Monday, August 04, 2014

Taking down I-280 to replicate Octavia Blvd!

Another "improvement" like Octavia Blvd.

It's like a bad joke, a parody of government obtuseness and incompetence. Got this message from the city's Planning Department, which evidently thinks Octavia Boulevard is such a great success that it will be doing studies to "replace the elevated portion of I-280 north of Mariposa or 16th Street with a surface boulevard, similar to the Embarcadero or Octavia Boulevard, including improved circulation and connections throughout the area." (A map of the targeted area.)

"Hi, I'm from the Planning Department, and I've come to improve traffic circulation throughout this area just like we did in Hayes Valley with Octavia Boulevard." Octavia is now a street that carries 63,000 vehicles a day to and from the freeway through the heart of that neighborhood, creating an area-wide traffic jam for most of the day (see pages 9 and 10 of the 2012 Central Freeway and Octavia Circulation Study for the horrific traffic numbers for that area).

And the worst is yet to come for that part of the city, with the UC development on lower Haight Street (440 housing units on six acres, 1,000 new residents a block off Octavia), and the Market/Octavia Plan (4,440 housing units, 10,000 new residents), including a number of residential highrises at Market and Van Ness.

And this:

SGC[Strategic Growth Council] has awarded $490,000 through their Sustainable Communities Planning Grant Program, which funds climate action plans, infill development plans, sustainable community strategies, and other planning efforts, all specifically aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with state climate goals. Also awarded through this program were Urban Greening Grants, which establish or enhance community green areas such as urban forests, open spaces, wetlands, and community gardens.

All the trendy bullshit jammed into one paragraph: sustainable, climate action, community, greenhouse gas emissions, greening, urban forests, community gardens, etc., providing planners with a verbal apotheosis. Making that part of the city a better place, just like Octavia Boulevard!

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Hoodline gets out of the way on Octavia Blvd., UC development

After botching the Masonic Avenue issue, Hoodline has adopted a better approach on two other controversial issues in this part of town: Octavia Boulevard and the UC project on lower Haight Street. Instead of boosting these two planning fiascos, Hoodline lays out the subjects more or less objectively.

But interpretation and historical perspective are required to understand how and why these projects happened. See this and this and this for some perspective on Octavia Boulevard. Click on "Octavia Blvd." below for more.

See this on the UC project and click on "UC Extension" below for more.

It's important to understand that these two planning failures are only a block apart. Octavia Blvd. now brings 63,000 cars through the middle of Hayes Valley every day, and the UC development will bring another 1,000 residents a block off Octavia. Not to mention the Market/Octavia Plan that brings in another 10,000 residents to that unfortunate part of town. Think traffic is bad there now? Wait until these projects kick in.

Our Planning Dept. thinks this is "smart growth."

Note that the Hoodline post on the UC project includes a picture provided "by reader Jason H." Could this be Jason Henderson, Streetfighter and author four years ago of a sanitized version of the history of the UC project?

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