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Letters to the Editor
The Voice welcomes your letters to the editor. Write the Noe Valley Voice, 1021 Sanchez Street, San Francisco, CA 94114. Or send e-mail to email@example.com. Please include your name, address, and phone number. (Anonymous letters will not be considered for publication.) Note that letters may be edited for brevity or clarity.
Let's Hear It for Housing
I can't think of a better use for the Dan's Auto Service site than high-density housing ["Developers Unveil a Large Four-Story Building to Replace Former Gas Station," April 2001].
Undersupply is the major factor in the high cost of housing in the Bay Area, and in particular in popular areas like Noe Valley. Adding housing, even market-rate housing, reduces the overall burden of low supply and contributes to solving our city's housing crisis for people of all incomes.
This project will also add two units of affordable housing for lower-income residents, a valuable step toward increasing our very limited permanently affordable housing supply. (If this site is allowed to become a parking lot, no units of affordable housing will be built on this site.)
More residents also means more patrons for existing local shops. And more small-scale retail shops on the ground floor will mean more pedestrian traffic for all stores, new and existing.
It seems to me the developer has made noteworthy efforts to accommodate the preferences of the neighborhood: stepping the building back from the sidewalk, stepping the fourth story back so it is invisible from the street, giving the project a Victorian architectural style so that it fits into the neighborhood context, offering additional parking beyond what the residents need, and reducing the size of the retail spaces to encourage locally owned businesses to lease there.
San Franciscans too often cry for no growth, when really what we need is good, responsible, neighborhood-serving growth. Our city is growing and changing, whether any of us like it or not, and we in Noe Valley have a unique opportunity to shape this growth in ways that make sense for our very special neighborhood.
I think it is time for the neighborhood to offer this project's creators our wholehearted support, for contributing so substantially to the neighborhood we love.
Put the Parking at Bell Market
Regarding the designs proposed for Dan's: This is the best place to add population to the valley. The more people living on 24th Street the better. People living in a building at 24th and Sanchez are going to walk to do their local shopping and are more likely to take advantage of the public transit opportunities in the area.
As for the problem of people looking into other people's windows, that can be mitigated by angling the windows on the back of the new building or even on the existing buildings on Jersey. It would be too bad if the north side of 24th Street lost its winter sun, but given the fourth-floor setback in the plan, I'm not convinced that this would really happen. Even if it did, we are only talking about a couple of hours a day for a couple of months a year.
Ideally, the Dan's site would have below-grade monthly parking, first-floor housing for the disabled, affordable housing for clerks and artists on the second floor, and hourly parking on the top two floors (resulting in a lower profile). But this isn't going to happen.
Anyway, the best place to add parking would be in front of Bell Market. Two more levels of parking there, right in the center of the shopping district, would help--though how it would affect traffic is anybody's guess.
Go Back to the Drawing Board
We were extremely dismayed to see the sketch for the Dan's site on the front page of your April issue. As local design professionals, we are saddened to see watered-down, generic proposals being passed off as appropriate urbanism. We must ask more of our architects, and of the Planning Department.
These developers are taking a stage-set approach to "neighborhood-friendly" design in order to mask the bulk and density of their proposals.
When did a "quaint," vaguely Victorian appearance become an acceptable substitute for well-planned, innovative design? This is visual pandering, propaganda designed to quell opposition. It is not a continuation of the urban fabric.
We are not fooled, and encourage our friends and neighbors to demand a higher-quality of design concept for Noe Valley and San Francisco.
Levy Art & Architecture, Inc.
3850 23rd Street, S.F., CA 94114
Buoyed by April Fool's
You beat us to the story of the submarines running on the J-Church line ["Muni Descends to New Lows," April Fool's 2001]. That was the best parody issue of anything that I've seen in years. Had me laughing like an idiot on my seat in front of Martha's. Congrats!
I was excited to see your ad for the new Dodge Priaprism, which the manufacturer claims has even more pep than the Ford Probe [April Fool's 2001]. Could you please tell me where I could order one? Are batteries included?
Old Navy Street
Editor's Reply: There is no Priaprism dealer in Noe Valley at the present time, but our motorcycle shop, A Girl and Her Hog, expects to carry them soon.
Sorry, We Got Carried Away
Greetings from Florida. Here's a change of address for my subscription. Don't want to miss my monthly update on the old neighborhood....
By the way, as usual, the April Fool's issue was a hoot--I especially liked the Noe Valley version of the "in-law suite" ["Noe Achieves Full Occupancy," April Fool's 2001]. Keep up the good work!
But P.S.: Please omit the four-letter words in future issues. Must vulgarity creep into every corner of American life--even the NVV?
Shamrocks Bring Luck to MDA
Even the leprechauns are green with envy over San Francisco's response to the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign. Many thanks to the thousands of people who donated to MDA and signed paper shamrocks in Noe Valley businesses in February and March. Their generous participation in Shamrocks will help MDA continue to provide families affected by neuromuscular diseases in our community with valuable services.
As one of many who has a loved one affected by a neuromuscular disease, I'm genuinely grateful for the caring support of customers and employees at convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, and other retailers in San Francisco.
The 18th annual Shamrocks Against Dystrophy campaign raised more than $10 million nationally. These donations help MDA fund almost 400 research teams worldwide. On behalf of the millions of Americans affected in some way by the more than 40 diseases covered by MDA, thank you. And may St. Patrick bless you all year long!
MDA Shamrocks Against Dystrophy