Sunday, March 03, 2013

A plan to turn the Arco station into a park?

Photo from Bike Nopa
Dear Rob,

I am writing to complain about another anti-car policy being spearheaded by new idiot supervisor London Breed. This is really under the radar, but I have it on good word that this is really going to happen. In order to streamline the disaster that is going on with the insidious Fell/Oak project, the city is cobbling together money from the Open Space fund to purchase the gas station at Fell/Divisadero to turn it into a park. This is being done in large part as part of the deal they brokered to bring Bi-Rite to Divisadero, a grocery store targeted at the "young hipster" demographic who primarily ride bikes, to shift the population center of that neighborhood in order to overwhelm the more traditional residents of that area who rely on their cars to get around.

This is being wedged in by Scott Wiener's supervisorial aide Andres Power, who as you know, is the promulgator of the hipster parklet trend. Power's theory is that this project will garner big support from the SFBC types and scuttle the project for the Town Square in Noe Valley, a sensible project that is turning an underused parking lot (owned by a church which is selling the lot for under fair market to the city in order to fund their reservations). Power's hope is that with the Town Square project scuttled, he can revisit his failed plan to give Noe Valley a Town Square by closing Noe Street (did we mention that Powers, and frankly his mentor Wiener, hate cars?)

This really needs publicity to get this out in the open before Breed can publicize this as a "win-win" in that Divisadero gets a new park (which it does not need, given that it is close to the Panhandle) and solve the "bike problem". By the time momentum gets into place, per usual the City will bully their way with the SFBC and hope that reasonable forces cannot sort their house out quickly enough.

The City is losing too many gas stations as it is. Losing the ARCO will be a tough pill to swallow, as the adjoining station with the car wash is known for overpriced gasoline.

Thanks for your help.

Mike Hunt
D5 resident since 1987
Rob comments: This is the first I've heard that about the Arco station. The bike people hate having that station next to their bike lane. It's a busy gas station, and it would be a very expensive purchase for the city.
Mike: Some guy name Morgan Fitzgibbons found out about this Open Space Fund. It can be used to purchase land by the city to provide open space for public use. Since this is "near" the Western Addition, there is an argument that this would serve a low income constituency, which is the lever to use to embarrass the City for trying to spend money for Noe Valley. Of course this is not about poor people, it's about cyclists.
Rob: Yes, I know of Fitzgibbons, a major Bike Dude who seems to think he's cute. The Noe Valley connection is interesting. I've seen the parklets on 24th Street and am familiar with that parking lot property. Why are these two projects in conflict?
Mike: The Noe Valley project relates to the Fell Street purchase because the city's Open Space fund only has so much money in it and the bidding is competitive. Fitzgibbons' argument is that Noe Valley should not get city money because the rich people in Noe Valley should fund the purchase themselves, and the money should go to a less wealthy neighborhood. Which is of course just a smokescreen.
Morgan Fitzgibbons

An earlier post on the demos against the Arco station.

Supervisor Mirkarimi supported the anti-Arco demonstrators.

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