Saturday, February 20, 2010

Aaron Peskin: "We're not scared of building highrises"


Three years ago then-Supervisor Peskin bragged about the highrises he helped push through the process, like on Rincon Hill: "We're not scared of building highrises. Density is a good thing...But let's be smart about it." The problem he has with the proposed highrise at 555 Washington Street, next to the Transamerica Building, is that it's too close to his lowrise North Beach, which makes it not "smart."

And the Bay Guardian has officially dubbed the Transamerica highrise proposal an important issue for city progressives: "This is one of the major development battles of the year, and will demonstrate whether the Planning Commission and Recreation and Park Commission have the independence and integrity to reject a project the mayor and the Chamber of Commerce support."

But the Guardian was MIA when the Rincon Hill highrises were guided through the process by Peskin and Chris Daly, with the approval of Mirkarimi and other progressive supervisors. The Guardian then came in late and lame on Rincon Hill, arguing that five highrises on Rincon Hill was too many, that the city should only allow three!

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Divisadero "improvements"

Jim Herd asks a good question about one of the recent "improvements" to Divisadero Street:

And what planning genius decided that widening the sidewalk at Divis and Haight, effectively removing the cutout for[Muni]; now it totally blocks one lane and increases the bottleneck of traffic---not that MUNI drivers ever really use bus stops, but at least the frigging UPS truck had a place to park!

The city did the same thing at the Hayes/Divisadero and the McAllister/Divisadero intersections, and it's not clear why. As Herd points out, it creates an immediate bottleneck for anyone driving behind the #24 bus, making it more difficult and dangerous to switch lanes, often leaving vehicles the intersection behind a bus as the light changes.

It was sensible, however, to eliminate the bus stops at Fulton and Divisadero, since there's another bus stop a block away at McAllister and Divisadero. Eliminating those stops allows the #24 to make a faster run between McAllister and Haight Street.

I have to admit that overall the Divisadero upgrade looks pretty good, but, judging from all the potential tree-planting sites the city has prepared, there's a danger of over-landscaping the street, leaving it looking more like a reforestation project than a busy city street.

But Herd's reference to the "itty bitty underground parking garage" on the Concourse in Golden Gate Park is odd, since that garage has 800 parking spaces.

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