Sunday, May 10, 2015

Friends School on Valencia: Meeting About Traffic, Not Gentrification

When my lifemate Mike first learned the San Francisco Friends School had purchased the old Levis building across the street from us in the mid-2000s, we immediately feared it would lead to our displacement. After major disruption to the neighborhood due to extensive rehabbing, classes began and so did a parade of luxury cars in the morning and afternoon.

Parents of wealth from other sections of the City ferried their kids daily to the private school, thus sending a visual message to developers and their ilk that an anchor institution was raising the value of the previously funky-ish area. Soon, our landlord tried to sell our six-unit building but no buyer was found.

Mike and I remain deeply concerned about the loss of our friends and neighbors forced out by tech wealth, in our immediate vicinity, and that we could one day be similarly evicted and displaced from our apartment where we have lived for 19-years.

This week, the school is holding a forum about their traffic issues and frankly, it's of minuscule concern how often the Mercedes-Benzs, occasional Hummer, and BMWs have to drive around the block or idle on Valencia Street in order to pick up the kids.

While the administrators, teachers and staff, and parents and students are socially-aware folks and have pitched in over the years to help our neighbors uprooted because of fires and worked to be good neighbors, the footprint of the school has spurred development around here. I've expressed this sentiment previously to the school folks and plan to restate it at the forum.

What responsibility do the parents, who parachute in twice daily and don't understand the fears of longtime residential renters and small businesses we live with after they've driven out of the neighborhood, as they enjoy their secure housing in homes they own in Pacific Heights or Cathedral Hill, have to address our worries?

Wish I had an answer to that, and will urge the administrators and parents to at least consider a community meeting about ways in which the can curb the rampant market rate condos or protect longtime residents, perhaps spur development of deeply affordable housing, or otherwise address the changing neighborhood. Here's the info:

Greetings neighbors, you're invited to a Community Meeting at SF Friends School. Details below. Please encourage other neighbors on Brosnan and Clinton Park to attend.

Topic: Friends School and Traffic on Valencia Street

Where: S.F. Friends School – 250 Valencia Street  (near Duboce)

When: Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 6:00 PM

The school is looking for your feedback and to hear your concerns relating to traffic conditions on Valencia during the school’s afternoon dismissal period. The school will share the results and recommendations of a recent traffic study it commissioned. Your input is desired and valuable.

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