Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Another hate crime by D5 Diary

The Treasure Island project

Steve Jones's bland, pseudo-objective piece on Treasure Island on the Bay Guardian's blog was so annoying I had to comment:

This is insanity. Up to 19,000 new residents on Treasure Island, even though the Bay Bridge is now gridlocked for much of the day? This is what San Francisco progressives call "smart growth." Funny that Tilly Chang is quoted. She's spent most of her career pushing the Congestion Pricing idea. This kind of development and the resulting traffic will provide her with the opportunity to finally implement it, though it's unpopular with city residents. It will be a two-fer for City Hall and the Bicycle Coalition by punishing motorists and raise a lot of money to pay for a growing city bureaucracy.

That got a rise out of Jones:

Progressives didn't hatch this plan or any of the other rapid growth scenarios, and the Bike Coalition has nothing to do with Treasure Island. Honestly, Rob, your hatred of progressives has clouded your perspective. These restrictions on cars were forced by Caltrans as the price for allowing intensive development on Treasure Island.

This is so muddled/"clouded" hard to know where to start. I don't hate progressives---or anyone, for that matter, let alone a political tendency. I do think that San Francisco progressives---as exemplified by the Bay Guardian---have been consistently wrong on important city issues over the last ten years, failures I've documented on this blog since 2004 (Click on "The SF Bay Guardian" label below for samples).

Caltrans? They never owned Treasure Island. The Navy did, and they sold it to San Francisco. But Caltrans did give a grant to the city and the Bicycle Coalition to do the project's Transportation Plan.

The reality is that city progs and the Bay Guardian screwed up the housing issue after botching the homeless issue ten years ago. The latter fiasco led to Gavin Newsom becoming mayor.

The present housing crisis has been developing for years, long before the advent of the tech industry. From one of my first posts back in December, 2004:

"We Need Housing" is now the SF mantra that trumps all neighborhood concerns, even in so-called progressive circles. For some time, the city's Planning Dept. has been laying the groundwork for a system that encourages developers to build large housing projects in every neighborhood within hailing distance of a city transit corridor, because---all together now---"We Need Housing."

The We Need Housing movement quickly morphed into the trendy "smart growth" idea embraced by the Planning Department (See also this, this, and this). Not surprisingly developers loved this approach to land use. It provided a "progressive" rationale for a lot of housing development, while allowing developers to not provide parking spaces for new housing units, which makes projects more profitable. That's why the Bicycle Coalition supported the Market/Octavia Plan that will, along with all the buildings now under construction in that part of town, put 40-story residential highrises at Market and Van Ness.

The Bay Guardian offered only a lame dissent on Chris Daly's Rincon Hill deal for highrise condos on Rincon Hill and didn't even mention the Market/Octavia Plan until 2007 (see also this).

Even Tim Redmond, Jones's predecessor as editor, got Treasure Island right with a forthright piece several years ago that's much better than Jones's wishy-washy column.

Just when the city needed some serious reporting on housing in San Francisco, the Bay Guardian became all about the great bicycle revolution that was not transforming transportation in the city---or anywhere else.

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