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Richmond District residents tell City Hall they want to keep neighborhood quiet

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One Richmond Survey says neighbors value “peaceful,” “small town” vibe

An aerial photo overlooking the Richmond, facing the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo by Jon Sullivan

Back in January, District One supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer’s office released a survey asking Richmond District residents what they thought about their neighborhood and what priorities they valued.

Fewer wasn’t asking out of curiosity; she wrote in her district newsletter that she’d use the the One Richmond Survey to assess how to spend a $1 million budget windfall:

I am proud to share that through the city budget process, $1 million in new resources will be coming into the Richmond District for infrastructure and beautification, youth and family services, senior services, neighborhood safety efforts, tenant counseling, and more.

I am especially pleased to announce the funding of a new initiative called “One Richmond” that my office will be working on with the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Designed to uplift principles of inclusion, interconnectedness, responsibility, and supporting neighborhood resources like small businesses, One Richmond will be launching sometime this fall.

While residents from other San Francisco neighborhoods might want to see things like denser housing and more efficient public transit in the Richmond, the survey results, via Richmond SF Blog, suggest that those who live there prefer to keep the Richmond as low-key as possible.

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In all, here’s how 685 Richmond neighbors and 49 others weighed in:

  • When describing the neighborhood, 18.2 percent used words like “peaceful” and “quiet,” while seven percent called it “friendly” and 6.9 percent “natural.” Only 3.7 percent said “negative,” although this beat out words like “beautiful,” “family,” and “charming.”
  • Similarly, when asked to describe the “mood” of the Richmond, 34.5 percent said “peaceful,” while 10.2 percent said “local and neighborly.” Only 2.7 percent said “unsafe.”
  • Asked what distinguishes the Richmond from other neighborhoods 17.2 percent said the parks, while some potentially more intriguing answers included being a “small residential town in SF” (8.7 percent), being “quiet and chill” (8.2 percent), and being “not pretentious or hip” (6.6 percent).
  • Asked how to improve the Richmond, 13.4 percent cited “traffic/transit” while 12.7 percent complained “clean the streets.” Some 7.8 percent cited homelessness, while 7.9 percent cited concern about “empty stores.” (Whether this means vacant storefronts or local businesses having trouble attracting customers isn’t clear.) Only 4.4 percent brought up affordability.

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  • When quizzed on what landmarks Richmond residents most associate with the neighborhood, 20.6 percent Geary Boulevard, which seems a little weird. Granted, it’s a critical lifeline that runs through the entire neighborhood, but it’s not much to look at compared to the Legion of Honor (15.2 percent), Sutro Baths (10.5 percent), and the Cliff House (8.9 percent).
  • Asked what brings Richmond neighbors together, 14.2 percent said “nature,” while 11.6 percent said “Muni/buses,” a reply that suggests some readers took the term “bring together” more literally than others. Some 7.6 percent responded simply that it’s a “little neighborhood,” while 2.3 percent said “complaining.”
  • For favorite local business, Green Apple Books was the runaway winner with 14.6 percent, the Balboa Theater trailing a distance second with six percent.
  • Finally, when asked to associate the neighborhood with a color (for some reason), 25.7 percent said green and 21 percent blue, while 14.9 percent said “gray/fog.” Asked what shape they associate with the neighborhood, 23.6 percent said “rectangle,” while 14.7 percent replied “organic.” That’s not even sort of a shape, but this is such a weird question maybe any response makes sense.

You can read the full results here.