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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