UCSF Truck campaign wrapup (We won! It’s over!)

In late 2011 UCSF proposed to change their traffic and delivery flow around the Parnassus campus  to re-route trucks from the front of campus to behind campus using the residential streets of 5th Ave and Kirkham to carry this traffic.  UCSF campus planners had identified these residential streets as “under-utilized”.

The flaw in this reasoning is the hubris that any street surrounding UCSF’s campus is available for them to utilize any way they see fit.    These streets are under-utilized if you consider them busy arterials through the neighborhood, but they were not.  They were then, and remain today, residential streets.

The neighbors around 5th and Kirkham banded together to change UCSF’s plan.  In the process we forced UCSF to adopt an advanced meeting notice policy of 30 days thereby ending the “empty meetings nobody knew about” that allowed UCSF to claim nobody opposed their plans.

We forced them to adhere to that same policy for Community Advisory Group meetings and open those to the public.  Additionally, we assembled a formidable coalition of over 100 neighbors that, although the UCSF-hand-picked Community Advisory Group had been briefed and acquiesced to the truck plan, showed UCSF that it was not going to fly in our neighborhood.

And finally, with the publishing of the UCSF Long Range Development Plan, they will not be building any new trucks bays behind campus accessible through 5th Ave and Kirkham.  In fact, during the life of the plan they are removing one.

This sign is worth a box of chocolate truffles.  If you have one, take it back to Shabbir.
This sign is worth a box of chocolate truffles. If you have one, take it back to Shabbir.

We have now ended our UCSF “No New Truck Routes” campaign.  If you still have one of our attractive window signs, you may return it to Shabbir and receive a small (and very chocolatey) thank you gift for your support.


For the over 100 people that signed petitions, canvassed, went to neighborhood meetings, donated, met with their Supervisors, and came out to support the cause, we thank you.

You did it, and we won.


Long Range Development Plan – initial comments – draft and response

[The comments phase of the LRDP is over and it is approved.  You can find UCSF’s specific response to our change requests in the LRDP in the attached file.

Fifth and Kirkham LRDP Response [PDF]



Major issues

Parking for new housing units

Parking is difficult everywhere in the city, and around the Parnassus campus is no exception.  Significant numbers of new housing units are being built on campus without parking.  That doesn’t mean people won’t bring cars, it just means that they will park those cars around the neighborhood.   While we strongly support transit, it’s unreasonable to assume that no students or faculty will bring cars with them.  This is especially true for faculty who are often accompanied by young families.

Recommended edit to 4.4.3 (Circulation, Transportation, and Parking):

Add the following bullet to the end of this section:

Discourage rogue car parking by student residents.  Because new parking spaces are neither being allocated or built for new housing, UCSF will request SF MTA not to issue neighborhood J stickers for all addresses containing new student housing.  This will encourage transit and respect the neighbors who already fight for scarce parking spaces with UCSF patients, staff, and healthcare professionals.

Design parking into faculty housing.  Because faculty are often accompanied by young families, it seems unlikely they will survive without a car even in transit-friendly San Francisco.  UCSF will design faculty housing around Parnassus campus that includes parking, like much of the existing neighborhood housing stock does.

Lack of documentation / UCSF support for 5th & Kirkham cushioning measures

In 3.5 OP3 (“Cushioning of Impacts”), it’s stated that any agreement by UCSF to undertake cushioning actions will be documented in a formal agreement between UCSF, the community groups, and/or the City.”

And yet we cannot find a mention of the 5th and Kirkham traffic calming measures anywhere in the LRDP, despite UCSF’s verbal commitment to pay for them, the existence of a community meeting, and finalized designs that have been reviewed by SF MTA (David Valle-Schwenk), SF FD (turning radius cone test), UCSF, and the adjacent neighbors.

Recommended edit to 4.4.3 (Circulation, Transportion, and Parking):

Add the following bullet to the end of this section:

Implement traffic calming at 5th Ave and Kirkham.  To reduce congestion at the residential intersection of 5th Avenue and Kirkham St due to the child care center and the increased contractor truck traffic accessible only by this intersection, UCSF proposes to implement and fund traffic calming measures.  The design of these measures has already been successfully designed in collaboration with the community, reviewed by SF MTA, and tested for truck-turning by SF FD.  It has the support of adjacent neighbors, SF MTA, UCSF, and the offices of both Supervisors whose districts straddle this intersection.

Community Advisory Group conflict of interest

Throughout the document UCSF references the Community Advisory Group as a proxy for the community’s concerns.  The CAG receives advanced copies of proposals, opines on them, suggests changes, and generally acts as the community’s voice in the planning process.  What’s more, advanced plans that the CAG members learn about are sometimes kept secret from the community, the very people they are supposed to represent.   And as many have pointed out, feedback received at community meetings is often simply written down but never followed up on.

CAG members are appointed by the University with no oversight or input from the community itself.  While we don’t harbor any illusions about changing the University’s chosen representation of the CAG, we are troubled to learn that at least one CAG members has a business interest in a contract with the University, suggesting that CAG member has conflicting interests that are not known to the community he represents.

To that end we recommend all CAG members publish a financial disclosure form that reveals any financial conflicts of interest so the community may understand how entwined the CAG members that claim to represent them may or may not have only the community’s interest at heart.

Recommended edit to 3.1.1 Community Advisory Group:

[inserted before  the final paragraph that begins with “In addition, ….”]

To ensure that CAG members are transparent with the community they represent, all CAG members must fill out an annual financial conflict of interest disclosure form on October 1 of each year.  The filed form is published on the UCSF CAG website.  Failure to submit a disclosure form by Nov 1 will result in termination as a CAG member.

We will provide a sample CAG conflict of interest disclosure policy in a subsequent draft.


Childcare Center Accountability and Availability

We have previously had to request accountability on UCSF’s commitment to making available neighborhood slots for the childcare center at 5th Ave and Kirkham St.  We suggest making reporting of this an annual event.

Recommended edit to 4.7 (“Measurement and accountability”)

New bullet at the end of this section:

  • Publicly report on usage and availability of community dedicated childcare slots at the childcare center at 5th Ave and Kirkham in accordance with the neighborhood agreement established when the childcare center was built.

Many young families live in housing adjacent to the 5th Ave and Kirkham St childcare center.  We recommend making available the new playground to the community on weekends when the childcare center itself is empty.

Recommended edit to 11.2.2 (“Proposed Plan”):

New paragraph between first and second paragraph:

As a benefit to the neighborhood, we will make the outdoor playground being built at the Kirkham Childcare Center available to neighborhood children on weekends when the childcare center is otherwise closed.

 “Entire” community included in process

Because UCSF sometimes runs proposals by the CAG as a proxy for the community, and because many members of the community don’t feel the CAG represents their interests well, we suggest clearly delineating policies that inform the community should include the community beyond the CAG.

Recommended edit to 4.7 (“Measurement and accountability”): (edit in bold and brackets)

In order to further its commitment to manage the impacts of its development of the Parnassus Heights campus site and to communicate with [all] neighbors [including those not part of the Community Advisory Group] on the progress of efforts to manage impacts, UCSF will:

“Noise” in the objectives

Institutional facilities have the potential to create significant noise and harm both nearby wildlife and degrade quality of life for neighbors.  Elsewhere in the document we have seen UCSF affirm that they are subject to federal, state, and local noise regulations, but these do not appear in 3.1 LRDP Objectives, despite the fact that many other goals are collected there.

In particular HVAC systems are often the culprit, and a minor amount of noise baffling between them and the adjacent community could do a great deal to address noise complaints.

Recommended edit to 3.1.1: (added material in bold)

C.  Design new buildings to be sensitive to the surrounding neighborhood and landscape, taking into account use, scale, noise, and density.


We have a number of simple questions that were not answered by the document.  Answers may not require editing the document, though those answers are more believable if they get committed in writing to the LRDP.

Parking before Koret comes down

Koret Eye Clinic is marked as a location for contractor parking during construction, but Koret is not scheduled to come down right away.  Where will contractors park before Koret comes down?

UCSF plans for truck routes behind campus April 2014 update

Long-time participants in UCSF’s community process may have noticed signs like this one around the intersection of 5th Ave and Kirkham St.

One of several protest signs along 5th Avenue

Neighbors who live around 5th Ave and Kirkham St, the sole entrance to the rear of UCSF’s campus portion that encompasses UC Hall, Koret Eye Center, the Dental School, etc all became alarmed two years ago because of UCSF’s plan to move much of their trucking deliveries to this part of the rear of campus.   This effectively would turn their residential streets into truck corridors.  We organized and instead of disrupting meetings, decided to get our city supervisors involved, and ultimately, made some hard decisions about what we could stomach versus what we really wanted to push back on.

We’ve just passed out a one page update to many of our neighbors.  Here is a copy of that along with several additional supporting documents.

If you have any questions or want to help out, please drop a note to help -at- ucsfneighbors.org.



Have you solved this truck problem yet?

UCSF has announced plans to build no new truck bays accessed by 5th Ave and Kirkham St, and has promised to demolish a building containing two trucks bays in 2031-2035 which reduces truck traffic.

Do you believe them?

For the moment.  They’ve a terrible track record of failing to follow through with prior announced plans, like: demolition of UC Hall, meeting the space ceiling requirements as specified by the last Long Range Development Plan, and implementing traffic calming at 5th Ave and Kirkham.

So do I need to put your “No New Trucks” sign in my window?

Yes, until November 2014, then you can remove it and the latest battle will be done either way because the LRDP will be published.

Will they still re-route trucks to existing bays and can you stop that?

They might, but we never thought we could stop use of existing bays, only construction of new ones.

Where can I get a window sign for these last, critical eight months?

Contact Gene or Shabbir at the phone numbers above.


UCSF violates community meeting notice policy (30 days) for demolition and landscaping of 347 Parnassus

In February of 2012 UCSFNeighbors and Barbara French, Vice Chancellor of UCSF resolved a long-standing problem repeatedly voiced by residents of the Inner Sunset: lack of sufficient or advance notice of Community meetings and Community Advisory Group meetings.   The lack of broad notice and lack of advance calendar notice gave the appearance the UCSF was trying to make it hard for the community to participate.   Whether or not that was true, residents of the Inner Sunset voiced their concern that they couldn’t make these meetings and felt excluded from the process.

UCSFNeighbors asked Barbara French to adopt a policy of longer notice, which she did, and with one exception, that policy has served everyone well until recently, when UCSF violated it again.

On July 15th, Christine Gasparac, the new representative for Parnassus neighbors from UCSF Community Relations department, announced a meeting for July 31, 2013 on July 15th.   This is half the planned time as dictated by the policy.   The meeting is to discuss the future open space and landscaping that will be created by the demolition of 347 Parnassus.  Many Inner Sunset neighbors feel strongly about the space ceiling and open space on campus, and having this meeting with only two weeks notice is insufficient and violates the community meeting notice policy.

The day the notice came out, we reminded Ms. Gasparac of the 30 day notice policy, but she chose to ignore the issue.  We are now appealing to Barbara French to obey their own policy and schedule the meeting with the sufficient 30 days notice for people to show up.

We urge you to send an email to Christine Gasparac and Barbara French asking them to reschedule the meeting so more people can attend.  You can email them at christine.gasparac@ucsf.edu and bfrench@ucsf.edu.  We urge you to say something like “Please reschedule the meeting on 347 Parnasssus’ demolition and landscaping for a full 30 days in the future.  If you truly want neighborhood input, you will not hastily schedule meetings in the middle of summer when so many people are away.”

Below you can find:

Questions for UCSF about the Long Range Development Process

We’re headed to the UCSF Community Workshop tomorrow night, and wanted to make sure everyone had a copy of what we think are some of the most important outstanding questions for UCSF regarding the impact of their long range development plan.  Feel free to print these out and take them to the meeting.


Tonight’s meeting about the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) has been scheduled as a “workshop”, removing the ability for any member of the community to address the entire group.  The UCSFNeighbors.com group monitors development of the Parnassus campus with an eye towards its impact on the neighborhood and would like you to consider the following concerns about UCSF’s impact on the Inner Sunset as you view their presentation tonight and participate in the workshop.

UCSF buying/taking properties in the Inner Sunset?  Without notice to neighbors? (Space Ceiling)

The LRDP Planning Principles present the fact that UCSF will be buying or leasing new property around its campuses and will not notify the community before purchase, and reserves the right not to do so even after purchase.   This will affect compliance with the space ceiling.  In the early 1970’s, UCSF acquired properties on 4th Ave between Judah and Kirkham through secret purchase and eminent domain, and then demolished the entire block to build the dental school and a parking lot.   Questions you should ask:

  • Is UCSF planning on buying, accepting or leasing property in the Inner Sunset within 2 miles of the Parnassus campus?
  • Will UCSF forswear the use of eminent domain for any property within 2 miles of the Parnassus campus?
  • Will UCSF commit to a “60 day cooling off period” before closing a real estate transaction within 2 miles of the Parnassus campus so that the community can weigh in on the impact of any purchase?
  • Will UCSF commit to notifying the entire community (not just it’s captive Community Advisory Group) upon purchase of property?

UCSF increasing truck traffic through residential intersection of 5th Ave. and Kirkham over objections of neighbors (Transportation)

UCSF continues to propose a plan to re-route delivery trucks off Parnassus and through the residential intersection of 5th Ave and Kirkham, creating safety, environmental, and quality of life problems.  Questions you should ask:

  • Will UCSF adopt the neighbors proposed plan to install a wide pedestrian friendly median and bulbouts on 5th Ave?
  • Will UCSF drop its plan to run trucks through the 5th Ave. and Kirkham St. intersection?   The neighbors have been clear that current traffic levels are above and beyond normal residential usage, and creating a hazardous situation for both pedestrians and vehicles.
  • Will UCSF consider adding a truck annex at the west end of UC Hall to its renovation plans to reduce the need to send delivery trucks through the residential intersection of 5th Ave and Kirkham St.?


UCSF demolishing several buildings, what will replace them? (Space Ceiling)

  • UCSF is planning to demolish the Proctor building at the corner of 5th Ave and Kirkham, and has suggested replacing it with housing.   Will UCSF commit to not building anything over two stories to fit with the character of the neighborhood?
  • UCSF is planning to demolish the MRIV, Koret, and Radiology buildings at the back of campus.   Will UCSF commit to creating housing or open space in these locations, and not creating additional parking lots?




UCSF announces Community Advisory Group meeting with a mere 5 days notice

Did you know that UCSF is announcing their Long Range Development Plan over the next few months that will outline what buildings they’re going to demolish and build over the next 15-20 years?   Did you know they just announced that the first meeting where they’ll present this material…..with only5 days notice to the community?

Earlier this year the neighbors of UCSF’s Parnassus campus delivered a petition to Barbara French, Vice Chancellor at UCSF, identifying two long-standing problems with UCSF’s community meetings process:

  • Lack of advanced notice for community meetings; and
  • Little or no advance delivery of community meeting

She responded by publishing a new policy (http://www.ucsf.edu/sites/default/files/documents/ucsf-community-meeting-notification.pdf) that promised greater notice.   To quote:

We commit to striving to meet the following information distribution schedule for community meetings, including UCSF Community Advisory Group (CAG) meetings, CAG Action Team meetings, and other UCSF community meetings:

Community meeting notification will begin a minimum of four weeks in advance of the community meeting with an email notification and an online meeting announcement posted on this website.  If a specific meeting location is not known, a “save the date” notice will be posted.

On Sep. 14th UCSF’s Barbara Bagot-Lopez sent out an announcement for a Community Advisory Group meeting on Sep. 19th to discuss the Long Range Development Plan (LRDP).

Additionally, when we sent an email to Ms. Bagot-Lopez saying that this was insufficient notice and asking her to postpone, her response was, “There will be a repeat performance on Oct. 10”.     Community meetings are not performances to be stage managed and then repeated.   They are the process whereby an enormous entity like UCSF presents their plans, listens to community input, and their plans are modified to take that into account.

It’s supposed to be a process, not a performance.  Read the email chain here. [email chain]

Unless the whole thing is just so much kabuki performance, where you’re just going through the motions.

Read the letter we sent to UCSF here.

Letter to UCSF

Tonight Gene and I presented a letter to UCSF’s Community Advisory Group about ways to mitigate some of the negative effects of traffic related to renovation of UC Hall, a multi-year project that will place a heavy burden on the residential roads of 5th Ave and Kirkham St. that lead to the construction site.

I pointed out in the introduction of the letter, that I and many of the other members of the neighborhood that are here live closer to the campus than any member of the Community Advisory Group (CAG)  does.    Think about that.   The Community Advisory Group does not contain members of the community directly affected by these decisions.   No wonder CAG member Kevin Hart recently told us “too bad“, when we said we didn’t like the outcome of their decisions.   When the outcomes don’t affect you, it doesn’t matter what the decision is.

Here is the letter.  UC Hall renovation suggestions [PDF]

Barbara Bagot-Lopez


UCSF Community Relations

3333 California St. Suite 103

San Francisco, CA 94143


June 4, 2012


RE: UC Hall Renovation project


Dear Barbara,


We have written and spoken at UCSF Community meetings previously about our concerns about the UC Hall renovation project and it’s impact upon the quality of life in the 5th Ave and Kirkham corner of the Inner Sunset, a neighborhood directly adjacent to the Parnassus campus which holds UC Hall.

In reviewing a number of planning documents, there are three parts of the construction planning that concern us greatly.  We identify them below and provide reasonable alternatives for mitigating the negative effects that will be borne by our neighborhood.

UC Hall truck loading annex / West Plaza loading

When the UCSF dental clinic was built, it restricted access to the back of campus to one route: through the 5th Ave and Kirkham intersection, a road not designed for heavy truck or high volume traffic.   The increasing amount of traffic going through this intersection is the crux of the conflict with the neighbors around 5th and Kirkham.

You have displayed plans for a West Plaza Loading area at the western end of UC Hall.  Relocating truck loading here from the back of campus would relieve some pressure on the traffic in the 5th and Kirkham neighborhood.   We urge you to pursue this course.

Staging area for construction (possibly on the demolished Rad Lab site)

UCSF plans show the destruction of the Rad Lab and re-purposing of it for a contractor staging area.  We assume that it is this location that will hold materials as they are brought onsite for renovation of UC Hall.   We strongly suggest that for the benefit of all the neighbors, that you collect all materials at an offsite loading area where you fill a truck, and then once per week, bring that truck over for unloading at the site.   We discourage you from having material for renovation delivered directly from vendors or contractors to the site itself.

Secondly, we recommend you deliver material for construction to the Parnassus side for use in the UC Hall renovation, possibly using the West Side Plaza as a material staging area.  Parnassus is a far more commercial-grade street and more appropriate to this traffic.

Contractor Parking at demolished MR4 site

UCSF plans show the MR4 building will be demolished, and it’s current plan is to use it as a Contractor parking site for the UC Hall renovation.   The only access by car to the MR4 space is through the already controversial 5th Ave and Kirkham intersection.  Furthermore, contractors are the least likely vehicles to be able to schedule, as they often don’t even work for UCSF, but are many layers of contractor removed from direct financial relationship with the University.

UCSF will have little control over how often they decide to come and go, especially if they have been given a parking lot for their exclusive use.

We strongly recommend that you use existing UCSF parking garages accessible from Parnassus, or the demolished site of 735 Parnassus as a parking area for contractors.


We hope you will faithfully implement these suggestions in the spirit of cooperation and reasonableness they have been offered.


Yours truly,

/s/                                                                              /s/

Shabbir J. Imber Safdar                                                Eugene Salazar

1471 5th Ave.                                                                  1485 5th Ave.

UCSFNeighbors.org                                                      UCSFNeighbors.org

Why the UCSF Community Advisory Group is so problematic

A few weeks ago I went to the Inner Sunset Neighbors Group potluck dinner with Gene and several of my neighbors.  We wanted to convene a discussion group on UCSF’s proposed plan to narrow Parnassus, which would effectively choke traffic between Cole Valley and the Inner Sunset.

We convened our group and a gentleman named Kevin Hart, an Inner Sunset resident and member of the University’s Community Advisory Group sat down to defend UCSF’s plan.  We did not agree on many things, and pointed out the increase in traffic through the 5th and Kirkham corridor was bad for quality of life in our corner of the neighborhood, and how could he, as a part of the Community Advisory Group, just sacrifice a part of the community like that?   Kevin’s response?

“It’s good for the rest of the Inner Sunset, and bad for you.  That’s unfortunate for you.”

When I pointed out that tossing some of your neighbors under the bus is bad community relations, he was uninterested.  And when I pointed out that perhaps someday UCSF might want to build a parking garage on Hugo and he would have a different opinion, he was again unmoved.

Kevin admitted he knew about this plan to re-route traffic through the 5th and Kirkham neighborhood for almost two years before it was announced publicly and didn’t tell anyone in the neighborhoods affected because “I don’t owe any responsibility to your neighborhood.”

This is absurd.  How can you be a part of a Community Advisory Group and not feel any obligation to the community?   I told him that I thought he was really just a “beard” for UCSF, giving their proposals a “community sheen”.  The productive part of the conversation ended right about then.

The UCSF Community Advisory Group has a terrible reputation with the neighbors, and every time they review a proposal on behalf of their neighbors that deeply affects their quality of life, they continue to reinforce the belief that the Community Advisory Group is functioning as a rubber stamp for community input.

This is reinforced by the fact that members of the CAG are using their association with community groups as identifiers, even though those groups have not taken formal positions on the UCSF proposals.

UCSF needs a different vehicle for community input than the CAG.  It’s corrosive to community relations.

Parnassus campus: The next 15 years

Because of their size, UCSF doesn’t do anything particularly fast.  They make their plans well in advance.  This is advantageous to us, because we know what they intend to do over the next ten years and can negotiate with the full knowledge of what they plan to do.

Gene and I have done two things that I think are critical to having the neighborhood understand the impact of UCSF’s long range development plans starting in 2014:

  1. First, we’ve done an inventory of the parking spaces and truck loading bays that exist up Kirkham.  You can see a photo tour of what’s there in my flickr set: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzdUve5     The short answer is 246 parking spaces, 14 van spaces, and 5 truck bays.  If you want to know why traffic has increased over time through 5th and Kirkham, well that’s the answer.
  2. Second, we’ve looked through their proposed Long Range Development Plan and pulled out all the projects that would affect traffic and parking through the 5th and Kirkham neighborhood.  We’ve put them all into a spreadsheet.  We plan to work with UCSF to quantify the impact on traffic and parking in the neighborhood and fill in this spreadsheet.
We as neighbors can ask for changes in the types of usage being done with these projects, as well as changes in the scope and scale of them.  But the first step to understanding this is to know what is being built and when.  We’ll keep neighbors updated as we learn more and can fill in this spreadsheet, so that you can see exactly what’s being done over the next decade.




Shabbir J. Imber Safdar






FEBRUARY 20, 2012 (San Francisco, CA) – Neighborhood organizers around University of California San Francisco’s Parnassus campus today praised a new and progressive policy (local cached copy) adopted by UCSF’s Community Relations department.  The new policy, which sets clear standards for notification and openness of community meetings, ensures sufficent notice and access to meetings UCSF uses to gathering community input about upcoming projects.

On January 29, 2012, neighborhood organizers delivered a petition from 30 Parnassus campus neighbors to UCSF Community Relations asking for new policies regarding notice and openness of public community meetings, Community Advisory Group meetings, and Community Advisory Group Action Team meetings.  University Vice-Chancellor Barbara French responded to the neighbors by making advanced notice and public openness of these meeting departmental policy across all UCSF campuses.

“For months we have been fielding complaints from neighbors that they weren’t getting notices about community advisory group meetings, or getting them with only a few days notice” said Shabbir J. Imber Safdar, a UCSF-Parnassus neighbor and one of the organizers of the letter from neighbors.  “The effect was to create a community input process that some members of the community were effectively excluded from.  We applaud this new policy and the Vice-Chancellor’s public adoption of transparency.”

Gene Salazar, one of the other co-organizers of the letter, underscored the importance of the policy. “The perception that UCSF solicits community input from a hand-picked group of sympathetic neighbors called the Community Advisory Group has been extremely inefficient.   Ensuring that these three types of meetings are sufficiently noticed and open to the public will eliminate the suspicion in the neighborhood that UCSF is attempting to skirt the community input step.”

You can read the new policy on UCSF’s Community Relations website at: http://www.ucsf.edu/sites/default/files/documents/ucsf-community-meeting-notification.pdf   It was announced to the neighbors and placed on the UCSF website on Feb. 14th, 2012.

UCSF Neighbors is a project of Shabbir J. Imber Safdar and Gene Salazar, 5th Avenue neighbors of UCSF-Parnassus campus.  The website is a clearinghouse for information about projects that have an impact on the neighborhoods surrounding UCSF campuses.