Mid Year Report FY 2016/2017

Lower Polk CBD

FY 16/17 Mid-Year Report

The Lower Polk CBD has been providing cleaning, maintenance, and hospitality services to a roughly 22 block area along the Polk Street corridor (Van Ness to Larkin) from California to O’Farrell since January 1, 2016.  LPCBD is formed pursuant to the Property and Business Improvement District Act of 1994 within the California Streets and Highway Code (Sections 36600 et seq.) (“1994” Act”) as augmented by the Business Improvement District Procedure, Article 15 of the San Francisco Business and Tax Regulations Code.

Christian Martin is the Executive Director of the Lower Polk Community Benefit District (CBD). Prior to joining the Lower Polk CBD, Christian Martin served as the Executive Director of the Trenton Downtown Association in Trenton, NJ, and has experience in the executive and legislative branches of New Jersey State government.  Mr. Martin has over 5 years of experience running special services districts providing litter removal and ambassador services.

LPCBD employs full time staff and contractors to provide a variety of cleaning and maintenance services.  Local and national contractors bringing a collective 50 years of experience to the Lower Polk include; Streetplus LLC, City Resource Inc., J&J Works Pressure Washing, and Curb Appeal Inc. for pressure washing.  These businesses are contracted by LPCBD management to provide the following services:

LPCBD Cleaning and Maintenance Services
Removal of litter, debris and cigarette butts on sidewalks from the building line to 18” into the street gutter Daily
Damp wiping and straightening of public fixtures (such as trash can lids and news racks) Daily
Power Washing of sidewalks and alleys (spot cleaning of most heavily trafficked areas/spills/stains) Regular as needed
Removal of graffiti on private property with property owner consent Within 48 hours of notification
Removal of graffiti from public infrastructure Daily
Removal of isolated weeds (larger concentrations of weeds removed by cutting) As needed
Special Projects. Defined as painting of public infrastructure, cleaning of tree wells, or other similar projects As needed
Work with San Francisco Police and service organizations to identify strategies to help individuals in need Daily

In FY 16/17, LPCBD ambassadors removed over 45 tons of trash from the Lower Polk streets. Cleaning crews also removed approximately 159 instances of graffiti and pressure washed 179 block faces in the district.

Further LPCBD staff conducted daily litter patrol and clean up services, abated weeds 26 times, gave directions 78 times, and worked to remove 14 encampments and aggressive panhandlers.

To ensure our outreach staff has the best training, and is coordinated with San Francisco City government, we have retained a consultant who is a former member of the SFHOT (Homeless Outreach) Team and has several years of experience doing outreach in our neighborhood.  Our consultant’s objective is to train our ambassadors and interns with the best practices that improve the overall safety and security of the neighborhood, while improving the quality of life for homeless individuals by referring them to other community-based service providers whenever possible. LPCBD outreach services are designed to support and promote the economic vitality of our community.

LPCBD has regular training for ambassadors and outreach staff in trauma informed care, safety management and risk training (SMART), CPR, and first aid techniques. Outreach ambassadors are further given strategic engagement practices that facilitate relationship building through barriers such as mental health challenges, and drug and alcohol addiction.

LPCBD employs 6 full time cleaning ambassadors and trains ambassador interns through the Human Services Agency’s ITIP Program.  So far, 3 ITIP interns have been hired as full-time ambassadors with LPCBD.

The LPCBD Ambassadors regularly engage in social services activities including:

  • Conducting daily outreach sessions to homeless within our boundaries
  • Responding to calls by merchants requesting support
  • Making referrals to other services such as Lava Mae for Showers, Glide, ST. Anthony’s, and St Martin De Pores for meals
  • Call the Hot Team for support
  • Call 911 for support
  • Provide access to clean and monitored restroom services 24 hours per day

Providing these services has provided a calming force, and stabilized the neighborhood dramatically during business hours.  LPCBD Ambassadors are a visible presence in the community, providing an enhanced atmosphere of public safety and social cohesion. LPCBD intervenes when there are concerns expressed by the business community and provide de-escalation services to people experiencing emotional disturbances whenever necessary.  The CBD also provides an important security presence that observes and reports security concerns before they become out of control, obviating potentially dangerous situations in the district. We also make strategic interventions (when safe and appropriate) to serve as a buffer between law enforcement, the homeless, and the businesses and residents of the Lower Polk neighborhood.  Our objective through these services is to remove the barriers to the sustained vitality of our business community, and to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors to our district.

To help accomplish our organizational objectives LPCBD has procured the following professional services on an as needed basis; legal services, arts program consulting, website development and technical support, homeless outreach consulting, accounting, and grant writing assistance.

Finally, LPCBD has embarked on a beautification initiative that will include; decorative lighting, tree planting through Friends of the Urban Forest, flowers, and murals funded in part by a grant by OEWD.  Working with SFDPW, Supervisor Peskin, Pacific Eagle Inc., Lower Polk Neighbors, and Interstice Architects, LPCBD is implementing the neighborhood vision for beautifying and transforming its neglected alleyways between Van Ness and Larkin.  These plans are moving forward with Fern Alley and Austin Alley redesigns projects.  These projects will make dramatic improvements designed to create a safer pedestrian experience, and a greener, cleaner, more cohesive neighborhood.