

“Okay, I guess I’ve said all I want to say,” said Judy Berkowitz as she finished adding her contribution to the large map, but expressed skepticism about the project as whole once she stepped away. “This is going to be like every other project, they’re going to do what they want to do,” she said.

According to Salvadori, despite lower turnout than expected, the community feedback from the open house was useful for the plan’s design and direction.

“I was a little bit worried about the low number of people here, but the conversations we had were deeper than a bigger meeting,” Salvadori said, and expressed hope that more people get involved in sharing their input. “It’s a long corridor, there’s going to be lots more focus groups and discussions, and then we’ll come back with more of the data.”

In the next few months, the Mission Public Life Plan will continue to hold focus groups and will host another open house in the spring when it hopes to have some preliminary concept plans. By September, Salvadori explains the project will complete some pilot project or installation along Mission Street. The plan’s final implementation should be complete by 2015.

The plan represents an inter-agency effort that has the Planning Department in close contact with SFMTA’s Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) to improve the travel time of Muni’s 14 line and the Office of Economic and Workplace Development’s Invest in Neighborhood project focusing on the neighborhood South of Cesar Chavez.

Gregory Dicum says he was glad to be able to contribute in some way to the planning process.

“So many people use it for so many things,” Dicum said. “Mission Street needs attention.”

127 Comments

  1. John

    Far and away the biggest “quality of life” issue on Mission Street is the huge number of vagrants and itinerants, along with all the associated street crime.

    Redesigning the streetscape without addressing the elephant in the room is putting lipstick on a pig (to mix my animal metaphors).

  2. landline

    What outreach and marketing did the Planning Department do? This article was the first I heard of the “Mission Public Life Plan.” 20 attendees is a weak turnout. How many were folks working on the project and how many were members of the general public?

    • John

      I hadn’t heard of it either but I think many public meetings are a waste of time because the kind of people who show up for them are not typical or representative of the local populace.

      The odd meeting I’ve attended has had a large contingent of the “usual suspect” activists who show up for everything. While ordinary people who are juggling careers and families quite simply do not have the time to spend 3-4 hours at a meeting.

      • Valenchia

        These meetings tend to be a waste of time unless you can get a large contingent of people to show up. The planning department generally does not allow you to ask questions or make comments. Instead, you are allowed to put post-its on maps. Whether they ever read those post-its is an open question. Certainly they never explain what they do with them or whether any changes were made as a result of them.

        • John

          Realistically what would you do if you were running such a meeting? You get 100 people show up and typically there are two possibilities:

          1) 50 say one thing and 50 say the other. So all you can do is what you were going to do anyway.

          2) All 100 people are up in arms, expressing outrage and getting all riled up. Yet we know that activists are good at getting people out while the moderate majority tend not to bother with meetings or don’t have the time to attend. So do the officials concede to the loud mob or do what they believe is what the majority want?

          Either way, I would not have a lot of confidence in an official who just follows the noise.

          • marcos

            There are plenty of techniques to derive consensus out of groups. They are used within City Hall of the time but have no place outside of those certified to hold stake, the unwashed masses must remain marginalized and atomized.

          • John

            Consensus can only be established if it exists in the first place. If 50% say YES and 50% say NO, then there is no consensus, although there may be a compromize.

            But in the end we elect politicians to make such decisions on our behalf. The vast majority of voters do not want to be making decisions like that every day or week, but rather want to vote once a year and then get on with their lives.

            What that leaves is the small minority who live and breathe politics and try and sway every decisions. They are the ones who show up at meeting and, bluntly, I don’t trust them.

          • marcos

            Consensus can be sought if people are brought into the same room and allowed to identify areas of commonality. We’ll never see everyone agree with everything, but we will see most residents taking differing positions than staff if anyone bothers to look. Funny how staff rarely bothers to look.

          • John

            If that meeting was attended by a randomly selected group of residents, it might be a reasonable guide to local opinions

            If that meeting is attended only by the kind of people who like to attend such meetings, then any consensus obtained is likely to be highly skewed and suspect.

            That’s why we have elections and not “decision by rabble”.

          • marcos

            If a meeting is only attended by 20 random people who stand around the periphery of a room looking at conceptual ideas and putting stickers on posters and are triple teamed by staff then you might as well not have a meeting.

          • John

            I’m fine with having less of these meetings for all the reasons previously cited.

            However, my real beef about them is that the folks who show up are self-selected and not representative.

            At least if voters were randomly chosen and invited, there would be some claim of objectivity and neutrality.

            It’s the “usual suspect” flaw that needs to be cured.

    • marcos

      Yep, not a peep out of the MTA to the community that this public meeting was on the agenda. I bet there were plenty of easels with posters on the periphery of the room where staffers met one on one with residents, keeping them isolated from one another and inhibiting any cross pollination.

      • John

        Marcos, you only support public meetings because you know that the cross-section who show up are the activists and folks with unlimited time on their hands and a NIMBY or leftist outlook.

        You think you can subvert democracy by cramming meetings with the usual mob that show up to whine about stuff.

        That’s not democracy – it’s a corruption of it. I trust our elected officials and their appointees far more than a trust someone like you with an extreme ideology and a chip on your shoulder.

        • marcos

          It is not like the people who show up at public meetings decide outcomes. The public meetings are structured so that will never happen, just photos of people participating so that staff can say they reached out to the community, just like you’d have it.

          • John

            Marcos, the reason why the public rarely influence public meetings is because the folks running the meeting see the same faces every time, often no matter what the location or topic.

            That is why you see a lot of yawning and eye-rolling during the endless procession of people ranting for their two minutes.

            Decisions get made based on the silent majority of people whose main hobby isn’t trying to hijack public meetings.

          • marcos

            Staff structures public meetings to ensure that staff gets to do what they want with the cover of having been seen to consult the public. There are academic schools of thought on how to provide the illusion of public participation with no real consequence.

          • John

            The public participates by electing a mayor and a board to whom these appointees report.

            What you are whining about is that want to subvert the electoral process by packing public meetings with friendly voices and trying to intimidate the officials into a non-democratic decision.

            Won’t work.

          • marcos

            There is more to democracy and politics than voting.

          • John

            Voting is the broadest and fairest form of democracy. Small groups of activists and extremists trying to skew public policy through small “local” meetings is a very poor and dangerous substitute.

          • marcos

            The voters of the State and City anticipated broad participation and took steps to enshrine that is a right in the constitution, statute, charter and code.

            Elections are too infrequent to reflect changing public opinion. The antique democracy of the US is threadbare and hidebound.

          • John

            Nonsense, we have at least one election a year and the political outlook of most people do not change that much over time, which is why incumbents usually win.

            Ed Lee was popular from his appointment, won an easy election, and is favorite to win again. Nothing to see here.

            Public meetings are fine to let off steam, but we cannot have important decisions decided by a small, slanted, self-selected group of “activists.

          • marcos

            You just wrote that we elect the mayor and that should be sufficient. We elect a mayor every four years, that is not sufficient to encapsulate public opinion as the 8 Washington ballot measures proved.

          • John

            If you think mayoral elections should happen more often then advocate for that. My point was merely to refute your argument that we do not have frequent elections. We do.

          • marcos

            I do not think that mayoral elections should be the be-all and end-all of public policy and the voters agree. That is why there are commissions and public meeting notices for all sorts of stuff.

          • John

            Of course you don’t, marcos, because you always lose the mayoral race. If you always won it, you’d be singing a different song.

            The mayor is the CEO of the city. Everything comes down from him. Or her.

          • marcos

            Mayor Ed Lee got his ass handed to him one cheek at a time last November. Clearly this mayor is out of touch.

          • John

            LOL, you mean a spurious voter initiative on a single building that a billionaire threw money at to stop? And thereby denied 11 million for BMR housing.

            While dozens of over other market-rate condo towers go up?

            Yeah, great victory there.

            Every poll has Lee’s approval at between 50% and 75%. And there is nobody on the horizon to prevent him from serving a third term

            You lose.

          • landline

            Says the participant who is also the referee. I though gay people were happy-go-lucky, hence the name. marcos’ intensity must be from something else.

          • John

            landline, we’re just speculating on why marcos hates kids. Maybe it’s because he is gay or maybe it’s because he’s just a bitter old childless curmudgeon. Hard to say.

            It’s also worth noting that he often says things just to be provocative. His days of political “achievement” are behind him, by his own admission, and he comes across as resentful at having lost the war.

            “Last scene of all,
            That ends this strange eventful history,
            Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
            Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”

          • marcos

            I actually get along quite well with other peoples’ kids. I successfully set a trap for you and drew you into it, you fell for it and demanded accommodation for families with kids. If families with kids get accommodations then a whole host of other folks in similar situations get accommodations.

            Gay people might be happy go lucky but homosexuality is the defining feature of my gayness. That has nothing to do with intensity. When my laser sites focus in on a problem, I focus on it intensely.

          • John

            The only “trap” here, marcos, was that you allowed your prejudice against children to manifest itself and then, when called out on it, you feebly claimed that you “were just yanking your chain”.

            If you are going to have prejudices, then own them.

          • marcos

            I’m opposed to special rights for any group, Apparently you only want parents with kids and developers to chart public policy.

          • John

            My request was for equal rights and access – something you fear, evidently/

        • two beers

          Speaking of activists with unlimited on their hands, how many comments have you made on ML this week?

          You are here 24/7, advocating the interests of your class, and slamming every bit of journalistic daylight on the damage the FIRE industry is wreaking on families and working people.

          You are quite the activist. Good thing you don’t have a job to get in the way of your agitating!

          • John

            100% wrong, two beers. I take no direct political action. I don’t contribute to politicians and I often don’t even bother to vote. Frankly, all I ask of politicians is to get out of my way.

            Insofar as I am a vibrant and lively supporter of ML through my comments here, that is mostly recreational. I’m doing several other things at the same time, so it’s really not a time sink for me, but thanks for caring enough to express concern anyway.

      • Dave

        MTA has repeatedly told me that there is no money to fix the unsafe traffic patterns on South Van Ness Ave and yet they have money for this. They never even mentioned that they had big plans for Mission St. Three dead people in a year doesn’t mean much I guess.

        • marcos

          I’ve long advocated for traffic calming on SVN but the MTA cannot be bothered. Mission is slated for a massive upzoning that this supine Board of Supervisors will welcome. That is why they are sprucing it up, for the arrivistes. They could give a shit about any of us.

        • SFer

          This is a Planning Dept project, not MTA. From article: “A small group of neighbors and planners set their critical eyes towards Mission Street Wednesday in the Planning Department’s first public open house to seek input for its Mission Public Life Plan,”

  3. Mark25th

    I agree with John — between getting kids from school and dinner and bedtimes there is no way we could go to the meeting. But that means that the heart of the Mission — it is one of the neighborhoods that still has lots of families — is not represented in the planning process. For example, the Mission has very few parks, especially if one is not close to Dolores or Garfield. But parks and recreation does not come up in the entire article. It is not as if there aren’t places along Mission that couldn’t be converted to open space.

    • marcos

      So few San Francisco families have children that it does not make sense to accommodate such a slim percentage in scheduling public meetings.

      • John

        Perfect, marcos. A gay guy tells families that they “don’t count”.

        • marcos

          So you’re saying that families with children should get special rights?

          • John

            No, marcos, iIm saying families with children should not get the zero rights that you wish to afford them just because they are a minority.

          • marcos

            Not accommodating some families with kids in scheduling public meetings is giving all families with kids zero rights? Yer a bot, right?

          • John

            You said it does not make sense to accommodate people with kids.

            That would be a disgustingly prejudicial thing to say even if it wasn’t coming from a gay.

      • pete

        That’s just false. I have children and am at playgrounds all the time talking with others families about the need for more safe recreation spaces for families living in the eastern part of the mission. Have you seen Dolores Park playground on the weekends? It really can’t accomodate everyone comforatbly…way too crowded, especially for the little ones.

      • Valenchia

        Marcos: Actually there are lots of families in this Mission. It seems like getting opinions from everyone in the community would be important. But I guess that is the sort of diversity you don’t care about.

        • marcos

          Actually, since the eviction epidemic broke out in the 1990s, the amount of families in the Mission as dropped along with the density of tenancy per unit. The population of D9 decreased by more than 5000 over that time.

          Y’all gotta know that I’m just yanking yer chains. Of course everyone should have equal access to the bar of democracy and to public participation, even people with whom I disagree on some issues.

          I believe that, you don’t.

          • John

            The Mission has more kids than other parts of the city so if we don’t consider them here, then where?

            But the point is that families are usually time-deprived and cannot attend a three-hour meeting the way some under-employed “usual suspect” activist can.

            So meetings must compensate for that bias.

          • marcos

            When it comes to families with children, you’re all for compensating for biases, huh? But for the majority of families who don’t have kids, you’re all “screw em!”

          • John

            The term “family” doesn’t really apply if a household has no kids. I realize that being gay makes you angry all the time, but why pick on the smallest, weakest and most vulnerable of city residents to vent your bitterness on?

            You won’t go far in politics in this nation on an anti-kids platform.

          • marcos

            Except that it does.

          • John

            You can use words any way you want. But to me a childless household is a couple and not a family.

            I may refer to my spouse as “family” but I did not call my household a “family” until we had kids.

            Anyway, your anti-kid bias is weird.

          • marcos

            So a senior empty nester couple is not family once their kids fly the coop?

          • John

            marcos, when a couple says that they “want to start a family” they usually mean that they want to have children.

            An older couple whose children have left home would still refer to themselves collectively as a family, except that that family may now include grandchildren.

          • landline

            Are you channeling Ward Cleaver? Your viewpoints on most issues are dinosauric.

          • John

            Hey, lanline, why not launch right in with a personal attack?

          • landline

            Just an apt description. What’s your deal with marcos? You chase him back and forth from here to sfbg.com (when I hold my nose to read the comments) and who knows where else. You managed to think he was the leader of the EZLN.

            Hey, if you want to define “family” for the rest of us with your virtually prehistoric definition, that’s your right. No one can stop you from making a fool of yourself.

          • John

            LOL, so I “chase” marcos but you’re not chasing me? You’re guilty of the very same stalking that you accuse me of.

            But no, in this case, marcos has already copped to his sin. His admitted that his anti-family outburst was just an exercise in “chain yanking”

            So that matter is resolved.

          • landline

            By definition, anyone who comments here is stalking you because you are attempting to monopolize this website by writing around 30% of the comments. Gratuitous swipes at murals? Really?

            If the matter with marcos was resolved, why did you bring it up again with your comment at 12:24 pm?

            Have you ever been to the La Brea Tar Pits?

          • John

            I replied to marcos because his last post indicated that he was not acknowledging his earlier admission of guilt. I simply wanted to remind him of that admission.

            In doing that, I focused on the facts and not on any opinion I might have of him. You rarely post on a topic, preferring to project your obsession with my influence here.

            I don’t know why it’s so important to you to try and diminish my contribution. It speaks to an inability to refute me on the topic and a fear that I might convince others of a truth that you do not like.

            Anyway, I’m going nowhere so you’re just going to have to keep stalking me. Or take your own advice and ignore posts and posters that you do not like.

          • landline

            I doubt many readers will agree with your strict definition of “family” as married with children.

          • John

            No, the term “family” doesn’t imply “married” at all. There are single-parent families and couples with children who are not married.

            However, the expression “we’d like to start a family” usually states a desire to have children.

            But hey, if you’re a single childless gay guy who wants to call himself a family, knock yourself out.

    • ThatGuy

      Garfield park scares the shit out of me

  4. landline

    Obviously, not everyone can or care to attend a particular public meeting. Agencies can schedule them at various times and places to accommodate the widest possible number of community members. And yes, they are often pro forma to give the appearance of public input without the real possibility of changing predetermined plans (barring actual deep, widespread public discontent).

    However, last night’s meeting was invisible as were the non-existent community meetings to solicit input about the blatant giveaway of public bus stops to private scofflaw carriers. At least, let us deceive ourselves that we have input into our “democracy”.

    • John

      landline, we the people do have input into the democratic process. In 2012 we were given the choice of Mayor Avalos who, no doubt, would have made decisions more suited to your ideology.

      The problem, of course, was that Avalos got squashed by the pro-jobs candidate. And now your argument seems to be that crowds at meetings should be able to over-ride the platform that Lee ran on. IOW, you think the city should have the same policies that Avalos advocated, even though we the people rejected them.

      You do have input into the process, as much as any one person does. You just don’t like it when decisions go against you, even though I feel sure that happens a lot.

      IMO, public meetings are not decision forums. They exist so that our officials can tell the public what is likely to happen. And if you don’t like such decisions, then vote to fire the elected representatives who appointed them next time around.

      • landline

        The election was in 2011. Why do you respond to my general observation with personal attack? My point was that the city failed with last night’s meeting because almost nobody knew about it. What Lee vs. Avalos has to do with a community forum about possible changes and improvements to Mission Street is beyond me. Repeating simplistic, often irrelevant, slogans ad nauseum doesn’t make you appear deep or intelligent.

        • John

          If we have a popular mayor with a clear mandate, the people can trust his appointees to do the right things.

        • marcos

          The point is that the MTA said it held a public meeting but did not do much to invite the public to participate. As a member of the MTA CAC, you’d at least have thought they’d have given us a heads up to communicate this through our networks to drum up participation. But they sat on this and kept it secret. That is why only 20 people showed up.

          • SFer

            This is a Planning Dept project, not an MTA project. First sentence of the article: “A small group of neighbors and planners set their critical eyes towards Mission Street Wednesday in the Planning Department’s first public open house to seek input for its Mission Public Life Plan”

          • marcos

            That’s what I get for reading the article at first during my morning coffee.

            There’s long been institutional tension between the Planning Department’s Better Streets group and the MTA’s Livable Streets planners about who does what. I should have read closer.

    • Kaliman

      Landline is right – there was little or no notice of the meeting. First I’ve heard of it.

      ML can certainly post it since it’s important enough and to let folks plan to attend.

      • John

        According to ML’s article, there were many representatives of different stakeholders there.

        The article also said this is very early days.

        • nutrisystem

          We need a Sizzler on the new and improved Mission Street. That way there will be more steakholders.

          • marcos

            I’m hoping for a down home Texas restaurant chain, perhaps an outpost of Threadgills, to site on Valencia so that there can be more chicken fried steakholders.

          • John

            There’s already a McDonalds and a variety of other “cheap and nasty” restaurants on and around Mission Street, so I think it’s a little late to be getting all gastronomically snobby, ya know?

            A good BBQ place would help though. I used to have to hike over to Big Nates. That Pete’s @ 20th is nasty.

          • marcos

            You’re no steakholder, you should probably eat at Loco Gringo’s Taco’s, that’s more your speed.

          • John

            I’m vegan. Didn’t I say?

  5. Valenchia

    The planning department does a woeful job of outreach on these things. I live very close to Mission Street and am on multiple electronic and physical mailing lists and never even heard about this meeting.
    My guess is that the planning department followed their usual process of selectively involving “stakeholders” who they knew would be supportive of their plans and deliberately ignoring groups and individuals who might have other ideas.

  6. nutrisystem

    Mission Street is, like Stockton Street in Chinatown, a gritty but very functional and very interesting piece of real San Francisco.

    I hope whatever the Planning Department has in mind will not fundamentally change it, although I suspect they are laying the groundwork for economically sanitizing it as part of Lee’s red-carpet-treatment for tech millionaires and billionaires.

    The issues with sketchy persons are relatively concentrated and can be addressed by Police on foot (NOT driving up after some shit happens).

    The issues with dirt can be addressed with a few pressure washer crews.

    Maintaining a good and eclectic mix of stores will require rent caps. If this isn’t done, it will be a Valencia-style food court within 10 years, which I personally would consider a huge loss for the city.

    • John

      nutrisystem, rent caps would be illegal. There is no commercial rent control in SF and I’m fairly sure that there could not be, even if the voters liked the idea, and I have no evidence that they do,

      If the issue of “sketchy persons” could be easily solved by cops I suspect that would already have happened. A massive police presence might work although, even then, they’d probably just move over a couple of blocks and just be sketchy elsewhere.

      Times Square was probably even worse than 16th and Mission a couple of decades ago, and it’s now been fixed. It took large scale capital investment and zero tolerance policing. Two things I feel sure you disapprove of, but the problem is that nothing else will work, and certainly not a few planter pots and some paint.

  7. Bob

    Sounds good to fix up the street. Hopefully more trees and housing are part of the plan– The filthy and dangerous BART plazas should definitely be torn out and replaced with housing.

  8. poor.ass.millionaire

    It’s very simple. You want to improve mission street, in a way most residents would welcome? Greatly reduce the excessive number of homeless, drunks and vagrants, especially around mission and 16-18th st. But to do that you need to lessen the amount of SRO “hotels” along that stretch. That’s the main reason those folks are on the street- they live/visit nearby. Just like tenderloin and mid market. Police presence is not enough- those people just get pushed 1-2 blocks away. The mission is getting too gentrified and nice to have these guys running rampant and in such a high concentration. Where they go, I dunno, but let’s make it some other neighborhood or city’s problem/perogative.

    • John

      I always thought that a special encampment in somewhere like Bayview would be more suitable for the vagrants.

      Or we could pay Oakland to take them. We have the money and Oakland has the space. You wouldn’t even notice another thousand ne’er-do-well’s on the streets of the Oakland flatlands.

      • landline

        Or in other words, forced relocation somewhere else (I don’t care where outside of San Francisco) or into concentration camps. How enlightened.

        • John

          Bayview is outside of San Francisco?

          Why does it matter where they are as long as they get the best care and facilities?

          • landline

            Your plan calls for forced relocation outside of San Francisco or into concentration camps in the Bayview. Sorry I wasn’t more clear. I doubt you want the “best care and facilities” for people you label as “vagrants” and “ne’er-do-wells”. Concern trolling 101.

          • John

            “Concentration camp” was your distortion, so own it. I envisaged more a modern, clean, customized facility where the necessary help and support could be given.

            As usual, you offer no alternative.

          • marcos

            We should all heed Godwin’s law and rephrase that as internment camps.

          • John

            That’s your idea, marcos. Mine was a modern, purpose-built clean and sober facility.

      • nutrisystem

        It’s interesting that although John is generally opposed to government-run social engineering, he is willing to make an exception in this case: for government to give vagrants a place of their own.

        That’s progress! He sees that society, though the mechanism of government, CAN trump “market forces” to be a force for good.

        I agree that unredeemable substance abusers SHOULD have a place of their own, where they can enjoy their vices (drink, drugs, loud arguments, fighting) without bothering the general population. And where they will be given basic food, shelter and medical care. Even the professionals are getting on board with this concept, calling it “harm reduction”.

        • nutrisystem

          I should add that this harm-reduction “Party Farm” would have no locked gate. It would rely on ATTRACTING its clients (with free booze and lax rules) rather than compelling them to be there.

          And it would likely cost far less than the ER, social services, and criminal justice system burdens of our current approach.

          • John

            nutrisystem, every facility of this type that i am aware of is drug and alcohol free, as you’d expect.

            I’m not one for throwing money at problems, as you well know, but the over-riding idea here is to clean up Mission Street which, as you can tell from the comments, is the number one priority of concerned local residents.

            The SRO’s must go.

        • landline

          Not every resident of a SRO is a substance abuser. Some people can overcome the most serious of problems, usually with help. Harm reduction is a positive step in that direction.

          Just last week, John argued that it was better for drug addicts to live in SRO’s than on the street in response to the article about the woman found dead in an SRO laundry room. He just talks constantly, is argumentative for its own sake and had to have an answer to someone else’s comment This week he wants to shut down the SRO’s, sell their residents to Oakland or put them in concentration camps in the Bayview. Whatever will make him and his friends more money–that’s the only consistency.

          • John

            Most SRO residents have a problem with either crime, drugs or mental health. Cramming them into ratty hostels cannot be anyone’s optimal solution. The recent murder just highlights that.

            I’d be interested to hear what solution you have rather than just pissing on the constructive ideas of pothers.

          • landline

            How do you know it was a murder? People with problems should get the help they need if they want it. The social and economic conditions that contribute to those problems must be addressed. San Franciscans voluntarily try to help out each other. Several groups share free food at 16th/Mission BART Plaza. There is an active needle exchange nearby. These are excellent efforts. The scourges of poverty, un and underemployment, racism and discrimination, homelessness, lack of healthcare etc, etc. remain and are all solvable problems if we work together to solve them. Maybe you’ve had a change of heart since this morning. I think you are concern trolling and the best you can come up with is “move along, we don’t want you here, we’ll give you a lollipop in areas with lower property values so you will move there and increase my property values.”

          • nutrisystem

            SROs don’t have to be problems. They COULD be a great resource for low budget travelers, people in transition, etc.

            They are problematic now because they house too many alcoholics, drug addicts and fresh-out-of-prison criminals. I’m sure that the many decent people in SROs would be the loudest advocates of cleaning out the trouble makers.

            The practical question is what to do about people who just don’t want to clean up. And I say let them party in a place where it doesn’t bother everybody else. Short of incarceration, it seems the best bet is to lure them in with free booze.

          • landline

            Mission Housing runs several SRO’s with supportive services–the Altamont, the Apollo, others whose name I can’t recall. Other groups do the same in other parts of the city and in other cities. One of the contributing factors to the rise in homelessness nationally is the reduction of the SRO as an affordable housing option. Seattle is trying the wet house approach. There may be others elsewhere.

          • John

            Remember that the context here is making Mission St. better and not how to solve every social problem.

            And cosmetic changes to the Mission Street streetscape will come to nothing if the denizens of these SRO’s are allowed to continue to cause blight, nuisance and crime in that locality.

            Throwing money and alcohol at them won’t help but a more appropriate location might. The SRO’s could then go back to doing what they were originally designed to do i.e. provide low cost housing to travelers, itinerant workers and others just passing through.

            NB: In my peipatetic youth, I quite often stayed in such establishments. I’m willing to bet neither of you have ever spent a night in one.

          • landline

            You lose that bet. I’ve stayed in them in the States and even recently in the most dangerous city in the world not in open warfare.

          • landline

            A city in Central America.

          • marcos

            Tegucigalpa?

          • landline

            Right country, wrong city.

          • marcos

            San Pedro Sula. I did the Esquipulas -> San Pedro Sula -> Tegucigalpa -> Choluteca overland route onto Nicaragua in July 1987. Even during the wars when it was safer it was not pleasant. I stayed at a SRO in Managua that had been a whorehouse but was frequented by intenationalistas and was run by a straight woman named Lesbia.

          • zig

            I am surprised locating supportive housing for drug addicts in drug infested urban areas is not working

  9. SFer

    This is a Planning Dept project, not an MTA project. There are a few commenters who apparently did not read the first sentence of this article: “A small group of neighbors and planners set their critical eyes towards Mission Street Wednesday in the Planning Department’s first public open house to seek input for its Mission Public Life Plan”

  10. SFer

    This is a Planning Dept project, not an MTA project as a few commenters keep mistakenly assuming. First sentence of the article: “A small group of neighbors and planners set their critical eyes towards Mission Street Wednesday in the Planning Department’s first public open house to seek input for its Mission Public Life Plan”

  11. Yoram

    On the subject of street drunks, I would rather have experienced 50-year-old drunks holding their liquor, then 25-year-old alcoholics in training puking $15 drinks on the sidewalk. I’m definitely more scared of noisy, aggressive yuppies than I am of most homeless people.

    • zig

      This is like saying you would rather be punched in the face than the balls. You have low expectations it seems

  12. Mister Big

    If the Planning Department is like the SFMTA, it’s made up of people who don’t actually even live in SF and this is all just a show — they are going to do what they are going to do.

    • zig

      I don’t this the Planning Dept is autocratic. The BOS and the Planning Commission are the final arbiters right? In theory we pick the BO’S who picks the Commission and the head of Planning

  13. Tonie

    What problem are they trying to fix? Homelessness? Seriously? Sounds like someone wants to pave the way for more development, and turn Mission Street into another Valencia Street, which would be awful. Valencia is like the Marina now.

    • zig

      I like Valencia St now. I can take my daughter down there for lunch and the Mission playground is nice now

  14. missionnite

    I say no parklets, no bike lanes and no parking removal.
    We already have Valencia and no google buses. Lets enhance whats there. Fix the sidewalks, add art to the streets that represents the culture of the mission. Keep the heights as is. Work with the current merchants and not replace them. keep it affordable. Valencia has all the high end . Keep MIssion St. for the locals. Chinatown has Grant Ave for the tourist, and stockton for the locals.

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