June 19, 2007

The (SOM) Master Plan For San Francisco’s Treasure Island

Treasure Island Rendering (Image Source: SOM)

A plugged-in tipster directs us to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill’s Master Plan for Treasure Island and an overview from NewcitySkyline:

The Treasure Island Plan involves a unique, 21st century San Francisco community that is socially and economically diverse and supported by close-knit neighborhoods, unprecedented open space, resource-conserving technology and a robust network of transportation choices. Envisioned as both a great place to live and a regional destination, the plan proposes three compact neighborhoods centered around an energizing, mixed-use hub and ferry terminal set within a richly faceted 275-acre Great Park.
The new development would take up only a quarter of the island’s area and will be built in phases. In the residential phase, there will be approximately 5,900 residential units built, of which 30 percent will be affordable. The residential area will accommodate around 13,500 residents, and will be divided by high-density, low-to-midrise blocks of townhouses, flats clustered around neighborhood open spaces, and residential towers approximately 14 stories high.

With preliminary approval from the Board of Supervisors in hand, residents could begin moving by as early as 2013 (with overall completion of the development around 2022).

SOM Rendering of San Francisco and Treasure Island (Image Source: SOM)

Treasure Island Master Plan [SOM]
Reawakening Treasure Island [NewcitySkyline]

First Published: June 19, 2007 10:16 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Are any of the residences going to be offered for sale (with what I assume would be long-term land leases) or is it going to be a community of rentals like the Presidio?

Posted by: DanD at June 19, 2007 12:05 PM

do they consider impact of global warming? won't this area be underwater in 50 or so years if things don't change?

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 12:39 PM

"do they consider impact of global warming? won't this area be underwater in 50 or so years if things don't change?"

Perhaps they're also going to build impressive levees to protect the island (think Amsterdam, not New Orleans).

Posted by: SFhighrise at June 19, 2007 1:00 PM

And on the front page of the Chronicle is the story about the Bay Area's worst commutes and as usual I-80 is #1. I don't think a ferry service will lessen the traffic impact on the bridge that much.

As for global warming, maybe T.I. will come to resemble Venice complete with canals and gondolas and the whales can swim right past your window!

Posted by: cw at June 19, 2007 1:07 PM

"And on the front page of the Chronicle is the story about the Bay Area's worst commutes and as usual I-80 is #1."

I doubt that would have much affect on the residents there. This mainly refers to those that have to enter through the toll plaza.

Posted by: SFhighrise at June 19, 2007 1:13 PM

Hey guys I just bought a luxury condo in the coldest, foggiest, black moldiest, liquifaction zone in the Bay Area!

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at June 19, 2007 1:21 PM

Or how about this one:
"Hi guys! I just bought a luxury condo on the site of a former radiological decontamination training facility, also known as Area 12"! Sound familiar? Housing facilities built on fomer USN property that wasn't properly cleaned up prior to habitation? But that's o.k., because these will be expensive condos, and not housing projects, so maybe a little more care will be taken...Plus, it's just so much cooler to live in an "Area" than a neighbourhood!
Anyone remember this article?
http://www.sfweekly.com/2006-05-24/news/toxic-acres/print

Posted by: jennifer mckinley at June 19, 2007 1:56 PM

@jennifer,badlydrawnbear: at least they propose building it on the windward site of the island :)

Posted by: dub dub at June 19, 2007 2:35 PM

So what would you folks like on the island instead? Nothing? Perhaps leave it contaminated? I guess I'm confused...

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 2:46 PM

Casinos! Seriously. It would be so cool -- a major tourist destination, with flashing lights and high rise hotels. It is called Treasure Islanf afterall. The new housing plan for the island looks dreary, lonely, depressing and cold. Everyone loves a cool casino! Work on it.

Posted by: damion at June 19, 2007 4:08 PM

Anon: I guess what i would prefer is innovative housing with a low-impact footprint on completely de-toxed land. Read the cancer statistics for Potrero Hill and Bayview lately? Oh yeah, and I'd also like full-disclosure on the site...Call me a picky idealist.

Posted by: jennifer mckinley at June 19, 2007 4:28 PM

I might be hated for this, but why does it have to be so sterile? What about a mix between highrises, low rise and loft space, and yes, even single family homes (in other words, more like S.F. or parts of the East Bay where you have different types of people, incomes and housing side by side)

If this island were in Asia near a great city, it WOULD be turned into a combination resort-casino-golf-ultra luxe housing- entertainment area. But that would be politcally incorrect here in the wag-the-finger correct Bay Area. This design is as boring as Roosevelt Island off Manhattan without the gondola in the sky to connect it. Another missed opportunity.

Posted by: Morgan at June 19, 2007 4:32 PM

That plan looks terrible. And since concept drawings are often idealized I'm leary of what the end result will be. Yuk!

Posted by: CameronRex at June 19, 2007 4:40 PM

Jennifer,

You don't think this plan is low-impact? Now I'm really confused.

I agree with you about full disclosure though and complete detox.

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 5:02 PM

Having casino there is a great idea I think. What exactly is so wrong about it anyways? Keep driving down the bridge for 2 miles, there is a casino right in Emeryville. Build it nicely, make a big deal out of it, and we'll probably start seeing some action in the market again.

Posted by: blahhh at June 19, 2007 5:13 PM

High Rise condos + Treasure Island + Loma Prieta = ?

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 5:19 PM

Building to modern-day seismic standards + High Rise condos + Treasure Island + Earthquake = safer place to be than most single family homes in the Bay Area

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 5:53 PM

Keep in mind that this is a Masterplan intended to address land use and general location and scale of buildings. The rendering is therefore what COULD be with this plan, and certainly not what WILL be.

A note regarding wind, in the words of the architects from the SOM site:

"the SOM team also recognized the importance of addressing the island’s constant winds and fog. SOM Consulting Partner John Kriken came up with a simple, novel scheme to largely mitigate the island’s difficult weather by proposing that the developmental grid be tilted to the north and west. The grid shift would work in concert with stands of trees, berms, and buildings located on neighborhood peripheries to effectively block out winds."

GOOD LUCK! "mitigate", maybe. "effectively block" is extremely unlikely!

Posted by: curmudgeon at June 19, 2007 5:53 PM

Agree with those above -- a resort casino/hotel would be pretty awesome, and, like angel island, it could be serviced *only* by ferries/sailboats, helping to mitigate traffic concerns, and adding to the allure.

It might even jump start ferry routes for other "more serious" purposes. All taxed up the wazoo, of course :)

I don't think residential housing should go there any more than I think it should go on angel island or alcatraz. The infrastructure is not there -- you'd have to allow bay bridge access if there were significant residential housing, and then you're screwed (blocking half a bridge is the same as blocking the whole bridge).

Posted by: dub dub at June 19, 2007 6:35 PM

Here's another article on Treasure Island from the Architect's Newspaper:

http://www.archpaper.com/news/CA/2007_0503b.htm

Posted by: citicritter at June 19, 2007 6:40 PM

Morgan, there in fact is a mix between hi and low rise housing -- there are 'neighborhood' green spaces around which 3-5 story housing is clustered, and each with a 15 story tower at the edge and mixed use, then there are 4 or 5 40 story towers, then the big 60 story one at the 'urban core'...

Posted by: citicritter at June 19, 2007 6:45 PM

dub dub,

Perhaps you need to look at the parking restrictions that will be in place in this development. Besides, if it does cause gridlock on the bridge, that's more encouragement for those coming from further away to leave their cars at home.

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 6:49 PM

Sorry CitiCritter, As I read more about it there is more housing diversity than I thought, but it still reminds me of Roosevelt Island, very sterile. My real concern was why couldn't it look more "organic" instead of so "planned". I can't help but think of Christopher Alexander and what he would do regarding this project. I on the other hand would rather see something more like what is built on islands outside of major Asian Cities. Why not some casinos, hotels, entertainment, an area that is not only a place to live, but to have fun and enjoy the views? If only it was warmer, sunny and less windy there it would be quite a fun spot, and still could be if they were to try some designs that are not so "correct" with Bay Area Politics.

Posted by: Morgan at June 19, 2007 7:12 PM

What's wrong with having a completely sustainable planned development? That type of development will draw a lot of publicity and bring some visitors. SF is already bursting at the seems with tourists. We don't need a Vegas in the middle of the Bay.

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 7:21 PM

anon 721 -- to say SF is "bursing at the seams" with anything is absurd. It's the least-dense city with international pretensions I've ever visited/lived in. Completely wonderful tho :)

We may indeed not need a Vegas-by-the-bay, but a casino would give all those international condo buyers downtown a reason to continue to prop up the condo market. And the google employees stationed in SF could run blackjack teams! :)

These plans would be fantastic for mission bay, but again, not for TI.

Posted by: dub dub at June 19, 2007 8:42 PM

dub dub,

you still haven't given a reason why residential development doesn't make sense on TI. Parking restrictions are in place. Most of these condos will not have a spot for a car. No space for cars = not many cars to flood the Bay Bridge. With all your talk of going to dense places in other countries, I would think that you would know that not all dense places must sell out to cars.

And just to let you know, the following cities have a lower population density than SF:

London
Madrid
Amsterdam
Dublin
Munich
Berlin
Stockholm
Vienna
Prague

If none of those cities have "international pretensions" then I don't know who does. (Or perhaps you just haven't visited/lived in them :))

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 9:00 PM

jesus christ, people. it's a very cool concept, and a great place to start. at least they're coming up with some ideas for the island.

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 9:21 PM

@anon 9pm-- well-played!

As you know, most on your list, London, Madrid, Amsterdam (the first three), sprawl more than SF, which is sea-locked on 3 sides. So outer regions "average down" density. For example, amsterdam is 84.6 sq miles, SF (sea-locked) is 47 sq miles. Yet Amsterdam comes in at 11.5k/sq mi, SF 16.6k/sq mi. Madrid is 234 sq miles, and Greater London is 609 sq miles!

To "play fair" you should extend SF south to menlo park. And it's poor sportsmanship to include Dublin: that's an international city because it's a capital city, like Washington DC -- tho more beautiful.

I haven't lived or visited every city on your list, but SF is not particularly dense, certainly not bursting at the seams w/ tourists.

In any case, I believe residential housing on TI is a boring way to use the resource, and a casino/hotel is a more-interesting one, considering all the housing going up everywhere else. I'm sure some combination of parking restrictions, monorails, plastic-bag recycling, free bicycles, solar panels, and priuses could make it "work", however.

I respect and thank you for your opinion, especially since you've done your research!

Posted by: dub dub at June 19, 2007 10:41 PM

Well played dub dub! If you're going to take out part of London to compare it to SF, why shouldn't we take out the low density areas of SF? Let's just compare central London to the areas of SF east of Van Ness and north of Howard? If we're going to draw random lines, why make SF bigger to include obviously suburban areas? Why not just take the suburban areas out of both cities, then compare?

Posted by: anon at June 19, 2007 11:20 PM

anon: Sprawl/sea-lock issues are relevant - Los Angeles' density is less than half SF's, and less than most of the cities you mentioned. Except Prague, whose sprawl clocks in at 6162 sq miles!

To see this principle in action, the most dense town in North America is Guttenberg, NJ, twice as dense as NYC. Entirely because of the way the town is (artificially) defined, and because it is small. SF is small, and has natural boundaries which similarly (and immutably) skew its "density". You get similar bizarre skews for "small urban areas" which can not move their city limits around as they grow.

To sum up: SF, not dense (small area, boundaries preventing sprawl); residential on TI would be boring; casino/hotel on TI would be awesome!; dub dub needs to get a life! ;)

That's all for me on this thread: thanks to everyone for your patience!

Posted by: dub dub at June 20, 2007 12:25 AM

EAST BERLIN comes to Treasure Island. How far we have gone down on the imagination scale. Decades ago we had a worlds fair on the island that was called the "jewel city". Now the only thing we can do is build boring housing blocks. I really could see how this could become a "Marin City" decades after it is built. Housing alone does not make a community or neighborhood. By not including anything interesting (hotels, a museum, and yes why not a casino), this design is doomed to making Treasure Island a place that in 2060 people will be afraid to drive through. Please pull out your Jane Jacobs and Christopher Alexander books! Avalon on Catalina made the Casino with ballroom and shops the architectural symbol of the island and town, and I think it is quite attractive though perhaps a bit "cute". What in this plan would make you want to take visiting friends over on the ferry to experience this unique part of the bay? Enough for me too, I am off to an early flight at the airport.

Posted by: Morgan at June 20, 2007 3:59 AM

Talk about remote yet so close. Think about Roosevelt Island in Manhattan. Cool idea but nobody wants to live there.

Posted by: donald at June 20, 2007 7:46 AM

Ok dub dub, whatever. If you think that SF is "not dense" when it has neighborhoods that top 100,000 people /sq mi, because it is landlocked - what the !@#$ does landlocking have to do with density? Yes, it may encourage higher density, but so?!? That wasn't your argument! You were saying that no other city with international aspirations was less dense than SF, and you were completely wrong!

There are neighborhoods in SF that are every bit as dense as the most dense in London. There are more dense neighborhoods in NYC or Paris or Hong Kong, sure, but not London.

Posted by: anon at June 20, 2007 8:20 AM

SF is the 2nd most population-dense city in the US, anyway, falling behind only to NYC.

Posted by: AC at June 20, 2007 8:59 AM

For a one page article, this blog does a decent very high end over view of the Treasure Island plan, but I agree with all the questions that were posed... such as "is it really pretty?", "how do you get rid of the toxics?", "how do you prevent the island from sinking in the next earthquake?"... so I looked it up.

http://www.sfgov.org/site/treasureisland_index.asp?id=284

Tons and tons of details here for those who really care, and it wasn't to hard to get at least more detailed responses to most of the questions in the 12/06 Term Sheet: http://www.sfgov.org/site/treasureisland_page.asp?id=21914#revterm

Have fun!

Posted by: anon at June 20, 2007 9:33 AM

I personally like the design for Treasure Island. I don't know if I'd personally live there, just because it is sort of a hassle to get to the rest of the city and it is so windswept, but other than that, it looks great.

Sure, its not "world-class" architecture, but if you really want that type of stuff, you can't be asking for 30% affordable housing and for all other units to be under $1,000 psf. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Yes, it does look planned, but I think that's also something that has to do with large-scale new developments. Whether you're talking about dense urban developments, as we have here in SF, or "sprawl-type" developments, that you see popping up everywhere like in Sacramento or Phoenix, they're all going to look planned. Its simply too expensive for developers to make every single building look unique, unless you want to pay the prices for "uber-luxury".

I think too many people here in the city simply have an elitest attitude and think that if it doesn't look unique, its not worthy. I disagree. I personally like the newer developments and think that what makes them unique is not the buildings themselves, but the surroundings (i.e. being on the waterfront of the Embarcadero, Treasure Island, etc). If you want your unique neighborhoods, buy a place in the Marina, Pac Heights, Noe Valley, etc. and quit complaining.

Posted by: SFhighrise at June 20, 2007 9:52 AM

OK, I have read through all if this and looked at the websites, and I cannot believe that a place as unique as Treasure Island, sitting in the middle of a world famous bay and 7 million people has to have THIS built? I think this is one place that should be "unique", and worthy of being built in such a destination city as San Francisco is. If we keep building projects that look more like Orange County, we will end up looking like Orange County. I am really tired of people saying just build anything because we need housing. We can have housing and density, but why not great design!?! I am still trying to get over a 50 story building being built 10 feet from the freeway exiting the bay bridge. What a way to come into the city, to be greeted by a candy stripped Irvine office tower.

Posted by: anon at June 20, 2007 10:22 AM

I can now see why developers have so many problems developing in the bay area. Just read all of these comments. This project has its faults--no project is perfect--but why is everyone so negative?

I have an idea....why don't we assemble a committee of everyone above and decide on a "perfect" design by the year 2075.

Posted by: anonymon at June 20, 2007 12:13 PM

Agreed, anonymon! Everything in this plan sucks! Send it back to the drawing board! Make it more unique! (Six years passes, repeat)

Perhaps if every building on the island was made to look like a giant Victorian?

Posted by: anon at June 20, 2007 1:19 PM

I think that a festival marketplace type development would be nice here, with fudge making and clowns and stuff. You could put some hotels there and some upscale boutiques around a town square type of space. Replica trolley cars could carry people around... It should all be in a Victorian style to make people think they're in old San Francisco.

Some imaginatio is needed!

Posted by: Anon at June 20, 2007 1:26 PM

How about a giant chocolate volcano! Where is the imagination of these boring developers!

Maybe a 2000 foot tall statue of St. Francis?

Posted by: anon at June 20, 2007 1:39 PM

anon at 1:39 is not taking this far enough. We need to take a page from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and make TI a Pastafarian version of Heaven:

I'm talking beer volcanos and stripper factories! Forget casinos, this will pack the tourists in!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_spaghetti_monster

But, I'll give you points for a 2000 foot tall statue of St. Francis.

Posted by: Jordan at June 20, 2007 3:32 PM

So despite all the "humor", are you saying that you think the S.O.M. plan is the best solution for Treasure Island? It is better than Willie Brown wanting to make it movie studios, but couldn't it be a little more interesting than a bunch of cubes and some Orange County towers? Another typical S.O.M. project. Why not get some "new urbanist" to try a different approach.
How about Stephanos Polyzoidos who creates urban neighborhoods that don't look like they came out of a block making machine.

Posted by: anon at June 20, 2007 4:44 PM

I think that it may not be the best plan, but blocking it now for hopes of "something better" is exactly the types of things that encourage folks like Stephanos Polyzoidos to avoid this area - If something is proposed, people will demand changes, won't like some part of it, and it might get built in some dumbed down version 17 years after the start of the process.

It looks like a "decent" plan. Anything is better than what it is now. Start building.

Posted by: anon at June 20, 2007 4:53 PM

But of course, a giant, chocolate statue of St. Francis!

Posted by: anon at June 21, 2007 12:22 PM

This is just an outline of what is to come. Lets wait until we see detailed renderings of individual buildings before we pass such negative opinions about the design and overall plan. It looks as if there are some interesting angles and setbacks even in these preliminary drawings most of which do not resemble anything we've in SF to date. I know the Bay Area is afraid of change but nothing is ever what it used to be...Build it!

Posted by: gh at June 22, 2007 8:48 AM

View... View... View... Hold on.

Everyone gets seduced by "the view" (the one of the city seen from the island's west facing waterfront)

Believe me, 95% of pancake flat Treasure Island has little or no view!

Backup a few yards from the waterfront and the area around the entrance gate and anything bigger than a tool-shed blocks that postcard image everyone has burned into their mind.

The "what are they smoking" plans that have been put forward to date are so absurd.. where does one begin ?

In the end I suspect the most likely scenario will be The City (OR the Navy who still holds all the cards and...by law is required to secure the best possible return on the property!) cashing in by selling or leasing the island for some astronomical figure to a megabucks developer who will then create an ultra-high end community along the lines of Newport Beach, Del Monte Forest or Marco Island, FL

Think: Huge yachts, golf course homes and a gated entrance.

Posted by: sonofsoma at June 24, 2007 4:26 AM

It goes against my politics, but I agree with sonofsoma in that trying to turn Treasure Island into "workers paradise" housing is not an option unless there was a BART station under the island. The best use of this land would be more along the lines of an upscale residential area, and why not? Most people at that wealth level are no longer working and how can you turn T.I. into an "urban" neighborhood when it is cut off from the city by water and a bridge.

By the way, can we please stop the tired comments about if you have a critical opinion about a design, then you must be "anti-change" or "anti-growth". I would love S.F. to have enough housing for a million more people, and would like to see Market Street become an urban corridor like Michigan Avenue, but Treasure Island is not the city. Let it be the new Belvedere/Tiburon of the bay, and I cannot wait to sit in a new waterfront restaurant overlooking the yachts and skyline view. Roosevelt Island off Manhattan is a failure, and the SOM plan would be too.

Posted by: anon at June 24, 2007 6:00 AM

TI will have high-speed ferries coming and going from the island every 10 minutes. With the ride taking about 5-7 minutes, TI will be MUCH closer to downtown by transit than the Richmond, the Sunset, or any of the East Bay. Read the full plans before you completely pan them.

And about TI becoming a high end area - won't happen because while the Navy is supposed to find the "highest use", the island is within the city limits and therefore any plan must pass through the Board of Supes and be signed by the mayor. This plan is NOT a "preliminary proposal", this is the deal. There could still be some changes, but construction will start in less than two years, with first move-in 2013.

Posted by: anon at June 24, 2007 9:43 AM

Right, 10 minutes waiting at the ferry + 7 minutes ride sound a short commute, but how many people will live next to the ferry building? You will need to drive/bike/walk to the TI ferry, and given SF's track record, there won't be enough parking if you drive. Then once you arrive SF, how many people work at the SF ferry building? You will still have to get on Muni and get off after a couple of stops. The whole commute will take at least 30 to 40 minutes for most people.

Pretty much the same as from lower Sunset to downtown with N or L line.

Posted by: John at June 24, 2007 2:28 PM

Of course there won't be parking at the TI ferry building - none of the buildings are more than 1/2 mile from the building, with all of the towers no more than 1/4 mile. If you need to drive 1/4 mile, then you wouldn't be interested in living there anyway - you'd be much more comfy in a gated community in some auto-oriented suburb. That isn't meant to sound elitist - it's just the truth. This development isn't for everyone - but there are enough people that DO want that kind of lifestyle to merit the development.

Posted by: anon at June 24, 2007 2:54 PM

I don't see why people think its a big deal that not everyone will live right next to the ferry terminal. As noted in other posts, most people in SF don't live right next door to public transportation and somehow they get by. So, its a few block walk for them to the terminal. Big deal. Most people here in the city like walking a few blocks for exercise. Also, don't forget that many currently take the bus into downtown from TI. Why can't this continue when the high rises are built? In SF, there isn't the stygma of bus riding, as you see in other cities. Also, if someone wanted to, they could take a bus from the other side of the island to the ferry building on TI. I'm sure once enough people live there, bus service will be expanded.

Its amazing how many people in this city like to shoot down a plan, as its not their vision of utopia. I'm sure I can find faults in this plan if I look carefully enough as well, but its a lot better than what is currently there and it will provide some much needed development in this city. I for one am excited about another neighborhood being opened up for me to explore.

Posted by: SFhighrise at June 24, 2007 4:12 PM

Well said, Highrise.

Posted by: anon at June 24, 2007 4:39 PM

The flaw in all of these points is that everyone does not work in the financial district. Some are chefs on Chestnut, some are architects in Sausilito, police, teachers, etc. Although this city loves to look down it's nose at those of us who drive for work reasons, cars will still be the way most of us get around. If I were to charge my hourly rate as an architect while I rode the ferry and bus to visit a client in Sea Cliff, I would find the bill unpaid.

Posted by: Morgan at June 24, 2007 5:30 PM

Morgan,

True, there will be some people who need to drive, but I think those that live there will mainly do so out of self selection. For example, many people who work in the silicon valley or peninsula, choose to live in South Beach, as opposed to the Marina, as it is more convenient for their commute. I see the same concept here with Treasure Island. The beauty of America is that we can choose where we want to live. If Treasure Island isn't a convenient commute for you, there are plenty of other neighborhoods available. However, I still don't fault this development for being constructed and there are enough people that work in downtown to fill all of the condos being built, and then some.

Posted by: SFhighrise at June 24, 2007 5:35 PM

And Morgan, I find it annoying how many people choose to shoot down any attempt at creating a neighborhood that doesn't worship the car. A LOT of people do work in the FiDi. A LOT of people work from home or only need to go somewhere in particular in the city every few days. Why should we not create a neighborhood that caters to these people instead of just another place catering to the people who feel tethered to their cars? Isn't there a place for both kinds of neighborhood?

The car owners have almost every neighborhood in the US. Can't the non-car owners have TI?

Posted by: anon at June 24, 2007 6:11 PM

I've got to agree with SFHighrise and anon, there is demand for places where cars are not needed - and TI can be another of those places where a combo of transit/walking/carsharing/taxiing can be used.

It is frustrating to always hear that because MOST people need a car, that ALL places should be built around people who need a car. If this development doesn't sell well, then maybe that will say something - but there is a large and growing group of younger people who don't want the hassles/expenses of car ownership if there are decent alternatives that still permit a nice lifestyle.

5500 units? There were more than that built last year in Santa Clara County, all with plenty of room for cars. There were thousands of units built last year in SF with parking for cars. We're talking about a drop in the bucket. Let's give people some options.

Posted by: Jack at June 24, 2007 6:26 PM

Sorry, I was not saying Treasure Island should not be car free, I was just pointing out the reality of the urban context we live in, which includes many professions that require mobility other than a bus or ferry. I think a car free T.I. would be great, and hope the SOM plan developes into a very unique neighborhood.

Posted by: Morgan at June 24, 2007 6:59 PM

Maaaan ...

What is it with the anti-car dogma that it must be the basis of every "plan" and be the sole filter which everything in life is evaluated.

Let's be real. Remember this number... 92.

92 is the percentage of working Californians (all workers/ordinary folks) that utilize a motor-vehicle (car!) as part of their job or to transport themselves to their job.

As for the other 8%.. The vast majority of them require automobiies too! Not every single day, but the periodically they need automobile transportaion in order to WORK. What remains is a teeny-tiny number of workers who can actually sustain themselves (not in poverty) over an extended period (years) without a personal vehicle.

As San Franciscans, Californians and Americans, we like every other human being must WORK to survive. The principle is universal: jobs(work)=food(life) The benefits that cars bring are ENORMOUS...their value to mankind is right up there with electricity and anti-biotics!

To the anti-car leftists: May we be always be so fortunate to 'suffer' in a traffic jam on 101 instead of suffering in car-less paradise like Sudan.

And... may we be so lucky to be forced to 'risk our lives' surrounded by cars in San Francisco instead of living in a 'transit rich' like city Moscow where life expectancy is 56. - Now, Let's move on...

Posted by: sonofsoma at June 24, 2007 9:25 PM

sonofsoma,

You like numbers? How about this - more than 30% of SF households don't own a car - not 30% of people, but 30% of households.

I have no problem whatsoever with you owning a car, or two, or three, or however many you need to do your JOB. I don't need one. I don't want one. Am I an "anti-car leftist" because I don't want or own a car? I'm not trying to take yours away. Is it ridiculous of me to want to live in one of only a handfull of cities in this country where I can live the lifestyle I desire? And to possibly want to build a new neighborhood to live that lifestyle?

Try using numbers that relate to this city, not the country - unless you also think that you should be entitled to 1/4 acre lot with ranch house for $200 grand like you can in 90% of the US.

The crazy fanatical anti-anybody who doesn't love driving anywhere guys drive me crazy. There is room for more than one lifestyle in this country.

Posted by: Jack at June 24, 2007 9:44 PM

And one more thing sonofsoma - you don't have to own a car to use one once in awhile. I use a car once or twice a week - it's called car-sharing. I also take a taxi here and there.

Many people seem to think that the choice is car or having to take transit for every trip. That isn't even CLOSE to the case.

Posted by: Jack at June 24, 2007 9:53 PM

Why do San Franciscan's have to be so SMUG (see South Park episode about our city) and feel that they can tell others how to live their lives? Chicago is a much "greener" city than San Francisco, but nobody wags their finger at someone in an SUV driving down Michigan Avenue, or demands that developements not include parking. I am beginning to feel this city is as close minded as some of the small backwater towns many of us escaped from.

Posted by: anon at June 25, 2007 10:06 AM

Once again, I'm not telling you how to live your life. Have a car, have 12, I don't CARE. However, why are you telling me how to live my life? Why is everyone always telling me that EVERYONE needs a car, therefore every development needs parking? The point is this - the places that I love the most in San Francisco have no parking (or very little). I want more of those places. As I mentioned before, the pro-car for everything folks have nearly EVERY city and town in the US. Why can't the folks who enjoy car-free spaces have one small section of one small city?

And one other point - how exactly is Chicago a "greener" city than San Francisco?

Posted by: anon at June 25, 2007 10:23 AM

"And one other point - how exactly is Chicago a "greener" city than San Francisco?"

See this article: http://www.metropolismag.com/html/content_0704/chi/index.html

Posted by: g at June 25, 2007 10:32 AM

So you've changed your tune from "greener" city to "becoming a greener city". Hmmm...

At a population density 25% less than SF, and an auto-ownership rate of 88% of households compared to just under 70% in SF, there is NO POSSIBLE way that Chicago is currently "greener". Sometimes not doing anything is the greenest thing.

Posted by: anon at June 25, 2007 11:39 AM

sonofsoma,

Very cute, comparing whitling down the percentage of people using cars to Moscow or the Sudan. I might actually take you seriously (rather than believing you're a hack for Fox News or BushCo) if you compared scaling down our car use to other FIRST WORLD countries that aren't beholden to the auto like we are. You know, crazy, rundown, scary, low standard of living, short life expectancy countries like England, the Netherlands, Japan, France, or well, ANY OF THE REST OF THE FIRST WORLD outside of the US. Even Canada has lower rates of auto usage.

Get real. You can't sound serious calling someone an "anti-car leftist" if you're a flaming righty.

Posted by: anon at June 25, 2007 1:24 PM

You know, people who want to live on Treasure Island and own a car still will. Many will use it only on weekends and keep in the garage during the week, as many residents who live near downtown currently do. Others will commute to the east bay, peninsula or even the city and choose to drive. Some that choose to drive probably can afford to pay $35 per day to park in the financial district. Those that can't afford it or don't feel like paying that will take public transportation. Finally, those people who think that Treasure Island is inconvenient will not choose to live there.

Posted by: SFhighrise at June 25, 2007 1:30 PM

Thanks to "g" for posting the article about Chicago. Very interesting reading and it shows how a city government can get things done if it wants to. I find "anon" person comparing density to be rather funny. Chicago is a HUGE city, to compare "density", why not compare Chicago to the Bay Area, for I am sure that the "city" part of Chicago (Streeterville, Lincoln Park, Loop, etc.) has a density far greater than the city of San Francisco. I could not help but wonder what Mayor Daley would do to Treasure Island and I have huge admiration for what Chicago has become. Unless you have been there in the last couple of years, you would not believe the change, and their streetscape landscaping is better than most yards in Presidio Heights.

Posted by: Anom at June 25, 2007 2:58 PM

If you're going to compare the "city" part of Chicago, why not compare it to the "city" part of SF?

Posted by: anon at June 25, 2007 3:07 PM

This is for anon and/or Brutus who go on and on about density and how "only S.F. and NYC have walkable neighborhoods".

Vancouver takes the prize for urban density and pulls ahead of New York City for North America;

http://www.planetizen.com/node/17446

Now back to Treasure Island, I read that they are going to build another Bart transbay tube because of increased train traffic and would it be possible for them to put a station on T.I.? That would make all the difference in my opinion.

Posted by: Anom at June 25, 2007 3:29 PM

Anom,

It would be possible, but ridiculously expensive. The price tag for a new tube NOT going under TI is projected to be in the 11 digit range (yes - above 10 billion). Making it go under TI would not only make it harder (because of the whole island thing), but also make it longer - probably adding at least 5 billion more to the price.

Also, politically it's impossible. BART is funded from Alameda, CoCo, and SF counties, meaning any extension that would only benefit SF and cost 5 billion more would be shot down by the other counties. It's the same reason that we still don't have a Geary line - it's more important to CoCo to extend to Antioch, and more important for Alameda to add a Pleasanton station.

The whole BART situation is incredibly depressing, so darn you for bringing it up! :)

And PS - Vancouver is great! I would definitely put it in the same class (as far as walkable neighborhoods) as NYC and SF - and guess what? They have INCREDIBLY restrictive parking regs there - as far as the amount that can be built with new developments - this TI plan would have been built five years ago if this were Vancouver.

Posted by: Brutus at June 25, 2007 3:45 PM

Oh well, I guess it would be cheaper to buy all future homeowners of T.I. a yacht than to build a Bart Station there. The only part of the world where they would do a BART station on T.I. would be parts of Asia. I read where there are some who have Chicago envy on this site. Well I have Vancouver envy myself, as well as Singapore envy, as well as Shanghai MagLev train envy (world's fastest train from airport to downtown). Thanks for the info.

Posted by: anom at June 25, 2007 4:28 PM

The MagLev would be great, but I'd settle for even the equivalent of the Heathrow Express (downtown SF to SFO in 10-15 minutes, with no stops).

Posted by: SFhighrise at June 25, 2007 4:37 PM

Every American should ride the Heathrow Express! Talk about CLEAN trains. I love the little flat screens that give you a short BBC News World Update while you are in transit. This country used to spend money on public works (see Bay Bridge and GG Bridge), now we spend it on jails and sports stadiums.

Posted by: Morgan at June 25, 2007 4:48 PM

"The only part of the world where they would do a BART station on T.I. would be parts of Asia."

True, but you have to realize that in Asia they would be building 140 story towers or something awesome like that as well - the island would be built for 60-70,000 people instead of 10-12,000. People here would never be for that because "how in the world would all of those people find a place to put their cars?" You see, to get cool things like maglev trains and other crazy Asian stuff - we would need to be building at densities that simply do not support massive car-ownership. What percentage of the population of Singapore or Hong Kong or London has a car? All lower than here. you can't justify the cost of a maglev train if you're using park n' ride lots to fill the seats. :)

Posted by: Brutus at June 25, 2007 5:21 PM

Which is going to destroy this first?

Soil Liquefaction from an Earthquake?
Or
The sea level rising because of Global warming.

Stupid S.O.M. designers.
Stupid San Francisco city allowing it to be built.
(Or even thinking about letting it be built.)
Stupid stupid stupid.

Posted by: Nik at October 31, 2007 12:33 PM

I worked at treasure island in the 80's and 90's
for the public works dept. I saw the effect of
the 89 quake. The island is unstable [sand]
landfill. The damage was very severe. Any
construction over 2 stories would be stupid
in the extream

Posted by: MIKE AMOLSCH at May 21, 2008 3:21 PM

"The benefits that cars bring are ENORMOUS...their value to mankind is right up there with electricity and anti-biotics!"

Cars are nasty cancer cells that metastasize through the arteries of freeways and turnpikes and spread cancer sprawl tumors and pollution.

This is why I live in New York City. I don't need to drive my own personal cancer cell. Trains take me everywhere.

Posted by: nyc at June 14, 2008 9:58 PM

Personally, I think the highest and best use of TI is to take out all the buildings and marinas and turn it into wetlands, mudflats, and shallow water habitat. It would certainly be more valuable to us in the long run than a house or casino.

Posted by: anon at June 18, 2008 3:07 PM

I completely agree with everyone who is opposed to this future plan. My gosh, does anyone have any idea how SMALL this island is? And to even think an island so small could handle such tall buildings? I was fortunate to live on this island from the years 88-95 and yes I experienced the 89 earthquake while living on this island at a young age. I think it was very unfortunate that a president like Bill Clinton would shut down such a great island. I guess I'm still quite bitter at such a terrible president. Nonetheless, I remember it was a beautiful island that I loved very much. So many childhood experiences that I miss. Please don't ruin the island with tall skyscrapers and buildings.

Posted by: Josue at August 2, 2008 8:23 PM

Im just curious, with all the new development that will be built, and the projected tens of thousands of people a day that will be coming on and off the island (1000 X more people than today), I don't see simply how just the two extremely narrow and one lane exit and entrances will suffice. There needs to be more car access from the bridges on and off the island. Also traversing the entrances and exits to the island are very dangerous (especially the SF side) with its stop sign at a 50 zone where most people more often travel to the speed or 65 or more after the infamous "S" curve. Why have developers not been focusing on this very specific issue????

Posted by: Morgan at December 13, 2012 7:26 PM

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