September 20, 2013
SFMTA Reverses Course On Kirkland Yard Redevelopment
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has operated the Kirkland Yard bus depot on Beach Street between Powell and Stockton for over sixty years.
The 2.6 acre Fisherman’s Wharf adjacent parcel was once part of San Francisco Bay before it was filled in 1886 and was privately owned until 1942 when it was acquired by the Department of War. In 1947 the parcel was transferred to the City of San Francisco. And in 1950, the site began to serve as a bus storage and maintenance yard.
A relocation of the Kirkland Yard's buses and operations to a new, larger facility at Cesar Chavez and I-280 was originally scheduled for 2008, but the new Islais Creek depot won't be finished until 2014. And while the SFMTA had been in negotiations to sell the current Kirkland Yard site to the Mayor’s Office of Housing for the development of 220 rental units once the depot was moved, the SFMTA has reversed course and declared the existing Kirkland Yard "an essential element" of their real estate portfolio.
According to San Francisco's Director of Transportation, Edward Reiskin, "given the growth in the City and the new transportation projects and vehicles required to support the growth plus the fact that most of the transit facilities are now in the southern part of the City, the SMFTA [feels it is] imperative that we continue to use Kirkland as a transit facility."
That being said, the SFMTA is considering covering the existing Yard with a canopy to reduce its impact on the surrounding neighborhood. The North Waterfront site is zoned for development up to 40-feet in height.
First Published: September 20, 2013 7:00 PM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Horrible news. That lot is a horrible blight on the area.
Posted by: Anon at September 20, 2013 7:22 PM
i dont get it; why cant the two things happen. instead of a 'canopy' cover the site with a podium and build housing above it.
Posted by: jose at September 20, 2013 7:50 PM
This parcel is at Fisherman's Wharf, keep it there forever!
Posted by: Mark Taylor at September 20, 2013 7:51 PM
If it really is important for Muni operations, than keep it. And I hope Muni don't waste money building some 40' crap on top of it (as if that would in any way decrease the yard's "impact"), unless it includes housing.
"Horrible news. That lot is a horrible blight on the area." -Anon
Public transit benefits the whole city, and the yard has already been there for over half a century, so I think SF can handle it continuing to be there...and I wouldn't call it much of a "blight" on the neighborhood, much less a "horrible blight". More like an important and functioning part of SF that employs a bunch of people and serves a bunch more. I reserve words like "blight" for abandoned buildings, homeless encampments, and garbage-strewn lots and such...you know, actual problems.
Posted by: cfb at September 20, 2013 7:53 PM
It's across the street from a block-size parking garage... If it's a blight, it's in good company.
Posted by: Alai at September 20, 2013 8:24 PM
Seems like a good spot for a future subway station...
Posted by: anon hotep at September 20, 2013 9:19 PM
MUNI should lease the land to a couple of hotel companies and use the income to help with their bloated budget.
Posted by: Mike at September 20, 2013 9:37 PM
Growth of the City? What growth? A few thousand residents added over a decade is not real growth and is there going to be much population added from here on?
Posted by: Tobias at September 21, 2013 7:20 AM
^You're looking at the wrong metric. Population is not growing all that fast (though much faster than "a few thousand residents over a decade") - households are growing VERY rapidly.
What we're seeing is population growing at a small rate even while household sizes continue to plummet, as more and more smaller households are added to the city. You can see this in census results showing the number of households, or in census and other results showing the number of housing units in the city (up more than 10% from a very large base from 2000-2010, even while population grew slower than that).
Posted by: anon at September 21, 2013 8:14 AM
Make no mistake, this is a pre-emptive move to make this a future stop on the Central Subway. There is so much going on behind the scenes in regards to that transit project, and after the debacle with the Pagoda Theater (which also _should_ have been a subway stop if someone, anyone at SFMTA had been thinking with even minimal foresight), they are making sure they have the property in hand to build the station.
Posted by: North Beach Tony at September 21, 2013 8:15 AM
Public transit benefits the whole city
Agreed, but there is absolutely no excuse for Muni to keep a surface parking lot blighting an area that could be sold or leased for tens of millions of dollars in order to maintain decent transit service. That's like saying that they need their drivers to have access to play-dough at all times. It makes no sense.
The lot is a tremendous blight on the area with garbage blowing across it at all times and ugly fencing surrounding it. It's quite embarrassing to have something like that in a tourist area, even if the tourist area is nasty and quite ugly. And yes, the parking structure across the street is blighting as well, but that's neither here or nor there when we're discussing another lot that was IN THE PROCESS of being fixed until this horrible decision.
Posted by: anon at September 21, 2013 8:20 AM
Yes, I really don't understand why Muni did not extend the Central Subway down Stockton to this yard which is OWNED by Muni in the first place.
Posted by: Old Giant's Fan at September 21, 2013 8:31 AM
A well thought out planting program of fast growing trees would solve a lot of the "blight" and cost a lot less than a canopy.
Posted by: BobN at September 21, 2013 10:34 AM
The sale of this property to the Mayor's Office of Housing would indicate the development of more low income housing in this neighborhood. It would seem with the completion of a large low income housing development above the Trader Joes up the block that this neighborhood has enough low income housing.
Posted by: d-b at September 21, 2013 10:41 AM
The MOH also administers the BMR program, which is not low income housing. Most of that is for 80-140% of AMI.
Posted by: Anon at September 21, 2013 8:05 PM
The MSRy (streetcar.org) and I were pressing to have real estate move the street cars here for repair and service, since there is an added benefit to displaying the classics at that site to tourists, but the repair facilities are being consolidated to the new 3rd street yard so it just didn't make sense.
This particular site is critical because it is the only yard in the North East part of the city.
North Beach Tony -- I have heard nothing about this site being included in Phase 3 of the central subway. If you've have heard otherwise, please let me know. The most likely site would be Russian Hill Park.
Posted by: Mark Ballew at September 22, 2013 5:41 PM
^I'm unclear on the need for a yard in the northeast part of the city. The city isn't big geographically.
Posted by: anon at September 22, 2013 7:17 PM
Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at September 23, 2013 8:57 AM
^^ Ha, if you examine the defacto status quo of "cars first" you'll see the irony of your slogan.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at September 23, 2013 10:13 AM
Why not build a parking structure on top of the yard and then replace the parking structure with a more residential use. I would rather live across the street from a bus yard that is screened and covered than on top of it.
Put lets face it MUNI is hopeless.
Posted by: sunset guy at September 23, 2013 10:14 AM
The thing is that Muni wants its bus yards spread out for better distribution of buses. It takes less time for buses to get to lines in the northern part of the city if they have a yard there, rather than having all buses in one yard and taking more time to distribute buses over the city or having multiple yards in one area. If you don't like buses, well, they are necessary to keep traffic from overwhelming city streets (believe it or not).
Posted by: Dexter Wong at September 23, 2013 8:05 PM
^Muni doesn't have any yards in the entire area west of 19th/Park Presidio, yet has no problems getting buses there, yet it needs a tiny little yard in this spot? Not buying it. The city is not large enough geographically to need a yard in this spot, especially one so small. It's less than four miles from a gigantic yard in the northern third of the city. No need for another tiny one.
Posted by: anon at September 23, 2013 10:12 PM
@Old Giant's Fan
Extending the subway up Stockton to a terming at Kirkland is not a bad idea and also a very good reason not develop the property until SFMTA has a long-term plan for where to take the Central Subway next.
SFMTA isn't taking the subway any further north at the moment because the federal government's matching funds only cover up to Chinatown.
There has already been a lot of clammer and opposition to the billions being spent to create the T-line in the first place, to continue any further - at twice the price - would have some sharpening their pitchforks. That doesn't mean there won't be a northern extension, only that SFMTA doesn't have the resources or funding at the moment to get that project kicked off.
Posted by: Jamison Wieser at September 24, 2013 8:51 AM