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Neighborhood Meeting – Police, Traffic, Sutro Forest, and Crestmont

March 12, 2010

The Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization meeting earlier this evening featured a number of speakers:

Police Captain Teri Barrett of the Park Station (at Waller x Stanyan) talking about crime.

The main problem in our (aside from speeding) was auto burglaries with broken car windows. (Don’t leave anything valuable visible! Put it in the trunk.) She was also enthusiastic about Comstat, an information technology that provides real-time information about crime; and about a reorganization that put more resources out at the stations. She also said if you want to be on the email list for the police blotter, email her at teresa.barrett@sfgov.org

Jack Fleck

Jack Fleck of the Municipal Transport Agency talking about traffic.

He spoke of the issues with putting in Speed Humps: cost, and pain for people in the disability community who have spinal problems. They do traffic studies. If 85% of cars are going at least 5 miles over the speed limit, they’ll consider it. He also discussed traffic from Clarendon School drop-offs and pick-ups.

Supervisor Sean Elsbernd talking about the traffic mess expected at St Francis Circle this summer, and Laguna Honda Hospital’s planned June 2010 opening.

Sean Elsbernd

He also took questions on various topics, including solar panels on reservoirs. (Yes, we will have them if the pilot project works. No, the power won’t come to our homes, it’ll go to the City.) And some got to see a cell-phone pic of his cute baby…

There was a Sutro Cloud Forest presentation, covering topics discussed at the Save Sutro website.

UCSF had applied for a FEMA grant to cut down 90% of the trees under 3 feet in girth, and remove all the understory, from a quarter of the forest, for the purpose of Fire Hazard Mitigation. In fact, CalFire classifies this area only as Moderate fire hazard, its lowest rating. Moreover, this is a Cloud Forest: the eucalyptus catches moisture from the fog, it falls into the duff which holds it like a sponge, and the understory further insulates it from drying out. So year round, it’s damp in the forest. Our concerns were that the Plan would open out the forest, making it windier and dryer, and also artificially reclassify the area as having a Very High fire risk, with implications for insurance and disclosure on sale of homes. Other concerns: increased landslide risk, toxic herbicides, weakening of the remaining trees, and loss of habitat for birds and animals  in this Historic forest.  UCSF has withdrawn its FEMA application, and has called a meeting for 24 March 2010 to discuss its next steps. [Edited to Add: The meeting report is here.]

Walter Caplan of Forest Knolls Neighborhood Organization, who ran the meeting, read out an email from Craig Dawson of Mt Sutro Stewards , which regretted he couldn’t make it and was concerned there would be no counterbalance to the Save Sutro presentation. Unexpectedly, he made it after all. He described his autobiography, the beauty of the forest, the Historic Trail the Mt Sutro Stewards are working on now connecting Stanyan with the forest, and the work they’re doing building trails all over the city. There did not appear to be any conflict with the prior presentation.

Dr Sam Sobol talking about Crestmont Hills.

The project, which had seemed dead, is being revived. An Enviromental Review is now in progress. Look here for more information, or at the Crestmont Preservation website.

We ran out of time for questions. If you put any questions in the comments here, we’ll forward them to the right person.

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