Neighbors Scrutinize Mission Street Makeover

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En Español.

When it comes to designing the future face of the Mission’s main thoroughfare, there’s one thing lots of people can agree on: they don’t want another Valencia street.

What residents who packed a conference room late last week at the Women’s Building do want for Mission Street includes everything from the practical – more bike parking, more sidewalk space, more restrooms at BART stations – to broader principles including preserving the cultural identity of the area and protecting it from gentrification.

Unlike the earlier public meeting that was nearly devoid of the public, outreach – including mailing thousands of postcard announcements  –  boosted attendance to more than 50 people representing a fairly diverse group.  The Mission Public Life Plan runs from 11th Street through the Mission and south to Highland Avenue. 

“Before all this stuff happened, no one cared about the Mission,” said Miguel Bustos, a lifelong Mission resident who wants to protect and preserve murals, the “vibrance of the Mission.”

But more broadly, Bustos said,  he hopes planners will respect the cultural identity of the corridor they intend to renovate. “It’s a Latino neighborhood, we made it what it is,” he said.

Beatrice Gudino, also born and raised in the Mission, wrote on the comment map, “What will be available for the present population?” She said she’s worried about the Planning Department’s intention to clean up Mission Street.

“Does that mean not seeing the realities of our world? Poverty, drugs, homelessness… I think they want to beautify not just aesthetics but people,” Gudino said.

Andy Blue, another long-time Mission neighbor, also expressed concern over the result of superficial improvements to the area.

“While I think much of it is well-intentioned, you have to consider the consequences,” Blue said. He predicted additional increases in real estate prices and the displacement of small business owners, though he said he expects these things to eventually happen anyway.

Several notes on the planning map echoed this sentiment, and took it further. “No condos. No rent increases. No parkletts!” read one. “Affordable housing for the community. No more market rate housing here,” said another. A third, “Do not ‘smooth’ everything over. The neighborhood exists! We don’t need a Latino theme park!”

T.C. Stevenson, who has lived in the neighborhood intermittently for many years (and was Ellis-Act-evicted from one of his Mission apartments during the dot-com boom), responded with mild skepticism to the notes.

“I understand that,” he said. “But is it possible?”

For now, plans are still flexible. Project manager Ilaria Salvadori said the plan has included extensive surveys and studies of people on the Mission street corridor, but is still open to adopting community feedback.

Her colleague Kimia Haddadan agreed, and emphasized that the meeting was intended to give a menu of improvement options from the public to choose from. She said that the project had begun with a survey of local stakeholders, some of whom said they didn’t want to see any changes at all.

“We always had that in mind,” she said. “We cannot move forward unless there is a community driven effort.”

Planners said they will hold several more meetings. Implementation doesn’t begin until next year. A time line is here. 

Let us know what you would like to see. Let’s keep the comments to the point – What should Mission Street look like? 

40 Comments

  1. 24-24

    yeah, please don’t clean up mission street. That would be just awful.

    • Bob

      Some misguided neighbors prefer to fight the many positive changes we have had over the past few years, which are only recently lifting Mission Street from poverty. I think most of us favor a safer and cleaner neighborhood, more trees, fewer SROs fast food and check cashing joints, and less drug dealing and crime. “Gentrification” can’t happen quickly enough, especially around 16th Street.

  2. DPClean

    Wow, Surprised at the lead of this article. I didn’t get that vibe from the meeting at all. Just the opposite, in fact..

    Mission Street it not too segregated apart from Valencia Street. The two Streets are too much of a world apart, and that the planning ought to be bringing them closer for the betterment of both.

    Its bad for both Mission Street and Valencia that people don’t walk and mingle between them easily. On many on the numbered streets there are too few streetlights for nighttime walking. Its almost as if one crosses a border between the two.

    Neighbors on Valencia Street suffer when too many buildings are converted into high priced restaurants, and it makes little sense from a neighborhood perspective when there are large, quality buildings on Mission Street that would server better as a restaurant. Lots of Mission Street users would like to see more Valencia on Mission, and Valencia users would benefit from more Mission Street on Valencia..

    This meeting was held just off Valencia Street at the Women’s building, the first meeting was held at City College, also Valencia/Bartlett – Maybe they could have the next meeting on Mission Street, such as at Plaza Adelante or one of the restaurants on Mission Street, and get more of a community outreach.

  3. Runforthehills

    So Mission Local is deleting comments that don’t fit it’s narrative now? This site is turning into such a biased rag it’s ridiculous.

    • Runforhehills, Yes, we are deleting comments that don’t contribute to the discussion. Remarks that are racist and baiting, do not contribute to a discussion about Mission Street and if you post others like your earlier comment, we will delete it.
      As you can see from above, DPClean was at the meeting and read it differently than our reporter. We have no problem with that. Best, Lydia

  4. marcos

    How about we abandon the beautification and focus instead of providing pedestrian safety, something on which everyone agrees and which is much cheaper than beautification, more bang for the buck?

    • missionbernal

      Pedestrian safety on Mission street? The only pedestrians I see that are at risk are those that are jaywalking or standing in the road waving a bus or cab. What Mission St needs is exactly what they’re working on! It needs to be cleaned up! Not just wider sidewalks and bike lanes, but cleaning up of the drug dealers, pimps and thieves that make it unsafe. Clean up the poop and the urine. Renovate those abandoned buildings that have been sitting vacant for years (like on 18th & Mission). I think the City is on the right track with all of their proposed changes. Although, every neighborhood as NIMBYs

      • SFJazzer

        We don’t need a another busy street like the Mission street having bike lanes. No more bike lanes!! I don’t have a car but I detest those bike lanes. Those cyclists have less concerns for pedestrians than car/vehicle drivers.

        • Jaime

          AMEN to that! cyclists are taking over the streets.. enough already.

        • murphstahoe

          So let’s see – despite the fact that cyclists have less concern for pedestrians than vehicle drivers, the vehicle drivers kill 20 pedestrians a year in SF, and cyclists have killed 2 in recorded history.

          To me this implies that vehicle drivers are completely incompetent. And if you are completely incompetent and get behind the wheel of a car anyway, that shows to me an utter lack of concern.

      • Old Mission Neighbor

        I don’t think Mission St needs bike lanes, when the bike lanes on Valencia and Folsom are just fine, and biking on Capp and Bartlett is pretty painless as well. Not every street needs bike lanes.

        I’d rather the space be used to create wider sidewalks and maybe a MUNI dedicated lane.

      • native

        No bike lanes on Mission St. or wider sidewalks.

      • marcos

        Wide sidewalks are a crock, it costs too much to move all of the poles and trees that they don’t and the added space is quickly privatized for on-street seating. Wider sidewalks mean narrower streets and less space for transit which slows down even further.

        The entirety of Mission from 11th to Highland should be made safer for pedestrians before any sidewalks are widened.

      • missionbernal

        As I said…NIMBYs are everywhere. Thank to all you commentators for being perfect examples of what I was saying.

        • Valenchia

          @missionbernal: Do you even know what NIMBY means? It seems that you — like many developers — use the word to denigrate those who care about their community and maybe have a different vision than you do. Rather than insulting your neighbors, maybe you could respond constructively to their ideas.

  5. missionite

    Yes please lets not make it a Valencia. Save the affordable places to eat. Keep the flavor and community feel. No more market rate condos.

    • rockpapersissore

      I question your knowledge of Mission Street if your comment supposed that Mission Street could be turned into a Valencia Street.

      • Jaime

        hey rock do you remember what valencia street was like before?

        • rockpapersissors

          Hi Jaime, Yes, I remember some stuff, like when Valencia used to be two traffic lanes in both directions, when Muni had the 26 Valencia bus, when the now closed Amber Dahl restaurant ( health dept closed) used to be Busy Bee Market. What would you like to know about he old Valencia Street?

  6. SFJazzer

    There really is nothing wrong with abit of gentrification. The Mission today feels alot safer than the Mission when I moved here in the early ’90’s. They could really re-do Garfield Park and the Swimming Pool and make that whole area nicer.

    • native

      Robbery is up 46 percent in the Mission..61 percent downtown from last year. Garfield is fine the way it is.

      • SFJAZZER

        Then there should be more police in the Mission area. Put all the scum thieves in jail. But clean up the Mission.

        • marcos

          Don’t you find it curious that the Mission Cop shop is at 17th and Valencia while violent crime thrives just a block away at 16th and Mission? It is almost as if the SFPD is put into place here to concentrate poverty problems in one location instead of, you know, policing to keep people safe.

    • Alexander

      Agree re clean up Garfield Square – no problem with the gamblers but the small group of drunks who are here 24/7 interfering with kids soccer games, peeing everywhere (with a restroom nearby in community bldg) have got to go.

  7. Fix SF

    Why “Makeover Mission”? We have too many bureaucrats creating projects to waste our money! SFMTA is behing a lot of it. Instead of focusing on Muni, where they have failed, they promote projects that “pave the way” for the high density developers that are destroying our neighborhoods and driving out our middle class. Watch out for the developer’s favorite euphemisms: Livable Streets, Walkable, Street Calming, Streetscaping, Green Space, Connecting Neighborhoods, Parklets, Safe Streets, etc.
    Our City has sold out to special interest groups and has adopter their propaganda language to sell this c*ap to each neighborhood, pitting neighborhoods against each other. I like our individual neighborhoods. I don’t want one homogenous boring dense city.for the rich.

    • Jaime

      THANK YOU !!!
      when i read thru the mission statement i too realized that the core of this project was to revamp the 14 mission and probably all the other transit units along that stretch – which is a good thing- but all that other cr*p about art and whatnot is simply infill for the main event. the city HAS to have all these public meetings in order to go forward with any of their programs.

      • marcos

        The 14 Mission plan is to eliminate service by reducing stops so that it is easier to move people through our neighborhood via Muni than it is for us to catch a bus.

  8. Backtotheburbs

    Economic cleansing is no different than ethnic cleansing. Before someone proposes that a street or neighborhood be ‘cleaned up’, they should deeply consider what they’re actually proposing. It sounds like some don’t like the people who actually uses that street … So evidently cleaning means getting rid of people. Interesting how that works in one direction, but when there are calls for affluent newcomers to consider living somewhere else, stop flipping and overbidding, or at least respecting the habit they bought into, there is a lot of kicking and screaming.

    Even one Valencia street is too much for this neighborhood … It is quickly conveting to a set of businesses that are literally useless for the residents.

    • Agua

      Burbs, I’d like to respond.

      Yes, I’m good with cleaning up the street from some people, especially when those people prevent the community from using the street and healthy uses of the space. And, that is not the same thing as ethnic cleansing.

      I’m glad that the open street walking prostitutes on Capp Street is almost gone, Go Doug Chin . That made the streets useful for people like his grandmother and families. I’m glad that MS doesn’t control the corner at 19th any more, and that also means that families feel safe in going out to buy groceries from the corner. And I would like to see the crack dealing cleaned up from by 16th Street.

      Its strange that you see protecting crack sales as the same thing as genocide.

      • Dave

        The prostitutes are alive and well on South Van Ness Ave …. Thanks Doug Chin, they have not gone away.

        When three people were killed in accidents on South Van Ness Ave one year ago, I pleaded for a solution for safer streets, something as simple as slowing the traffic by changing the signal timing. The response I received by email was that there was no money to do so. Really?

        This project will cost millions no doubt. When completed it will mean that the only major street between Guerrero and Potrero Sts that has not been improved is South Van Ness Ave, yet traffic deaths have occurred. MTA even went as far as to state that South Van Ness is a major street that can’t be modified.

        The last time I checked, Mission street is a major street. What gives?

  9. Brad

    Bummer, always miss these events. What’s the best way to make sure you know about them? Just signed up for SF planning email alerts for the Mission, perhaps that’ll keep me in the loop.

  10. MissionLoca

    I’ve lived in the Mission for a while, and no one told me about these meetings. I guess my views aren’t as important as those of some of my neighbors? Regardless, what Mission Street NEEDS and what some people seem to WANT are very different. Mission Street NEEDS a lot more safety for those of us who want to walk down the street unmolested. It NEEDS the city to crack down on people lying across the sidewalk blocking access to those who need to pass. It NEEDS empty storefronts to be filled with businesses in a reasonable period of time, not allowed to sit vacant and falling into decay for years on end. And it NEEDS the city to do something about the vandalism and tagging, other than constantly harassing homeowners and business owners to paint over it while refusing to prosecute the offenders.

    As for people wanting even more bike lanes, wider sidewalks, less gentrification, low income housing, or what the person in the article referred to as a “Latino theme park,” these are all fine and dandy opinions, but they are not necessities. Sure, I think everyone agrees that creating housing opportunities for low-income earners who want/need to stay near their jobs is important…but it’s even more important to create an environment where those people living in it don’t have to fear walking outside their front door, don’t have to live in terror of being shot, attacked, or robbed.

    As for what I personally want (not need)? I would like the sidewalks to be kept cleaner and clear of people lying on them and blocking pedestrian traffic. I would like to see Mission Street remain as many lanes of traffic as it is currently. I would NOT like to see parklets, because they are a waste of money and space, and only become magnets for vagrancy and tagging. That money would be put to better use funding additional housing opportunities for low-income, disabled, and senior residents. I would also like to see police foot patrols, greeting residents, talking to business owners, being part of the community and letting neer-do-wells who might otherwise commit crimes know that there are people watching who will try to prevent them and offer consequences for their actions.

    And most of all? I would like the SFPD and city government in general to be better prepared in case of pandemonium following a major win for one of our local sports teams. It was AWFUL living through the warzone that was the Mission after the last World Series victory! The police were so unprepared that they stood silently and watched as gangs of mostly men set fires, tagged buildings, and vandalized local businesses. They didn’t start clearing Mission Street until 1 am. That was shameful!

    Mostly, I would like the city to stop letting the onus to clean up the Mission fall on the shoulders of new hipster businesses where hamburgers cost $15 and new owners of $1.5 million dollar condos. The city government has to stop paying lipservice without actually following up with targeted funds, prosecution of quality-of-life crimes, and additional police units.

    • BigV

      +1 to MissionLoca.
      with the exception that I do like parklets — because the city does not pay for them — the business which sponsors them pays for them — so it is a “Free” way for the city to reclaim human space from being wasted on cars.

    • Chris

      Very well put.

    • Jaime

      Missionloca – Very clear and well thought out..I agree with everything you said. Big V – parklets do displace cars..but businesses rely on both foot traffic and automobile traffic. This city needs to walk the walk — clean up the streets, make the transit reliable and take responsibility for what they’re tasked to do and not throw it off onto residents and businesses.

Comments are closed.