April 12, 2010

Treasure Island: Another Work Of Fiction Or Bounty To Be?

Treasure Island Rendering (Image Source: SOM)

"The vision was conceived in 2005, and the most optimistic scenario has the first homes opening in 2013. Now, though, the push for approvals is gearing up, and the public can begin to gauge whether the much-ballyhooed green neighborhood could someday offer a truly different way to live or simply a denser version of Emeryville and Mission Bay."

Treasure Island plan a trove full of promise [SFGate]
The (SOM) Master Plan For San Francisco’s Treasure Island [SocketSite]
Model For Turning Treasure Island Into A "Green City Of The Future" [SocketSite]
An Overview Of Mission Bay [SocketSite]

First Published: April 12, 2010 7:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Living on TI is not appealing to me. You're bound by the bay bridge for everything which not only makes for a harrowing entrance/exit on those 15mph on/off ramps, also makes for an annoying commute.

In case of serious earthquake you could be cut off completely for a while and everything is fill, so, while the building will probably be piled down to bedrock and okay, your car could be buried in 10ft of liquified dirt and most utilities will probably be down.

And, of course, if our world climate goes haywire, you could be under 6ft of water.

Posted by: rr at April 12, 2010 8:59 AM

Hellooo? Is anyone paying attention to the vacancy rates for office space, at 20% in silicon valley, or the huge ongoing housing bust, including all those SF high-rise condo buildings?

And someone thinks that a big Treasure Island private land-grab is going to be profitable or useful to society? Well, it may be profitable, but only because of corrupt pricing when selling public lands to developers.

My vote is to STOP the plan.

Posted by: Jus7tme at April 12, 2010 9:06 AM

^Good points rr. IF only there were some other way of getting to or leaving an island. It must be really hard for the tourism business on Alcatraz, since clearly there's no way to get to an island other than by car over a bridge.

Sheesh. A HUGE part of the plan is building enough housing to support essential services, so that folks living there don't have to leave for everything, AND another huge part is new every 15 minute ferry service. People and cargo can fit on boats, y'know.

Posted by: anon at April 12, 2010 9:07 AM

Jus7tme - do you think that our economy is never going to turn? This plan won't be complete until 2030 or so...

Posted by: anon at April 12, 2010 9:09 AM

Serious question: what happens to docks/moors in a serious quake? I'd assume the piles would crack and the whole thing would either sink or drift away. How many amphibious craft do we have to land supplies?

Second, what percentage of people commute by ferry? The public transportation system is only as good as the weakest link. And what are they going to charge?

Posted by: rr at April 12, 2010 9:17 AM

Build a Roosevelt Island like Tramway!

Our Anglo-Celtic forefathers would already be building this thing

Posted by: zig at April 12, 2010 9:23 AM

I like the idea of developing TI, however 7000 units does not create critical mass and could end up being as barren as Roosevelt Island. Note to them: Double the number of units; add East Bay ferry with stops --Berk, Emery, Oakl -- mix it up and get it out of the white tower on-paper graduate school mode and do what it really takes to make water transit accessible and affordable. Give developers more build-out for permanent subsidy of water transit. If water transit is exclusive & expensive, hello SUV. Just look at all the single occupancy cars on the Bay Bridge.

Posted by: Invented at April 12, 2010 9:28 AM

Governors Island....

"Last summer, more than 275,000 visitors took the free ferry service to the island to attend concerts and art festivals"

Hmmm....

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/nyregion/12island.html?scp=2&sq=governors&st=cse

Posted by: Invented at April 12, 2010 9:42 AM

"In case of serious earthquake you could be cut off completely for a while..."

Yup, TI will be isolated as the Big One is expected to disable every bridge over the bay. The bridges themselves are not expected to collapse but their approach ramps will be seriously damaged.

Ferry service will be impacted too as the dock structures are expected to be seriously damaged. But kayaking will still be viable :-)

This isn't just a TI issue, SF will have similar impacts and with the closures of roadway access to the south the Big One will essentially turn SF into an island for a few weeks until the mess gets cleaned up.

But SF will be a more pleasant place to ride out the Big One due to the larger number of Whole Foods stores to loot.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 12, 2010 10:15 AM

Serious question: what happens to docks/moors in a serious quake? I'd assume the piles would crack and the whole thing would either sink or drift away. How many amphibious craft do we have to land supplies?

You can earthquake-proof a dock in the same way that you earthquake-proof a building - sink piles down to the bedrock. Cheap? Nope. But you can be guaranteed that anything like this built these days has to be built to withstand a decent quake.

Second, what percentage of people commute by ferry? The public transportation system is only as good as the weakest link. And what are they going to charge?

What percentage of people here commute by subway? Not many, considering there isn't much of a subway system. Ditto for our current ferry system - very little service equals very little ridership. Hundreds of thousands commute by ferry in Sydney, for example. Build a ferry that comes and goes every 15 minutes, and who knows how many people will use it.

Posted by: anon at April 12, 2010 10:18 AM

In re the ramp: I used to "commute" to Treasure Island weekly for rugby practice. Getting off the bridge onto the ramp is no problem once you do it a couple of times. But getting back on the bridge is always a little death-defying. I'm sure they will re-engineer the on-ramp if this project goes through.

Posted by: Kenz at April 12, 2010 10:45 AM

The Governor's Island article is interesting -- the use includes higher education. I think that's a much better use for this land and buildings than what is being proposed.

Posted by: midcentfan at April 12, 2010 12:01 PM

I know some who's living on TI some time back. His comment is he found it very convenient. A lot of things are just a short car trip away.

About the global warming concern, I thought the developer is just oblivious to the risk and we are going to see the investment literally go underwater. Sometime ago I heard a response saying because TI is a new development, they are able to include rising sea level into engineering consideration. And it will fare better than other parts of San Francisco that was not engineered for gloabl warming. A few weeks ago during the winter raining season, I was walking by Embarcadero I notice the water level is very high. It was pounding the embankment, almost coming to the street surface. Then I realize instead of us sitting on Embarcadero laughing at the poor folks on Treasure Island, the opposite will happen.

Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at April 12, 2010 3:19 PM

Is Lennar still involved in this? If so, they have a great deal of experience in dealing with rising water levels.

Posted by: anon at April 12, 2010 5:36 PM

@kenz -'Roll Fog, Roll!!!'

Adding a bike/pedestrian path across the bay bridge from both sides would probably make this more attractive, as well as ferry service.

Liquifaction is a serious issue, but heck the it's a serious issue for the Marina district and people keep spending huge sums of money to live there.

There are people who are very happy to live in a very quiet isolated community. This could be very attractive to a certian buyer.

About Governor's Island. No one actually lives there it is a public park for all intents and purposes. Vistor's take the short, 10-15 minute, ferry from the souther tip of Manhattan and then bike or walk around the island for the day enjoying the former officer homes that now house local artists and regular concerts and other events. The fact that the ferry terminal is next to the Staten Island Ferry an NYC Subway stop also helps. It isn't really a fare comparrison to the current or planned Treasure Island.

Posted by: badlydrawnbear at April 13, 2010 4:18 AM

^^^ The new east span will include a bike/ped path, so at least residents can get to the East Bay under their own steam.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at April 13, 2010 7:38 AM

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