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A Digital Journal - San Francisco Public Works

In the Works

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August 2021

This mosaic “B” is the first of seven mosaic-covered letters showcased in the new Bayview Gateway. It’s no secret that the other six letters are A Y V I E and W. Together, they symbolize neighborhood pride.

FEATURE STORIES

The Pride and Passion Behind the Jumbo Letters

A community vision and public-private partnership turned a neglected parcel of land pocked by illegal dumping into a dynamic neighborhood showcase. 

Carla Short Appointed Interim Director of Public Works

Carla Short, the longtime superintendent of the Public Works Bureau of Urban Forestry, took on a new assignment this month as the department’s interim director. 

Snapshots LIVE!
#Health&Safety

 

Earlier this month, we hosted a Snapshots LIVE! webinar that highlighted Public Works’ role in designing and building neighborhood health clinics, in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

Creating a Safer, More Inviting Harrison Street

The latest in a series of streetscape projects aimed at elevating safety in the South of Market is the Harrison Street Improvement Project. This project will focus on revamping the northernmost portion of Harrison, which stretches from Essex Street to The Embarcadero.

A Mini Oasis Takes Root
at UN Plaza

The Civic Center Community Benefit District, funded by area businesses and property owners to activate, promote, beautify and clean the Civic Center neighborhood, was motivated to improve the unsightly patch of UN Plaza. The San Francisco Public Works team pitched in to help.

#LoveOurCity by Volunteering
 

The San Francisco summer chill didn’t deter more than 120 girls and women with the National Charity League from helping to clean up Ocean Beach on a recent Saturday.

Popular CleanCorridorsSF Operation Expands 

This month we kicked off an expanded CleanCorridorsSF operation that deploys a large, coordinated team of Public Works street cleaners to different neighborhood commercial corridors.

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Awards and Recognition

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Fire Station 49

Congratulations to the SFFD Fire Station 49 project team for being awarded LEED Platinum Certification for utilizing green building strategies.

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Animal Care
& Control

San Francisco Animal Care & Control was selected to receive a 2021 Preservation Design Award by the California Preservation Foundation. Congrats to the project team!

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BUY GREEN LEADERS

This year's SF Environment Buy Green Leaders are Maintenance Manager Scott Barlow (right) and Floor Shop Supervisor Kevin Bird (left) from our Bureau of Building Repair who led the way towards the purchase of environmentally resilient flooring and paints. Congrats! 

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2021
CMAA Award

The Bruce Flynn Scope 2A project received the 2021 Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) Award under the category of Water, Wastewater, Utility: Construction value less than $50 Million.

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The Pride and Passion
Behind the Jumbo Letters

A community vision and public-private partnership turned a neglected parcel of land pocked by illegal dumping into a dynamic neighborhood showcase. There, 8-foot-high letters spelling out “BAYVIEW” and covered in captivating mosaic tiles serve as the centerpiece. 

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The Bayview Gateway Project, located at Third Street and Meade Avenue at the southeastern edge of San Francisco, is a newly landscaped space that represents the diverse plants and wildlife of the adjacent Bayview Hill and boldly announces an entrance to the historic neighborhood. Caltrans, the state transportation agency, transferred the small swath property to the City.

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Prominently featured in the gateway project are native plants, wildflowers and trees, such as native oak and grasses, that surround the gigantic letters. The design and color palette were inspired by African and Native American influences to reflect the neighborhood’s history and demographics.

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Public Glass, a local arts nonprofit led by Nate Watson, created the mosaic with material made from various household dishes, vases, pottery and glassware donated by the community. 

Volunteers, who included neighbors and participants from the George W. Davis Senior Center and the KIPP Bayview Academy, held workdays to affix the pieces to the concrete letters. 

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Design firm HOK provided pro bono design services, and the Public Works Infrastructure Division managed construction.

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Photo: HOK and Alwin Szeto

At the heart of the private-public partnership was Marsha Maloof, president of the Bayview Hill 

Neighborhood Association who rallied government agencies and community allies to move the project from dream to reality over the past five years.

We held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting on Aug. 14 that drew dozens of celebrants. Joining us were Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, who lives in the Bayview with his family and who helped secure the land transfer for the project, and Malia Cohen, the former District 10 supervisor who provided crucial support early on. Also on hand was Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, the current District 10 supervisor. In addition to budget set-asides by the supervisors, the Bayview Hill Neighborhood Association secured a $100,000 City-sponsored Community Challenge Grant to help fund the project. The total price tag falls around $600,000.

While largely completed, there are still a handful of final touches still in the pipeline, including adding more landscaping around the letters, planting laurel trees and herbs and installing fencing along the border.

Already, the Bayview Gateway has received early praise and is being viewed by neighborhood leaders as a pilot project that can be replicated at other entries to the Bayview to highlight the cultural richness of the neighborhood. 

Today, the Bayview Gateway Project stands as a symbol of neighborhood pride and an example of the possible.

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New plants are starting to sprout around the tiled Bayview Gateway letters. As the landscaping matures, this once-blighted parcel will be transformed into a welcoming patch of herbs, flowers and trees.

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 Carla Short Appointed Interim Director of Public Works

Carla Short, the longtime superintendent of the Public Works Bureau of Urban Forestry, took on a new assignment this month as the department’s interim director.

“I see firsthand the hard work that Public Works employees demonstrate every day to serve the people of San Francisco, partner with our diverse communities and improve our neighborhoods,” Short said. “Public Works has been through a lot over the past year and a half, and we stepped up to the challenges to get the work done. The spirit, humanity, expertise and dedication of the 1,600 people who work for the department are what make Public Works a wonderful and essential part of our civic fabric.”

 

Mayor London Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu appointed Short to the job, effective Aug. 20. She will lead Public Works while the City conducts a nationwide search for a permanent director. She takes over for Alaric Degrafinried, who took a top management job with BART.

Short began her career with Public Works in 2004 as the City’s Urban Forester and stepped into the bureau’s top position in 2015. She filled in as the department’s Deputy Director for Operations for eight months starting in fall 2019 and also served as Deputy Chief of the Bureau of Street-use and Mapping. During her tenure at the Bureau of Urban Forestry, she led the development and implementation of StreetTreeSF, a voter approved initiative that transferred maintenance responsibility of San Francisco’s 124,000-plus street trees to Public Works and created a sustainable funding stream to pay for the program. 
 

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Carla Short, left, joins City Administrator Carmen Chu and corridor worker Isaac Baker at a CleanCorridorsSF operation in West Portal.

A Certified Arborist under the International Society of Arboriculture, Short holds a Master of Environmental Management from Yale University. She also studied African literature, history, religion and culture at University of Ibadan in Nigeria. Prior to joining Public Works, she worked for several nonprofits, including Conservation International, Conservation Society of Sierra Leone and Tombo Wallah Farmers Association, spearheading conservation initiatives in West Africa.

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Snapshots LIVE! #Health&Safety

Earlier this month, we hosted a Snapshots LIVE! webinar that highlighted Public Works’ role in designing and building neighborhood health clinics, in partnership with the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

The panel included Public Works project manager Joe Chin, senior Public Works architect Ignatius Tsang and Kathy Jung, director of facilities and capital planning at the health department.

 

During the online discussion, the panelists focused on three community health center renovations funded by the voter-approved 2016 Public Health and Safety Bond. They are: Southeast Health Center in the Bayview, Maxine Hall Health Center in the Western Addition and the Castro-Mission Health Center in the Castro.

All three facilities are part of the Department of Public Health’s SF Health Network, which consists of 10 community health centers and two primary care hospitals, serving more than 100,000 patients each year.

Public Works is managing each of the three projects and is working closely with our public health partners to ensure they meet the needs of the City’s residents. Maxine Hall, which is set to open this fall, is undergoing an interior renovation that will include seven new patient rooms, a larger exam room and a new group therapy room, in addition to an elevator and seismic safety features. Southeast Health Center, which is getting a brand-new building adjacent to the existing facility, will have 21 new patient rooms and space for a laboratory and podiatry and optometry services. The building is scheduled to open next summer. The Castro-Mission Health Center is receiving a renovation and seismic retrofit, bringing 12 new patient rooms, an updated waiting and check-in area and new staff facilities. Construction started in January and is scheduled for completion next summer.

 

Check out this link to our webinar to learn more.

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A major makeover is on tap for Harrison Street in the South of Market to improve safety.

Creating a Safer,
More Inviting
Harrison Street

The South of Market is one of San Francisco’s most diverse neighborhoods, with a mix of museums, corporate headquarters, high-rise luxury condos and homeless shelters. It’s home to a regional bus terminal, a ballpark, tourist hotels and generations-old blue-collar businesses. The buzz of activity gives the area a strong urban vibe.

But larded with on-ramps and off-ramps serving three busy freeways and a constant flow of commuter traffic, the City has been actively redesigning streets over the past few years to slow down vehicles with the aim of making the streets safer for people who walk and bike.


The focus is driven by Vision Zero SF, the City’s initiative to eliminate all traffic fatalities by 2024 through enforcement, education and roadway design. More than 20 miles of streets in the South of Market are considered high-risk for traffic accidents.


The latest in a series of streetscape projects aimed at elevating safety in the South of Market is the Harrison Street Improvement Project. This project will focus on revamping the portion of Harrison Street that runs from Essex Street to The Embarcadero, as well as a short stretch of Fremont Street between Harrison and Folsom streets. Construction is set to begin in September.

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This detailed Harrison Street project map shows where improvements will be added.

Designers from the Public Works’ Infrastructure Design and Construction Division reimagined the Harrison streetscape, with the goal of improving safety, accessibility and aesthetics. They handed the project off to our construction management team, charged with making the vision come to life.

 

As is the case with all our projects, safety is our top priority. Toward that end, we will be installing new pedestrian-scale and roadway lighting to improve visibility. Another upgrade will be the construction of new sidewalk bulb-outs to provide additional pedestrian space, while shortening street crossings.

 

To make this area more accessible to people with limited mobility, we’re constructing 23 new curb ramps and repaving the sidewalks surrounding them. With the installation of new bicycle racks, we’re creating a more inviting environment for cyclists along the stretch.

 

And with all of our streetscape projects, we’re greening the corridor by planting more than 20 new street trees and adding landscape grasses. Also included will be new sidewalks and specially designed pavers in the furnishing zone – the portion of the sidewalk between the path of travel and the curb.

 

But before the improvements hit the streets, our partners at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission will be performing some much-needed work beneath it – starting with the replacement of a sewer main along Harrison Street between Beale and First streets. That will be followed by new irrigation and electrical systems.

 

Once crews pour all the curb ramps, plant the trees and install new bike racks, the road will be repaved and topped with fresh striping, a task completed by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

 

Construction on the Harrison Street Improvement Project is expected to wrap up at the end of 2022. To minimize traffic and utilities interruptions, the project will be carried out in two phases. The first includes the blocks of Harrison Street between Essex and Beale streets; the second covers the remaining blocks leading up to The Embarcadero. Each segment is expected to take roughly eight and a half months to complete.

In the past decade, Public Works has contributed to a series of street improvements that span the South of Market, among them the Second Street, Folsom Street, Sixth Street and Transbay streetscape projects.

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Landscape workers with our Bureau of Urban Forestry install the new UN Plaza garden.

A Mini Oasis Takes Root
at UN Plaza

Known for its food trucks and farmers’ market, one slice of UN Plaza didn’t match the rest and needed a makeover. A patch of landscaped land near 83 McAllister St. attracted trash and pooled with water when adjacent sidewalks were power washed, creating a muddy mess. The Civic Center Community Benefit District reached out to our Urban Forestry team to explore options to improve the blighted area.

The Civic Center Community Benefit District, funded by area businesses and property owners to activate, promote, beautify and clean the Civic Center neighborhood, was motivated to improve the unsightly patch of UN Plaza. The group committed to buying new plants and handling watering and long-term maintenance. Public Works landscape designer Sarai Crooms agreed to take on the challenge and began working with the Community Benefit District’s executive director, Tracy Everwine, on a plan.

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Colorful plants, which will grow lusher over time, bring a touch of beauty to the urban plaza.

Crooms visited the site and developed some initial designs. Everwine curated a list of preferred plants and reviewed them with Crooms to see how they would fit in with some of the proposed layouts. Once a design was agreed upon, the Public Works team got to work.

On Aug. 18, our landscape team prepped the site, planted it and installed a walking path in the target area. The result: a beautiful strip of drought-tolerant plants surrounded by pea gravel rocks and a manicured decomposed granite path. Our crews initially watered the newly planted landscape but, moving forward, the Civic Center Community Benefit District will water the plants during the week and the 83 McAllister St. property owners will water on the weekends.

The complete transformation added much-needed beauty to this urban plaza. Thanks to Crooms and Everwine’s teams, along with the work of our landscape crew, including Raymone Reed, Jon Cagwin, Johnny Silas, Avory Evans, Ed Hernandez and Brian Owes, this is a model public-private partnership that yielded lovely results.

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Volunteers with the National Charity League take a quick break from their mission to pick up litter.

#LoveOurCity
by Volunteering

The San Francisco summer chill didn’t deter more than 120 girls and women with the National Charity League from helping to clean up Ocean Beach on a recent Saturday. They filled dozens of bags of litter, including empty plastic bottles, cigarette butts, discarded face masks, fast food wrappers and a host of other items carelessly tossed away. We thank them for their labor and heart.

The volunteer workday on Aug. 21 was just one of many supported by Public Works. So far this year, we have helped out on nearly 200 organized group cleanups. Our community engagement team provides volunteers with tools, such as pickers, brooms and bags, and our street cleaning crews haul away the filled trash bags. We also staff some of the events and pitch in to help clean and green.

Caring for San Francisco requires a team effort – government cleaning crews, nonprofits and community volunteers. Together, we can #LoveOurCity and make a positive difference. That message is amplified by the nascent Shine On SF initiative to restore civic pride and rally a city of caretakers.

Whether working with a group, or wanting to get involved on your own, we are ready to partner with you. To learn more about our volunteer opportunities, please visit our volunteer page. You also can email us at volunteer@sfdpw.org.

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Volunteers, and a canine companion, remove trash from Ocean Beach.

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Takina Cupp power washes the iconic rainbow crosswalk at 18th and Castro streets.

Popular CleanCorridorsSF Operation Expands 

This month we kicked off an expanded CleanCorridorsSF operation that deploys a large, coordinated team of Public Works street cleaners to different neighborhood commercial corridors to power wash and sweep the sidewalks, flush down the roads, dig out weeds and wipe out graffiti.

We tested the program over the last year as a pilot with crews providing intensive cleaning in a different neighborhood commercial corridor every week, focusing on five blocks over four hours. Starting this month, the operation expanded to eight hours a week, allowing crews to deep clean at least 10 blocks – double the coverage as before.

 

The City’s new budget includes $2.1 million for the expanded CleanCorridorsSF program, which provides the department another tool to perform more intensive, proactive cleanups. In addition to the cleaning crews, Public Works assigns outreach staff to let property owners, residents and merchants know how they can help keep their neighborhood clean.

 

August’s targeted neighborhoods included the Fillmore, Polk Gulch, West Portal and the Castro. In September, the CleanCorridorsSF team will be in the Mission, South of Market, Excelsior and the Richmond. See the full schedule here:  https://www.sfpublicworks.org/cleancorridorssf.

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 West Portal Avenue at Ulloa Street gets a deep cleaning during the CleanCorridorsSF operation in West Portal. 

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A member of our street cleaning team scours a Larkin Street sidewalk.

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A flusher truck washes down a street in the Fillmore.

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Before and After

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Thanks for reading!