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San Francisco

Haight Gas Leak & Sinkhole Prompt Public Meeting Tomorrow

In the wake of a rocky first two weeks for Haight Street's now infamous infrastructure project, the Haight Ashbury Merchant's Association has organized a public meeting with the Department of Public Work's Community Liaison this Friday afternoon at Booksmith.

Two weeks ago, on the very first day of the 18-month-long project that spans Haight and Hayes streets, the construction crew ruptured a gas line at the corner of Haight & Ashbury, causing all businesses on the block to be evacuated. One week later, at around 10pm, a sinkhole about 20 feet long opened up on the corner of Haight between Masonic and Central Streets. This time, the problem was due to a broken water line that "seems to have occurred overnight," according to DPW spokesperson Alex Murillo.

The sinkhole caused less general mayhem than the gas leak, but it still left residents and merchants alike speculating as to what might be next. 

The HAMA board was concerned, as this is only the beginning of a long and complicated project involving several disparate agencies, including DPW, PG&E, SFPUC, and contractors.

"Our board has asked for a meeting with DPW to establish better communication as the sewer repair project moves forward on Haight Street," said Christin Evans, HAMA Board Member and Booksmith owner. "Merchants were concerned about the emergency response to the gas leak, the sinkhole which opened up and poor interactions they had with the construction crew all in the first few weeks of the project's start."

Tomorrow (Friday) at 2pm, you're invited to come share your concerns with Murillo at at Booksmith (1644 Haight St.). The major neighborhood groups in the area have been encouraged to attend, and Murillo has stated that the Resident Engineer and Inspector may also be on hand to answer questions. 

The infrastructure project aims to replace sewers, fix water mains and repave streets on a grand total of 33 blocks, stretching along Hayes Street between Clayton and Larkin, and Haight Street between Ashbury and Laguna.

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