Neighbors complain of dusty street medians


The goal of our uFixIt report is to get things fixed where you live, so when a San Francisco woman contacted us about the median she drives by every day, we took action and now the city is too.

"This palm tree died a long time ago," said Monterey Boulevard neighbor Sue Kirkham, "and it's just been left like this sinkhole and all."

Kirkham says the Monterey Boulevard median is an eyesore that needs attention, starting with the struggling trees and a dead stump.

"And in places, we've got the weed cloth all flapping in the breeze," said Kirkham. "We have weeds growing through the there. It's just lack of maintenance."

We ran into another neighbor eager to talk about the dusty strip.

"It gives the appearance that no one cares," said resident Frank Navarro, "and pretty soon, the property owners become indifferent to this, and then everyone become indifferent."

Kirkham says the newly-planted strip looked good a few years ago, but not now, and leaving things to die is a waste. Kirkham would write it off to budget cuts if it weren't for the other lush landscaped medians she sees around town.

"I think it's wonderful that we're getting parklets and new median strips, but I would really like to see some maintenance of what we already have," Kirkham said.

We took her complaint to the Department of Public Works and asked if there is room for improvement.

"Yes there is," said Mohammed Nuru, the Deputy Director of the Department of Public Works. "There is always room for improvement, and with the resources that are dwindling, we have to partner and figure out what the best approach is."

Nuru says he's had to get creative. He gets 300 calls a day for service and he's lost 100 workers in the last five years. Where you see the best gardening is most likely where he's partnered with a neighborhood group.

Nuru also uses grant money and a summer youth program to build up his ranks.

"At the bottom of it all, the city has the responsibility to do its best," Nuru said.

After hearing from us, Nuru says he'll send the kids from the youth program to Monterey Boulveard this summer and he's dipping into his budget to fix broken sprinklers damaged by cars and vandals to keep things green this time around.

We also asked about the dead stump.

"We do plan on removing the dead stumps from the median," Nuru said. "Hopefully next year, if we have a favorable budget or we're able to get some resources, we'll be able to replant those two palms on Monterey."

That's great news for Kirkham, who knows there's less city money out there but just wants her neighborhood's share.

"It's being spent in other median strips," Kirkham said. "It's being spent in parklets, so let's spend a little bit over here in the west of Twin Peaks."

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