Local Economic Development Organization Spearheads Pedestrian Level Lighting Program
(San Francisco – February 21, 2013) On Saturday, February 16, 2013, the Excelsior Action Group (EAG) executed a grassroots safety program with the help of over a dozen local youth in San Francisco’s Excelsior neighborhood. Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior is a pedestrian level lighting campaign that enlists youth as safety liaisons to distribute free energy efficient lighting to small businesses to brighten their storefront windows at night. Generously funded by PG&E, the program addresses the neighborhood’s dire need for pedestrian level lighting to increase safety and foot traffic on Mission Street after dark.
Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior was developed in response to a call from merchants and residents alike for better lighting and improved safety along the Excelsior’s commercial corridor. In EAG’s recent community needs assessment, merchants shared common anecdotes of increased break-ins and defacement of their storefronts during the night. Residents living, working, and shopping on the corridor cited that their sense of security on Mission Street dramatically decreases after dark. EAG’s Public Safety Planning Group took these findings as a call to action, working with PG&E to develop the Shine a Bright Light on Excelsior program.
Fifteen neighborhood youth from Balboa High School and San Francisco State University volunteered with EAG staff to distribute energy efficient light bulbs to 193 small businesses along Mission Street. Their message was simple: leave a light on at night to improve pedestrian safety after dark. When asked why the program was important, SFSU student Rosson Pan remarked, “Increased lighting will encourage more people to feel safe and to shop on Mission Street after dark, which will increase safety even further. It’s a cycle that will help to improve the local economy!”
Small business owners were warmly receptive to the program and pleased to see local youth volunteering in the community. “We recognize that a free light bulb is only a temporary solution,” explained Commercial Corridor Manager Nicole Agbayani, “But it also sparks a neighborhood-wide conversation about a much needed project to permanently install pedestrian level lighting here in the Excelsior. Merchants recognize the positive impact more lighting has on their businesses. Youth recognize that more lighting engenders a safer community, and that they can be the impetus for that transformation.”
Bernardo Cortes, Customer Relationship Manager at PG&E, the program’s primary funder, said, “PG&E is proud to work with the Excelsior Action Group to promote safety along the Excelsior commercial corridor. We will continue to collaborate with EAG to provide local businesses with energy-efficient measures to help them save money and improve public safety.” EAG is grateful for all of the support it received in bringing this program to fruition, particularly from PG&E, Whole Foods, Balboa High School’s PULSE program, and SFSU Professor Brigitte Davila.
MAYOR LEE ANNOUNCES ONLINE TOOL TO HELP ENTREPRENEURS & BUSINESSES START, STAY & GROW IN SAN FRANCISCORead Now
License 123 Streamlines Permits & Licenses & Creates Better Government Efficiencies Through Technology
San Francisco, CA--Mayor Edwin M. Lee today launched an online tool to help new businesses navigate the City’s permitting and licensing requirements. License 123 is an easy-to-use tool that allows entrepreneurs and small business owners to access permits and licenses at one convenient site, instead of contacting several City agencies, as they open a new business in San Francisco.
“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our economy and a significant job creator,” said Mayor Lee. “This new tool is a great example of how we are using technology and innovation to make government more responsive and efficient to help our businesses grow and succeed in our City.”
Created in partnership with the Office of Small Business, Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Department of Technology, License 123 allows users to apply for the City’s permits and licenses online easily. Users begin by selecting the industry and specific type of business they would like to operate. Based on their selections, they are able to see all permits, licenses and estimated costs associated with their business type. Users are then able to download the forms and are referred to the Departments responsible for accepting their applications.
“Traditionally, new business owners who did not visit the Office of Small Business would have to approach many departments to pick up or download the forms they need to start their business,” said Office of Small Business Director Regina Dick-Endrizzi. “License 123 provides a single place where forms are easily accessible and downloadable at any time of the day with only a few clicks.”
In addition to City and County of San Francisco forms, there are 204 State of California forms and 100 Federal forms related to various business types. License 123 currently offers information on 258 unique types of businesses across 19 industries.
“Knowing that the permitting process was not an easy one, I greatly appreciated that License 123 was able to gather all the information I needed in one place,” said License 123 beta user Steve Fox, a small business owner targeting the opening of Urban Putt, a restaurant and bar with an 18-hole indoor miniature golf course in San Francisco’s Mission District in Fall 2013. “Navigation was simple and I was able to get to every form I needed with no more than two clicks.”
Through License 123, users are also referred to the Office of Small Business for additional guidance. The Office of Small Business provides one-on-one customized business assistance in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese and all forms are offered in Spanish and Chinese.
The launch of License 123 is a continuation of Mayor Lee’s concentrated effort to make it easier for small businesses to start, stay, and grow in San Francisco while using technology to improve access to information and government services. In November, the Mayor also announced the Enterprise Zone Web App, a tool to help businesses access Hiring Tax Credits online.
License 123 is a product of DocStoc, a company that hosts a selection of professional documents and resources for small businesses. To access the new License 123 online tool, go to: http://sf.license123.com
The Excelsior Action Group is working to install the Excelsior's first sculpture at the corner of Geneva Avenue and Mission Street. To learn more about the project, click here. Entitled Ever Upward, this has truly been a community-driven effort. The mosaic column whose designs are pictured to the left will be produced entirely by community volunteers.
EAG is seeking in-kind donations of supplies & tool lending from community members who would like to support the production of Ever Upward's mosaic. The following is a list of supplies & tools we need for this project. Please contact (415) 585-0110 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to donate or lend any of the following! Thank you!
Compound Nipper for Hard Tile (2)
Mosaic Tile Nipper (6)
Ceramic Combo Tool (2)
Chipping Hammer with Coil Handle (1)
7" Tweezers (6)
Dental Picks (4)
Dual Grit Rubbing Stone (1)
Margin Trowel (4)
Colored tiles (no smaller than 1 square inch)
Mosaic Tile Mesh
Old paint brushes