Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Metcalf: Everything "is going to be OK"

Gabriel Metcalf

Since SPUR's Gabriel Metcalf assured us yesterday---he said it three times!---in an op-ed in the Chronicle that everything is "going to be OK." That makes it official: working people, poor people, and everyone who isn't well-off are fucked in a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco.

Metcalf zeros in on our problem: "It's not the economic miracle that's hurting people; it's our housing costs." No shit! As if the cost of housing is not mostly because of the booming city economy!

Metcalf's solution:

We have to let a lot more housing get built, while at the same time investing in affordable housing...the way we have made this place so expensive is that neighborhood after neighborhood, in city after city, decided that they didn't want to be inconvenienced by more traffic or more people or taller buildings.

This is a claim made periodically by Metcalf and his ideological allies, C.W. Nevius and John King. Except for recently in the Mission, there's been no such neighborhood resistance to housing in San Francisco (see this and this).

"Affordable" housing in SF is not affordable for most people.

Metcalf has been selling highrises in San Francisco for a long time:

People love to live in highrises. Rincon Hill and Transbay are the first attempts to create a whole new neighborhood on that concept. I think it's absolutely the right thing to be doing for the environment. Instead of sprawling outward and making people drive, we're going to build homes for people at extremely high density, where they can walk to work and walk to the store and finally grow up and embrace their urbanity.

Metcalf thinks the chronic traffic jam called Octavia Blvd. is somehow leading us to a "transit-rich community":

But replacement of the freeway with surface road along Octavia Boulevard has provided an early manifestation of post-highway land-use policies that could eventually lead to a rehabilitated, transit-rich community. Octavia Boulevard was rebuilt in a way that divides faster-moving from slower-moving traffic with rows of trees in its center. “It’s still an arterial,” said Gabriel Metcalf of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association. “But it provides a transition between the car-centered space of the highway and the pedestrian-centered space of The City."

Metcalf tries to look on the bright side:

We're digging a new subway. We're adding bike lanes all over. We've got a bunch of great new buildings going up.

Yes, the wasteful Central Subway boondoggle and big, dumb bike projects on Masonic Avenue and Polk Street. I see a lot of buildings going up, but they're just big, not "great."

Naturally, Metcalf supports the foolish high-speed rail project.

With yesterday's op-ed, Metcalf is in the lead for my Pangloss of the Year award (John King has won it twice: here and here)

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At 10:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You ain't seen nothing yet. When the mega highrise residential buildings are added along the "Hub" Van Ness and Market south to Mission, that part of the city will come to a stand still. They are not providing onsite parking and think that people moving into those monsters will not own cars. If you believe that then, as they say, I have a bridge to sell you (its colored International Orange).

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't mind some of this construction if a decent subway were built under Geary out to the ocean, or to the southwest side of the city. The stupid BRT lanes will only add to congestion and save little time for MUNI riders.


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