Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The EIR on the Geary Blvd. BRT


This post is probably the first of many on the Geary BRT project now that the SFCTA has released the EIR. The proposals vary somewhat, and alternative #1 is "no project," which of course is a non-starter, since City Hall can't resist meddling with all sorts of trendy "improvements" to our streets. Just as important, the Geary BRT project for years will be a major source of jobs for the city's growing bureaucracy.

Even though congestion on city streets is growing as gentrification accelerates---people with money tend to own and/or use cars---under City Hall's delusional "transit corridors" theory, this huge project will make it increasingly difficult to drive and park in the city:

Between 34th Avenue and Market Street, proposed streetscape modifications included as part of Alternative 2 would require conversion of on-street parking spaces to other non-parking uses. Of an existing approximately 1,700 on-street parking spaces between 34th Avenue and Gough Street, Alternative 2 would result in the removal of about 460 on-street parking spaces (page 2-25, emphasis added).

The remarkably stupid idea of eliminating the underpass at Geary and Fillmore will apparently be done. Even though the idea is supposedly only a proposed "alternative," the city will choose the alternative that takes away the most parking spaces like it's going to do on Masonic Avenue:

Fillmore Street: Alternative 3 would replace the existing Geary underpass with a surface street, with bus lanes located in the center of the new surface street...(page 2-26).

Speaking of the Masonic Avenue bike project, the Geary BRT project will extend the protected bike lanes---already removing 167 parking spaces on Masonic---to Presidio Avenue, presumably removing all the street parking along the way:

Bicycle lane between Masonic Avenue and Presidio Avenue: The build alternatives include construction of a new Class II bicycle lane on Geary Boulevard between Masonic Avenue and Presidio Avenue. This new lane would continue the bicycle lane/cycle track that is proposed to be constructed as part of SFMTA‟s (separate and independent) Masonic Avenue Streetscape Improvements Project. That project proposes a cycle track/bicycle lane on each side of Masonic Avenue between Geary Boulevard and Fell Street. The new bicycle lane on Geary, made possible by the BRT project‟s re-design of Geary at that location, would help close a gap in the bicycle network across Geary Boulevard connecting two key bicycle routes. The bicycle lane would be colorized green to increase its visibility (page 2-22).

The people in the avenues would be right to suspect that this project isn't just about transportation. The Big Thinkers in City Hall are eyeing that part of town for a lot more development.

Later: See also Residents alarmed by program encouraging density in residential developments

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Supervisor Breed and development on Diviz


944 Central Ave
San Francisco, CA 94115

October 26, 2015

Hon. London Breed
President, Board of Supervisors
City Hall
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, Room 244
San Francisco, CA 94102-4689

Dear President Breed:

We are writing to request that you sponsor legislation to rescind your recent Ordinance No. 127-15 that rezoned Divisadero for greater density. We ask that you do this as soon as possible so that developers will not be able to argue that they obtained development rights at the higher density allowed under the recent ordinance.

The density increase you sponsored will have a major impact on our neighborhood. Already, the plans for 650 Divisadero (the Alouis Radiator site) went from 16 to 60 units in response to your rezoning of the neighborhood. This is just one of the planned developments for Divisadero.

This significant density increase was decided without real community input. Such changes should be community driven. Most neighbors were not even aware of the proposed changes and their potential impact. Rescinding the Ordinance will allow an opportunity for community input about the future of our neighborhood. In light of the citywide Density Bonus (Affordable Housing Bonus) program being proposed, if we are providing developers with any increases in density, our hope is that we at least get increased affordable housing requirements in return, as the program proposes.

We are in the process of developing a community plan that will give guidance to the Planning Department, the Planning Commission, and Board of Supervisors regarding the views of neighborhood residents. 

Affordable Divis held two community meetings in September and October attended by over 100 neighborhood residents, including leaders of five neighborhood organizations, as well as representatives from your office. The overwhelming majority of residents who attended these meetings objected to the rezoning and expressed concern about the lack of community input. At those meetings, the group requested that your staff find out whether you are willing to rescind the rezoning. We are following up with this letter.

Please reply within one week as to whether you will sponsor legislation to rescind Ordinance No. 127-15.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Gus Hernandez, President, Alamo Square Neighborhood Association*
Quintin Mecke, Board Member, Alamo Square Neighborhood Association*
Calvin Welch, Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Association*
Tes Welborn, D5 Action*
Lisa Awbrey
Maya Chukov
Charles Dupigny
Richard Kay
Kim Nguyen
Dean Preston

* Organizations listed for identification purposes only.

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The rising level of evil



Two stories you should read in tandem.

First, it’s now very clear that Exxon has been spending millions of dollars to prevent public action against a slow-motion catastrophe it itself was well aware was on its way. The company’s own research pointed to global warming as a serious problem almost 40 years ago — but it has gone all out to confuse the issue, basically trying to get itself another few decades of profits at humanity’s expense. The cynicism is remarkable.

Meanwhile, David Roberts has a piece pointing out the McCarthyite tactics the House science committee has been using to persecute and intimidate scientists, especially but not only those working on climate.

If we fail to grapple with climate change in time to avoid catastrophe — which seems ever more likely — it won’t be because we didn’t have the knowledge to realize the problem, or the tools to fix it. It will because of cynicism and greed that, given the stakes, rise to the level of evil.

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