Mayor Ed Lee’s “Fix-It Team” has arrived in the Mission District and will be touring the neighborhood and meeting with residents to figure out what quality of life issues can be addressed with quick fixes.
At a meeting on Thursday night, Fix-It Team head Sandra Zuniga fielded concerns from residents living in the northern Mission.
“You guys can pretty much guide my job description for the next several months,” she said.
The dozen or so residents that had gathered at St. John’s church on 15th Street had plenty to keep Zuniga busy with.
Several specific requests were made for the standard Fix-It fare: Trim the trees on 15th Street, there’s a streetlight out on 14th Street, we really need a trash can on 15th and South Van Ness, it’s hard to see pedestrians stepping into some of the crosswalks in the area, and the Walgreens parking lot is often full of litter.
But neighbors also described a few bigger and more stubborn problems.
The 16th Street BART Plaza, always a difficult spot, was called out more than a few times. The elevator has a strong urine smell, one neighbor said. The escalator that’s out of service has been enclosed in a large plywood box, said another, which attracts feces and needles and makes going down the adjacent stairs feel unsafe. Trash gets caught on the pigeon spikes on a billboard above the plaza, then blows down in stronger winds.
Loitering on Mission near 16th was also a widespread concern, though city workers seemed dubious about being able to resolve that long and storied problem. Randy Quezada, a spokesperson for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, also did not see it as connected to the Navigation Center as some residents suggested.
“The problem is bigger than the Navigation Center,” he said. There is a security guard on site, and residents are encouraged to relax inside the center and keep the area in front clear, he added.
Another problem is bicycle “chop shops” neighbors see on the street.
“I know it’s a commerce within the homeless community, but it’s not okay,” said one resident.
Some in attendance asked about the status of Supervisor Jeff Sheehy’s proposed legislation to crack down on bike chop shops. The legislation is still being developed.
Buses were also a concern – no, not tech buses, casino buses. A few neighbors were frustrated with the large tour buses idling and taking up space at the 16th Street BART station, behind Marshall Elementary, and along 14th Street. Enforcement efforts, they said, have simply shuffled the problem from street to street, but it persists.
“They’re essentially commercializing [the street] to the extent that residents are second class citizens in our own neighborhoods,” said neighbor Marc Salomon.
One neighbor had come in protest. Jackie Barshak, a Plaza 16 Coalition member, said after the meeting that she saw displacement and gentrification as the root causes of some of the concerns.
“This is very superficial and does not address the real, systemic issues that people talked about,” she said.
To begin work on the concerns in her purview, Zuniga will meet with neighbors in two weeks to tour the area on foot and see the problems in person.
After that, another meeting is planned for the next portion of the Mission a step farther south, from 17th to 21st streets. That meeting will be held at Mission Pool at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7.
In the meantime, residents are welcome to reach out to Zuniga with their own Fix-It concerns at email@example.com or on Twitter, where she is @FixItTeamSF. The neighborhood walk for the northern area is scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. at 14th and Mission streets on June 15.