Thursday, April 28, 2005

Residential highrises: A letter to BeyondChron

I sent the letter below to Beyond Chron the other day, but they didn't publish it. In what way is that "beyond"---or better than---the SF Chronicle? I can only assume that the letter's contents somehow didn't pass Beyond Chron's "progressive" litmus test, even though I am agreeing with them about their two pieces critical of residential highrises in S.F.


I completely agree with you and Ken Werner about the alarming return of highrise development in San Francisco---only this time it's residential highrises that Planning is pushing, not office buildings. What's particularly worrisome about the new highrise movement is the powerful political coalition behind it---delusional progressives who think producing condos for the rich will lower housing prices in the city, developers, the bike zealots, and the Planning Department.

The preposterous lack of parking spaces designed for these developments is because the bike fanatics are powerful in the Planning Dept. "Let them ride bikes" should be Planning's motto. But the rich people who buy these units are not going to ride bikes---or Muni---to do their shopping at Union Square or go out to dinner at pricey city restaurants.

See also the draft of The Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan (pages 34-36), which calls for residential highrises in the South Van Ness/Market St. area.

And you should bring your terminology up to date: It's no longer called "Manhattanization" but "Vancouverization" as per John King's boosterish articles praising that city's highrises in the Chronicle. John King loves residential towers, especially if they are "slender." King should talk his fixation over with his therapist instead of inflicting it on the city.

Rob Anderson

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