Jan 16, 2019

January 16,   7  p.m. ,   Upper Noe Rec Center,   295 Day St.
UNN Board members Olga, Chris, Erin and Dave were joined by an additional fifteen neighbors who braved a driving rainstorm to be present.

Our guests included Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru and his team: City Engineer John Thomas, Deputy Director of Operations Larry Stringer, Director of Policy and Communications Rachel Gordon, Bureau of Urban Forestry Superintendent Carla Short and Public Information Officer Nancy Sarieh.  We also welcomed Kyle Smeallie from Supervisor Mandelman’s office.

We began with introductions by UNN President Olga Milan-Howells:
Annual UNN elections are at the March 20 meeting. No slate has been determined. Please consider joining the board. The current UNN Board is
Olga Milan-Howells – UNN President
Chris Faust – Vice President
Erin Zielinski – Treasurer
(open)              – Secretary
David Emanuel – Director at Large
Laura Beaton – Director at Large

Carla Short then presented StreetTreeSF. Technical issues prevented her from displaying the PowerPoint. We used handouts to follow along as she explained the details of the program. The Dept. of Urban Forestry inherited about 80,000 private trees recently and is now responsible for their maintenance and for sidewalks damaged by trees. Their website has a schedule of when each street will be serviced by the city or their contractors. Much of Upper Noe will be serviced in the next two years. However, if you feel that a street tree near you is posing an immediate safety risk in a public right of way, report the issue by calling 311.

As long as the guidelines are followed, you or your arborist may continue to prune your own trees. To opt out, contact San Francisco Public Works Bureau of Urban Forestry at (415) 554-6700 or email urbanforestry@sfdpw.org and have them manually take your address off the list.

The program is not actively seeking to fine anyone but will do so in egregious cases of careless pruning. Fines run about $2000. The guidelines are to protect a tree’s health and to avoid future issues. Topping, where the tree is leveled off at one height, is very harmful. Other bad practices are removing more than half the foliage or clearing out the inner foliage.

Learn more about the StreetTree program, pruning standards and guidelines at


Mohammed then talked about the wide range of responsibilities DPW must manage, including keeping the city clean and in good repair, graffiti removal, and maintaining street fixture and furniture. We thanked him for responding so promptly to our request for new public garbage receptacles. They started to appear on the corners within days. He said that DPW likes to be helpful, especially with community projects that are ready to go but that resources are stretched. Neighborhood organizations need to make DPW aware of their needs. Much of their attention focuses on the homeless crisis. They handle much of what the Dept of Health cannot. In general, Mohammed says that the city is cleaner than it has been but they are not letting up. He answered a wide variety questions from the audience.

Neighborhood conditions and issues
Upper Noe Neighbors is always busy working on improving the neighborhood. Chris briefly presented conditions and issues that UNN is working on. There was no time for discussion. Below is the list.

Protecting, improving and promoting retail in Upper Noe –

  • We work with merchants to address their needs, highlight their businesses and events, try to find solutions for empty storefronts, and work to improve the streetscape.
  • Public garbage receptacles – most are old and battered. New cans will help spruce up the neighborhood and improve recycling. DPW has responded to our request and started installing the new style today.
  • Church Street Greening – this tree and sidewalk planting project needs a boost of energy. Anyone interested in helping out?

Park – the blacktop basketball court failed inspection recently. Repaving should happen by summer.

Disaster preparedness –

  • Resilient Upper Noe – as per Capt Hart of Ingleside Station’s initiative, we will be ramping up efforts to prepare for the inevitable.
  • Neighborhood Emergency Response (NERT) Training in process at Holy Innocents Episcopal Church on Fair Oaks St. Training sessions at Upper Noe Rec are in the works.
  • Dangerous leaning utility poles – the one at 30th and Chenery is a documented hazard. PG&E is dragging their feet. Our Assistant Deputy Attorney stopped additional wires from installation.

Street safety –

  • Improved crosswalk painting – Day and Church finally repainted with yellow stripes. We’re pushing for well-painted crosswalks throughout Upper Noe.
  • Keep porch lights on all night – SFPD recommends this to light sidewalks better. This makes nighttime walks less creepy, allows us to see who is outside better, and gives a sense that people are aware of what is going on. It feels safer and it is safer. It’s also seems more friendly.
  • Battery backup for 30th St and Dolores to have red stops blink during power outage – Currently, the intersection just goes dark and is difficult to see in two directions. SFMTA rejected this citing budget and space issues but we will keep on it.

Traffic –

  • Recently installed Sanchez @ 28th St stop sign – Success. 28th was the only street without one. Drivers on 28th often assumed Sanchez traffic would stop. Now it does.
  • Proposed signal light at 27th St and Guerrero – hearing in March.
  • Proposed speed cushions (bumps) for 27th St – hearing February 15
  • Initiative to install Church @ 28th St stop sign –It is the middle of a 4-block stretch with no stops. Traffic reaches high speed and accidents are frequent in that intersection.
  • Initiative to install a stop sign on Noe at Day for schoolchildren was previously rejected.
  • Randall St GoBike station in front of Fairmount School – recently approved but since delayed by the SFMTA Board. UNN has been working for a safer alternative, to moved it off of Randall St and place it somewhere nearby.

New item: Harry Street & Comerford Street neighbors want the City of San Francisco to take ownership for these two streets. Both the Harry Street & Comerford Street folks are working with Supervisor Mandelman’s office to push this initiative forward.

Please send your concerns, suggestions and comments to info@uppernoeneighbors.com


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