D3 Neighbors Get Straight Talk on Streets from SFMTA

embarcadero_bikesOne of the many things the Golden Gateway Tenants Association does for its members is attend civic meetings to get information about, and give input on, projects that could affect our neighborhood.

Thanks to SFMTA and Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s office, we regularly learn about street and transit issues at District 3 SFMTA Street Team meetings. It brings together community leaders and representatives from SFMTA on a regular basis so we can learn what’s in the works and give feedback, as well as talk about our concerns. GGTA President Geri Koeppel attended this meeting on Thursday, Aug. 24 along with representatives from North Beach Neighbors, Russian Hill Neighbors and the Union Square Business Improvement District. Peskin’s aide Lee Hepner facilitated.

The first topic discussed was the Columbus Avenue Streetscape and Pedestrian Safety Project, which includes bulb-outs at intersections that shorten the distance needed to cross the road. This has been in the works and debated for a few years now, and we asked for an update on what stage it’s in.

Also, as part of this project, we were told there will be a dedicated bike lane on Columbus Avenue between Broadway and Washington Street. One person asked for more details on the strategy for linking these three blocks with a broader bike route.

Much of the discussion centered on the second topic, concerning Chariot commuter shuttles. SFMTA is working on regulations and a permit program for Chariot and plans to take them to its board on Sept. 5. If approved, the new rules probably would take effect in October. SFMTA has had complaints about the private shuttles regarding safety and accessibility, which the new rules will address. It also is asking Chariot for data on ridership so it can analyze routes. Chariot shuttles are only allowed to stop in white or yellow loading zones; they can’t use Muni stops. However, it was mentioned that they don’t always stop in approved zones, and have been seen driving in “red lanes” marked for transit only.

SFMTA also touched on the Embarcadero Enhancement Project, which intends to create a dedicated, protected bike lane along the increasingly more crowded waterfront. Hepner said that although it will be tied to the long-term seawall improvements, the goal is to make some temporary improvements in the meantime.

In addition, neighborhood leaders all expressed concerns about safety on Muni and the perception that more riders are opting for private transportation such as Chariot, Uber or Lyft, creating a tiered system that could cut into Muni’s budget over time. SFMTA staff are aware of these concerns and assured the group that they’re being addressed.

Koeppel also asked about a rumor that SFMTA plans to eliminate northbound traffic on Drumm Street from Market up to Washington as part of the Better Market Street initiative. Neither Hepner nor SFMTA staff were aware of the plan. Later, we learned that there is no plan to make Drumm southbound-only.

However, there is a change proposed for southbound Drumm: Vehicles won’t be allowed to turn right onto Market Street. Southbound vehicles on Drumm will be forced to turn either right onto California (a new route) or left onto Market Street, as they currently can. 

Don’t Miss the Fire Safety Presentation Aug. 31

Photo: GGTA
Photo: GGTA

Mark your calendars for an important Fire Safety Presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 31 at the Gateway Theatre (formerly Eureka Theatre), 215 Jackson St. Inspector Fernando Juarez of the San Francisco Fire Department will give tenants essential information on fire prevention and dealing with a fire emergency.

GGTA has been working on hosting a fire safety event ever since a fire broke out in the garbage chute in Vista South on January 16, 2017. Tenants had numerous questions about procedures and fire safety, which will be addressed by Gateway management in this presentation. Continue reading “Don’t Miss the Fire Safety Presentation Aug. 31”

Gateway May Get New Elevator Vendor

elevators
We got some good news from Gateway management this week: They’re re-evaluating the contract with the elevator vendor and hope to get a new vendor that will be more reliable.
 
As you all know, since the elevator controls were updated a few years ago, we’ve been plagued with intermittent yet ongoing outages. The plaza elevator was out of service for about three months this year, too, creating hardships for the mobility impaired and people using strollers.
 
Geri Koeppel, president of GGTA, sent an inquiry to Clarisse Tan, director of property management, asking if a new vendor was in the works, and got this reply:

Continue reading “Gateway May Get New Elevator Vendor”

GGTA, Many Others Oppose Alcohol Sales until 4 a.m. (UPDATED)

img_0022UPDATE: 9/9/17: BCNA reports SB 384 has been “killed” and now addresses a completely different subject. Read more. Thank you to our friends in BCNA who worked diligently with us to oppose this bill.

UPDATE, 9/5/17: California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA) and Alcohol Justice are reporting that Senator Wiener’s 4 a.m. bar bill proposal is effectively dead. Read more here.

The Golden Gateway Tenants Association is strongly opposed to a bill, SB 384, that would allow California cities to permit alcohol sales until 4 a.m.

Sen. Scott Wiener introduced this legislation, and it passed handily—27 to 9 with four not voting—in the Senate on May 31. GGTA and many other neighborhood and grass-roots groups are opposed to this bill, while several business and industry groups support it. Mayor Ed Lee is on record supporting it, so if it passes the Assembly and is signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, we’re sure that San Francisco will eagerly embrace the opportunity to keep bars and  nightclubs open later.

Why is this a problem?

Continue reading “GGTA, Many Others Oppose Alcohol Sales until 4 a.m. (UPDATED)”

Give Us Ideas for Improving Gloomy Washington Street

washingtonst_garageGateway residents: Our stretch of Washington Street needs your ideas to improve its gloomy appearance.

Walking down Washington Street on the two blocks between Battery and Davis is a bleak visual experience because of high blank walls on both sides for parking garages at One Maritime Plaza and the Gateway.

washingtonst_gateway

The next two blocks of Washington between Davis and the Embarcadero are just as bad on the north side, including the black fence for the Bay Club tennis court. Why does the street look like this?

washingtonst_bayclub

Probably because Washington was an off-ramp for the Embarcadero Freeway when One Maritime Plaza and the Gateway were built in the 1960s. Now the freeway is gone, and times have changed. This street needs to look better. What can be done?

GGTA is looking for creative ideas to improve these four blocks.  One possibility is to ask the Bay Club to decorate the tennis club fence along Washington Street the same way it has already decorated the west side of the fence facing the Golden Gateway Commons condos.

The Bay Club fence facing the Golden Gateway Commons has been decorated.
The Bay Club fence facing the Golden Gateway Commons has been decorated.

Please let us have your opinions. Our GGTA board will talk over the ideas to come up with specific proposals to discuss with the well established civic organization San Francisco Beautiful. We will then open discussions with Gateway management, One Maritime Plaza, and the Bay Club, who would need to agree to suggested improvements.

Let’s hear from you! Please use our online contact form, which goes to our president and other board members, or come and talk to us at one of our First Tuesday socials, which are announced in our member emails and on Nextdoor.com.

Please Help Us Keep Laundry Rooms Safe & Working

Using the wrong soap can flood the laundry room floor and cause a safety hazard. Photo: GGTA
Using the wrong soap can flood the laundry room floor and cause a safety hazard. Photo: GGTA

While the laundry rooms at the Gateway are a convenience that tenants appreciate, we all know they can be a source of frustration. Machines break, and worse: the drain lines back up and flood the floor, causing a safety hazard.

We recently contacted Gateway management and a manager with WASH Laundry to inform them of the frequent broken machines and flooded floors. A slip-and-fall can result in serious injury, particularly for our older residents.

We were pleased to find out that WASH Laundry and the Gateway are working on finalizing a contract to upgrade the machines. We were told this could possibly include reworking/redesigning the drains, which could alleviate some of the drain backups.

Continue reading “Please Help Us Keep Laundry Rooms Safe & Working”

Take an Early Peek at Planned Affordable Apartments on Broadway

broadway_front-street

Neighbors recently got more preliminary details about an affordable housing rental complex for low- and moderate-income residents and seniors planned for our neighborhood.

A slide presentation at a public meeting of the Northeast Waterfront Advisory Group (NEWAG) at the Port of San Francisco on April 6 showed early designs for the buildings, which will take up most of the block between Vallejo, Broadway, Front and Davis. The slides showing renderings are below.

The number and type of units as well as the various levels of affordability have changed over time, and could be altered again. A representative for BRIDGE Housing told us the Mayor’s Office of Housing asked for more three-bedroom family units, which has slightly decreased the total number of units in the family building.

Continue reading “Take an Early Peek at Planned Affordable Apartments on Broadway”

You’re Invited: GGTA Annual Membership Meeting Feb. 25

L'Olivier Restaurant. (Photo: Geri Koeppel)
L’Olivier Restaurant. (Photo: Geri Koeppel)

We hope to see all Golden Gateway Tenants Association members (and those wishing to join GGTA) at the annual membership meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at L’Olivier Restaurant, 465 Davis Court.

This year, we’ll meet in the restaurant’s main dining room rather than the annex, so there should be more space for everyone to fit comfortably. We will have membership sign-up forms on site for anyone who is not a member but would like to join and attend the meeting. Please remember, you can also join online.

District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin will speak about current events at City Hall and issues expected to arise in 2017. Gateway resident and longtime activist Lee Radner will report on the State Lands Commission lawsuit, set for decision in the near future, that seeks to abolish our voter-approved height limits along the waterfront. 

Outgoing GGTA president Bill Hannan will summarize the proposed affordable housing development at 88 Broadway, the proposed Teatro ZinZanni hotel and dinner theater at Broadway and the Embarcadero, the condominiums under construction at Battery and Pacific, and the proposed hotel and condominiums at 447 Battery where Cort Furniture is now. He’ll also speak on security issues and ask for a volunteer to serve as security liaison.

GGTA nominating committee chair Desa Belyea will announce the slate of officers and directors for the coming year (please see below). Also, social chair Kim Breeden will report on our schedule of social events, which, thanks to energetic new board members, should be prolific and diverse this year. 

2017 GGTA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

President: Geri Koeppel

First vice president: Tom Gilligan

Second vice president: Bill Hannan

 Secretary: Michele McLaughlin

Treasurer: Bob Demchick

Membership chair: Kim Breeden

Member at large: Natalie Jones

New board members: Ron Fisher, Irene Glassgold, Martin Hardee, Tatjana Eggert-Reich, Cristina Riboni and Benay von Husen

Neighbors Share Concerns at SFMTA Meeting Jan. 12

Looking north on the Embarcadero. (Photo: Geri Koeppel)
Looking north on the Embarcadero. (Photo: Geri Koeppel)

By Bill Hannan, GGTA President

On January 12, 2017, I represented the Golden Gateway Tenants Association (GGTA) and Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association (BCNA) at a District 3 meeting at City Hall of neighborhood group representatives with SFMTA staff members. 

The two-hour meeting was called by Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s aide Lee Hepner. Present were five MTA staffers and about 25 representatives of neighborhood or merchant groups, including Stan Hayes and Howard Wong for Telegraph Hill Dwellers, and a representative of a Russian Hill neighborhood group. Aaron made opening remarks and attended throughout. Continue reading “Neighbors Share Concerns at SFMTA Meeting Jan. 12”

More Sewer Work To Start This Summer

A new sewer pipe was installed on Drumm Street north of California Street on May 28, 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Diana Taylor)
A new sewer pipe was installed on Drumm Street north of California Street on May 28, 2014. (Photo: Courtesy of Diana Taylor)

More sewer work will start this summer near the Gateway Apartments and Townhomes, but we’re told it won’t be as disruptive as the project that tore up the neighborhood back in 2014–15.

In case you missed the mess, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is rehabilitating and replacing part of the North Shore Force Main (NSFM) and the Drumm & Jackson Street sewers so that we don’t exit our apartments one day to find we live in the midst of a wastewater lake. That’s good news, and we thank them profusely for that.

In more good news, SFPUC says this round won’t be as bad, because most of the work will be “trenchless.” That means they’ll cleverly dig just a few access points and send crews underground, rather than tearing up long stretches of road and driving us nuts with incessant jackhammering and other noise. Construction is expected to run through winter of 2018. If you want all of the details and a preliminary map showing the access points, please click here: The Embarcadero/Drumm & Jackson Street Sewer Improvements.

Continue reading “More Sewer Work To Start This Summer”