I was looking for a place just ahead of the tide of development in San Francisco. I found it at Third Street and Jerrold Avenue in the Bayview District. It's an intersection with one foot in the past and one in the future. On one side there’s a combination KFC/Taco Bell and an old Baptist church. On the other, there’s the new All Good Pizza and a non-profit co-founded by Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs. In The Intersection, I go corner by corner—and hear about life in the middle of a transition.
FIRST STOP: St. John Missionary Baptist Church
We begin just as Sunday service is getting started at the historically black church. It's been on the corner for 66 years. That's where we meet longtime parishioner Diana Morton. Morton talks about the history of this corner and her church.
SECOND STOP: KFC/Taco Bell
While the congregation at the church is shrinking, the KFC/Taco Bell is having no problem attracting a crowd. I stop by during the height of the daily “Happier Hour”, when grillers and medium drinks are just $1. And I speak to cashier and Bayview resident Nakisha McDowell who talks about more recent changes in the neighborhood.
THIRD STOP: College Track
Most weekdays, around 4pm, a group of teens take their KFC to-go and head to the other side of Jerrold Avenue. They’re students at College Track, an after-school program that helps kids in neglected communities prepare for and complete college. The non-profit has sites in five other cities. In 2012, College Track moved its Bayview location from the outskirts of the neighborhood to Third Street and Jerrold Avenue into a refurbished brick building that had been boarded up for a half-decade. That's where we meet Site Director Omar Butler and student Elisa Harrison.
LAST STOP: All Good Pizza
Around the same time that the College Track site opened its doors in 2012, Third Street and Jerrold Avenue got another new resident: All Good Pizza. Inside the gates, it’s a cross between a beer garden and a food truck park. In the center of the lot is a permanently parked trailer emblazoned with All Good’s motto: “We're a little bit Iowa, a little bit Louisiana, and a whole lot of Bayview.” Inside the trailer, they make pizzas, panini and salads with all organic ingredients. And that’s where I find the owners Kristin Trahan, whose lived in the neighborhood for 14 years, and her husband Matt.
As much of San Francisco becomes unaffordable, Bayview is a place where prices are steep but not totally insane. But it’s changing fast. Many in the area were surprised when a two-unit Victorian next to College Track sold for exactly $1 million. Many of the folks who live and work near the corner welcome the change. They think the neighborhood has been neglected and underserved for years. Yes, there’s a bit of nervousness about getting priced out. But there’s also an excitement about the Bayview becoming a better place to live.
As we’ve seen in the rest of the city, tomorrow could be different. This neighborhood could be developed beyond recognition. Fifteen years ago, when I left San Francisco, the corner of Third Street and King Street was just warehouses and a few dance clubs. Now, it's one of the most expensive spots in the city. Fifteen years from now, it's hard to say what of Third Street and Jerrold Avenue will look like. But one thing is certain: it will be different.
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