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Big SFNBBA-CCDC Victory As Stockton Street At Union Square Reopened After 7 Years

Major Artery To North Beach & Chinatown Opens After Years Of Lobbying Efforts

Here at the SFNBBA, we get a lot of work done for our North Beach merchants, and the local business community overall. You may have seen our recent article outlining a few of those accomplishments, just over the past year. 

But by its very nature, a lot of what we do is behind the scenes. So I thought it would be a good idea to give you a closer look at a recent victory, one that goes well beyond our neighborhood’s borders: the reopening of Stockton Street at Union Square after years of construction closure. I sat down with Fady Zoubi of Caffe Trieste, former SFNBBA President and longtime board member, for the story.

Joe Bonadio: On Thursday, you attended the ceremony for the reopening of Stockton Street at Union Square. Can you tell me a little about that?

Fady Zoubi: Lower Stockton Street, the part that runs between Geary and Market Streets, was closed seven years ago for the construction of the Central Subway.

It has literally been closed for seven years?

Yes, actually a little more than that. There was a promise made nearly ten years ago, that this part of Stockton would be reopened as soon as construction was complete. This was important, because it’s a main artery for people in Chinatown, North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf to get to the freeway,

Towards the end of 2015, when I was interim President of the North Beach Business Association, I was approached by the President of Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC), Phil Chin. He asked me for my thoughts on the reopening of Stockton.

Winter Walk at Union Square, built atop construction that until last week blocked traffic at Stockton and Market Streets.

Why had it not been reopened?

At first, because construction was still ongoing. If you recall, five years ago it was still a big hole in the ground over there. But it was promised to Chinatown, and to the people that arranged for Central Subway to be built, that this stretch of Stockton would be reopened–both for cars and public transportation.

But CCDC had heard talk that the block was not going to be reopened.

Why not?

Because during the latter part of the construction, it was being used as an open space and walkway for events in Union Square. 

 A little Union Square land-grab.

Exactly. I think it was shortly after Rose Pak passed away when the members of CCDC reached out to the North Beach Business Association. They wanted us to support them, and put our weight behind the effort to reopen it.

The way I see it, North Beach and Chinatown are partners. Everywhere you go in the world, if there’s a Chinatown, there’s a Little Italy next to it.

So this was just one more interest that we shared.

Right. So I took it to the board, and they agreed. We needed Stockton Street to be open for our delivery trucks, for our residents and visitors, and to relieve some of the congestion on surrounding streets.

So we began attending all the meetings of Chinatown Trip and CCDC. The San Francisco Hotel Association was part of it, Union Square Business Improvement District was on board, and Chinatown Tenants Association as well. We all had meetings on a weekly basis, discussed it, and met with representatives of the MTA until we finally got a written commitment that it would be reopened.

So it actually reopened on Friday [February 22nd]?

Yes. Traffic is finally flowing, and the 8 line is already running. More lines will follow soon.

How long did this lobbying process take?

Oh, nearly three years. But we did it.

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A Glimpse Of What SFNBBA Does For North Beach Businesses

In keeping with our history of support and leadership for the commercial district of our neighborhood, the North Beach Business Association has assembled a quick report detailing a few of our organizational accomplishments for 2018. This is a partial list, but it will give readers some idea of the breadth of our efforts for the neighborhood.

North Beach Commercial Vacancies Prompt Action: Enough Is Enough

On Wednesday afternoon, we will join Supervisor Aaron Peskin at 527 Columbus Avenue near Green Street, where commercial units have been kept off the rental market for nearly a decade. The press will be in attendance, and Supervisor Peskin and SFNBBA board members are expected to speak about the need for these commercial landlords to do their part to restore the commercial rental supply in our neighborhood–and the well-being of our commercial district. It’s not complicated: we are simply asking that property owners offer their vacant spaces for rent, and at a reasonable market rate.

Let's Keep It Local: Your North Beach Shopping Guide

A list of eleven of the coolest possible places to do your Christmas shopping–right here in North Beach.

Wintry Weather Brings Holiday Events And More To North Beach

This Friday, December 7th, the neighborhood will once again host the North Beach Wine Walk. If you haven't participated in the event before, it's a great way to meet some of the neighborhood's best retailers; shops like Z Cioccolato, Lola and Cole Hardware will be opening their shops after normal hours, and hosting local vintners to pour samples of their tastiest wines for attendees.

The Beach Never Sleeps: New Offerings Abound

Here in North Beach, it’s been a mighty strange couple of weeks. As much as we’ve tried to focus on our labors, the smoky, toxic air conditions brought by the tragic Camp Fire to our north has admittedly knocked our neighborhood a little bit out of whack. And that’s only natural, in a place where our residents are used to spending so much time outdoors. So we're here to give you a quick review of what's been afoot.

Business Owner Recognized For Heroism; Macchiarini Design Turns Seventy

This weekend, Edson Garcia, the owner of Brioche Bakery and Café on Columbus Avenue, was honored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin and the North Beach Business Association for a remarkable act of courage. 

Washington Square Mitigation Plan Finally In Place; Meanwhile, Ten Trees Gone

If you’ve been reading the blog, you already know Washington Square Park faces temporary closure in the coming months for renovations. Here at the SFNBBA, we’ve been lobbying the city and S.F. Recreation & Park for months.

SFNBBA Wins Neighborhood Protections In Face Of Washington Square Park Closure

The impending closure of Washington Square Park has got the neighborhood stirred up, and the people at the SFNBBA have been on the case. Take a look at this week's post to find out what we've accomplished–and what you should expect for Washington Square.

Empty Spaces: New Report Sheds Light On North Beach Vacancies

The vacancy crisis in North Beach is an ongoing concern, and this month we received some new data on the problem. According to a new report conducted by the San Francisco North Beach Business Association (SFNBBA) in cooperation with Telegraph Hill Dwellers and North Beach Neighbors, the numbers are jarring: over the past three years, the number of vacant ground-floor commercial spaces in the neighborhood has doubled.

It’s Always Sunny In North Beach: North Beach Festival Weekend Is Here

The very first street fair in America, The North Beach Festival has been the blueprint for neighborhood fairs and block parties for decades. And this weekend, we're celebrating the festival for the 64th time. In other news, is there trouble on the horizon for Washington Square Park?

On Eve Of North Beach Festival, Neighborhood Fights Washington Square Park Closure

There is always plenty afoot in North Beach, and this month is no exception: the annual North Beach Festival, due to hit our streets on Saturday and Sunday, June 16th and 17th, is always a monster event. We’re expecting a record turnout for our 64th year.
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Jan 23

Community Action: Resolve The Vacancy Crisis

Community Action: Resolve The Vacancy Crisis Wednesday, January 23rd @ 1:00 PM 527 Columbus Avenue, North Beach, SF (just north of Green St.)