February 14, 2012
The 401 Grove Street Seven And Great Parking Debate Continued
As we first reported last month, the permits to build 63 units over ground floor retail and parking at 401 Grove Street have been held due to a dispute with Planning over the number of approved parking spaces.
While the plans for 401 Grove Street approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission last year "included tables and graphics depicting seven of the residential parking spaces in a tandem configuration, which would result in a total of 39 residential parking spaces," the written application "indicated that the project was proposing parking in an amount which is principally permitted by the Planning Code…a maximum of 32 residential parking spaces for the project, at a ratio of one space for each two dwelling units."
The developer’s request to amend the project’s approval to include the seven additional spaces is back in front of the Planning Commission this week with the Planning Department recommending the request be denied. The basis for Planning's recommendation:
1. The requested amendment would contradict the vision of the General Plan, and specifically the Market and Octavia Area Plan to focus new housing in walkable, transit‐served locations in a manner that discourages private automobile use as a primary mode of travel.
2. The movement of additional vehicles around the project site resulting from the added parking may degrade the experience of pedestrians and bicyclists.
3. The requested amendment is not necessary or desirable for, or compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.
As of an hour ago there were 67 cars parked in the long-standing lot at 401 Grove Street which would be demolished in order for the proposed new building to rise.
∙ Permits For 401 Grove On Hold Over Parking Dispute With Planning [SocketSite]
∙ 401 Grove: Three More Weeks To Get Its Planning Groove On [SocketSite]
∙ 401 Grove Street: The Revised Designs And Density [SocketSite]
∙ Market-Octavia Plan And Requisite Rezoning Approved By The Board [SocketSite]
First Published: February 14, 2012 1:30 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Love seeing these freeway parcels filled in. I wish they'd do it faster. The exact ratio of units to parking is not reason to leave the lot vacant. How much neighborhood "degradation" would seven cars cause on a busy street like Gough?
Posted by: James at February 14, 2012 3:09 PM
One by one these surface parking are going away. Soon opera/symphony/ballet aficionados won't have many options left apart from the Performing Arts Garage.
Posted by: lol at February 14, 2012 3:49 PM
^lol...don't forget the garage under Civic Center. It's currently under-utilized, and is ony a block from the Opera/Symphony.
Posted by: curmudgeon at February 14, 2012 4:07 PM
"One by one these surface parking are going away. Soon opera/symphony/ballet aficionados won't have many options left apart from the Performing Arts Garage."
There's two city owned garages within the area. Patrons could always take a cab or *gasp* even Muni.
Posted by: asdf at February 14, 2012 5:01 PM
Only little people take Muni.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at February 14, 2012 9:25 PM
As of February 1, the new Civic Center Community Benefit District has "ambassadors" on the street before and after performances at the Symphony, Opera, Ballet etc. This should make folks more comfortable walking from and to the Civic Center Garage which is very underutilized at night.
Also, the performing arts venues should take a page out of the Giant's operations, which include a transportation manager, whose job it is to be sure Muni, cabs, Caltrain etc. are there in the right numbers at the right times. Ever try and get a cab after the opera etc? No one even bothers to tell the drivers when performances are, you have to order a cab before the performance, which just means where in the line you stand, as you wait for five cabs to show up for 100 patrons. I for one would be thrilled not to have to drive to performances.
Posted by: Jim at February 14, 2012 10:10 PM
If your hipped up young and can run fast then parking two, three or more blocks from your venue are not a problem after dark in The City. But when you are pushing 65 yrs, it is never a cake walk to your car in that part of the city after dark. Just wait...you will be there soon enough.
Posted by: Safe Streets at February 15, 2012 8:35 AM
I'm 71, and I usually park beyond Market St. when I go to the opera. Yes, the people around there don't always look like me, but I've never felt threatened in any way. And with all the new condos in the neighborhood, there is a different evening crowd than there used to be.
Posted by: jr at February 15, 2012 9:31 AM
I'm not talkin about people that look different, I am talking about people that will hurt other people, for money. Check out the physical crime to people over the last month.
Posted by: @jr at February 15, 2012 1:22 PM
As of last year I have a parking space for the first time in my life, and I've never used my car less. When I parked on the street I used the car every day since I had to keep moving it anyway. Now I leave it in the garage for many days at a time while I walk and/or use transit.
So at least in my case, having a parking space has meant my car is being driven less, not more.
Posted by: Denise at February 15, 2012 5:54 PM
The Civic Center Community Benefit District ambassador patrols are now on the street (starting Feb 1) with 4 patrols 7:30 am to 7:30 pm Mon-Fri and evenings 4 patrols 6:30 pm to 11:30 pm 200 nights per year (coordinated with performance nights). There is also limited enhanced street sweeping, graffiti removal, sidewalk washing. All paid for by the property owners in the area (and the various arts organizations)
Posted by: JIm at February 15, 2012 9:01 PM
@Denise: I think your experience is typical, which is just one more thing that our city planners don't "get." Providing no parking for people doesn't mean they won't have cars, and it probably means they will use those cars more (in part out of necessity.) In fact, if you're parking on the street, you HAVE to move your car at least once every 3 days, so you will undoubtedly use it at least that often.
Since I have had a garage, I use my car only when it's not practical to use Muni or other methods (not taxi, it makes no sense to me to take a taxi if you have a car, unless you're going to park someplace really expensive.) So my car often sits in the garage for a week at a time. But when I need it – often to go outside the city - I need it, and it's available. Seems like a win-win.
Of course, parking spaces cost money in the space they take up, which sometimes results in fewer units being build (not often, though, since parking usually goes underground these days.) So I really think the logic behind so severely restricting parking availability is flawed.
Posted by: Dubocian at February 16, 2012 1:58 PM
As an urban region the Bay Area housing stock has copious bundled parking. The average SFH comes with four off street parking spots. SF's planning policy seems to be targeted to dense congested parts of the city.
I don't see how precise parking restrictions are such a problem. If storing a car on-site is an important factor then why not consider the 99.9% of properties that come with parking today?
I like a large yard but am under no delusion that developers in the northeast quadrant of the city are going to provide that option.
Even today you can find plenty of properties that include parking in every part of the city. Just pay the price or look elsewhere. It is that simple.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 16, 2012 2:21 PM
So, I wonder: if you use it so infrequently, why have it at all? Why not switch to carshare?
Well, I can answer that myself: convenience. Carshare may be getting better, but it's still not the same as having your own. But by that same token, having lots of apartments come with an expensive convenience is not going to do wonders for the cause of ample non-luxury housing.
I think the city has a legitimate interest in keeping a lid on the number of cars driving around, and limiting parking is one way to do that. The fact that it reduces the cost of the apartments is a nice bonus.
And even underground garages take up streetfront space with their entrances and exits-- often 30 feet wide or more. Several of these on a block make for a pretty bleak pedestrian environment. Often they occupy what would otherwise be storefronts.
Posted by: Alai at February 17, 2012 2:35 AM
Dubocian - it's pretty simple to match car ownership rates to census tracts. And guess what? The areas with the lowest car ownership rates are all of the areas that we know have the least amount of parking.
It's been pretty well documented that in cities, the amount of parking is the causal factor behind the amount of cars, even more so than income.
Posted by: anon at February 17, 2012 7:08 AM