Sunday, May 20, 2007

QGI Meeting Notes - Wednesday June 27, 2007

Community Meeting
Wednesday June 27, 2007 6:30 to 8:00
Bayview Library


1. Community updates , including the QGI Film Fest and garden improvements

2. Blue Greenway Project Update

3. The City’s Better Streets Plan

4. Food access and the Southeast Food Access (SEFA) Collaboration


-- Meeting notices went to QGI’s members and allies e-lists
-- Meeting notices were replicated virally via other community groups and the health center
-- QGI was interviewed for Progressive Talk Radio for a PSA that aired on Tuesday
-- Personal outreach was made to key leaders not online


31 resident participants from the BVHP’s diverse population gathered, and most spoke. Ana Validzic from SF DPH facilitated the Better Streets Plan discussion which was the primary agenda item, while Laura assisted with note-taking. 2 residents sent email input as they couldn’t attend. Attendees represented the “heart of the Bayview” and beyond, and included the Newcomb “model block” group, Mendell Ave. area group, India Basin Neighborhood Association, Latona/Revere neighbors group, Footprints Collaborative, and the Neighborhood History Project. The discussion was cordial and lively.


Linda Brooks-Burton generously allowed the use of the library’s community room once again, and stayed late to attend and accommodate the meeting. James Ross was acknowledged for making upgrades to garden stairways happen. Thank you community leaders!!

1. Community Updates

QGI was just awarded a grant from California Pacific Medical Center to support its work addressing food security and access issues in the BVHP. These funds will be added to a recent Department of the Environment award and will support the work of Karl and Annette, and food-production efforts through newer programs: QGI’s Bridgeview Garden and the Residential Urban Farming project (with the University of San Francisco).

The first QGI outdoor film festival (June 23rd) at the mural site near the garden was a success with 50 participants from diverse communities gathering for film, food, and fun. The next in the series is June 30th, and everyone is invited and encouraged to attend. The
San Francisco Foundation funded the series, and youth from the neighborhood have been hired to staff the series and to organize their own film night.

New or repaired staircases in the community garden on the 1700 block of Quesada are nearly finished. Tile art produced by young people in the neighborhood is complete and will be installed on the risers of the staircases as a part of QGI’s public art project. The mural is also nearly complete.

2. Blue Greenway Project Update

Jill Fox from the India Basin Neighborhood Association informed the group about the effort to unify the 13-mile long corridor along the southeastern waterfront. The Blue Greenway Project hopes to link open spaces, create new recreational and greening opportunities, provide public access through the SF Bay Trail and the SF Bay Water Trail, and green corridors to surrounding neighborhoods. The strategy includes public art and supportive stewardship components, and generally advances advocacy for full waterfront access as an element of planning and development in the southeastern sector. A map of the waterfront and implementation timeline was passed around to the group.

3. The City’s Better Streets Plan

The Better Streets Plan is a comprehensive plan put together by multiple City agencies to create a unified set of standards for public streets and rights-of-way. The Plan attempts to balance the needs of all street users, with a particular focus on the pedestrian environment and how streets can be used as public space. The pedestrian environment is about much more than just transportation – that streets serve a multitude of social, recreational and ecological purposes.

Plan organizers were concerned that feedback from the BVHP up to that point was inadequate, and that overall feedback from SF residents might leave out the unique concerns of underserved communities. They asked QGI to organize an opportunity for BVHP community input.

Questions and Answers:

-- How will the Plan be implemented? It will start with demonstration projects.
-- Who is responsible for street signage? The Planning Department

Beautification and Health:

-- Streets need to be much cleaner.
-- Storm drainage is a serious issue.
-- More trees and greening in general are needed. Better tree selection (no Long Plain trees, please) is needed.
-- Facades of buildings on Third should be painted/upgraded to improve the ascetic appeal of the street.
-- Hanging planters that capture water would be an improvement.
-- Utility lines should be under-grounded in the BVHP before other neighborhoods that haven’t had to deal with the environmental problems associated with the power plant.

Cars and Parking:

-- There are too many cars, in general; and cars are too-often parked on sidewalks.
-- Removal or citing of cars on sidewalks should be approached consistently and equitably, recognizing that lack of parking space is an issue everywhere.
-- Financially self-supporting parking facilities should be added to the neighborhood.
-- Curb height is often below standard and allows cars to go onto sidewalks.
-- Parking is a useful buffer to pedestrian traffic, but has been removed on too much of Third Street.

Violence and Safety:

-- Violence or lack of safety is a serious issue affecting life on the street.
-- People don’t feel safe walking the streets, and whatever is done to improve the streets themselves will be inadequate if that issue isn’t addressed.
-- Violence has unequal and serious impact on low income communities and communities of color.
-- Law enforcement should enforce the law more uniformly.

Third Street and Commerce:

-- New commerce is needed on Third Street, especially a grocery store that residents will embrace. Third Street should host businesses like those you would find in any other neighborhood.
-- We need to reduce the number of liquor stores.
-- Residents ought to be able to walk downtown easily.
-- There are no trash receptacles on the T-Line platforms.
-- We need Mailboxes.

Attitudes and Perceptions:

-- Residents are disrespected and not taken seriously by law enforcement and other City departments. African-American residents are approached as if they are “animals.” Residents hear things like: “What did you expect when you moved here?” and “Get used to it.”
-- There is a need to tell a more balanced and accurate “story” about the neighborhood.

Related Concerns, Comments, and Plan Feedback:

-- India Basin is being told by MTA that it has to accommodate truck and bicycle traffic, and is losing parking. Peg Devine is the MTA contact.
-- Coordination of City services, a part of the Plan, is very much needed.
-- The waterfront should be a recreational destination point.
-- Residential parking permits and “blight” ordinances should be looked into. Note: existing parking and other legislation/codes are not enforced, and permit parking would cost residents money.
-- Residents have said these same things before, and it seems nothing happens. Some feel a sense that positive things really will happen or are happening now.

Visit for an overview of the Plan and to fill out a survey. You can also insert comments through QGI by emailing

4. Food access and the Southeast Food Access (SEFA) Collaboration

Due to time constraints, discussion was curtailed. All residents of the BVHP are encouraged to fill out a quick survey about what they would like to see in a market or markets in the neighborhood. Visit to fill out a survey online, or call Jeffrey Betcher at 415.822.8082 for a printed version.

The survey is part of a plan to attract better food and retail options to the neighborhood. Community members felt it was important to get a broad sense of resident preferences so that business candidates can be approached with evidence of community-support and so that the candidates’ appeal to the community can be predicted.

Southeast Food Access (SEFA) is a collaboration of community-based organizations - like the Quesada Gardens Initiative, Literacy for Environmental Justice, Network for Elders, BVHP Foundation for Community Improvement, and others - with support from City agencies. SEFA is working to improve fresh, healthy and sustainable food access in the Southeast part of SF.

Meeting Organizing and Notes: Jeffrey Betcher for QGI.
Please direct comments and notes corrections or additions to

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