Car Owners Already Complaining About Proposed Mission Mercado Plaza

We're big fans of the weekly Mission Community Market.  Sure, it's a tad expensive as far as farmer's markets go, and the selection isn't as comprehensive as Civic Center's, but having a dependable farmer's market was something this neighborhood long needed, and now we finally have it.

So when Mission Community Market proposed to further improve the stretch of Barlett Street between 21st and 22nd that the market occupies every Thursday by converting it to a functional civic space, we were on board.  By leveraging the $1.6m the city has already set aside to upgrade the street and eliminating the 40 some parking spaces, the city hopes to construct permanent market stalls, improve the pedestrian lighting and green the street—all while remaining a drivable street.

Of course, some self-described neighbors are already upset over the loss of parking, fearing it will negatively impact local businesses or something, for the benefit of a “private organization.” From an email being circulated around:

1. Elimination of Parking: The proposed design eliminates parking which will hurt both residents and businesses in the area. The parking is eliminated in order to massively widen the sidewalks on Bartlett St. As there is little pedestrian traffic on that street, we believe that it would make more sense to just modestly widen the sidewalks and retain most or all of the existing parking. […]

3. Process: The planning process has not been transparent or fair. It appears that Jeremy Shaw has been central to the design; but he has a clear conflict of interest as he runs the private organization that operates the Mission Community Market. In contrast local neighborhood and business organizations have not been involved. Not surprisingly, the final design favors Jeremy's particular private interests and not the views of the broader public. I think it is highly inappropriate for the City to allow the head of a private organization to redesign a public street to benefit that private organization.

The irony of the last point is clearly lost on the neighbors, considering parking spaces for privately-owned vehicles seems like a far worse use of public space than a farmer's market that can be patronized by everyone that eats food.  Alas, this is their case.

Should you want to see the lot of apparently self-interested parties battle it out in a public meeting, the SF Planning Department is hosting a hearing on the proposed plaza tomorrow night at 6pm in The Women's Building at 3543 18th Street.

Comments (18)

Mission is not a food desert for ingredients. You said, ” but having a dependable farmer’s market was something this neighborhood long needed, and now we finally have it.”. I shop more between 17 and 18th, but its also true that those produce stores along Mission Street, (thinking 23rd) do a great job in selling farm produce at much better prices than Safeway or Bi-Rite. Yes a farmer’s market is going to be an neighborhood improvement, but let’s recognize how good we have it.

Yeah, but most of those produce markets don’t have raspberries and strawberries to garnish my champagne with.

Your kidding about the strawberries aren’t you?

I know some people at the San Francisco Buddhist Center, one of the few residences actually on this one block of Bartlett (it is mostly the backs of buildings and the side of a parking garage with apartments above that have an entrance on 22nd). I can say that there was outreach to the community, as I know some folks that live there that have been actively involved in planning meetings. The parking spaces that will be removed are paid, metered parking, and they are literally right next to a parking garage.

As someone who lives two blocks away and frequents the farmer’s market, I hop this new plan gets through!

Little by little the City is expanding Fisherman’s Wharf for the tourist trade, turning the Mission into an outgrowth of Pier 39. Already you can bike across to bridge to Sausalito and ferry back, soon they will bike up Market to Valencia, tour the Mission and the Castro (bring back the Naked Men!) and then cruise back to the wharf on a rent-a-bike. Money, money, money –the Mission Is the New Marina!

It was almost exactly eleven years ago when at 10a.m. on a weekday morning outside of Popeye’s “five people were wounded – two critically – after a fistfight erupted into gunfire” and one “ran west on 22nd Street and north on Bartlett Street before collapsing.” [sfgate]

The gang bangers are going to have a field day battling over who will own this area after dark. Going to be fun to watch.

You really think so? They are so reduced compared to their prior presence.
But the gang stuff was never fun to watch for me.

Huh. As a long-time resident, I go to the farmer’s market on Bartlett regularly. I buy produce there (when the price is right) and stroll about for a few minutes. Not sure I’ve ever seen anyone I’d recognize obviously as a “tourist.”

I’m not entirely sure why this space needs to be developed, but a dedicated car-free space sounds good to me. Valencia and Mission are each only a few-hundred feet away in either direction. I’m sure we residents could do without Bartlett as an automotive thoroughfare.

Concur on all counts.

“Gang bangers”? Really? You do realize it’s not 1950 anymore, right?

People still say “gang bangers”. If he escaped from 1950 he would be calling them “juvenile delinquents”

CarFree SF

Move to Venice.

I definitely prefer this over stupid parklets.

I still think they should block Dolores between 20th and 18th to vehicular traffic on weekends and have food trucks along the west side of the median

Neat idea. Throw in 18th from Dolores to Guerrero, too.

And what will it be used for when it’s poring rain? How about using the stands as homeless shelters.

Touching or sitting on cement in the Mission is ill advised. At a Farmer’s Market it could be manslaughter.

Thanks to everyone for your comments. Last night’s meeting was designed as a conversation about the proposed concept design, based on over two years of talking to neighbors, local businesses, and community organizations. If you feel left out of the conversation or missed the meeting, I encourage you to speak up to the planning department. You may find your ideas have already been incorporated into the proposed design. Or come out to a Thursday market and imagine some possibilities for the street yourself! I’m always there and am happy to talk.

I’d also like to clarify a few things:

1. The Mission Community Market (MCM) is a non-profit organization. MCM uses the community building and revenue from a market to improve family health, local businesses, and public space around Bartlett/22nd Streets. It was formed by a broad collaborative of non-profits, local businesses, neighbors in 2010. Through health and nutrition programming, small business assistance, murals, and youth job placement, MCM has partnerships with over 15 community-based organizations.

2. I hope we can celebrate that funding has been allocated to our neighborhood! Funding was brought to Bartlett to address public concerns about Bartlett and demonstrated needs (obesity, safety, small biz opportunity) in the Mission. The reason there is a project at all is due to public support and established community partnerships around that space.

3. The Mercado Plaza idea is about more than the Mission Community Market. It is about creating a public space that serves the community better. We can still have a functional Bartlett Street. But street lights can make it safer. Murals can make it beautiful. Narrower lanes can slow dangerous traffic. And active uses like markets, school festivals, fundraisers, and health fairs can have a venue in a neighborhood underserved by public space and lacking a central plaza. There is great potential for this space. Local schools, neighbors and non-profits agree and will participate. We hope you can too.