Fix-It Team arrives in Hayes Valley to address quality-of-life issues

Photos: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline

On Thursday evening, San Francisco's Fix-It Team kicked off its Hayes Valley efforts with a community meeting at the Church of the Advent of Christ the King (261 Fell St.)

Created in 2016 by the late Mayor Ed Lee, the team rotates between SF neighborhoods for multi-week stints, working to resolve small quality-of-life issues like missing street signs, faded crosswalks, illegal dumping, overflowing trash cans, broken streetlights, graffiti and overgrown trees.

The team coordinates the efforts of numerous city departments, including SFPD, SF Public Works, SFMTA, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, the Public Utilities Commission and SF Rec & Park, to tackle neighborhood concerns in a more effective way.

In Hayes Valley, the Fix-It Team will focus on the area bounded by Gough, Grove, Buchanan and Haight streets.

"We are addressing quality-of-life issues," director Sandra Zuniga said.
Fix-It Team director Sandra Zuniga.

To determine its goals, the team uses 311 request data, but it also asks the community for suggestions.

At the community meeting, Hayes Valley residents shared a number of potential fixes with the team. Their concerns will be familiar to many San Franciscans: dirty streets, used needles and insufficient trash cans, as well as homeless encampments and drug use.

One neighbor said that encampments have become particularly bad on Hickory Street between Gough and Octavia streets, with drug users shooting up in the middle of the day. "It's filthy when you walk there," he told Zuniga.

The neighborhood's smaller alleys, like Hickory, were frequently called out for issues that needed addressing. One participant noted that the 400 block of Lily Street needs better lighting, while another said that the area around Rose and Gough streets "is just disgusting."

The 400 block of Ivy Street also needs better streetlights, a neighbor said, adding that urine and feces are a frequent sight in the area. "We have pets, we have kids, we have strollers," she said.

Another neighbor added that he walks in the middle of the street on that block, because it is usually cleaner.
Randy Quezada of the SF Department of Homelessness (left) and Eileen Loughran of the SF Department of Public Health.

Overgrown trees were also a concern, both for darkening street corners and for creating a safety risk from fallen limbs.

Gail Baugh, the president of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, said that the trees surrounding the tennis courts of the Hayes Valley Playground are overgrown. She also said that trees on Octavia Boulevard need to be pruned, or otherwise the tops of large trucks can hit them.

Some neighbors brought noise complaints about Muni buses. One man showed a 6 a.m. video of a Muni bus honking for about 30 seconds in front of his apartment at Haight and Market streets. "The drivers are losing their minds," he said.

Zuniga said that the Fix-It Team's next step will be to put together a list of all the concerns they have received from Hayes Valley residents, then take a closer look at them during a neighborhood walk.

That walk will take place at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 29, with neighbors gathering at 261 Fell St. Flashlights will be provided.

To make requests for fixes, neighbors are first encouraged to log issues in the 311 mobile app. Here's how to contact the Fix-It Team directly.
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