February 25, 2014

Designs For Mission District Development At 15th And Shotwell

1450 15th Street

As we first reported early last year with respect to plans for development at the intersection of 15th Street and Shotwell in the Mission:

Permits to demolish the one-story warehouse on the northwest corner of 15th and Shotwell and construct a four story building with ten apartments on the site were disapproved in 2010, at which point the development plans for the parcel were cancelled.
Purchased for $1,450,000 [in October of 2012], a new plan has been quietly pitched to Planning with a proposal to demolish the building at 1450 15th Street and construct a 5-story, 50-foot tall building with 23 dwelling units and parking for 17 cars and 12 bikes.

Designs for the proposed development have since been drawn (click to enlarge), the project's environmental review is underway, and building permits have been requested.

Assuming the plans and permits are approved, the development at 1450 15th Street could break ground as soon as this spring.

First Published: February 25, 2014 11:30 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Dear planning commission -

please approve this

so tired of the needle infested, piss ranking glass strewn corner this place it now.....

thank you

Posted by: mdg at February 25, 2014 12:16 PM

This needs to happen, like, yesterday.

Posted by: Emo at February 25, 2014 12:20 PM

2 comments

should be at least 8 floors.
needs more parking

otherwise build it fast.

gentrify that terrible corner

Posted by: the wolf at February 25, 2014 2:47 PM

Emo, it's a 5-minute walk to BART, why does it need more parking?

Posted by: David at February 25, 2014 3:20 PM

Dear planning commission, please ask the developers to be more creative with these designs. This is the same design that every developer is putting up! Looks exactly like 300 Ivy.

Posted by: Grace at February 25, 2014 3:26 PM

It needs more parking because not EVERYONE will take public transit, can take public transit and wants to take public transit.

Fewer parking spaces means more cars circulating on the street looking for a space.

Posted by: Futurist at February 25, 2014 3:42 PM

If I actually thought EVERYONE would take public transit, I would suggest zero parking spots. People also bike. There are plenty of people living without a car in this city, particularly near the Valencia corridor.

Posted by: David at February 25, 2014 4:20 PM

@David, the wolf said it needs more parking. I actually support dense buildings in the City that do not offer parking. I own my condo and I don't have, or need a parking space. There's plenty of people like me.

Posted by: Emo at February 25, 2014 5:42 PM

"Emo, it's a 5-minute walk to BART, why does it need more parking?"

Not everyone works near a Bart station or within cycling distance

Other people just want cars for errands and weekend trips

Posted by: Jill at February 25, 2014 6:30 PM

I've lived on this intersection for 5 years without a car. Of anywhere in the city, this is probably one of *the* best areas for a car-less lifestyle. 5 min to bart, bike paths everywhere, no hills, Zipcar lots 2 blocks away in every direction, FoodsCo & Rainbow Grocery literally right there. Even Best Buy is only 2 blocks away, so you don't even need a car to buy a TV!

I think the 17 parking spots are seriously plenty for this location.

Posted by: XBroccoli at February 25, 2014 6:44 PM

Extrapolating the choices of current baby boomers to what future residents of S.F. will be like will more often than not lead one astray. Millennials who aren't wealthy have already adjusted to getting around without a car.

From bloomberg earlier this week:

Already in the U.S., where automotive ownership has long seemed a birthright, almost one in 10 households don’t have a car, up 5.7 percent over the last five years.

More young people also aren’t pursuing drivers’ licenses, once a rite of passage. In 2010, 69.5 percent of 19-year-olds in the U.S. had a driver’s license, down from 87.3 percent in 1983, said Michael Sivak, director of sustainable worldwide transportation at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in Ann Arbor…Meanwhile, America’s century-long love affair with the car is cooling…In New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Baltimore, more than 30 percent of households were carless, according to U.S. Census data. In 21 of America’s 30 largest cities, carless households grew from 2007 to 2012, Sivak found.

Tanya Loh, 35, went carless and hasn’t looked back. Loh, who works at an e-commerce startup in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood, ditched her 2006 Volkswagen Jetta TDI diesel a year ago after she realized the city had more convenient transportation options.

“I’m not anti-car,” said Loh, who grew up in the suburbs of car-crazy Los Angeles and learned to drive a manual transmission at 16. “It was about efficiency and about optimizing the time that I have.”

Loh’s “wheels” now: a Dutch bicycle and a used Vespa motor scooter. She has a pass for the San Francisco transit system. She also uses smartphone applications from Uber, Lyft and Flywheel Software Inc. to summon private cars for hire and taxis, as well as the City CarShare service. Loh says she has cut her monthly transportation costs in half. She also gains efficiency by working on the bus, she said, without having to worry about her safety or parking.
Emphasis added, obviously.

The takeaway is that what Futurist is leaving out when he says "fewer parking spaces means more cars circulating on the street", what he just can't envision, is that fewer parking spaces will be required in the future because in the, like, FUTURE, there will be fewer cars circulating on the street because there will be fewer cars owned by San Franciscans.

Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 25, 2014 7:37 PM

F*ck the parking lots. Dont build that. Bart is right down the street.

The building design sucks. Design it better. This is not the fucking suburbs. Make that sh!t look nice.

Posted by: Theresa at February 25, 2014 8:09 PM

I'm not so sure about that Brahma, but certainly willing to listen and discuss.

I think you leave out a critical point: Someday those millenials (mostly single) will one day become parents (gay or straight) and will have sufficient incomes to WANT and be able to live in SF and buy a home. That trendy little Dutch bicycle will not work for many young families with kids. And public transit will not sit well with well-to-do people who can afford a car.

Those millennial/hipster folks will not remain that way forever. Their needs will change and so will there desire to add transit options, and that includes owning a car.

Yes, we may have fewer cars, but we will not eliminate cars, nor the need for off and on street parking.

Posted by: Futurist at February 25, 2014 9:17 PM

I should also add:

Worrying about her "safety" on the bus does not necessarily prove true, when having to hop on Muni at 11:30 pm to get home from a long day at work.

And...urban bicycling is not always safe, either. Cyclists must maneuver thru and around cars, trucks and public transit vehicles. Let's talk about that young mom hauling around her 2yo on her Dutch bike then. Most will opt for a car, which they can afford.

Typo: should be their not there.

Posted by: Futurist at February 25, 2014 9:23 PM

Futurist: Like mentioned above, this location has several Zipcar lots within incredibly short distance, and I wouldn't be surprised if they even added a Zipcar or two inside the building. (The condo complex on 14th & Valencia has its own Zipcars)

Although a car is unavoidable at times, millennials in general don't want the hassle of owning one. That's the whole appeal of living in a neighborhood like the Mission. By instead using a car sharing service once or twice a week for the occasional Target-run and out-of-town trip, you'd can forego car ownership and save hundreds of dollars a month on payments, insurance, maintenance and parking tickets.

Car-ownership is on a steady decline. It's never going to go away completely, but the sharing economy is here to stay.

Posted by: Christine at February 25, 2014 10:14 PM

Hold On! Self-driving cars are likely to lead to large increases in driving! Thanks Google! "Transit commuters seem to tolerate trips that require nearly twice as much time as auto commuters, possibly because they don’t have to drive and so can read or do something else during the trip. If auto users don’t have to drive themselves, they may suddenly be willing to travel twice as far to work. This will lead to more dispersion as well as more miles of driving."
Say goodbye to all the Google and Facebook busses everywhere. I am not happy about this, but who can stop the future?

Car ownership in San Francisco is UP! Car ownership in the Bay Area is up. Car ownership in North American cities is up. (Even in Portland which has tried much harder than we have to reduce car usage). The so-called "decline" in car ownership is not shown statistically, and I am not certain it is a "green" choice by some, but economic instead.

"Declines in driving exactly mirror job losses",
" people aren’t substituting transit, walking, or cycling for driving. Growth in these modes accounts for only about 2 percent of the decline in driving. "

Now for those under 35 as a percentage of population car ownership has decreased slightly from the past, BUT, this has been shown in numerous studies to be because of ECONOMIC reasons, especially for a generation hard hit by declining wage growth, despite the tech jobs here.
" young people drive less because of the weak economy, not because they prefer to walk and take transit".

http://www.uctc.net/research/papers/UCTC-FR-2012-14.pdf

http://ti.org/antiplanner/?p=7971

Posted by: TimeForFacts at February 26, 2014 1:22 AM

Millennials for the most part are renters. Car ownership among renters is lower.

I'm pretty sure these units are for sale.

Posted by: Jill at February 26, 2014 7:06 AM

For the last several years I have been a homeowner and have a parent of a small but growing child, and we both did not have a car and got out of town a least once a month (car share or car rental - easy peazy). The notion that having a child and being a middle class homeowner equates to needing a car in SF -- almost anywhere in SF -- is complete bunk and is perpetuated by individuals who can't see broader trends or realities beyond their own experience. We are about to have our second child, and we just bought a car, as that was the tipping point for us. All this demonstrates is that the notion that any form of homeownership and parenthood leads to car ownership is nonsense. I know plenty of people who are either or both homeowners and parents who don't have cars.

Now let's talk about unit types and the correlation to household size/demographics. We bought a 2-bd place that we were intending on staying in for a very long time and raising a family. Over half of the units built in new projects, esp in the Mission and SoMa are 1-bd or smaller, and some are even micro-units. The people buying these units are NOT intending to stay there and raise families with multiple kids. I can guarantee you that. I would bet the deed to my car on it.

The people buying or renting all those 1-bds and studios are essentially exclusively singles, childless couples, and occasionally empty nesters. It's a demonstrated fact. If they are intending to expand beyond at most a couple, all evidence points to people looking for units that are 2-bd and larger. So the idea that they might "someday" have one or more kids is not relevant, because the overwhelming vast majority of them are not going to stay in that tiny unit if that's the case. That's why the City's zoning accommodates more parking for larger units (2-bd+) and less parking for small units (1bd and smaller).

Posted by: hmmm at February 26, 2014 8:54 AM

Not everyone who lives in SF works in SF . Many peninsula workers live in the mission, Potrero and noe

Posted by: Jill at February 26, 2014 9:02 AM

No parking spots works very well for single people under 30 who work downtown or near their own neighborhood. What % of buyers is that? My guess is less than 10% of homebuyers in SF. Even many of those want a car. Cars not going away in SF. Lack of off street parking will increase street congestion, increase trolling accidents and slow bus and car traffic commutes. Bad for economy.

Posted by: Jill at February 26, 2014 9:08 AM

It is pretty straightforward. Build less parking in neighborhoods that are walkable and have good transit. Build more parking where transit is poor and daily conveniences are a long walk away. People will self-sort into the residence that fits their lifestyle. Everyone can be happy. Developers are not stupid and planners actually have a plan. These units will quickly fill up.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 26, 2014 9:30 AM

"planners actually have a plan."

Ha! that's a good one!

Posted by: the wolf at February 26, 2014 9:55 AM

Its pretty simple. If you want a car you don't buy a condo without a parking spot. For 60 years or more every housing unit in SF was required to have at least 1 parking space. There are tens of thousands of units with parking spaces.

If you don't want a car, you buy a condo without a parking space and save a lot of money.

Posted by: Jim at February 26, 2014 10:50 AM

You all keep talking about how not everyone bikes, or takes transit, or works in SF, but this means that surely some people do, and won't mind living in a place without a parking spot.

Posted by: David at February 26, 2014 7:07 PM

I agree with Jim and David: These are expensive units (all new ownership housing is). If you absolutely need a garage for YOUR PRECIOUS, you won't buy one of these units. If automobility is absolutely a major goal, you can buy a house in Marin or the East Bay. Why MANDATE parking?

Posted by: Brian M at February 27, 2014 2:26 PM

99.9% of this country is built to cater to people with cars. Now, when someone says "hmm... there might be some people who don't want cars; maybe we should cater to them..."

The response is "No-- there will ALWAYS be some people who want cars, therefore ALL new construction must cater to them. Not just 99.9%. All of them."

Posted by: Alai at February 27, 2014 5:22 PM

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