At the Manny’s future of Valencia St forum. Manny asks Captain of Mission station if it registers with him that shootings and stabbings are up. Captain says while that’s the perception, crime is down 26% from previous year.

Manny pushes back saying more or less, “but it FEELS crime-y and that’s bad for business.” Captain says they respond quickly to gun crimes and have the hardest charging officers based out of Mission station (the former gang task force, but he corrects himself to its new name community violence reduction task force). Says there are more guns out there, that residential burglars and even the unhoused have guns now.

There’s a new gun crime investigation unit that does nothing but tracking firearms, captain says. Trying to find the source of the guns, they make a lot of arrests but “for some reason it doesn’t seem to make a lot of traction. I don’t know what the answer is.” (Note: former DA Boudin was working on suing ghost gun manufacturers.)

Captain says “we’re spread really thin, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone here.” A business owner asks why there aren’t beat cops walking up and down the street, but acknowledges there’s a staff “shortage.” (SF has more cops per capita than any other big city in California.)

There are 10 beat cops out of Mission station, mostly during daytime and the latest they go is 11 to 9pm. Captain could easily use 25 more beat cops. After 9pm, “the sheer volume of calls we get requires that I put officers in motor vehicles.”

Side note: I’m one of maybe 3 people in this crowded room wearing a mask. Even SF is over Covid (slash pretending Covid is over) at this point.

Eileen, owner of Ritual Coffee, asks about finding “creative funding for beat cops.” “We’re 540 officers short of where we should be,” captain says. “Sheer numbers is the problem.” Really hammering this dubious point.

An audience member pushes back, “I’ve lived in the Mission 20 years, seen a cop walking a beat exactly once.” Asks what % of officers are on a beat: 10%. What are the other 90% doing? Adds that fortress-like nature of Mission station shuts out the community.

Captain dismisses the suggestion of gun buyback programs: the people who use that program, aren’t the ones committing the crimes. Laughter. “But it could stop future crimes,” someone calls out. Captain acknowledges the point and says they do do gun buybacks, but he doesn’t seem to think they work.

Unfortunately they’ve had to fortify the station to protect their officers because they get protested a lot. (I wonder why they get protested a lot.)

Audience member says when she came to SF in 1965 there was a residency requirement in SF to be a cop. What % of officers now are from out of state? SFPD pays very well, among the best in the country, so she doesn’t understand why they can’t recruit locally. Captain dodges the % question. Asked again, he says it’s a great question, and would guess 30%.

Q: What % of calls are about homelessness, nonviolent and could be handled by CART?

“If I had my druthers, we would be out of the homeless business altogether… We really should have the professional clinicians…going to those calls for service.” Should be DPH not PD. However 30-40% of calls are still unhoused or mental health related.

Now talking about early intervention system to investigate officers that get a certain number of complaints. The number of EISes went from 4 per year to 56 because the new use of force standard is more rigorous. Captain is unhappy about the change. Taking a gun out so it’s ready and not even pointing at anyone is now a use of force and he feels it wastes time investigating it.

Now Manny brings up Jamie Parks and Kimberly Leung to talk bike lane pilot. Manny says he’s here in his personal capacity not as an MTA board member.

Jamie is director of livable streets, Kimberly is project manager for the pilot.

Jamie: Valencia is an incredibly complex street, mix of uses. Great because of its density. That complexity makes it a compelling street but as we saw a couple years ago, can have tragic consequences. I don’t think there’s a conflict between a complex street and a safe street.

5-6 years ago, delivery and ride-hail services increased bike lane loading and the bike lane that was acceptable in 2001 no longer is.

Hence center running bike lanes. (If you expected a dramatic announcement that they’d abandoned that terrible idea… sorry.) Pilot would last 18 months. Plan to seek approval in March with 4-6 weeks of construction to finish by summer.

Thankful to be working with Sup Ronen’s office which has provided $200k to consider long term ideas like one-waying or pedestrianizing.

Kimberly: Looking into using a curb or more robust, bigger delineators like Oakland uses. (But how will this work with the weekend pedestrianization?)

Manny: How do you avoid double parking blocking flow entirely?

Jamie: No easy answer but reallocating curb space toward short-term parking and loading. Converting as many spaces as we can to short-term loading uses, on both Valencia and side streets.

First round of Qs:
Why pilot a new design in the Mission?
Could we abandon the pilot after say 5 months if it’s clearly not working?
Why not extend the 15th to McCoppin treatment?
Can we fast-forward to pedestrianization? (some finger snapping and polite quiet applause, which Manny scolds the audience for)

Kimberly: We received a lot of negative feedback about parking impacts of the proposed side running protected bike lanes [19th to Cesar Chavez, Feb 2020].

More ambitious proposals like one way or pedestrianized require studies that can’t be done as a quick build.

If we see negative impacts, yes we could shorten the 18 month pilot.

Jamie: Center running is the most compatible with the weekend pedestrianization, parklets, and incremental change toward pedestrianization; that’s one of the reasons we favor it. 🤔

Could be easily adjusted to one way blocks whereas side-running bikeway is all or nothing.

Jamie: It facilitates our jobs when we hear a consensus from the community. (In other words, if you want it pedestrianized, get business owners etc on board.)

Q: how to hold Doordash and other such companies accountable?

(It’s a good question!)

Q: (more of a comment) Even businesses with yellow loading zones don’t use them but double park.

Kimberly clarifies earlier comment about enforcement: SFMTA PCOs will help with enforcement, not just SFPD.

Trying to enhance from flex posts to curbs to deter cars parking in center bikeway.

If a car double parks, they’ll be blocking entire flow of traffic, which they hope will make it self enforcing.

Jamie: challenging to work with Doordash etc. They have no incentive to work with us. We’ve increased tickets but it hasn’t changed delivery drivers’ behavior. We’d welcome legislative solutions.

Q: could you do different things on different blocks, like one car free block?

Jamie: we’ll do a bigger study along with the pilot to see if there’s a pilot block that works one way or for pedestrianization. But cognizant of not making the Mission a guinea pig.

Q: I asked how am I supposed to exit the bike lane to access businesses.

Kimberly: the curb will have 10 foot gaps every 100 feet or so.

Q: falsely states the “community” rejected the Mission St red bus-only lanes. Those were a quick build and they stayed, so this, too, is a “done deal.”

Q: we should look at the entirety of the Mission instead of piecemealing it. Pull this project, and do a Mission transportation plan like Bayview and Vis Valley.

(I’m pretty sure the thing about the Mission red lanes being a quick build is also false. I think they were planned in 2015 or earlier while the quick build program was created in 2018. Would have to check exact years—something like that)

Jamie: the pilot for the Mission red lanes was permanently approved by the MTA board in June 2020. On Valencia the concrete curb would be using a temporary material.

Very interested in doing a Mission community based transportation plan, but we have a specific problem here that can’t wait. Want to be “yes and” and not waiting.

Q: How will we know if the project is a success?

Jamie: The safety record of the street. No more tragedies. Also, a clear bike lane with no UPS drivers parking in it, only bikes and maybe an occasional emergency vehicle with its siren.

(I have to admit, they’re winning me over to an extent. Like this might be a reasonable path toward something decent. No long-term parking along Valencia is a win.)

Now the fun part: Manny reads written comments while the panelists react, including Santiago Lerma from Ronen’s office.

Not gonna transcribe this IRL comments section, some good some WTF. Manny says he’s gonna announce something about the weekend pedestrianization though.

Manny is on the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association board and is proud to be on what he says is the longest strip of independently owned businesses west of the Mississippi, but it hangs in the balance because of crime. Encourages us to stay engaged

The new VCMA proposal is to bring back the Valencia pedestrianization only in the warm months, May to October, and only on Saturdays, and will have activation with music. Also 16th-17th is out, only 18th-21st will stay. Ouch.


.@MLNow's coverage of the Valencia forum is up:

Which includes this telling statement by Captain McEachern that I missed in my live-tooting: "'As far as the thing. I don’t know what to say to that. I’m not convinced that happens that much,' McEachern said of Floyd’s murder by a police officer in Minneapolis."

@scott @MLNow let's see all his underlings' text msg histories and ask him again

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