November’s meeting featured Alexis Smith and David Alumbaugh from the Planning Department and Christin Evans of the Haight Ashbury Merchants Association (HAMA).
In October, Supervisor Olague and the Planning Department announced a year long planning process for Haight Street, officially called the “ Haight Ashbury Public Realm Plan”. The year long planning process was set in motion by HAMA led by Christen Evans who came up with some concepts to make Haight Street more compelling to the neighborhoods residents.
HANC was able to voice concerns about the lack of Planning Department enforcement of existing codes and policies on Haight Street, as well as the ongoing violation of permit requirements by Whole Foods which continues to use Page and Haight Street for unloading large trucks when this was banned by their permit.
Haight Street is officially designated as a “neighborhood shopping district” yet tens of thousands visitors from the world come each year. It is also a “transit preferential street” in formal plans yet cars, trucks and bicycles conflict with buses and pedestrians on a daily basis. It is a complicated mix of uses having more homes than shops, thus being both a residential street and a commercial street. It will take careful attention to try to balance the needs of all users of the street. This was the message delivered by attendees to Planning Department staff.
The Planning Department will be hosting another public forum on the matter in the first quarter of 2013. Stay tuned.