What should the lower 24th Street corridor look like in five or ten years?
A street with more lighting, better sidewalks, fewer liquor stores and more events, suggested stakeholders at a Monday evening workshop at St. Peter’s Church.
The purpose of the workshops was to form a vision and an action plan on how to improve the lower 24th street corridor from Mission to Potrero streets.
“We are not going to solve every problem,” said Jacob Schultz, one of the event’s organizers. “But we can do a lot of little things that can begin the change.”
Supervisor David Campos’ office and the Neighborhood Marketplace Initiative, which includes the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Local Initiative Support Corporation, organized the workshops.
Their goal is stabilize and revitalize low and moderate-income commercial districts and the 24th Street corridor was recently selected as one. They do this by identifying common issues and suggesting solutions.
“The city already has some of the resources,” said Shultz, a program officer for the Local Initiative. “But until they have a complete plan, it won’t change –it’s an efficient collaboration of city resources.”
The Marketplace initiative, which works in 11 other San Francisco neighborhoods, cites the Excelsior as an example that successfully organized merchants and improved the look of storefronts in the neighborhood where vacancies were a problem.
They said, that in 2006 alone the program created 50 new businesses and 95 jobs for city residents.
The Lower 24th street corridor only has five vacancies, but stake holders at the meeting identified other issues and solutions as they talked in groups at different tables.
Connie Rivera, the owner of Mixcoatl Arts and Crafts, said that she understands that the sidewalks are narrow, but her business needs to have products on the sidewalks to attract customers.
At another table, Jaime Trejo the policy research analyst for the Mission Economic Development Agency told Police Captain Craig Corrales that there is a divide between youth and the police.
No consensus was reached on that issue. They and other residents, however, said the liquor store on 24th and Folsom is an ongoing problem.
At the same table, a man complained about excessive urination on Balmy Ally, a passageway lined with murals since the early 1970s. Someone suggested the city paint more images of the Virgin Mary, because the perpetrators have apparently refused to urinate on her.
The next meeting is on June 7th and they will have a complete summary of the issues and solutions. The meetings are open to the public.
Below is a list of suggestions. The issues they identified were derived from stakeholder interviews and focus groups.
Community Building and Marketing
– More street fairs and events to celebrate 24th Street.
– Cafes encourage people to come together
– Making brighter lights
– Partnership restaurant + Brava theater and Art spaces.
– Programs for youth and better relationship with police
Pedestrian Design and Streetscape
– Branding for corridor for a unified look
– Better lighting at night
Latino Culture and Diversity
– Block parties
– More art events like MAPP, a bi-monthly extravaganza of art and culture that takes place in venues and private houses and is open to the public. The next one is on June 6.
– Parties at café’s
Local Business Development
– Attracting new business like banks but no chain stores
– Keeping existing business like Delano’s Grocery, which is in danger of closing
– Spend money locally
– Addressing increasing rents for commercial spaces, which has no rent control
– More lighting and trees