Saturday, July 12, 2014

SF DPH & BART Pigeon Proofing the Plaza But . . .

The health hazards at the BART 16th and Mission Street plaza of concern to our campaign is now in it's second month and we have additional mostly positive news to share today.

This note is from Richard Lee of the San Francisco Department of Public Health and was sent yesterday:

Our Environmental Health Technician, Jorge Montiel was out at the plaza yesterday. He discussed the issue of pigeon proofing with a BART representative. The representative stated that they will be improving pigeon proofing sometime this week. In addition, he talked with the Walgreen’s representative. They said they are power washing the plaza area daily. Mr. Montiel requested that they increase the frequency of the power washing.

Today, we heard from Jorge Montiel, also of DPH, and while most of his note is good news we are very dismayed he wants to remove the public seating at the plaza:

I called Paula Fraser at BART to verify the pigeon proofing was going as planned. She indicated 'Building is waiting for the lamp pigeon deterrents to come in. Hopefully this week; consequently, BART's crew is scheduled to install them as soon as the materials arrive.'

I also spoke to Walgreens manager Kevin and informed him of Walgreens's responsibility to clean and maintain clean the area adjacent to the BART plaza. Pigeon proofing is a responsibility that BART has, this is not something SF DPH will do for them; nevertheless, I will make sure the necessary repairs/ improvements are conducted in a timely manner.

Regarding 'Do Not Feed the Birds' signs, I will recommend they do it. I do not believe we can mandate they install such signs. I believe the problem with the pigeon feeding is not that people are actually feeding the pigeons but transients leaving food unattended. I also recommended BART to remove the permanent sitting area. I believe this area is not being used by commuter's but transients and others.

We replied to Jorge with a written wish to see the seating remain in place:

Thanks for all this information and the assessment of health issues at plaza. However, one issue of serious concern to us and is your belief that the public seating should be removed. Regardless of whether folks are waiting for a Muni bus or using BART or simply enjoying the sunshine and street scene, it is our wish to see the seat remain in place.

The plaza is a public space and the full breadth of the general public should be able to access the limited seating that is currently there. We don't think that removing the seating would do anything to reduce the pigeon poop, which is one of our top concerns. Please rethink your desire to push for removal of the seats.

The photo below shows where the pigeon-proofing is needed on the lighting fixtures.

We'll continue to advocate for a sanitary public space and that the public seating stay as it is now.

Remove pigeon poop, not people or public seating!

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