Wednesday, March 10, 2010

7 cents about redoing my hood

That's my hood folks, I lived and worked there for two years, and thus feel entitled to share my two cents.

First, not to be all hippy dippy San Franciscy, but there are neighborhoods with similar oor worse homelessness/prostitution/drug situations all over San Francisco - the TL, the inner mission, maybe even Haight Ashbury. So why are people so concerned about cleaning up this part of town? Because tourists see it and it makes them uncomfortable? People actually live in the other parts of town with similar night streetlife situations, and perhaps making those neighborhoods more livable should be more important than bringing people to live in a neighborhood so they can then complain about the people living on the street and the lack of cafe's with wifi or bars serving mojitos. That said, I understand that in a town as expensive as San Francisco, having five or six blocks of very underutilized commercial space which brings in barely any tax revenue doesn't help anyone.

Second -I agree. To bring in better commercial tenants, people need to live in mid-market. Now despite it being pretty bad smelling, and rather unlovely, midmarket is not actually too dangerous - especially between 8th and 11th. And who would want to live in this apparently undesirable neighborhood? ME! Mid market is in the middle of all the parts of town I would ever want to go to - a few minutes from the mission, a few minutes from downtown, a few minutes from chinatown, a few more minutes from GG park... best location in the city. So what to build? mixed use housing, including public housing, below market rate rentals, and some market rate condos. KACHING. A grocery store, and Peets with wifi on the ground floor. Donzo.

Third, but not least - building condos so neighbors will drum the homeless people off the sidewalks is not really a solution. Many of the people living on the streets in midmarket are dealing with complicated mental health and/ or drug issues. They need places to live and treatment options.

So yeah, there we go.