From this ....on Fell Street
to this...all that remains of Fell Street Sfgo sign
Early Saturday morning the SFMTA removed the much-maligned SFgo "freeway-style signs" from Fell and Oak Streets near Divisadero. A contracting firm lifted, dismantled, and drove the sign standards to storage at the City Yard on Rankin Street. Neighbors in the North Panhandle and Alamo Square districts strongly objected to the placement of the "message display boards" (SFMTA's preferred description) nearly as soon as they were erected last summer, as noted in this first SFgo post last August. NOPNA and Alamo Square Neighborhood Association (ASNA) representatives worked with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi's office and with SFMTA Traffic Engineer Jack Fleck and his staff to negotiate the removal of the SFgo signs.
"This is a great day for the neighborhood," cheered former NOPNA President Leela Gill when told of the sign removal Saturday morning. Gill and many other neighbors objected to the SFgo posts for several reasons as outlined in previous BIKE NOPA posts. Residents felt the design of the signs -- so similar to freeway message boards, if not the same size -- would give drivers one more visual cue that fast driving is expected. Others also felt the signs were completely counter to the revitalization of the Divisadero Corridor still underway through the neighborhoods. Most recently, the city capped the street lights along Divisadero to give a softer glow and more attractive look -- in stark contrast to the previous cobra-head design lights and the SFgo standards as well.
The Oak Street sign was abandoned by SFMTA relatively early during the protests, but the Fell Street sign was erected partly to advise motorists heading toward Golden Gate Park museums when the Concourse Authority garage is full. Inner Sunset residents have been frustrated by the traffic congestion as museum-goers sought street parking in their neighborhood. Supervisor Mirkarimi's office expects to negotiate a plan involving SFMTA, the neighborhood associations, and representatives from the Concourse Authority, the Academy of Sciences, and the deYoung Museum to place an experimental, portable street-level message board to advise motorists where to seek alternative parking when the Concourse garage is full.
A personal note: Thank you to Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and his aides Vallie Brown and Jeremy Pollock for their research, receptivity to the neighborhoods, and persuasion with SFMTA on the SFgo issue. Thanks also to SFMTA staff: Jack Fleck and SFgo Program Manager Cheryl Liu and Assistant Manager Cathal Hennessey for their responsiveness and willingness to find alternative solutions. And, most importantly, to everyone from the Alamo Square and North Panhandle neighborhoods who signed petitions, attended meetings, and sent emails to have the SFgo signs removed. Much appreciation to this morning's "eyes on the street", Christian Nguyen, who alerted BIKE NOPA of the SFgo action.