Cesar Chavez Bike Lanes Canned

Looks like the bike lanes along Chavez that would have established a safe route from the Mission to the Dogpatch that everyone was so psyched about has been scrapped due to concerns about its impact on traffic. Mission Local reports:

The cause of the abrupt change of plan, said David Beaupre, planner for the Port of San Francisco, was lack of communication between groups working on different transportation plans for the city. […]

Removing one eastbound lane on Cesar Chavez and replacing it with a bike lane on each side of the street has been a part of MTA plans for Cesar Chavez since at least 2009. The plans themselves were the result of two years of collaboration between the San Francisco Planning Department, the SFTMA, Department of Public Works, the Public Utilities Commission, and multiple community groups.

But, said Beaupre, when the Cesar Chavez redesign was being planned by the MTA, the Planning Department’s visions for Cesar Chavez were not taken into account. Although the two agencies have been in talks for many months now, it was only recently that the MTA abandoned the bike lane plan as it stands now. […]
Turning an eastbound lane of an already narrow and busy street could lead to 1,200 to 1,500 foot-long columns of idling trucks, said James Shahamiri, an assistant engineer for the MTA. A number of businesses in the area had expressed concern about the lanes impacts on the flow of goods, he added. Belatedly, the MTA realized that their project was not being real consistent with the Planning Department’s  goals, he said.

Read on.

City of San Francisco Upset About a 70-Year-Old Billboard

I don't know if everyone has been following the epic NIMBY battle going on in Bernal Heights over the historic Coca Cola billboard, but it's good stuff.  To recap: a lone hater neighbor complained to the city that this 'corporate billboard' violated the city's strict laws against billboards, the city agreed and demanded the owner of the building paint over it.  After some neighborhood outrage, the city backtracked and said if the owner of the building could prove that the billboard was put up prior to 1965, it could stay as it would be deemed “historic” and would be grandfathered into the pool of legal billboards.  Some sleuthing by Bernalwood and Burrito Justice proved that the mural, which has been maintained by the building owner since 1991 (hence looking fresh), was originally painted in the late 1930's or early 40s.

Crisis adverted, right? Nope.  After proving the billboard met the city's requirement, the city's sign expert told the Chronicle, “But the law is totally nondiscretionary. This is a residential district and an unpermitted general advertising sign.”  Really?  What about that whole 1965 nonsense?  Basically, the city was just “lol jk!” about that and will require it be either painted over or that Supervisor David Campos introduce legislation to make a “special sign district,” legislation that would have to be “reviewed by the Planning Commission, the board's Land Use Committee, the Board of Supervisors and, quite possibly, the Historic Preservation Commission.”  Seems like a whole lot of bullshit for a harmless sign that has been visible for decades….

The Chronicle called up Supervisor Campos to see what he thought:

Campos is still mulling the issue.

We haven’t really taken a position either way,” Campos said. “We want to hear more from the neighborhood.”

He said he’s already received a handful of passionate e-mails from both sides.

We’re trying to fight childhood obesity,” he said. “We don’t want to promote kids drinking Coca-Cola.”


(Read more about the drama at Bernalwoodphoto by Troy Holden)

CRAZY ALERT: Proposed Amendment to Allow Any Asshole to Appeal Any Event

This is so fucked I'm just going to let this email we received from Dana Ketcham speak for itself:

I want to alert you to a proposed charter amendment that the Board of Supervisors will be considering in a hearing at 10 am on Friday on the 2nd Floor of City Hall. I apologize for the late notice but I just learned about the hearing.

This amendment would potentially allow any event permit issue by San Francisco Rec and Parks Dept. to be appealed  by any member of the public that opposes the permit. The appeal would go to the Board of Appeals (a lengthy process). This amendment could make it extremely difficult to do events because:

  1. Any permit could be appealed by anyone. Basically every park in this city has at least one vocal neighbor that does not want events at the park. This includes Justin Hermann, Union Square, Golden Gate Park, Dolores and many others.  In addition, there are other park groups who oppose events in parks in general.
  2. There is no time frame on the appeal process so you would have an appeal pending making it impossible to plan for your event. If the Board of Appeals does not hear the appeal, you can proceed with it but it would be uncertain if it would get to your appeal. We know the months of planning that goes into the events.

We believe that all of you do valuable work on a number of types of events ranging from fun events in our parks to fund-raisers for not for profit organizations to cultural celebrations.  These would be curtailed.

As part of the permit process with SFRPD, SFRPD works hard with each of you to be responsive to members of the community and their concerns and ask each of you to do community outreach as part of the permit process to address their concerns. If there are significant issues SFRPD tries to resolve them and if necessary takes the permit to the Recreation and Park Commission.

I urge you or the organizations you represent to appear at this hearing to learn about this proposal and to express your views. The meeting is at 10 am on Friday in the 2nd Floor of City Hall. The best thing is if you can appear in person . If you can not, I urge you to email the members of the Board of Supervisors who are on the Committee that are hearing this appeal. They are:

If this proceeds it will be a ballot initiative on the November ballot. It would also provide the members of the Recreation and Park Commission would be appointed in part by the Board of Supervisors.