City Hall

City Hall: Gordon Mar

Planning for our Future Together

As you may recall, last year we launched Sunset Forward (www.sunsetforward.com), our community planning process, and I am writing to invite you to join us in our final round of outreach this fall, along with our partners at the San Francisco Planning Department and the District 4 Youth and Families Network.  

We need our Sunset Forward community plan at this crucial moment. Amidst a global pandemic, we’ve learned so much about ourselves and our community while sheltering in place: the need to house and protect our most vulnerable; the need for accessible neighborhood services; the need for outdoor space and social gathering spaces; the need to support our small businesses; and the need for safe and reliable public transit. And in light of targeted violence against Asian Americans, there is also a need for culturally competent and in-language services for immigrant communities and non-English speakers. 

While these needs predate the pandemic, the social and economic upheavals of the last year have revealed and exacerbated these issues, giving new meanings, insights and a sense of urgency to our approach and strategies. 

The mission of Sunset Forward is “to stabilize low- and moderate-income families and seniors in the Sunset, enhancing community connection and quality of life for all by addressing unmet needs in housing, transportation, and neighborhood businesses and services.” So, what is your vision for how we will meet this mission?

Our process is twofold: identify our needs and identify the strategies to meet them. We’ve already completed step one with the “Community Needs Assessment Report,” the culmination of speaking with thousands of Sunset community members through virtual meetings, town halls, focus groups and listening sessions, and the results of the Sunset Forward Needs Assessment Survey. If you haven’t already, read the report and watch the video presentations on the Sunset Forward website (https://sf-homes.org/community-needs-assessment-findings).

And don’t forget to check out the transportation arm of the planning work, the District 4 Mobility Study (https://www.sfcta.org/projects/district-4-mobility-study). The Mobility Study was finalized this summer, after a year and half of outreach and analysis. It includes a number of recommendations we’re moving forward to improve transportation and mobility in the Sunset, with four key components:

The first is the creation of a District 4 Family Neighborway Network. While the Slow Streets program was based on important goals to create slower, safer streets for biking and walking, the design and use of these streets in the Sunset has shown they aren’t meeting those goals. So, while other neighborhoods are considering making Slow Streets permanent, we’re going a different direction for the Sunset. I’ve funded a community outreach and engagement process to develop a Neighborway Network that centers the needs of families, and will be designed to make trips to schools, parks and neighborhood businesses safer and more comfortable by bike or other mobility devices. Unlike Slow Streets, the street selection and designs will be based on public input. It will also include a focus on adding trees and other green infrastructure to promote biodiversity. I believe this comprehensive and community-led approach will lead to a better outcome for our neighborhood. We are excited to launch outreach for this project for a network of greener, safer streets later this month. 

Second, the study identified the clear need for safety improvements on Lincoln Way. I’ve also secured funding for this project, and it will soon be moving forward for public input. 

Third, we’re looking at how to improve access and safety on key commercial corridors, including Irving, Taraval, Noriega and Judah streets. As part of this work, we’re looking at more decorated crosswalks to add to the identify and sense of community in our commercial corridors, and looking at creating new curbside five-minute general loading zones to address double-parking, and make it easier to run into corner stores and markets for quick trips, or pick up food to-go from local restaurants. And I’m proud to share that we’ve secured a commitment from SFMTA to launch a Parking Management Project for Irving Street, to improve parking access, vehicle circulation and safety, which will kick off early next year. We are also actively exploring the creation of a Sunset Community Shuttle, a new type of neighborhood-based public transit service to provide on-demand access for shorter trips in the neighborhood.

Finally, the study reinforced the need for more and better transit options for north-south trips on the west side of the City, with long-range plans connected to the City’s ConnectSF Transit Strategy. For ConnectSF, both Sunset Boulevard and 19th Avenue are part of the proposed Five-Minute network, which is intended to provide fast, frequent, and prioritized transit service, with pedestrian safety and access enhancements.

We’re excited to continue our work on these important transportation initiatives, based on your input and needs, and are looking forward to hitting the ground running with a number of projects over the next year. 

And now is the time to come together to finalize the additional strategies for Sunset Forward, a comprehensive set of solutions to address housing, small businesses and commercial corridors, and neighborhood services. There are many ways to participate, with the most important being to complete the Sunset Forward Strategies Survey by the end of this year (https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/sunsetforward).

On the Sunset Forward website, you will also find resources to explore the draft strategies, watch the latest Town Hall recording, leave a comment, sign up for a targeted focus group discussion, find the community events schedule or contact the planners directly with your comments and questions. For more information, you can reach out to Carla.demesa@sfgov.org.

At our core, the Sunset has always been a neighborhood of change, opening up opportunities for more people – the waves of Irish, Italian and Chinese immigrants and others – and a beacon for working- and middle-class families. We can develop in ways that stabilize families here while welcoming new ones in to create new opportunities for the community to come together. 

If you live, work, study, worship or play in the Sunset District, come join us on this journey to plan for our future. 

Gordon Mar represents District 4 on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He can be reached at (415) 554-7460 or marstaff@sfgov.org.

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