Monday, December 07, 2015

Civic Center and San Francisco Opera

I just completed a survey from San Francisco Opera that arrived via the following email:
Dear Ms. Hirsch, 
San Francisco Opera is committed to creating the best patron experience possible. Many opera patrons have told us it is a challenge getting to the War Memorial Opera House. We hope we can make a difference. 
Please help us develop new transportation programs by taking this brief 2-minute survey. 
We value your feedback and encourage you to complete the survey before it closes on Wednesday, December 16. Your responses will be kept strictly confidential and will not be linked to you personally in any way. 
To thank you for your participation, all respondents who complete the survey will be entered to win one of five pairs of tickets to an opera of their choice in summer 2016.We are grateful for your help and support! 
Sincerely,San Francisco Opera
I opened the survey - I'm willing to play - and the questions started off by asking subscriber/single-ticket buyer, then went on to how the patron gets to the opera, then the kicker: how safe do you feel in Civic Center? And questions about whether you'd take a shuttle from Civic Center BART/MUNI or a shuttle from the East Bay.

Well, okay. So this survey isn't really about transportation. It's really about the failure of San Francisco's city government to provide adequate housing and mental health care to homeless people living in the Civic Center area, and about the failure of BART to keep its station in decent condition, free of stink and with the escalators all working.
The State of Utah has had great success in reducing homelessness.....by actually housing homeless people and offering them supportive services. San Francisco could do this. The disappearances of single room occupancy buildings, the disastrous turning-out of the mentally ill from hospitals without housing or group homes or support services, and the continuing shortage of housing for low-income people have all been major factors in the increase of people living on the street. 
I'm sorry to say that the survey doesn't address this head-on, by, say, providing contact information so that people like me can write to individuals at San Francisco City Hall and BART to demand decent housing and services for homeless people. This country has the money to do this, and it's a matter of human decency to take better care of the homeless.


Unknown said...

After reading your comments, I opened the survey. All but one of the questions (beyond the two on ticket buying and day of attendance and the comment box at the end) had to do with transportation. Only one was the question on which you elected to focus. Looks like a transportation survey to me! Moreover, the questions asked were good ones — do you favor the options listed and what would you be willing to pay for them. Hope SFO posts the results somehow.

Lisa Hirsch said...

You're reading the survey very literally. The question about how safe you feel in Civic Center is the key; they're trying to figure out how to help patrons dodge all the homeless people. That points to a deeper issue in SF policy.

Eric Pease said...

when you exit the opera house to the north, i've seen shuttle buses that run to the SF retirement homes after performances.

perhaps SF Opera is just keeping up with the services that other folks currently offer.

also just looks like a transportation survey to me.

Eric Pease said...

from SF Opera

"Based on feedback from last fall’s transportation survey, we are pleased to share some of our new transportation programs. We hope these initiatives will improve your experience.

Two of these programs are trials for the summer season only: a shuttle loop from Civic Center BART station to and from the Opera House and a round-trip shuttle from Palo Alto Caltrain station to the Opera House. We will extend these programs into the 2016–17 Season depending on their success and your feedback. In addition, we are pleased to partner with Luxe Valet, an on-demand valet parking and car services app that is making parking affordable and stress-free.

As we work to improve transportation to and from the Opera, we welcome your thoughts and encourage you to email us."

Lisa Hirsch said...

A shuttle bus covering the three blocks from Civic Center BART to the Opera House is, IMO, to keep patrons away from the homeless people camped out. "How safe do you feel?" was one of their questions in the survey.