I have found that there is an amusing side effect of sticking your nose where perhaps it doesn't belong. Suddenly a mild mannered Silicon Valley engineer with no real authority becomes the listening board for random issues and the "owner" of issues - e.g. "How are things going with 'your plaza'". This becomes more prevalent when you have a big email distribution list, which of course I would never abuse ;)
So now I occasionally get random emails that are directly or tangentially related to the two most recent issues I have been pontificating about - Caltrain weekend Bullets and the addition of public space in Noe Valley (I will use a generic term there rather than "Plaza" or "Parklet" or "Town Square"). For example the bullet train thing has gotten me a lot of email from people about High Speed Rail, Gilroy Service (apparently an extension to Salinas is what would solve the whole problem), and running 10 minute headways all day long. Surprisingly, no "What we need to do is kill Caltrain and run BART down the Peninsula".
Last night, I got another email regardling "Public Space in Noe Valley". For those not following the saga, the Noe Valley Association wrote a grant which was looked upon favorably by San Francisco's San Francisco's Pavement to Parks program to put a Plaza on Noe Street in Noe Valley. I became a F-List Celebrity in Noe Valley - at least electronically - for advocating for this plaza but alas, we lost this battle in spectacular fashion . Instead Pavement to Parks decreed that Noe Valley would get two "parklets" along 24th Street.
If one thing was generally agreed upon during this whole saga, was that no matter the outcome, the process was flawed. While the NVA was very well meaning, many citizens felt that they figured out something they liked, and flung it upon an unsuspecting populace. They developed the idea, went to P2P, P2P approved the idea, and got set to roll it out. The idea was then leaked, a few people with enough influence to get their phone answered by our Supervisor put a bunch of DON'T BLOCK NOE signs in their windows, and the project was deemed to be too divisive before people who might like the project got to voice their opinions. So then me and mine got equally as pissy, and a lot of people who probably would have nice conversations over the Giants prospects in the playoff race ended up screaming and shouting at each other, online and in public.
That's water under the bridge. Supervisorial Candidate Rebecca Prozan saw me on the street and told me she thought she had figured out my plaza problem (again with the ownership meme!). "Vicksburg" - she said confidently. I had a bag of bagels and my wife was waiting for me, so I just nodded and said "Vicksburg" and pointed at the Farmer's Market and said "Well, maybe we'll get a 'plaza' here" - referencing an effort to get money to buy the Noe Valley Ministry's parking lot and turn it into a non-street-blocking public space. What I really wanted to say was "It's over, we had fun, we lost, sometimes that happens, now I just want to go to Healdsburg and work on my tomatoes.
However, there is one open issue. We get two parklets! And this brings this longish thread (I like to write - deal with it) to the new news. Remember several paragraphs ago where I said I often get random emails? Last night I got an email address "To all those involved in the decision-making of the parklets on 24th Street:". Remember - I am an engineer in the South Bay, not a politico in San Francisco. I am not any more involved in the decision making than the author of the email.
I struggled with what to do with the missive. Then thinking back about the whole thing - I recalled that the problem with the Noe Street Plaza was that everyone was upset that decisions were ostensibly being made by a secret cabal - and not by the public at large. Noe Valley is a community - and as such, we are ALL the decision makers - are we not? So in that spirit - I am publishing the email. I have redacted the names because while I think the content is relevant, the persons involved did not expect to have their names and emails published.
To all those involved in the decision-making of the parklets on 24th Street:
Please keep parklets far away from any bars because people coming out of the bars late at night tend to congregate on the sidewalk and stay for a long time (sometimes hours). This creates a noise disturbance for the residents. Late at night their voices and laughter travel far distances, unlike during the day, because their voices aren't masked by other noises. And having just left a loud bar, they continue talking loudly as they had been used to doing inside the bar.
I know you are considering placing a parklet at Martha Bros. or by the parking lot owned by the Noe Valley Ministry (used for the farmer's market), but these locations are very close to the Dubliner bar. PLEASE do not place any parklets on the eastern half of that block. If you "must" place a parklet between Sanchez and Vicksburg, please place it closer to Sanchez to remove its temptation from the departing bar patrons of the Dubliner.
Thank you for considering these facts.
Vicksburg Street resident
cc to other Vicksburg residents
As to my personal opinion on this issue - I do not drink coffee and Sanchez is a long way from my house so a Martha's parklet would be underused by me. But you see, I'm ambivalent about the outcome - I'm concerned about the process ;)
But I'm pretty sure this means that Rebecca Prozan has not solved "my plaza problem".