Had a heads-up from Friends of Joe DiMaggio Playground mid-May:
Dear Friends of Joe D:
The next step toward civic improvement in North Beach is to say:
"Yes, I support the Library Commission and the Recreation and Park
Commission in unanimously approving the North Beach Library / Joe
DiMaggio Playground Master Plan, including the relocation of the North
Beach Library to 701 Lombard Street, including the closure and
greening of Mason Street. Completing this project will provide a
much needed new library, greater green space, and improved parkland
that is more accessible to all North Beach residents!"
Please show your support for the new library and future playground
improvements by writing to:
Bill Wycko, Environmental Review
Officer, San Francisco Planning Department
1650 Mission Street, Suite 400,
San Francisco, CA 94103
With clicks and links to this and that. ...
So, I wrote a letter. Sent it off a bit after noon today with a copy to David Chiu (President, Board of Supervisors, and also our very own District 3 Supervisor) and Luis Herrera (City Librarian).
I'd talked with David Chiu at the SPUR Urban Center opening event yesterday afternoon and told him to expect a copy of what I was sending to the City.
A note from Friends of Joe DiMaggio Playground (FJDiMP) asked me to send you a note beginning, "Yes, I support the Library Commission and the Recreation and Park Commission in unanimously approving the North Beach Library / Joe DiMaggio Playground Master Plan, including the relocation of the North Beach Library to 701 Lombard Street, including the closure and greening of Mason Street."
Although I am a member of the Friends group, I support neither the placement of the new library at 701 Lombard nor the closure of the segment of Mason Street that's being asked for to facilitate the 701 Lombard location.
1) re closing Mason
I have suggested in the past, and continue to suggest: (from e-mail to SFPL Commission, dated 28 Aug 2008) "The City should temporarily close the [Mason] street segment for [at least] a month and see what =really= happens to the traffic patterns. Such closure would ease the minds of the neighbors, if the traffic patterns flow as the models suggest, but could put the kibosh on the idea of closing Mason if the traffic patterns change as neighbors anticipate.
"While the K-rails blocking Mason are up, label them:
Temporary closure of Mason.
Permanent closure is proposed as part of
plans to build the new North Beach Library
on the Triangle.
"In addition to the temporary closure and signage, story poles need to be erected on the Triangle, showing the outline of the new library so that neighbors can see the impact of putting the library there."
There is considerable controversy over what effect closing Mason would have. A temporary closure would help address those issues.
2) re placing the North Beach Library on the Triangle
Luis Herrera (in an e-mail 03-Sep-2008) stated, the Triangle location, "meets our service program requirements, including additional book and materials capacity of up to 15%."
"up to 15%" in collection expansion? The North Beach library collection has been undersized for decades. "up to 15%" expansion is far less than the community needs or expects from a new library.
Currently the NBE circulation stats show ~ 6.4 turns per collection item per year. (Circ: 250K Collection: 39K items) That figure is 26% higher than the branch library =average= for SFPL, which shows 5.08 turns/item/year. (Branch circ: 6116K Branch collection: 1203K)
Currently the NBE circulation stats show 9.26 checkouts/capita/yr. (Circ: 250K Popn served: 27K) The City's average for all branches is 7.42/capita/yr. (Circ: 6116K Popn served: 824K) The State's average for public libraries is 5.78/capita/yr.
The North Beach library and its collection are heavily used. A potential incremental 10-15% collection growth over the life of the building is not enough from the get-go.
My major issue with the Triangle location is that if we ever need/want to expand the library, there will be NOWHERE to expand. Any further expansion beyond what is already planned (onto Mason, assuming Mason can be closed in part to make way for the new library) will be impossible without rerouting all utilities that currently run underneath that segment of Mason. Hardscape and landscape are suitable on top of a closed Mason, but structures cannot cover the utilities because of access issues.
While you are considering the impacts of closing Mason, could you also investigate the costs (financial and environmental) of re-routing the utilities under Mason when the library needs to expand onto that area in the future? Is re-routing even possible?
3) re alternatives to the Triangle and closing Mason. Environmental impacts?
I asked Luis Herrera in an e-mail dated 03-Sep-2008: "Was any thought given to blocking Greenwich at Columbus for added space for expansion? Blocking Greenwich would raise far less outcry than blocking Mason as there is an island in the middle of Columbus at that point preventing Greenwich-west drivers from turning left onto Columbus or proceeding through onto the western end of Greenwich, and vice versa.
"The last garage access off Greenwich between Powell and Columbus is at ~735 Greenwich, which leaves a major chunk of that roadway with no current requirement for vehicle traffic access. Are there issues with what lies under Greenwich similar to the issues with Mason?"
Luis Herrera replied, "The closure of Greenwich at Columbus was not discussed as that location would also provide for the proposed size to the programmatic needs."
As part of the environmental impacts investigation, the City should investigate the environmental impact of closing Greenwich as an alternative to closing Mason. The new library could be placed where the tot lot currently is and expand onto Greenwich as far as any underground utility issues allow. This would address some of the issues that some FJDiMP members have regarding loss of a tennis court and location of the tot lot. The tot lot would be relocated elsewhere, perhaps to where the library currently is, adjacent to the bocce courts.
Which road closure (Greenwich or Mason) has less impact?
Thank you for your time.