September 10, 2012
Valencia Street Development Scoop: Five Stories At Corner Of 23rd
The developer of 299 Valencia Street is quietly testing the waters over Planning to raze the shuttered gas station on 23rd Street between Valencia and San Jose Avenue and construct a five-story building with 42 dwelling units over ground floor retail and 31 off-street parking spaces on the 1198 Valencia Street site that's undergoing environmental remediation.
Zoned for 55 feet, the proposed building would rise to a height of roughly 52 feet and yield 41,940 square feet of residential and 5,850 square feet of retail. The proposed 4,800 square foot of garage would incorporate a mechanical stacking system to accommodate the proposed 31 cars with a curb cut and driveway on 23rd.
Considered a "large lot development" of over 9,999 square feet, with a proposed retail space of over 3,000 square feet, and seeking a proposed parking rate of 0.74 spaces per dwelling in an area where 0.5 spaces per dwelling are permitted, unlike the approved development at 1050 Valencia, 1198 Valencia Street will require Conditional Use Authorization from Planning to proceed.
∙ The 380 14th Street (AKA 299 Valencia) Sales Scoop [SocketSite]
∙ 1050 Valencia Approved With Yet Another Take On What's Appropriate [SocketSite]
First Published: September 10, 2012 10:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Cut the parking down to the appropriate number and then this looks all good. 31 spaces? Ridiculous.
Posted by: anon at September 10, 2012 10:50 AM
What is ridiculous about 31 spaces? Do you really think that the residents of 42 units will have less than 31 cars?
Posted by: NoeNeighbor at September 10, 2012 10:56 AM
With respect to the proposed number of parking spaces, the current position of San Francisco's Planning Department: "The subject property is located in a transit preferred area. Therefore, exceeding the maximum allowed parking rate is not encouraged."
Posted by: SocketSite at September 10, 2012 11:14 AM
What is ridiculous about 31 spaces? Do you really think that the residents of 42 units will have less than 31 cars?
That lot has no business supporting 31 spaces. I don't have a problem with the lot supporting 10 units or 100 units, but the roads in the area can't accommodate that many new cars.
Posted by: anon at September 10, 2012 11:25 AM
I was hoping for a park, but housing is good and badly needed.
Posted by: Joel V at September 10, 2012 11:30 AM
I don't think "new cars" are what the issue is here in anyway... but my vote is to start making it a requirement to house a certain percentage of shared cars (Zip Car, City Share, etc) and you've got my vote, hands down.
Posted by: Rob at September 10, 2012 11:37 AM
My building 3 blocks away has 3 units (1 of which is a 4 bedroom) and 0 cars. Many buildings on my block are similar.
People who live in the Mission often use bikes, buses, BART, and their feet to get around. You just don't need a car here, and frankly, more cars would be bad for the neighborhood. I think 0.50 makes sense here.
Posted by: Old Mission Neighbor at September 10, 2012 11:38 AM
Let's be clear: @old mission neighbor: SOME, perhaps many uses bikes, buses, Bart and walking to get around. Some use and need a car.
31 car spaces is perfectly acceptable in my book.
And also let's be clear: Those 31 cars may not be "new" cars to the neighborhood. Remember, people move around, and with their cars. The streets can well support them.
Posted by: futurist at September 10, 2012 11:45 AM
As a bike commuter who uses Valencia, I'd be happy with just the 21 spaces allowed, but even with 31 spaces, there will be much less traffic caused by the site than when it was a gas station.
Posted by: Dan at September 10, 2012 11:51 AM
I'm all for more carshare, but I think it's a bit misguided to put them in new parking garages. This makes them difficult to access for anyone who's not a resident there, which makes them significantly less useful.
They should be on the street.
Posted by: Alai at September 10, 2012 11:53 AM
"Let's be clear: @old mission neighbor: SOME, perhaps many uses bikes, buses, Bart and walking to get around. Some use and need a car."
Posted by: Old Mission Neighbor at September 10, 2012 11:57 AM
50% is fine. no problem with that. The other 50% may have certain needs and situations that require them to use their car.
I want the city to have a balanced, and OPEN minded approach to transit. Let's also convince the city to make Muni the best in the country.
Posted by: futurist at September 10, 2012 12:25 PM
Looks like the classic quiet
land parking entitlement grab. Parking spaces in a congested neighborhood are gold so why not ask? The worst that could happen is that your request is turned down. And that's what Planning should do here.
Then the developer can convert those excess 10 spaces into something else valuable. Like living space.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 10, 2012 12:25 PM
This is an amazing location. I hope they do something tasteful with this property!!
Posted by: Jeff at September 10, 2012 12:37 PM
I do not think you can take the space used by 10 cars to create more living space.
1 - I am a bit puzzled by the "mechanical stacking system". Does this mean 2 cars in one space? I see so many ways on how this could create conflicts between owners within the building. Scratches, schedule conflicts, etc... Plus you stacked your car but forgot a grocery bag, your glasses, your cell phone, etc, causing you to rerun the full cycle. It's counter to the culture of instant gratification symbolized by cars.
2 - I think 50% is a more appropriate number. But I understand why a developer would want to maximize the space. If all the basement is already earmarked for parking, then a few $1000s per space for a stacker could provide an extra spot for a car and a few extra $10,000s in value per unit.
I do not agree with futurist that people are just "moving around" and that this building would have no real impact. These are new units, therefore ultimately new people, some from the area, others from somewhere else. People from the area will free up units, making their previous digs available to others. In all this means probably between 75 and 90 extra people with their needs for transportation. It's going to change the dynamics of this corner a bit.
Posted by: lol at September 10, 2012 12:56 PM
@Alai I agree... underground is complicated... but with no flat lots in the coming years... where else? A lot of these old gas stations were used as temporary lots, which often house the shared cars... if the land is developed, there is no where for these shared cars...
@ Those complaining about parking space allotment:
This will not make or break a neighborhood. The world will not turn inside out... and you won't be forced to drive one. Though, if we're complaining about something as trivial how many parking spaces a new project has ( not vagrant people's turds covering the streets or trash being left to overflow and blow around or the lack of benches in the city ) then we must be doing ok in the grander scheme.
Posted by: Rob at September 10, 2012 12:57 PM
I know I'm in the minority on this site but I think 31 spaces are simply not enough. I too have a bike, take BART and Muni but I also drive a car.
MOD - If parking in this area is considered "gold" that would suggest that there is a real demand for it. Why restrict production of a valuable commodity? If a buyer purchases one of these units and doesn't need a car it's not going to be too difficult to lease the space to someone else who wants it. A win-win all round.
Posted by: Willow at September 10, 2012 2:12 PM
I'm happy with anything less than 1/1 parking. 1/2 is a good goal but 75% is within reason. These units will house 2 or 3 people each. With less than one car per unit, most residents will not have a car. That's pretty good for the car-free advocates... the exact ratio is splitting hairs.
Posted by: James at September 10, 2012 2:55 PM
Why restrict production of a valuable commodity?
Because of indirect costs that have to then be borne by all...there's a limited amount of room on the roads, and no way to expand them. Adding more cars indirectly makes everyone else pay for it through congestion, and makes the city less efficient and pleasant to live in.
Posted by: anon at September 10, 2012 2:55 PM
lol - If ten spaces isn't enough to create a new unit then the space could be used to make a smaller unit larger; expand a 1BR to a 2BR for example.
Willow - Not all assets in demand should be supplied in whatever quantities that a developer would like to deliver. That's because the market currently does not comprehend the external effects of certain assets and therefore cannot properly value those assets. Here what is being sold looks like just a parking space: a small piece of land on the developer's property. But in reality what is delivered is the parking spot plus access to the local street network required to get to and from the parking spot. The latter of which is "free" because it isn't regulated or priced. But it really does have a cost especially in a constrained and congested environment like a city.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 10, 2012 2:59 PM
MoD, It's not an issue of sufficient space, but the location of that space. If the 10 spaces are underground, the only other option you have for these spaces is storage, not housing units...
Posted by: lol at September 10, 2012 3:20 PM
anon: Restricting parking on new construction does not necessarily result in fewer cars. It's simply flawed logic. In fact, it just means more cars will compete for the limited parking stock resulting in more congestion. Restricting supply of anything that is high in demand has never worked and never will. Why do you think Car Share services are so popular? Residents will continue to drive despite the misguided priorities from our city government. Just walk through Noe, Western Addition, Mission etc. The streets are filled with cars. Why? Because reliable, comprehensive and safe public transit options are simply not there. The city should focus its efforts on improving and expanding Muni and not waste time over something so insignificant as an extra 20 parking spaces. San Francisco can be so provincial...
Posted by: Willow at September 10, 2012 3:26 PM
"...not waste time over something so insignificant as an extra 20 parking spaces..."
If it were just twenty parking spots then I'd agree that it is insignificant. But in reality we're talking about twenty times hundreds of properties like this in the vicinity.
And restricting parking does result in fewer cars just as supplying parking results in more cars. Sometimes it takes a little while to reach equilibrium though.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 10, 2012 3:33 PM
Restricting parking on new construction does not necessarily result in fewer cars.
All actual, you know, evidence, says that you're wrong. All of the areas in the country that restrict parking have fewer cars than they would otherwise. This is a basic fact of supply and demand. Restrict something and the price will go up - but the quantity will go down, unless there's some type of black market. That isn't possible for something like parking.
Listen, I'm a total free-market guy. I would LOVE to price the use of streets and open up the market to supply whatever amount of parking (and housing) desired. Since we're never going to be able to do that, the best way to limit efficiency-killing congestion is to limit parking.
Posted by: anon at September 10, 2012 3:36 PM
Supply and demand doesn't work perfectly for parking.
1 - An area doesn't exist in the void. If there's a neighborhood close-by that has supply, it will absorb the extra influx.
2 - Do not under-estimate the capacity of drivers of accepting longer time hunting down a street parking space. The street basically serves as a buffer zone for people waiting for their turn.
3 - There's a good number of people from the outside parking in SF during business hours, replaced early evening with commuters and people going out in the city. Drive through almost any neighborhood at 2AM and you'll see there's still extra capacity.
Some people will indeed give up their cars. I haven't seen that yet around me.
But let's take a real-life example: I have recently witnessed the sudden removal of 40 parking spaces in a 4-block area around my place due to extensive public work. Drivers hunted down spaces further up the hill, spent a bit more time, but eventually everyone got one. This showed that my neighborhood was not totally saturated even though it has the reputation of being a parking hell.
This is not Paris yet. It takes me less time to fully cross SF and park than what I used to spend in Paris solely looking for a space at 10PM.
Posted by: lol at September 10, 2012 4:56 PM
Of course it doesn't work perfectly, but it is a FACT that the decreasing the amount of parking per unit of housing lowers auto-ownership rates. Period. In every city in the country. Doesn't matter the income level, etc, it always has happened and always will happen.
As you build more housing without parking and the crunches begin, people self-select into and out of the neighborhood based on how much they either need or want to use a car. It always happens, in every neighborhood where this has occurred. Only in SF would people assume that the same exact people who live in the neighborhood now will continue to (and new housing will bring an identical demographic) AND no behavior as parking costs more or becomes more inconvenient. That is completely ignoring how markets work.
Posted by: anon at September 10, 2012 5:28 PM
Oh, so now I'm hearing complaints about auto OWNERSHIP. Now you want to control that too, not just auto use?
So..what if this new project was 31 ALL electric cars for share? Sounds good to me.
Still allows cars on the streets.Still allows for personal choice.
Posted by: futurist at September 10, 2012 5:34 PM
I don't want to control auto ownership - where in the world are you getting that from? I merely said that decreasing parking available always results in lower auto ownership (since earlier in the thread the argument was that people would still own the same number of cars and just park them on the street).
And no, from a congestion standpoint (all that I care about), electric cars are the exact same as any other.
I don't see how personal choice is being impacted by having less parking. You're certainly free not to buy a unit here. We're not talking about taking anything away - this is currently a boarded up lot.
Posted by: anon at September 10, 2012 5:53 PM
The Mission is massively congested, I can't take anyone seriously who claims otherwise. It can take 15 minutes to cross the 6 blocks from Guererro to Potrero at rush hour, sometimes even longer.
More parking = more cars = more congestion. Absent congestion pricing, limiting parking is the best we can do. Though I would personally rather see a parking "tax" which could be used to fund transit improvements, rather than a legislated limit.
25% of San Francisco households don't have a car and in The Mission it must be higher. We know lots of people do just fine without one, it is not required in San Francisco. If you demand parking, just don't buy a unit that doesn't have any, simple enough.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 10, 2012 5:57 PM
Wow - that's a lot of talk about parking! Those issues aside, this seems like a great lot for this type of development. I live in the neighborhood and have been keeping an eye on this site for a while hoping for this type of movement. I'm surprised to hear its being redeveloped since its looked like they were building back the gas station, but I guess I just don't know what a gas station construction site is supposed to look like...
Posted by: Rob at September 10, 2012 5:58 PM
I walk by this site daily and I wondered what the heck was going on. I noticed they put in these tanks above ground, so I knew it wasn't a gas station. I was wondering if they were perhaps planning on some industrial use, I am relieved to see more much-needed housing.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 10, 2012 6:00 PM
I am excited to see this sad lot finally developed into much needed housing. I cross my fingers that the environmental clean up and the permitting process go quickly so this project can break ground soon. As a long-term resident here, I am excited for more neighbors to share in the awesomeness. Best of luck to the developer - it's not easy developing in this city and especially not easy in this neighborhood.
And, to chime in on the parking topic - because it seems like the topic on this thread - I think it is worth asking: why doesn't the city and BART take better care of the 16th and 24th street BART Plazas if they care so damn much about public transportation in this area? Wouldn't more people be inclined to take public transportation instead of their cars if the stations didn't smell like urine, if the drug dealers were not selling and the users using right at the top of the escalators, and I assume most people are deterred by the not-so-infrequent shootings by them??
Furthermore, I ask, why not just develop retail and housing instead of having plazas at all? This would mean less expense for BART and the City in maintaining the plazas, tax revenue for the City, additional retail to enliven the areas, and much needed housing. Just a thought.
Posted by: calabrese68 at September 10, 2012 9:24 PM
Congestion and parking are really different issues. I don't think the Mission is overly congested except at some choke points where traffic flow issues could be easily resolved (but the City shows no interest in doing that).
And, if the the City had better public transit, cars would spend more time in the parking spots and less time on the streets. I always take public transit when I head downtown or to the financial district, but for the rest of the City (to say nothing of outside of the City), it is rarely a viable option.
Sure, one can arrange one's life to not need a car in the City, but it would be much nicer if public transit expanded rather than limited one's option. Until that happens, I will keep a car.
Posted by: NoeNeighbor at September 10, 2012 11:13 PM
The main reason MUNI is slow is congestion. Congestion caused by automobiles. There were half an many vehicle miles in San Francisco 30 years ago and MUNI was much faster.
It is sort of a chicken and the egg problem here.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 11, 2012 12:45 AM
NVJ: "...We know lots of people do just fine without one, it is not required in San Francisco."
Don’t be so presumptuous (or obnoxious) that you can prescribe how people move around the city. You simply are unable to make judgments on the personal circumstances of the 800,000 or so people that live in San Francisco.
"...why doesn't the city and BART take better care of the 16th and 24th street BART Plazas if they care so damn much about public transportation in this area?..."
calabrese68: Very true. You can add Civic Center and Powell St stations to that list. Those surrounding areas are so poorly maintained yet the city continues spinning its wheels on limiting parking spaces.
Posted by: Willow at September 11, 2012 10:15 AM
I believe NVJ in the past has mentioned that he owns and uses an automobile. Am I mistaken, or do I need to use the search feature?
Posted by: PotMeetKettle at September 11, 2012 10:29 AM
Not sure why limiting parking is bringing up so many thoughts of people being forced from cars. If you want parking, buy or rent a unit with parking. Seems simple, no?
Posted by: anon at September 11, 2012 10:37 AM
"If you want parking, buy or rent a unit with parking."
anon: Ah...I've heard that point before. The city is artificially restricting parking. For better or worse there is a real demand for it. This development could easily accomodate a 1:1 unit/parking ratio.
If you did support a market based solution where buyers or renters "simply find a unit with parking" you would not advocate any restrictions on how many spaces are made available. You can't have it both ways.
Posted by: Willow at September 11, 2012 11:01 AM
Um, yes I can. I advocate a market-based solution for ALL use of streets. As soon as we do that, I'm totally fine with the market providing whatever parking is desired. That means the market pricing driving on streets, the market pricing street parking, the market pricing city-owned garage parking, all requirements for parking being eliminated (maximums and minimums), etc.
You can't simply enact "market-based solutions" for one tiny portion that you happen to like (requiring excessive parking to keep costs down for you).
Posted by: anon at September 11, 2012 11:23 AM
And I want that market pricing for driving on the streets to include fees (license, registration and use) to apply to all cyclists. They are legally entitled to use our public streets and should also pay for that right.
Posted by: futurist at September 11, 2012 12:29 PM
^Sure, that's fine. True market-pricing would probably make cyclist usage charges and fees somewhere around 1/100th of an average auto, but yes, it should apply to all users (pedestrians too - which would be something like 1/500th that of an auto or even less).
Posted by: anon at September 11, 2012 12:47 PM
Ahem. Cyclists are taxpayers too. They pay income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, all of which go into the various budgets used to build and maintain roads and streets, as well as law enforcement and emergency services dedicated to these roads.
Did I mention no oil wars were started to keep bicycles on the roads?
Then yes, cyclists do pay for the little of the roads they are using. But per person their sub-200Lbs (vehicle+rider) account for 30 times less wear and tear than a 2.5 ton vehicle.
Because of that, cyclists should get a tax return. Thank you for pointing it out.
Posted by: lol at September 11, 2012 12:50 PM
Restricting parking will not prevent cars from moving into the neighborhood; it will only increase the number of cars circling the block.
I just got new neighbors who moved to the Valencia corridor from Tokyo (where driving isn't an option) and bought a car, so now they circle for half an hour every night looking for parking. People who want cars will have a car no matter what idiot restrictions are put in place.
To reiterate what someone else said: even if each unit was allowed one car, we would still be far, far ahead of most of this country. The developer's proposal is entirely reasonable by my standards.
Posted by: Brad at September 11, 2012 1:47 PM
Restricting parking will not prevent cars from moving into the neighborhood; it will only increase the number of cars circling the block.
This is wrong. Yes, in the short term some of that may happen, but EVERY neighborhood with less parking sees less cars over time. All of them, from Nob Hill to the Upper East Side. People aren't so stupid to not self-select into places that fit their lifestyle.
Posted by: anon at September 11, 2012 1:53 PM
yes market base everthing. Let the free market rule. Then only the weathly in SF will have the advantages and freedom (!) of automoibles. C'mon. try applying that reasoning to health care, sewer sytem, and adequate living space (see density arguments).
This may seem like troll bait, but I have to go out earn more money tonite to afford parking, muni (hee, hee), taxis, or that HSR thingee
Posted by: contrarian at September 11, 2012 7:17 PM
Willow, 25% of San Francisco households do not have an automobile. Therefore we can conclude that it is possible for a significant minority of people who live here to survive without a car. How can you argue otherwise? The facts are the facts, not matter how much you stomp your foot and claim otherwise.
Yes, I do own a car now, after 20 years of no car ownership. I needed one to drive my daughter to school after SFUSD did not give me an assignment in my neighborhood. We use it once or twice a week. I know from experience that you can live just fine in San Francisco without a car and I encourage San Francisco to make it as difficult and as expensive as possible to own and operate one here, including my own.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 12, 2012 12:25 AM
@contrarian - market rate pricing of everything driving related would likely make many things cheaper.
But yes, generally speaking, many driving related costs are externalized now onto the entire population, so drivers would pay more in most cases (with others paying significantly less).
Posted by: anon at September 12, 2012 11:21 AM
wow I am really suprised by that comment by you. You have a car and need it for your child. Yet you think it should be as expensive as possible to own and operate a car i the city, knowing full well that lots of families in the city have a lot less money than you but the same needs (and often more children). Same school system as you which created your problem.
Posted by: sparky*b at September 12, 2012 12:05 PM
the anti-carites win. I give up. Close the lanes, use cafe-byicycle technology to replace Starving Student moving companies and other deliveries. Let commerce WALK.
May you all have a nice walk/cyclke from your tenements to the new water taxi which will take you to the radioactive Treasure Island soccer fields.
Posted by: contrarian at September 12, 2012 8:47 PM
I lived Within 50 yards of there for years. It is one of the most transit friendly, village in the city, areas on the west coast I would venture. But good grief. Different strokes for different strokes, already. The amount of cars has already been reduced thanks to the last group of supervisors. The city is already hugely more bike friendly than even four years ago. Stop pontificating.
Posted by: Anon1 at September 12, 2012 9:09 PM
It is amazing how many lefties on here refuse to believe that markets work and just want to force everyone to subsidize their lifestyle. Choice, freedom, true pricing of use...oh, wouldn't that be nice. Not in lefty SF though - everyone wants mass subsidization of cars here through excessive parking in every new building! Stalin would be proud.
Posted by: anon at September 12, 2012 9:14 PM
No, NVJ, one cannot necessarily live "fine" without a car.
I shop at Trader Joes down on Bryant and I'm sure not about to take several buses to haul my groceries back to NV.
I also shop at Diamond Heights Safeway and I'm sure as hell not gonna walk up the hills to get to the store and back down with my groceries. There is no convenient transit from NV UP to Diamond Heights.
I sometimes have to go pick up building materials, paint and supplies to work on my house. How would I do that without my car? And don't tell me about renting a carshare by the hour" very expensive and still not convenient. Renting a truck for hauling stuff is just as difficult and expensive.
Now I understand the living here without a car does work for a certain percentage of people, but it's not always "fine" or convenient. We still need choices and I'm glad we have them.
Posted by: futurist at September 12, 2012 9:26 PM
^I must have missed where NVJ advocated removing choices from folks? The only ones that I've seen advocating removing choice are those saying that everyone needs a car or all new housing should have parking.
Posted by: Red at September 12, 2012 9:31 PM
"excessive parking" -- that point is purely subjective and merely opinion. Tired of navel gazing as argument on here too. Good job letting so very many of these types in, editor . This site is just as bad as sfgate . Nobody had anything. Ha. Your bad.
Posted by: Anon1 at September 12, 2012 9:47 PM
^It's only subjective if you seriously believe that there is no congestion in the city.
Posted by: anon at September 12, 2012 9:57 PM
""excessive parking" -- that point is purely subjective and merely opinion."
Not really, congestion management is somewhat of a science. Develop a mathematical model, simulate, and then calibrate the model against observed actual conditions. Repeat.
Traffic engineering has been developed and improved for decades.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 12, 2012 11:07 PM
Nobody cited a traffic model specific to this corner. I'm sure everyone is aware that urban planning studies, models, and implements. And taking points out of context, and then parsing a singular term is unnecessarily pedantic.
Posted by: Anon1 at September 13, 2012 8:57 AM
Congestion models aren't designed or expected to produce exact results for specific corners. Their results apply to larger regions, on the order of several contiguous blocks.
And that is plenty precise for the purposes of setting neighborhood parking goals.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 13, 2012 9:04 AM
Ok. .74 versus .5 . Yes, that was implicit from the start. The arguments had diverged. And frankly, you are more than welcome to prove that it was science over politics at any time. Or to cite your educational background any time you take a subject sideways, for that matter. So that I can know it is worth considering.
Posted by: Anon1 at September 13, 2012 9:17 AM
There are cities all over the world where the transit share by automobiles is much lower than in San Francisco and people's quality of life is just fine and in many cases better than here. Compare a place like Paris with Los Angeles.
futurist, you have many choices as to how to get groceries. You could have Safeway deliver, you could shop at Whole Foods, you could bicycle, you could use a shared car, you could take Muni or you could do what is easiest and most convenient to you, which is you could take your private automobile.
If your trip wasn't so massively subsidized you might decide to use another way or you might not. If you were willing to pay the true cost to society of driving and still preferred it, I would be fine with that. You can see in cities like Amsterdam some people still choose to drive, but it is seen as a luxury good and priced accordingly.
The only way we are going to really get people to use transit here is if it is cheaper and faster than automobiles, like it is in many cities. To do that we need to go on a serious road diet, with far fewer lanes and space dedicated to automobiles and more dedicated to buses and bicycling. But parking restrictions are helpful too.
Quoting from this weeks Economist:
"Cities are increasingly vying to be bike friendly. Among them, Chicago wants to be become the most cycle-friendly large city in the country -- and has said that it will build over 30 miles of protected cycle lanes this year. [...] And cycling is growing fast in all these cities, as it is in New York and San Francisco.
In Chicago the motivation is to improve the quality of life, and thus encourage both businesses and families to move there.
As 48% of trips in American cities are shorter than three miles, there is big potential for further growth. Yet while the future looks bright, America will struggle to catch up with northern Europe, where the proportion of local trips done by bike can be has high as 30%.
One reason for this is the car ownership remains far cheaper in America. Another is the absence of restrictions on car use, which would greatly improve cycle safety. Europeans are far keener on traffic-calming measure, car-fee zones, fewer parking spaces and road "diets" -- where cars are allocated a narrower piece of the road. America may be flirting with the bicycle, but it has no means ended its long love affair with the car."
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 13, 2012 9:34 AM
Well there's no way to prove whether politics got into the mix unless you can locate a paper trail leading to elected officials. But it is pretty obvious from the granularity of the ratios that bureaucracy got involved. Otherwise the ratios would not fall on such neat round numbers.
Either way those writing the regulations had access to objective data to determine whether the parking provided was excessive. You claimed this was based purely on subjective opinion. It isn't.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 13, 2012 9:41 AM
Uh huh. Now you want to parse "excessive" vis a vis SF bureaucracy. You mean ".24 more than current code for the intersection yet .01 sub code for similar, and even higher density areas such as the Market + Octavia plan" ? (mirkarimi's bureaucratic legacy?) The developers are applying for authorization. Conditional use applies, so the jury is out and lay "excessive" is opinion solely .So what, if it goes through then it 's totally fine? Come on. The way the word was used initially was opinion.
Ps if you proffer a dictionary definition of the word "excessive" there is likely s special place in h#ll awaiting you. You will be forced to look at granular photoshopped blue skies until kingdom come.
Posted by: Anon1 at September 13, 2012 9:58 AM
So chicago, new york, paris, amsterdam have less car usage. And what do they have more of that helps with that? Real mass transit systems. They don't need to get the cars off the street so the buses work better, they have subways, dedicated train lanes and elevated trains.
As a side note all of these are massively subsidized as well. So are all the bike lanes.
Posted by: sparky*b at September 13, 2012 10:08 AM
Chicago doesn't have less car usage than SF - it has quite a bit more, but can handle it because of the low density of the overall city combined with alleys in the few high density areas.
Those other cities do have less car usage, but sparky, you know what those cities also have? Less parking than SF. So is it the transit that causes them to have less parking? No. All of those cities would have far more parking if regulations allowed it, and congestion would be much worse. Restricted parking and/or higher prices are the only things that decrease the number of cars, because they're so nice to have (I wouldn't give mine up if we had subways under every street).
Posted by: anon at September 13, 2012 10:25 AM
Muni used to be much faster here and spent less to get that speed and reliability. The difference is today the roads are much more congested due to more automobile usage. Unfortunately it is really a zero sum game unless we are willing to build expensive subways and tunnels. So we need to dedicate more road space to buses and take it away from cars. Subways would be better in the long run and at least we are working on one right now but Californians show a depressing unwillingness to plan and invest for the future.
To address your question about families needing to use a car, I will say that people always have options. We could have chosen to send our daughter to our neighborhood school instead of an immersion school miles away. We could have chosen the parochial school a block away. We did not, at least partially because buying and owning a car and using that instead was so cheap and convenient.
In the longer run, I think that San Francisco will be more family and child friendly if there are fewer cars on the road and if they travel at slower speeds. The main reason I moved here 20 years ago is because The City is walkable and built to human scale, not automobile scale. Most parents want less traffic moving at slower speeds.
Some people will suffer as part of the transition no doubt. All changes create winners and losers and I expect the losers to fight mightily to preserve their perqs:
It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. -Machiavelli
We should try and find some way to subsidize the losers, especially since society as a whole will benefit. I don't know how we could do that, does anyone have any suggestions? Free bus passes?
As an aside, I personally find Muni adequate. I don't think it is great or anything but it will get you around. And in a small city like San Francisco it is usable, unlike most western cities, which are just hopeless as currently configured.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 13, 2012 10:37 AM
I disagree. I do think it is the transit that allows them to have less parking. If you take the subways out of those cities you would need to have more cars and parking. Also, those cities have way more cabs, lots of cars on the road without the parking of the cars in residential garages.
You can't force no parking and not built the transit, then you get cars on the street. We don't have a Transit First policy we just have a Parking Last policy.
Posted by: sparky*b at September 13, 2012 10:40 AM
And Muni was never any good for this intersection. The 26 valencia was always an absolute joke.
Posted by: Anon1 at September 13, 2012 10:45 AM
Yes bike lanes are publicly financed and they should. But the public subsidy stops there. The auto industry had to be bailed out. No bailout was ever done on a bicycle builder. Oil is subsidized through foreign policy/wars in short all the efforts taken ensuring continuous supply. We are pinching our nose on many many things and sometimes doing things that against our very own principles or even general interest because of oil. And then there's the socializing of the costs like pollution.
Burritos that fuel my bike are not hurting anyone as far as I know. Or maybe the occasional unlucky guy behind ;) I am not totally zero-emission.
Posted by: lol at September 13, 2012 10:49 AM
sparky, Muni has higher per capita ridership than CTA. I know that everyone goes nuts over trains, but buses do actually move people too.
Posted by: anon at September 13, 2012 11:02 AM
" We don't have a Transit First policy we just have a Parking Last policy"
This is funny and true! San Francisco needs to spend more money on transit. The Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP) was a great start, but unfortunately it made its recommendations right as the Great Recession started and there has been no public money to implement its suggestions.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 13, 2012 11:02 AM
I am speaking locally, and you are speaking nationally/internationally. There would be little/no effect on any of the things you are talking about if SF were to happy meal the auto entirely.
Of course Muni has higher ridership there are only a few train line and they all just go downtown.
NVJim, That is my point we need to spend more money on transit, trains and/or dedicated bus lanes, etc.
Posted by: sparky*b at September 13, 2012 11:37 AM
Of course Muni has higher ridership there are only a few train line and they all just go downtown.
What do you mean by this? Muni has higher transit ridership per capita than the Chicago Transit Authority, in spite of you claiming that their service is superior and that's the reason that Chicago has fewer parking restrictions.
Trains are sexy, I get it, but buses can move people all the same. And even in much wealthier SF, people manage to use them.
Posted by: anon at September 13, 2012 11:50 AM
What happens in SF usually happens in the country down the road. This is one of the culture hubs that shape policy. We should have heavy mass transit investments, widespread bike lanes, all subsidized, but all bringing back N times the original investment through efficiency, better quality of life and attraction of productive forces.
But as far as this building is concerned, this ones does the job of adding density where it matters.
People will own cars (and should continue to be permitted to do so), but they will not necessarily use them. This is not the Peninsula, for instance, where doing a quick dash to the grocery for sugar or eggs usually means burning a glass full of gasoline.
50%, 74%, whatever. People who will not want cars can rent out the space. What counts is the flexibility of choice.
But I can bet many of the new dwellers will spend time on those great Valencia bike lanes.
Posted by: lol at September 13, 2012 12:04 PM
I think that we will get more bang for our buck with bicycle lanes, but I haven't seen any real study here.
In Amsterdam, 30% of all trips are made by bicycle and even 25% of those over 65 ride regularly. Bicycles won't be able to replace autos entirely, but if we even got to 30%, it would have a transformative effect on our city. And in many ways, San Francisco is a better place to bicycle because of our better weather. Yeah, I know we have hills. But there aren't really that many places in SF that a regular cyclist can't make it to. At least 75% of my trips are by bicycle and I am not young.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at September 13, 2012 12:21 PM
So true Sparky about the hollow transit-first policies. Another way to look at it is that we are roads-first, transit-sortof, parking-last. And by roads-first I don't mean SF proper but the whole region. The MTC tries to reign in autocentric sprawl but doesn't really have the resources that suburban speculative land owners command. Even though this expansion of the freeway network occurs outside of the 7x7 it impacts residents in the city by creating more destinations that are convenient by car and inconvenient by transit.
What we should do as a region is to halt freeway expansion and funnel those funds into improving transit. Billions are spent year after year on expensive incremental improvements to roads that simultaneously make it easier to drive and harder to get around any other way. That money could go a long way towards improving and extending transit. But you have to convince dozens of municipalities and Caltrans D4 to change their ways. The MTC has their heart in the right place but they have no teeth.
Road systems can be expanded in smaller increments compared to transit systems. They employ non-union drivers who work for free and provide their own vehicles. When something goes wrong and there's a collision, it is just another oopsie, no detailed investigation.
Users of road systems chronically underestimate the out-of-pocket cost of their travels. Compare that to transit where you see the cost right up front when you buy a ticket.
The business interests behind a car centered transportation system know all of this and exploit these misunderstandings. They'll push for more parking at every opportunity because they know that it causes property owners to invest even deeper in the system and become unwitting partners in a dead-end transportation system.
Any city that wants to grow without sprawl needs to stop investing in space intensive modes like autos. SF fits that description well. But it is at the mercy of the region as a whole to build out the next generation transportation.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 13, 2012 1:05 PM
Everyone fails to mention that some people only use their cars on the weekend. I bike to work everyday but I need my car to go surf in Santa Cruz or snowboard in Tahoe. I would never move into a unit without parking. Just because you add parking doesn't mean people are driving everyday!!!
Posted by: Deepak at September 13, 2012 1:55 PM
^Yeah! Those darn traffic engineers and their stupid facts and stuff! They should just listen when people promise super hard that they'll not impact anything! Darn them!
Posted by: anon at September 13, 2012 1:57 PM
Deepak - Yes, not everyone uses a car the same way. Some people drive to-from home several trips a day. Others like you rarely use the car. The statistical models are calibrated to reflect the range of usage.
I wonder whether the carshare spots are "weighted" towards higher than normal usage. Ironically they should be.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 13, 2012 2:07 PM