By Bonnee Waldstein
The summer meeting covered a number of topics, new and old, that are of interest to Glen Park.
GPA President Michael Rice presented a two thousand dollar grant from the GPA to the San Francisco Mime Troupe, who will perform in Glen Canyon Park in August. The grant will defray the cost of the use of the park, which used to be free; but in the past ten years the fee has gone up to $770 per day plus a $500 deposit. (Admission is free; donations are strongly encouraged.) Other awards presented earlier as part of a three-year-old program funded by the GPA went to Sunnyside Elementary School and Friends of Penny Lane.
Troupe writer and sometime director, Michael Gene Sullivan, accepted the award. Sullivan explained that the Troupe does political musical comedy, and not silently: “We are the loudest mimes in the world!” This year’s show is “Schooled,” which is about the privatization of education and questions whether the purpose of school is to load kids up with information, provide a place to put them when their parents are at work, or create a generation of consumers – or citizens.
Rice announced that Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF), which works with neighborhoods to increase tree planting in San Francisco, will have a tree-planting day in September, in the neighborhoods of Glen Park, Miraloma, and Mt. Davidson. The application deadline is in August.
FUF accepts requests for tree planting on frontages of a minimum of 6-1/2 feet. They evaluate the sidewalk for suitability. The cost is a sliding scale of $300-$500, with a minimum of $135. This covers the cost to open the sidewalk, install the tree, and maintain it on an on-call basis for three to five years.
The audience needed to turn its conscious awareness up a notch for the next presentation, by Amy Sinclair from the S.F. Public Utilities Commission. She explained the CleanPowerSF program that is being unveiled. After Sinclair’s explanation and a Q&A, the main points of the program are:
- CleanPowerSF refers to San Francisco’s participation in the Community Choice Aggregation program, which allows cities to partner with their utility (PG&E) to deliver cleaner energy.
- It’s a partnership between the City and PG&E, administered by the City. Marin and Sonoma counties have this program already.
- PG&E will still be responsible for handling outages and its regular services.
- The goal of the program is to increase the use of renewable energy, mainly wind and solar. The City now uses 29.5% renewable energy. CleanPowerSF aims to push that up to 35%.
- The renewable energy will go into PG&E’s existing power grid. The analogy is that the grid is like a bathtub. PG&E is putting 29.5% renewable energy into the tub. CleanPowerSF will add significantly more, to at least 35%.
- This program does not include individual incentives or benefits such as putting solar panels on individual homes.
- Individual customers will not see any change in their service or their payments with the 35% renewables. Billing statements will be more detailed.
- The program will be auto-enrolled, as authorized by state law passed in 2002. It will be phased in over six years. However, customers will have four opportunities to opt out of the program, i.e., just use plain vanilla PG&E. However, there is no cost benefit to the customer in doing so.
- Customers can also enroll on their own initiative anytime online or by phone.
- There is a higher tier to the program, called SuperGreen, whose goal is to deliver 100% renewable energy. It is optional and will cost customers about six dollars more per month.
- It’s not the individual customer that is getting 35% or 100% renewable energy; it’s the overall power grid.
- The program tries to source its energy locally as much as possible, from rooftops and reservoirs, like Sunset Reservoir, and the Altamont wind farm, for example. The further away the energy source is, the more the energy “bleeds off” by the time it reaches its destination.
- CleanEnergySF will create local jobs by building facilities and introducing new technology.
- District 8 happens to be in the earlier of the six-year phase. This fall residents of the District will get the first of the four notices explaining the program.
- For information, go to cleanpowersf.org.
PEDESTRIAN IMPROVEMENT PLANS AT DIAMOND HEIGHTS BOULEVARD/SUSSEX STREET/ELK STREET
One of the major traffic and pedestrian problems plaguing Glen Park is the lack of a crosswalk on upper Elk Street, between Arbor and Sussex Streets, into Glen Canyon Park. The steep grade of Elk Street and inadequate sightlines are a safety hazard that residents have long endured.
Casey Hildreth and Kimberly Leung of the Livable Streets division of SFMTA presented some alternatives for mitigating this long-standing situation. They proposed five options, which could be combined in various ways, and solicited reactions and ideas from the audience.
The consensus of those in attendance was that something simple should be done right away in advance of a solution. Putting in a pedestrian crossing sign and an advance warning sign would help in the short term.
Several people voiced their antipathy about bulb outs, which seem ineffective and also reduce parking space and may even increase accidents. Stop signs have their pros and cons in terms of speed control. Many favored the rectangular rapid flashing beacon option. Another suggestion that had support was the flashing sign, which shows the driver’s speed and encourages them to slow down.
Long-term fixes require more study and must comply with ADA requirements.
The process towards a solution begins with the feedback the SFMTA receives at community meetings such as Glen Park and Diamond Heights. Then there are other public outreach efforts, more feedback, draft recommendations, a formal public hearing and funding requests. The project could take 1-1/2 years to begin, depending on the complexity of the final plan.
There will be an update at the next quarterly GPA meeting in the fall.
People are encouraged to complete the SFMTA Public Participation Survey until July 31:
Meanwhile, the patience of neighborhood residents is tested as they wait for pedestrian safety solutions to become reality on Elk Street.