October 24, 2013

Ten Story Building Proposed Atop 16th Street BART Station Site

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Maximus Real Estate Partners is in contract to buy the 57,000 square foot parcel above the 16th Street BART station on the northeast corner of Mission Street and has submitted plans to build a 10-story building designed by Skidmore Owings & Merrill with 351 housing units, 32,000 square feet of retail and a 56,000-square-foot basement parking garage on the site.

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From JK Dinnen at the Business Times:

The proposal calls for airy plate glass storefronts, with 14-foot floor-to-ceiling heights, which would wrap around the BART plaza and continue along Mission and 16th streets. The group says the blank facades currently ringing the BART Plaza on Mission and Capp streets represent "a significant contributing factor to the high crime rate at the intersection of 16th and Mission."

The sale of the parcel which includes an existing Walgreens, the Hwa Lei Market, the City Club bar, two restaurants and a defunct dollar store, all of which would be razed, is contingent upon approvals of the proposed development by the city.

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First Published: October 24, 2013 11:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

This is a big project; hopefully it happens, though another 5-10 stories would help

It might also spur redevelopment of the surrounding areas, including the other three corners of the 16th/Mission intersection

Posted by: guest at October 24, 2013 11:36 AM

Washington DC is built on a very low-rise scale and still manages to feel like a city. Sometimes with these complex development projects you just have to settle for what is possible as opposed to what is "optimal."

Posted by: Jimmy (No Longer Bitter) at October 24, 2013 11:42 AM

Weirdly I've never paid attention to what an atrocity this building is (or even that this is all the same plaza-style building with a parking lot in the back). Rip it out and put something new (and big) in... this might be my least favorite structure in the city now. Could easily go higher than 10 stories at this intersection but even 10 stories is pretty good.

Posted by: Jason at October 24, 2013 11:50 AM

Oh please let this happen! It will completely change the character of this corner, which is a huge mess right now.

It would be be even better if they built on top of the BART plaza, but I'll take this any day.

Posted by: lyqwyd at October 24, 2013 11:51 AM

This thing has a huge uphill battle ahead of it.
Still, I'm encouraged that developers are taking up the fight.

Posted by: OMN at October 24, 2013 11:51 AM

Anything more than 10 floors would look out of place in this area. Nothing really exceeds 6 stories... As a resident of the Mission, I would prefer it not turn into SOMA. But yes, very happy to see the plaza and parking lot go.

Posted by: chitrana at October 24, 2013 11:54 AM

What's up with the parcel across Mission from there- the fenced-off one with all of the temporary buildings where they wanted to put the Occupy people a few years ago?

Posted by: B at October 24, 2013 11:55 AM

Jeez, if there was one place you'd want a high-density building, it'd be right smack-dab next to a BART stop. BUILD IT (and I'm with others..build it high...I know it may look a little out of place but gotta start somewhere). Being a 1min walk from BART would be huge.

Posted by: DanRH at October 24, 2013 11:57 AM

Actually, I misunderstood the original post, thinking that the developer would have to build over the BART plaza.

Without that, this might actually have a reasonably easy time passing through the various commissions, since it's in-line with zoning.

Great!

Posted by: OMN at October 24, 2013 11:58 AM

Attitudes of "charm" are becoming totally dangerous. The world is breeding at exponential rates. The world population in 1900, when most of SF was built, was 1.7 billion. It is now 7 billion. US population was 76 million. Now 350 million. If the standard height of buildings in the SF neighborhoods was 3 to 4 stories back then, then by today's standards, the *minimum* density should be 16+ stories, just to maintain population growth. That's not even taking into consideration added density for the benefit of climate change, urban sprawl taking over farmland, pollution, etc. The baby boomers (age of your typical NIMBY) see no end to how much they can screw over the world.

Posted by: sf at October 24, 2013 12:01 PM

Wouldn't this still require serious retrofitting of the bart station itself to handle a building this size? correct me if i am wrong, but I think even that plaza sits partially atop the BART Station even if it's not really used by commuters.

Posted by: chitrana at October 24, 2013 12:02 PM

Yes, YES, Y-E-S!!! Major game changer = the new-new mission.

Anything to make it harder for losers to hang out over there. It's like the bar scene from Star Wars, I swear. I don't mind the odd and mostly harmless characters, but the drug dealers have gotta go. Set up in Richmond or Oakland and get the f*ck out of SF. If this thing gets built it will be fantastic. It'll be like "welcome to the new-new mission, boys!"

Posted by: 49yo hipster at October 24, 2013 12:06 PM

The same hate everything crowd that is opposing 8 Washington will take up to the cudgel to try and stop this one, mark my words. They really believe that providing more housing will lead to displacement.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 24, 2013 12:09 PM

It's amazing that a 1 story big box store and parking lot have been on top of a key BART station for 40 years now. I mean, if anything spells out "T-O-D"....

Posted by: woolie at October 24, 2013 12:16 PM

I hope this won't cast a shadow on BART plaza! No seriously, this is exactly what SF needs at 16th and Mission. Maybe more eyes on the plaza will dissuade unsavory activity there.

Posted by: Dan at October 24, 2013 12:20 PM

Oh No! How will we survive the loss of a Walgreens?

Posted by: etslee at October 24, 2013 12:23 PM

I hope the site will be a transit-oriented blueprint for the rest of the City. Like with any world city, the underground station should have direct access to the adjacent buildings. Perhaps negotiations will still need to take place to have store front access on the both sides on plaza. Yes, it can be taller with a tower podium design and zero parking.

Posted by: Laurel Heights at October 24, 2013 12:28 PM

This is really great. To answer a few of the questions above, in case it isn't clear, this proposal is not for on top of the BART plaza and has no impact on the BART Station itself. The BART Station (aside from the entrances) is underneath the public right of way.

Also, to answer B's question, the temporary buildings across the street are on a parcel owned by the School District. It's WELL past time that they sell or reuse the site. I keep hearing that is on a list to be disposed of, but I'm not sure of the current plan.

Posted by: curmudgeon at October 24, 2013 12:45 PM

Only 10-story building, should be 25!

Just kidding but from all the "build it higher" voices I am getting all giddy!

Posted by: Build It Taller! at October 24, 2013 12:52 PM

"Attitudes of "charm" are becoming totally dangerous. The world is breeding at exponential rates. The world population in 1900, when most of SF was built, was 1.7 billion. It is now 7 billion."

World population is projected to peak at 8.7 billion people in 2055 and then decline to 8 billion by 2100. From there population declines my be a big problem as they already are in countries with low birth rates

Posted by: Zig at October 24, 2013 1:14 PM

What would be even better is if because the Walgreens is closing here we could bring in CVS up the street where Superior Automotive is currently located.

I recall reading in Mission Local the owner mentioned CVS had offered to purchase his business sometime in the recent past.

Posted by: gribble at October 24, 2013 1:28 PM

Great idea and project although from the perspective of walkers in a urban area this is no different than many other project near-by of the same height and within a 10 minute walk. So in that sense if you really wanted the building to make a statement it would be bigger.

This reminds me of Glen Park and the parking lot BART owns there. That seems ripe for development. Across the BART system a number of stations are adjacent to malls, strip malls and big box stores. Some were sadly built or remodeled fairly recently. Maybe we can get our act to together at some point and stop wasting resources and opportunities.

Posted by: Zig at October 24, 2013 1:30 PM

56k parking garage at one of the most transit rich corners on the West Coast? No thanks. Lose that part and it's a great project.

Posted by: Justin at October 24, 2013 1:30 PM

Early studies for the Mission BART stations included big developments like this on all 4 corners. That plan would have been awful but I'm glad there's interest in finally building up these transit corridors. Eric Fisher has posted the old diagrams here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/walkingsf/4974958400/in/photostream/

Posted by: James at October 24, 2013 1:34 PM

"56,000-square-foot basement parking garage on the site."

yeh just noticed that myself. Seems you could have zero parking spots here and let people self-select to live here without a car.

When I retire if I can afford it I would live somewhere like this without a car

Posted by: zig at October 24, 2013 1:35 PM

What's the problem with the parking garage? Only one or two sides of the building are set up for ground floor retail and I doubt anyone is really going to want to live on the first floor on the back side. While the garage might be too big, not building it would likely be a waste of space.

With Mission prices where they are, and a star architecture firm, prices will be high. And people buying million dollar apartments generally want to have a car. Even if some don't as a developer, you never want to shrink your potential customer base too much.

Posted by: frog at October 24, 2013 1:51 PM

The 15 story tower proposed in the 1960's would have been awful, but a 10 story one in the 21st century will be a major game changer. Yay.

Posted by: mishpo at October 24, 2013 1:57 PM

good luck keeping those "14-foot floor to ceiling" windows free of tags. especially the glass etching solution that taggers love to use.

Posted by: sixtypercenttogether at October 24, 2013 1:59 PM

Even if some don't as a developer, you never want to shrink your potential customer base too much.

Sure, but that's where the city comes in. If the city zones it for no parking, then only those developers interested in shrinking their customer base will bother developing it. Let the city zone it for no parking, then have the market take it from there.

Posted by: anon at October 24, 2013 2:04 PM

I have to admit I have a soft spot for brutalist architecture. I'd seen those 1960s plans before, and they look amazing on paper, if not likely to work well in practice.

Posted by: woolie at October 24, 2013 2:23 PM

PLEASE build it!! Then place armed guards around it, bleach everything, shoot anything that disrputs normal business. Oh and send those River Rock GD idling buses AWAY.

CLEAN UP THE SQUARE

Posted by: SFLooking at October 24, 2013 2:26 PM

"What's the problem with the parking garage?"

The problem is all the cars and car traffic it will bring! Slows down all the buses, pollutes the environment, makes the units more expensive, bad for pedestrians and cyclists, bad in every way. And totally not necessary.

Stop the must-have-parking madness! It's a killer!

Posted by: Justin at October 24, 2013 2:34 PM

The old 60's plan reminds me of that ugly concrete monstrosity on mission/22nd st. But yeah, today's designs are soooo different. 10 stories over there, no problem. Also I'm pretty sure the city will demand less garage space; transit rich areas have 1:2 ratio or something like that.

Posted by: 49yo hipster at October 24, 2013 3:32 PM

anon,

What should the city compensate the existing property owner for reducing the value of their property? We see this all the time on this site, on issues like rent control where policy is made that directly benefits one person or group at the direct expense of another person or group. Either we as a city (all of us) should be paying for these things or they shouldn't exist.

Justin,

If you want to reduce car usage, there are about 2 serious ways of doing it. Increase the gas tax to at least European levels (over 10 years, so people get used to the idea and can plan their lives) or somehow tax carbon emissions. Fighting cars on a block by block basis - 150ish spots in a city with slightly under 400,000 cars - that's mostly window dressing. An extra 75 or 100 or 200 cars a day on mission will probably not be noticed (except during rush hour).

Posted by: frog at October 24, 2013 3:45 PM

What should the city compensate the existing property owner for reducing the value of their property? We see this all the time on this site, on issues like rent control where policy is made that directly benefits one person or group at the direct expense of another person or group. Either we as a city (all of us) should be paying for these things or they shouldn't exist.

Eliminate height limits or massively upzone? I'd be willing to bet that 100% of developers out there would take zero parking in exchange for height limit increases or elimination of limits. Why is it ok to limit the value of their property by how high they can build, but not by how much parking they can build?

FWIW - if we could eliminate height limits and parking minimums citywide, I'd be fine with elimination of parking maximums as well. Trust me, I'm all for restoration of property rights.

Posted by: anon at October 24, 2013 4:25 PM

If Walgreens wanted to reopen in the new building, would they have to apply for a formula-retail permit? It would be a shame if the planning code discouraged businesses sitting on prime real estate like McDonald's or Walgreens from rebuilding as mixed use.

Posted by: Joel at October 24, 2013 4:46 PM

The above posts reek elitism, classism, and realtorism.

How many of the above posters actually use this BART station on a regular basis?

*crickets*

Most likely, none.

signed,
regular user of 16th St BART.

Posted by: two beers at October 24, 2013 5:10 PM

Great project. Height is appropriate.

Parking garage is appropriate. Some of those who will pay (high prices) to live there will, mostly likely, also own a car, as their choice.

Then get rid of all the human trash, druggies, homeless in the plaza and ship them off to Texas.

Posted by: Futurist at October 24, 2013 5:32 PM

frog,

Exactly. We need LESS cars at 16th and Mission during rush hour, not more.

Posted by: Justin at October 24, 2013 5:38 PM

I hope they keep the palm trees.

Posted by: sf at October 24, 2013 5:46 PM

Some of those who will pay (high prices) to live there will, mostly likely, also own a car, as their choice.

But of course, they don't have the choice on whether or not to move there in the first place...

Posted by: anon at October 24, 2013 6:07 PM

My statement makes perfect, logical sense, anon.

But yours doesn't. But if I read your "hidden agenda", or underlying tone, you would like to REGULUATE who lives at this location.

And you don't want them to own a car. Just say it.

Posted by: Futurist at October 24, 2013 6:19 PM

I certainly prefer housing here and near BART stations be built without parking

People can then self select if they want to live there.

Posted by: Zig at October 24, 2013 6:56 PM

10 story high will feel out of place. But 4 or 5 stories would look perfect.

Posted by: ls at October 24, 2013 7:05 PM

Justin,

The "at rush hour" was my hedge, because in a jam, cars do have a far larger impact. However, given the location, you're mostly talking about weekend cars. I just can't imagine a couple of tens of cars in a city really making all that much of a difference.

That's the problem with fighting autos block by block. It's kind of pointless and just generates policy that seems arbitrary. Besides, traffic is self regulating. When it gets too bad, the time cost of traffic goes up and alternate methods of transportation become more appealing.

I'm very scared of things like global climate change and peak oil. But the environment movement screwed up with "think global, act local." It turns out that acting locally does very little for these global problems. Similarly, this garage is 150 cars. You could win this battle 100 times and that would be 15k cars. Assuming that this is 15k cars that don't exist, not cars that are circling the block looking for parking, it's still just a couple of percent of the total in SF, very hard for a casual observer to even notice. From an environmental standpoint and a getting cars off the streets standpoint, we need to double or triple fuel prices, put tariffs on products from countries that don't have similar regulations, and then deal with the fact that this will disproportionately hurt the rural poor and that everything we buy will cost more.

Of course everything I just wrote is more a wish list than anything that will ever happen.

Posted by: frog at October 24, 2013 7:12 PM

Should be at least 20 stories. 10 stories is enough for now, but the building will be there for 100 yrs. the entire area is ugly so no need for matching the existing architecture and heights. Based on the nber of users and to allow for commuters to BART , build 2x as many parking spaces. This will get more cars off the street. Without the parking, the streets will be more jammed with off street parking trollers. I agree gas tax is the way to cut car usage. But not building parking will lead to major congestion.

Kudos to the developer. This is exactly what this crack heroin murder corner needs.

Posted by: Moto mayhem at October 24, 2013 7:44 PM

The whole reason Mission Street was chosen for the BART route, and that 16th and 24th streets were chosen for stations was for their development potentials. There were several brilliant plans at the time for their build-out, that were killed by the Mission "activists" who thought we invested hundreds of millions of dollars so they could continue to exist in their 40' high houses. Fast forward fifty years and a room in the Mission rents for $2000/month and the BART stations are slums personified. Build this. Now.

Posted by: Jim at October 24, 2013 7:47 PM

Welcome redevelopment here but 10 storeys is far too tall. A low-rise building is appropriate and human scale.

Posted by: jb10 at October 24, 2013 8:15 PM

Frog,

We need to do it all. The main thing here is not making muni worse and not making it worse for peds/cyclists which a parking garage at that location will do. We need to be thinking of SF like NYC when it comes to this. No one owns cars there and big apartment buildings don't have parking.

Posted by: Justin at October 24, 2013 8:45 PM

Posted by: Justin at October 24, 2013 9:04 PM

Be very careful with anything you read on the Streetsblog site. They don't like opinions contrary to their own.

And the would flat out prefer that all cars are banned forever from SF. They would prefer we live their way: only on bicycles, transit or walking.

And pay attention to some of the comments on the site: Build more new housing and YES, some people who buy these units will ALSO have or purchase a car. Fact.

@ Justin: Wait. You just said that in NYC NO ONE owns cars! Really? And big apartment buildings don't have parking? Really?

Then what do you call those little motorized things on 4 wheels that we see ALL OVER Manhattan?

Posted by: Futurist at October 24, 2013 9:23 PM

FWIW, according to the 2010 US Census:

55.7% of NYC households did not have a car
28.6% of SF households did not have a car

Posted by: Jake at October 24, 2013 10:04 PM

The existing parking lot behind the Walgreens borders on the south of the Marshall Elementary School playground.

While I like the idea of a tall development by the BART station, I wonder how it would affect the school.

Posted by: Jake at October 24, 2013 10:25 PM

@Jake

I think the school would prefer a tall building to a parking lot filled with druggies and prostitutes.

Posted by: gribble at October 24, 2013 10:43 PM

Something like this makes entirely too much sense - therefore the city will make it effectively impossible to get done.

Posted by: Brian at October 24, 2013 10:56 PM

And you don't want them to own a car. Just say it.

Um, yes, I don't want the people who live at this location to own a car. But, um, people CHOOSE whether or not they live at the location. There's nothing "regulating" their choice of where to live. You want to "regulate" the amount of parking just as much as I do, only you want more rather than less.

Drop the mandates on parking citywide and I'm happy to drop the desire for maximums on parking in the select few areas that we have it.

Posted by: anon at October 24, 2013 11:18 PM

@gribble

I've parked in that lot to shop at Walgreen's and it is not filled with druggies and prostitutes, though it gets a share as the immediate neighborhood has plenty of street crime.

Posted by: Jake at October 25, 2013 12:12 AM

I will personally put up the fence to close off access and get this project started

16/mission is a F-ING mess

I live 1.5 blocks away and that corner is always a disaster

And that parking lot is a waste of empty space

Posted by: mdg at October 25, 2013 6:31 AM

Will this be predominately market-rate? The last thing in the world this location needs is another Visitation Valley tower.

Posted by: SFMichael at October 25, 2013 8:24 AM

This seems like an excellent, and rather visionary project to me. Adding parking as a concession to the reality of modern sales might be disappointing from an idealist standpoint, but I prefer to see this as one step toward a world in which people don't actually want or need one.

No single building is going to change the entire fabric of a city, but this one certainly could catalyze a long derelict, high-value corner into an anchor of transit oriented urban development stretching northeast up the currently-industrial-zoned corner of the Mission into SoMa, and perhaps south down Mission to around 19/20th. That makes sense to me; there are comparatively few people to "displace", a concentration of transit and services, and heck, the bulk of the corridor is even far enough away not to raise the hackles of the protect-my-view crowd.

Jake's stat about non-car ownership is interesting. The number of people *with* cars in NYC almost surprises me more; is that a city-wide stat? AFAICT the reason people in SF own cars is that it's incredibly *useful* to own one. Over time, if we make it unnecessary, I suspect more people will opt for that approach. Makes me all excited to live here.

Posted by: fargo at October 25, 2013 9:08 AM

You cannot compare NYC car ownership to SF car ownership. Why, you ask? Because if you live in NYC, in most locations you are a short walk from a subway that will take you literally anywhere you want to go. In SF, you are a short walk from a bus stop that will take you at an 8mph jaunt slower than it would take to drive.

If we had several more subway lines, and more express bus routes, we could start to look at SF's car ownership and question why it needs to be there. But as it stands now, SF's transit is far behind where it needs to be.

Last thing, the transport to jobs in the Peninsula in particular is limited. I own a car, which I virtually solely use to get to work and back. (My job is not anywhere close to CalTrain, and it requires driving to various sites throughout the day). There will always be a need for cars as long as so many prime jobs are in Silicon Valley. The East Bay fares marginally better with BART.

So until both of those issues are addressed (and us SF cynics don't see that coming anytime soon), people are going to own cars, regardless of your moral views on them. It isn't right, it isn't wrong, it just is.

Posted by: JWS at October 25, 2013 9:14 AM

-- The face of the new San Francisco? --

"Then get rid of all the human trash" (Futurist)

This, from a professional architect in our city. Shame.


Posted by: Invented at October 25, 2013 9:30 AM

You realize that's a chicken or the egg debate right? You wont get more subway lines without more people who need to travel without cars... and particularly more people who

Posted by: chitrana at October 25, 2013 9:41 AM

Posted by: 1965 at October 25, 2013 9:53 AM

For reference, the project proposes "39 independently accessible spaces for retail use and 122 spaces for the residential units, of which 88 spaces will be stacker spaces."

Not including the retail spaces, that comes out to ~0.35 space per unit - an acceptable ratio for the location IMO. From a quick check on Google Maps, it looks like there are ~70-80 spaces on the site currently.

Posted by: Joel at October 25, 2013 10:18 AM

"You cannot compare NYC car ownership to SF car ownership. Why, you ask? Because if you live in NYC, in most locations you are a short walk from a subway that will take you literally anywhere you want to go"

But for this development that is very much how it is, given that it literally opens to the BART station. If there is any place where we do not want parking at all it is locations like this. For the many people in SF that choose not to own a car there can be no better location. Why make it more expensive for them to live there?

I could see a few spots for car share services, but that's it.

Posted by: lyqwyd at October 25, 2013 12:09 PM

"But for this development that is very much how it is, given that it literally opens to the BART station."

Umm, Bart only goes to downtown, easy bay or airport. Did you forget about the other directions that the great wizards of public transportation in SF have missed?

Less parking will lead to more cars vying and trolling for off-street parking and more congestion. Its shoprt sighted. Most people who own cars in SF dont use them for daily use. Filling up the streets with car storage will make things worse. off street parking is the righ step towards limiting congestion.

The car issue should be tackled with gas taxes, tolls for entering high traffic areas, high parking fees. It should not be handles by the idiots in the planning dept for housing. Why do people care if other have off street parking. Do you honestly prefer for there to be more cars slowly trolling the neighborhoods, blocking bike lanes, double parked and travelling at 1MPH to look for street parking.?

Posted by: moto mayhem at October 25, 2013 12:23 PM

You seem to have forgotten that BART also goes to the peninsula, and also connects to Caltrain and MUNI metro.

You also apparently forgot, or don't know, that there are numerous bus routes that stop at that station as well, the 33 is quite nice.

Most people that don't own cars don't use cars at all, so like I said, there's no better place for them to live than directly on a BART station.

"Less parking will lead to more cars vying and trolling for off-street parking and more congestion"

False, as shown in the link provided by Justin less parking equals less driving.

"It should not be handles by the idiots in the planning dept for housing."

Right, so eliminate parking minimums. Do that and I'll happily support getting rid of parking maximums.

"Do you honestly prefer for there to be more cars slowly trolling the neighborhoods..."

Logical Fallacy: Begging the Question.

Posted by: lyqwyd at October 25, 2013 12:58 PM

I used this station daily for a few years before temporarily leaving the bay area. To me, 10 stories seems a little high for the corner, but it's a great place for density so build it already.

Hopefully, between this project and what they have planned for the old Seals Stadium site (http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2011/11/from_the_old_seals_stadium_to_a_safeway_to_insert_plans.html), a chain reaction of redevelopment will happen along that stretch of 16th Street. As it is now, it is a very unpleasant walk, so much so that some people I know who live in the area routinely detour around it by walking down 17th or 18th St. The blank wall that is the side of the Muni garage between Harrison and Folsom doesn't help either.

Posted by: joh at October 25, 2013 1:57 PM

lyqwd. lifiting comments from a commenter on the link provided by Justin..

"People would be fine with new buildings not having parking if there was any assurance that those who moved in wouldn't have cars. But, that is not what happens. New residents move in with cars and compete for the already limited amount of street parking in the area -- reducing the quality of life for people who already live there and making the streets more congested for all. Planning/SMFTA’s theory really is that this will just force people to take MUNI or bikes, but those aren't viable options for many people (families, seniors and the disabled, for example.)And many people are willing to circle for an hour to find street parking. And there are many people who use MUNI and bikes some of the time, but need to drive at other times. Lack of parking eventually reduces quality of life enough that those people are forced out of the City -- particularly families and the working poor (who don't have the option of paying for dedicated parking).

Posted by: moto mayhem at October 25, 2013 2:28 PM

Lifting it from another thread doesn't mean that it's accurate. How about you also lift some of the rebuttals from that thread?

Posted by: anon at October 25, 2013 2:34 PM

BART is effectively useless for the Peninsula. OK, it goes to Millbrae...what jobs are there? Bus to BART to CalTrain is ridiculously inefficient. And frankly, CalTrain does not do much for Peninsula transport either, as the hordes of Facebook/Genentech/Google/Apple/whatever buses can attest to. Facebook is in Menlo Park, but nowhere near the CalTrain. While CalTrain drops you off in Palo Alto, outside of Downtown it isn't really close to most of the bigger employers. Apple campus, Google campus, Sand Hill Road venture capital? Forget it.

I really wish people would take a step back and stop villainizing car ownership in light of the difficulty of Silicon Valley commutes without it. Even if you are not elderly/disabled/have a a family (like many have pointed out), many healthy adults need cars to avoid a pointlessly inefficient commute. Even with traffic, my commute is significantly more effective by car than it would be by public transport. And that's neglecting the fact that my job requires me to drive around once I've even reached the office.

Lastly, another reason many own cars here is the bevy of outdoor options. Many people own cars to go hiking, skiing, wine country, etc.

The short of it is that biking works well if you do not have children, are healthy and fit and reasonably young, work in the city, and do not leave SF often. For many in SF, myself included, that is not remotely viable.

Once again, car ownership is not good or bad, it just is and will continue to be that way.

Posted by: JWS at October 25, 2013 3:31 PM

citing an article from a chopshop online blog also does not make it true.

I think I am right. You somehow think you are right. I havent seen any data other that says you are .

Posted by: moto mayhem at October 25, 2013 3:31 PM

Dear 2 beers,

I grew up in SF and I live in the mission. I use the 16th Street station 8 times a week at minimum. I say build it. Shit, double it and make it 20 stories.

*steps on crickets*

Posted by: Phill at October 25, 2013 3:41 PM

@moto

You have an opinion comment you copied from a thread.

I have a university research paper published in a peer reviewed journal

Posted by: lyqwyd at October 25, 2013 3:55 PM

@moto mayhem - the other link references data from the US Census. If you have data that conflicts with census numbers showing that fewer parking spots equals lower auto ownership, feel free to provide.

Posted by: anon at October 25, 2013 4:00 PM

@JWS

"CalTrain does not do much for Peninsula transport either"

Wrong, almost 70% as many people commute to the Peninsula as as they do fromfrom the Peninsula, (about 15K vs 22K)

"Facebook/Genentech/Google/Apple/whatever buses"

Good point, there's also many corporate shuttles available nearby as well. I would say the prevalence of the corporate shuttles shows the number of people than don't want to drive, rather than shows any failings with public transit. The shuttles are a great alternative for those that don't want to be stuck in traffic for an hour or more.

I don't really care if somebody chooses to own a car, that's their personal decision. I own a car and use it quite frequently. But I don't want that choice we drivers make to be subsidized by those who choose not to own a car, which is currently the case.

You don't need a car to go skiing, hiking, wine tasting, etc. You can rent a car, or take a shuttle to all of those activities. If the only reason you own a car is to do that it's far cheaper to just rent when you need it, as many already do. I'm sure that many of the more than 1/4 of SF residents that don't own cars do some or all of the activities you listed.

What I am talking about is this specific building: if there's any place in SF that's ideal to live for those who don't own a car, it's on top of a BART station, especially one like 16th Street which is also surrounded by a highly walkable neighborhood, and many other transit alternatives.

Posted by: lyqwyd at October 25, 2013 4:23 PM

@JWS - I'm certainly not "villainizing" car ownership. It makes total sense for any individual to own one if needed. I don't understand what that has to do with city policy of how many parking spots are allowed though.

If an area can accommodate more housing but would be choked with congestion with more auto traffic, why not allow the additional housing? Why restrict the amount of housing based on a need for autos?

Why not remove parking minimums and allow the market to decide how much housing is desired with or without parking? As I've stated many, many times, I'd be totally fine with removing parking maximums in the 5% of the city that have them if we simultaneously market price on-street parking (including parking permits) and remove the minimums that are required in the other 95% of the city.

Posted by: anon at October 25, 2013 4:23 PM

To use Vancouver BC as an example, in the downtown area, which is full of residential highrises, it's not uncommon to see units with two deeded spaces. It's also not uncommon for people to have a parking space and never use it. I've been in many residential parking spaces in downtown Vancouver only to see ~25% vacant at all times of the day. Of those spaces that are utilized, many are occupied by vehicles that are seldom or never driven. I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he confirmed this to be the case in his current building and his last one. I've seen ads in condo lobby bulletin boards offering rental parking spaces for as little as $100/month. This, in what is considered to be the 2nd most overpriced housing market in the world.

Just because parking spaces are included does not mean that residents will drive regularly.

I honestly don't know enough about Vancouver's public transit system to comment on how efficient it is, but bus stops and skytrain stations appear to be heavily utilized.

Posted by: joh at October 25, 2013 4:24 PM

clarification:

I said "almost 70% as many people commute to the Peninsula as as they do from the Peninsula"

that is specifically referring to Caltrain commuters.

Posted by: lyqwyd at October 25, 2013 4:25 PM

@fargo

Yes, the NYC car ownership stat I listed above is city-wide.

BTW, Manhattan has slightly (5-10%) more cars/sq mile than San Francisco, while Brooklyn has slightly less.

They may serve as examples of how to increase population density without much change in the car density.

Posted by: Jake at October 25, 2013 7:08 PM

Thanks lyqwyd for telling us (me) once again why I don't "need" ( your words) to own a car to head up to Lake Tahoe, or wine country, or down the coast, or to Palm Springs, or Yosemite..and on and on.

I own my own car because I WANT to and because I CAN. Why is that so hard for you car haters to understand that very simple concept?

You don't make a bit of sense. First you say you own a car, then in the next breath you tell us why we shouldn't. Your entire comment is full of conflicts.

When you figure it out, get back to us.

Posted by: Futurist at October 25, 2013 11:24 PM

There is a new study from MIT that says that pollution from automobiles causes 58,000 premature deaths in the United States alone:

Vehicle Emissions Deadlier Than Traffic Accidents

I remember estimating fatalities due to pollution at 40,000 a year in an earlier thread and getting challenged by some of the very participants on this thread who claim a God given right to injure and kill the other residents of this city with no restrictions whatsoever. Maybe they will believe MIT but I kind of doubt it.

Then you have to add in the other problems autocentric development causes: obesity, bad health, isolation and the accompanying mental health issues - particularly for Seniors, loss of farmland, global warming, the list just goes on and on. And most of them just aren't easily fixable.

I understand that we have an outdated infrastructure that forces some to drive, but we should be building our cities to discourage it as much as possible. For those that insist on driving, it should of course continue to be an option especially until we can build better alternatives, but we should tax and regulate automobile use heavily. In this particular case of parking under the BART station I don't care how many parking spots are built. They are below ground and don't take up any scarce public space.

@JWS I see Seniors and families, including my own, on bicycles all the time. It is true that bicyclist tend to be fit, but you might be confusing cause and effect here. I think you should reconsider your prejudices surrounding cycling. See what Copenhagen and Amsterdam have done. We can do the same thing here.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 26, 2013 9:39 AM

You know what I think would be awesome: what if we added additional parking spaces to the underground garage, installed meters on them and eliminated the on-street parking? We could paint the curb red, white, yellow or blue as appropriate and reduce congestion and double parking, which is a plague around here.

We could even widen the sidewalk at key points, like right outside the station and plant trees and put in benches. I notice the drawings include no street furniture. Is that deliberate effort to discourage the homeless or will details like that be added in later?

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 26, 2013 10:10 AM

wow, just wow

Posted by: contrarian at October 26, 2013 11:27 AM

NVJ has become the Tea Party of car haters.

Especially when he brings god (lower case because there is no god) into the mix.

It's getting insane around here.

Posted by: Futurist at October 26, 2013 12:37 PM

"NVJ has become the Tea Party of car haters."

Lol!!! You are so right, and what is really insane is NVJ has admitted that he himself owns and uses a car. (Though he will protest that he only does this rarely and it is with protest that he "has" to use a vehicle...as if the rest of us only use a vehicle by choice!)

AND for the record....my partner and I are about to purchase a TESLA (still waiting permission from condo board for electrical service to our parking spot which we expect to receive at next meeting)so our new car will produce NO smog, unlike NVJ's vehicle.

Posted by: Tesla4Me at October 26, 2013 2:40 PM

I don't understand the fascination with NVJ owning a car? He's not trying to ban cars or anything.

Posted by: anon at October 26, 2013 3:46 PM

Oh please anon. Spare us.

Read his on going diatribe:

"forces" some to drive."
"those that insist on driving."

And, of course, the ongoing, never ending comparison of us to Amsterdam and Copenhagen.

Blah, blah, blah.

Posted by: Futurist at October 26, 2013 4:16 PM

Gotcha Futurist. I've seen some threads where you don't want housing at some particular place - therefore, you want to ban all housing!

Why do you want to force all people to live on the street!?! Why?

Posted by: anon at October 26, 2013 7:14 PM

Apparently if you buy a car, you automatically join some strange cult where you lose the ability to think critically or judge the impact of your actions. This would explain a lot, actually.

In that case, it's not the family car, it is my wifes :)

Good for you buying a Tesla , now that I have a garage, an electric car is in my future as well. Every little bit helps.

Posted by: NoeValleyJim at October 26, 2013 7:35 PM

I live less than one-block from the site and I have lived in the neighborhood for going on ten years. I strongly support this project. It makes sense for the neighborhood, for the housing needs of the city and population generally, and is exactly the transit oriented development that we should strongly encourage. Woo hoo!

Posted by: chris at October 28, 2013 3:15 PM

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