Friday, June 16, 2017

Jason Henderson and anti-carism

Market & Octavia Plan

The hed on this Chronicle story trivializes important issues: Parking-space spat may halt $400 million tower. Since both parking and housing are important issues in San Francisco, calling the parking allowed for new housing units a mere "spat" is way off.

Whoever wrote the hed took the lead from the story: "But as is often the case in San Francisco land-use fights, disputes over the biggest projects often come down to disagreements over seemingly small details."

Since building new housing and traffic congestion in the city are now more important than ever, calling it a "small detail" trivializes the issues.

Not surprising that anti-car bike guy Jason "Zero Parking" Henderson tried to get even fewer parking spaces for a project with an already low ratio:

In the case of the One Oak Street tower, which goes before the Planning Commission on Thursday for approvals, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association is pushing the developer to trim the number of parking spaces by 60 spots, from 136 to 76. This would represent a reduction from .45 to .25 parking spaces per unit, or from nearly 1 for every 2 to 1 for 4.

Henderson:

Neighborhood association member Jason Henderson says that the disagreement is about more than 60 spaces. It’s about precedent and following planning rules. He argues that the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan, adopted in 2007, specifically calls for a 1-for-4 parking-space ratio for the four corners of Market and Van Ness. The idea is that the area is as well-served by public transit as any in the city. To exceed that requires a conditional use authorization, which the developer, Build Inc., is seeking from the Planning Commission...

The developer had a different view:

The developer says the 136 spaces it is proposing is as low as it can go and still obtain financing for the project. Furthermore, it argues that the .45 parking ratio is precedent-setting: No San Francisco high-rise condo tower — defined as being taller than 25 stories — has had such a low parking ratio. “This will be the single lowest parked high-rise residential condo tower ever approved or built in San Francisco — period,” said Build Inc. partner Michael Yarne. “Nothing comes close.”

The average high-rise condo project in San Francisco has had a parking ratio of 1.04 per unit, according to Alan Mark of the Mark Co., which markets condominiums. Two downtown projects that are under construction — 706 Mission St. and 181 Fremont St. — have ratios of 1.37 and 1.25, respectively, and the recently completed Lumina at Rincon Hill came in at 1.07. The tower with the lowest ratio, Millennium Tower at 301 Mission St., has .85 spots per units.

But the story tells us that Yarne is himself a Henderson-style anti-car guy:

That parking has become the most contentious issue facing One Oak Street is somewhat ironic considering that Yarne, who is heading up the project, is something of an anti-car crusader — he has never owned a vehicle. Yarne said that he expects — and hopes — that the 136 parking spaces won’t generate a lot of traffic because residents will get around mostly by foot, bike and public transportation.

Henderson couldn't have said it better himself. Serves Yarne right. Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. It will be interesting to see how easy it will be for Yarne to sell those luxury condos without parking ("Honey, I'm taking the bike to Union Square for lunch and some shopping!").

Of course Streetsblog coordinated with Henderson by posting a story on the Planning Commission hearing on the project:

“It should be zero parking,” said Jason Henderson, Professor in Geography & Environment at SF State, author of "Street Fight: The Politics of Mobility in San Francisco," co-author of "Low Car(Bon) Communities: Inspiring Car-Free and Car-Lite Urban Futures," and occasional Streetsblog contributor (link added).

Henderson is what passes for an intellectual in anti-car circles: See my posts on "Street Fight" here, here, here, and here.

Not surprising that the Planning Commission rejected Henderson's call to reduce parking even more for that project. 

Streetsblog is bitter: Parking Wins Again at One Oak.

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