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Market & Octavia Plan: Written Comments


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Citywide Home > Better Neighborhoods > Neighborhoods > Market & Octavia > Community Feedback > Written Comments

Written Comments from the Community

I will try to submit these comments at today's hearing but have a series of meeting that may prohibit my attendance so I would like to outline some concerns with the contents of the Draft Plan and request a formal meeting with you regarding them.

The concern centers on Part 2 of the Plan, the "Housing People" section which seems to give very little emphasis on the production of permanently affordable housing, especially rental housing opportunities for low and very low income households. Indeed, there is language in the Plan, which seems to be bar the production of such housing in the area.

Specifically the language contained in policy 2.1.1 on page 41 which states, in part,: "Affordable housing should ideally be distributed among a variety of different housing types and levels of affordability rather than concentrated in individual projects". Top

Setting as an "ideal" only as an "inclusionary" form of "affordable housing development creates a significant barrier, indeed would seem to ban the development of permanently affordable rental housing- a critical housing type needed in this neighborhood and the City as a whole and so recognized in the Housing Element.

The City does not fund affordable housing developments nor are tax credits available to developments that are not 100% affordable. "Ideally", banning such developments from the area would in fact ban lower income affordable housing developments from the area.

Existing inclusionary programs only require affordability to 60% of median in rental developments, a level of affordability that will bar existing lower income residents from their own neighborhood...a curious policy to follow.

Would urge the removal of this specific language from the Plan. Top

Policy 2.3.4 on "innovate programs to increase housing opportunities and affordability" is simply incomplete and also needs major revision. To hold out that the only innovate program "affordability" program is a land trust for home ownership is simply silly and more importantly shows a class bias that is simply breath-taking and once again ignores the need for permanently affordable rental housing.

Hoping to hear from you regarding a meeting on these matters, I am.

Sincerely,

C.W.


5901


Hello,

As I am unable to attend the planning meeting tomorrow, I am submitting my comments and requests in writing.

First, it is important that any building on the off-ramp parcel not exceed 40 feet in height, to maintain sunlight and the aesthetic integrity of the neighborhood. Please don't ruin our haven by building an ugly monolith. Any building should also have a varied and interesting facade, both to preserve the beauty of the neighborhood and to deter vandalism. The design should also integrate as many of the existing older trees as possible. This will increase the value of any new unit, and also preserve the homes of the many birds that live in that block, and add to the livability of the area with their songs. Top

A final concern about any building is the current language, which states that parking minimums can be disregarded, as an incentive to utilize alternative modes of transportation. This is short-sighted and poorly thought out. I rarely drive my car in the neighborhood, and do walk or ride my bike to local destinations most of the time. However, like many, I own a car and need to park it. Parking is already extremely scarce in the neighborhood. If you build a residential building without sufficient parking, you are creating a huge problem for both new and previous residents of the area. Please rethink the required parking/resident ratios.

Regarding Octavia Boulevard, the inclusion of a bike lane is necessary; currently Octavia is one of the safer and flatter places to ride a bike in the neighborhood. I would also want "traffic taming" measures to keep this a "boulevard" and not a freeway replacement - I am thinking of how fast and heavy traffic is on Guererro, and that traffic pattern would be detrimental to the neighborhood. Also, the intersection of Market and Laguna is currently very hazardous (to cars, pedestrians and cyclists), and will become more so as surface traffic increases. A simple solution would be to have each direction take a turn rather than having traffic crossing from both directions; left-turn signals would also be an improvement.

Finally, I request that construction take place during regulated 8 to 4 hours on weekdays only. I live very close to Octavia Boulevard, and the noise of construction during weekends would be horrendous. Top

Thank you for your careful and serious consideration of my suggestions,

E.R.


5901


John,

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft plan. After all the city government has done to destroy the urban environment over the past several decades with bleak housing projects and racetrack thoroughfares, I admit I was skeptical of the planning department proposal, but the current plan appears to represent a dramatic turnaround in most respects and I applaud it.

As a resident of Linden Alley between Laguna and Octavia, I emphatically support conversion to the "living street" model outlined in the plan and hope work on this will begin here and on other streets as soon as possible. I am of course delighted that there will be a new park one block from me and I hope at least a portion of the large eucalyptus trees growing on the current site can be incorporated into the park design. I also want something to de done about the shiny metal siding on the building across Octavia. This is an eyesore now and would mar the appearance of a park.

One of my main concerns with San Francisco development projects these days has to do with the appearance of buildings. Most buildings constructed recently in this city have been completely uninspiring. Structures that try to imitate their older neighbors end up looking at best inoffensive but almost always ersatz and vapid. By far the worst new structure in this neighborhood is the stucco building near the intersection of Hayes and Laguna. These new "stucco" buildings are the bane of this city and they should probably be banned. San Francisco needs to do two things to revive architecture here: 1) loosen some of the rules in cases where designs are creative 2) encourage use of high-quality materials through incentives. I know I am getting too broad here, but please don't authorize the construction of a bunch of crappy buildings in Hayes Valley that we will all wish we could tear down twenty years from now.

While on the subject of modern forms of urban blight, I wish to express my virulent opposition to the proposal for a Starbucks two blocks from my apartment in the new building on Gough. A condition for approval of the development plan should be a ban on all corporate chain stores in this neighborhood, at minimum non-local chains. Top

I support the construction of tall mixed-use buildings along Market Street. I think the height limits are actually too low along most of the street. Market is wide and it looks bleak in many places because the buildings along it are too short. San Francisco needs to accommodate more density in many places and Market is the best place to do it. I think buildings along most of the street should be several stories taller than proposed in the plan.

Again, I am generally very pleased with the draft and support its proposals. Thanks for reading my comments.

J.H.


5901


I am in receipt of the full "Octavia and Market Plan" outlining the draft to be considered and approved for the Octavia Boulevard project and those Lots proposed to be developed. May I start by complimenting you and the Planning Dept. on a very well done proposal. However, I would like to specifically address my concerns with Parcels O and P: the block where the current freeway off-ramp will be demolished, bordered by Octavia and Laguna, and Oak and Fell streets. Top

The Plan acknowledges that Parcels O and P is the largest of all lots available for development, and because of this fact we know that there will be numerous developers and local organizations bidding on this rare opportunity to build. It is absolutely imperative that the Plan reflects the parameters acceptable to the neighborhood establishing legal and zoning requirements, and to suggest the criteria to be followed by these potential developers. I have two specific objections, and request changes to be made to the Plan.

· Height Limits. Though the Plan carefully mentions the fact that "the physical fabric of the surrounding residential district is extremely fine-grained, with small individual residential buildings on narrow lots", the Planning Department has recommended that the height restrictions on all four street-fronts be at fifty feet (50'), rather than the forty foot (40') restrictions on the other side of the same streets. As a neighbor on Laguna Street facing Parcels O and P, I find this absolutely unacceptable. If you will recall, the slope of this block (as there is no topography map included in the Plan) rises from Octavia up to Laguna. To maintain a 50' height for this entire City block flies in the face of the surrounding residential neighbors. There is no other block that the Plan names in this immediate vicinity that has such an aggressive proposal. At the corner of Laguna and Fell, for instance, there are three existing corner structures with wonderful architecture, and the new fourth corner should match them in scale and height. Top

Requested Change to the Plan: A forty foot (40') height restriction shall apply to all new construction facing Fell, Laguna and Oak Streets, with a fifty foot (50') height restriction that shall apply to construction facing Octavia (with a depth no greater than other Octavia neighboring blocks to the south at this same height).

· Alley and Trees. The suggested site-plan for Parcels O and P (page 151) calls for a very rectangular development, adding an extension of the alley for cars that will dead-end at Octavia. Though the tone of the Plan very strongly encourages a reduction of auto traffic and parking, and an increase in pedestrian traffic and green space, I find this suggested site-plan for Parcels O and P to be very short-sited (and far from creative). We find that there is no benefit in extending Hickory Alley from Laguna to a dead-end at Octavia, as a "pedestrian green belt" through the block would be far more advantageous to the neighborhood. And further, as the site-plan assumes that the many mature trees on this parcel would be removed, it is sinful that such a meandering green belt would not include some of these existing trees. It is also of special note that many birds in the area call these trees home, some of which are rarely found elsewhere in the City. The Plan does not comment about the current trees, and does not encourage developers to consider alternatives. Already HVNA has had special guests present ideas very different from Page 151, and their ideas so far are much more creative regarding the current conditions. than the Plan lays out. The Plan should encourage such creativity, and suggest utilizing some of the existing trees and considering alternatives other than an asphalt alley down the middle of these Parcels. (Also, it is of note that Hickory Alley is narrower on the west side of Laguna than a traditional alley, and extending it thru would only encourage cross-traffic to utilize this hazardous "funnel".)

Requested Change to the Plan: Delete any reference in the Plan to a requirement or suggestion of extending Hickory Alley thru Parcels O and P, except as a pedestrian walkway or green belt. Add reference to the Plan that existing mature trees on the Parcels are encouraged to be utilized wherever possible and practical. Top

Thank you for taking the time to consider these changes to the Plan. I am sure that much time and thought went into the Plan's draft, but I trust my points are distinctly heard and that action will be taken. Please let me know if there is additional research required, or if there are other avenues that I must pursue to achieve these results.

Kind Regards&

I.S.


5901


I've lived at the intersection of Laguna and Oak for 10 years and so have many thoughts on the neighborhood plan.

Regarding the "off-ramp parcel," I feel that the ideal use would be green space. Since that seems not to be an option, I ask that the height limit for any building be no higher than 40 feet, in keeping with the surrounding buildings, to preserve neighborhood integrity and available sunlight. Also, there are many trees on that lot, which have valiantly survived thus far. I would ask that any development preserve at least the mature trees on this lot, which would maintain our thriving bird population as well as the refreshing and necessary green (you know, reducing green house gases, etc.) Baby curb-lawn trees just don't have the same effect. I would hope that any development strive for a multi-faceted, varied, integrated facade to the building, not some beige stucco/concrete bare wall begging for the inevitable graffiti. An example of a well-done development are the new low-income apartments on the corner of Church and Duboce...they ! are nice to walk by, and look to be nice to live in. I don't know about the necessity of a Hickory Alley right-of-way...maybe a tree-lined pedestrian path would be more useful. I'm concerned about the stipulation "parking is not required nor encouraged." Parking is sooo tight in this neighborhood already, and this plan talks about maximizing how many additional people could live on this previously empty block. If you are not going to create parking (how about underground), then I'd like to see a limit on the number of new residents that could own cars or get neighborhood parking permits. I know that you are attempting to encourage walking and bike riding, but the reality is that many people will have cars and need to park them. Top

A related but somewhat separate concern is the hours and times of demolition and construction. I would like any work to be limited to weekdays...this past weekend roadwork began at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. Please don't make my next few years miserable in this way!

Last, other public comments have addressed the dangers of the Market/Laguna intersection. This intersection is risky for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars alike. Signals with turn arrows would go a long way toward solving this problem!

Thanks for your time, E.R.


5901


To: The Better Neighborhoods Planning Team
Regarding: The Market and Octavia Neighborhood Draft Plan

As a resident of Hayes Valley, and an active participant in the public Better Neighborhoods planning process I have reviewed the 12/2002 draft of the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan and would like to offer the following comments:

First, we would like to thank the Planning Department for this comprehensive and intelligent plan for my neighborhood. I would also like commend the community-based process used to develop the plan, and the extraordinary efforts made to listen to the residents of the effected area and to respond directly to their expressed needs and concerns. This positive approach to planning should serve as a model for future planning initiatives throughout the City. Top

What I find especially noteworthy about the plan is the effort made to address the complex inter-relationships between the physical form of buildings, transportation planning, housing needs and the character of our public streets and outdoor spaces. I believe that this plan, if implemented comprehensively, will allow this important center city area to reach its full potential as a vibrant pedestrian-friendly neighborhood at the heart of San Francisco

The following comments relate to specific sections of the draft plan:

Section I: Overview

Comment: Some mention of the history of the "freeway wars" in San Francisco would help to put the neighborhood plan into perspective, and serve to reinforce the grass roots nature of the long fight to stop the construction single-purpose elevated roadways in order to save neighborhoods.

Typo: There is an extra "1" in the sidebar paragraph titled Balancing Transportation choices.

Section II: Plan Elements

Typo: p. 17, third paragraph: What is meant by "Objectives are a common "goods"& " ? Was this intended to be "good" or "goal"? Top

2. Housing People

Comment p. 44, Policy 2.2.4: The last point encourages conversions of garages to housing space. How can such a conversion remove on-street parking, as the last sentence suggests?

3. Building with a Sense of Place

Comment: The discussion of the neighborhood alleyways (p. 56) mentions loading docks as a preferred use, along with entries and other active uses. As many alleys could be developed as "living streets", loading docks would often not be desirable. In many instances it may be more appropriate for loading to enter from the primary street if not a transit route. Loading docks and service entries should be designed with great care to minimize potential negative impacts.

4. Streets and Open Spaces

Comment: If implemented, Policy 4.2.7 (page 87) would be very positive for the neighborhood as a whole. Additional studies for these particular blocks north of Fulton Street would be very useful to support the proposal.

Comment: The illustrations accompanying Policy 4.3.6 depict only turn-of-the-century forms for the proposed entrance improvements. If the public is to be convinced that our transit system is relevant to their busy modern lives, the design should probably express that fact. Other cities, from Los Angeles to London, have built exciting modern transit structures that have been very popular. A wider variety of options should be included here. Top

5. Balancing Transportation Choices

Comment: Effective use of taxi service may be another means of discouraging private automobile use. A network of taxi stands serving Hayes Street and the performing art venues could benefit the neighborhood.

Comment, policy 5.4.5, p. 123: To expand on the sixth point, the performing arts institutions should be required to provide incentives to their employees not to drive to work, including subsidies for transit costs, shuttles to BART, and reimbursements for taxi and CarShare use.

Comment, Policy 5.4.6: Discouraging use of empty lots for surface parking is important. Would it be possible to encourage, or make it easier to use these lots (some publicly owned) for other temporary uses such as farmers markets, Christmas tree lots etc?

Comment, Policy 5.6.1, p. 132: The reorganization of traffic patterns on Hayes Street to include two-way traffic east of Gough is critically important to the entire retail district, and will positively impact a wide area.

Comment, p. 132: While the boulevard is the centerpiece of the plan to repair and improve the project area, this new roadway will not really be the centerpiece of the neighborhood. The boulevard will allow the real heart of the neighborhood to become whole once again.

6. New Development on Key Sites

Typo, Policy 6.1.1, p 135: The initial sentence should probably read 'In keeping with the preceding urban design guidelines& " or in some other way reference the other plan elements.

Comment, p. 144: The eastern boundary of Parcel I should be normalized to resolve the triangular geometry on Gough Street (similar to Parcel H).

Typo, p. 152: A verb is missing from the third bullet point.

Typo, p 154: Would it be possible to encourage the aggregate development of Parcel V with the privately owned adjacent Market Street property in order to create a more viable parcel that could be developed at a scale suitable to Market Street?

Section III: Implementing the Plan

I want to stress that special efforts should be made to implement the Better Neighborhoods Plan south of Market Street. This area will continue to suffer the ill effects of the elevated freeway structure, and does not have a direct catalyst for change, as the construction of the boulevard will be in Hayes Valley. Implementation of mitigations such as the proposed parks and sidewalk improvements are essential to the sustainability of these areas as neighborhoods. Top

Comment, p. 178, sixth bullet point: To encourage creative initiatives, I suggest that the report avoid describing funding as "unimaginable".

Thank you for all of your hard work in preparing this excellent plan.

Sincerely,

S.H.


5901


Mr. Billovits,

It has come to my attention that parking will be ad hoc-ly curtailed and radically reduced with the new "improvements" in Hayes Valley. Some simple questions:

Question 1:
Where are all the cars to go? For renters, homeowners, tourists, visitors to our great neighborhood?

Question 2:
Has anyone on the planning committee actually modeled the demand for parking today and tomorrow? Not to be glib, but has any quantitative analysis been conducted to model REALITY vs. the ideal world that many on the planning committee must live in. Top

Question 3:
What percentage of people on the planning committee have off-street parking, whether as renters or homeowners? My guess is that most of you probably don't park on the street.

Not only will the Octavia parking lots go away, but there seems to be some ridiculous optimism that people are supposed to walk everyone and take public transportation. First, this is true for me on weekends and evening, but alas, we in California (for better or worse) must own a car to commute to work (I commute to San Mateo). There is no logical alternative unless I want to double my commute time each way to work and use public transportation. Not only would it double my commute time, but it would also double my weekly expenses. Unfortunately, this is a very poor value proposition to 1,000's of people in the bay area.

I also believe that having ample and ubiquitous parking in Hayes Valley will be a boon to neighborhood's economic climate and store owners. It will also make it a very desirable place to live and will be a boon to homeowners and renters and landlords.

What are the cons to parking or an underground parking garage? Frankly, it could be a great revenue generator for the city and neighborhood as people will easily PAY for parking, both monthly and hourly. Make those who want parking PAY for it and those that feel otherwise can ALWAYS use their feet and public transportation. The only argument should be on the cost of parking, not whether to have it.

Please contact me at aaaa@bbbb.ccc or at my home phone at 415-xxx-xxxx if you would like a further opinion. I live at Haight and Buchanan and will be directly affected by these plans that we will have to live with for years to come. I urge you to take heed of the above. I mean no disrespect, but question the quality of the analysis that has gone into the decision-making on the Octavia plans. Top

Best Regards,
B.T.


5901


Dear John and Better Neighborhoods Team,

I was very pleased to read the Better Neighborhoods Octavia/Market Draft Plan. I think you did a terrific job. It's very thorough, comprehensive, well organized and thought out and incorporates all the neighborhood concerns and comments I have heard during the years of public meetings, workshops, etc.

I am particularly supportive of the proposals to limit parking and increase housing densities. If implemented they will help to repair the neighborhood once the Central Freeway is gone and help transform it into a place where people can safely and conveniently walk, bicycle or use public transit to access nearby local shops and services. This is what people said they want.

Finally, I found the implementation, strategies such as those outlined on page 178, to be very creative and well thought out. It's one thing to make good plans and another to find ways of making them happen. I think you have done both very successfully. Top

But as much as I like the plan, I do have a few specific and relatively minor comments and suggestions, which are as follows:

  • Policy 2.3.2. "Discourage Dwelling Unit Mergers" on page 46: You may want to think about this. It freezes the housing stock and reduces flexibility. There may be some cases where it would be desirable to merge units to provide family housing or for alternative housing opportunities such s co-housing. Perhaps instead limiting potential creative housing solutions, dwelling unit mergers should be allowed if they provide the same or increased densities.
  • Once Octavia Boulevard and the touchdown ramp are built, lower Page Street will probably experience overflow traffic from Oak Street, which will use it as a cut-through to Octavia. This will not only interfere with the Haight Street MUNI at that location, but will also negatively impact Page as a safe bike route. I suggest that besides islands, there might be some traffic diverters at key intersections such as Laguna and Page that would prevent drivers from using Page for freeway access. (See attached hard copy sketch).
  • In section 2.2.4 on page 44 there's a typo, which should read: "where such a conversion would remove OFF-street parking& " rather than "on-street parking". Top
  • There's another typo on page 191, the last sentence under the heading "Community Planning for San Francisco's Eastern Neighborhoods".
  • I think it's very good to encourage the removal of garages. Construction of new ones with their accompanying curb cuts in existing buildings should be restricted if not prohibited as well. They have a very negative impact on the scale, architecture; walk ability and texture of neighborhood streets.
  • I support the construction of affordable housing in this neighborhood. However, I suggest we prioritize it for people who work in San Francisco. That policy would help reduce automobile dependence and provide much needed housing for people who work but can't afford to live here (such as teachers).
  • Policy 2.4.1: add requirement to include secure bicycle parking in new developments. There' also a need for bicycle parking in the neighborhood for people living in existing walkups that don't have it. If there's no place to park bikes people can't use them.
  • Policy 2.4.3: Mention co-housing as another alternative housing type.
  • The sketches for possible MUNI station designs in Chapter 4 could use a little updating. There are many examples of great, innovative station design in LA or London.
  • Also in Chapter 4, section 4.2.2: Instead of trying to minimize the Valencia overpass or pretending it doesn't exist, why not celebrate it? Light it up! Put a big neon sign on it that says: "Welcome to the Mission" (like the sign over 101 into Willetts). It could actually be fun and compliment the neighborhood rather than be just an eyesore.
  • Section 4.2.3: I suggest there not be a "plaza" on Hayes Green at the Fell side but rather something to shield the park from the traffic that will be there.
  • Section 4.2.4: The "plaza" on Market next to the freeway ramp needs some work if it's going to be a place that's comfortable and compliments the area. Maybe some sort of marker scaled to Market and the freeway ramp could be put there that would at least give it a sense of place (such as that equestrian statue mentioned at the CAC meeting). Otherwise, I envision a litter-strewn, no-man's space like those at Otis, Mission and Duboce or 12th Mission and S. Van Ness with traffic swirling around everywhere and no people. The "Plaza" on McCoppin is a good idea but I think would work best if there's a building built on the U-Haul land to enclose it and put eyes on it. It could have ground floor functions that would compliment the plaza-a café, community or recreation space. But a "plaza" that's made up of the left over space between Valencia and Top
  • The ramp would lack definition, a sense of enclosure and protection and would invite occupation as a homeless encampment.
  • In chapter 3 the examples used to illustrate architectural principles may encourage future designers to simply mimic historical styles. I suggest including examples of good modern deign. Even the small residential building with the striped base on McCoppin across from the old Salvation Army Building Illustrates a more modern interpretation of some of these principles. The SOM designed building on 2nd and Mission is, in my opinion, a good example of a nicely scaled, well-detailed, elegant modern building.
  • Regarding the alleys, the plan contradicts itself. It encourages the creation of "Living Streets" with few garages and curb cuts and more building entries. But the section on the development of the freeway land proposes that they be used for service automobile access.
  • Right now the situation on Oak Street at the International School campus is extremely dangerous. I suggest that once Octavia Boulevard is completed, Oak Street east of Octavia be calmed similar to what's proposed for Hermann Street on page 69 of the plan. This could be accomplished by using Fell Street to get from Octavia to Franklin and by using Haight Street to get from Gough to Octavia. (See attached hard copy sketch).
  • The transportation chapter is excellent. The plan starts to address some of the critical issues regarding the automobile. I imagine many of the proposals to rein in automobiles are going to require a hard sell. Nevertheless, the tremendous negative impacts on the quality of life in San Francisco, on the City's public transit system, bicycle and pedestrian safety and the environment cannot, in my opinion, be overstated. As the situation becomes more extreme the City needs to take extreme measures to restrict automobile usage. With that in mind I suggest a couple of things to start with:

    *Red light running, sidewalk parking, careless and rude driving hove become endemic in San Francisco. Certainly many of these scofflaw drivers are San Francisco residents, who in many cases have residential parking permits. Allowing people to use City streets for storing vehicles is a privilege that should be limited to residents who practice civility. With that in mind, I'm suggesting revocation of parking permits for SF drivers who make the streets dangerous for everyone else. And by the way, those permits are under priced. So the idea to sell them at market rates is an excellent one.

    *I think we should be looking at other taxing strategies, such as the congestion pricing system now being implemented in London, to try to reduce auto use her. Cities from Chicago to Singapore impose a tax on their automobiles. Why not in San Francisco? Top
  • Regarding bicycles:

    *The proposed bike routing at the Howard, S. Van Ness and Division intersection, seems a bit circuitous and probably won't be used by bicyclists in that configuration. I suggest the proposed median south of Division that separates local from freeway traffic be extended to the Howard Street intersection. Then bikes could use the local lane to get through the intersection with Division without zigzagging. The proposed pedestrian and bike crossing proposed for Howard could be used by bicyclists headed west on Division. (See the attached hard copy sketch).
  • Meanwhile, the Division/Duboce/Otis/Mission and the eastbound Division/S. Van Ness intersections are a nightmare for bicyclists. There is a lot of room in the westbound Division right-of-way between S. Van Ness and Mission for a bike lane that would eliminate the hazardous merging that a bicyclist has to do with the traffic exiting the freeway. In the eastbound direction there could be a bike lane from Valencia in the center of Division next to the median that would separate bicyclists from the freeway bound traffic. The same could be done for westbound bicycle traffic to Valencia as an alternative. (See attached hard copy sketch).
  • The S. Van Ness/Otis/Mission intersection is also a nightmare for bicyclists heading from eastbound Mission to northbound Van Ness. There might be a median separator and bike lane at that location as well. By the way, that intersection is also a good candidate for a gateway marker similar to that proposed for Market and Octavia. Or better yet, turn that multi-street can-of worms intersection into a roundabout with a great monument in the center. There's plenty of room, it would be safer for everyone and better looking. Top
  • While the proposed bikeway on the east side of the freeway ramp makes a convenient and safe connection from Valencia to Octavia the connection in the other direction is unclear, circuitous and dangerous. At least there needs to be a connection from southbound Octavia Boulevard across Market. That route could use some of the "plaza" spaces on either side of Market to connect to the Market Street bike lane, to Elgin Park or to the Valencia Street bikeway connector. In addition, the City might also consider a bike tunnel beneath the new freeway ramp from Elgin Park to the Valencia connector. (See attached hard copy sketch).
  • On page 199 there is no mention of 14th Street, which is an important bike route. Also, the alley streets make good bike streets.
  • Finally, San Francisco might consider implementing a community bike system like the one in Berlin. Community bikes are available everywhere there. They are very high tech, convenient, cheap and theft resistant. The bikes are tracked by a global positioning system, can only be unlocked remotely once one enters a specific code, which one gets after setting up an account. Also in order to discourage theft the bikes are made of unique components that if stolen couldn't be used on other bikes.
D espite these comments, I think the plan is excellent and reflects a lot of hard, diligent and thoughtful work as well as community input. I look forward to the final draft.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

R.L.


5901


I find the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan an excellent proposal for an enhanced residential neighborhood in the Octavia Boulevard/Market Street area. However, this area is not discrete and isolated, but overlaps with and is strongly impacted by Civic Center. The blocks from Market to Golden Gate along Van Ness and Franklin contain a number of educational and culture organizations and venues, which draw to the area thousands of people from throughout the Bay Area. Those visitors and staff members become the numerous pedestrians who use the sidewalks, the shoppers and diners who support the drivers who generate traffic and seek to park in the area. Top

Your Plan covers a fifteen-year period. It should contemplate Civic Center over the same period. I list for you a development scenario for the Van Ness Avenue blocks starting at the Market Street end.

1. San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Conservatory intends to start construction in mid-year on their new facility in the historic 50 Oak Street building. When complete, the facility will draw 1000 students, faculty and staff to the area and well as numerous patrons to the three performance spaces.

2. The National Center for International Schools. The relocation of the French American and Chinese American International Schools to 150 Oak Street has been a great success. They continue to expand their facilities according to their master plan to accommodate more students. (They remodeled and expanded the basement of the 150 Oak Street building this past summer.) They could well amend their master plan in the next ten years to expand their high school program further.

3. 135 Van Ness as the home for the School for the Arts. Plans have been prepared and Environmental Impact Report completed. The District's fiscal problems have stopped work on the project and the Superintendent has expressed her support for that policy many times. When the SOTA moves into the remodeled historic buildings, some 1000 high school students will be in attendance.

4. Norse Auditorium. The School for the Arts block contains the 1200 seat Norse Auditorium. Beside its use for the SOTA, a number of mid-sized performance groups such at the Philharmonic Baroque Orchestra view the auditorium as an ideal location for their performances. Once funds are found to seismically retrofit the Auditorium, funds will be sought from the private sector to refurbish the facility as a first class performance space accommodating performance three to four times a week.

5. Davies Symphony Hall. The San Francisco Symphony is extremely popular drawing near sold-out performances most weeks of the year. The parking lot on Franklin Street has long been viewed as the site for a 500-600 seat chamber music recital hall. Although there are no current plans to build such a facility, it is quite possible that such a plan will be developed in the next fifteen years. Top

6. War Memorial Opera House. The San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Ballet keep the Opera House busy most weeks of the year.

7. San Francisco Ballet Building. This building contains administrative offices and rehearsal facilities as well as the very successful Ballet School. Approvals have been obtained to expand it in the area between its building and the Performing Arts Garage to accommodate these growing functions.

8. The Veterans Building. The Veterans Building is currently underutilized because of the seismic needs of the building, the inadequacy of Herbst Auditorium, and the lack of investment in the building in the last fifteen years. The Memorial Board has developed a plan to significantly improve the buildings public areas for both arts and veterans purpose. Although a bond issue to pay for these improvements failed last November, the building must be improved. Once the work has been completed, Herbst Theater and other facilities in the building will become more heavily used.

In the Civic Center area east of Van Ness Avenue, the Asian Art Museum will open on March 20, 2003 bringing to the new facility on average 1500 visitors a day six days a week and on Thursday evenings. The Museum has approved plans for a second phase adding more exhibit space and an auditorium which will generate additional visitors.

The Federal Building on Mission and Seventh Streets is scheduled to open in 2005 and will contain 1600 employees from several Federal agencies, which will generate numerous visitors.

The City's Real estate Department is developing specifications for a new 4000,000 square feet. Office building on Market Street to be developed by private parties for the City by 2007.

The developments described above are the known and predicable Civic Center projects. They could very well stimulate additional public and private projects in the area, which cannot be foreseen at this time. However, we can conclude that the greater Civic Center area is a dynamic place, which could be visited by 10,000 or more people many days of the week. That number does not include the some 10,000 people who currently work in the area. Much of this activity will occur on the west side of Van Ness Avenue and produce an increasing impact on the Octavia Boulevard/Market Street area. Your Plan must incorporate Civic Center in its scope and accommodate it in its specific policies. Top

I attach a list of specific comments on the Plan.

Very truly yours,
J.H.


5901


I live and work in the Hayes Valley neighborhood. There are many exciting, wonderful aspects to the Neighborhood Plan. However, as both a driver and pedestrian, I have concerns regarding TRAFFIC and PARKING.

TRAFFIC

I am President of a 12-unit Condo building constructed about 1960, located on Hermann between Laguna & Buchanan. (We have a 12-space garage and 12 cars.) Presently, Hermann Street is heavily used by traffic crossing Market onto Guererro and proceeding to the Duboce/Mission Freeway entrance. For extended periods every day, our block is completely backed up with bumper-to-bumper traffic stopped waiting to cross the Laguna/Market?Guererro intersection. (Drivers sometimes become so impatient, they drive up and down the sidewalk! Danger to pedestrians! Our recently planted trees have been run down and destroyed) All this traffic also makes the Laguna/market Corner hazardous for pedestrians. Our concern is that, even with the expanded Octavia Blvd., Hermann will continue to be heavily used to access the new McCoppin Street freeway.

Proposed plans for "traffic calming" at Hermann/Steiner are encouraging. However, the greatest traffic problems are on our block of Hermann. We strongly urge that traffic calming be extended to include Hermann between Buchanan & Laguna, perhaps event eh entire length of Hermann from Steiner to Laguna.

In Spite of concerns about traffic, I often find it necessary to drive; therefore I also have concerns about PARKING.

PARKING

I disagree with some of the ideas in the Market Octavia Neighborhood Plan regarding parking. Certainly I support efforts to create affordable housing in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. But I think the proximity of Civic Center and Performing Arts Center need more consideration. Top

I am a musician at SF Opera, and I frequently perform with SF Ballet During their respective seasons, these organizations normally have morning or afternoon rehearsals most weekdays, and evening/weekend performances 6 days a week. Currently, we have employee parking on lots of Fulton/Gough, where the old freeway was. Before these lots were available, and before construction of the Performing Arts Garage, we struggled desperately for nearly nonexistent street parking. Although I live nearby, I personally drive to and from work twice nearly every day. I would be crazy to walk through certain areas, especially at midnight after performances, wearing a tail suit, carrying a rare and valuable instrument! (Just last December, one of colleagues was mugged in front of Inn at the Opera on Grave, a few steps away from the Opera House.) There are nearly 200 people involved in any Opera performance/rehearsal. Almost all must drive, some from as far as Petaluma, Sebastopol, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton. Even those who use Bart often can't because if instrument transport or because they would miss the last train home for the night. We know we will lose our current parking when neighborhood building begins.

Having described our specific situation, I make the following more general points:

First, it seems unrealistic to expect that residents in the proposed new housing will not have cars, even with improved transit. If parking is not available where they live, additional cars could put great strain on street and public parking. I would hope it could be possible to achieve a workable formula where more parking can be included in new affordable housing plans.

Second, in my own experience it is simply untrue that the Performing Arts Garage and Civic Center Garage are underused. For a period of time-before I moved to the neighborhood-the Opera Orchestra relied on the Perf. Arts Garage. By the time we arrived for our 11:00AM rehearsals, the garage frequently was already full. For performances, forget it! The same is often true for Civic Center Garage, especially when a special event takes place at Civic Center or Bill Graham Aud. In summary, thousands of people come in and out of the area every day, from near and far, for City & State Government or to attend performances or other events. Symphony, Opera and Ballet performers, plus other groups now using vacant lots for parking, will soon be forced to compete for public or street parking. Dense new housing will undoubtedly add to the parking congestion.

Life without cars sounds wonderful, but realistically that's not practical for everyone. Top

A self-contained, walkable Hayes Valley sounds great, but to avoid a traffic/parking catastrophe, I believe the Neighborhood Plan needs to include more parking spaces for new housing, and an increase in public parking facilities to accommodate Civic Center/Performing Arts Center.

Thank you,
B.R.


5901


Dear John,

I can't tell you how happy I am that you are seriously working to reduce the volume of traffic in San Francisco. other cities throughout the country and the world have recognized the need to make this a top priority, but S.F. is still lagging behind unlike most people, who tear their hair out about the "traffic problem" but refuse to face the facts about what they need to do to change it, you guys aren't afraid to take the bull by the horns and do the right thing!! please don't let any nay-sayers or obstacles deter you from what you know is right. Years from now, everyone will thank you for your perseverance and for saying the city from ruin. I hope the Octavia Boulevard and Better neighborhood plan is just the 1st small step towards freeing S.F. from the tyranny of the automobile.

K.B.


5901


Congratulations on the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan! We'll be reaping the benefits of this for years to come. My Comments:

The biggest oversight in the Plan is this: enhanced enforcement of sidewalk parking violations is critical to objective 4.1: "Safe and comfortable public rights of way for pedestrian use& " and nowhere in the Plan is this even mentioned. As one who lives within the plan boundaries and walks everywhere I possibly can, I can tell you that it is neither safe nor comfortable to repeatedly walk around cars (often out into the street on the narrower sidewalks) that block sidewalks. Calls to the Dept. of Parking and Traffic rarely result in a timely response, and regular DPT patrols are apparently told to ignore sidewalks) that block sidewalks. Calls to the Dept. of Parking and Traffic rarely result in a timely response, and regular DPT patrols are apparently told to ignore sidewalk violators (thus violators are only ticketed as a result of specific citizen complaints-a frustrating and often futile endeavor). I have similar concerns regarding bicycle lane parking violations. Another point I would like to address is that even though the Duboce/Market intersection is designated a priority intersection for "pedestrian improvements" (graphic, p. 68) and "traffic calming" (graphic, p. 65), nowhere did I see details of this re-design. Last year I sent in (attn. to John Billovits) a detailed graphic of my own ideas for this intersection, and at the very least improvements should be made for pedestrians in the Duboce crosswalk on the south side of Market St. Drivers heading NE on Market (toward downtown) who are turning right onto Duboce frequently ignore the "No Turn on Red Arrow" traffic sign. And since the single right turn land has essentially 2 lanes worth of width on Duboce St., this could easily be narrowed to one via a pedestrian bulb-out or wider sidewalk. Thus less distance for pedestrians to cross without impacting useable auto traffic lanes, and drivers would be a little less apt to blow through the red arrow with a slightly more acute turning angle. Top

As one who has made a conscious decision to not have a car, I am much in favor of housing devoid of requirements for car parking (policy 5.2.1), though it would be great to encourage/require facilities for bicycle storage. Bicycle lanes, rights-of-way, parking and other enhancements should be given a high priority. Ditto for all the pedestrian improvements mentioned throughout the Plan.

I would like to particularly emphasize my support for policy 4.2.8 (further dismantling of the Central Freeway). Great idea! The creation of a "Division Blvd." (Octavia Blvd. extension) would have an amazing effect on this corner of the Plan area.

F.G.


5901


Mr. Billovits:

I write to commend the Planning Department's work on the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan. Not only does the plan envision the neighborhood in a new and exciting way, the plan itself is beautifully presented.

I am a San Francisco resident and a graduate student in the city planning at Cornell. My home is immediately outside of the plan area and I do most of my regular shopping within the neighborhood. I ride public transportation within the plan area several times a day. The policies regarding land use and urban form will make street life in the neighborhood much more enjoyable. As a renter who is very aware of housing costs in the city, the emphasis placed on affordable housing is vital. The sections on sense of space and open spaces are at the heart of what separates San Francisco from other cities and will ensure we continue to have a unique and beautiful built and natural environment.

I strongly support your proposal to further dismantle the Central Freeway to Bryant Street and your proposals to improve the intersections of Van Ness, Dolores, and Church with Market Street. The intersection of Church and Market (and continuing down to Duboce) is particularly dangerous for pedestrians and your pedestrian improvements should be implemented as illustrated as soon as funding is available. Pedestrian improvements at the intersection of Van Ness and Mission should have similar priority. Enhancing the visibility of transit system. I also strongly support the proposal described for the redevelopment of the Safeway site.

I wish you the best of luck in your work towards implementing the plan and its elements. I will keep the copy of the plan document as a reference of what good planning can look like and will share it with my colleagues at Cornell. Please add me to any mailings you do concerning the plan. I would be more than happy to offer my support in any way. Top

Sincerely,

B. MC


5901


Dear Mr. Green:

As the owner of the property (in the Market and Octavia Neighborhood), I am responding to the invitation to comment on the on the public review draft of The Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan. The draft is well-written and well-organized. Its goals of public Investment in street and land improvements and creating more housing are sound. The reservations I have about the plan, along with some suggested changes, are shown below:

1. The proposed public improvements are essential to putting housing at this site.

The Market-Van Ness area today is unpleasant and uninviting. Absent the proposed improvements of Van Ness Avenue, Mission, Otis and Twelfth streets as well as the Brady Block, developing residences at this intersection would be a high risk undertaking. Top

2. Need 1:1 parking

A residential project at Market-Van Ness will not get off the ground unless 1:1 parking is provided. Without 1:1 parking, no development can be financed.

3. Do not bring the Central Freeway to grade at Market Street.

Intense existing congestion inhibits residential development at Market and Van Ness. Bringing the Central Freeway to grade at Market Street only increases congestion. But bringing it to grade further south at Bryant Street will decrease it. Therefore, every effort should be made to ground at Bryant Street. There are many, myself included, who will gladly campaign for this.

4. Evaluate the wind problem.

Before putting 400 foot high towers at Market and Van Ness, it should be known how serous the wind problem is and if it can be contained.

5. Put the towers at the southern end of the site.

Towers at the Market Street end of the site, but this is where BART's underground tunnel is located, making towers above it hard, if not impossible, to construct. Switch the towers to the southern portion to the amount of residential development produced. Top

Very truly yours,

R.B.


5901


Hi John,

Now here's something for the intersection at Market and Octavia!

R. L.

picture


5901


Dear John and the SFPD

I've enjoyed reading your draft Plan. Congratulations on your excellent progress. I'm proud of the years of work CAPA has contributed to these issues, too. There are a few of the points that were important to my participants in last year's Church and Market Street Workshop which I did not find emphasized in the Plan.

Non-profit uses along Market Street are critical to our community already devistated by AIDS and being displaced by rising real estate costs. These social service providers such as New Leaf and AHP are now threatened by development. Existing neighborhood non-profits such as MCC have no space to grow. As a central civic space Market Street is the most appropriate location for large neighborhood organizations and social service providers. We might be able to use density bonuses to encourage local non-profit development along Market Street. Top

The idea of uncovering or "daylighting" streams and reservoirs which have been covered by streets, parking lots, and development is also worth serious consideration as underground water continues unseen erosion and deprives us of a meaningful natural public amenity. The most likely site to undertake this would probably be between reservoir Street and the Church/Market intersection.

Lastly, our workshop participants specifically object to ground floor commercial uses over 2500 sq. ft. We find them to be inappropriate for locally owned and operated businesses. Chains that might prefer these larger square footage spaces take money out of the local economy and stifle the growth of unique local businesses.

Please let me know your responses to these three issues.

Thank you for your excellent work on the Plan. Top

M.M.


5901


Thank you for such a thoughtful plan! My comments:

-What will the posted and actual speed of traffic be on Octavia Boulevard? What will be the posted and actual speed of traffic be on Fell Street between Octavia and the Panhandle and on Oak Street between the Panhandle and Octavia? Currently, the posted speed limit on Oak and Fell streets is 30mph, but the actual speed of traffic is closer to 40mph. Some cars are able to travel 45 to 50mph before hitting the first red light, due to the long light sequencing. My point is that arterial, non-freeway traffic traveling through residential neighborhoods (Oak/Fell) should not be any faster than Octavia Boulevard itself. I think a safe posted and actual speed limit for Octavia, Oak and Fell should be 25mph. Top

-Page 67 shows proposed "corner plazas" on Fell Street to provide extra pedestrian space and to reduce the length of crossings. Page 68 indicates such "bulbouts" to be installed at both Oak and Fell intersections from Van Ness to Buchanan. Since the far south lane of Fell and the far north lane of Oak are currently evening rush and morning rush tow-away respectively, this would require the removal of the 4th traffic lane during rush hours. Bravo! This adds on-street parking for residents, helps to slow the speeding traffic and reduces the crossing lengths for pedestrians. Since the DPT is already pursuing a closure of the far south lane of Fell between Scott and Baker to accommodate a bike lane (public hearing on the issue is being scheduled for January), it makes complete sense to carry the rush hour (4th) lane closure all the way down Fell from Van Ness to Baker and the same on Oak. On Fell, in particular, having traffic during pm rush go from 3 lanes between Octavia and Buchanan, then 4 lanes from Buchanan to Scott, then 3 lanes again from Scott to Baker makes no sense. Fell Street vehicle lanes should be no higher in number after passing the Octavia Project Area (at Buchanan) than within the project area. Similarly, Oak Street traffic lanes should be no higher in number approaching the project area (at Buchanan) than within the project area. Those 4th vehicular lanes on Oak and Fell during rush periods are not needed to move traffic at posted speeds (DPT has already tested this on Fell between Scott and Baker) and only encourage speeding to the peril of pedestrians (without the buffer of a lane of parked cars between the narrow sidewalks and traffic) and bicyclists who are currently forced to ride on those narrow sidewalks due to the speed and aggressiveness of the automotive traffic. Objective 2.3.2 recommends a policy to strongly discourage dwelling unit mergers ("strong prejudice against"). While I agree that this makes sense as a general policy, I think it is important to note circumstances where such mergers are acceptable. There are many older residential buildings in the (Victorians in particular) that have been "carved up" over the years into very tiny, sub-standard housing units. If the current number of units in such situations is greater than the original number of units on the property when built, and if the size of such units is shown to be smaller than comparable units in other buildings in the area, then I think the merger of such units should not be discouraged by public policy. Merging these sub-standard "bastardized" units also serves to decrease parking demands in the area. Top

M.S.


5901


Mr. Billovits,

Thank you for the opportunity to share with you my ideas for improvements to the intersection of Market, Haight and Gough Streets. The intersection is confusing, dangerous, crowded with too many vehicles, and badly marked- a recipe for disaster. In the 10 months I have lived at this corner I have seen and heard at least one or two accidents per month. They are usually small fender benders but the potential for something worse is always there. If you have questions about my ideas, or would like to discuss them, please don't hesitate to contact me. Obviously my ideas are from a layman's perspective and I don't know if they are feasible, but I hope they will be of interest to you. You can reach me by phone at 415-xxx-xxxx or e-mail at & ..@yahoo.com. Again, thank you for your time. Top

Sincerely,

K.L.


5901


This is a Fantastic plan! ( I recently moved to the neighborhood from Oakland, and it's such a relief to see city planning that's attuned to urban issues and the challenges of encouraging pedestrian-and transit-oriented development.) I strongly support the major goals of the plan: creating more housing for all income levels; supporting higher density, mixed use development along transit corridors and near Muni Metro stations; establishing design and zoning standards that enhance pedestrian environment and encourage transit ridership and improving streetscapes by making them more pedestrian, bicycle, and transit friendly. I especially support that provision of the plan that restricts the creation of new parking and that requires those who actually use parking to pay the full cost of providing that parking. I urge you to pursue market-based pricing strategies for parking. The risk of pro-pedestrian, pro=transit parking policies, however is that the lack of new parking may mobilize opposition to new development. To counter that risk, the City must have a credible, long-term strategy for improving transit throughout the City. As long as buses get moved in traffic on Market, Van Ness, Mission Fillmore, Haight, Geary, and elsewhere many people will shun buses. The City should focus its transit resources on relatively low-cost improvements that can be applied citywide rather than focus them on a limited number of extraordinarily expensive projects (e.g. 3rd St. light rail/subway). Transit impact fees should be an important source of revenue for funding improvements such as signal preemption and establishment(enforcement of bus-only lanes. Design standards to facilitate pedestrian-oriented development are essential, but be careful to avoid strictures that result in timid homogeneity. Architectural creativity is part of what makes cities interesting, exciting places to be. Top

C.P.


5901


In Reading Market-Octavia Plan Booklet found much of interest-and very educational. However noted omission of Guerrero Street in overall comments as primary auto route-feeding traffic into the zone under study. Impact of changes to Valencia-Bikes etc caused overfill of traffic to super sonic- on the way. To the freeway-super sonic traffic corridor." Changes in Guerrero Street last 5 years have been cataclysmic-a neighborhood to a speedway-frequent accidents etc.

C.D.


5901


Dear John,

I can't tell you how happy I am that you are seriously working to reduce the volume of traffic in San Francisco. Other cities throughout the country and the world have recognized the need to make this a top priority, but S.F. is still lagging behind unlike most people, who tear their hair out about the "traffic problem" but refuse to face the facts about what they need to do to change it, you guys aren't afraid to take the bull by the horns and do the right thing!! Please don't let any nay-sayers or obstacles deter you from what you know is right. Years from now, everyone will thank you for your perseverance and for saying the city from ruin. I hope the Octavia Boulevard and Better neighborhood plan is just the 1st small step towards freeing S.F. from the tyranny of the automobile. Top

K.R.


5901


Dear Maria Oropeza:

You guys need to stop patting yourselves on the back. The only people excited about your Octavia Boulevard design are the property owners in Hayes Valley who stand to profit handsomely from the diversion of traffic in their neighborhood to SOMA, the Tenderloin, and Cathedral Hill and other poorer and or minority laden neighborhoods.

You have let Hayes Valley design the project to create bottlenecks to reduce traffic capacity to as near zero as they felt they could hoodwink you guys into making it. Shame on you! What have you accomplished by diverting traffic from one neighborhood of yuppie & guppie property owners to another one of renters, poor children with asthma and no health insurance? Nothing, but socioeconomic discrimination. Top

I am disgusted that Caltrans & the city of SF allocated millions in the design for fountains, trees, bushes and plants, but left almost no money for additional police and parking & traffic personal and other traffic safety mitigation, as was admitted at the last public meeting. I intend to notify any pedestrians or their heirs that are killed or maimed by autos as a result of this failure of the city of SF's negligence and admission in a public meeting that the only reason additional mitigation measures were not taken was because the budget was already spent on other things in this project. The need for additional mitigation was admitted at the last meeting.

The ironic thing is within a few years of the fountain and small park with plants being built, the Hayes Valley people will be asking Parks & Rec. to fence it off to keep the homeless and drug dealers out of the neighborhood like they have already done to most of the other tiny parks in the city. What a waste of money.

The outreach to the neighborhoods effected negatively by this diversion of traffic was basically nonexistent by design.

The current administration will have to pay the piper when the resulting traffic gridlock happens both during years of construction and after it's finished. I intend to make sure the public is reminded which politicians approved this give away of sanity to make utopia for the campaign donors in Hayes Valley. Top

M.P.


5901


1. Van Ness: I support BRT, Then LRV then subway on Van Ness.

2. Market: I support transit lanes on Market. Please minimize delays to Muni caused by "Boulevard" traffic.

3. Proposed: the housing built on former Caltrans and be "car-free": Occupants of those addresses, whether owners or tenants, be eligible for residential parker stickers.

Results: More transit ridership less car congestion less parking crunch less pollution. Top

E.C.


5901


Bike racks that also serve as tree guards. I think that street trees could be protected by attractively designed fences that also would allow people to lock bicycles to them. Street furniture might also be designed to serve as bike racks. By combining these uses would eliminate the need to install separate u-shaped bike racks.

Van Ness and market should be anchored with more monumental buildings on the corners. The need not necessarily be over six stories.

Consider installing traffic circles at Market-Octavia and Market-Van Ness intersections. The circles should contain some large monument (of fountain, or sculpture) but would allow streetcars to go straight through.

Buildings should conform to the shape of the block, much like the old buildings downtown that were built on triangular parcels. Top

K.S.


5901


You should require ground floor retail on 9th and 10th Streets and Mission Street. This is what the Mid-Market PAC wants.

A.F.


5901


I am interested in where Central Freeway will touch down. As far as I'm concerned the more freeway we tear down the better.

M.Z.


5901


I disagree with the suggestion (made at the Jan 28th workshop) by the symphony representative about the need for parking replacement.

The patrons park in the lots on Brady Street. They don't want to lose those lots for issues presented. What they fail to realize is that those parking lots foster the crime that impacts my life everyday: crack, cocaine, urination, prostitution, needles, dirty condoms, homeless encampments, and illegal dumping.

Have the city give priority street parking to the Civic Center area. Have the City reimburse employees using taxis and public transportation. Top

Taxis, public transit, City Carshare, and carpools are the answer- NOT replacement parking lots.

I am deeply concerned about the impact of crime on newly opened alleys, providing hidden, often poorly lit areas. What preparations are in the plan specifically to prepare the alleys so they are well lit (as a priority by the city and not by the residents). and easily patrolled by the community and police? My concern is that the streets will be opened up before they are safe. It will make it difficult to entice new move-ins and businesses. What is the strategy for developing in the right order so the new neighborhood is safer than before the plan was implemented.

I don NOT support the height restrictions on Market Street past 60'. Brady Street will not get any light at all if Market and Otis Street buildings were over 5/6 stories.

Thank you for all your work! I think the plan is particularly good. Top

L.D.


5901


I have not been able to go through the whole proposed guideline book, but from what I've been able to get through, and from the boards tonight I'm mostly very excited about what I've seen. I especially like

· not requiring so much off-street parking in new buildings in certain areas

· developing alleys into more pedestrian-gathering areas (like the slowed area of Noe Street or better)

· designated transit lanes, more tree-lined medians

· more consideration of bicycle use- the more through-intersection lanes(i.e. clear markings through confusing intersections, to avoid car/bike confusion

· keeping building widths to fit in smaller typical building lot size, rather than having double-wide buildings

I only hope at least some of this great planning work can get funded (in these days of budget shortfalls)!!I hope that any developers, especially at the Octavia Blvd area, will have some sensitivity toward the neighborhood and the planning guidelines and not slap up more cheap, thoughtless buildings. Top

Thanks to you all for all the good work!

F.P.


5901


Overall, the plan is GREAT! I urge full-speed implementation. I particularly like increased density with building envelopes and reduced parking requirements.

Questions and Suggestions on aspects:

1. What alternatives are there for traffic calming on Page Street to increase bike safety without throttling N-S traffic?

2. What specific techniques are there for wind mitigation (pg53)?

3. Parcels O & P make predominately 2-4 family homes NOT single-family homes, a small park.

4. what happened to the creative ideas for Sought Van Ness? What's in the plan looks like status quo, with trees added.

5. 12-foot commercial ceilings? This is excessive for very small commercial, 100-500 s.f. Lower this requirement.

6. How to help ensure that small, neighborhood-serving businesses get into prime Octavia & Hayes locations? Costs of new construction rents could encourage chains.

7. What about a single, mid-lane for transit-only on Haight Street, used by rush hour traffic? - The non-rush hour direction cars and buses share a lane.

8. Outside of the Octavia area, more housing development and transit needs to occur West of Twin Peaks - "fair share".

9. Is the EIR funded? Will it stay funded? Rough timetable? Top

10. Disaggregating parking from housing-there are implications to the Rent Ordinance, which tends to group them. I support desegregation.

11. What types of buildings would be considered for historical status? By whom? Implications?

12. I like the idea for developing Safeway into mixed use.

13. How to encourage taller, mixed-use development on Market Street while preserving some great buildings nearer the Castro?

14. I'd like to see more native plants and trees and fewer palm trees in street plantings.

15. I'd reference Coop America and Consumer Union studies on Neighborhood-serving businesses (I have copies).

16. why do you propose ½ story up to first floor housing? Reasons stated are good. What do you imagine would be the usage of lower level, ½ below grade?

17. Mass transit- in general, I support buses and less expensive, more flexible methods, over rail.

18. How can city keep ownership of some /all parcels?

19. What happens re zoning if a major earthquake?

20. I, too, would like to see the exposure of currently undergrounded streams and waterways.

21. I'd love to see parcel/group of parcels dedicated to a land trust. City could consider retaining land ownership.

22. How would street trees and plantings be maintained? Dept. responsible? Funding? Top

23. I support some public garden space on McCoppin, that people can get garden plots in.

24. I support the purchase of U-Haul lot and conversion to public space.

25. I am concerned about making the SoMa under freeway areas pedestrian-friendly, with light, lighting, color, plantings, etc.

T.W.


5901


I like the park benches in the Octavia Blvd Median-nice, but-I am afraid they will attract the homeless to sleep in during days and evenings.

H.S.


5901


1. If the city is proposing a BRT lane for Van Ness and considering that TEA-21 is now slated for adoption by December 2003 has SF developed or initiated contracts w/ its congressional delegation to propose a "TEA-03" earmarked from a SF BRT line? Based on AC Transit a SMART corridor in Alameda County , a BRT on Van Ness could approach $200 million conservatively estimated in real dollars. Top

2. Are there any traffic calming measures-speed humps, bumps, tables-proposed for any of the new or existing residential collector streets?

3. Regarding signal prioritization and preemption, this will cost $$$, although the text implies that transit throughput acceleration is the most cost-effective method and the best measures proposed to speed MUNI. The cost of signalization improvements could amount to several hundred thousand dollars. What proposals exist for this funding?

4. Since the report makes few "real", immediately tangible transit improvements, any improvements mentioned in the text will be each and severally of utmost importance; if a single element doesn't materialize-the BRT or the traffic signalization or technological improvements-and/or are not perfectly executed, the traffic/transportation problems will be much, much worse. Therefore, as part of the EIS, the plan should contain a funding strategy containing an approximation of the likely availability of the city, stat and federal transportation funds by the amounts and year of availability.

5. Transit Capacity: Existing perks bus and rail lines serving this area are about 70-100% at capacity. If the proposed full unit buildout of 22,000 units (residential) is achieved, then would the existing transit network become overloaded? Shouldn't actual service or route expansion be part of the MUNI plan?

6. The plan's assumption is that transit service will maintain at the same levels as of 2001. The plan probably needs to reinvestigate this assumption because state and local funding for transit is likely to decline in the near future. We may not see excess capacity in MUNI service by the time the project is built.

P.P.


5901


I live and work in the Hayes Valley neighborhood. There are many exciting, wonderful aspects to the Neighborhood Plan. However, as both a driver and pedestrian, I have concerns regarding TRAFFIC and PARKING. Top

TRAFFIC

I am President of 65 Hermann St. HOA, a 12-unit Condo building constructed about 1960, located on Hermann between Laguna & Buchanan. (We have a 12-space garage and 12 cars.) Presently, Hermann Street is heavily used by traffic crossing Market onto Guererro and proceeding to the Duboce/Mission Freeway entrance. For extended periods every day, our block is completely backed up with bumper-to-bumper traffic stopped waiting to cross the Laguna/Market?Guererro intersection. (Drivers sometimes become so impatient, they drive up and down the sidewalk! Danger to pedestrians! Our recently planted trees have been run down and destroyed) All this traffic also makes the Laguna/market Corner hazardous for pedestrians. Our concern is that, even with the expanded Octavia Blvd., Hermann will continue to be heavily used to access the new McCoppin Street freeway.

Proposed plans for "traffic calming" at Hermann/Steiner are encouraging. However, the greatest traffic problems are on our block of Hermann. We strongly urge that traffic calming be extended to include Hermann between Buchanan & Laguna, perhaps event eh entire length of Hermann from Steiner to Laguna.

In Spite of concerns about traffic, I often find it necessary to drive, therefore I also have concerns about PARKING.

PARKING

I disagree with some of the ideas in the Market Octavia Neighborhood Plan regarding parking. Certainly I support efforts to create affordable housing in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. But I think the proximmity of Civic Center and Performing Arts Center need more consideration.

I am a musician at SF Opera, and I frequently perform with SF Ballet During their respective seasons, these organizations normally have morning or afternoon rehearsals most weekdays, and evening/weekend performances 6 days a week. Currently, we have employee parking on lots of Fulton/Gough, where the old freeway was. Before these lots were available, and before construction of the Performing Arts Garage, we struggled desperately for nearly nonexistent street parking. Although I live nearby, I personally drive to and from work twice nearly every day. I would be crazy to walk through certain areas, especially at midnight after performances, wearing a tail suit, carrying a rare and valuable instrument! (Just last December, one of colleagues was mugged in front of Inn at the Opera on Grave, a few steps away from the Opera House.) There are nearly 200 people involved in any Opera performance/rehearsal. Almost all must drive, some from as far as Petaluma, Sebastopol, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton. Even those who use Bart often can't because if instrument transport or because they would miss the last train home for the night. We know we will lose our current parking when neighborhood building begins. Top

Having described our specific situation, I make the following more general points:

First, it seems unrealistic to expect that resindents in the proposed new housing will not have cars, even with improved transit. If parking is not available where they live, additional cars could put great strain on street and public parking. I would hope it could be possible to achieve a workable formula where more parking can be included in new affordable housing plans.

Second, in my own experience it is simply untrue that the Performing Arts Garage and Civic Center Garage are underused. For a period of time-before I moved to the neighbohrood-the Opera Orchestra relied on the Perf. Arts Garage. By the time we arrived for our 11:00AM rehearsals, the garage frequently was laready full. For performances, forget it! The same is often true for Civic Center Garage, especially when a special event takes place at Civic Center or Bill Graham Aud. In summary, thousands of people come in and out of the area every day, from near and far, for City & State Government or to attend performances or other events. Symphony, Opera and Ballet performers, plus other groups now using vacant lots for parking, will soon be forced to compete for public or street parking. Dense new housing will undoubtedly add to the parking congestion.

Life without cars sounds wonderful, but realistically that's not practical for everyone.

A self-contained, walkable Hayes Valley sounds great, but to avoid a traffic/parking catastrophe, I believe the Neighborhood Plan needs to include more parking spaces for new housing, and an increase in public parking facilities to accommodate Civic Center/Performing Arts Center. Top

Thank you,

B.R.


5901


February 6, 2003

To: The Better Neighborhoods Planning Team
From: Stefan Hastrup
Regarding: The Market and Octavia Neighborhood Draft Plan


As a resident of Hayes Valley, and an active participant in the public Better Neighborhoods planning process I have reviewed the 12/2002 draft of the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan and would like to offer the following comments:

First, we would like to thank the Planning Department for this comprehensive and intelligent plan for my neighborhood. I would also like commend the community-based process used to develop the plan, and the extraordinary efforts made to listen to the residents of the effected area and to respond directly to their expressed needs and concerns. This positive approach to planning should serve as a model for future planning initiatives throughout the City.

What I find especially noteworthy about the plan is the effort made to address the complex inter-relationships between the physical form of buildings, transportation planning, housing needs and the character of our public streets and outdoor spaces. I believe that this plan, if implemented comprehensively, will allow this important center city area to reach its full potential as a vibrant pedestrian-friendly neighborhood at the heart of San Francisco

The following comments relate to specific sections of the draft plan:

Section I: Overview

Comment: Some mention of the history of the "freeway wars" in San Francisco would help to put the neighborhood plan into perspective, and serve to reinforce the grass roots nature of the long fight to stop the construction single-purpose elevated roadways in order to save neighborhoods. Top

Typo: There is an extra "1" in the sidebar paragraph titled Balancing Transportation choices.

Section II: Plan Elements

Typo: p. 17, third paragraph: What is meant by "Objectives are a common "goods"& " ? Was this intended to be "good" or "goal"?

2. Housing People

Comment p. 44, Policy 2.2.4: The last point encourages conversions of garages to housing space. How can such a conversion remove on-street parking, as the last sentence suggests?

3. Building with a Sense of Place

Comment: The discussion of the neighborhood alleyways (p. 56) mentions loading docks as a preferred use, along with entries and other active uses. As many alleys could be developed as "living streets", loading docks would often not be desirable. In many instances it may be more appropriate for loading to enter from the primary street if not a transit route. Loading docks and service entries should be designed with great care to minimize potential negative impacts.

4. Streets and Open Spaces

Comment: If implemented, Policy 4.2.7 (page 87) would be very positive for the neighborhood as a whole. Additional studies for these particular blocks north of Fulton Street would be very useful to support the proposal.

Comment: The illustrations accompanying Policy 4.3.6 depict only turn-of-the-century forms for the proposed entrance improvements. If the public is to be convinced that our transit system is relevant to their busy modern lives, the design should probably express that fact. Other cities, from Los Angeles to London, have built exciting modern transit structures that have been very popular. A wider variety of options should be included here.

5. Balancing Transportation Choices

Comment: Effective use of taxi service may be another means of discouraging private automobile use. A network of taxi stands serving Hayes Street and the performing art venues could benefit the neighborhood.

Comment, policy 5.4.5, p. 123: To expand on the sixth point, the performing arts institutions should be required to provide incentives to their employees not to drive to work, including subsidies for transit costs, shuttles to BART, and reimbursements for taxi and CarShare use. Top

Comment, Policy 5.4.6: Discouraging use of empty lots for surface parking is important. Would it be possible to encourage, or make it easier to use these lots (some publicly owned) for other temporary uses such as farmers markets, Christmas tree lots etc?

Comment, Policy 5.6.1, p. 132: The reorganization of traffic patterns on Hayes Street to include two-way traffic east of Gough is critically important to the entire retail district, and will positively impact a wide area.

Comment, p. 132: While the boulevard is the centerpiece of the plan to repair and improve the project area, this new roadway will not really be the centerpiece of the neighborhood. The boulevard will allow the real heart of the neighborhood to become whole once again.

6. New Development on Key Sites

Typo, Policy 6.1.1, p 135: The initial sentence should probably read 'In keeping with the preceding urban design guidelines& " or in some other way reference the other plan elements.

Comment, p. 144: The eastern boundary of Parcel I should be normalized to resolve the triangular geometry on Gough Street (similar to Parcel H).

Typo, p. 152: A verb is missing from the third bullet point.

Typo, p 154: Would it be possible to encourage the aggregate development of Parcel V with the privately owned adjacent Market Street property in order to create a more viable parcel that could be developed at a scale suitable to Market Street?

Section III: Implementing the Plan

I want to stress that special efforts should be made to implement the Better Neighborhoods Plan south of Market Street. This area will continue to suffer the ill-effects of the elevated freeway structure, and does not have a direct catalyst for change, as the construction of the boulevard will be in Hayes Valley. Implementation of mitigations such as the proposed parks and sidewalk improvements are essential to the sustainability of these areas as neighborhoods. Top

Comment, p. 178, sixth bullet point: To encourage creative initiatives, I suggest that the report avoid describing funding as "unimaginable".

Thank you for all of your hard work in preparing this excellent plan.

Sincerely,

S.H.


5901


Hello,

I've lived at the intersection of Laguna and Oak for 10 years and so have many thoughts on the neighborhood plan.

Regarding the "off-ramp parcel," I feel that the ideal use would be green space. Since that seems not to be an option, I ask that the height limit for any building be no higher than 40 feet, in keeping with the surrounding buildings, to preserve neighborhood integrity and available sunlight. Also, there are many trees on that lot which have valiently survived thus far. I would ask that any development preserve at least the mature trees on this lot, which would maintain our thriving bird population as well as the refreshing and necessary green (you know, reducing green house gases, etc.) Baby curb-lawn trees just don't have the same effect. I would hope that any development strive for a multi-faceted, varied, integrated facade to the building, not some beige stucco/concrete bare wall begging for the inevitable graffiti. An example of a well-done development are the new low-income apartments on the corner of Church and Duboce...they ! are nice to walk by, and look to be nice to live in. I don't know about the necessity of a Hickory Alley right-of-way...maybe a tree-lined pedestrian path would be more useful. I'm concerned about the stipulation "parking is not required nor encouraged." Parking is sooo tight in this neighborhood already, and this plan talks about maximizing how many additional people could live on this previously empty block. If you are not going to create parking (how about underground), then I'd like to see a limit on the number of new residents that could own cars or get neighborhood parking permits. I know that you are attempting to encourage walking and bike riding, but the reality is that many people will have cars and need to park them. Top

A related but somewhat separate concern is the hours and times of demolition and construction. I would like any work to be limited to weekdays...this past weekend road work began at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday. Please don't make my next few years miserable in this way!

Last, other public comments have addressed the dangers of the Market/Laguna intersection. This intersection is risky for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars alike. Signals with turn arrows would go a long way toward solving this problem!

Thanks for your time,

E.R.


5901


February 4, 2003

To: John Billovits
San Francisco Planning Department

Re: Response to "Octavia and Market Plan",
Parcels O and P

Cc: Matt Gonzales, Supervisor
Chris Daley, Supervisor
Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association, Board of Directors

I am in receipt of the full "Octavia and Market Plan" outlining the draft to be considered and approved for the Octavia Boulevard project and those Lots proposed to be developed. May I start by complimenting you and the Planning Dept. on a very well done proposal. However, I would like to specifically address my concerns with Parcels O and P: the block where the current freeway off-ramp will be demolished, bordered by Octavia and Laguna, and Oak and Fell streets. Top

The Plan acknowledges that Parcels O and P is the largest of all lots available for development, and because of this fact we know that there will be numerous developers and local organizations bidding on this rare opportunity to build. It is absolutely imperative that the Plan reflects the parameters acceptable to the neighborhood establishing legal and zoning requirements, and to suggest the criteria to be followed by these potential developers. I have two specific objections, and request changes to be made to the Plan.

Height Limits. Though the Plan carefully mentions the fact that "the physical fabric of the surrounding residential district is extremely fine-grained, with small individual residential buildings on narrow lots", the Planning Department has recommended that the height restrictions on all four street-fronts be at fifty feet (50'), rather than the forty foot (40') restrictions on the other side of the same streets. As a neighbor on Laguna Street facing Parcels O and P, I find this absolutely unacceptable. If you will recall, the slope of this block (as there is no topography map included in the Plan) rises from Octavia up to Laguna. To maintain a 50' height for this entire City block flies in the face of the surrounding residential neighbors. There is no other block that the Plan names in this immediate vicinity that has such an aggressive proposal. At the corner of

Laguna and Fell, for instance, there are three existing corner structures with wonderful architecture, and the new fourth corner should match them in scale and height.

Requested Change to the Plan: A forty foot (40') height restriction shall apply to all new construction facing Fell, Laguna and Oak Streets, with a fifty foot (50') height restriction that shall apply to construction facing Octavia (with a depth no greater than other Octavia neighboring blocks to the south at this same height). Top

Alley and Trees. The suggested site-plan for Parcels O and P (page 151) calls for a very rectangular development, adding an extension of the alley for cars that will dead-end at Octavia. Though the tone of the Plan very strongly encourages a reduction of auto traffic and parking, and an increase in pedestrian traffic and green space, I find this suggested site-plan for Parcels O and P to be very short-sited (and far from creative). We find that there is no benefit in extending Hickory Alley from Laguna to a dead-end at Octavia, as a "pedestrian green belt" through the block would be far more advantageous to the neighborhood. And further, as the site-plan assumes that the many mature trees on this parcel would be removed, it is sinful that such a meandering green belt would not include some of these existing trees. It is also of special note that many birds in the area call these trees home, some of which are rarely found elsewhere in the City. The Plan does not comment about the current trees, and does not encourage developers to consider alternatives. Already HVNA has had special guests present ideas very different from Page 151, and their ideas so far are much more creative regarding the current conditions. than the Plan lays out. The Plan should encourage such creativity, and suggest utilizing some of the existing trees and considering alternatives other than an asphalt alley down the middle of these Parcels. (Also, it is of note that Hickory Alley is narrower on the west side of Laguna than a traditional alley, and extending it thru would only encourage cross-traffic to utilize this hazardous "funnel".) Top

Requested Change to the Plan: Delete any reference in the Plan to a requirement or suggestion of extending Hickory Alley thru Parcels O and P, except as a pedestrian walkway or green belt. Add reference to the Plan that existing mature trees on the Parcels are encouraged to be utilized wherever possible and practical.

Thank you for taking the time to consider these changes to the Plan. I am sure that much time and thought went into the Plan's draft, but I trust my points are distinctly heard and that action will be taken. Please let me know if there is additional research required, or if there are other avenues that I must pursue to achieve these results. Top

Kind Regards&

----------------

T.T.
Linden Lab
www.lindenlab.com


5901


Mr. Billovits,

It has come to my attention that parking will be ad hoc-ly curtailed and radically reduced with the new "improvements" in Hayes Valley. Some simple questions:

Question 1:
Where are all the cars to go? Fo renters, home owners, tourists, visitors to our great neighborhood?

Question 2:
Has anyone on the planning commitee actually modelled the demand for parking today and tomorrow? Not to be glib, but has any quantitative analysis been conducted to model REALITY vs the ideal world that many on the planning committe must live in.

Question 3:
What percentage of people on the planning committee have off-street parking, whether as renters or homeowners? My guess is that most of you probably don't park on the street.

Not only will the Octavia parking lots go away, but there seems to be some ridiculous optimism that people are supposed to walk everyone and take public transportation. First, this is true for me on weekends and evening, but alas, we in California (for better or worse) must own a car to commute to work (I commute to San Mateo). There is no logical alternative unless I want to double my commute time each way to work and use public transportation. Not only would it double my commute time, but it would also double my weekly expenses. Unfortunately, this is a very poor value proposition to 1,000's of people in the bay area. Top

I also believe that having ample and ubiquitous parking in Hayes Valley will be a boon to neighborhood's economic climate and store owners. It will also make it a very desireable place to live and will be a boon to homeowners and renters and landlords.

What are the cons to parking or an underground parking garage? Frankly, it could be a great revenue generator for the city and neighborhood as people will easily PAY for parking, both monthly and hourly. Make those who want parking PAY for it and those that feel otherwise can ALWAYS use their feet and public transportation. The only argument should be on the cost of parking, not whether to have it.

Please contact me at XXX@XXXXX.com or at my home phone at 415-XXX-XXXX if you would like a further opinion. I live at Haight and Buchanan and will be directly affected by these plans that we will have to live with for years to come. I urge you to take heed of the above. I mean no disrespect, but question the quality of the analysis that has gone into the decision-making on the Octavia plans. Top

Best Regards,

B.T.


5901


Dear John and Better Neighborhoods Team,

I was very pleased to read the Better Neighborhoods Octavia/Market Draft Plan. I think you did a terrific job. It's very thorough, comprehensive, well organized and thought out and incorporates all the neighborhood concerns and comments I have heard during the years of public meetings, workshops, etc.

I am particularly supportive of the proposals to limit parking and increase housing densities. If implemented they will help to repair the neighborhood once the Central Freeway is gone and help transform it into a place where people can safely and conveniently walk, bicycle or use public transit to access nearby local shops and services. This is what people said they want.

Finally, I found the implementation, strategies such as those outlined on page 178, to be very creative and well thought out. It's one thing to make good plans and another to find ways of making them happen. I think you have done both very successfully.

But as much as I like the plan, I do have a few specific and relatively minor comments and suggestions, which are as follows:

· Policy 2.3.2. "Discourage Dwelling Unit Mergers" on page 46: You may want to think about this. It freezes the housing stock and reduces flexibility. There may be some cases where it would be desirable to merge units to provide family housing or for alternative housing opportunities such s co-housing. Perhaps instead limiting potential creative housing solutions, dwelling unit mergers should be allowed if they provide the same or increased densities.

· Once Octavia Boulevard and the touchdown ramp are built, lower Page Street will probably experience overflow traffic from Oak Street, which will use it as a cut-through to Octavia. This will not only interfere with the Haight Street MUNI at that location, but will also negatively impact Page as a safe bike route. I suggest that besides islands, there might be some traffic diverters at key intersections such as Laguna and Page that would prevent drivers from using Page for freeway access. (See attached hard copy sketch). Top

· In section 2.2.4 on page 44 there's a typo, which should read: "where such a conversion would remove OFF-street parking& " rather than "on-street parking".

· There's another typo on page 191, the last sentence under the heading "Community Planning for San Francisco's Eastern Neighborhoods".

· I think it's very good to encourage the removal of garages. Construction of new ones with their accompanying curb cuts in existing buildings should be restricted if not prohibited as well. They have a very negative impact on the scale, architecture; walk ability and texture of neighborhood streets.

· I support the construction of affordable housing in this neighborhood. However, I suggest we prioritize it for people who work in San Francisco. That policy would help reduce automobile dependence and provide much needed housing for people who work but can't afford to live here (such as teachers).

· Policy 2.4.1: add requirement to include secure bicycle parking in new developments. There' also a need for bicycle parking in the neighborhood for people living in existing walkups that don't have it. If there's no place to park bikes people can't use them.

· Policy 2.4.3: Mention co-housing as another alternative housing type.

· The sketches for possible MUNI station designs in Chapter 4 could use a little updating. There are many examples of great, innovative station design in LA or London.

· Also in Chapter 4, section 4.2.2: Instead of trying to minimize the Valencia overpass or pretending it doesn't exist, why not celebrate it? Light it up! Put a big neon sign on it that says: "Welcome to the Mission" (like the sign over 101 into Willetts). It could actually be fun and compliment the neighborhood rather than be just an eyesore.

· Section 4.2.3: I suggest there not be a "plaza" on Hayes Green at the Fell side but rather something to shield the park from the traffic that will be there. Top

· Secion 4.2.4: The "plaza" on Market next to the freeway ramp needs some work if it's going to be a place that's comfortable and compliments the area. Maybe some sort of marker scaled to Market and the freeway ramp could be put there that would at least give it a sense of place (such as that equestrian statue mentioned at the CAC meeting). Otherwise, I envision a litter-strewn, no-man's space like those at Otis, Mission and Duboce or 12th Mission and S. Van Ness with traffic swirling around everywhere and no people. The "Plaza" on McCoppin is a good idea but I think would work best if there's a building built on the U-Haul land to enclose it and put eyes on it. It could have ground floor functions that would compliment the plaza-a café, community or recreation space. But a "plaza" that's made up of the left over space between Valencia and

· the ramp would lack definition, a sense of enclosure and protection and would invite occupation as a homeless encampment.

· In chapter 3 the examples used to illustrate architectural principles may encourage future designers to simply mimic historical styles. I suggest including examples of good modern deign. Even the small residential building with the striped base on McCoppin across from the old Salvation Army Building Illustrates a more modern interpretation of some of these principles. The SOM designed building on 2nd and Mission is, in my opinion, a good example of a nicely scaled, well-detailed, elegant modern building.

· Regarding the alleys, the plan contradicts itself. It encourages the creation of "Living Streets" with few garages and curb cuts and more building entries. But the section on the development of the freeway land proposes that they be used for service automobile access. Top

· Right now the situation on Oak Street at the International School campus is extremely dangerous. I suggest that once Octavia Boulevard is completed, Oak Street east of Octavia be calmed similar to what's proposed for Hermann Street on page 69 of the plan. This could be accomplished by using Fell Street to get from Octavia to Franklin and by using Haight Street to get from Gough to Octavia. (See attached hard copy sketch).

· The transportation chapter is excellent. The plan starts to address some of the critical issues regarding the automobile. I imagine many of the proposals to rein in automobiles are going to require a hard sell. Nevertheless, the tremendous negative impacts on the quality of life in San Francisco, on the City's public transit system, bicycle and pedestrian safety and the environment cannot, in my opinion, be overstated. As the situation becomes more extreme the City needs to take extreme measures to restrict automobile usage. With that in mind I suggest a couple of things to start with:

*Red light running, sidewalk parking, careless and rude driving hove become endemic in San Francisco. Certainly many of these scofflaw drivers are San Francisco residents, who in many cases have residential parking permits. Allowing people to use City streets for storing vehicles is a privilege that should be limited to residents who practice civility. With that in mind, I'm suggesting revocation of parking permits for SF drivers who make the streets dangerous for everyone else. And by the way, those permits are under priced. So the idea to sell them at market rates is an excellent one. Top

*I think we should be looking at other taxing strategies, such as the congestion pricing system now being implemented in London, to try to reduce auto use her. Cities from Chicago to Singapore impose a tax on their automobiles. Why not in San Francisco?

· Regarding bicycles:

*The proposed bike routing at the Howard, S. Van Ness and Division intersection, seems a bit circuitous and probably won't be used by bicyclists in that configuration. I suggest the proposed median south of Division that separates local from freeway traffic be extended to the Howard Street intersection. Then bikes could use the local lane to get through the intersection with Division without zigzagging. The proposed pedestrian and bike crossing proposed for Howard could be used by bicyclists headed west on Division. (See the attached hard copy sketch).

· Meanwhile, the Division/Duboce/Otis/Mission and the eastbound Division/S. Van Ness intersections are a nightmare for bicyclists. There is a lot of room in the westbound Division right-of-way between S. Van Ness and Mission for a bike lane that would eliminate the hazardous merging that a bicyclist has to do with the traffic exiting the freeway. In the eastbound direction there could be a bike lane from Valencia in the center of Division next to the median that would separate bicyclists from the freeway bound traffic. The same could be done for westbound bicycle traffic to Valencia as an alternative. (See attached hard copy sketch).

· The S. Van Ness/Otis/Mission intersection is also a nightmare for bicyclists heading from eastbound Mission to northbound Van Ness. There might be a median separator and bike lane at that location as well. By the way, that intersection is also a good candidate for a gateway marker similar to that proposed for Market and Octavia. Or better yet, turn that multi-street can-of worms intersection into a roundabout with a great monument in the center. There's plenty of room, it would be safer for everyone and better looking.

· While the proposed bikeway on the east side of the freeway ramp makes a convenient and safe connection from Valencia to Octavia the connection in the other direction is unclear, circuitous and dangerous. At least there needs to be a connection from southbound Octavia Boulevard across Market. That route could use some of the "plaza" spaces on either side of Market to connect to the Market Street bike lane, to Elgin Park or to the Valencia Street bikeway connector. In addition, the City might also consider a bike tunnel beneath the new freeway ramp from Elgin Park to the Valencia connector. (See attached hard copy sketch). Top

· On page 199 there is no mention of 14th Street, which is an important bike route. Also, the alley streets make good bike streets.

· Finally, San Francisco might consider implementing a community bike system like the one in Berlin. Community bikes are available everywhere there. They are very high tech, convenient, cheap and theft resistant. The bikes are tracked by a global positioning system, can only be unlocked remotely once one enters a specific code, which one gets after setting up an account. Also in order to discourage theft the bikes are made of unique components that if stolen couldn't be used on other bikes.

Despite these comments, I think the plan is excellent and reflects a lot of hard, diligent and thoughtful work as well as community input. I look forward to the final draft.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

R.L.


5901


I find the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan an excellent proposal for an enhanced residential neighborhood in the Octavia Boulevard/Market Street area. However, this area is not discrete and isolated, but overlaps with and is strongly impacted by Civic Center. The blocks from Market to Golden Gate along Van Ness and Franklin contain a number of educational and culture ogranizations and venues which draw to the area thousands of people from throughout the Bay Area. Those visitors and staff members become the numberous pedestrians who use the sidewalks, the shoppers and diners who support the drivers who generate traffic and seek to park in the area.

Your Plan covers a fifteen year period. It should contemplate Civic Center over the same period. I list for you a development scenario for the Van Ness Avenue blocks starting at the Market Street end.

1. San Francisco Conservatory of Music. The Conservatory intends to start construction in mid-year on their new facility in the historic 50 Oak Street building. When complete, the facility will draw 1000 students, faculty and staff to the area and well as numerous patrons to the trhee performance spaces. Top

2. The National Center for International Schools. The relocation of the French American and Chinese American International Schools to 150 Oak Street has been a great success. They continue to expand their facilities according to their master plan to accommodate more students. (They remodeled and expanded the basement of the 150 Oak Street building this past summer.) They could well ammend their master plan in the next ten years to expand their high school program further.

3. 135 Van Ness as the home for the School for the Arts. Plans have been prepared and Environmental Impact Report completed. The District's fiscal problems have stopped work on the project and the Superintendent has expressed her support for that policy many times. When the SOTA moves into the remodeled historic buildings, some 1000 high school students will be in attendance.

4. Norse Auditorium. The School for the Arts block contains the 1200 seat Norse Auditorium. Beside its use for the SOTA, a number of mid-sized performance groups such at the Philharmonic Baroque Orchestra view the auditorium as an ideal location for their performances. Once funds are found to seismically retrofit the Auditorium, funds will be sought from the private sector to refurbish the facility as a first class performance space accommodating performance three to four times a week. Top

5. Davies Symphony Hall. The San Francisco Symphony is extremely popular drawing near sold-out performances most weeks of the year. The parking lot on Franklin Street has long been viewed as the site for a 500-600 seat chamber music recital hall. Although there are no current plans to build such a facility, it is quite possible that such a plan will be developed in the next fifteen years.

6. War Memorial Opera House. The San Francisco Opera and the San Francisco Ballet keep the Opera House busy most weeks of the year.

7. San Francisco Ballet Building. This building contains administrative offices and rehearsal facilities as well as the very successful Ballet School. Approvals have been obtained to expand it in the area between its building and the Performing Arts Garage to accommodate these growing functions.

8. The Veterans Building. The Veterans Building is currently underutilized because of the seismic needs of the building, the inadequacy of Herbst Auditorium, and the lack of investment in the building in the last fifteen years. The Memorial Board has developed a plan to significanlty improve the buildings public areas for both arts and veterans purpose. Although a bond issue to pay for these improvements failed last November, the building must be improved. Once the work has been completed, Herbst Theater and other facilities in the building will become more heavily used. Top

In the Civic Center area east of Van Ness Avenue, the Asian Art Museum will open on March 20, 2003 bringing to the new facility on average 1500 visitors a day six days a week and on Thursday evenings. The Museum has approved plans for a second phase adding more exhibit space and an auditorium which will generate additonal visitors.

The Federal Building on Mission and Seventh Streets is scheduled to open in 2005 and will contain 1600 employees from several Federal agencies which will generate numerous visitors.

The City's Real estate Department is devloping specifications for a new 4000,000 square feet. Office building on Market Street to be devloped by private parties for the City by 2007.

The developments described above are the known and predicable Civic Center projects. They could very well stimulate additonal public and private projects in the area which cannot be foreseen at this time. However, we can conclude that the greater Civic Center area is a dynamic place which could be visited by 10,000 or more people many days of the week. That number does not include the some 10,000 people who currently work in the area. Much of this activity will occur on the west side of Van Ness Avenue and produce a increasing impact on the Octavia Boulevard/Market Street area. Your Plan must incorporate Civic Center in its scope and accommodate it in its specific policies.

I attach a list of specific comments on the Plan.

Very truly yours,

J.W.H.

Top

Last updated: 12/12/2011 11:43:02 AM