The Dolores Park Community Meeting at Mission High School wrapped up at 8pm Wednesday. There were a lot of strong opinions, but the meeting stayed civil. We focused on two main topics:
Traffic Safety on 19th and Dolores
Neighbors and park-goers agree that 19th and Dolores is a dangerous intersection. With the unlikely combination of dog walkers, children, and intoxicated you-know-what-sters it’s a miracle that the street doesn’t get a splattered with a daily red paint job.
Manito Velasco of the SFMTA did most of the talking and plainly stated that no new stop signs will be installed. They have have studied the traffic flow on weekdays and don’t think it meets federal guidelines for signs. One guy said that they should study the traffic on weekends because, like doye, it’s totally different. Zing. Velsaco said he’d do that. Also, nuh-uh to traffic lights, ’cause those sons of bitches cost $350,000.
What they do propose is some combination of the following:
- High visibility and way-fun “zebra striped” crosswalks (you know, for kids)
- Yield notifications
- Pedestrian Xing stencils
- 20th and Dolores traffic light timing tweaks
They are also looking into:
- Disallowing U-Turns (To which one neighbor replied to the effect of, “But then I can’t go home without doing a lap around San Francisco first!” Somebody get this lady google maps STAT.)
- Remove some parking spaces on the corners to increase visibility
- Reduce the San Jose 280 offramp to one lane to discourage people from taking shortcuts through the Mission
After some prodding from the audience, Velasco conceded that they are “not opposed” to stop signs but want to check out other options first. Oh ok, so “no stop signs” is now “maybe stop signs”.
Sorry what were we just talking about again? I got distracted looking out the window at the people in Dolores Park having an awesome time in the 70 degree weather. Oh yeah, traffic on 19th and Dolores.
Two diagrams for the redesigned intersections were shown, featuring neat “bulb outs” and “pedestrian refuges”. A guy pointed out that the diagram showed a clip-art car making a dangerous U-turn, or a sorry excuse for a left turn. Someone fire that illustrator.
Enforcement of Park Rules
Supervisor Bevan Duffy gave a long rambling introduction for the Mission Police Station’s Captain Corrales in which he called the dude a total hard ass, but damn it all, he respects him. Corrales, who would really rather have been at the Giants game, reminded us that drinking and smoking have always been illegal in Dolores Park. That being said, if there are no complaints, they don’t go out and bust people. He added that after the park stabbing in early August neighbors got spooked and increased complaints about drinking, smoking, and other fun stuff in the park so they sent those motorized robocops around to issue citations. How many? 28, to be exact. 19 for drinking, 9 for smoking. He then rolled his eyes about emails whining that the sight of patrolling police cars was “ruining the ambiance” of the park. This guy is pretty snarky! I like it. He should write a blog.
On to the comments which, like on a Mission hyper-local blog, is where things get a little tense.
This guy whose name rhymes with “Tevin Tontgomery” said that SF has a history of not enforcing laws and that the city often pioneers the legislative destruction of outdated laws. He added that cops should be busting killers and stuff, and not jerking around fun-loving 20-somethings which is “ageism”. Corrales shrugged and said, “speak for yourself, dude. I have been enforcing the law for 40 years”. Wow! That guy is cucumber boy, as in “cool as a”. Bevan Duffy got HELLA PISSED and said some stuff about how immigrants are protected by law and that he visits crime victims in hospitals, which was sorta confusing, but got some woo-hoos and applause.
A Latin-American 20-year resident of 19th and Dolores who kinda looks like John Tuturro brought up how young brown kids growing up in the ‘hood see cops turning a blind eye to the whiteys in the park partying down, while busting them for the same stuff, leading to the perception that cops and hipsters are full of shit. Touché, sir. No one’s touching that one.
Neighbors holding babies chimed in. They’re not “anti-fun”, just anti-people barfing on their doorsteps, dancing on their cars, stealing their cell phones, leaving trash everywhere, and having loud non-permit raves (Fun facts: only 2 permits are issued for Dolores Park events a month, and none of them allow events after 6pm). One reminisced about the old days where the young people would chillax with one discreet bottle in hand, as opposed to wheeling in kegs and smoking the doobies everywhere. They also zinged the cops for the handling of the nighttime crowd dispersal last week, which involved bullhorns and bright lights. Cops said they would try to do better.
Later that night, the cops dispersed the crowds in the park with bullhorns and bright lights from a menacing cruiser. Not that I was, um, there or anything.
One park-goer commented on how she drinks in the park (Oops! Hear that Captain Corrales?) but totally respects the space, sympathizes with the neighbors, and cleans up after herself. Yessir, it’s probably those ruffians with the arm tattoos that are just ruining it for everyone. Neighbors nodded in approval as if to say, “you’re one of the good ones, babe.”
Then there was some more chatter about the trash can and bathroom situation. In short, the renovation will address all these things. For now, port-o-johns on somewhat arbitrarily selected days will have to do. As for trash? No word, but you’d be surprised how much of it you can stuff in a medium Timbuk2 messenger bag.
I haven’t been to a lot of these sorts of meetings, so I’m not sure what to make of the outcome. Crystal Vann Wallstrom of Dolores Park Works was optimistic about everyone coming to agreement which didn’t happen. In the end, she shrugged and said, “we’ll keep doing this every year until we all agree”. No hurry, folks. On the other hand, it was a chance for people to be heard by parties on all sides, which must be positive.
In all seriousness, thanks for Dolores Park Works for setting up the meeting. It was a good experience to hear all sides of the argument in a controlled fashion. Organizing and moderating these meetings seems exhausting, and it’s not a task I’d be up for. I hope you all make it to the next one.