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What's New:
Elevators for Roof Access
Undergrounding Utility Lines


November 2016

Modern Roof Access - Impacting Your Views
Elevators have been around for a long time both in commercial and residential applications. Roof access was previously only necessary for roofers and firefighters, but only recently have they been commonly installed in residential homes to go above the top floor to the roof. In San Francisco, the roof deck has become another family room/party room for residents and is expected as part of the modern, urban lifestyle.

Although these decks are rarely used, roof decks are becoming commonplace on remodeled homes. To reach them, expensive elevators are often thought necessary for access. The problem becomes the unsightly elevator deckhouse structure that accompanies the roof-top elevator. The structure can rise 10 feet above the roof with a width of ten feet.  One of these may not seem like a problem, but when three of your neighbors on each side of your block install a roof-top penthouse, it might as well be an additional floor blocking sunlight, air and views for many uphill and neighboring residents. 

Cow Hollow Association opposes roof-top structures and suggests several viable alternatives which may be much less expensive and serve the needed purpose for those few times a year that someone with a handicap or disability must reach the roof.  Pictured to the left is one of several lifts that can be used to travel up to 12 vertical feet.

Another alternative to elevators is a stair lift that also can move someone from a top floor to the roof via a seated track secured against a stair well wall that doesn't protrude above the roof top. Modern medical and industrial manufacturers are constantly proposing new, cheaper methods to reach our valuable roofs to enrich our urban lives. Elevators and their penthouse structures no longer need to occupy our rooftops blocking precious sunlight, air and views.

Update: Undergrounding Utility Wires
About half of Cow Hollow has yet to have its overhead wires put underground.
The San Francisco Coalition to Underground Utilities (CHA is represented on its Board) has focused its recent efforts in this election season on contacting the various supervisor candidates running in the six districts up for election (the odd numbered ones). The goal has been to ensure that they are aware of the community interest in getting the utility wires still strung over about half the city, finally taken off their poles and put underground; so that, in turn, we can get a sufficient allocation in the budget to fund the drafting of a master plan to accomplish this. 

Last fiscal year, the Board only allocated $125,000 out of its $9.6B budget, enough for just one person from DPW to look into what would be involved in drafting a master plan, the drafting of the masterplan itself estimated to cost between $1 to $1.5M. 

To further press for a sufficient allocation, the SFCUU is providing each new supervisor with a copy of its 125 page Supervisor's Handbook on Undergrounding Utilities, continuing to update it, and continuing to meet with neighborhood associations throughout the city.  If you are interested in working on this effort, please contact  David Bancroft.

Scoot Vehicles: Impacting Your Parking
Scoot is a company that operates a fleet of about 700 small, red electric scooters that are rented by the hour and left wherever the renter parks the scooter when finished.  The company negotiated several concessions on parking rules from SFMTA when they started in 2011as part of a pilot program, including that Scoots are not required to adhere to the 2 or 3 hours limits for vehicles that do not have an area parking permit.  As a result, these scooters are sometimes parked in the same spot for two or more weeks.

Neighborhood residents have been losing parking spaces in front of their homes to people parking their Scoots in those small spaces next to driveways that prevent residents from being able to park in front of their homes/driveways.  This residents then need to find other parking on the street resulting in less parking spots for everyone. 

A group of impacted residents and CHA board members have been in communication with Andy Thornley from SFMTA, who is monitoring the program.  While Mr. Thornley seems to believe most Scoot users are San Francisco residents who use the vehicle for short trips around the City, that does not seem to be the case in some parts of Cow Hollow.  In our area, it appears that many/most Scoot renters are tourists (from motel row on Lombard) and workers in the Presidio (where they would have to pay to park).  These people use Greenwich and streets nearby to park for free.

We recommended the ZipCar parking approach. Instead of blocking residents from use of their driveways, Scoot should use parking stalls in lots with ZipCars on Lombard. Several Scoots could use one parking spot and this would also enable Scoot to recharge their vehicles and save on staff time switching out batteries, moving for street cleaning etc., while preserving residents' driveway parking.

After some discussion with Mr. Thornley, he said residents can still contact #311 regarding any Scoot parked more than 72 hours, and he also welcomes those with concerns to contact him directly @  (415) 701-4213 and at   

Meanwhile, SFMTA is still evaluating the pilot policy for the rental Scoots.  Thornley can request to Scoot to not park in specific areas where residents have voiced concern over the loss of their driveway parking (i.e. by my driveway as an example). We will follow up with Mr. Thornley to confirm that we requesting some 'no- Scoot' zones if residents so request.
Cow Hollow Association
Board of Directors
Sherry Archer, David Bancroft, Lori Brooke, Don Emmons, 
Cari Gennarelli, Cynthia Gissler, Dan Holligan, 
Malcolm Kaufman , Veronica Taisch, Geoff Wood