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Help Save our 36 Teresita Bus Route!

March 11, 2014

A few weeks ago, I wrote about SF MTA’s plans to leave our steep and hilly area without public transportation by dropping the Forest Knolls loop of the 36-Teresita bus. (And this is after the previous battle to save this line, which ended with frequency being reduced from 20 minutes to 30.) Neighbors have been fighting this plan.  The Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization has joined the battle to save the bus route, and has some great suggestions about how you can help. Here’s their flyer:

FOREST KNOLLS NEIGHBORHOOD ORGANIZATION

MUNI plans to eliminate the Forest Knolls loop of our 36 Teresita bus.

Proposed service and route changes will be reviewed by SFMTA Board of Directors at a public hearing this Friday March 14, 2014 at 9am in City Hall, room 400.

TEP Informational Hearing – staff will present proposals from feedback gathered at recently held community meetings. The SFMTA Board will then take additional testimony from the public on proposed route changes.

It is important that Forest Knolls residents appear at this hearing to make known their strong objection to the proposed elimination of MUNI service to our Forest Knolls neighborhood.

Please plan to attend the meeting this Friday March 14 at 9 am in City Hall, room 400.

The SFMTA Board responds to community participation – we must be present in large numbers to voice our objections. Plan to attend this important hearing if at all possible.
36 teresita sm

E-mail your opposition to http://www.tellmuni.com and tweet SFMTA (@sfmta_muni) to make your opposition known. Also e-mail your opposition to the Planning Manager of MTA’s “Transit Effectiveness Project” Sean Kennedy: sean.kennedy@sfmta.com and call our supervisor (Norman Yee) at 415-554-6516 to seek his assistance.

Meanwhile, neighbors have been talking to the SF MTA – which seemed responsive, but has not published any planned changes (which it has made to its plans for other routes). Here’s what Joe Humphreys wrote to update us:

The SFMTA had a public meeting on February 25th at San Francisco State.  Forest Knolls was well represented with a number of neighborhood residents raising substantial protest to  rerouting the 36 line to no longer include Warren Drive.  It appeared at the meeting that the SFMTA staff understood and were sympathetic to the concerns raised.  However, they announced today a number of changes that they had made to the staff’s proposed  “Transit Effectiveness Plan”  Apparently, however, what they are recommending does not include keeping bus service in Forest Knolls as the 36 line is not one of those where they indicated some accommodation to public concerns.  This announcment is here : http://sfmta.com/news/project-updates/tep-service-change-proposals-revised-based-community-feedback .

The West of Twin Peaks Central Council – which is a “Council of councils” comprising twenty different neighborhood organizations, passed a Resolution in Support of the 36-Teresita.

A Resolution in Support of the 36-Teresita
By: The West of Twin Peaks Central Council

PASSED UNOPPOSED

WHEREAS, It is clear that the San Francisco Muni is looking to cut or severely curtail service on the 36-Teresita Bus line in their upcoming budget meeting: and
WHEREAS, there have 6 independent West of Twin Peaks Central Council Member Neighborhoods [The Woods, Galewood Circle, Forest Knolls, Midtown Terrace, Mount Sutro Woods and Sherwood Forest] on steep hillsides that depend exclusively on the 36-Teresita as the only Muni connection to the rest of the city and the Bay Area: and
WHEREAS, these neighborhoods are filling up with new families with children that need the 36-Teresita to get them to and from school: and
WHEREAS, the elderly residents of these neighborhood depend on the home health care workers that come to them via the 36-Teresita Bus to make it possible for them to stay in their homes for as long as is possible:
Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED: that the West of Twin Peaks Central Council assembled this 24th
day of February, 2014, in the City of San Francisco, California, urges the Muni to see the immense value that the 36-Teresita Muni bus line contributes to the residents, visitors, commerce, and children of the above mentioned neighborhoods and the city as a whole: and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Muni should keep the current 36-Teresita service available to these taxpayers who crowd this line at commute times and depend on it as a lifeline in this increasing congested city.

We hope that SFMTA is listening. Please attend the meeting if you can, and also send in your comments to tellmuni.com, to sean.kennedy@sfmta.com, and to our District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee.

Forest Knolls to Lose its Bus?

February 21, 2014

36 teresita sm

About a year ago, Joe Humphrys warned us that the SFMTA was planning to abandon the Forest Knolls section of the 36 Teresita bus service.  I wrote about that HERE, and Joe contributed a post HERE.

So, it’s happening, unless the neighborhood manages to get SFMTA to re-think this. The public hearing is on Feb 25th, 2014. (I got another message from Joe, with a link to the public hearing notice.)

Date: Feb 25th,
Time: 6 p.m.
Where: San Francisco State University,
Seven Hills Conference Center,
800 Font Blvd., San Francisco, CA 94132

And then Sara Lu wrote a note. This is important, because clearly if anything is going to change, it will need to come from neighborhood pressure. Otherwise, our bus is gone. Here’s her note (with minor edits and added emphasis):

Dear Web Master,

The posted route 36 notice at the bus stop caught my attention; and I looked into the details. Here is what I found: http://www.sfmta.com/sites/default/files/projects/rte_036_BW.pdf

[Webmaster: This is similar to the map at the top of this post, available as a PDF here: rte_036_BW]

Muni proposed to change route 36 by eliminating stops include Clarendon Avenue between Panorama and Oak Park drives, Oak Park and Warren drives, Lawton and Seventh avenues to Clarendon Avenue. This means no bus will come through Forest Knoll at all, which is completely unacceptable.

I sent in my objections on Muni’s website (http://tellmuni.com); but a singular post is not going to make the difference – we will need as much neighborhood support as possible. I strongly recommend posting the subject on the Forest Knoll website and throughout the neighborhood, encouraging as many residents to attend the public hiring on Feb 25 (6pm) and post on tellmuni feed back as possible.

(public hearing details: http://www.sfmta.com/zh-hant/calendar/meetings/community-meeting-proposed-service-changes-routes-17-18-28-28l-36-and-43)

I am a daily rider on the 36 bus from Devonshire and Warren drive. Route 36 is the only form of public transit through the Forest Knoll neighborhood. For daily commuters like myself and the many elderly residents in the neighborhood, it is the only form of connection to Forest Hill Muni station. A 30-minute bus frequency is already inconvenient enough; eliminating the route through Forest Knoll is completely unacceptable. It will leave the entire community stranded, without any feasible form of public transportation.

The proposed alternative is not at all realistic. Walking to 7th and Lawton or Clarendon may not seem terribly far on flat map; but anyone who knows the area topography would know, the Forest Knoll neighborhood is on a very steep hill. In fact, it is one of the highest points in San Francisco. It is impossible for any elderly resident to talk from the proposed alternative stops (20-30 minutes straight uphill); and completely impractical for daily rider like myself. I, as well as most residents, cannot afford to drive and park in downtown San Francisco, and have no intention to add to the congestion on the road.

I am trained as an urban planning, and fully support public transportation. Leaving a whole neighborhood/community without any form of accessible public transportation is not acceptable.

What would you propose we can do to make sure our neighborhood is not overlooked?

The only way to stop this is to protest. As Sara Lu points out, a few posts will not make a difference, but a whole lot will.

  • Please go to tellmuni.com and explain that there’s a lot of difference between a healthy young person strolling on a level street, and forcing elderly people to climb 30 minutes up one of the steepest slopes in San Francisco.
  • Please attend the hearing if you can and make your voices heard.

Boycat Found

February 16, 2014

FOUND Lost cat - Boycat - ginger tabbyOne of my favorite things to do is post updates when a lost pet is found, and to go back and edit the header of the original “LOST” post to say “FOUND.”

Today I get to do that for Boycat

Here’s what Boycat’s family wrote on Nextdoor:

We found Boycat.
He was in the warm glasshouse nursery in the arboretum.
We think he has been there for the past 4 weeks!
We walked past this morning for about the 150th time and heard a yowl – he must have heard us speaking – and Heather and I knew instantly it was him. It took a while to coax him out of a corner of the greenhouse. He was very hungry, frightened, skittish yet characteristically pleased to see us.
Thank you all for your support and patience with us as we filled the streets of our neighborhood with our longing to have Boycat back.

So glad he’s home!

UCSF’s Space Ceiling Saga

February 12, 2014

UCSF Feb 2014 meeting for LRDP 1From time to time, I attend UCSF’s Long Range Development Plan meetings. My main concern is the forest on Mt Sutro, but I’m also interested in what’s happening down at Parnassus. Yesterday, I learned more about the ongoing saga of the Space Ceiling. (My last report on that was HERE and it provides background on some of the issues.)

The Space Ceiling was a self-imposed limit to growth that UCSF decided on in 1976. That was when it got into a huge battle with its Inner Sunset neighbors as the University spilled out in all directions, and started changing nearby neighborhoods. At the time, the limit was set at 3.55 million square feet. By 1996, it was at 3.66 mn (or 6%  over) with a plan to reduce it to only 2% over by 2012. Instead, by 2012, it was 8.2% over the limit, at 3.84 mn sq ft.

WIN SOME, LOSE SOME

What’s happened since? Three things, which left them with a tiny net increase in the space to 3.844 mn sq feet, or 8.3% over the Ceiling.

  • They knocked down the building at 735 Parnassus, gaining 2,766 square feet.
  • They gained another 3,121 sq feet when they converted the office building at 1486-1488 Parnassus to student housing, which doesn’t count against the space ceiling. (The only housing that counts toward the Space Ceiling are the student housing units at Aldea, up above Forest Knolls off of Clarendon Avenue.)
  •  However, they also did a careful re-measuring of the existing square footage of the Parnassus campus. They found that two changes increased the actual square footage: They enclosed the Food Court, which made it an inside space instead of an outside space; and they converted a mechanical space in Moffet Hospital into an “occupied space.” They also found some of the old measurements were inaccurate. So all told, they found that the actual existing space had been understated by 10,700 sq feet.

It’s really difficult to start knocking things down mainly to get UCSF under the Space Ceiling, so while it’s doing some demolition, UCSF is also converting more space to student housing (which, as we said, doesn’t count). They expect to double the amount of student housing at Parnassus.

They are also going to ask the Regents to revise the Ceiling specifications so that Aldea housing doesn’t count either.

Here are the current plans:

UCSF LRDP Feb 2014 -1

Click on map for larger version

THE RESTRICTION ZONE

Restriction Zone 1The other restriction on growth was on purchase or acquisition of properties in the “restriction zone” that includes Forest Knolls – see below.  (UCSF’s aggressive acquisitions had been changing neighborhoods around it, and neighbors wanted it to stop.)

Anyway, UCSF reaffirmed their commitment to observing that Zone, but noted that they weren’t prohibited from leasing commercial properties, or affiliating with other public agencies in this area.

Here’s a closer view of the Restriction Zone. It includes Forest Knolls, Edgewood, Inner Sunset and Cole Valley.

Restriction Zone 2

OTHER ISSUES

They seem to have given up on the 16,000-a-day people limit. It’s crossed 18, 000 now. But they’ve promised an annual community meeting to monitor all the parameters.

Neighbors have been concerned with truck traffic, and UCSF did a traffic study. They’re looking for solutions like making loading/ unloading more efficient by having a permanent dockmaster stationed at Medical Center Way; using some of the demolished areas on Koret as additional truck parking, and consolidating deliveries elsewhere into UCSF trucks, so reducing the number of trips.

One commenter spoke about the problems of living next to the UCSF campus – glaring lights by the ammonia tank; 30-50 smokers daily, who were not allowed to smoke on UCSF’s Smoke-Free campus ended up under his window;  noise from blaring radios on vehicles as they waited to move; and syringes being tossed over his fence. Not a great environment for his two small kids.

MOUNT SUTRO FOREST

sutro forest commitmentThough the University wasn’t planning to discuss Sutro Forest, some of the changes planned will have a (apparently quite minor) impact on the forest. Also, supporters and opponents of UCSF’s current plan for Sutro Forest took the opportunity of this meeting to speak up. The report is HERE.

At this meeting, UCSF reiterated its commitment to keeping Mount Sutro as publicly accessible open space. (Some commenters had suggested that the University might have other plans.)

GOING FORWARD

Here are the milestones going forward. The LRDP is to be adopted in November 2014.

LRDP Milestones

Supervisor Norman Yee’s Participatory Budgeting

February 11, 2014

I just got the details of Supervisor Yee’s interesting plan for participatory budgeting that he mentioned at the West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WTPCC) meeting on January 2014. Read on:

YOUR IDEAS. YOUR VOTE. YOUR DECISION.

Norman Yee fm FacebookWHAT IS PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING?
Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process that gives community members the opportunity to set budgeting priorities and make decisions on what community projects should be funded.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
For the first time, District 7 residents will be able to help decide how best to spend $100,000 for general projects and $250,000 for pedestrian safety improvements in District 7.

KICK-OFF COMMUNITY MEETING
Saturday, February 22, 2014 | 10:30AM to Noon
West Portal Clubhouse | 131 Lenox Way (b/t Ulloa and Verdon)
Join Supervisor Yee and community members to learn more about Participatory Budgeting and the grant application process for projects.
All District 7 residents are eligible to vote on the projects!

PROJECT PROPOSAL WORKSHOP
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 | 6:00PM to 7:30PM
Commodore Sloat Elementary School | 50 Darien Way (b/t Junipero Serra and San Rafael Way)
Learn more about the Participatory Budgeting process and how to develop your project ideas.

QUESTIONS?

MATTHIAS MORMINO Matthias.Mormino@sfgov.org 415.554.6516

VOTE ON THE PROJECTS
End of April (Dates to be Announced)
After proposals are finalized and submitted, community members like you will get to vote on which projects to fund!

West of Twin Peaks Central Council Meeting – Jan 2014

February 11, 2014

west of twin peaks council meeting January 2014The West of Twin Peaks Central Council (WTPCC)  had its first meeting of 2014 on January 27th, back in its lovely old club-house in Forest Hills. (The WTPCC is an association of associations; it has some 22 member organizations, including Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization.) Attendance was thinner than usual, perhaps because of the cold. But they got a quorum of 11 delegates and things went quickly.

NORMAN YEE, D7 SUPERVISOR

Our District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee was present, and he spoke about pedestrian safety, and about using some funds he has available for the West Portal playground, and also to expand some open space beside Ingleside library. He’s setting up a system where various projects will be posted, and the ones people want the most will get funded. (Here’s a link to that process.)

RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE ELEMENT (ROSE)

Sally Stephens spoke about the Recreation and Open Space Element of the General Plan. It sets guidelines for how the city will use its open space in years to come. She was part of a working group convened by the Parks and Recreation Open Space Advisory Committee (PROSAC) that made exhaustive inputs into the draft plan. However, when the draft came out, they found they still had significant concerns, and submitted comments. The comment period is now closed, but WTPCC will send a letter in support of the concerns of the working group.

MT DAVIDSON

Jacquie Proctor spoke on behalf of the Miraloma Park Improvement Club about concerns regarding tree-felling in the forest on Mount Davidson by the Natural Areas Program. The WTPCC decided to send a letter in support.

MT SUTRO

I was invited to give a quick update about Mount Sutro Forest. UCSF has made some significant changes to their original plan. First, the range of slightly confusing objectives in the earlier plan have been simplified to focus on Safety. This is good because it enables a rational conversation about what that means and how best to achieve it. Second, and this is important: UCSF has committed to continuing its ‘No Pesticides’ policy on Mount Sutro. It has used no pesticides there since 2008, but the earlier Plan would have used up to 3 times the amount of pesticide used by SF Recreation and Parks Department in its parks – repeatedly, for seven years. There’s also been some reduction of the acreage affected, and the number of trees potentially destroyed has been reduced to around 4-5,000.

Forest Knolls will be most impacted by the new plan, though, with most of the tree-felling in the portion of the forest above our neighborhood - the purple area in the map below. (I will write about this in more detail another time.)

UCSF Revised Plan Map

I also spoke about the Natural Areas Program, which will affect one-quarter of Sutro Forest, including the narrow strip of forest along Clarendon Avenue, and on the Cole Valley side of the forest – and a total of 32 parks in the city. The new management plan (known as the Significant Management Resource Areas Management Plan) includes:

  • Cutting down 18,400 trees,
  • Restricting access to people and pets, and
  • Using increased amounts of herbicides.

PETITION

The San Francisco Forest Alliance has a petition up, asking the Mayor to rein in this program.  (That’s HERE, in case you want to sign.)

Home owners – Message from Assessor’s Office

February 10, 2014

I got this advisory from the Assessor’s Office. I’m not clear what it takes to qualify for the $7,000 reduction in the taxable value of the home (not, presumably, in the tax amount!) but I’m putting it up here anyway in case it’s useful to someone.

[Edited to add: I got a helpful call from neighbor Barbara today, explaining that this deduction is used to reduce the taxable value of the home - so it would reduce actual taxes by about $72 or so. It applies to home-owners living in their primary home, not to investment properties. Most people have it, but it you bought a home here recently and moved, you may need to apply. More on the Assessor's website HERE.]

neighborhood-housesFEBRUARY 18 MARKS DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR
HOMEOWNERS’ PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION

San Francisco, CA – The deadline for property owners to file their Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption is Tuesday, February 18, 2014.  Homeowners who own and occupy a home in San Francisco as their principal residence on January 1st of the year for which they are claiming the exemption could qualify for a $7,000 reduction in the taxable value of their home.

According to state law, full exemption is available if the filing is made by 5:00pm on February 15.  Since February 15 lands on a Saturday and since Monday, February 17, is a national holiday, the Office of the Assessor-Recorder will accept applications postmarked or received by Tuesday, February 18, before 5:00pm.  Claims filed after February 18, but before December 10, may still be eligible to receive a partial exemption. Qualified homeowners will see the exemption deduction reflected in their annual Notice of Assessment Value in July.

There are no fees associated with filing a Homeowners’ Property Tax Exemption. Interested homeowners in San Francisco can find the forms in both English and Spanish by visiting the Form Center at http://www.sfassessor.org or calling 311.  Completed and signed forms should be mailed to: Office of the Assessor-Recorder, City and County of San Francisco, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 190, San Francisco, CA 94102.

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