Plans are moving ahead to relocate Fire Station 1 from 676 Howard to 935 Folsom Street. Expansion of the SFMOMA museum in Yerba Buena Center necessitated the move. Everyone welcomed the “gift” of a new fire station except the neighbors who will be affected, of course. Station 1 moves from an area with very few residential buildings to a neighborhood with senior housing, new condos and several residential enclave districts.
Neighbors were horrified last year to learn the details of the project when an expedited environmental review was rushed through. Members of Clementina Cares, a neighborhood organization, expressed their concerns in a LiveSOMA report published in August of last year. The Planning Commission certified the EIR in November and the Board of Supervisors rejected the last appeal in January.
Tenderloin activists have fought for years to reduce the noise associated with the frequent runs of fire engines through their neighborhood. It’s a problem not unique to San Francisco. New York City Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano recently announced the start of a Modified Response pilot program in Queens, where firefighters will stop using lights and sirens when responding to certain non-fire and non-life threatening emergencies.
In addition to increasing public safety and firefighter safety, Modified Response will improve the coverage FDNY provides, by keeping companies closer to their first-due response areas, making them more readily available for priority assignments such as fires or other life-threatening emergencies. Added benefits include a reduction of fuel and maintenance costs and a decrease in the noise created by units responding.
No word from the SFFD whether similar measures are being considered here.
Jim Meko, chair
SoMa Leadership Council