In this issue:
Hastings College continues push for huge parking garage
Two proposals from Hastings College for a parking garage and housing at the corner of Golden Gate and Larkin received mixed reviews at a public hearing last June. TLC thanked the panel for reviewing alternatives to the 885-car garage originally proposed, but expressed disappointment that Hastings is still pushing for a massive parking facility at perhaps the worst possible location for more car traffic. Please write Senator John Burton and urge him to continue to pressure the University to meet community needs by reducing the parking and increasing the housing in the proposal.
When Hastings first proposed its 885-car garage last June, the idea came under fire from neighborhood residents who wanted housing instead of parking. The location is within walking distance of some of the best transit service west of the Mississippi, and at the edge of the Tenderloin, the city's most densely populated neighborhood with the lowest rates of car ownership. Despite the potential for a thriving pedestrian neighborhood in the heart of the city, the Tenderloin suffers from the highest rate of pedestrian injuries as a result of massive amounts of commuter traffic that the Hastings Garage would have added to. In a city where many folks consider affordable housing the number one social problem, Hastings' garage proposal added insult to injury because the site is the former home of three residential hotels and Hastings' declared parking demand is overstated because they still provide subsidized parking to their employees and students.
Hastings College has said that the two proposals are just drafts and that they welcome suggestions in order to come up with a final proposal at a later date. Please give them that input; we can still help build housing not parking in this center-city neighborhood.
Supervisors make way for big SoMa garage
The Board of Supervisors approved the special zoning controls for a single parcel on 4th Street at Freelon Alley, a block from the Caltrain station. The controls are step one in a plan concocted by landowner Joe Cassidy, developer Joe O'Donoghue, Supervisor Chris Daly and affordable housing builder Randy Shaw. Their plan is for the developer to construct a 330-unit apartment project with a 369-space parking garage, three stories higher than the regular zoning controls would have allowed, and to provide subsidies for permanent affordable housing in residential hotels to be built by Randy Shaw's Tenderloin Development Corporation. The project is an improvement over the currently approved project for the site, a 188-unit live/work development with a 480-car garage and the dealmakers deserve to be commended for their innovation in doubling the amount of housing at the site. However, the reason they needed a change in the zoning controls to go three stories higher is not to build extra housing, but to save money by putting the garage above ground. The existing neighborhood plan was scrapped for a huge above-ground parking garage within 1,000 feet of the Caltrain station. The Planning Department's draft plan for permanent zoning changes in the area call for such housing projects to have only half the amount of parking that this project calls for.
It's not too late to change the project. While the zoning changes to facilitate the deal sailed through the Board of Supervisors 11-0, the project itself has not been approved. TLC will be sending you an action alert when it's time to write the Planning Department to improve this project. TLC's message will be to make the project conform to the envisioned parking requirements for the neighborhood, cutting the parking in half, enabling the building to be reduced by one story (or having that story converted to housing not parking) and the ground floor of the building converted to more street-enhancing frontage than the wall of a garage!
Department of Public Health grants $250,000 for bicycle and pedestrian safety
Recognizing the connection between city residents' health and their ability to walk and bicycle safely in their own neighborhoods, the Department of Public Health has just issued ten grants for a total of $250,000 to community organization for projects ranging from teenage driver safety education, language-specific outreach and community planning. The ten organizations receiving grants are: Columbia Park Boys & Girls Club of SF, Chinatown Community Development Center, Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth, Haight Ashbury Free Clinics, International Institute of San Francisco, Real Alternatives Program Collaborative, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Senior Action Network, Tenderloin Housing Clinic, and Walk San Francisco.
TLC is the fiscal sponsor for the SFBC and Walk San Francisco grants. With its grant, the Bicycle Coalition will develop curricula on bicycle safety for Muni bus and taxi drivers, advocate for the application of stickers in cab doors urging passengers to look out for bikes, and for a "Please don't squeeze" campaign to encourage safe passing. Walk San Francisco's grant is for development of a "safe routes to school" program that will educate parents and school administrators at two San Francisco public elementary schools. For more details on all the grants, click here.
Want to Learn More about TLC? Join us for lunch March 20.
What exactly is Transportation for a Livable City? Just what do we mean by a Livable City, and how do we propose to get there? Join us for an one-hour introduction to TLC led by Dave Snyder, TLC's Executive Director, come learn about our vision, goals and strategies first hand. This one-hour overview will be held the third Thursday of every month. Join us!
When: The third Thursday of each month, 12:30 - 1:30
The Grant Building is located within walking distance of downtown and directly at the Civic Center Muni Metro BART station. For more information, or to RSVP, contact Heather Thomson, 415-431-2445 x32. This meeting will start and end on time.
COMMENT: Shrink the Golden Gate Park parking garage
The parking garage proposed for the Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park gets uglier with every revision. The promised "pedestrian oasis" turns out to be a mirage. The Concourse's roads will see some increased traffic and other nearby roads may see drastically increased traffic. Concourse Director Mike Ellzey acknowledges the design is a cheap version of the original vision because the $40 million estimated budget was shrunk to $36 million. TLC says that the shrunken economy should result in a shrunken garage. Current plans sacrifice the most important role of the park as a getaway for the city's workers (many of whom don't have a car and cannot afford to get out of town for getaways), but the correct response to the reduced budget for the garage is to reduce the size of the garage. Fewer spaces will still meet the institutions' parking demands while providing the funding for the transit and pedestrian improvements envisioned by Proposition J. TLC encourages the Alliance for Golden Gate Park to promote the vision of a smaller garage and the Concourse Authority to authorize whatever legal measures necessary to permit the construction of a smaller garage.