Random header image... Refresh for more!

Doyle Drive / Presidio Parkway update

On Wednesday night, about thirty residents attended the Doyle Drive / Presidio Parkway public meeting at Self Help for the Elderly on Geary. The meeting was hosted by Molly Graham, Director of Public Outreach for the project, and Nadal Tuqan, the Caltrans Project Manager. David Pang, Caltrans Construction Manager for the project was also in attendance. All three spoke while sharing a powerpoint presentation about Doyle’s planned transformation into the new Presidio Parkway by 2013.

Doyle Drive currently handles 144,000 persons traveling per weekday. The primary reason for replacing it is its failure to meet federal safety standards. At least 80% of the current structure cannot be suitably retrofitted so replacement is the only option.

The new Presidio Parkway will also be safer for drivers, offering wider, 11′ lanes, a median barrier, and road shoulders. The new parkway will also do a better job of slowing traffic down as it enters Marina streets.

Construction will begin next month, though planners have yet to publish the final schedule. By 2011, an alternate road/detour will be in place and they will demolish the existing Doyle Drive roadway, mostly over a planned 3-day weekend closure. Once major construction is completed, the new Presidio Parkway will open in 2013 with final work such as landscaping finishing up in 2014.

The team’s powerpoint presentation was filled with slick animations showing the envisioned Presidio Parkway. The new design calls for two tunnels along the 1.5 mile span which will be excavated underground, eliminating much of today’s unsightly, raised roadway which was originally designed to meet security requirements for the Army base. The new roadway does a much better job of blending in with the Presidio’s surroundings.

The parkway design will also offer new exits with direct access to the Presidio. With the increase in businesses and attractions taking root in the Presidio, these new outlets should help ease congestion that would normally be routed onto Lombard or Marina Boulevard.

David Pang, the Caltrans Construction Manager for the project, is eminently qualified for the nearly four year long effort. With 25 years at Caltrans and the former manager of the Cypress Freeway cleanup (after the ’89 quake) and the Devil’s Slide upgrade, Pang also brings a local perspective to the project as a SF native and current resident of the Richmond District.

Several neighbors in attendance were concerned about the increase in construction traffic at the various Presidio entrances at 25th Avenue, Arguello Boulvard and 15th Avenue. Pang assured residents that construction companies are prohibited in their contracts from using these entry or exit points, and that a hotline has been set up to allow neighbors to report any issues they experience during the construction project.

Molly Graham, Director of Public Outreach, said she personally monitors the hotline and has a direct line into Pang on-site. She advised neighbors to “try and catch the truck logos” to help them identify which crews may be in violation. The hotline is (415) 263-5953 or you can email info@presidioparkway.org. “You are our eyes and ears”, Graham said.

Few neighbors seemed concerned about the planned closures of the ramps that connect Park Presidio to Doyle Drive, allowing the quickest route between the Richmond and the Marina. Project studies showed that between 5000-10,000 vehicles use the ramps each day. The northbound ramp will be closed for most of the project, while the southbound ramp’s closure is planned for 2010 – 2011.

Graham admitted that the suggested signed detours look preposterous to residents as they take drivers way out of their way, but she noted they are designed to steer traffic to the routes that can best handle increased volume. She likened them to the routes that a visiting Winnebago would take, rather than the neighborhood streets that most residents would turn to for their alternate route.

Once construction kicks off, there will be a public information office on-site in the Presidio, offering information, answering questions, and even giving tours of the construction as certain phases are completed.

For more information, visit the Presidio Parkway website at presidioparkway.org. To receive updates about the project such as planned traffic closure, join their email list or follow them on Twitter.

Sarah B.

Bookmark and Share
 1:38 pm | Posted under Traffic | Comments Off

Remember to vote in Tuesday’s election

Just in case your voter information phamphlet is buried on your desk like mine was, I thought I’d post a reminder for everyone to go out and vote on Tuesday, November 3rd in our municipal election.

On the ballot will be elections for City Attorney (Dennis Herrera) and City Treasurer (José Cisneros),. both of which are running unopposed. So it’s really all about the five propositions:

A: Budget Process
B: Board of Supervisors Aides
C: Candlestick Park Naming Rights
D: Mid-Market Special Sign District
E: Advertisements on City Property

For more information on the election, read the voter information pamphlet on the SF Elections website.

And if you really did misplace your voter information guide, find your polling place here.

Sarah B.

Bookmark and Share
 7:14 am | Posted under Politics | 1 comment

Police Blotter – October 30, 2009

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of October 30, 2009. To be added to the station's mailing list, email sfpd.richmond.station@sfgov.org or visit their website.]

While analyzing crime trends in the Richmond District we identified a concentration of burglaries in a portion of one patrol sector. While the overall number of burglaries in the entire sector has not increased significantly over historical trends, in an area bounded by Geary Boulevard, 27th Avenue, Balboa Street and 28th Avenue we have seen more reports than in other similar sized areas in the District. There have been six burglaries in this area in the past thirty days. These are day-time burglaries where entry is made through windows, from rooftops and by fire escapes. We don’t want to alarm you, but we do want to keep you well informed of the risks and support you in managing them.

Please notify us immediately if you notice any suspicious activity in your neighborhood by calling 415-553-0123, or 911 in an emergency.

If you are concerned about your residence’s vulnerability to burglary, please contact San Francisco SAFE to arrange for an on-site security survey. This is a free service for single residential units, including both houses and units in larger buildings. Written recommendations are provided as part of a security survey. Surveys are helpful in assessing the overall security of a home and implementing effective preventative measures. You can contact SAFE at 415-553-1984, info@sfsafe.org to request a security survey.

If you have any information about these burglaries please call Officer Lorie Brophy at 666-8028.

During the past week, there were 22 traffic accidents, 7 involving injuries. There were 10 citations issued for driving without a license or driving on a suspended license. There was 1 arrest for driving under the influence.

On 10/25/09 at 2:41pm a third party called dispatch regarding a vehicle that appeared to be attempting to run another car off the road. The witness told the dispatcher that the suspect was making threatening gestures towards the victim’s vehicle. This started in the area of 25th Ave Lincoln. A plainclothes officer responded to 25th and Fulton and observed the suspects vehicle exit the park and travel east on Fulton Street at a high rate of speed. A marked unit made a traffic stop on the 700 block of 15th Avenue and detained the suspect. The officers were not able to locate the victims of this incident but determined that the suspect had an outstanding warrant for vandalism. The 27 year old male was arrested for the warrant.

On 10/23/09 at 6:30pm on the 2900 block of California Street a victim was attempting to park his vehicle when the suspect drove into the space the victim was trying to back into. The victim told the suspect that he was very rude, and the suspect replied, “Learn how to park” and walked away. A space became available a short time later in front of the suspect and the victim parked his car and went into his home. At 8:30pm the victim was standing down the street and saw the suspect return to his vehicle. The victim saw the suspect key all four doors and get into his own car and drive away. The victim was able to get the license plate of the suspect’s vehicle and contacted the police. Plainclothes officers later met with the victim, who was able to identify the suspect through a photo line-up. It was also determined that the amount of damage to the victim’s vehicle was over $3000.00. On 10/27 those officers located the suspect on the 1800 block of 8th Avenue. The 29 year old male was charged with vandalism.

Between 10/22/09 8pm and 10/23/09 at 9:00am on the 1500 block of Lake Street a suspect entered into a residential garage and took two bicycles and equipment from the garage. There were no signs of forced entry.

On 10/23/09 between 8:00am and 2:30pm on the 500 block of 27th Avenue a suspect entered into an apartment and took an I-pod, laptop and game system. Entry was made via a rear sliding door.

On 10/24/09 at 12:01am a victim was walking up her front steps on the 1800 block of Broderick Street when a suspect ran up the stairs behind her. He grabbed at the strap of her purse and pulled her back down the stairs. The victim let go of the purse and the suspect fled to a waiting vehicle. The suspect was described as a male, 20-30 years of age, wearing a dark colored
sweatshirt and blue jeans. The vehicle was described as a tan 4 door sedan.

On 10/26/09 at 8:15pm a victim was on a 38 Geary MUNI line headed towards downtown. The victim was texting on his phone and, as the bus came to a stop at Geary and Masonic, a suspect grabbed the victim’s phone from his hand and ran off the bus. The suspect, a male 15-17 years of age wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans fled west on Geary Boulevard.

Between 10/27/09 at 9:30pm and 10/28/09 at 7:25am on the 2000 block of Baker Street a suspect entered into a vehicle parked in the driveway of a home. The suspect took items from the vehicle, and then, with the garage remote that had been left in the car, opened the door and took a computer keyboard from the garage.

On 10/28/09 at 12:50am a victim was walking on Clay Street near Broderick Street. A suspect approached him from behind and put him in a “bear hug”. The victim was then struck on the nose but he was able to take off running. The suspect gave chase and attempted to grab the victim’s backpack off his back. The victim began yelling for help and after several other attempts to take the bag; the suspect gave up and ran east bound on Clay Street. There was a second male, however he did not participate.

On 10/28/09 at 1:30am the victim was walking on 11th Avenue towards Cabrillo Street. A vehicle pulled along side the victim and the passenger exited and pointing a handgun at the victim. The armed suspect told the victim to give up his bag, and the victim complied. The suspect got back in the car which then fled north on 11th Avenue. The suspect was a male wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and dark jeans. The vehicle was described as a dark 4 door sedan.

On 10/28/09 at 1:37am a victim was walking on Beaumont Street towards Geary Boulevard. The victim heard footsteps of someone approaching her from behind and turned around to see a suspect holding a handgun. The victim was ordered to surrender her purse and when she did the suspect ran to a nearby vehicle. The suspects fled south on Beaumont towards Anza. The suspect is described as an 18-22 year old male wearing a white t-shirt. The vehicle was a dark 4 door sedan.

On 10/28 between 8:30am and 5:30pm, a suspect gained entry into a residence and took a laptop. Entry may have been made via a sliding glass door.

On 10/28/09 at 3:20pm the victim was walking south on 18th Avenue towards Anza Street. The suspect ran up from behind the victim and grabbed a necklace from around her neck. The suspect then continued south on 18th Avenue. He was described as being 16-18 years of age wearing all black clothing.

Bookmark and Share
 6:15 am | Posted under Crime | Comments Off

Prolific graffiti tagger and Richmond resident arrested

Foxreno.com reports that a prolific Bay Area tagger known by the moniker “Girafa” was arrested in San Jose.

Steven Free, 30, was arrested after police from San Jose and San Francisco searched his home on Cabrillo Street in the Outer Richmond.

An investigation by the San Jose police graffiti enforcement unit linked Free to 10 felony cases of tagging in the city, according to Officer Jermaine Thomas. Each one features a cartoon depiction of a giraffe and a tagging moniker of “Girafa.” Police estimate those 10 acts of vandalism cost a combined $40,000 in damage.

While investigating the taggings, San Jose police found pictures of similar Girafa graffiti on social networking sites. Officers said Free has committed vandalism acts in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, as well as other locations in Santa Clara County.

Clearly this tagger had bigger fish to fry than just the walls of the Richmond District, but let’s hope his arrest helps reduce graffiti in our neighborhood too. See more of the damage caused by this tagger.

Sarah B.

Bookmark and Share
 4:00 pm | Posted under Crime | 5 comments

Visit the “Feary Tales” Haunted House on Halloween

Saw the great poster below at Angelina’s today. Turns out it’s for a Haunted House in the basement of the market at 6001 California Street at 22nd Avenue. Stop by between 6 and 9pm on Halloween night to check it out. It may go as late as 10pm.

One of the organizers tells me “It is suitable for most ages (adults seem to scare the most) and the tales will be read outside to the little ones if mom and dad want to go inside or they find it too spookey.”

Admission is free. Enter if you dare!!

Sarah B.

Bookmark and Share
 1:22 pm | Posted under Events, Kids | 4 comments

Midnight showings of “Brain Dead” at the 4-Star

This Friday and Saturday night, top off your Halloween night with a midnight showing of the indie zombie horror-comedy Brain Dead at the 4-Star Theater (23rd & Clement). The film was directed by Kevin Tenney, best known for his ’80s offerings Night of the Demons and Witchboard.

Here’s the plot… A small rock crashes into Earth’s atmosphere and lands in the head of a fisherman. The rock however is not the problem; the trouble stems from the brain-sucking slime that hitched a ride in the rock. It turns its host into a zombie and reproduces, converting others into brain-eating monsters. Check out the trailer below.

Oooooo sounds like a good creepy flick! Showtimes are at midnight on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Sarah B.

Bookmark and Share
 9:31 pm | Posted under Movies | Comments Off

What are the best spots to trick or treat in the Richmond?

When I was a kid, I knew which houses gave out whole candybars, which ones had cool haunted houses and which ones had raisins (e.g. the ones to avoid).

Today, Zillow released their Trick-or-Treat Housing Index which lists out the top 5 neighborhoods for tricking and treating in the city. Not surprisingly, the family-friendly (and flat!) Richmond District was ranked #3 out of 5.

But that got me wondering, where exactly in the Richmond are the best places to fill up the pillowcase or plastic pumpkin? I’ve heard 3rd and 4th Avenues are popular, as well as 10th Avenue near Fulton. And Sea Cliff, well, that becomes a costume parade on Halloween night. I worked the door of a Sea Cliff home one Halloween and I couldn’t believe our bags of candy / hour throughput!

So, where will you be taking the kids to trick or treat this year?

Sarah B.

Bookmark and Share
 2:24 pm | Posted under Events, Kids | 1 comment

Halloween artwork from Richmond District students

On her blog this week, Rachel Norton of the SF Board of Education featured Halloween artwork from Richmond District students that is on display in windows along Clement Street, mostly between 5th Avenue and Funston. Check out their splendid illustrations in the slideshow below.

Sarah B.

Bookmark and Share
 10:32 am | Posted under Art, Kids | Comments Off