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.

Comments (36)

Weiner is full of platitudes but no real solutions, as always. I regret voting for him every time he opens his mouth.

Here’s a solution: MORE TRASH CANS! Every frickin’ day you see that the trashcans are overflowing and trash lying everywhere. Yes, responsible adults would behave and take their trash home; but come on! We’re talking about the real world here.

I can bet you: if there were more trash cans, and they were cleaned out frequently, the park would be much cleaner. It’s the “broken window” theory: if there’s already garbage flying around, people will not feel guilty about littering. If the park is clean and spotless with enough areas to dump your trash, it will remain so.

bingo. I’d like to vote for you.

the broken window theory has been disproven, but the more trash cans theory can only work.

Could you share your source?. good sources are still teaching the opposite.

Just using the Mission as an example: everything is far cleaner–less graffiti, less boarded up/empty storefronts, cleaner streets–yet our property theft rates are skyrocketing. The more time we waste busting the homeless for drinking at 16th and Mission, the less time the police have for tackling serious issues.

I wish I had time at the moment to fact check, because I’m doubting on “skyrocketing” propety theft however that is defined. Is +10% Sky Rocketing

The data to look at this is at San Francisco Open Data web site

Still, I’ve seen only a small uptick of police at 16th and Mission, but I’m not hanging out there.

Querry, is your preferred police list, violent crime, bicycle theft,other property theft, quality of life.
(kinda joking on the bike theft part.)

It is sad that there are more robberies. Thanks for posting that link.. I am grateful for the effort, and I’ve learned more by reading it. Thanks.

Placing the increase in robberies within the broken windows theory may be complicated. I would spin the narrative that in the first period the cleaner streets link to more people walking on the street, and some of those people don’t receive the visual clues to be careful with expensive phones. Bottom line, more people out is o more theft opportunities by the bad guys.

The article also claims to an even bigger percentage increase in number of arrests for robbery, which may mean that mathematically percentages go up rapidly when starting from a small base, or that police involvement at 16th and Mission doesn’t mean they don’t have time to deal with property theft crimes.

Lastly, on a distinct by related issue, I’ve notice in the last three days that each time I’ve transited 16th and Mission that there are two police there, and the plaza has a different tone. I’m more much more advocating for cleanup, and want to distinct that from a “militarization” type plan.

“Weiner is full of platitudes but no real solutions, as always.”


Hire some extra workers to help clean up, and the responsible public can help by letting SF311 know the areas that need the most cleaning . We are in 2013, and its time to use some crowd sourcing to help direct the cleaning hours efficiently.

But please, please, please, don’t stop the party.

I wouldn’t go anywhere near Dolores Park on the weekends. Even if the obnoxious hipsters keep it clean, it will still be full of obnoxious hipsters.

i cant believe you little douchebags expect 1) taxpayers to fund cleaning crews because you are too lazy to bring your trash to trash cans, and / or 2) cant carry your trash beyond the immediate trash cans that may be full to find another receptacle
grow up

There’s a critical difference between feeling entitled and the reality of the situation.

I cannot possibly imagine that anyone making noise about the trash situation litters themselves, but ‘awareness’ only does so much (e.g. the only relative effectiveness of the “Don’t Be a Litterbug” in the 1970s), and we should be talking about real solutions instead of feel-good platitudes or militarizing the park.

that’s easy to say when you are the one dictating the narrative

I could only wish to be dictating the editorial direction of the New York Times / reality!

^^ Caught leaving offensive litter on blog space.

Or, y’know, the city could just put out more fucking trashcans. There is a blatant and demonstrable shortage of trash receptacles.

That photo is a perfect snapshot of corruption, arrogance and utter disrespect for the people of San Francisco:
DPW’s Mohhamed Nuru, who committed voter fraud in support of Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom.
Rec and Park Director Phil Ginsburg, who can’t privatize our parks fast enough while constantly adding six figure PR and management jobs for his pals, and closing neighborhood rec centers.
And last and certainly least, Scott Weiner, who recently tried to pass a bill giving himself the option of overturning laws passed by the voters of San Francisco during our elections. This guy would be funny if he weren’t so busily trying to destroy San Francisco with his “I know what’s best for all of you” attitude as if the voters were children in desperate need of his discipline.

Weiner is also trying to close all public parks at night because of- Gasp!- occasional acts of vandalism.
Just think, armies of cops rolling into Dolores and ordering everbody out because Scott Weiner says it’s your bedtime. Won’t that be nice?
We should replace Weiner ASAP with a supervisor who supports MORE people using public parks more frequently, not putting up fences and gates and locking people out.
Getting rid of Ginsburg, who seems to view all parks as under occupied mini malls would be a step in the right direction also.

It’s a good thing Wiener focuses on this city’s real problems.

Wiener does his part. As do all Supervisors. Whether you agree with them or not, there are attempts to tackle the City’s more intractable issues. But they are intractable and have been for years (decades?) for a reason. Blog and media outlets often times seem hellbent on making fools out of our elected officials which really just makes things worse. In my opinion at least. Elect a person to get from (A) to (B). Proceed to rip elected person to shreds. And then wonder why we never get to (B). Hire the best person and then start building the case to fire them.

As a caveat, I’ve never met Wiener, but I have had to speak in front of the Supervisors before and I found Wiener to be one of the few who actually bothers to look up, pay attention, and ask questions.

Blog and media outlets often times seem hellbent on making fools out of our elected officials which really just makes things worse.

…I found Wiener to be one of the few who actually bothers to look up, pay attention, and ask questions.

Yup. It’s almost like the media treats our politicians like jokes because they are jokes.

4sur, Wiener gives the best look up of all the BOS.

The knock on look up meister is that he campaigned to get from (A) to (B), and when he won, showed that he is really trying to go from (A) to (AA). People who voted for him feel tricked and excluded from his actual plans.

More trash cans. More frequent emptying. More commitment to public parks for the public. No to the commercialization of the park with permanent food trucks that crowd out informal vending.

Putting cops in the park to combat littering seems counterproductive. They’ll just scare away people who aren’t the main source of the littering.

Many of the young people who populate the park on weekends must have grown up with domestic help that picked up after them or work at jobs where low wage workers clean up their messes because this recent transformation in Dolores Park verges on obscene.

Remember when Mayor Newsom tried to stem littering by removing trash cans around the city? Take some of those out of storage and put them in parks to enable courteous behavior.

Wiener is running for higher office, probably Mayor, and rather than address pressing issues like the housing crisis, poverty, hunger, he’s courting favor with frustrated residents by criminalizing poverty, scapegoating homeless and mentally ill people, and getting his name in the press with feel good efforts like this one.

Park is for pride and dogs. The rest of you go directly to jail.

More trash cans does not mean less litter. Some studies have shown that it means *more* litter.

Dolores Park has enough waste to fill pretty much infinite trash cans. Put a bunch all over the place, and *all* of them will overfill, no matter how many you put out. And people will try to stuff more into those overfilled trash cans and this results in more trash that doesn’t quite fit into the trash can. Add some wind, and you have litter all over the place.

With fewer trash cans, they are overfull that at the very least people who aren’t willing to just chuck their trash onto the ground will carry their trash out, and it produces a culture of understanding that the trash really needs to be personally carried out.

Bullshit. More trash cans DOES need more litter. Given the choice of putting something in a convenient trash can or throwing something on the ground, the vast, vast majority of people will opt for the trash can. To claim otherwise is pure nonsense.


Rather, More trash cans DOES mean less litter.

“some studies”?
Well darn, I’m really looking forward to you posting links to these studies that completely contradict what any rational, non-asshole would guess about the effects of taxpayer funded organizations doing their fucking job and providing crazy things like extra trash cans and more frequent maintenance for bathroom facilities in places that experience an increase in public visits and enjoyment.

Scott Weiner clearly has no respect or consideration for most of the people who visit Dolores Park and he should be accordingly voted away and replaced by someone who will encourage and enable people to enjoy their public parks.

Okay, you are angr, but wtf did you say?

(i tipe gud)

Trash cans are ugly, so emptying more frequently when people are at the park, is preferred to just more.

I’m really starting to dislike this Weiner guy - how is such an ass getting elected?