June 15, 2018

Historic Streetcars Return to J-Church Line
With construction complete at Cameron Beach Yard in Balboa Park, our historic F-Market streetcars are now moving back home from their temporary stay at the Muni Metro East in Dogpatch. This means more service to riders along the J Church route. As the streetcars travel to and from Cameron Beach to the start and end of their route, they will be running in revenue service, picking up and dropping off passengers along the J Church route between Balboa Park and Church and 17th Street in the early morning and evening.

Save This Date: September 15
Ten Together - Upper Noe Block Party

Upper Noe Block PartyThis fall marks ten years since Rec & Park transformed Upper Noe Recreation Center into an attractive community center. Upper Noe Neighbors, FNVRC, Upper Noe CRC, and FUNDOG have joined together to host a neighborhood-wide block party at the park. Come celebrate. Everyone is invited to join in the fun on Saturday, September 15 from noon to 4. Do you have some great ideas? Want to help? Would you like a table for your organization? Email info@uppernoeneighbors.com.

Bom Dia Reopens as "Douglas"
The commercial space at the corner of 29th and Sanchez is alive again. Following the closure of the long-standing St. Paul's Market, the store lay dormant until Bom Dia transformed it into an upscale market. That venture was short-lived. This time, the space opens as a cafe' simply named Douglas. Along with a new name come changes to their selections. Currently, as they get up and running, they offer groceries, gourmet foods, wine, coffee and pastries. However, Douglas has added seating and will soon offer sandwiches to eat in or take out. 

Free Karaoke For Adults
Serenade your sweetie, practice your Pitch Perfect act or simply croon to the crowd on Friday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 at Upper Noe Rec Center. Just drop in. No charge. 

Upper Noe Neighbors Meeting
Our general meeting for July is cancelled. Enjoy the summer and please come to the next general meeting on September 19.

- Your UNN Board

Contact: president@uppernoeneighbors.com

Next meeting

Next Upper Noe Neighbors Community Meeting
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
7 - 8:30 pm
* Assemblyman Chui’s office will provide updates on current legislation and address issues of concern to neighbors.
* The scooter company will discuss its operations, where scooters are allowed to be placed and how neighbors can report problems, such as a scooter blocking a sidewalk or entrance.


Sept 18, 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Upper Noe Neighbors Community Meeting
7 - 8:30 pm

Ed Mason delivered a report on SFMTA / MUNI.
- F line is a revenue line on Church Street and should be picking up and dropping off passengers.
- MUNI has an operator shortage. A scheduling adjustment to improve service will take shape in January.
- seats on the new Siemens streetcars are a known problem and the focus is on fixing that by adding contour to the seats, adjusting height and adding some forward-facing seats.
- Non-MUNI commuter bus traffic has increased 25% or more in the past 2 years.

Jessica Closson - District 8 Community Liaison for Public Safety
- explained her new position.
- D8 is the only one to have a liaison like her.
- her position is under Commander Fong of SFPD
- she is a non-sworn employee of SFPD but works in Supervisor Mandelman's office.
- spoke mostly about homelessness, identifying hotspots and camps.
- focus on habitual services users.
- working on improving the perception of safety.
- what can the community do to help you (Jessica) to be successful?
- keep in touch with her.

Rafael Mandelman spoke about conservatorship
- he explained the idea and the laws in a very clear and simple way but I didn't get notes.
- he said the issue with helping drug addicts is that their psychosis abates after about 17 hours and they are released. They never get 3-day hospitalization.
Read more about conservatorship in SF

Alex from Assemblymember Chiu's office
- gave a short introduction. We'll have her back again.

July 17, 2019

Wed, July 17 at 7:00 pm

* J Church Improvement Project - SFMTA and Supervisor Mandelman
* Mission Education Center - Principal Carla Llewelyn-Vasquez

Supervisor Mandelman’s office has been working with SFMTA to improve service on the J Church line. The J Church Improvement Project is focused on making near-term improvements to reduce delays and benefit customers as soon as possible. This is the next step in a larger effort to improve service. Come and share your experiences riding the line and voice your ideas on this project. Your input matters! SFMTA will be putting together proposals over the summer based on what we tell them.

May 15, 2019

Upper Noe Neighbors
May 15, 2019


UNN Board members Olga, Chris, and Laura were joined by an additional twenty or so neighbors.  And of course, it was raining!

Our guests included Recology Public Relations Manager Robert Reed, Paolo Ikezoe from SF Planning Department, and Kyle Smeallie from Supervisor Rafael Mandelman’s Office.

First, Robert Reed (a neighbor who lives over on Bernal) from Recology discussed Recology’s efforts to ensure San Francisco manages its waste responsibly.  Highlights from his talk:

  • The big issue with recycling right now is that China is no longer accepting plastics and paper, when it used to be the largest buyer of this recycling in the world.  So, now it is a struggle for waste management agencies to find places to send recycling.
  • The good news is that San Francisco and Recology are leaders in recycling, and have good relationships with recycling mills.  Currently:
    • Recology has been able to recycle all paper.
    • Glass is recycled nearby in Modesto.
    • Compost is sent to California vineyards and farms.
    • However, there is no market for plastics anymore.  So far, though, Recology is still able to find places to recycle everything.
  • Statistics from Recology:
    • Receives 700 tons of recycling daily that’s sorted into 14 types.
    • Receives 800 tons of compost daily.
  • Since switching to larger recycling bins and smaller trash bins over the last 18 months, recycling in SF is up 10%, waste is down 10%, and composting is up 2%.
  • Even with recycling, plastic is a problem and polluting the planet.  Recology recommends the following measures to reduce plastic use:
    • Refuse single-use plastic containers
    • Reduce consumption of goods that use excessive plastic
    • Support pro-zero-waste efforts
  • One point of confusion was cleared up. Recology does not recycle items from the top bin of those new round public garbage receptacles and has no plans to do so. Logistically, that would be difficult because they use different trucks for waste and recycling. So, at best, those bins assist individual scavengers and reduce the need for them to dig through the trash. Bottom line, those receptacles are not official recycling points and shouldn't be treated as such.
  • Check out more information on what Recology is doing at betteratthebin.com

Next, Paolo Ikezoe from the SF Planning Department provided an unbiased, “just the facts” presentation regarding SB 50.  (While this bill was tabled the next day, similar bills are likely to be proposed in the future, so the information is nonetheless helpful!).  Highlights from Paolo’s talk (full presentation can be viewed here:

  • SB 50 would:
    • Remove density limits in “jobs rich” and “transit rich” areas, and would increase height limits in certain of those areas.
    • Legalize 4-plexes statewide.
  • SB 50 would not:
    • Apply to properties where there has been any tenant in the last 7 years, or an Ellis Act eviction in the last 15 years.
    • Apply to communities sensitive to gentrification for at least 5 years.
  • SB 50 would most likely apply to:
    • Vacant properties
    • Non-residential properties
    • Owner-occupied single-family homes
  • In SF, the Richmond, Sunset, and SW SF would be most affected. Noe Valley would not see much effect because of the type of housing preferred here. Cardiotone at the corner of Day, would be an example of a property that could develop under this legislation to add 2 - 4 floors of apartments above the commercial space.
  • SB 50 and similar bills have been proposed because there is no debate at the state level that there is a housing shortage.  The governor has stated that California must build 3.5 million new units of housing by 2025.

Finally, Kyle Smeallie from Supervisor Mandelman’s office took questions and comments on blight and empty storefronts on Church Street.  Sup. Mandelman is aware of these issues, and the supervisors have been working on some options to combat commercial vacancies:

  • For example, opening a small business is currently very onerous.  On average, it takes 220 days. Supervisors are working to streamline the process Citywide, starting with Upper Market/Castro.
    • Another issue is that people may request discretionary review of applications to fill vacant properties.  It is not prohibited to use a pseudonym on DR filings, and this can result in more filings that slow projects.
  • Another approach proposed by Supervisor Peskin is a vacancy tax on properties sitting empty, to encourage landlords to lease them.
    • Under Supervisors Peskin’s proposal, owners of commercial properties in Neighborhood Commercial Districts — areas where stores and services are clustered — that are vacant for more than six months would face a fine of at least $250 per day. Landlords with three or more residential units that are vacant for six months would also pay $250 per unit per day until the unit is leased.
    • Note: In March, the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance requiring registry of vacant storefronts.  Landlords must register a vacant storefront within 30 days and pay a $711 annual vacancy fee, or face a $2,844 penalty.
  • Finally, Supervisor Fewer has proposed a residential rental registry, to gather data on renters and vacancies.

Kyle was also asked whether the enormous property taxes that new owners face were adversely affecting their ability to provide affordable units. He said that tax relief for a period is something they can look at.

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


March 20, 2019

Upper Noe Neighbors General Meeting
March 20 , 2019 at 7  p.m.   Upper Noe Rec Center, 295 Day St.

UNN Board members Olga, Chris, Erin, and Laura were joined by an additional twenty or so neighbors.  Finally, a meeting where it wasn’t raining!

Our guests included District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and members of his staff, and presenters from The Community Youth Center of San Francisco.

First, Supervisor Mandelman presented on issues he’s been dealing with, and took questions from the audience (and also questions emailed my UNN members who could not attend).  Of note, the Supervisor spoke on the following issues:

  • First, if you email the Supervisor, always cc his aides.
  • SB 1045 and conservatorship of the mentally ill and drug addicted - Sup. Mandelman hopes to tap more into the Behavioral Health Court than jails.
  • Sup. Mandelman is concerned about the lack of funds for new trees in SF.  The City netted only one new tree this year (many were planted, but to replace removed trees).
  • Public Transportation: The J line has only 34% on-time performance.  The back up begins at the beginning of the line coming out of the gate at Balboa station.  The reason given by drivers: the bathroom is very far away from where the trains are parked and turned around.  SFMTA is now building a bathroom station next to where the trains stop at the last station, hoping to reduce the lag in the ability to leave the station on time.
  • Traffic issue at Randall and San Jose.  Enforcement is down to 40 officers for traffic, it was at 75 officers at one point.  SFPD is working on traffic calming at that corner including Chenery.  They are also working on easing congestion on Dolores Street
  • Sup. Mandelman does not support it SB 50.  He is concerned that the State is not helping to fund new infrastructure to support the housing that SB 50 would require local governments allow to be built.
  • Issues on Randall and 30th with homelessness - HOT Team should be contacted to address this.
  • Illegal Demolitions - Huge impact on tenants.  Loss of small single-family homes. Sup. Mandelman is hoping to work on legislation that will address these issues.
  • Old St. Luke’s hospital is set for demolition.  No definite date yet for demo to start.
  • Abandoned storefronts along Church Street and Upper Market - The average time for the planning department to review request to build/occupied by new occupant/company is 332 Days.  Sup. Mandelman agrees that this amount of time needs to be reduced.

Next, elections were held.  Next year’s Upper Noe Neighbors Board is:

  • Olga Milan-Howells – UNN President
  • Chris Faust – Vice President
  • Erin Zielinski – Treasurer
  • Laura Beaton – Secretary
  • David Emanuel – Director at Large

UNN VP Chris also shared with everyone a list of issues that UNN knows neighbors are concerned about and/or that UNN is working on.  View then at http://uppernoeneighbors.com/issues/ . Let us know if you think something else should be on the list!

Finally the Community Youth Center of San Francisco presented on emergency preparedness and what you should have at home to prepare for “the big one.”  If a major disaster hits, it’s likely you will have no power, no heat, and no water.  And emergency help can be unavailable.  So, you should be able to meet your own needs for 5-7 days.  A home disaster kit should include, at a minimum:

  • Water - 1 gallon a day per person
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights and batteries
  • Fire Extinguisher (somewhere in your home)
  • Can opener
  • Food that does not require refrigeration or cooking.
  • Cash - small bills are best
  • Backup battery packs for cell phones
  • Medications
  • Pet food

Be sure to make a plan with your family members to have two separate meeting places in case of emergency - one at home one outside of your immediate neighborhood, like a park close to your house.  Also be sure to have a contact person outside of the Bay Area you can use to communicate important information.

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

Jan 16, 2019

MEETING SUMMARY 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 https://sfpublicworks.org/streettreesf https://www.sfpublicworks.org/trees https://sfpublicworks.org/services/tree-pruning 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


May 16, 2018

May 16, 2018

We began with introductions by UNN President Olga Milan-Howells. 7:00 – 7:15 Sign up and Refreshments. Erin staffing registration table. Chris Set up projector. Olga, Dave, Marianne set up literature and refreshments. 7:15 – 7:35 SF Beautiful - Darcy Brown,  Executive Director of San Francisco Beautiful, made a short presentation on its history; they began with preserving cable cars. Support comes from members. Some of their recent projects include lobbying the City to including historic-looking lamp poles along Van Ness during the street renovation, preserving old, natural brick from being painted over, and converting land at Fillmore and Turk into a park. Their Muni Art program (now in its third year) features artists’ works inside busses. A program with ATT selects artists from each district to design utility box covers. Each year, they present their Beautification Awards winners from public projects nominated by citizens. 7:35 – 7:50 Board Members Dave Emanuel and Erin Zielinski presented UNN proposal to make Church St more ‘green’. This project coordinates with Friends of the Urban Forest, local merchants and business property owners to open up sidewalk concrete and plant trees, shrubs and native plants to create a more inviting neighborhood experience and reduce rain run-off. Funding would come through grants. Plans include a neighborhood survey to help gather input and to develop broad community consensus. 7:50 – 8:45 Eve Pena and Iva Maurin of the Department of Elections presented non-partisan information on ranked-choice voting, registering, finding voting information, searching what’s on the ballot, and getting involved with elections. Watch a video that explains Ranked Choice Voting https://youtu.be/61KuyqOiR3k 8:45 -  Adjourn  

March 21, 2018

March 21,  2018

About 150 neighbors came out to join UNN 30th anniversary celebration with good food and good company. We began with introductions by UNN President Olga Milan-Howells. ***Former state senator and D8 supervisor, Mark Leno present a beautiful, framed commendation from the State of California to UNN for 30 years of service to the community. District 8 Supervisor Jeff Sheehy presented a lovely commendation from the SF Board of Supervisors. This will be framed and both will hang in the vestibule of the Rec Center auditorium. ***The election returned all board members to serve another year. An additional director at large, Laura Fingal-Surma, was elected in-absentia. Welcome, Laura and thank you. - Your UNN Board Olga Milan-Howells - UNN President Chris Faust - Vice President Erin Zielinski - Treasurer Sara Fenske Bahat - Secretary David Emanuel - Director at Large Laura Fingal-Surma - Director at Large ***District 8 Supervisor Forum Jeff Sheehy and Rafael Mandelman took the stage and Chris Faust moderated from the floor. By coin toss, Jeff introduced himself first. Candidates then took turns going first in response to prepared questions (see below). While the candidates seemed to be in agreement on most issues, they made distinctions in their views. It would be unfair to summarize their words out of context so we invite you see it yourself and come to your own conclusions. The prepared questions are listed below and the entire forum is on video available on our Facebook page.  See pictures and video of this forum. Written questions were taken from the floor during the meeting but we ran out of time. Those questions are being sent to the candidates and we will post their response. Prepared Questions for the Candidates POLITICS The people of San Francisco want a government that functions. How do you, or will you, build consensus across ideological divides to move legislation? Specifically, what is your experience working with folks outside your politics and can you promise to reach beyond party line agenda? (2 minutes) San Francisco is on a national stage but we depend upon our local government to address neighborhood issues. How would you manage the office of SF supervisor to promote San Francisco values without losing track of the day-to-day needs of your constituents? (2 minutes) HOUSING SB-827 promotes increased housing density along transit corridors throughout the state by allowing apartment buildings to be constructed on land that’s already zoned residential and within 1/2-mile of a major transit station or 1/4-mile of a major bus route. Do you support this measure? Why or why not? (2 minutes) The Costa-Hawkins Act prevents rent control on buildings created after 1995, single-family dwellings and condominiums, and allows rents to rise to market rate between occupancies. Do you support efforts to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act and why? (2 minutes) What solutions of your own do you have to solve the housing crisis? (1 min) HOMELESSNESS Street camping is a problem in many cities but seems to be particularly intractable in San Francisco. Does SF provide incentives that attract and/or retain street populations? What would you propose that has not been tried to get folks off the street?  (2 minutes) Some are proposing that SF distribute Navigation Centers among supervisor districts to spread out the impact. Should Noe Valley have a center? Why or why not? (2 minutes) What is your plan for improving mental health care facilities in SF? (2 minutes) QUALITY of LIFE San Francisco has become a dirty city. Too much of our operational resources ($335M) are dedicated to just keeping up with illegal dumping, litter and the effects of street camping and others living on the streets in unsanitary conditions. What is your plan to clean up San Francisco and improve the streetscape for all? Please give details. (3 minutes) Empty storefronts blight our commercial corridors. Do you support relaxing restrictions on market retail to improve the viability of commercial districts? What solutions do you envision and what District 8 organizations do you work with to improve the viability of our commercial areas? (2 minutes) Where do you stand on preserving parking on San Francisco streets, particularly in our commercial areas? (2 minutes) TRANSPORTATION Commuting in SF seems to get tougher every day. Increased congestion, along with double-parked tech buses and ridesharing services, clogs our arteries. How will you work to improve the daily experience for commuters?  Do you support any specific initiatives such as taxing private commuter buses to pay for the impact these heavy vehicles have on light rail tracks? (3 minutes) CRIME What is your solution to current crime problems like auto break-ins and burglaries? Specifically, do you support increased funding for the police or specialized task forces?  (2 minutes)

July 19, 2017

July 12, 2017

Friends of the Urban Forest • Church Street Greening • the latest info about street trees and sidewalk plantings now that the city is taking over maintenance * HOME-SF Supervisor Katy Tang explains this voluntary program to create new affordable housing