By Bonnee Waldstein
(Note: A feature on the presentation by SFFD will miraculously appear later.)
The weather gods frowned and doused the City with rain as the Glen Park Association held its quarterly meeting at the Rec Center on January 24.
Thus, it was a cozy group that gathered to look back on the challenges and achievements during 2017, and to gaze ahead toward tackling problems in 2018.
It was also time for the annual election of officers of the Association. The current office holders stood for re-election and were swept to victory: Scott Stawicki, President; Stephany Wilkes, Vice President; Dennis Mullen, Treasurer; Hilary Schiraldi, Membership Secretary; Heather World, Recording Secretary, and Bonnee Waldstein, Corresponding Secretary.
2017 Glen Park Association Board Review
GPA President Scott Stawicki outlined three major areas of focus in 2017.
First was the Glen Park Greenway, a feature of the Glen Park Community Plan adopted in 2012. The Greenway is the green space along Bosworth Street from Brompton Avenue to Burnside Avenue, which provides a green connection for pedestrians from the Village to Glen Canyon Park.
The Association built upon a $40K initial grant in 2015 for planning the contours of the Greenway. In 2017, it secured a $70K Community Challenge Grant for tree care and replacement; and a $42K Community Garden Grant from the SF Public Utilities Commission for water meters.
Throughout the year, several work parties of Glen Park neighbors and the DPW Green Team worked on site preparation and planting, culminating in the first tree planting on December 9, in which over 50 volunteers participated. They planted seventeen saplings, including Island Oak, Coastal Redwood, California Buckeye, and Silk Tassel, plus 33 plots for local coastal oak acorns.
The Greenway is a long-term project which will require community commitment and additional grants and funding far into the future.
The second goal for 2017 was to increase membership in the Association. Due in large part to a drive at the Glen Park Festival, membership went up by 74%, from 137 to 239.
Third, the Association wanted to maintain a conservative financial plan of fiscal discipline, equivalent to 2016 spending. The GPA limited its grant program to two projects and funded one — $2K was committed for a grant application to award landmark status to the Glen Park BART Station. As the station approaches 50 years old, it will need upgrades and improvements. Landmark status will ensure that these will respect the architectural intent of the station (Note: which is the best in the entire BART system!).
Stawicki observed that Supervisor Jeff Sheehy has been very supportive of Glen Park over the year. He drove the Greenway project so that planting could commence before year’s end. He helped secure funding for the replacement of the Sussex Street stairs into the park. Sheehy is responsible for the ongoing assignment of traffic control officers at the Bosworth and Diamond Street intersection. He is accessible to community concerns and attends GPA meetings regularly. And, he’s provided effective leadership across city agencies.
The past year has seen the Glen Park Association work on numerous projects and issues through its various committees. Among them:
” The Transportation Committee worked on community outreach for a new Bosworth bike lane, sought new signage on Bosworth to improve pedestrian safety, advocated for improvements at the BART station, and reviewed Phase II plans for the Bosworth/Diamond intersection.
” The Rec and Park Committee worked closely with the Rec and Park department on the new rec center and advocated for the Sussex Street stair replacement.
” The Zoning and Planning Committee worked to obtain additional grants for a historical survey of the Glen Park Bart station, and a strategy for completing a historic survey of remaining areas of Glen Park. This involves evaluating properties approaching or over fifty years old, to determine which are potential architectural resources.
Glen Park residents have learned from many civic leaders and City agency representatives, who have spoken about their work on important neighborhood projects and issues at Association quarterly and special meetings. These include our district supervisor, police, fire, rec and park, the mayor’s Fix-It Team, public works, and planning.
There were also presentations about special projects such as the SF Bike Share Program, the Recology rate increase and recycling program changes, a Canyon Market permit issue, and architectural plans for the 683 Chenery Street site of the former Chenery Park restaurant.
In addition to community meetings, the Glen Park Association keeps neighbors up to date through its quarterly newspaper, The Glen Park News, and its up-to-the-minute postings on www.glenparkassociation.org.
GPA president Stawicki acknowledged the volunteer reporters and columnists who write hyperlocal Glen Park stories, and the staff who puts it all together to be brought to the doorsteps and computers of Glen Park.
The Glen Park News is the only neighborhood newspaper in the City that is hand-delivered to Glen Park homes. The distribution manager picks up bundles from the printer and delivers them to the 27 volunteer carriers who ply their mail routes every three months. That’s 4000 newspapers delivered to residents and merchants of Glen Park and Sunnyside.
Ideas, Concerns, and Solutions for 2018
After the preceding lengthy exposition, it was time for the neighbors to weigh in on what they’d like the Glen Park Association to focus on this year. It was also their turn to offer solutions.
The ongoing issues of safety, transportation, growth, and cleanliness continue as the major concerns in Glen Park.
A major focus of the feedback is the seemingly intractable problem of traffic patterns in the Village. Rush hour clogging along Bosworth Street cause collateral jams on Chenery Street. Mapping applications have exacerbated it.
Speeding on Bosworth continues at a dangerous level and calming measures are needed. Flashing lights at Chilton and Bosworth might help, as well as more rigorous enforcement of the speed limit. Chenery Street also has a speeding problem, as does the Arlington/Bosworth/Highway 280 onramp maze.
The congested Diamond/Bosworth intersection still causes frustration for motorists. The work done to try to improve the situation – bulb-outs, signal changes, lane adjustments – have not solved the problems and, some feel, have made things worse. For example, someone said, the bulb-outs interfere with the traffic flow at the BART station and should be removed. The BART plaza is a lot of wasted space that could be restructured to alleviate traffic congestion.
Stawicki “confided” that the transportation issues get the least results. “The reality is that the problems are very difficult and SFMTA has its hands full. We work in constant communication with them and chip away,” he said.
Neighbors also had much to say about crime and safety. Glen Park has not been spared from the epidemic of car break-ins that is plaguing the City. Beacon and Miguel streets have been recent particular targets.
Alarming reports roll in about muggings on neighborhood streets and at the BART station, and home burglaries.
The most popular solution is increased foot patrols in Glen Park. For now, staffing shortages at the police department prevent the desired level of police visibility. However, there is hope, as Captain Hart works on staffing patterns at the Ingleside Station. In the meantime, residents need to report each and every crime. That’s the only way to get the attention of the police.
Residents also need to be proactive: to keep their porch lights on, use landscape lighting, motion sensor lights, and keep their trees pruned, to increase visibility and deter crime.
Dumping is another thorny issue — for example, along the Greenway and the Glen Park Elementary School. Public Works has workdays to collect the discards, but better coordination is needed. When residents observe dumping, they should report it to 311 and/or go on Twitter. Also, more receptacles are needed for regular trash.
Another trouble spot is along the Arlington path adjoining San Jose Avenue. Homeless campers create trash. People hanging out and being rowdy disturb the peace of the neighbors. Dealing with this requires a number of agencies. The Mayor’s Fix-It Team is currently working on coordinating a number of activities.
There was also discussion about the pattern of developers coming into Glen Park and building “bulky, monstrous, McMansion homes,” in the words of one of the group. The houses meet code but are out of scale with their surroundings. We need to distinguish between homeowners improving their dwellings versus developers helicoptering in for profit.
Despite the small turnout due to the inclement weather, many issues and ideas were hashed out. They seemed to be representative of the concerns of much of Glen Park.
Every issue raised and solution offered was documented by the recording secretary and will form a basis for a very long to-do list for the Glen Park Association.
The discussion closed with GPA president Stawicki giving some statistics: The Glen Park Association has 18 volunteers that serve 239 members. That’s 7.5%, or less than 1/10 of the 7,000 residents of Glen Park.
He then posed the question: “How will you help the Community??!!?”
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