SFPD Begins Foot Patrols in Bernal Heights


Officers from the San Francisco Police Department have started foot patrols in Bernal Heights, says Capt. Joseph McFadden from SFPD’s Ingleside Station.

Via Neighbor Sarah, Bernal’s valiant volunteer crime correspondent, Bernalwood has learned that two officers have been permanently assigned to the new foot patrols, which began last weekend.

The Bernal foot patrols will be conducted by Officer Al Chan and Officer Kevin Endo, and Capt. McFadden encourages Bernal neighbors to get to know the officers. “Please stop them and say hello,” he says.

McFadden says new foot patrols will mainly focus on Cortland Avenue, but the officers can walk around the area if there are problems elsewhere.  Recently, neighbors have reported seeing SFPD foot patrols on Bernal Hill as well.

Capt. McFadden says he plans to add more foot patrol officers in Bernal Heights as more personnel are assigned to Ingelside Station.

PHOTO: Sara Bassett

Friday: City Hall Hearing on SFMTA’s Northwest Bernal Permit Parking Plan

Bernalwood has been covering the bureaucratic debacle that is the Northwest Bernal Residential Parking Permit (RPP) proposal for two years, and while the process has revealed much about the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s dubious methodologies and lack of accountability, it’s now moving into the final stages of the approval process.

On Friday, July 7 at 10 am in Room 416 at City Hall , the SFMTA will  hold a public hearing to review the proposal to establish a new RPP zone in Northwest Bernal Heights. This map outlines the proposed permit area, where Bernal residents who live outside the blue RPP zones will be restricted to two-hour parking Monday – Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm:

Source: SFMTA

The SFMTA meeting announcement says:

Residents of northwest Bernal Heights have petitioned the SFMTA to form a new residential parking permit area to better manage and find parking closer to their homes.

In May 2017, a majority of residents on the following blocks voted to move forward with residential permit parking Coleridge (1 – 99), Coso (1 – 199), Esmeralda (200-299), Fair (1-99), Lundy’s Lane (1-29), Mirabel, Montezuma, Powers, Precita (1 – 299), Prospect (100-199), Shotwell (1400 – 1499), and Winfield (1 – 99).

The proposal to create a RPP area on these blocks will be heard at a SFMTA Engineering Public Hearing at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 7 at City Hall, Room 416. Interested parties are invited to attend and comment on the proposal.

A summary of the community vote and overall project history can be found on the project website and May project update.

This map [PDF] shows the blocks where 50% or more residents voted for inclusion in the RPP pilot program, with the following RPP regulations:

  • One parking permit per driver
  • Two parking permits per household
  • Two-hour parking limit for non-permit holders Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Continue reading

Officials Seek to Reassure Residents After Homicide Victim Found on Bernal Hill

There was a capacity crowd at last night’s community meeting to discuss the grim discovery of San Francisco resident Giovanny Alvarez’s body on Bernal Hill in the early hours of May 25. Several local TV stations were on hand at the meeting too, along with Neighbor Sarah who she shared these useful notes about what transpired:

First speaker: D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen
Ronen invited Giovanny Alvarez’s family to attend. Police don’t believe it was a random incident; the Bernal community is not in danger. Police are investigating and are therefore able to provide only limited info.

Second speaker: Katherine Alvarez – sister of the homicide victim
She seeks justice for brother, family, and community. They don’t think anyone is safe while killer is still on the loose. If anyone has any information, please contact police or family. She handed out a flyer with more information and contact details.

Third speaker: SFPD Captain Joseph McFadden from Ingleside Station
Emphasized that people should call with any info from May 24-May 25. Can’t say much because of ongoing investigation. He has doubled patrols on Bernal Hill.

Questions from the community:

Q: Did cameras catch anything? Should we have emergency call boxes on the hill?
A: McFadden would love more cameras. Solar-powered camera on hill has been checked. Encourages everyone on side streets to look at their private-camera footage for May 24/25, especially on streets leading up to the hill. Report anything you notice. Call 404-4000 (Ingleside station) or inglesidestation@sfgov.org.

Q: Is there any increase in criminal activity on the hill?
A: No, it had been quiet before this (at least in terms of violent crime).

Q: Neighbor who lives across from park says activity like drinking, graffiti, etc. has increased in the last 3 years.
A: SFPD has created a fixed post on the hill now on “fat nights” (when station has max staffing) – a car sits up there to prevent criminal activity of all sorts.

Q: How can you convince us we are safe?
A: Stepped up patrols and undercover. Supervisor Ronen added that the crime was very likely NOT random and that it is safe for joggers, dogwalkers, etc. Alvarez family disagreed and said no one is safe.

Q: Another neighbor who lives on the hill observed that when the temperature climbs above 60, get groups drinking.
A: Police aware of this as well.

Q: Is the (legal) overnight parking on Bernal Hill contributing to late-night criminal activity?
A: Not related to this particular crime; link up with Supervisor Ronen’s staff to discuss issue separately.

Fourth speaker: Arturo Carrillo, Street Violence Intervention Program (SVIP)
The Street Violence Intervention Program (SVIP) is run out of the mayor’s office to prevent retaliation. She is advocating for resources for both SFPD and SVIP this budget season. SVIP works one-on-one with at-risk youth in community to prevent gang activity, retaliation after violent incidents, etc.

Also have a street violence response team that meets every Wednesday, with key stakeholders (DA, SF General, probation, etc) on helping victims and families and preventing retaliatory actions. Promote conflict mediation. Also distribute meals into public housing.

Q: Should we call SVIP instead of SFPD (to avoid unnecessary contact between youth and police and/or violent confrontations)?
A: Yes, you can do that. SVIP usually works 11am-8pm M-F + weekend hours. They do have a crisis response team as well. Arturo: 415-652-3924, acarrillo@healthright360.org.

Other info:
Carolina Morales is the staff member for Sup. Ronen who focuses on public safety.

The DA’s office maintains a registry of private (home/business) cameras to use when they seek footage related to crimes. You can register your camera here.

Bernalwood would like to extend special thanks to Neighbor Sarah for sharing her notes.

PHOTO: Sup. Hillary Ronen and Capt. Joseph McFadden at the May 31 community meeting. Photo courtesy of Neighbor Sarah

Permit Parking Set for Northwest Bernal as SFMTA Releases Updated Zone Map

Source: SFMTA

The process has been long, contentious, and marred by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s obfuscation and incompetence, but the latest news is that the proposal to create a new Residential Parking Permit area in northwest Bernal Heights is moving ahead.

In an email some Bernal residents received yesterday, SFMTA wrote:

Residential Permit Parking Coming to Northwest Bernal Heights

Thank you for your continued interest in parking in northwest Bernal Heights.

The Voting Results Are In

  • Nearly 1,230 residents responded to the SFMTA’s survey regarding residential permit parking (RPP) for northwest Bernal Heights.
  • As a result, 14 blocks voted to establish an RPP area, viewable on this map [PDF].
  • For those 14 blocks, 624 votes were tallied with 360 (58%) of the households voting for RPP on their block.
  • This spreadsheet [PDF] provides a full breakdown of how each block voted.

How Residential Permit Parking Came to Northwest Bernal Heights

The creation of the RPP area was driven by interest from neighbors in establishing an RPP area, community conversations that started in the spring of 2015, and the SFMTA’s RPP Evaluation and Reform Project, which is an effort to improve the city’s outdated RPP regulations.

Northwest Bernal Heights Community Engagement and Voting Timeline

  • June/July 2015 – SFMTA staff attend two community-organized meetings to provide general information about the RPP program and process.
  • Fall 2015 – The SFMTA creates and hosts an online survey where residents can vote for or against RPP on their street.
  • December 2016 – The SFMTA hosts a public meeting to share findings on parking in the neighborhood and possible next steps for the community.
  • April 2017 – The SFMTA hosts a community meeting and presents RPP recommendations to neighbors with details about next steps and opportunities to vote again on RPP.
  • May 1, 2017 – Residents vote for or against RPP, including two pilot measures, resulting from the RPP Reform Project. Voting took place through an online ballot, as well as through direct contact with SFMTA staff. Voting closed on May 17.
  • May 30, 2017- the SFMTA sends out results of the community vote.

This map [PDF] shows the blocks where 50% or more residents voted for inclusion in the RPP pilot program, with the following RPP regulations:

  • One parking permit per driver
  • Two parking permits per household
  • Two-hour parking limit for non-permit holders Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Next Steps

An SFMTA public hearing will be scheduled within the next several months. When the hearing is scheduled, the date, time and place will be broadly announced.

If your block was not included in the RPP area, but you are interested in being included, visit the SFMTA’s RPP area expansion website to learn about the process to expand an existing permit area.

Thursday: Second Meeting on Planned Homeless Facility at 1515 South Van Ness

Amid mounting community concern about D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s effort to use the existing building at 1515 South Van Ness as a temporary residential homeless facility, Supervisor Ronen plans to hold a second meeting about the plan tomorrow, ThursdayMay 4 at John O’Connell High School (2355 Folsom at 20th St.) beginning at 6 pm.

In an email obtained by Bernalwood, Ronen wrote:

Dear Mission resident,

I am holding a second community meeting next week, on Thursday May 4th at 6:00pm at John O’Connell High School to provide more space for community discussion on the proposal for a temporary Navigation Center at 1515 South Van Ness Ave. The content of this meeting will be identical to the content of our first meeting at Mission Cultural Center this past Monday.

I will be joined by the Director on the Department of Homelessness Director Jeff Kositsky, the San Francisco Police Chief William Scott, the Captain for Mission Station Bill Griffin, and representatives from both Public Works and the Mayor’s office.

For those of you who may not be able to attend this second meeting, I will be holding community office hours (first come, first serve) to discuss this proposal at Rincon Nayarit on Monday May 8th from 8:00am-10:00am.

Please see details bellow.

Community Meeting

Thursday May 4th, 2017
John O’Connell High School
2355 Folsom St, SF 94110

Community Office Hours

Monday May 8th, 2017
Rincon Nayarit
1500 South Van Ness Ave, SF 94109

If you have any questions about this meeting or my community office hours, please contact my Legislative Aide Carolina Morales at 415-554-7743 or via email at Carolina.Morales@sfgov.org.

The proposal to use the existing building at 1515 South Van Ness as a temporary homeless shelter emerged from a deal Supervisor Ronen made with the Lennar Corporation last March.

Under the terms of the deal, Ronen agreed to unblock Lennar’s plan to build 157 units of permanent, mixed-income housing on the site, with 25% of the units designated affordable, in exchange for a $1 million payment to a “cultural stabilization fund” operated on behalf of Calle24, a Latino cultural organization with close ties to Supervisor Ronen.  The deal also allowed the City to use the existing structure on the site as a temporary residential homeless facility.

The homeless facility, which the City calls a Navigation Center, would feature 120 shelter beds.  It would operate until Lennar obtains the permits needed to demolish the building and begin construction of the housing development. The facility would operate 24 hours a day, and Hoodline reports “the property’s parking lot will be configured to encourage shelter clients to congregate there instead of on the adjacent sidewalk.”

Though Ronen describes the May 4 event as a community meeting, she’s also indicated  it may largely be a one-way conversation. During a contentious April 24 meeting about the proposal, Supervisor Ronen told critics that community input on the matter would have no bearing on the proposal. “The decision has been made,” she said, according to a MissionLocal reporter who attended the meeting.

The next next day,  Ronen introduced an ordinance at the Board of Supervisors to expedite the creation of the shelter:

[Temporary Housing for Homeless People During Shelter Crisis – LMC San Francisco I Holdings, LLC – 1515 South Van Ness Avenue]
Sponsors: Mayor; Ronen

Ordinance approving an agreement between the City and LMC San Francisco I Holdings, LLC, to allow the City to use the property at 1515 South Van Ness Avenue to utilize and operate a facility to provide temporary housing and services to homeless persons; directing the City Administrator, Public Works, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Department of Building Inspection, and other City departments to make repairs or improvements, consistent with health and safety standards, to use the property for temporary housing to address encampments in the Mission District; authorizing Public Works, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, and Department of Public Health to enter into contracts without adhering to competitive bidding and other requirements for construction work, procurement, and personal services at the facility; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.
ASSIGNED to Land Use and Transportation Committee.

UPDATE, May 3, 7:30 pm According to the Bay City Beacon, further evidence that “the decision has been made” emerged from today’s meeting of the SF Board of Supervisors. The Beacon reports:

Supervisor Ronen and Mayor Lee’s agreement with the developer Lennar Multi-family passed the Board of Supervisors today, establishing a temporary Homeless Navigation Center at 1515 South Van Ness. 1515 South Van Ness is currently owned by Lennar, who is loaning it to the city for homeless services.

PHOTO: 1515 South Van Ness at 6:32 pm on April 19, 2017, by Telstar Logistics

SFMTA Faces Criticism During Tense Meeting on Northwest Bernal Permit Parking Plan

SFFMTA parking policy manager Hank Wilson at the April 18 community meeting.

“This is a really good focus group.”

That’s  what Hank Wilson, the manager of parking policy at SFMTA, told a crowd of Bernal Heights residents last week at a contentious April 18  community meeting about SFMTA’s proposal to implement a new residential parking permit program (RPP) on select streets in northwest Bernal Heights.

During the meeting, more than a dozen Bernal Heights residents took turns scolding SFMTA for failing to provide timely information to local residents, repeatedly contradicting or redefining its own data about non-resident parking in Bernal Heights, and arbitrarily changing the rules that  will govern the proposed RPP in northwest Bernal.

The net result, as one Bernal resident pointed out, is that “[SFMTA is] pitting streets against each other, and neighbor a against neighbor.”

That was a recurring theme throughout the evening, as Bernal neighbors who both supported and opposed the parking plan described how the RPP program seems to have been designed from the outset to fuel neighbor-on-neighbor antagonism.

Source: SFMTA

Quite rationally, neighbors who want RPP in northwest Bernal are thrilled that SFMTA seems determined to make the new permit parking zone happen, regardless how much the agency botched the process along the way.  Meanwhile, Bernal neighbors who either oppose the RPP zone, or who live on streets just outside of it, or who never ever heard about it at all because SFMTA failed to notify them, were told that the new zone is more or less a done deal.

“These people have more of a right to park here than those people,” explained SFMTA’s Wilson. “That’s the basis of the program.”

SFMTA data shows that 32% of cars that currently park on proposed RPP streets belong to other Bernal residents living within 1/4 mile. (Source: SFMTA)

And so, on that cheerful note, what’s next for the Northwest Bernal RPP?

In a strange concession to SFMTA’s mismanagement of the Bernal RPP process, Wilson said that the agency has re-opened the petitions used to determine whether or not individual streets will be included in the northwest Bernal RPP.

SFMTA’s rule is that at least 50% of the households on each block must sign the petition to be included in the RPP zone.  Yet because SFTMA decided to reduce the maximum permit allocations from four permits per RPP household to two after the original petitions were submitted, Wilson said the petitions would be re-opened until May 17.

That means residents who previously voted yes on the RPP proposal, but who now disapprove of the proposed change, could use this opportunity to change their votes from Yes to No.

Meanwhile, Wilson said, northwest Bernal residents who previously voted No, or didn’t vote at all, now have until May 17 to sign the petition to get their street included in the new RPP.

If at this point you’re wondering, “Since SFMTA seems hell-bent on on implementing the northwest Bernal RPP, who would possibly vote now to remove their own street from the RPP zone?” — well, you’re right to wonder that. At this point, simple self-interest dictates that keeping your street in the new RPP is the rational thing to do. (cf. The Prisoner’s Dilemma)

And likewise, if you previously voted No to the RPP, but would now like to change your vote to Yes, well, that’s also a very rational thing to do, because who wants to live on a non-RPP block right next to a street that’s part of the RPP program? When the RPP program is implemented in northwest Bernal, parking on streets included in the RPP zone may or may not get easier. But it’s quite certain that the establishment of the new RPP zone will make parking on non-RPP streets nearby significantly more difficult.  (cf. The Prisoner’s Dilemma)

Of course, if you didn’t attend Hank Wilson’s community meeting on April 19, you probably wouldn’t know any of this.  To date, SFMTA hasn’t sent out postcards to northwest Bernal residents informing them of the re-opened petition, and SFMTA’s Northwest Bernal Heights Parking Pilot website hasn’t been updated to explain the outcome of last week’s community meeting or to indicate the new petition deadline.

And beyond that?

Sometime after May 17, SFMTA will release the tallies of the re-re-revised block-by-block petitions. With the final list of RPP blocks in hand, SFMTA will then push the northwest Bernal RPP proposal through the legislative process.

Because SFMTA is treating northwest Bernal RPP as an experiment,  it will require approval by the full SFMTA board of directors as a calendar item at an upcoming SFMTA board meeting (exact date TBD).  By all indications, this is likely to be a rubber-stamp gesture; Hank Wilson told the crowd at his Bernal Heights community meeting that he has never heard of an instance where the SFMTA board voted against an RPP proposal.

Monday: Community Meeting on Proposed Homeless Facility at 1515 South Van Ness

1515 South Van Ness in Jan. 2017 (via Google Street View)

D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen just announced plans to hold a community meeting about her proposal to establish a “pop-up” Navigation Center for the homeless at 1515 South Van Ness, near Cesar Chavez.

The meeting will be held on Monday April 24 at the Mission Cultural Center (2868 Mission) beginning at 6 pm.

Supervisor Ronen’s meeting announcement says:

I would like to invite you to a community meeting that I am holding this coming Monday April 24th at 6:00pm at the Mission Cultural Center regarding the proposal for a temporary Navigation Center at 1515 South Van Ness Ave.

I will be joined by the Director on the Department of Homelessness Jeff Kositsky, the San Francisco Police Chief William Scott, the Captain for Mission Station Bill Griffin, the Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru, and representatives from the Mayor’s office.

For those of you who may not be able to attend the meeting, I will be holding community office hours to discuss this proposal at Rincon Nayarit on Monday May 8th from 8:00am-10:00am.

Please see details bellow.

Community Meeting
Monday April 24th, 2017
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
2868 Mission St, SF 94110

Community Office Hours
Monday May 8th, 2017
Rincon Nayarit
1500 South Van Ness Ave, SF 94109

If you have any questions about this meeting or my community office hours, please contact my Legislative Aide Carolina Morales at 415-554-7743 or via email at Carolina.Morales@sfgov.org

Hillary Ronen
District 9 Supervisor