Tuesday, February 2, 2010

MTA To Remove SFgo Signs on Oak/Fell by April; Says Lessons Learned from Little Outreach to NOPA, Alamo Square

Not for NOPA: SFgo on 10th

The SFgo signs erected on Oak and Fell Streets near Divisadero last August will be removed by April following intense objections by NOPA and Alamo Square neighbors and resistance by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi. Cathal Hennessey, assistant program manager for SFgo, told BIKE NOPA in an interview that the signs “will come down by April, at the latest, that’s the end of the contract.” The fate of the Oak Street sign standard had been determined several weeks earlier, but the structure has remained. Hennessey earlier reported that the MTA was seeking storage space for the SFgo signs, although they hoped to use one of them on 19th Avenue.

The Fell Street sign will be on its way to storage as well. Mirkarimi told a City Hall gathering January 29th that he “will advocate to remove both permanent signs.” Hennessey had already stated that the agency will respect the decisions by the supervisor and the neighbors regarding the two controversial freeway-style signs.

Hennessey also commented that SFgo, a unit of the MTA, had learned the importance of better neighborhood outreach as a result of its experience with the District 5 neighborhoods. “We’re improving our outreach, and we’re not going forward without residential support,” he said. Prior to erecting the Oak and Fell signs, neighbors were informed of SFgo plans by official nearby postings that only mentioned "variable message displays" were planned for the two locations. When neighbors found what the "displays" were "freeway-style signs" planted along the traffic corridors already notorious for speeding, they quickly mounted a campaign to bring them down.

SFgo has previously reported support for its “variable message display” signs in more commercial areas of the city. Currently there are signs in operation on 9th and 10th Street in SOMA (as reported here). SFgo also hopes to erect similar signs on 19th Avenue and Bush Street, among other locations, but not before consulting with neighborhood associations and district supervisors and gaining their agreement.

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