More Details on the Haight Ashbury Improvement Plan

The neighborhood associations met with the SF Planning Department this week, and they're taking the next steps to beautify the neighborhood. We'll tell you all about it under the cut, so strap in.

First, some back story.

Last year, HAMA (the Haight Ashbury Merchant's Association), approached Supervisor Mirkarimi with a list of potential improvements for the public spaces in the Haight. After they met with Mirkarimi, they approached the other neighborhood groups - HAIA (the Haight Ashbury Improvement Association), HANC (the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council), and CVIA (the Cole Valley Improvement Association) - to solicit ideas and input.

After collaborating with the other groups, they eventually put together a longer-term "public realm plan" that addressed common-ground issues that kept all the groups' concerns in mind without gentrifying or altering the character of the neighborhood. The parklets and bike parking areas you've seen pop up in the past year or so were part of this effort.

This year, they're working with Supervisor Olague, who's helping them secure funds for the project's continuation. HAMA and the other neighborhood groups met with the Planning Department on Wednesday of this week to start moving forward with a longer-term plan to improve the public spaces (sidewalks and streets) on Haight from Central Street to Stanyan.

So what projects, you ask? They're looking at things like improved street lights, decorations for the holiday season, public art installations, and occasional planned street closures (think Sunday Streets), for starters. For now, they'll try out some things temporarily to see what works and what doesn't work. Once they have an idea of what fits the neighborhood, they'll define and implement a longer-term plan, with the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love (2017) as a goal for completion.

We spoke with a representative from HAMA who stressed that they DON'T want to turn the Haight into a pedestrian mall or tourist trap. What they want to do is make it so that "the street reflects the vibrant community that lives and works in the neighborhood."

If you want to hear more about HAMA's plan, they'll be having a series of community meetings that are open to the public. The first one will be on Wednesday, October 24th, from 6-7:30PM at Urban School. HAMA will give an overview of the process they presented to the Planning Department, and hear input and feedback from the community. They urge you to "share your ideas for how the neighborhood’s streets and sidewalks function and how to make them more enjoyable, safe, and convenient for residents, workers, and visitors."

So. Now that you know what they've got in mind, what do you think would improve the streets and sidewalks? Tell us in the comments!