Friday, May 29, 2015

The Treasure Island planning fiasco moves ahead

Find the traffic choke point for Treasure Island

In this morning's Chronicle:

A pair of islands: San Francisco on Friday will take control of nearly 300 acres of Treasure Island and Yerba Buena islands from the U.S. Navy.

The transfer paves the way for large swaths of the islands to be redeveloped. Some 8,000 homes are planned for construction there, with 25 percent of them earmarked as affordable housing.

As payment for the land, the city and the Treasure Island Development Authority will pay the U.S. Navy $55 million over the next 10 years. The Navy could receive additional money based on how much revenue the development projects generate.

In a statement, Mayor Ed Lee hailed the transfer as a milestone. "It's taken almost two decades to get to this point, and we're eager to transform this former naval base into a vibrant community with more housing, jobs and economic opportunities for our residents," he said.

Jack Bog on vibrant: "Whenever you read 'vibrant,' you know the writer is either a smug urban planning overlord or a reporter who doesn't know that he or she is being taken in by one." Or a politician on automatic doling out empty verbiage.

"Gridlock" is the best word to describe what this project will bring to the Bay Bridge and downtown San Francisco: 8,000 new housing units and 500 hotel rooms. Around 2,000 people live there now; this project will bring the population of the island up to 19,000.

From the Chronicle last year:

Transportation planners also expect to employ less-conventional methods to prevent the island from being mired in gridlock. To persuade residents, commuters and visitors to ride transit, residents will have to buy transit passes---and drivers will be charged tolls not only to use the Bay Bridge, but also to enter or leave the island.

Residents will pay a toll to get off the island: Congestion Pricing with a vengeance!

Who did the original transportation plan for this project? The Bicycle Coalition! Can't make this shit up. Treasure Island will be paradise for cyclists---until they want to get off the island.

This is called "Smart Growth" in City Hall.

Have to give Aaron Peskin credit for trying to stop this preposterous development project.

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At 1:52 PM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

All this is going to do is snarl the hell out of the bridge, causing people who found the commute from the East Bay tolerable to decide to move into SF... driving up the very housing prices this is supposed to combat. So flipping stupid.

To combat housing prices, stop making it so darn hard to get around! Versus building vertically on a tiny piece of landfill.

At 2:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it, Rob. The city has in place some strong disincentives to people taking cars off the island - "congestion pricing with a vengeance" as you call it, which will help to resolve your complaint about single occupancy car congestion on the Bay Bridge. It would seem that this bit of "social engineering" would select for people only willing to live in a place where they wouldn't depend on using a car for their day to day transportation needs, reducing the overall impact that more people on the island will bring.

As these proposals are taking place before they start creating new housing, the new owners will be purchasing and renting these units knowing full well the challenges that they face owning a car there. If driving a car every day to SF or Oakland is important to them, don't you think they'll factor that into their decision whether or not to buy there?

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Maybe, but the realities make the project's traffic mitigations implausible. And don't forget the people staying at the 500-room hotel to be built on the island. San Francisco has displayed a pattern of a negligence about the traffic impact of a number of other large projects in the city: Parkmerced, the Market/Octavia plan, the UC development, and the stadium for the Warriors.

While these projects are in the works---along with a lot of others under construction downtown---City Hall is putting the squeeze on motorists with the Bicycle Plan, taking away street parking and traffic lanes to accommodate a small, PC minority against the interests of the overwhelming majority that now uses city streets.

At 6:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the construction traffic will be a cause of gridlock long before the first residents move to the island. Imagine all of the contractors, excavation and concrete trucks, running daily on and off the island. After the island is occupied, the amount of vehicles that will be needed to service the island will be more than has probably been accounted for. (Trash, repairs, security, etc)

My BIG question is, what would happen if someone has a stroke and needs ambulance service, but the Bay Bridge traffic is jammed as it often is?

From a city government that is world famous for stupid ideas, this might be the dumbest of all.

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're talking out of both sides of your ass here Rob. You're bitching about traffic, yet if the city preemptively does something to stop it you chastise them. You live in a magical, fantasy cartopian world here where San Francisco can continue to build infrastructure that caters to motorists, yet if we just keep bike lanes from being built we'll be just fine.

At 11:17 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

I'm making the opposite point about City Hall's approach to development and traffic; it's okaying those large development projects I listed above with only a pro forma interest in their traffic impacts. Bike lanes created by taking away traffic lanes and street parking on busy city streets only aggravate the traffic problem, since less than 4% of all trips in the city are by bicycle. The notion that the city is building "infrastructure that caters to cars" is fanciful, since city streets are already built out and there's no space to create new streets. That's the whole point: street space is a zero-sum game here. The only way, say, protected bike lanes can be created is by taking away already intensively-used space on existing city streets---and doing that on behalf of a small minority against the interests of the overwhelming majority that now uses city streets.

At 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

rkeezy - how exactly will X number of units on Treasure Island snarl the hell out of the bridge, as opposed to building many X that number of units in Oakland - which can also only access SF via the bridge?

At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"My BIG question is, what would happen if someone has a stroke and needs ambulance service, but the Bay Bridge traffic is jammed as it often is?"

By this argument, we should not allow people to live in rural areas that are nowhere near hospitals. If someone living 40 miles outside Turlock has a stroke, they are 40 miles away from a hospital that probably can't service their condition anyway.

Even with jammed traffic, having a stroke on Treasure Island is probably better than having a stroke in Big Sur.

At 3:21 PM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

Not sure I see Rob chastising the city for trying to alleviate traffic. Unless you are referring to bike lanes. Which are traffic creators, not alleviators. But keep telling yourself that the bike lanes are full all the time and have convinced people to get out of their cars. Check the bike report - they haven't - and bicycling remains an uninteresting fad for most people. An uninteresting fad that based on the bike lobby has made life really awful for a lot of people.

At 2:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love how all you pro-vehicle fanatics can't seem to grasp the point that there is a point at which car traffic is unsustainable, regardless of bike lanes or not. What do you need, a shoebox and a box of matchbox cars to explain this point?

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

And I like how you bike morons keep failing to get my simple point: traffic in San Francisco has always been an issue as long as I can remember, and I first lived in this city in 1961. My point: It's pure greed and stupidity to make it a lot worse than it has to be with huge development projects like Parkmerced, Treasure Island, the UC development on lower Haight Street, the Market/Octavia Plan, and the Warriors stadium.

Capping all this greed off is the stupidity of the bike fantasy/fad, as if riding bikes in SF will ever be practiced by any but a small minority even in a city full of crackpots.


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