Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Letter re: White Zone

I post this letter as an addition to this blog. No, I didn't write it. This, from another neighbor opposing the white zone...


September 3, 2007

Dear friends and neighbors,

Thank you for supporting our effort to stop the installation of an 80 foot white zone in front of Alamo school by signing the petition.

We attended the public hearing on August 31st to oppose the installation of the 80 foot white zone that was proposed for in front of Alamo School. We were given six minutes to present our augments in opposition to the white zone. In reality, the white zone is already a done deal and the hearing was only a formality to comply with the law. The hearing officer tossed us a bone by cutting the zone from 80 feet to 60 feet.

After the hearing we confronted the City Engineers and pointed out that before they proposed the white zone there was no opportunity for the neighborhood to have some input into the plan. We also pointed out that little or no traffic studies were ever made and insufficient time was given for the hearing notice under the law.

To comply with the law, the City has to submit a new proposal and a new hearing. As a result of being able to present the neighbor’s petition and voice our concern, the Traffic Engineer decided to revise the proposal to be 60 feet of white zone and have the active hours of the zone be 8:00 to 9:00AM and 2:00 to 3:00PM.

This plan will likely be adopted, as we still are not able to put any input into the proposal. All the information that we have was E-mailed to the group that is pushing for the white zone. Not a very democratic way for a governmental agency to act.

While it appears that the white zone is a done deal, it’s important for us to show our displeasure to the Alamo School and the City of San Francisco for disrespecting our neighborhood. You can do this by attending the next hearing or by calling school Principal Gira at 750-8456 and Traffic Engineer Jessica Manzi at 701-4548. They are civic servants and should have the curtsey to listen to all the taxpayers impacted before acting.


(Name and address have been removed)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Am I being paranoid?! Coincidences...

Now, I know this probably didn't come about on purpose, though it is quite ironic that a call for fixing an existing system (traffic congestion, unsafe pedestrian conditions, etc...) is being handled by an agency (i.e., SFMTA-San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Authority) thats system is quite imperfect itself.

FACT: Notices for the August 31, 2007 hearing were posted one week prior to the meeting (August 24, 2007) Apparently, this was not sufficient notice, per their requirements.

FACT: I posted at least 6 copies of the on-line version of the Public Hearing Notice, together with my flyer opposing the installation of the White Zone on August 24, 2007; additional copies were posted on Monday, August 2007.

FACT: On Monday, August 27, a Public Hearing Notice for a meeting to be held on September 17, 20o7 (regarding meters on Clement Street being extended from 1 to 2 hours) was posted on many of the same poles I posted to-ON TOP of my flyer stating my opposition to the White Zone. Quite curious, really...I'm happy to report that poles I had posted to that did not have the first Public Hearing notice, had now been posted with the Sept. 17 Public Hearing Notices (and yes, on top of my flyer...but hey-they left the Renaissance Fair poster uncovered!)

FACT: Though the Public Hearing Meeting held on August 31, 2007 was taped for the records, the microphone had to be turned off part-way through the meeting, which MAY affect the quality of the recording.

Yeah, I know...it was all a bunch of circumstances that had nothing to do with anything. But in my little world, were somehow all related...

Monday, September 3, 2007

Will we be heard?!

What is sad is that I grew up with the notion (and was taught the same in school...) that democracy works and that we live in a democratic society. That the "needs of the many, outweigh the needs of the few. Or one."-WHOOPS! Sorry, that was Star Trek! I think Spock, actually...but I think you get my drift? Or, rather, that "Public Hearing " meetings were to give equal voice to all affected by a proposed action. And that banning together, we can affect change! But then again, that is the technical theory and I (being a civil servant myself) should understand that often it is the process an entity must follow. The intent behind a law or policy gets lost. But yet, I digress and one must acknowledge that what was once proposed as 80 feet of White Zone for a solid 9 hour period has now become 60 feet, 2 hours every weekday.

But I have yet to understand-why will taking away 3 parking spaces make the drop-off/pick-up plan work? I still say the existing problem is HUMAN BEHAVIOR-based and that HUMAN BEHAVIOR is what will make the plan a success.

So this is my plan:

  • I am still OPPOSING the White Zone-purely from principle! Like I earlier stated, there is ALREADY a 200 ft. White Zone in the rear-taking away 3 long-term parking spaces in an area that has very little LONG-TERM (meaning you can leave your car parked there for more than a 12-hour period) parking. Of course, the parents who drive in from areas where parking is easier, or who, perhaps don't have to deal with this issue because their living arrangement provides parking can easily wonder what the big deal is over "3 little parking spaces".

Well, for one thing, "3" spaces by 20 foot terms could actually provide parking for 4 cars. For another thing, it represents that many less spaces for those of us needing it to compete for. BTW, if you don't live on this block but live in the immediate area, we WILL be migrating to your block for our parking needs, thank-you very much!

  • I urge any of you who dare to try and maintain your rights to have a say in our neighborhood and/or this issue that concerns you to sound-out! How, you may ask?
    • FAX a letter to the City Engineer ar 415-701-4737
    • Attend the Public Hearing Meeting on September 14, 2007, 10am at CITY HALL, RM. 416
    • Leave your comments here-I will present them at the hearing on the 14th
  • And, speaking of "principles", contact THE PRINCIPAL of Alamo Elementary School:
    • Ms. Pamela Gire, 250-23rd Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94121; phone 415-750-8456
    • Voice your concern that the neighbors were not consulted nor considered in this "plan" she is supporting
    • Remind her that the Alamo School Community reaches far beyond their school yard

Sunday, September 2, 2007

We got "HOSED"!

In the words of an objective observer, "You got hosed"! Another objective observer who attended the same Public Hearing meeting and spoke after those of us opposing the addition of an 80 ft. white zone on our block (taking away 4 greatly needed long-term parking spaces...) wanted to speak and put forth his message of carpooling and increasing bicycling to school. But after making the remark in his opening of not opposing or favoring this proposal, stated "after hearing what I heard, I wouldn't want the white zone there, either".

So where did we go wrong? We gathered 154 signatures in writing, on hard copy in the period of less than a week. We gathered 28 signatures on-line. We had a show of 5 people attending the public hearing meeting, 4 of us speaking. We pointed out the existing metering along Clement and a portion of 23rd Avenue itself, the White Zone already along a portion of 23rd in front of a restaurant as well as the Green Zone (limited 10 minute parking zone) on the other end of 23rd Avenue. We stated that the "Drop-Off/Pick Up" plan now currently being implemented is working WITHOUT the White Zone. We called their attention to the already existing 200 ft. White Zone that exists in the rear of the school. The school had 3 parents stating that the (additional) White Zone was necessary as part of their "Drop-Off/Pick-Up" plan, stated child safety issues and conceded that these same issues stem from their school parents putting their own children at risk. Nothing else to say. Not delivered in any particular way our with any particular passion. A formality-show up and say you support the white zone.

After what I considered to be very little thought or consideration, the Hearing Officer declared that he would authorize the White Zone, reducing it from 80 to 60 feet!

We could put up a good argument, but the bottom-line is that the plan was already set in motion and the formality of a hearing to sanctify the white zone was completed. We messed him up and he had to make a concession of 20 feet, but at least he could say that he made a consideration.

After staying later to further discuss the matter with the City Engineer and his staff, we were able to bring up a few points of contention. Our major card? The technicality that insufficient notice of the hearing had been given. New Bat-Hearing, new Bat-Date, same Bat-Time! Same Bat-Chanel! So now? September 14, a new hearing for a proposed 60 foot White Zone to be active from 8-9AM and 2-3PM. Don't get me wrong-I applaud the consideration in now not only dropping the 20 feet, but reducing the ridiculous 9 hour portion originally proposed to 2 hours total during the day. But in the long-run, 3 long-term parking spaces will still be eliminated because the school's 'Drop-Off/Pick-Up" plan cannot otherwise work? There was even the acknowledgement that the current 200-foot White Zone was not being utililzed properly. GO TEAM!