San Francisco , California
The Noe Valley Community Benefits District on 24th Street in Noe Valley is a busy commercial street running for six city blocks in the heart of San Francisco. It is filled with popular coffee shops, restaurants, bookstores, and other businesses, many of them locally owned. It sits within a dense residential neighborhood and is well connected to transit, with SF MUNI’s J-Church line running down Church Street along its eastern edge and frequent bus service along the length of 24 th Street. Given its popularity, however, the street is often congested with pedestrian, car, and bus traffic. The area can be a dangerous place for pedestrians and bicyclists, especially for the many young kids in the neighborhood. Furthermore, the street offers few places for pedestrians and bicyclists to stop and rest, with just one small park at the far end of the district, separated by residential uses.
Community Benefit Districts (CBDs), a growing trend in American cities, give local property owners the ability to tax themselves, thereby generating an additional revenue source that can fund a variety of services over and above what a City will normally provide through the general fund. The majority of most revenue is allocated towards street cleaning, but a number of CBDs are getting more and more creative in how they spend their new money. The Noe Valley Association has recently secured the services of Urban Ecology to evaluate the district’s physical environment and develop a conceptual plan that will address safety, transit connections, open space, economic vitality, and design standards.