Since its beginnings the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association has been influential in building a stronger neighborhood. Successful lobbying efforts for Hayes Valley began in the 1990’s when residents wanted to prevent the earthquake-damaged Central Freeway from being re-built and residents sought to clean up the areas under the former freeway from crime. In 1994/1995, led by Patricia Walkup and other long term residents, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Coalition, the precursor to today’s HVNA, developed a “parks committee” which focused on Koshland Park and Rose/Page Mini Park; a “prostitution committee,” which emphasized outreach and reform rather than incarceration; and an “aesthetics and safety committee,” which began to look critically at trash and cleanliness on parking lots and the underside of the freeway. A “youth committee” sought to preempt criminal activity among area kids.
From Freeway to a Better Neighborhood
Throughout the late 1990’s HVNA and residents of Hayes Valley worked closely with the City’s Central Freeway Advisory Taskforce and eventually advocated for the replacement of the freeway with a surface boulevard. In the elections of 1997, 1998, and 1999 the voters decided to remove the freeway and replace it with what is today Octavia Boulevard. Not satisfied with just freeway removal the Hayes Valley residents began organized efforts to rethink land use and transportation planning and starting in 2000 HVNA worked with the San Francisco Planning Department to create the Market and Octavia Better Neighborhood Plan. In July 2000 HVNA filed for incorporation as a nonprofit organization. In 2008 the city formally adopted the Market and Octavia Plan.
Building Community Partnerships
For decades Hayes Valley’s proximity to Civic Center made it a thriving and diverse neighborhood. HVNA prides itself on working with many neighborhood businesses and organizations. Many collaborations happen with the arts and entertainment community from the San Francisco Symphony, Opera, and Ballet to SF JAZZ and the Conservatory of Music to The Hayes Valley Art Coalition to The Hayes Valley Merchants Association. Some recent support from HVNA has gone to the Hayes Valley Farm, Project Homeless Connect Community Gardens, Community Partners United, and to having the Trust for Public Land Hayes Valley Playground rebuilt.
The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association meets the fourth Thursday of each month. We have several active committees including Arts, Culture, and Entertainment (ACE). Our Transportation and Planning Committee is very active in the many projects planned for the neighborhood. Our Public Safety Committee meets the first Monday of each month. Other committees are Business Relations and Youth and Families along with the Communications Committee, which is responsible for the Hayes Valley Voice which goes out to over 3,500 homes and businesses. All neighbors are welcome to our meetings and functions, and we hope you will join the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association. Check our website, www.hayesvalleysf.org for meeting dates and times. We look forward to seeing you.