Notes from the GPA Jan. 21, 2016 meeting


Nicholas Dewar, outgoing vice president of the Glen Park Association, presenting information about the proposed Green Belt at a meeting on Jan. 21, 2016.


January 21, 2016

By Bonnee Waldstein


The first quarterly meeting of the Glen Park Association (GPA) kicked off with the election of officers. It was a mix of incumbents and new officers, elected unanimously: President – Michael Rice (12th year); Vice President – Scott Stawicki; Treasurer – Dennis Mullen; Membership Secretary – Hilary Schiraldi; Recording Secretary – Stephany Wilkes; and Corresponding Secretary – Mic Ames.


Outgoing Vice President Nicholas Dewar announced a round of funding of grants by the GPA for 2016. Grants are awarded to organizations that benefit Glen Park directly. In 2015 the GPA awarded $1,000 to the Sunnyside elementary PTA to support publication of a student journal, “The Ray.” It awarded $1,000 to the Friends of Penny Lane support further construction of the Surrey Street steps.

The guidelines and application form are available at:

Deadline for application submission is March 31. Grantees will be announced mid-May.

Question: Can a grant be proposed for furnishings for the new Rec Center?

Answer: Neighborhood fundraising will be key, as it was for the Glen Park Library chairs and tables. But we’ll look into it as the Rec Center nears completion.

Q: Where does the money come from for these grants?

A: Excess GPA funds. The GPA has a $20,000 reserve fund and two years ago it was decided to allocate these funds to the grant program.

Planview 160112.jpg


Nicholas Dewar gave a brief recap of the history of the plan thus far. (For more detail on the design process, see the Winter 2015 Glen Park News, p.16.) A year and a half ago an anonymous donor gave $45,000 toward a neighborhood improvement project. The GPA donated $5,000 and Scott Wiener donated $10,000 from supervisorial discretionary funds.

Residents decided that a worthy project would be improvement of the green space that roughly connects BART with Glen Canyon Park, running parallel to Bosworth. This was later scaled back to encompass the green space from Brompton to Elk, and in the latest proposal, from Brompton to Burnside.

The land is controlled mostly by the SFPUC, but also by DPW and the Archdiocese of San Francisco. This adds a good measure of complexity in piecing together the project.

Surfacedesign, a landscape architectural firm, was engaged to come up with a plan. Roderick Wyllie, landscape architect, presented alternatives at three community meetings starting last May, and received a lot of encouragement and constructive feedback.

One contentious aspect of the plan was to include Paradise Street in the connection to Glen Canyon Park, because of issues of privacy and street tree feasibility.

To address these and other concerns, two meetings were held between GPA committee members and the residents of Paradise and the Chilton/Burnside stretch, along the proposed corridor. As a result, an earlier scheme to have an upper path between Burnside and Elk, and tree planting along Paradise, was scrapped.

The result is basically an improved walking path (no bikes) with attention to appropriate vegetation, lighting and safety.

There followed a discussion with comments and questions between Adam King (Penny Lane project), Nicholas Dewar and the attendees:

Q: What is the plan for lighting along the path and overhead?

A: As with other details of the plan, this will be hashed out later. The intent now is to get consensus on the basic design of the Greenway.

Q: The diagram shows plantings along the stretch between Diamond and Brompton. Is this part of the Greenway plan?

A: Other than the green space along Bosworth, which is DPW land, this is private property. It would be great if we could characterize it as the entrance to the Greenway but it will probably be developed eventually.

Q: What about the stairway from Chilton in terms of the ADA?

A: The law says once you spend $90,000 on a project it’s required to be ADA compliant. However, there are exceptions for hardship in complying.

Q: Once the Greenway is all fixed up, won’t it be even more attractive to homeless and undesirable elements – especially as the homeless are increasingly being pushed out of other areas of the City and taking up in outlying neighborhoods?

A: With the improvements, there will be more foot traffic and recreational activity. This has been shown in other City projects to discourage homeless encampments and nefarious activities, rather than increase them.

Q: The open space concept is very positive. There’s a concern about dense vegetation, especially for safety.

A: This will be addressed in the plan.

Q: It’s good to have a place to relax, reflect and de-stress. What about having benches?

A: The main idea is to encourage movement through the area. This was heard clearly in the workshops. However, details will be addressed later when the plan is firmed up.

Q: This is exciting and an asset. It’s too bad the Greenway couldn’t go all the way to Elk.

A: After meeting with residents along the corridor it was clear that there was too much opposition and so the idea was abandoned. There are some things we can do to make connections, such as way finding signage.

Q: I’m concerned we don’t know what the cost will be. Is it worth putting that much money into that much space and how many people will actually use it? It’s not close and accessible to everyone.

A: We haven’t done a traffic study and don’t know if one will be done. Cost and maintenance are very important but we don’t have to answer that now. We’re not on the hook to anyone at this point. It’s the City’s responsibility, not the GPA. The City wants to know that the community supports the plan. Then city agencies are more likely to work with us and fund it. Foundations might also come forward with funding. The project, if done, will be in stages. Also — We might not even do it.

Q: How do you get broad community support and how do you show it?

A: One way is a vote by the members of the GPA. Other ways include posting on websites, social media, bulletin boards, and flyers. It’s a political process, not a legal one.

Someone commented that, had there been major opposition to the Greenway plan, it would have arisen by now. It’s clear from the reaction so far that the plan is very much in favor with the community.

After the lengthy discussion the members of the GPA voted unanimously to endorse the Glen Park Greenway Concept Plan.

Follow the progress of the Glen Park Greenway Plan at:


Supervisor Wiener ran through a number of legislative items he’s been working on:

Streamlining the process for approving affordable housing in the middle of an unprecedented housing crisis in the City. Even if we get costs down, housing is still unaffordable for many, including seniors, emancipated foster youth, and teachers. Even if the money and land are available it takes a long time, from three to nine months, to go through the approvals process, even when there’s no opposition. Wiener is putting a proposal before the Land Use Commission on Monday. If not approved, he will be moved to place it on the election ballot.

Police staffing: Wiener is on the Budget Committee again this year. Five new academy classes have been funded and we need to keep up the momentum. Right now we’re treading, and we need to move up in police staffing so we can have more patrols, among other things. New police will help to reform the culture of the department by bringing in younger, more diverse officers. The latest class of cadets just elected a transgender woman president of the class.

Elk Street: There’s a long time issue of speeding and pedestrian safety. Wiener is actively looking for funding to make the broad stretch of Elk safer.

Q: The street trees along Elk, from Paradise to Bosworth, have had no maintenance. A limb came down and almost killed someone. We live in fear of the trees hanging over our house.

A: Call Supervisor Wiener’s legislative aide, Adam Taylor, and he will follow up with DPW.

Q: Why does affordable housing require a conditional use permit?

A: Any construction above a certain square footage is treated the same. This wouldn’t apply to a single, two, or three-unit dwelling.

Q: What’s going on with the proposed Warrior stadium? How is transit going to keep up with the growth? And, only a couple of police officers are slated to be added to this area.

A: Transit is key. Right now the T-Third Street line is too sporadic. When the Central Subway opens in 2018-19 to the Bayview and Chinatown, it will be the highest used line, surpassing the N-Judah. The next wave of streetcars is coming and the old ones will be phased out. The number of LRVs will be doubled and provide more robust access by the arena. The MTA is moving toward dedicated bus lanes going west to the Mission and the Castro. Further on, the Caltrain high-speed rail could go to the Transbay Terminal. One proposed route would take it down Third Street.

Q: The GGNRA is not just for people — it’s also for animals. GGNRA is too aggressive in trying to manage these areas.

A: It’s where you draw the line.

Q: (new Glen Park resident): Why is there not more enforcement of leash laws? It’s very lax.

A: City doesn’t do a lot of enforcement – except for parking. . There are a lot of other areas needing enforcement, like code violations and permit violations. It’s a cultural thing in the City, but tickets do happen. It goes in cycles.

There has been an increase in park patrols. From two rangers on duty, there are now five or six – to patrol 220 parks in the City.

Q: Update on the drainage situation in Upper Douglas playground?

A: Not sure. It’s closed for the winter; it’s a bad situation. It has such high usage. It’s hard to make natural turf work there. There’s funding for artificial turf at Walter Haas playground. That might make sense at Upper Douglas but it’s so much bigger so the jury’s still out.

Q: Position on “Idaho” (rolling) stops for bicycles?

A: I am co-author of bike yield legislation, which passed 6-5 but was vetoed by the mayor. With the short staffing in the police department it’s not a good use of resources to write tickets to cyclists who don’t come to a full stop when no cross traffic or pedestrians are in sight. They should be ticketed for dangerous behavior.

Q: When the Diamond/Bosworth work is finished will the Arlington/Lyell intersection get traffic signals?

A: This project has been completely mismanaged by MTA. It’s the worst I’ve seen. The budget has been consumed, so there isn’t any funding for the signals. The MTA is responsible to find the resources to get it done and I’m going to stay on it.

Q: How about a left turn lane from O’Shaughnessy to Elk?

A: I’ll try to get some money together and we’ll have a community meeting with MTA.

Q: Do you favor making San Jose Avenue more of a boulevard?

A: I’d love to do that. The freeway cutting through the neighborhoods is not good. The eastern slope can be a very blighted area. It’s a massive capital project.

Q: Will the Crystal Springs watershed (part of the Hetch Hetchy water system owned by the PUC) be more open to recreational use?

A: The PUC is committed to expanding access while protecting the watershed. There will be limited docent tours to start. I’m optimistic about it. The area is breathtakingly beautiful.


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