A screenshot of the April 22, 2021 Budget and Finance Committee meeting
Members of the Budget and Finance Committee hear a proposal on Safe Sleeping Sites April 22,2021.

The city’s Budget and Finance Committee on Wednesday heard a proposal by Supervisor Rafael Mandleman to offer temporary shelter for every unhoused person in San Francisco that elicited dozens of calls from both supporters and opponents of the legislation. 

Mandleman began his presentation by lamenting the negative “chatter” he said he’s seen and heard regarding his “A Place for All” legislation. 

If passed by the full Board of Supervisors, the legislation would give the city four months to come up with a plan to house its more than 8,000 unhoused residents and another 18 months to set up sites around town. 

While the legislation leaves open-ended the type of temporary housing that should be offered, critics say these would most likely come in the form of tents in Safe Sleeping Sites, unless the city somehow finds a few spare navigation centers or buys some single residence occupancy hotels within the timeframe of the ordinance. 

Some opponents argued the city should focus more on permanent housing rather than tent villages, and others pointed out that the existing Safe Sleeping Sites cost an astronomical $61,000 per year per tent camper, according to a story last month by the San Francisco Chronicle. 

Ultimately, the committee’s board members: Matt Haney, Gordon Mar and Ahsha Safaí, seemed unconvinced of the program’s efficacy and postponed a vote to move the proposal forward for an undetermined future hearing.  

Building that has hosted litany of short-lived bars on the block 

The site of Arena SF, a dance club that dedicates itself to “the ratchets” at 2565 Mission St. between 21st and 22nd streets, is for sale for $3.6 million, according to a listing by Compass Commercial

Arena SF, the nightclub and restaurant that has occupied the two-story space since March 2019, has a lease that extends to February 2024 with annual rent of $180,960, meaning it may be there to stay. Arena SF co-owner Joey Ngo said he was aware of the sale and that it would not impact the business, but could not share any other details. 

Prior to Arena SF, this site hosted The Mission Street Sports Bar, Balançoire, the Blue Macaw, and 12 Galaxies.

Compass Commercial describes the Mission District to potential buyers as an, “evolving neighborhood with Latino roots and a hipster vibe.” 

Soft-Story Danger

The biggest construction news of the week came courtesy of our very own Joe Eskenazi, with bombshell special reports exposing dangerous flaws in the city’s effort to retrofit soft-story buildings throughout San Francisco, and the lack of oversight that contributed to the problem.

1458 San Bruno Ave.

Developers for the project at 1458 San Bruno Ave. held their second meeting this week, which was essentially a rerun of the first.

Residents once again showed up by the dozens to oppose the project, and developer Chris Goode once again attempted to convince them of the project’s benefits while emphasizing that he was only developing as a last resort.

Shotwell slowly advances to slow street

A plan by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agencyto make Shotwell a permanent Slow Street finished its first outreach phase last week. More than two dozen Slow Streets — streets blocked off to traffic so residents could stretch their legs during quarantine — were placed around the city last year amid the shut down.

Mission residents shared mixed reviews of the project, saying it increased pedestrian access but failed to sufficiently minimize vehicles speeding through the blocked off streets. 

Though the comment period has now ended, SFMTA plans to hold another virtual open house in the summer, according to the website

After completing the outreach phase, otherwise known as phase two, planners will then design the permanent set-up of the street, which may be as simple as switching out the temporary “No through traffic” signs for sturdier ones. A timeline of the project states it should be approved by the SFMTA board in the summer and implemented by fall. 

South Van Ness Improvement

South Van Ness Avenue is another Mission corridor that may soon be slowed down through city planning. In an effort to reduce pedestrian fatalities, the SFMTA is seeking to pare down South Van Ness Avenue from four lanes to three. 

Rather than having two lanes in either direction, the street would have one in either direction and one center lane for left turns from either direction. The transit agency is currently doing community outreach ahead of the changes. 

South Van Ness was selected for the project as part of the San Francisco “High Injury Network,” the 13 percent of streets where 75 percent of traffic fatalities and serious injuries occur. 

Residents were reminded of the avenue’s dangerous history earlier this week when a driver crashed into a parklet at South Van Ness Avenue and 24th Street, injuring two people. 

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Juan Carlos Lara covers business and development in the Mission. Juan Carlos, a San Francisco State alum, is as much a photographer as he is a writer and previously worked as the campus news editor at Golden Gate Xpress, SF State’s student paper.

Tips can be sent to juancarlos.lara@missionlocal.com
Tweets can be found at @jcl_scoop

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  1. I don’t even have a car and live in the Mission, and even I am skeptical of the So Van Ness redesign. Mission and Valencia have both been redesigned to be unfriendly to cars. And now they want to do So. Van Ness? This will only increase traffic on all the side streets. All you have to do is look at Great Highway to know that when you cut down on the direct route, you force traffic into more residential neighborhoods.

    1. Agreed, SVN is pretty much the only east-west thru street in the Mission that still works for vehicles. No need to mess with it.

    2. You’ll still be allowed to drive on it. But it’s dangerous right now. As someone who lives near South Van Ness, I take my life into my hands every time I cross. It’s about calming the traffic, and it’s much needed.