Tuesday, May 31, 2011

C.W. Nevius and Parkmerced

As I've pointed out before, it's strange that C.W. Nevius has such a healthy skepticism about quality-of-life issues in San Francisco---he routinely annoys city progs with excellent columns on homelessness and graffiti---but still buys the party line on planning and "transit-friendly," dense development:

Parkmerced development: Contentious and noisy, the debate over the $1.2 billion development threatened to obscure the fact that this is a good idea. It brings modern, ecologically sound housing to the site in a transit-friendly environment. After the supervisors voted 6-5 to approve the project, there was talk that the swing vote, board President David Chiu, had torpedoed his chances to be mayor. I'm not seeing that. He said he thought the project was good for the city. I agree.

True, Chiu's support for the Parkmerced project is unlikely to hurt him politically, since none of the many candidates for mayor has yet to challenge the city's misguided development and traffic policies. But is it too much to ask a reporter to do some actual reporting on this important project? He should start by looking at the 19th Avenue Corridor Study, commissioned by the Board of Supervisors, particularly at pages III.64 through III.68. The report tells us that, even with the transportation "improvements" in the Parkmerced project, traffic in the area, which is already bad, is going to be significantly worse:

As indicated in Table III.15 and Table III.16, overall conditions throughout the study area would substantially worsen as a result of the addition of background growth and the foreseeable development projects...Intersections along major arterials such as 19th Avenue, Sunset Boulevard, and Lake Merced Boulevard would generally operate under unacceptable conditions (LOS E or LOS F), resulting in substantial delays to traffic flows (page III.64).

The 19th Avenue Study tells us that the Parkmerced project will add 5,679 new housing units, which will be a total of 8,900 housing units on the site. Parkmerced and other projects in the area will add 7,375 housing units and 16,850 new residents to the 19th Avenue corridor area over the next 20 years.

The city seems to think that it can simply invoke the concepts of  "transit corridors" and "transit-oriented development" and traffic issues will somehow go away. Wrong! The people of San Francisco are beginning to understand how irresponsible City Hall has been on the pension issue. Sooner or later they will understand how irresponsible it has also been in ignoring traffic issues from massive development projects like Parkmerced, the Market and Octavia Plan, and Treasure Island.

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At 10:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"he routinely annoys city progs with excellent columns on homelessness and graffiti"

This implies than anyone gives a shit what Nevius writes. That implication is incorrect.

At 10:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anything that makes life more miserable for the Marin people commuting through SF to the Peninsula on 19th is good.

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yes, but they have to pass through neighborhoods along 19th Avenue---which is a state highway---that already have serious traffic problems. The Parkmerced project is very bad news for that part of town.

At 12:57 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Of course bike guy Rob Bregoff supports the Parkmerced atrocity. He also supports allowing UC to trash the old Extension property on lower Haight Street---a state and federal landmark---for a massive housing development on 5.8 acres of property that was zoned for "public use" for more than 150 years.

Click on "Rob Bregoff" at the bottom of the post above for more on this pro-development zealot.

At 5:51 PM, Anonymous Hussar the Diamond said...

Bob - you are such a quacky duck!

Have you ever been to Park Merced? It's horrible, it's like cabrini green in the fog. This is a great development in one of the worst parts of town. Making it "transit friendly" is exactly what they should do. It's totally insane of you to oppose this project given you claim to understand SF.

YOu are correct about the corrupt unions/pension situation, but very much wrong about transit friendly design. Give me a break.

At 7:04 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I'm familiar with the area, because I went to SF State for several years 10 years ago.

Please try to focus on what I actually wrote. It's not about whether Parkmerced is now an attracive housing development. It's about adding thousands of housing units in an already densely-populated part of town. It's about the traffic. The 19th Avenue Report I cite and link tells us that, even with transit improvements, traffic is going to get significantly worse with this project.

"Transit-oriented" and "Transit-Friendly," or whatever they call it, is just false. It's nothing but hot-air bullshit. The city now thinks it can allow almost unlimited amounts of housing along our major traffic corridors, which is a dumb and dangerous approach to traffic in SF.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

A link to Rob Bregoff's letter to Beyond Chron on Parkmerced.


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