Page Street barricades moved to sidewalks / Bar owners consider vaccine requirement

It's Wednesday, July 21.

Hey there, San Francisco. 

Few things during the pandemic brought me greater joy than seeing people beautify our Slow Streets with painted signs and portable flower boxes. And so, it was bittersweet to learn yesterday that on Page Street, the city was moving these makeshift barricades off of the roads and onto sidewalks. 

An SFMTA spokesperson told me the “community signs/barricades” were moved in response to the San Francisco Fire Department’s requests to “provide better emergency access.” Also, this week, the agency is installing new, official signs and flexible posts on Page Street since it, along with stretches of Sanchez and Shotwell, will be a designated Slow Street well beyond the pandemic. (The future for dozens of other Slow Streets is still TBD.)

And so, for Page-goers, these new posts should be a welcomed signal that their Slow Street is here to stay. But I get it. As someone who walks the corridor regularly, it is sad to see people’s creative labors (literally) kicked to the curb. 

Some good news, though: The SFMTA told me on Wednesday that moving forward it would “work towards a long-term solution that both provides for adequate emergency access while providing space for the sort of community expression that has made the Page Slow Street so special.” 

Which means, some flower boxes might live on. 

And with that...onto some news… 

In an exchange with Supervisor Dean Preston on Tuesday, Mayor London Breed did not commit to bringing Muni services back 100% to pre-pandemic levels. Instead, Breed said “it’s more complicated than saying ‘yes, we will restore service to lines,’” and that moving forward, “the Muni map may look different.” 

Muni is expected to reach around 70% of its pre-pandemic service levels by August and 85% by January 2022. “That will be about it, according to their current plans, until they pass a ballot measure [for more funding, likely in November 2022] and take some time to staff up,” SFMTA Citizens' Advisory Council member Chris Arvin told me on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a new law that will give paramedics the authority to order a person into a 72-hour confinement if that person is experiencing a mental health crisis deemed a danger to themselves or others. Previously, only police officers, doctors, and mental health professionals were able to initiate such holds, known as 5150’s. 

The legislation should help the city’s effort to deploy public health professionals, rather than police, to 911 calls involving mental health situations. 

Over 500 bar owners, who are a part of the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance, are considering making patrons show proof of vaccination before they enter. “​​They're a bunch of a—holes,” alliance president Ben Bleiman told the SF Gate, referring to people who have chosen not to receive the Covid vaccine. “They're selfish and they're ignorant and they're putting us all in jeopardy and making it harder for all of us to recover from this.” 

Already, on Tuesday, North Beach’s Vesuvio Cafe started to require a photo or QR code from customers that proves their vaccination status. “Until this settles down, I think it's definitely safer for our staff and our clientele,” Vesuvio Cafe’s owner said. 

Quick bits:

  • 🌳 Eight years from the project’s inception and $2.8 million later, the new playground at Golden Gate Heights Park opened on Tuesday. Photos of the park look great. (Twitter

  • 🏨 An “affordable luxury,” high-tech hotel, where guests can open their doors with their phones, is set to open in the Union Square area this fall. (SFist

  • 🎹 The SF Gate’s Dan Gentile had a really good story today about San Francisco’s “only busking piano player,” who pounds the keys of his ​​Kohler & Campbell upright in the back of an unmarked white Sprinter van. Brady Collins, the piano player, said during the pandemic he was happy to be working and making around five dollars a day, enough to pay for “weed and coffee, two things I have to have.” (SF Gate

  • 🍔 The other day, after landing at SFO, I was so excited to see Amy's Drive-Thru in the newly renovated Terminal 1 that I stopped for a bite to eat. Who does that on their way home? Anyways, if you’re often hungry in the airport (like me), Eater put out an SFO eatery guide on Wednesday that’s worth a look. (Eater

And finally… 

Mark your calendars (if you’d like). On Thursday, August 5th, I’ll be joining Annie Gaus (a reporter at Here/Say Media) and Erica Messner (co-founder of The San Franciscan) at Manny’s to discuss the local news landscape in San Francisco. 

Yes, it will be local news reporters talking about local news reporting. But hopefully, it will be interesting to hear how we think about our jobs and where we think coverage in San Francisco is heading. Also, it should be a good time to hear from the audience about what they’d like us to report on more often. (Of course, you’re always welcome to send feedback to me directly: 

If you’re interested in attending, here’s a link to tickets. Be sure to use the code for SF Minute readers (SFMinuteReader50) for 50% off. And if you do come, please say hello. It would be awesome to meet some of you IRL! 

Alright, that’s all for today! Sorry for the late send. Busy day and lots to cover. Have a nice night and see you back here tomorrow! - Nick B. 

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