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Delivering Public Safety Resources

As your district supervisor, I am working to deliver the public safety resources the Richmond needs and deserves. With the mayor and her administration prioritizing the revitalization of downtown over our neighborhoods, we are seeing an increase in burglaries on the west side; we experienced two incidents where suspects drove vehicles through the front of businesses, and our small businesses are reporting an increase in broken windows and stolen goods.

After meeting with city departments and the mayor’s office for over a year pleading for additional public safety resources, retired police ambassadors were finally deployed to our neighborhood commercial corridors. While this is a great addition to our toolkit, it took a tragedy to make it happen. These ambassadors are out in our neighborhood, meeting with residents and visitors and helping to provide assistance and security. I have also held meetings with the Richmond’s merchant associations, the Richmond police captain, and community partners, such as the Community Youth Center, to create a reporting system and regular merchant walks to help our merchants and police department work together to report and respond to incidents.

But this is not enough. The Richmond needs and deserves real public safety solutions. Which is why this week I wrote a letter to Mayor London Breed and Police Chief William Scott, calling on them to step up and prioritize the Richmond. I asked the mayor and the chief to:

1. Expand the Retired Police Ambassador Program by providing more ambassadors to other areas of the Richmond and extending hours of operation.

2. Continue to expand the street outreach and street crisis response teams. We need to respond to public-health crises with public-health experts, leaving our police to focus on crime.

3. Implement the legislation I co-sponsored to increase police officer foot- and bike-patrols in our neighborhoods.

4. Install Automatic License Plate Readers (ALPR) at strategic locations. Now that we have approved the policy and budget, I hope to see ALPRs placed on ingress and egress routes to and from the Richmond as soon as possible.

5. Create incentives for alarm alerts to SFPD first responders. Waiving false alarm fees for merchants to encourage them to install alarm systems.

6. Discuss potential live surveillance programs from 2 to 5 p.m. with merchant input and partnering with local merchants to utilize their private systems during peak vulnerable hours.

I am hopeful that we will have action soon, but I will continue to stand up for the Richmond and push the administration to do better.

I have also been working to deliver transit safety. We have a number of projects and initiatives currently underway that will deliver immediate results. We have three corridor projects in progress to create safer streets, including the Fulton Street corridor project which has slowed traffic by narrowing the street with bus bulb-outs, installed speed radar signs, and improved pedestrian safety with better crosswalks and clearer intersections.

The Geary Boulevard Improvement Project has created a faster ride on the 38-Geary line with side running bus-only lanes and better-timed signals. This project was not without its difficulties; the Geary Boulevard Merchants Association and I pushed back against SFMTA’s plan to remove a large number of parking spaces along Geary and, as a result, SFMTA not only provided pedestrian safety improvements but created additional angled parking on cross avenues. Additionally, we have a bike lane project in the works for Arguello Boulevard. I worked with Assemblymember Phil Ting to secure $1.2 million in state funding to install protected bicycle lanes on Arguello from Golden Gate Park to the Presidio. The bike lanes will improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and the many residents who navigate Arguello on a daily basis.

Also on Geary, we have a pedestrian flashing beacon that will be installed at the corner of 38th Avenue and Geary with construction beginning this spring. This beacon is long overdue. A month before I was sworn into office, in December 2020, there was a tragic collision at that intersection that resulted in the death of Mr. Lawrence Holman. Since then, I have been working with SFMTA to install a flashing pedestrian beacon at that intersection. While it is frustrating that it has taken more than three years, I am happy that we are finally seeing progress.

Lastly, we will be seeing some critical safety improvements made to our streets through the installation of three speed cameras as well as traffic signal upgrades to grant priority to emergency vehicles and buses. The speed cameras will help curb speeding and make our streets safer, and the signal upgrades will improve reliability and travel time for transit and emergency vehicles.

We all want a safer Richmond. I will continue to stand up for you. When we have the resources and accountability we need from City Hall to advance public safety and transit safety, we are all better.

This article was published in the Richmond Review in March 2024.

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