Open Letter to Supervisor Yee

Jon and I wanted to share the letter we sent to Supervisor Yee on the subject of traffic safety on the Boulevard. We hope this will inspire you to write to him, too! Let him know how you feel about the appalling traffic danger to pedestrians and bicyclists that we live with every day. After all, if you have never had to grit your teeth and let your kids cross this craziness on their own, how would you know what it is like? If you do write a letter, share it with us here! Let’s publish all of these letters so everyone can see what we are demanding of our City.


Mr. Yee,

We are writing to you as the founders of Friends of Monterey Boulevard, and residents of Sunnyside, to express our concern over the recent near fatal car vs human events that occurred on Monterey Blvd. Ming Louie and Bob Donjacour are both long time residents of your district and both were hit and nearly killed by high speed drivers, one of whom left the scene. These terrible, avoidable incidents have focused the fear and frustration of all of those who live and work on Monterey Boulevard. These last two weeks are simply the most extreme version of what anyone who spends any time on this street experiences everyday.

Monterey Boulevard has too many cars and there is no traffic control between Congo and Edna streets- yet, at the point where drivers are the most likely to be speeding (Detroit), there is an uncontrolled pedestrian crossing across 4 lanes of traffic and bookended by popular bus stops. The intersection at Edna has very high rates of drivers failing to come to a complete stop at an identified school crossing. With a corner store and bus stops that attract many, many children from the 2 schools within 1000 feet of Monterey Boulevard, this is another “accident” waiting to happen. All of these things contribute greatly to the danger of this street.

Recommendations to improve Monterey Boulevard have been made over the years, and some improvements have been made (most notably the speed limit reduction to 25 MPH and introduction of 15 MPH school zones). Other recommendations, such as a pedestrian demand crossing light at Detroit, radar speed signs between Congo and Edna, increased speed limit signage all along the boulevard, and a comprehensive study of how to reduce car usage and prioritize the pedestrians and cyclists that use this corridor daily MUST be followed through on. These recommendations were first presented officially to the City and SFMTA, and agreed upon by all parties, six years ago by The Friends of Monterey Boulevard after a traffic study was performed and published. What is needed here has been known officially for many years. That it has not been followed through with is a severe oversight that needs to be corrected immediately.

Supervisor Yee, we are sending you this letter because, as our District 7 representative to the City of San Francisco, we have elected you to use your voice and the power of your office to ensure that what this area needs to be safe is done. We want pedestrian centered light controls at the Detroit and Edna intersections. We want radar sign enforced traffic speeds along the fastest parts of the Monterey Boulevard corridor between Baden and Edna. We want up to date, comprehensive traffic calming studies conducted and implemented within the next 12 months. We invite you to partner with us to make that happen.

We at Friends of Monterey Boulevard look forward to working with you to make our street a safer place!

Thank You,

Adrienne Johnson and Jon Winston

Friends of Monterey Boulevard

October 20, 2016


A pedestrian and a bicyclist are seriously hurt this month on Monterey Blvd.


Ming Louie

This month brought disturbing news of very serious traffic injuries to two of our neighbors.

Ming Louie was hit and critically injured while trying to cross the street at Edna St.  He needed nine hours of extensive surgery. Word on Nextdoor is that he is now breathing on his own.

Many Sunnysiders who have worked on the Circular Greening aaeaaqaaaaaaaavfaaaajgeyywrmzgywltezmzmtndewzi05njliltzmytbiyzfimwnhzaproject or spent a Sunday moring weeding the Median on Monterey Blvd know this soft spoken, generous man.

Then, a week later Bob Donjacour was thrown from his bike by a hit-and-run driver of a black Range Rover SUV. He too is still hospitalized with severe brain injury and multiple broken bones.

FoMB Requested Traffic Calming on Monterey Blvd Six Years Ago

As tragic as these two incidents are, they are worsened by the fact that they were totally avoidable. Exactly six years to the day before Mr. Donjacour’s collision The Friends of Monterey Boulevard and Walk San Francisco released a Study of traffic problems on the Boulevard. It recommended the current twenty five mile per hour speed limit and the school zone around Sunnyside Elementary and St Finn Barr but comprehensive traffic calming was rejected by SFMTA. The street was left out of the Sunnyside traffic calming study. Monterey, they said, is a thoroughfare for cut though traffic from the west side of town and therefore a fast, unimpeded flow of cars was of more importance than safety for vulnerable users.

We think otherwise.

In an emergency meeting today members of FoMB and the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association met and crafted a plan. The San Francisco Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee will introduce a resolution  advising the Municipal Transportation Agency to study and quickly follow up with a shovel-ready plan to calm traffic on our main drag. We think the ongoing Masonic Avenue Streetscape Project is a good model.

Oh, and we would also like a traffic signal or flashing lights at the Detroit St. crossing, along with a nearby radar actuated speed sign, as recommended in our study from six years ago.

We are asking that his issue is to be scheduled as an agenda item at the next SNA quarterly meeting at 7:00pm on Oct. 24 at St. Finn Barr Church. If you care about safety for the most vulnerable road users in the neighborhood please come and make your voice heard.


CCSF Master Plan aims to replace parking lost to development and Performing Arts Center

San Francisco City College has released five options for their Master Plan. Financed by a general obligation bond, the College proposes many new facilities, including new classroom buildings, a performing arts center, a new child care center and a new student union. (Scroll down for diagrams of the five proposed options.)

The element that is of particular interest to the surrounding neighborhoods is, of course, the proposed parking arrangements. CCSF intends to replace each of the one thousand parking spots that will be lost to the Reservoir housing and open space development. They also plan to replace the five hundred spots that will be lost to the anticipated Performing Arts Center. For comparison, think about the San Francisco’s largest garage, the eighteen hundred spot Fifth and Mission Garage.

To do this, CCSF is looking at splitting the parking up between three or four parking structures in the upper reservoir, at Phelan and Judson, at Phelan and Ocean, and behind the football field at a cost of $38,000 or more per stall. The structure at the football field would have to use Circular Avenue and Havelock Street for access.

CCSF is a part of the neighborhood-wide Transportation Demand Management study that is going on now and will announce a plan by the end of the year. The plan will as the Planning Department website says, “provide a compilation of short- and long-term recommendations for the City, City College, and the future Balboa site that allows for the most efficient use of limited transportation infrastructure while minimizing impacts on the Balboa Park community.  The Plan will advise on the best approach to implement these recommendations and identify traffic circulation needs for further study.”

Considering that CCSF’s current parking plan will likely lead to lots of traffic on streets that are already at capacity we hope that the TDM finds other ways to get students and faculty to school without quite as much space and money being devoted to parking.

The five options will be discussed at the next few workshops and meetings of the Facilities Master Plan Project.

  • November 1, 2016, 6:00PM to 9:30PM – Workshop with Students, College Committees and Community Stakeholders
    • Discuss Options preferences for the Ocean Campus and all Centers
    • Location: Ocean Campus, Multi-Use Building, Room 140
  • November 2, 2016, 1:30PM to 5:00PM – Workshop with Students, College Committees and Community Stakeholders
    • Discuss Options preferences for the Ocean Campus and all Centers
    • Location: Ocean Campus, Multi-Use Building, Room 140
  • November 17, 2016, 6:30PM  – Board of Trustees Meeting
    • Provide update on Options, workshops and preferences for the Ocean Campus and all Centers
    • Location: tba
  • December 9, 2016, 11:00AM to 1:00PM – FMP Advisory Working Group Meeting
    • Review results of workshops and Board update, discuss Preferred Option for the Ocean Campus and all Centers
    • Location: tba


Unity Plaza opens to the Public

It was a warm and sunny day as dignitaries gave speeches, clowns twisted balloons and the neighborhood got to know a new meeting place. A good time was had by all.

Come to the Unity Plaza Grand opening!

Be among the first to linger a while in the brand new hub of Ocean Avenue. (Bring your own java though. Philz Coffee won’t be open for another two weeks.


Local “car-light” mom has some ideas for better bike and pedestrian access in Sunnyside

Here’s a cut-and-paste from a blog by an urban planner specializing in traffic engineering who is also a Sunnyside mom that gets around mostly on foot and by bike.

Original post from the Urban Family Blog is here:

Unofficial Sunnyside Bicycle (and Pedestrian) Plan (a work in progress)

I’ve been biking, walking, driving my car and riding Muni around the Sunnyside neighborhood for about four years now. I’ve noticed some limitations — some of which could be easily fixed with some paint. Others are a little more complicated. But before I get bogged down in implementation, here’s what they are:

Monterey Boulevard needs “sharrows”. In the bike network, Hearst is supposed to be the bike route here, but Hearst is significantly hillier. No sane bicyclist would ride Hearst instead of Monterey unless they’re going short distances. The cars are pretty clueless, many just having come off the freeway and still driving in their own bubble. I have to remind myself that safety requires I take the lane. Sharrows would provide a gentle reminder to both bicyclists and automobiles that bikes are allowed full use of the lane and that safety requires they take it here.

Intersection Stop modifications
Some bicyclist may still use Hearst for shorter distance trips. The intersections at Hearst and Congo, and Hearst and Baden are two way stops so that folks using the bikeway have to stop. These connecting roads (Congo and Baden) are steep and sometimes hard to see fast-driving through traffic. Both of these intersections should be either 4-way stops or 2-way stops where the bikeway does not stop.

Contraflow Lanes
The neighborhood has a couple one-way streets that prevent bicyclists from using the least hilly route or accessing critical infrastructure. Edna between Monterey and Hearst allows folks going towards City College to avoid the hill towards Monterey and Foerster, but it’s one-way the wrong way. It needs a contraflow bike lane. Similarly, Edna between Judson and Havelock (2 blocks crossing Marston) is direct access to the pedestrian (and bicycle) overpass over 280 to Balboa Park and the BART station, but it’s also one-way and needs a contraflow lane for bicycle access.

Intersection Redesign
I noticed that the intersection of Judson and Edna was tricky before a woman was hit and killed there a few years ago. It’s a 4-way stop with ladder-painted crosswalks, but somehow the hills still make it hard for folks to see each other. People want to blame that fatality on distracted driving, but I believe you can design you way to safety. I recommend a raised, textured intersection. But the specific design treatment could depend on what is decided regarding the next paragraph.

Judson between Edna and Foerster, after City College, is ridiculously wide. This is a stupid waste of space. Let’s put a park on some of this roadway!

There’s a beautiful piece of open space on City College property south of Judson at Foerster. I love walking through it towards BART. But City College should allow access through it’s campus here rather than the fence they currently have erected which prevents pedestrians from accessing the roadway around the soccer field this way.

That’s it for now. This list is a work in progress.

A sneak peak at Unity Plaza

The new Unity Plaza on Ocean, next to the City College bus station is about 80 percent complete according to SFMTA’s Jon Katz. The grand opening is slated for October 1 at 11 am. More to come on this soon!

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