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Bumpy, craggy Masonic Avenue to be temporarily repaved

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San Francisco residents attend a town hall meeting in the Lower Haight to address construction impacts on Thursday night. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez/S.F. Examiner)
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“What the hell is going on at Masonic?”

One irate San Francisco resident, Suzanne Cowan, pointedly — and loudly — posed that question to Board of Supervisors London Breed and a bevy of public officials at a neighborhood meeting at the IBEW Local 6 union hall on 55 Fillmore St. Thursday night.

Breed called for the meeting to inform constituents about recent construction projects in the Lower Haight. That night, Cowan was not alone in her anger.

Masonic Avenue’s craggy, pothole-riddled concrete prompted numerous neighbors, irate drivers and frustrated bicyclists in attendance at the meeting to beg The City for relief.

At that same meeting, Breed announced a smoother ride is indeed coming to Masonic Avenue, as the Department of Public Works is set to temporarily repave the street.

“I do beat up on them a lot,” Breed said of Public Works and other city departments. “But they do their jobs and do them well.”

The repavement work will come as soon as this week. “We will be doing temporary paving and patchwork on portions of Masonic,” Jennifer Blot, deputy director of communications for Public Works, confirmed in an email to the San Francisco Examiner.

That temporary repavement work will cover a stretch of Masonic Avenue between Hayes Street and Ewing Terrace, a small street just a half block south of O’Farrell Street, where a City Target is located, according to Blot.

The work is set to for Tuesday through Friday. That fix will be temporary, Blot said, as work on the Masonic Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project will see electrical and water crews start digging into the street in six months.

Neighbors at Thursday’s meeting were glad for the Masonic Avenue project, which has already begun and will see the corridor transformed with safety improvements catered to pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motorists alike.

Masonic Avenue wasn’t the only focus of neighbors’ ire during the meeting, which was also attended by officials from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and other agencies.

Subcontractors in the neighborhood also drew a heat for allegedly wrongfully towing cars.

Jacki Butterfield, manager of local eatery Memphis Minnie’s, said her customers are towed and ticketed frequently. “That’s an expensive lunch,” she said, and it’s also leading to a 10 to 15 percent drop in sales since construction-related parking woes began in the neighborhood.

Shannon Cheng, a San Francisco resident, voiced concerns to officials as her husband rocked their baby in the back of the room — construction in the Lower Haight arrived without the required written notices, she said.

“We live at Scott and Hayes, and one day we woke up to a jackhammer,” she said.
Derek Remski, another San Francisco resident, said he noticed “wires running across the street” uncovered, that were allegedly not to code.

“The subcontractors and contractors are a guest in our community,” he said. “If they acted that way in our home, we’d ask them to leave.”

Officials jotted down numbers of constituents, and promised to follow up with all their concerns, including one from Breed herself.

When Breed parked in her district last year, “a contractor accused me of moving a sign that wasn’t there the night before,” she said. She received a $98 ticket, which she paid.

“It was really frustrating,” Breed said.

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