500 Hayes Street – Shared Streets – Request to Cease Closure/Re Open

This petition is closed. See our last update below.

Thanks for joining our cause.

Below is our proposed letter to the Supervisor requesting that the 500 block of Hayes Street be opened during the next phase of the Shared Streets Program. To be clear we don’t oppose the program, rather we are seeking a modification to the existing program plan and schedule.

If you agree with us please fill out the petition below. This petition is intended to garner support for our stance. Thank you.

October 19, 2020

We, the undersigned hereto request to cease the closure on the 500 block of Hayes Street during the Shared Streets Program.

While the primary purpose of the program was to aid and stimulate economic relief to merchants we unequivocally have concluded after the 7 week trial period that the impact of our block not being open and accessible has negatively impacted our businesses. This particular block of the Hayes Street corridor is home to some of the longest standing locally funded merchants, whose established clientele is the result of decades of proprietor commitment and investment.  The closure on our block fuels a quality of foot traffic that has little to no upside for those of us with uniquely elevated models of service. As we approach the upcoming holiday season and inclement weather, the necessity for vehicular access is critical; we’re in a make or break it mode considering cash flow and merchandise that we’ve invested in to support our holiday and end of the year season.

We believe that the success of the Shared Street Program is not reliant on our block being closed. It’s been acknowledged that by modifying the program to limit the closure to the 300 and 400 blocks of Hayes only – the positive impact to the public is equitable if not greater as the undertaking of volunteers and traffic mitigation will be minimized. Considering that the process in rolling out this program did not allow for our consent while the permit was pulled well before we had even learned of the proposal, essentially leaving us blindsided, we are confident that our ask at this time is reasonable.

Update Wednesday July 14, 2021

Throughout the petition process our coalition faced a series of challenges which are outlined below. In January in tandem with the Hayes Valley Small Business Association (HVSBA) we opened an inquiry on the permit approval process with SFMTA; as a result we found a staggering lack of transparency had been applied (for a program that has been under the guise of temporary). After voicing our overall concerns with what had transpired and pointing to several just causes to have the 500 block of Hayes removed from the permit with the office of the Supervisor, on July 13th we prevailed.
If you have any questions about our arduous journey on this matter please feel to contact us.

Update Thursday October 22, 2020
The efforts behind this petition represent a core group of independent merchants on the 500 block. It’s worth noting that their tenure in Hayes Valley spans decades and each of these merchants is locally funded. Over the course of the last month this core group has had a series of conversations with the Supervisor’s office regarding the matter at hand. The intent of this petition is pretty simple. Only those that are in support of reopening the 500 block are encouraged to sign. If you have a particular question or concern, please fill out the contact form here and your inquiry will get routed to the appropriate party. Lastly, this petition was requested by Kyle Smeallie, Dean Preston’s Legislative Aide as a result of a recent meeting.
Statement Monday November 16, 2020
As we head in to today’s Town Hall Meeting we believe it’s paramount to address several key issues that have transpired as part of this process that in our view haven’t been entirely fair and equitable. 

The purpose of Shared Streets was to increase and stimulate business in the merchant corridor. It’s our position, that by virtue of the fact that the permit was driven at the request of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA) rather than the merchant community, and compounded by the lack of proper outreach and engagement with those that have been effected by the closure, the impact of the merchants was dampened from the onset. 

After the first initial 3 weekends, this coalition began our engagement with the Supervisor to emphasize the financial detriment the street closure had introduced to our businesses. We were also made aware that a review at the 6 week mark would be had. Our compromise has been to be patient while we allowed the closure to continue during the ‘trial period’ (it has now been 12 weeks/3 months with the current program schedule) with the expectation that the next phase of this program would factor in our input and hardships for phase 2.

At the last community town hall it became increasingly evident that HVNA’s focus and positioning of this program began to blend the benefits of Slow Streets with Shared Streets.  The feedback by HVNA point people emphasized their desire to have open spaces while there was no discussion of shopping. This revelation demonstrated to us that the intent and mission of the pilot program had been convoluted.

We started the petition at the 2 month point at the request of the Supervisor.  There seems to be a misconception that the HVNA has the final say in implementing modifications to the program and HVNA leadership has insisted our block can’t and will not be reopened. Even if this were true, it’s unfortunate that in a democratic process, rather than allow the viewpoints of our businesses to carry credibility and weight, we were asked to demonstrate our support via a petition which required an immense amount of time and effort during an already stressful period. How did a program that was intended to benefit the merchants get hijacked by a neighborhood association?

We want to clarify that while we take the matter of confidentiality of petition submissions seriously, unbeknownst to us, the HVNA (Jennifer Laska and Lloyd Silverstein), were given access to partial and not up to date data. Unfortunately, a representative from a business in our coalition responded to pressure from HVNA to provide access. This individual was not authorized to release this information; nor was this party designated to speak for the majority of merchants who seek to reopen the 500 block of Hayes Street.  The intent of our petition is clearly outlined below and the data was intended to be shared ONLY with Supervisor Preston.

In an email sent by Jennifer Laska on 11.12.20, addressed to some but not all merchants on the 500 block,  inaccurate data was shared and as a result has created further divisiveness and confusion – something we worked hard to circumvent with the whole purpose and intent of our petition. In preparation of the town hall meeting we thought best to clarify this.  

Accurate data has been shared with the Supervisor’s office that demonstrates 88% approval to re-open our block. To date we have received 105 submissions from a mix of business owners, residents and clients. In an effort to uphold our petition privacy policy we reserved the right and still do, to only share information with the supervisor, not with the HVNA.  If you have any questions regarding your submission or our efforts please leave us a note here.

Lastly, our biggest concern at this time is that the objective of today’s town hall is merely to serve as a formality to agree to the compromise being put forth by the HVNA. If this is the case, we will perceive this not as a compromise but as a predetermined outcome which would only further highlight the lack of due process and fairness in the implementation of this pilot program. It’s our position that with our majority support and the compromise we have already put forth for the last 3 months, our steadfast request to cease the closure on our block as a phase 2 of this pilot program is fair. We propose our block remain open through the end of year to accommodate the peak holiday season and inclement weather period. We are fully prepared to reconvene discussions for the phase 3 schedule commencing in January. We hope the Supervisor gives us the dignity and respect to explain his justification and reasoning in accepting anything else.

Update Monday November 23, 2020
We want to take a moment to thank you for all your continued support for the reopening of the 500 block of Hayes Street.

Attached is a recent email from the HVNA with their proclamation to change the program schedule to begin at 5pm on our block. While this correspondence is riddled with inaccuracies, there is one in particular that stands out: this was not a resolution crafted with participation by affected merchants on the 500 block. Monday’s meeting with the Supervisor’s office and HVNA did not result in a formal agreement or a compromise agreed on by all affected parties. The meeting was merely a formality for a predetermined outcome. We’re troubled by the overreach of the HVNA in implementing policies that harm businesses, and their leadership who continue to rely on parties who take it upon themselves to claim they represent our coalition when in fact they do not.

Since the Town Hall meeting, our petition continues to garner support. Please continue to spread the word while we evaluate our next steps.
related read

Shared Street Closure Permit Renewal – 300 Block of Hayes