Dolores Park

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Dolores Park Construction Delayed Four Months

In news that comes as a surprise to absolutely no one, it has been announced that the renovation of Dolores Park’s north side has been delayed by at least four months.

Dolores Park Works reports:

Completion of the North Side of the Dolores Park improvement project is now expected to be early 2015, a 4 month delay. Jake Gilchrist, manager for the project told us that unforeseen problems were discovered during excavation of the foundation for the new maintenance shed. Excessive ground water was uncovered and had to be extracted before the contractor could continue and the soil then had to be reinforced to stabilize the area. […]

The construction delay will cost an additional of $2.2 million for a total of $18.3 million budget.

The article goes on to say that “the entire Dolores Park improvement project is still on target for completion in late 2015,” which is either complete bullshit, or it means that for a period of time both the north and south sides of the park will be closed simultaneously.

It looks like your epic plans to recolonize tall-boy terrace will have to wait just a little bit longer.

Update: Jake Gilchrist confirms to Uptown Almanac in an email that the entire renovation project has been pushed back from it’s originally-scheduled completion in summer 2015. “[It’s] now on target for later in 2015. We are not planning to overlap the closures, though we are looking for any possible time savings with the contractor.”

[Dolores Park Works | Photo: torbakhopper]

Here We Go Again...

Dolores Park Neighbors Demanding Increased Police Patrols, Surveillance Cameras For Park

Between 2009 and 2012, Dolores Park’s many grouchy neighbors waged an ill-fated campaign to “dampen the spirits of those who are inclined to come to DP for unfettered drinking and carousing.”  But in spite of their many public hearings, and police support, San Francisco’s party positive spirit prevailed.

Now after a year of peace, Dolores’s neighbors are once again looking to flip the script on the park’s prized vibe.  In an open letter to the city’s Rec & Park Department, Dolores Park Works—in conjunction with Mission Dolores Neighborhood Association—writes:

After hours vandalism, increased homeless camping, public intoxication, underage drinking, out of control trash and occasional violence continue to plague the park. Now that the good weather is here, these issues have reached a critical point. Every hot weekend we host an impromptu festival at Dolores Park. The park is known region-wide as the place to party, where there are no rules, and no repercussions for bad behavior.

The neighborhood has been tolerant, welcoming and patient. But we are convinced that there’s an opportunity to begin to address these problems now, during the park renovation, so as to avoid more of the same after the park is finished.

If we are to make the park truly welcoming to all, we need to curb some of the sunny weekend excesses that are both damaging the park and the surrounding neighborhood.

With half the park closed for renovations, it’s no wonder that cramped quarters are leading folks to get even more stressed out over weekend boozing.  And their points aren’t completely unfounded: campaigns like Clean Up the Plaza and DPW’s attempt to wash the homeless out of Mid-Market has led to a significant uptick in Dolores camping and the trash situation has always been a terrible, tricky problem.  But instead of tackling the those issues head-on with more trash cans and improved homeless services (as all we seem to be doing now is kicking them around), the solution is, of course, getting the police involved:

Extended Rec and Park presence in Mission Dolores Park on weekends during peak hours. Beginning in the afternoon (noon to 4pm) the crowd arrives and Rec and Park pulls out. Daniel Perea, Captain SFPD Mission Station, has increased uniformed police foot patrols in the park, especially after 3pm and into the evening. Marcus Santiago, of the Park Patrol, is looking into increasing patrols from his officers. Both departments are working to coordinate their efforts. We’d like you to support these efforts and to find the resources for Rec and Park to participate in this collaborative effort. Rec and Park must take a leadership role and help monitor Dolores. […]

As you know, vandalism of the new Helen Diller Playground and throughout the park is a serious concern. We would like to help fund and install security cameras around the children’s playground. We are also interested in discussing more lighting around the children’s playground and adding a time-locked gate. Maybe now is also the time to take a good look at the proposed lighting plan for all of Dolores Park as well.

Of course, we’d ordinarily brush off these renewed and recycled calls for stepped up enforcement as they’ve failed before (and will fail again).  But this time, Supervisor Scott Wiener seems to be ahead of the demands, himself declaring in September that he seeks a “culture shift” and “better enforcement” to take hold before the renovations are wrapped up.  And next Wednesday, Wiener will be joined by Supervisor Campos, Captain Daniel Perea of Mission Station, Rec & Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg, and Senior Park Patrol officer Marcus Santiago in meeting with these neighbors to discuss their brand of preferred solutions to the perpetual problem.

Should you want to attend the meeting yourself, it’ll be taking place at the Dolores Park Church at 455 Dolores, starting Wednesday, May 14 at 6:30.  Dolores Park Works has all the details.

[Photo: colleenvonhenry]

Hello Precita Park!

This Is Your Last Weekend in Dolores Park Before Renovations Begin

The weather is looking promising for a last hurrah of cheap beer drinking and inching away from terrible rap battles, as next Saturday will see the long-awaited park renovation groundbreaking, followed by a fence going up around the northern half of the park. Here’s the schedule:

9:00 a.m. –  The Dolores Park Volunteers and DPWorks will rake hipster hill on last time before the dust flies. This will be our moment to thank you, the neighbors, merchants, friends and supporters of Dolores. Coffee and pastry from Dolores Park Cafe.

10:00 a.m. - Welcome Remarks and Groundbreaking Ceremony.

We would also expect folks will make a run on the vendors, needing to stockpile an 18-month supply of weed truffles and other artisanal sundries, so you better get there early.

[Dolores Park Works]

Park Life

Dolores Park: A Capitalist’s Utopia?

We hear people spouting off every so often about how the soon to be renovated Dolores Park is capitalist’s wet dream, with the invisible hand of party positivity letting folks buy and ingest whatever they damn please.  However, Priceonomics’ recent piece is the most thorough argument in favor of this we’ve yet read.  A peek at their findings:

You’d never know it from experiencing a Saturday in Dolores Park, but there exists a tireless set of park rules and regulations in the San Francisco Municipal Code. Smoking is prohibited, public drinking is prohibited, and vending food and/or alcohol is strictly defined as illegal. Add to the mix city violations — drinking in public, peddling without a permit, marijuana possession (albeit the lowest priority of the SFPD) — and it’s a wonder that Dolores Park continues to function as it does. […]

So, is Dolores Park truly a free market economy? Not entirely — but it’s probably as close as you can get in San Francisco. The forces of supply and demand are minimally impacted by laws and regulations; goods are sold at freely set prices, adjusted based on desirability. The vendors are more often at the mercy of sunny skies and generous crowds than legislation and police. By most accounts, Dolores is a capitalist’s utopia, and both the vendors and their clientele intend to keep it that way.

Read the whole piece for insight into the park’s history, and analysis on the various sellers the park is host to.

Herd of Ironic Fauxtesters to March Against Marches on Friday

Proving that irony can still be found in the Mission despite the turbulent times, the second annual SF Fauxtest aims to amuse and bewilder with a protest designed to air petty annoyances, chant against chanting, and generally tease protest culture.  Maybe they'll even stuff flowers in the exhaust pipes of Google buses.

Things kick off in Dolores Park at 5:15pm on Friday, followed by a march down Valencia.  Should you want to participate, there are plenty of fine photos from last year's Fauxtest to comb through for inspiration, but we're partial to this set of semi-serious signage:

[Facebook]

Bay Area's "Highest Elevated Spiritual Leaders" to Bless Doggie Diner Heads, Other Mutts, on Sunday

If you've lived in the Bay Area for longer than fifteen seconds, you've undoubtedly seen this trio of colossal pups being trucked around the city.  But after years of weather, travels, and playa dust, their caretaker needs to restore these 300 pound icons to their former glory.  So in support of the traveling cerberus's $48,000 restoration Kickstarter, they'll be making an appearance in Dolores Park Sunday for a “blessing.”  It all sounds very weird and certainly worthy of your attention:

Join in with three of the Bay Areas highest elevated spiritual leaders as they bless your favorite Chihuahua, Labrador Retriever, Pug, Terrier, Spaniel, French Bulldog, in your life. Of course, this includes the Bay Area's own Dachshunds, the Doggie Diner Dogheads as well! This event is a very special spiritual blessing of the Dogs in support of the Kickstart Campaign to restore the Heads, replace their trailer with a customized “dog trailer” and perform mandatory and expensive repairs to the heavy duty hauling vehicle.

And who's on deck for the ceremony?

  • Sister Dana Van Iquity representing The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
  • Bishop Joey (Ed Holmes), 1st Church of the Last Laugh
  • Philo Drummond, Co-Founder of the Church of the Subgenius
  • And introduced by Deacon Sebastian Melmoth (John Law), Holy Trinity of the Dogminican Order

The event reminds us that this is all goofy bullshit, noting, “The Sisters, Subgenius and St. Stupid are all long-time Bay Area “spiritual” organizations that, regardless of what you might believe about their relative seriousness, have spread good cheer, whimsical confusion and a lot of fun around SF and beyond for decades.”

It all begins Sunday at 4pm and goes until 5:30.  Bring your own dog, or borrow a wandering mongrel to get in the action yourself.

[Photo by Marc]

As Renovations Begin, Half of Dolores Park to Close in March

Following months of delays and a long and often ridiculous community process (remember the astroturf proposal? Complaints of fresh grass causing childhood obesity??), the city's Department of Recreation and Park is finally ready to break ground on Dolores Park Rehabilitation Project.  Just in time for non-winter!

According Dolores Park Works' latest newsletter, the entire northern half of the park between 18th and 19th streets, including the tennis courts and Tallboy Terrace, are expected to close “around March 1” and remain closed throughout the year.  Once the northern section's portion of the project is completed, the southern half (with the exception of the playground) will close.

Jake Gilchrist of Rec. and Park says the entire project is expected to last until the Spring of 2015.

Dolores Park Works reports the entire project is slated to be $4m over budget because of delays, complications in keeping half the park open at all times, and the costs of construction rising since the project was approved in the depressed economy.

With that, you should plan in getting your Dolores Park fix over the coming weeks.  And once our preferred patch of grass gets ripped up, might we recommend slouching in Precita or Potrero del Sol?  While lacking the stunning views and frenzy Dolores provides, both are host to grass, clear skies, and nearby bodegas.  But if that's not enough, there's always Frat Mason.

The Peter Shih Suite, Now Available for $2,800/Month

“Everything you need at your doorstep… progressive charter schools, great restaurants, hip shopping! Google bus will pick you up right across the street!”

That's the realtor's listing for this (obviously satirical) $2,800/month micro-apartment from Outside The Box Realty.  They go on about your new Dolores Street dream pad:

We call this our Peter Shih Suite.  Bright and airy—location is everything here. If you want Naughty, the Mission is to your left. Want Nice? Head right to Noe Valley. Progressive charter schools, hip shops and the finest restaurants. Dolores Park is your front yard, Bernal Hill your back.

Of course, their trick photography makes the space look more luxurious than it really is, as The Worst Room's pic reveals:

[Outside The Box Realty, via The Worst Room]

Scott Wiener Seeks "Culture Shift" in Dolores Park Following Renovation

Scott Wiener, right, at Monday's “Breakfast and a Park Clean Up.”

During a Dolores Park community breakfast, Supervisor Scott Wiener announced that the oft-delayed Dolores Park Renovation project is slated to begin in January—only a few months past the previously announced date.  However, Wiener's comments about what will happen after the renovations are complete in 2015 were the most curious.

“Everything about this Park is going to be better,” Dolores Park Works quoted him saying. “But we need to make sure that when we reopen the Park we have a culture shift, and we need to get people to stop trashing it.  We want to make sure when it reopens, that this Park is going to continue to be really the gem of our park system.”

No doubt that the park gets trashed week after week—it's a shame and it would fantastic if it stopped. However, the tragedy of the commons is a very real thing and its rare to see any widely-used public space not get wrecked by its more apathetic users.  Park advocates like to claim that “leave no tracecampaigns will solve the Dolores Park litter 'crisis', but even if the all-responsible population Burning Man cannot help but leave leaps of garbage—that takes weeks to clean up—on the Playa, it seems impossible to imagine such a campaign would work in a city park.

Curious about how Wiener saw the cultural shift taking shape in the newly rehabilitated park, we reached out to him for more clarification on Twitter.

“[We] need a strong education campaign about treating the park with respect, accompanied with better enforcement.”

Better enforcement seems reasonable, at least on face.  In fact, in New York's Riverside Park, neighbors are making similar calls about their trash crisis, with one echoing Wiener's sentiment, telling the New York Times, “If this was their house, they would never do this. We need better enforcement.”

Of course, “better enforcement” isn't as practical as it might seem:

Despite such complaints, park officials say their options are limited. They have mostly pursued a strategy of flooding the area with maintenance workers early Monday morning. William Castro, the parks department’s Manhattan borough commissioner, said that despite the recent hiring of scores of new enforcement patrol officers, penalizing parkgoers was impractical. The officers, who carry clubs and mace, focus mainly on loud music and alcohol, which, he pointed out, were the source of even more complaints.

Littering regulations are difficult to enforce for a few reasons, especially when it comes to large groups of relatives and friends who remain in the park for hours. “For the officers, it’s time-consuming to observe, and then who are you going to give the summons to?” Mr. Castro said. “If you go into a large crowd and the person resists, arguments happen and things spin out of control.”

Then again, maybe “enforcement” will work just fine here.

Dolores Park, Bi-Rite Starring in New Drama About App Developers

Betas,” Amazon's new direct-to-streaming show about four (male, mostly white) app developers hoping to retire by puberty, is reportedly filming outside of Bi-Rite Creamery and famed shuttlebus stop, Dolores Park, this morning.  They're even sexing up the park with trash-cans!

The show stars Ed Begley, Jr. has an aging tech mogul investor and Moby as Moby, so expect to see them around town as you dodge the cast of The Real World.

UPDATE: They also might be filming at Doc's Clock:

UPDATE II: Because the Mission is one giant Holywood lot, Mission Local is reporting that HBO's “Looking,” a gay drama about two video game programmers, is being filmed at Doc's Clock.  Mission Mission has the info on how you can be a cool, hipster-y background extra in that show.

[Photos by heykd and Dolores Park Works]

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