Meeting Minutes

Potrero Hill Town Hall Meeting:  Public Safety & Parks
Meeting held on October 4, 2010

Downtown High School, Tuesday, October 4, 2010:

The following Community Crime and Public Safety meeting minutes is a being provided as a community resource on behalf of various public entities to publish meeting minutes for access by the general population related to the above mentioned public meeting held at Downtown High School, Tuesday, October 4, 2010.


The following is for informational purposes only.  If you have questions or comments, please contact the appropriate city/state agency directly.  Agency contact and additional community resources are located here:

Present:  150+ Neighbors and City/County Agencies


Community Groups, Schools, Local Businesses and Potrero Hill Residents:  These include members from the Potrero Hill Boosters Association, Potrero Hill Parents Association, Potrero Hill Neighbors, various SAFE Neighborhood Crime Watch groups, The Potrero View, District 10 Supervisor candidates and local businesses.


State and Local Agency Representatives:  These included city and state employees from Downtown High School, ISA High School, SAFE Neighborhood Crime Watch, San Francisco Recreation and Parks, Department of Public Works, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco City Attorney’s Office and California Highway Patrol.

Welcome & Meeting Overview:


The purpose of the 2nd annual Community Crime and Public Safety meeting was to provide an open forum with education and fact sharing directly between state and local agency representatives and the many organizations and residences of Potrero Hill related to our community wellness and public safety.


The first session of the meeting provided a brief 3-5 minute update period from each government agency on the basics of who, what and where their efforts are focused to benefit neighborhood wellness and public safety. [Length: 45 Minutes]


The second session of the open forum meeting provided direct communication between the community and agencies through an informal question and answer period.


At the commencement of the meeting, 150+ residents were asked to submit their questions in writing including follow-up contact information.  This was completed on 3x5 cards.  The open forum meeting generated over 60+ written questions targeting each agency on public safety topics during the Q&A period allowing the agencies to respond factually.


Individual questions and additional updates were also provided during this session.   [Length: 1 hr. 45 Minutes]

State and Local Speakers Included:


Mark Alvarado, Principal, Downtown High School

Matt Livingston, Principal, ISA High School

Rob Mackenzie, SAFE Neighborhood Crime Watch

Steve Cismowski, Recreation & Parks Department

Luis Montoya, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Kevin Jensen, Department of Public Works

Robert Salazar, California Transportation Agency

Captain Greg Suhr, San Francisco Police Department-Bayview

Yvonne Mere, Richard Richardson, City Attorney’s Office

Ted Martin, Clare Laura; California Highway Patrol

Topic One:  Downtown High School and ISA Update

Speaker: Mark Alvarado, Principle, Downtown High School

Discussion/Outcome:  The community is welcome to come and visit the school at any time.  If there are any issues with students in the neighborhood please call 695-5860.

Topic Two:  SAFE Neighborhood Crime Watch (SAFE)

Speaker:  Rob McKenzie, Security Specialist

Speaker: Troy Sanders, Public Safety Coordinator

Discussion/Outcome:  The question assigned to me was (paraphrasing), How can we get rid of homeless encampments along 101 in the area of 17th and elsewhere?

Rob McKenzie thinks the lead agencies on this issue, Caltrans and CHP, covered this more than adequately. As a SAFE Security Specialist I added that for this issue and many others raised at the meeting, SAFE’s Neighborhood Watch program provides a very effective format for addressing such problems. It’s not just that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Additional benefits of more neighbors joining/forming a neighborhood watch and sharing information about the issues include:

1) More awareness and communication in the immediate community increases residents’ preparedness to recognize, avoid, observe, and report problems to the police and each other.

2) More understanding of principles of crime prevention increases potential for effective solutions.

Rob thinks the SAFE Block Captains, and at least half the attendees at the meeting are fairly familiar with SAFE’s services which I overviewed at the start of the meeting. Residents are also encouraged to visit our website, or call 415-553-1984 with any inquiries or requests.

Topic Three:  San Francisco Recreation and Parks (RPD)

Speaker:  Steven Cismowski, Neighborhood Service Supervisor

Discussion/Outcome:  Regular park volunteer efforts are now taking place augmenting RPD labor at the park resulting in 10-20 weekly volunteers from ARC of San Francisco.  Volunteer program tasks include weeding, brush removal, pathway clearing, mulching, litter removal, watering.  Projects in development include pathway expansion, planting with dog-friendly plantings, further weed-abatement projects and educational gardening projects.  Park security issues and code violations should be reported to Park Rangers (415)242-6390 or SFPD non-emergency dispatch (415)553-0123.  Emergency issues please call 911.  Maintenance issues can be reported to Steven Cismowski (415)831-6358 or to 311, San Francisco's one-call resource line.  As discussions illuminated, design can alleviate chronic safety concerns.  I encouraged all attendees to ensure their contacts are captured for notification and participation in public park master planning effort hoping to begin before the end of the calendar year.  One question from the audience expressed update on master planning effort.

Topic Four:  San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

Speaker:  Luis Montoya, SFMTA

Discussion/Outcome:  Thanks for inviting me out. Your neighborhood is clearly very organized and it was great to see so many people who care so much about their community.   The SFMTA manages surface transportation in San Francisco including the Municipal Railway (Muni) transit system, on and off-street parking, traffic management, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and taxi regulation. Residents should contact the SFMTA regarding these areas and such topics as Residential Parking Permits, pedestrian safety concerns, color curb request, and traffic calming requests. Recently, we have been busy in your neighborhood working on such projects as planted islands on Kansas Street, parking changes on Rhode Island St., bike lanes on Kansas St. and Mississippi St., and a speed hump that will be installed soon on 19th St. Residents who are curious about the progress of traffic calming in their neighborhood should visit our website, which has updates about project implementation and the Potrero Hill Traffic Calming Plan which includes a prioritized list of projects and funding plan. In general, the SFMTA website or the 311 call center is a good starting point for information or to be connected with the right person to address residents’ concerns.  

Topic Five:  Department of Public Works (DPW)

Speaker:  Kevin Jensen, ADA / Disability Access Coordinator

Discussion/Outcome:  Individuals who have a mobility disability that need a curb ramp installed along a sidewalk path of travel that they need are encouraged to contact me or my assistant directly. My assistant is Emy Santos, who may be reached at 415-558-4526 or Alternatively they can contact 311. It is very helpful to us that anyone contacting us collect the pertinent information accurately before contacting us. Information needed includes street names, exact location or address of certain key features needed to be on an accessible path of travel in the public right-of-way such as transit stops, parking or passenger loading areas, etc.

We ask that persons who are not disabled please refrain from requesting curb ramps, and if they do request them that they understand that such locations cannot be given a higher priority than those from persons who are disabled.

Topic Six:  California Transportation Agency (Caltrans)

Speaker:  Robert Salazar, South West Region Manager

Discussion/Outcome:  Robert Salazar introduced himself as the Region Manager of the South West Region which consists of state highway maintenance responsibility for San Francisco, San Mateo & Santa Clara counties and Raul Herrera as the Maintenance Manager responsible for San Francisco and San Mateo counties and noted that he is the contact listed on the cheat sheet provided.  Informed the groups they can also reach me by email just replace Raul’s name with mine: and I would be happy to answer their inquiries.

Robert explained that even though we do not live within the community we do consider ourselves neighbors as our right of way travels through the community.  As such we would support their issues and assist where we can to help relieve neighborhood problems.

Caltrans has spent nearly a half million dollars last fiscal year on activities that affect the community (did not include sweeping, pot holes, guardrail repair, etc) within this community area alone:









Grand Total




Square Feet



Each Camp



Cubic Yards



Lineal Feet

Caltrans will support the community efforts to address public safety issues at both 18th St. and 22nd Pedestrian Over-Crossings if consensus is reached on how to address this issue.  If limited use or new hours of operation are requested by community, we will dedicate time through the permit process since it would be City responsibility.

We will replace the fence at the north side of the benches and add a fence along the rear perimeter to expand their Adopted Garden area in an effort to reduce homeless activity.

We have submitted for a project to replace the access control fence along the back of McKinley Square Park, in kind. (We are scheduling a meet with Parks Services Manager Steven Cismowski and Caltrans engineers regarding the realignment, if possible, of the fence for better use of the area.)  Meeting scheduled on 10-7-2010 with Adopt-A-Highway Permits and SFDPW to install wrought iron fencing and gates at the Vermont cull de sac, provide park area and remove state fencing.

Caltrans Q&A:

How do we (community) get a sound wall for the back of the new benches garden area?


Caltrans is not in the sound wall business and it requires local vote and approval (usually through the SF Municipal Transportation Agency) and must meet a traffic noise environmental study only for capital improvements/projects or sound wall retrofit program. Sound wall FAQs from District 7 Los Angeles.


Can a greenway/bike path be established to increase “traffic” through the down slope area behind McKinley connecting the passenger bridges? No Name


Robert responded that he believes a bike path on park property was discussed however that would not connect the two structures as part of that path would be on state property.  Also the California Bicycle Transportation act was more in depth about bicycle commuting and filling bicycle commuter gaps not a park path.


For more information on Bike Path issues, please contact:


Ann Mahaney

Bicycle Facilities Unit

Division of Local Assistance, MS-1

California Department of Transportation

P.O. Box 942874

Sacramento, CA 94274-0001

Phone: Ann Mahaney, (916) 653-0036

E-Mail -


How can all the camped out homeless be permanently relocated and how can we stop new ones from moving in?


That’s a societal question that Caltrans can’t answer.  I do know there are about 12,000 homeless in San Francisco and the city is a sanctuary city meaning it will be tolerated.  Others migrate to the city because of that sanctuary status and the homeless population has grown. We must take pictures and post the homeless camp for a minimum of 72 hours prior to any clean up of the camp.  If on our return they are still present they can then be arrested.


The courts however are lenient as it is a human compassion issue and they are released before the CHP can even file their internal report.  Because of this some of the homeless are long term “residents” in the area and are well known by the PD, CHP and Caltrans.  We, in turn, become a “maid” service to them repeatedly cleaning up these areas.  I have recently found out that Caltrans can no longer contract out the homeless clean up which will make this activity much more difficult to accomplish with only 10 Caltrans personnel committed to the SF area.


Caltrans are taking other measures to reduce the population on our right of way by opening up the areas to make it more visible to the public, PD & CHP which tends to drive them out to another area. With the current projects to add fencing, increase garden and park area I believe it will greatly reduce the population in the immediate area but they will congregate elsewhere nearby.  Also the homeless are not the entire criminal situation occurring in the neighborhood but may be a part of it.


Is it possible to close the pedestrian bridge that connects the bottom of Vermont to SFGH? Can we move it down to a less populated area? The bridge cannot be moved but can be demolished.  Currently 25th Pedestrian O/C is closed permanently by request of the SFPD.  All 3 of the Pedestrian O/Cs (25th, 22nd & 18th) can be closed with enough public outcries however Caltrans would hope the community look at these structures with the possibility of time limit use as discussed for the 18th Street structure.  That would make them usable at least part of the day for the community benefit and close it off against the criminal element hindering that activity somewhat.  Issue needs to be looked into with SFPD, CHP, SFDPW and Caltrans involvement.


How can I get involved to help curb homeless issues and crime in my neighborhood (Kansas/23rd)?


When I do Google searches for sex offenders in my neighborhood I see many. How is the community being notified of this?


This should go to the SFPD.  Main thing is to call PD, CHP, SFDPW or Caltrans and report it.


Topic Seven:  San Francisco Police Department (SFPD)


Speaker:  Captain Greg Suhr, Bayview Station


Discussion/Outcome: What is update on possible closure of the pedestrian bridge that connects the bottom of Vermont to SFGH?


The City is not seeking to close the pedestrian bridge.  That said, the 25th Pedestrian O/C was/is closed permanently at the request of the Community as it was seen as a public safety concern.  This might be an option with regard to the 18th Street bridge. Another option might be a conditional closure of the pedestrian bridge (eg: closed from 10pm-6am). SFPD would be happy to facilitate a conditional closure, if requested to do so by the Community. In any case, the Community needs to decide what they would like to request of the City and then we (all involved) will see what can be done to satisfy the request, if any.


Additional patrols will continue into the foreseeable future to address the uptick in auto burglaries and in response to the violent attach/robbery with a box cutter in mid-September. Note: The victim of that robbery was present at the meeting and is recovering from her injuries.


Topic Eight: San Francisco City Attorney’s Office Speaker:  Yvonne R. Meré, Deputy City Attorney


Discussion/Outcome:  The City Attorney's Office researched whether or not it would be possible for the City to facilitate intermittent closure of the 18th Street footbridge (or POC, "pedestrian over-crossing" in Caltrans terminology).  In conversations with DPW, SFPD, and Caltrans legal counsel, the City Attorney's Office believes that the City could close the POC for certain hours each day either by seeking an encroachment permit and/or by amending the maintenance agreement that exists between the City and County of San Francisco and Caltrans.  DPW has expressed a willingness to install a gate at either end of the POC that would be opened and closed each day by SFPD officers.  Should the community reach a consensus that closing the POC would address public safety concerns, I will work with DPW, SFPD, and Caltrans to make that happen.


Topic Nine:  California Highway Patrol


Speaker:  Laura Clare & Ted Martin, Officers, CHP Code Enforcement Division


Discussion/Outcome:  (Update in Progress/Check Back)


Meeting Outcome, Follow-up and Next Steps:


Speaker:  Joyce Book, SAFE Block Captain, Executive Director of McKinley Square Park Foundation


Discussion/Outcome:  Based on the large attendance at this 2nd annual community meeting and time constraints to address all of the issues properly, a follow-up meeting has been schedule for October 19, 2010 at 6:30pm at Downtown High School. 

Topic One: Public Safety and Traffic Calming Measures:


This session is a follow-up from the 10/4 meeting and intended to provide residence, schools and local businesses the opportunity to submit their concerns, ideas and written requests for much needed traffic calming measures benefiting the local areas and public safety. SFMTA Traffic calming information and neighborhood forms will be made available to the public for submission.   [Length: 20 Minutes]


The goal of this session to get individual SFMTA submission forms completed by area neighbors, school and businesses related to implementation of much needed traffic calming measures.  The submission forms will be used to compile a formal neighborhood letter on behalf of all concerned to SFMTA.  At this time, we do not have any SFMTA traffic calming submissions on this topic related to our immediate areas.  We need to be included on 2010-2011 budgets.


Individual residence, school s and businesses who cannot attend this session can submit their individual SFMTA requests online using the neighborhood submission forms by visiting the Community Resource section hosted at  or by sending an email using the contact forms.

Topic Two:  Public Safety and Pedestrian Over-Crossings (POCs) Foot Bridges:


This session is a follow-up from the 10/4 meeting and for the benefit of the community to come together in an open forum to review questions, facts and education on this topic.  SFPD will be providing crime data in advance related to public safety issues in the immediate areas of (2) pedestrian over-crossing bridges.  We hope to have that data compiled rand presented by either SFPD or SAFE Neighborhood Crime Watch staff. [Length: 1.5 hrs]


The goal of this session is for healthy discussions related to public safety issues and the (2) pedestrian over-crossing (POCs) footbridges located at 22nd St / Kansas and 18th St. /San Bruno Ave. Everyone is encouraged to attend.


Please bring your ideas, individual stories and any other information you feel would benefit the community when understanding and addressing this important issue.


This session is intended to be moderator by a 3rd party with a solid history of meeting management and proven history in helping large groups and communities like ours work together towards consensus and wellness on public safety. 

 Send us an email for more information about how you can get involved!  
McKinley Square Park Non-Profit Foundation
San Francisco, CA 94107