March 29, 2010

From Three-To-Four To One-To-One For Two Hundred Dolores

200 Dolores Site

Proposing sixteen but limited to ten in February per Planning’s current parking ratio for the neighborhood (3:4), last week the developer of 200 Dolores was granted an exception and will build 13 underground parking spaces at the corner of Dolores and Fifteenth for a one-to-one (1:1) ratio of parking to condos (ten new plus a renovated three).

Designs For 200 Dolores Six Years In The Making (And Why) [SocketSite]

First Published: March 29, 2010 8:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Editor - did planning offer any explanation about why this exception was granted ?

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 29, 2010 8:55 AM

From what I heard the neighbors and groups that came and spoke were pretty adamant that the area needed more parking, not less. So, under neighborhood activist pressure they buckled and allowed more parking.

Posted by: Mark at March 29, 2010 9:25 AM

Who cares. The lot has been empty for years. Just f'in build it. All this handwringing over anything and everything.

Posted by: Joe at March 29, 2010 10:05 AM

I thought this was a burial site from back in the day and it could not be built on...

Posted by: RS at March 29, 2010 10:12 AM

Thanks Mark. It is a bit bizarre how we pay professional planners to develop long range strategies to evolve neighborhoods to accommodate growth and improve livability. But on the other hand developers and neighborhood activists have narrow interests to promote, some of which go against the grain of long term improvement. I guess this is how architects feel when their client wants to reorganize the floorplan in a nonsensical way.

Developers at least have a singular focus : to receive the highest return from their projects.

In contrast neighborhood activists are sometimes like a pack of cats, each heading off in their own direction. Sometimes there even work against one another. Those that cry the loudest get the most attention and unfortunately the loudest voices do not always sing a coherent song.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 29, 2010 10:13 AM

Let's be clear: MUNI is simply not a reliable, dependable alternative to driving - even in a supposedly transit-rich environment like 15th and Delores. Until such a time as MUNI is "fixed" (a project that's been underway for decades), the all sticks and no carrots policy of limiting parking is all for naught. As a neighbor of this blighted property, I'm delighted it's not being hostage to unrealistic limitations on parking.

Posted by: zzzzzzz at March 29, 2010 10:28 AM

Horrible. More parking. Why would anyone be in favor of parking? Parking is the work of the devil. No further parking spaces should be built ever again in San Francisco, or anywhere else for that matter. Was Trotsky in favor of parking? Hell no!

Posted by: Conifer at March 29, 2010 10:34 AM

Oh please. Muni needs improvement, but I live across the street and my household owns no cars. In this neighborhood we can walk to get groceries, hardware, and just about everything else. Between biking, walking, taxis, carshare, transit and the occasional car rental we get everywhere we want to go. Adding more units with parking to this neighborhood just increases the cost of the housing.

Posted by: Seth at March 29, 2010 10:51 AM

A small victory for common sense. A one to one parking ratio is by no means excessive. Potential buyers who don't need a vehicle can always reuse their space by making it available for lease.

Posted by: Willow at March 29, 2010 10:54 AM

And where are these banks that will loan money to develop projects which dont contain parking?
I bet they are all clustered next to the money tree forest on dew drop lane at the end of the rainbow near the unicorn preserve.

reality. not in sf.

Posted by: Joe at March 29, 2010 10:55 AM

Adding more units with parking to this neighborhood just increases the cost of the housing.

Obviously the units don't cost more for folks who want parking places, so I assume you mean that units with parking cost more than they should for people who do not and will not own cars.

Considering how much mortgage gets covered by the $300/mo parking rent they can get, it seems more like a benefit than a burden.

Posted by: BobN at March 29, 2010 11:05 AM

I'm not going to get all upset at this one. As long as they can fit them underground, and don't screw up the design of the project by putting them above ground, then the difference between 13 and 10 is pretty much a non-issue.

But for the record I'm with Seth...this is an easy hood to go car-free in. The argument that "When they truly fix MUNI we'll give up our parking spaces" is the kind of argument that puts is designed to forever put off any sustantive changes in land use.

Posted by: curmudgeon at March 29, 2010 11:23 AM

Parking is the third rail of SocketSite. If you mention it, the usual suspects come out of the woodwork, one group trying to get everyone else to conform to their car-free style of living, and the other pointing out that San Francisco requires cars and that appropriate numbers of parkings spots are necessary.

The conversation is somewhat tired. Some people have cars. Others don't. Both sides need to get over it. Lobby developers to build the choice you want and vote with your feet and your wallet instead of telling everyone on the internets to conform to your lifestyle, whatever it is.

Posted by: JimBobJones at March 29, 2010 11:24 AM

Good news that this project is finally getting built. Finally, that blighted corner will be filled in with some decent housing and parking. Congrats!

Whether Muni works well or not, whether Muni is fixed in the future or not, I still support the 1:1 ratio of parking for new housing. Cars are NOT going away, people! For many people, families, seniors and others their car is the best mode of transit for them.

Posted by: noearch at March 29, 2010 11:38 AM

JimBobJones: I haven't heard anyone on here advocate that everyone else should conform to their "car-free style of living". I've heard only disagreements about whether or not it is possible to live this way. Clearly some people feel it is possible - those people can do without and save a little money on parking. Those who don't can buy a more expensive unit (one that comes with parking) or rent parking nearby. The current policy of decoupling achieves exactly that.

Posted by: Po Hill Jeff at March 29, 2010 11:43 AM

I really don't get this move against parking in SF.
How are cars negatively affecting the city?
Realize that you may have the kind of lifestyle that lends its self to walking, many people don't.

There are many things about SF that make parking outside or walking it, inconvenient such as:
- Not enough taxis and they cluster in locations where they think they can make the most money.
- Muni is often overcrowded and unreliable
- Parking tickets are extremely high
- The city is hilly
- Cars are often broken into on the street.
- There are many places in the city that don't have good access to Muni.

Posted by: Byron at March 29, 2010 12:38 PM

How "decoupled" are things when there are rules forcing or forbidding something?

And, on a separate note, I'm all in favor of cities addressing land use and I vehemently support pedestrian and open space use over automobile use, but underground land use? If someone wants to store cars underground, what's the competition use? Mole burrows?

In other cities where planners actually make progress in enhancing livability, underground parking is seen as a tool, not a problem.

Posted by: BobN at March 29, 2010 12:43 PM

Do we really need to have the argument again?

Limiting parking has NOTHING to do with "forcing people to give up cars." It has everything to do with the city attempting to regulate the amount of traffic that is forced onto the streets. You don't expect PG&E to allow unlimited electricity use at places where they don't have high-volume electric lines, why should you expect the city of SF (the owner of the road network) to allow high-volume parking use everywhere?

If you don't want to buy a place without parking, don't. If a developer doesn't want to build without a set amount of parking, they won't. Setting the rules that the city (and neighborhood) feel is acceptable, and then allowing developers to violate those rules on a case by case basis, is a complete waste of time and money. If we want to allow as much parking as possible everywhere and deal with the traffic impacts after the fact, then why even do the neighborhood or traffic impact studies? What's the point? To make sure that politically-connected developers are the only ones that can benefit from the increased value that parking allowances have? I don't get it.

Posted by: anon at March 29, 2010 12:47 PM

Paris is famous for its left wing government and anti-car attitudes, and they have a Metro that works very well. But.. every park and every plaza and every open space has a parking garage beneath it, including such famous places as the Madelaine and the Bourse. They understand the common sense that parking takes cars off the street, and that cars will not otherwise disappear.

Posted by: Conifer at March 29, 2010 12:52 PM

San Francisco has had this parking war for how many years? All this time and money spent on trying to control what people do with their cars while they're not using them.

And how much time and money spent on controlling them while they're in use? I guess we have bus lanes and a few dare-devil bike lanes. Those were certainly expensive. But where are the closed streets? Where are the plazas? Where are the car-free shopping zones?

The best way to regulate traffic is to regulate traffic directly.

Posted by: BobN at March 29, 2010 1:10 PM

anon@12:47 sees the problem clearly. The issue is not parking but rather street congestion. If the cars stayed in the parking garage and went no-where then this would be a non-issue. However every new parking spot entitled means also selling another piece of limited street capacity. It also implies the construction of a few more parking spots at these new residents' destinations. Time and time again people involved in this discussion forget that streets have a limited capacity, especially in completely built-up areas like SF.

Adding more cars without adding street capacity increases congestion, causing longer trip times for both motorists and bus riders. Congestion is the number one one reason why Muni is so unreliable. The argument of "keep creating more parking until Muni is fixed" is deeply flawed.

This is not an issue of forcing a car free lifestyle on anyone. 95% of bay area homes come complete with parking. More than half of SFHs have 4 or more parking places (I'm thinking of the standard suburban tract home with 2 car garage and 2 spots in the driveway). There's no shortage of homes for people who wish to drive.

Should San Francisco grow ? What is meant by growth ? I am certain if growing means adding equal numbers of people and cars that SF will become nearly impossible to get around any way except subway or walking.

Ten years ago central London traffic was madness. Continuing down that path was a lose-lose proposition. Now with congestion pricing free market forces are moderating traffic congestion. So perhaps an alternative to parking limitations is to employ congestion pricing. I'm curious to know whether any of those here who oppose parking limitations would be OK with pricing access to SF streets at a right high enough to keep congestion under control.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at March 29, 2010 1:19 PM

Should San Francisco grow?
This is a moot argument. The question is whether or not san franciscans want to allow the growth necessary to house its existing population plus the people who chose to move here.
The answer now - and for the past is no.

Posted by: craeg at March 29, 2010 2:11 PM

the morons lost on this one...the morons lost.

Posted by: anon$random at March 29, 2010 2:46 PM

Make no mistake - the project of "fixing" MUNI is doomed to failure. We have been "fixing" MUNI for decades now, but the sum total is an unreliable, mediocre, ever more costly system that never really seems to change. In the face of MUNI's entrenched mediocrity it is deeply naive to imagine that restricting parking will prevent people from driving their cars.

Posted by: zzzzzzz at March 29, 2010 4:33 PM

^A fair complaint. What does that have to do with overriding neighborhood plans (that take decades to complete and include work from the city, consultants, the neighborhood, etc, as well as public comment periods lasting years) on a building-by-building basis? Let's make the rules, and then force everyone to abide by those rules (both sides for EVERY rule), not make the rules, and then allow every side to battle each fight again with EACH and EVERY building.

I'm sure you don't like it when "NIMBYs" or whoever decides to try and block a building or alter the zoning of an area on a case-by-case basis, for height or bulk or whatever - but you're willing to do it for parking? Why?

Stuff like this drives me freaking nuts.

Posted by: anon at March 29, 2010 5:25 PM

That's just another manifestation of what I've learned is a unique trait of people in the Bay Area: the inability of anyone here to take "no" as an answer. Everything is open to discussion, debate, and change at all times.

That can be healthy in certain situations and circumstances but I rarely find someone here with the wisdom to know when it's appropriate to refuse to take "no" as an answer.

Posted by: Eric in SF at March 29, 2010 5:48 PM

Nobody really needs parking. Just like Seth says, it's not necessary. I use my two car garage to stable my three unicorns and as a manger for the easter bunny when he visits next week.

Please, we should have two spaces per unit... the socialists need to move to Berkeley.

Posted by: Jimmy C at March 29, 2010 9:22 PM

Practicality VS. Ideology - I love it. What else are nosy San Franciscans crying about - the same old nastiness and demeaning attitude. It's my way or no way. What about a compromise and a little civility?

Posted by: Luke at March 29, 2010 9:53 PM

Two spaces per unit AND guest parking!

Posted by: astral at March 29, 2010 10:24 PM

To be clear, I'm not a socialist. I'm not anti-car. I'm a market-rate renter, and one way I afford to live here is by not owning a car. I live in one of the few neighborhoods in the country where I don't need a car. I'd love to see some units built in my neighborhood that I could afford to buy. It would be great if we could stick to the transit-focused neighborhood plan the city created for this area and nudge development toward places for those who are actually going to use the transportation options the city has invested in nearby.

Posted by: Seth at March 29, 2010 11:12 PM

Practicality VS. Ideology - I love it. What else are nosy San Franciscans crying about - the same old nastiness and demeaning attitude. It's my way or no way. What about a compromise and a little civility?

The compromise was done during the TEN YEARS that the plan for this neighborhood was put together. So...compromise now means rehashing the same arguments again - because you didn't like the results that the first compromise came up with? Good god.

Posted by: anon at March 29, 2010 11:34 PM

In this neighborhood, a good deal of the traffic is people trolling the streets looking for parking, circling, circling endlessly.

Posted by: marco at March 30, 2010 7:35 AM

Anyone know who the developer is behind this project?

Posted by: auden at April 3, 2010 3:24 PM

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