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Fix-It Team to Focus on the Needs of Excelsior’s Small Businesses

After the February walk through of the Mission and Geneva streets, city officials and merchants sat down to discuss their findings. COURTESY PHOTO

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai and city officials met small business owners at the intersection of Mission Street and Geneva Avenue and toured the area to identify its most pressing problems.

Excelsior residents and business owners feel that their area is forgotten by City Hall and often mention crime, littering, graffiti and store vacancies around Mission and Geneva as concerns.

The Feb. 15 walking tour is a step toward making good on Safai’s campaign promise to rejuvenate the district’s business corridors and the Lee’s pledge to make sure that the district is not forgotten.

“I’m excited to walk those corridors in the Outer Mission, when we observe the vacancies or the storefronts that ought to have better visibility, when we get to Mission and Geneva we’re going to do an even better job of making sure that it’s the safest Vision Zero intersection in the city,” Lee said in a speech at Safai’s inauguration in January.

Directors from Public Works, the Municipal Transportation Agency, Public Utilities Commission, and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, and the Mayor’s Fix-It Team all attended the walk, as part of an attempt to coordinate city resources to fix the area’s problems.

After walking the area, the city officials and local business owners gathered at McGarden Cafe to discuss the area’s problems for around 45 minutes.

Fix-It Team

The February walkthrough was not the first time Mission and Geneva received attention. In August and September, the Mayor’s Fix-It Team, a coalition of city department’s led by one representative in the Mayor’s office, hosted a community meeting, and met with community leaders.

The Fix-It Team has since completed 26 infrastructure, maintenance and safety projects in the area including removing blighted newspaper boxes, pruning trees, filling potholes and assigning three Fix-It Ambassadors to sweep trash in the area Friday through Monday.

“The aim is to keep up momentum and continue to improve this great neighborhood,” Fix-It Team Director Sandra Zuniga wrote about the February walkthrough.

The Fix-It Team will continue to work on five ongoing projects in the Mission and Geneva area including aggressively weeding on Winding Way and at the Prague and Curtis intersection, providing pigeon proofing free of charge to interested businesses, working on a potential mural project at the corner of Mission and Geneva and identifying transit safety improvements at Mission and Geneva intersection, Zuniga said.

While the August meeting involved residents from the surrounding neighborhoods, the February event was focused on the needs of businesses.

Neighborhoods Needs

Sean Ingram, owner of The Dark Horse Inn and president of the nonprofit Excelsior Outer Mission Merchants, was glad for a walkthrough to address solely the needs of businesses.

“There’s a lot this neighborhood needs,” Ingram said. “Having a supervisor who is involved in the neighborhood will obviously make a difference.”

Excelsior Action Group Executive Director Stephanie Cajina was equally enthusiastic about the walkthrough, saying that the Fix-It Team has “aggressively tackled” the area’s problems.

For Safai, the walkthrough was the first step in making good on his oft-repeated campaign promise to fix up the district’s struggling commercial corridors including.

“My office is committed to making our neighborhood commercial corridors safe and vibrant again,” Safai wrote in a response to questions about the walkthrough.

After a recent homicide at the intersection, Safai has engaged Ingleside Police Station about the possibility of building a police substation there to improve public safety.

Next up is the Broad-Randolph corridor. Safai will hold a walkthrough of the Ocean View corridor in late March. The neighborhood organization Ocean View-Merced Heights-Ingleside Neighbors in Action has requested City Hall modernize the zoning of the Broad-Randolph corridor and add public safety measures like security cameras and a beat officer.

For more information about the Fix-it Team’s work, email its Director Sandra Zuniga at sandra.zuniga@sfgov.org. This article appeared in the Light‘s March 2017 print edition.

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