Pedal Revolution on the inside. Photo by Annika Hom, taken Sept. 23, 2021.

Capitol investment

It was a regular who’s who last Friday at Sunnydale’s HOPE SF project: There was Rep. Nancy Pelosi seated next to Mayor London Breed. State Sen. Scott Wiener and Supervisor Shamann Walton flanked the other sides of the podium. 

They were there for Marcia Fudge, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. She was touring San Francisco’s developing public housing development, HOPE SF. The project includes 775 affordable units to replace those that will be renovated, 200 more affordable units, and 694 market rate units. All in all, that’s about 1,770 homes and some community and open space. 

Breed shared personal stories of living in public housing projects, while Fudge and Pelosi spoke policy and sprinkled in some verses from Matthew and Ecclesiastes about giving back. “This administration will do whatever it can for people who need help. Every person should live with dignity,” Fudge said. 

Once the scrum scrammed, though, a group of tenants from Sunnydale Apartments pressed themselves up against a chain-link fence separating them from HOPE SF and yelled in protest. Apparently, they will be relocated to HOPE SF when it’s done — a move they don’t want to make, or feared being unable to make. 

Ruby Guzman said in Spanish that she feared families that have members with different immigration statuses may be barred from the new complex because not everyone in the household has proper documentation; 20-year Sunnydale resident Yong Chang Ling fears losing his parking or his access to washers and dryers; others worry that rent will rise, thanks to the market-rate housing. Another dozen or so waited with signs outside the construction project. Most of them were Black, or monolingual Asian and Latinx residents; they said they don’t want privatization of public housing, and plan on rallying in front of City Hall at 4:30 p.m. on Monday.

catch up on this column:

Sunnydale HOPE SF project. Photo by Annika Hom, taken Oct. 2021.


A Pedal Revolution revelation

Sometimes revolution brings rubble. For the past few weeks, there have been rumblings at the erstwhile bike shop Pedal Revolution on 21st Street, which hit the brakes last summer and shut down. Inside are piles and piles of rubble — and not much else.

A construction worker inside said he doesn’t know what it’ll be. Another offered, “a bike shop.” But not everyone’s so sure. 

“I doubt if it will be a bike shop,” said former Pedal Revolution general manager Steve Fiduccia, who has moved on to new bike adventures. 

Following the initial publication, a reader tipped me that according to some people outside the building, it will house AethLabs, a self-described “small company in San Francisco that makes air quality monitors.” It’s also confirmed according to city records.

What is also clear is that New Door Ventures, the last owners, granted the property deed to Foghorn Fellow Industries LLC in June, 2021. As late as October, documents show Foghorn Fellow Industries is paying the mortgage. 

Foghorn Fellow Industries is at 1640 Valencia St., near Tiffany Avenue in La Lengua. It is listed as a real estate and leasing business that started this spring, public records show.  

On July 21, a $170,000 permit for a “tenant improvement” was issued here. 

The inside of Pedal Revolution as it transitions into another venture. Photo by Annika Hom. Taken Sept. 23, 2021.

A lane less for South Van Ness

With autumn comes change: Trees thin and sport new colors. Apparently, that can happen with avenues, too! 

The South Van Ness “road diet” project, aimed at reducing pedestrian collisions and deaths on the busy avenue, reaches the third stage of its project soon.

As currently planned, South Van Ness’ present four lanes (two lanes traveling in each direction) will join into three. The middle lane will be painted and widened, to allow left-turn lanes for alleys or driveways. 

Right now, cars turning left must watch for “two lanes of opposing traffic,” its project site said, “meaning there are two potential collision opportunities.” You can see for yourself on the virtual open house, which closes Oct. 27, as well as other changes, like timed traffic lights and colored curbs.

From 2015 to 2020, there were 190 reported collisions and two pedestrian fatalities. Road diets can drastically curb motor-vehicle crashes, according to the Federal Highway Administration. 

Just this weekend, a car rammed into a parklet on the street. Luckily, no one was inside. 

As with many infrastructure projects, this road diet won’t skimp on controversy, so the SFMTA wants to hear from you: call in Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. or on Monday, Oct. 25, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Drop online comments here

While the project won’t proceed until community feedback ensues, the implementation is slated to start in “Fall 2021 to early Winter 2022,” according to the SFMTA website. 

Housekeeping : What you missed and what I’m reading

From us, to you, with love:

From me: a longtime housing and community activist could get evicted, which he and other activists claim flies in the face of local law. Judges disagree. ICYMI, Buena Vista Horace Mann may get a much-needed revamp, in part thanks to Mission Local, staff said. 

Anlan Cheney tells us how impassioned residents attempt to make a splash with the Mission Community Pool’s schedule. Plus, she knows what’s up when the dog bites. When the bee stings, not so much. 

Screw the Batmobile, it’s the Bookmobile! Eleni Balakrishnan gives updates on the Mission Library

Andddd, action! Will Jarrett rounds up all the San Francisco movie scenes in a nifty new map. You may need this one after last week’s heartbreaking Giants loss

What I’m reading: 

Conor Dougherty’s longform New York Times piece explores how the “suburban dream” incites housing problems like wealth inequality and segregation. It’s embedded with real-people stories and rich details, just as the lovely “Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America” did. 

And slowly but surely, I’m getting through Richard Rothstein’s “The Color of Law,” which pairs well with any relevant housing topic today. 

Update Oct. 17, 10 a.m. with what Pedal Revolution will be.


Your contribution is appreciated.

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REPORTER. Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused on local news and immigration. She is a proud Chinese and Filipina American. She has a twin brother that (contrary to soap opera tropes) is not evil.

Follow her on Twitter at @AnnikaHom.

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  1. I’m all for slowing traffic on South Van Ness but reducing S Van Ness to one lane in each direction will make life difficult for everyone. Like it or not, buses, ubers, personal vehicles, etc. WILL double park on S Van Ness, so this plan will simply snarl traffic. NO THANK YOU.

  2. I cross South Van Ness every day on foot, and every time take my life into my hands. I’m in support of removing a lane, but by leaving the crossing distance the same, this doesn’t do enough for pedestrian safety. They need to add a pedestrian refuge in the middle and bulb-outs at the sides to reduce the time you are in danger crossing. Many other streets have this: Guerrero, Dolores, Potrero… see Dolores and 19th St next to Dolores Park, specifically, for a great example.

    As for traffic flow, what we consistently find is that when you make transit more reliable and make it safer to walk and bike, drivers shift to those options. People were afraid of congestion when the Embarcadero Freeway came down; now almost no one would want to ruin the waterfront by putting it back. We have to think about moving people, not cars. SFMTA knows this, so they should be bolder on this project and not let concerns about traffic flow stand in the way of making the safest possible pedestrian crossings.

    1. Center islands are not compatible with a 4 => 3 “Valenciazation” because the median becomes the left turn pocket.

      How many non-signalized intersections are there on South Van Ness in the Mission? Erie, Adair, Enterprise and that’s it. Those should probably also be synchronized signalized as a traffic calming measure. Where are you finding it difficult to cross?

      “what we consistently find is that when you make transit more reliable and make it safer to walk and bike, drivers shift to those options”

      Given the failure of Vision Zero and the death spiral that Muni finds itself in, how would you have any first hand knowledge that improvements that we’ve not seen will solve problems that stubbornly persist? Besides, the moment the SFMTA tries to prioritize transit over peds or cyclists, cycling and ped advocates go apeshit and transit takes another of thousands of cuts.

      I’m glad to see the traffic calming on a street I ride daily and am okay with this set of trade-offs.

    2. I walk across S Van Ness multiple times a day. I’ve, apparently fortunately enough, never ‘taken my life into my hands’ doing so. Hyperbola much?

      That said, I believe we need much better non-vehicular transit options in San Francisco. I

  3. So, I’m torn when it comes to the proposed lane changes on South Van Ness.

    As someone that lives on the street, and has to pull out of a driveway as cars are screaming by at 45+ mph, I welcome the traffic slowage as it will be safer pulling out of my garage, and the likelihood of getting hit will go down, but at the same time as someone that regularly drives on SVN, the congestion that will result from the removal of lanes is going to be annoying.
    SVN is the last major thoroughfare through The Mission, after the divertment of traffic off of Mission and Valencia over the last few years, and the new slow streets on the side streets. If SVN goes this way, where is all the vehicle flow supposed to go? More congestion is not going to make things easier…

    1. Michael, I also live on South Van Ness.  As mentioned in a previous reply, the purpose of this project is to decrease injuries and fatalities caused by speeding vehicles.  However, there will also be traffic reduction.  A large amount of South Van Ness traffic is due to commuter and delivery vehicles taking a shortcut between 101/Cesar Chavez and Van Ness Avenue when the proper route for this transit is the use of 9th and 10th Streets or the Central Freeway.  You are correct, with the traffic calming on Valencia, Mission, and Folsom Streets in the last several years, South Van Ness became the chosen route.  With South Van Ness calmed, this vehicle flow/shortcut traffic will stay on routes that have been improved and designated for this use and have fewer pedestrians.  South Van Ness will have less congestion and be better and safer for residents of the Mission and surrounding neighborhoods.  

  4. The traffic calming is actually just a frustrating thing that makes drivers do hasty things. The more well traffic light timed streets there are, the less it’ll get concentrated onto fewer streets.
    As for people in general drivers and pedestrians not paying attention, there needs to be other incentives to change that. SF wasn’t as stupid 20years ago, because people weren’t glued to their smart phones.

    1. Cadence, no disrespect intended but do you have any facts to back up your comment that “The traffic calming is actually just a frustrating thing that makes drivers do hasty things” or is that anecdotal? Even if “drivers do hastly things” the reason cities implement traffic calming is because it decreases pedestrian injuries and death. Just read the studies and/or ask a traffic engineer. Visit one of the South Van Ness project’s virtual office hours events and ask the project representatives.