Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Mirkarimi brags about M/O Plan and UC's ripoff

jzj has left a new comment on your post "John King: Octavia Blvd. is a laboratory...":

"Thank you for blogging on this important topic: good writing, good research."

Yes, it's an important topic, but you and I may be among the few people who understand that. Pull on the Octavia Boulevard string, and the city's other misguided plans for that unfortunate area tumble into view, namely, the Market/Octavia Plan and UC's ripoff of the old extension property on lower Haight Street. Interesting how many comments I get on my bike posts but no interest at all on my many posts on the awful Market/Octavia Plan and UC's impending ripoff of the property on lower Haight Street (click on "Market/Octavia" and "UC Extension" below for earlier posts). These projects are going to have a huge impact on that part of town but you'll rarely see them even mentioned in the so-called alternative media in SF.

Let's take these overlapping planning blunders in sequence: First, we have the new, unimproved Octavia Blvd. that replaced the wicked Central Freeway overpass. When the new Octavia Blvd. expressway was ready to open, city leaders got together in a September, 2005, ceremony to congratulate themselves for getting rid of the freeway overpass, which, according to CalTrans, used to bring 85,000 cars a day over the Hayes Valley neighborhood. The Central Freeway was a blight on the area, so what came afterward had to be an improvement, right? On that occasion, Supervisor Mirkarimi lavished praise on what the city had wrought with Octavia Blvd., which he saw as "a gateway to a new template" for other neighborhoods in the city.

Mixed metaphor aside, what did that mean? Six months later DPT told us: Octavia Blvd. was already carrying 45,000 cars a day to and from the freeway through the heart of Hayes Valley.

We can stipulate that once we got rid of the Central Freeway overpass, there was the inevitable problem of what to do with the freeway traffic that used to pass over the neighborhood. Let's also stipulate that perhaps the present Octavia Blvd. wasn't such a great triumph of city planning but the inevitable result of the voters' decision to tear down the freeway.

What was/is astonishing is that the city then proceeded to compound that problematic result by pushing both the Market/Octavia Plan (6,000 new housing units, 10,000 more residents in the area) and supporting UC's massive housing development nearby on lower Haight Street (450 new housing units on six acres, another 1,000 people). Why not leave that part of town alone for a few years to absorb all that traffic? That's a question that's never been answered. It all has something to do with the fallacious "transit corridors" theory that underlies city planning---that we can put a large amount of new housing in our neighborhoods as long as there's a major Muni line nearby.

Supervisor Mirkarimi brags disingenuously about both the M/O Plan and UC's proposal in his campaign literature. On his doorhanger he calls the Market/Octavia Plan "the city's largest mixed-use affordable housing development in 20 years" without mentioning that it rezones thousands of properties to loosen standards for developers on setbacks, backyard space, height limits, parking requirements, and density limits. Nor does he mention the Plan's four 40-story highrises in the Market and Van Ness area.

Mirkarimi boasts about ratifying UC's lies and greed without mentioning UC itself: "Shepherded the passage of the 55 Laguna project (dedicated LGBT senior housing)..." The LGBT housing is only 80 housing units of the 450 planned at the site. Nor does he mention the fact that the old extension site is now a state and national landmark that will be degraded by the project, with some of the buildings being hollowed out for housing units.

Labels: , , ,