Saturday, April 18, 2015

4 AM Paving on Franklin Street

Around 9 PM on Wednesday evening, a bright light appeared at the back of the San Francisco Opera House, and we assumed it was in preparation for a film shoot.

We were wrong. Instead, it was the commencement of a street repaving project on Franklin Street between Grove and McAllister that stretched from 10 PM to 4:30 AM, complete with men on piledrivers, trucks dumping tar, and steamrollers going back and forth.

Living on the streetside corner of Franklin and McAllister in San Francisco for over 20 years, I have become accustomed to noise. There is auto traffic, constant sirens, daily construction projects, and society tent parties with bad cover rock bands playing until 2 AM. None of that quite prepared me, however, for the aural assault from a street paving project outside the living room window all night long.

Thursday evening I returned home from work and saw the machine below parked across the street from our apartment, and the waking nightmare began all over again, except this time it was closer as they paved Franklin Street from McAllister to Turk. The noise of piledrivers and piercing beeps from reversing trucks was joined by machinery that actually shook our old 75-unit apartment building like a series of small earthquakes. It was probably similar at the senior housing project across the street and Opera Plaza further up the block.

The mayoral administration of Ed Lee has made it clear that they don't care about the welfare of most of San Francisco's citizens, but this disregard for people's sleeping habits was still a bit shocking. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for pushback as the steamroller goes north on Franklin Street to fancier real estate.


Unknown said...

Ditto. I live on Gough street. These guys have woken me up at 3:30 throwing equipment into the back of a truck. They also keep debris in parking spaces. I've emailed my supervisor, but she doesn't care either.

nancy namaste said...

As the survivor of the numerous rebuilds of the Central freeway plus a untold number of projects in and around my tiny part of SF, you have my utmost sympathies.

janinsanfran said...


Roderick Thompson said...

Thank you for this post. A friend sent me a link to this blog. These are the texts of two e-mails that I sent to the Mayor regarding this:

Roderick Thompson Sat, Apr 18, 2015 at 12:30 AM

The Honorable Edwin M. Lee, Mayor
City Hall, San Francisco, California

Dear Mayor Lee,

I write to you again at 12:20 am on Saturday morning. Last night the jackhammers moved far enough away from my apartment so as to be relatively tolerable background noise at about 3:00 am.

They are at work again tonight at Franklin and Eddy, about one block north of Opera Plaza. There are apartment buildings located there also.

Is the City's contempt for its residents so great that this is a matter of indifference to you (and to the supervisors to whom I sent a copy of my last e-mail)?

I find it incomprehensible that the City thinks that the operation of large-scale machinery, including the use of jackhammers, is appropriate in a residential neighborhood, not just at night, but in the early hours of the morning.

I would appreciate some sort of an explanation.

Yours sincerely,

Roderick Thompson
cc: The Honorable Jane Kim, Supervisor
The Honorable London Breed, Board President
Patricia Klock, General Manager, Opera Plaza

On Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 11:56 PM, Roderick Thompson wrote:

The Honorable Edwin M. Lee, Mayor
City Hall, San Francisco, California

Dear Mayor Lee,

I am writing to you at 11:55 at night on Thursday from my apartment at Opera Plaza on Van Ness Avenue.

Currently there are road works, with loud trucks and bright lights, operating directly beneath my apartment, which is on the second floor at Opera Plaza overlooking Franklin Street near Golden Gate.

There were jackhammers operating when I walked into my apartment at about 11:00 pm.

When I walked down and spoke with the police officer directing traffic at Franklin and Golden Gate, he explained that he had no authority over the work, which he said was administered by the City, and he directed me to speak with the road workers. I was given a couple of answers about how long this work would continue -- until 2:00 am or 6:00 am, depending on who I spoke to.

The police officer then suggested that I should contact the Mayor's office, which I am now doing.

This is a residential neighborhood. People live in the apartment buildings and need to be able to sleep at night. There is a retirement complex for the elderly at Franklin and Golden Gate, exactly where the center of the road work seems to be located.

Why is this work being done at night? I understand that Franklin is a busy street. Would it, however, be more of an inconvenience for this work to discommode the motorists than the residents who live here? I am dismayed by the disrespect shown by the City to the local residents in this neighborhood.

Yours sincerely,

Roderick Thompson
cc: The Honorable Jane Kim, Supervisor
The Honorable London Breed, Board President
Patricia Klock, General Manager, Opera Plaza

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Roderick: Great letters. And your point about disrespect towards San Francisco residents is spot on. What was even worse was that there was absolutely no warning that this was coming so we could stay at friends' apartments or in a hotel so we could actually get some sleep and go to work the next morning. I think I'll take a little trip over to City Hall tomorrow and see if any of our representatives have any answers.

Hattie said...

Governments seem more and more to disregard the input of ordinary citizens. Just one example of many, here.
I think the vibration would bother me more than the noise.

Cathedral Hill Resident said...

Dear Ms Gordon, Director Nuru and Mayor Lee,

Residents of the Franklin week corridor were in no doubt about the city's ability to let citizens know about its public works program this week, and we didn't need a press release or to join one of your open houses to let us know. Instead we've been subjected to appalling jackhammering, and construction noise all night for multiple evenings as crews have torn up and repaved Franklin Street non-stop throughout the night.

A search of the city's websites show no information about this work and a call to 311 could not provide even basic information about the approval by the city of noise at night which would otherwise be illegal. There is no information about work hours, no notice to residents and no consideration for the hundreds of people severely impacted. 511/SFMTA has no information about the closure of major streets such as Franklin and Geary.

I now believe the DPW when they say they are a 24/7 operation (see quote from your release today below) the second part about being about people - not so much.

“We’re a boots-on-the-ground, 24/7 operation that at the end of the day is about people – people working on behalf of the people of San Francisco,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru.

I am appalled at the lack of regard for the basic needs of city citizens for quiet and sleep. If it was absolutely necessary to do this work throughout the night, some notice and information about work hours should have been provided. Disruption to traffic from work during the day should have been balanced with people's need to sleep. It's not just me, other San Franciscans are similarly appalled (see blog post below).

Please, have some consideration, run a professional city and focus on the basic quality of life issues that matter most to citizens. Even if you don't prioritize those things, at least have some concern for your reputation - this kind of mistreatment of the public is a great way to earn some media about the disregard the city has for its citizens during a week when you are trying to promote public works.


Civic Center: 4 AM Paving on Franklin Street


Civic Center: 4 AM Paving on Franklin Street
Around 9 PM on Wednesday evening, a bright light appeared at the back of the San Francisco Opera House, and we assumed it was in preparation for a film shoot. W...
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Axel Feldheim said...

Wow, this has happened in the Marina too. I came home late one weekday evening last year, around 10p, & there was a repaving crew in front of the movie theater on Chestnut Street pounding away. Fortunately this was a small job, & they finished within 2 hours. My assumption was that the crew was doing this to get some major overtime.

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Cathedral Hill Resident: Great letter. I hope there are enough justifiably angry people that the DEPW will have to put a stop to this. If not, they are going to have a lot of angry voters on their hands.

Dear Axel: 10 to midnight is outrageous, but 10 PM to 5 AM made us feel like we were former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega holed up in the Vatican embassy being blasted with loud rock music 24/7 by the American government.

Cathedral Hill Resident said...

DPW public affairs responded with a polite and empathetic response. They sent the community notice but have not yet attached the correct noise permit.

They did post the noise notice to the DPW website.

I do not agree that the work hours on this project were appropriate or in line with their duty under the city code to balance traffic and sleep disruptions. Once I receive the correct Noise permit I will follow up and ask the City Attorney to examine the basis for DPWs decision to subject us all to multiple nights of continuous jackhammering.

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