Balboa Park Station: Workshop #4, Session 2

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Balboa Park Station Area Plan



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Planning Process

View Public Comments on Workshop #4
Session #2 - Sept. 8

Session 1: 9/5/01 >>

Session 3: 9/19/01 >>

1. How about a free shuttle running from Bart to City College? Also, most large colleges and universities do provide faculty and student housing. While many students and staff won't chose to live on campus, I'm sure that there would be no problem finding willing students and staff to live there. We need more variety in non-chain small businesses like the new wonderful Ethiopian restaurant on Ocean. Someone needs to investigate possible illegal usage of storefronts that are painted over sweatshops, etc. A healthy commercial area can't exist while those operations continue. New development should not go over four stories and preferably less. Also, it is very telling that there are no commercial representatives at these meetings. I don't believe that most existing commercial tenants will be compliant with these changes, unfortunately. Another concern is that there has been little representation from the Chinese and African American communities that are a major force in the community. It seems like there is no or little interest from existing community businesses.

2. I strongly favor mixed rental/home-ownership units. Rentals are by nature more transient and don't contribute as much in the long term in the larger community (they are not as invested) This housing should also serve all income levels, high, medium and lower income tenants and be developed to attract all of these-market rate, affordable, and lower income in equal amounts. Is Federal HUD money for housing available? How about preference to City Workers, Social Workers, Teachers, Police, Fire Fighters? HUD does have a special program for teachers and officers-perhaps development in this area could be supported by this program? Housing for the elderly is also crucial!!

3. Jeffrey Tumlin has the best understanding of the parking situation of anyone we have ever heard. Ask him how to solve parking issues.

4. This may have already been addressed, but I haven't heard anything addressing why City College is not looking at expanding on its main campus. There is a lot of unused space there.

5. I'm very favorably impressed with both the "breadth" and depth of your team's planning at this stage. I think you are wise to present this project as a Southern Gate to the city, making this a city, rather than simply a neighborhood project. The structure of the neighborhood you propose, with mixed shops, housing and open space, has been used successfully for centuries. Please feel free to contact me if you need help with a community organization or other volunteer work. Good Luck.

6. Four issues/Questions

  1. Ocean Avenue Frontage- I like the idea of using the north side of Ocean between Phelan & Plymouth, however, without a similar treatment in the south side I don't see how you can formulate a cohesive, aesthetically-pleasing plan.
  2. West-side of Reservoir- I love the idea of a multi-use park in this area& please move forward with that!
  3. Transit-yard train lot-Having this under the eastern-side of reservoir seems unlikely especially with the current frontage ideas-Where do the trains enter/exit the transit yard?
  4. Solicit Neighborhood input-I had to hear about this meeting second-hand from my neighbor-you need to make sure your mass-mailings target the neighborhoods concerned.

7. For both long term and short term projects for the Balboa Transit Station, City College development and Ocean Avenue, beautification and development, we need to set priorities of how important each component of the projects is (very important, somewhat important etc.). The most important ones should be concentrated on first and money could be used for top priority items. Regarding the loop, it is ugly and unsafe and needs to be redesigned by a professional while Ocean Avenue is being dug up.

8. Parking-in Cayuga Terrace, perhaps elsewhere too, people are taking out front gardens, paving over the area to create more off street parking on their own property. This doesn't add to the beauty of the neighborhood at all. City College- a major impact on the neighborhood does next to nothing about outreach to the surrounding neighborhood they so impact. Could they not be required to be inclusive to our communities re: arts, library access, and bookstores? City College needs to be accountable to it's neighbors.

9. Good job putting all the community needs together. A thoughtful plan for the area. The affordable housing piece is a must to preserve the diversity of the city.

10. Use a pointer for charts. Possibly exchange surface rights for residential on berm area of City College with Phelan for auditorium?

11. Hooray-Get rid of the blight on Ocean Ave. A large park replacing the Phelan Loop "public plaza" is the wrong location in one of your plans.
  • Too far from most of the residential
  • Too noisy next to Ocean/Phelan turn section - better to move it closer to reservoir area-Entrance from Ocean Avenue and behind residential/Commercial Colony water dept. easement.
  • If Freeway ramp(s) North/Bound can be eliminated, bring the M line down along the West side of Balboa Park Station. (Makes storage under upper yard possible.)
  • Future Geneva line-submerge along Geneva to enter station (donut shop area)

12. I like the plan a lot. Just not sure the facilities that built (parking, sidewalk, green zone) is enough for the existing people and the people who would move into the residences. About the artwork; I really like the idea to recruit all the artist who live in the neighborhood for some art work related to the history and human activities of the people in this area.

13. My family and I live one block from City College (Louisburg St.), do not support any form of low income housing that may be built in this area. Community College should not need additional housing for students. It is a Junior College, not a University.

14. Memorialize/exhibit/reflect Demi's creation of Cayuga Park- one man's work to turn a wasteland of weeds into a paradise, despite daily opposition and setback. The feeling/concept could reflect his Philippine roots and the homage he pays to Native American Art. Also we have the Native American street sign. Perhaps some of his present work done in bronze or concrete. Ocean Avenue needs a post office. Ocean Avenue Retail: We need a concrete effort to get the goods and services we need, and maybe some of the existing successful businesses, like Fruit Barn, would be interested in opening a bigger store, like a Good life or small Rainbow. I like the parking permit ideas-but only for legal units. Long day but, a good one- Thank you!

15. Many people are participating only from direct, individual experience- as if that is what is should be for the future. People are not aware that other people are from other groups with other values. Lack of awareness of diversity. Be aware the demographics of the attendees are MASSIVELY skewed- in terms of age and ethnicity, especially. The concerns about not needing to build housing, but rather to place people in existing housing, comes SOLELY from those past child-bearing years. Thus, these attendees are oblivious to the fact that people have babies and therefore need larger housing. These attendees also ignore that San Francisco is attractive for those from other parts of this country and the world, meaning more demand for the current supply of housing, thereby displacing more families.

16. I personally am very happy about the renovation of Ocean. I'm looking forward to the change that can occur. I do support the merchants on Ocean and would like to have more that I could visit. We really could use more restaurants and maybe a butcher/fish shop. Also consider having more police officers to help deter crime and vandalism.

17. The SFPUC has completed it's 10-year capital Improvement plan. Development of a Western alternative for a 95 million gallon reservoir at the Balboa Reservoir site is part of this plan. The additional 95 million gallons of fire protection and domestic supply will safeguard the City in the event of a transmission main failure earthquake or other disaster. The SFPUC intends to build the reservoir within the next 10 years.

18. I really like the draft of the plan, particularly the station-area improvements. Reducing the speed of vehicles on San Jose/Niagra through San Jose/Ocean is critical to pedestrian safety and the overall ambience of the neighborhood. Changing the M-Line, routing it to the BART station at the Niagra right-of-way roadway is an excellent idea. My hope is that this would correct the switching problem, which causes streetcars to stall in the intersection and erratic behaviors by automobile drivers. The proposed modifications to the freeway ramps are wonderful and create a logical intersection, much safer for pedestrians. Finally, housing on the Muni upper yard, would make this less of a wasteland, providing it is tied to the street. Thank you for the trees in the plan.

19. We need more housing, and I think every neighborhood needs to accept its share. I think it is crucial to make sure that the density and design of housing fit in with the neighborhood. The closer the housing is to transit, the more likely people are to use it- that is why I think the BART Station is the best place to put new housing!

20. I know that little Alioto Park you are talking about at 20th/Capp- I used to walk by it everyday ten years ago-horrible, now lovely. I dare/implore you to make one here. I am concerned that the added housing w/shops under does not exceed 3 stories. New and big could equal big and ugly. When can we get some stores? We want a destination restaurant! Really, really want the people-friendly transit and walking. One of the reasons we bought a house in Cayuga Terrace is because of all the public transportation. But, it is not pleasant to walk home from BART/buses at night. I have not owned a car for 12 years, and I want to use public transit.! Make it friendlier for bikes-I rarely ride my bike because drivers are so rude around here. There needs to be secure bike parking in the BART stations. Crossing San Jose from Cayuga neighborhood to BART is taking your life in your own hands. How will these plans help that? Can we get flashing signs for that intersection?

21. I lived in this neighborhood for over ten years and am lucky enough to own a house. As a member of SFOP Corpus Christi Church, I feel strongly that we should build affordable houses, here or anywhere else in the city. If we do not want more people in the city, then you should evict all the young families or to forbid them to have children. Forget parking. Just build more houses. If I can shop in my neighborhood then I don't need to go shopping in downtown and can spend my money in my own community. Hopefully this can happen before I am too old to shop.

22. I believe the idea of reducing the 280 ramp is really great, the present system is just not working well for the tremendous amount of traffic. Has any that been given to work with the city development left to obtain a developer with ideas to getting a prime "name" tenant to set the rebuilding of the business element? How sad to recall the closing of Safeway-both locations-to be replaced by an auto parts store!

23. Conceptually, a great plan for both Balboa Park and Phelan Loop. However, the presentation on transit only addressed the freeway plan and a new multi-level BART/MUNI station. It did not address how the additional population density would impact existing transportation sources. Can the current public transit handle additional riders created by the development? What plans are there for adding transit if existing sources cannot handle the added population?

24. At this moment I find myself making decisions based upon "will I find parking when I get home, if I go out?" and "can I get out of my garage if I need to go out?" So anything that adds or impacts on need for additional parking needs to be addressed. I am not opposed to housing. I think it is necessary. However, I do think it will have impact that needs to be addressed. Just saying we are transit first city doesn't make it. I use my car because it takes me 15 minutes to drive to Castro, max. BART and MUNI-40 minutes minimum. Muni K line 1 hour if I'm lucky. We have a great diversity in my Sunnyside Neighborhood. I would hope that we would do nothing to upset that mix, by only appealing to "middle" or upper class.

25. I do not support your effort to build on the reservoir, or above the MUNI yard. This neighborhood does not have an adequate infrastructure to support the number of new inhabitants that you would like to accommodate. I'm also suspect of your calculations of the projected need for housing and of your housing price statistics, based on the recent economic downturn. Further, it is my understanding that a larger percentage of the reservoir actually belongs to CCSF than you have indicated. City College is the only affordable education for working class people in this city. Its physical space - its facilities are unable to accommodate the student body - more space is needed.

26. It was apparent at the meeting that the sense of the group was that moving the Green Yard to City College was not well received. There was not a single comment in support. I hope the planners hear this and accept the sense of the group as promised and focus on more fruitful ideas. There was also consensus on the need for improving traffic, transit and pedestrian access as a priority. Fortunately some of the most critical transit improvements can be made early on; on an achievable budget.

27. I appreciate all of the plans that you showed: The new multi-use transportation station, the new housing placement and guidelines, the Ocean Avenue merchandizing area, the freeway changes, the reservoir plans. It all really pleases me. I would like to continue Mom & Pop, locally owned small business establishments. While a Rainbow Grocery or Trader Joes is, I think, too ambitious and large of a project for our neighborhood, a coop on the model of other avenues. For example, (1) on Judah and 45th Avenue (2) plus a grocery store a la Easy Freezy at West Portal I would serve excellently. (Remember there is an actual Safeway nearby-on Monterey Avenue). I believe a Post Office would bring many neighbors, including those from Monterey Avenue, down to Ocean. My main concern is that the housing we build, businesses we add, etc. invite back the lower, lower middle & mid-middle income tenants back to San Francisco. I'd like our neighborhood to be a haven for those who have been forced to flee, who perform the necessary services of our city. P.S. Your brochure (IMAGINE& ) was beautiful, excellent, uplifting, and totally cool. PPS. Thanks for a good lunch. Very kind of you.

28. Please provide some detailed information on the history of all the previous proposals and ballot propositions on building on the Balboa Reservoirs and why all previous proposals failed. Could project staff provide this info? On the Web? (Also would like to know if reservoirs have had water in them before, and history of this usage.). Funding issues, checking over freeway, and any major changes to MUNI light rail facilities: How soon could sufficient funding be found? What will be the soonest realistic timeframe for construction, considering funding concerns? How can we(neighbors/public) lend our support in getting these projects funded, and overcoming any other obstacles that these plans might face? I would like to receive updates on how plans are progressing.

29. I am very concerned about the creation of a "Mini-Manhattan" within San Francisco as a result of this program. I understand the botched Balboa BART station situation, and the availability of some Muni controlled properties lends themselves to improvement. But, I definitely don't want a greedy BART/Muni team, in collaboration with our City Planners creating a festering, dense block of humanity to increase the coffers of the transit tills. The blatant displacement of autos, flowing traffic and concern of our traditional, single-family neighborhood is evident in this plan. We are definitely saturated as far as living space is concerned. Housing is not a problem in San Francisco now, as many rentals remain vacant. We desire to keep a quiet quaint community to enhance the quality of our lives, now, and for our future generations to come. I've noticed that none of my previous comments, or others related, has made it to your published comment board. In fact, I've had to ask the recording secretary to please include my comments during previous meetings on his sheets. Please email to me a complete list, or minutes of all our previous meetings. One last question to Ken Rich: What is your priority on this program? The improvement of the BART/Muni Station, or the commercialization and so called development of the Ocean Avenue Area. We would like to avoid the nightmarish disaster going on one station away at the Daly City BART and/or the Alemany Payless situation.

30. Very unhappy about more housing. San Francisco is at capacity. Build instead near Hunters Point! San Francisco cannot accommodate every person who wants to move here. If you do build, build no more than three stories.

31. Yes, no new developments that max-out units per lot anywhere in a wide-district around Balboa would be eligible for permits. Encourage neighborhood to develop permit areas (block areas as per Noe Valley. Encourage people to get rid of there cars -1 sold mine to the state for $1,000.00 other programs exist.

32. How will the cost of a free fast pass for students be covered? Our fees are very low as it is we don't charge fees at the rate of Stanford?

33. Please make sure that any decked-over-the-freeway development does not impede the Tara St. View shed. I was devastated when Lick-Wilmerding erected their library on Geneva from Louisburg St.; we used to have great views of Diamond Heights, Bernal Heights, the East Bay, etc. Now we just have a wonderful view of a fantastically ugly wall. The library may look beautiful when viewed from inside the Lick-Wilmerding fortress, but to the community, all we see is the building's (literal) backside. Please don't do the same with Tara Street. I think the idea of rearranging the on/off ramps is great. I'm sick of dodging traffic at both Geneva Avenue intersections when I get off BART. I fully support all of the housing proposals for the area. I support the proposal to bring CCSF's performing arts center down to the corner of Phelan and Ocean. A well-designed civic building will be a much better gateway to the Ingleside than just another apartment building. I also really like the idea of grand-fathering in the market-rate parking permits. Let those future residents decide whether or not they want to pay for market-rate parking before they move in. I would like to see more mom and pop local businesses on Ocean Avenue and fewer chain stores. I look forward to the implementation of these plans. Thank you for helping to make ours a better neighborhood.

34. Retail for Ocean Avenue art supplies (CCSF has 4,000-5,000 art students). Bookstores like Green Apple Books have new trade and used books, both of which would draw students. These ideas have been discussed at CCSF as a part of planning for a new performing Arts complex and are mentioned in our facilities master plan.

35. As a bike rider I would like to see bike parking in the new garage. More bike parking on Ocean Avenue, at the Bart station. We need bike lanes on Ocean from Phelan cast to San Jose, so bikers coming from BART can get easily to City College. Bike lanes on Phelan, right now it's too wide (fast cars). Narrow Phelon and add bike lanes to make safer. Use native plants from San Francisco in landscaping. Use solar for power for new buildings, transit stations etc. Bike shop should be included or bike station. Keep sidewalks large! Stop taking sidewalks away for parking!!! P.S. Good job.

36. I think moving railroad to reservoir is excellent idea because by time and cost of restructuring existing rail yard with housing over-would have to be completely re-done and reservoir area is open and clean with new housing above. BART and buses in reservoir area as a centralized-relocation of bus and Muni would work out. Shuttle service should be made available now and to serve handicap-much like corporations and hospitals now have. Provide underground pedestrian for Muni or bus passengers to walk under Phelan to City College, but a corridor parallel to reservoir for now should be considered for maintenance for reservoir piping (in case of earthquake). Provide housing for students and faculty on campus or near to eliminate need for parking and driving to campus.

37. Rich, if you are going to form a smaller committee regarding Phelan loop/parking, please add me to the group. We do want to be part of the discussion/plan and final outcome. Also, if we see that this is the beginning of the closing of our hospital, we want to know as soon as possible. We expect to lose 1/3 of our business next May when construction starts at the loop! If we lose the parking on top of the 4 month construction there we can notify our thousands of clients of our closing date! Let me know when the next meeting is, perhaps we can meet at the loop!

38. As you have noted parking in a key issue the parking proposed as one space per unit is a bare minimum. The developments that need additional space for visitors and shoppers must be part of any proposal. Business plus 4 stories of residential is too dense and out of character with the surrounding area. Both Lakeside Village and West Portal which have been used as desirable models both have additional off street public metered parking. Is this to be addressed? What additional parking is to be added? Accolades on your plans for the combined Muni/Bart stations and the enhancements for people being dropped off/picked up and waiting for transit. Pressure to make CCSF contribute to housing is unreasonable. They need all available Campus land to support the delivery of education to their students.

39. Primary concern-density of housing proposed at transit center. Yes, housing is needed and should be built, but within the vernacular of this neighborhood-not North Beach or Noe Valley, 5 stories is not appropriate. Perhaps the design can key off the old Geneva office building as a model for both design/style and height limitations. A more conservative size would encourage neighborhood support otherwise I foresee a lot of local stonewalling. Also, consider in your plans both topography and weather. Building tall buildings on an elevated area dwarfs the surrounding areas impacts sunlight's (a rare commodity out here) and creates even more of a wind tunnel than already exists. I applaud the new multi-level transit station and hope that it will become the first realization of this proposal. I urge you to be realistic about the climate here. As much as "Al Fresco" facilities are great out here it's usually "al Frisco"-windy and foggy. Parking is never adequately planned for in any proposal. One space per unit is living in a fool's paradise. Although, it is CIM code, it is woefully inadequate. Perhaps one space per bedroom is closer to reality. "Calming" traffic on Geneva is great but, not at the expense of the small local streets where children's' safety is already threatened by speeding motorists trying to avoid congestion on the larger arteries.

40. A plan to store various Muni vehicles in the reservoirs was proposed and thoroughly rejected by the neighbors (including Monterey and "woods" folk) about 30 years ago. Don't bring this up again!

41. DO NOT pit transit and housing against the critical needs of City College to complete its' campus. The college has provided the only access to affordable higher education for more than 65 years to the citizens of San Francisco. Relocating Muni or rail yards has been proposed in other areas of the city and has never been implemented-why? Expense? Opposition from neighbors? The college is in full operation nearly all day all year around. Do not even proceed with the idea to relocate the Muni yards below college classrooms!

42. Please include the needs of seniors and adults with disabilities in planning these changes. By 2030 33% of the population will be over 50, 16% over 65%.

43. We need more affordable houses.

44. I am very excited about the plans for transit hub with additional housing and shops, and would like to see design plans incorporate some of the new design elements seen at Lick-Wilmerding and CCSF(library) into any new design in these areas. This is particularly important for the centerpiece transit station. Ocean Avenue/Geneva Avenue heading west will always be a difficult pedestrian corridor due to wind conditions and the slope. Any successful pedestrian plan will need to be more gradual and sheltered than currently exist. We also need to be sure the plan adequately connects Bart/Muni with the Ocean Avenue shopping stretch. As an avid softball/baseball fan, I can speak first hand in stating Balboa Park is regularly filled with games.

25. The Geneva Yard-Geneva Avenue between San Jose and Delano has opened dirt next to the sidewalk that blows down Geneva between Delano and Cayuga. It not only gets onto homes' porches but, sticks to the homes' exteriors-making home exterior decorations futile. Safety issue to slow traffic on Geneva at Delano and Geneva-put a stop sign (Do not put a traffic light). Too many parents and Children under 10 years old cross that street. Geneva yard would be better served to put a parking lot that is multi-level. Geneva parking should re-opened to public not restricted to Muni drivers between San Jose Avenue and Delano on Geneva.

46. If parking is a problem then people or families should use public transit and not have 4 or 5 cars per family. Housing is also a must, since half of the neighborhood is not earning that much and housing is unaffordable. Lots of people who cannot afford housing have been relocating and pretty soon if this is not controlled prices here in San Francisco will be uncontrollable. We have to maintain the system of balance here. No workers, would mean losing business and more haunted streets at night. What about creating fly-overs for pedestrians to do away with traffic? Just a food for thought.

47. I have lived in San Francisco since 1949 and become a home owner in 1967. I live in the Corpus Christi Parish area. I am in favor of affordable housing for residents of San Francisco. I would like to see more families stay here and not move to other cities. One of the other concerns I have is in keeping the streets cleaned. More efforts should be given to the clean up. Not only the streets but, the sidewalks too. Thank you.

48. When visiting the most popular neighborhoods (24th Street by Noe, West Portal, Union Street, Castro etc) people know that it is difficult to park so people simply park further away or they take public transit from their homes to these neighborhoods. Automobiles create a citizenry isolated from each other. On public transit, people get a chance to meet and talk, in addition, people get exercise by using public transit, people are overweight, have heart disease, diabetes and arthritis- these health problems will be ameliorated as people start moving more and meeting their neighbors. We cannot continue to burn 34% of the world's fossil fuels as just 5% if the worlds population. We need to change. Do it by leaving no alternatives but, public transit. No to more parking!! Don't bother relocating the fire station. It should be on Ocean for rapid response. No neighbors want SFFD next to them directly.

49. Keep the pigeons out of the new Bart/Muni station. We need a better drop off point; consider airport dropoff. Allow for the various neighborhood associations to have a meeting room in the Geneva Building. Allow for a neighbrhood bulletin board in the Bart/Muni stations. Put up artistic maps of the surrounding neighborhoods with major points of interest/buildings emphasized.

* Neighborhood Workshops are accessible by BART; Muni Metro J, K, M lines; and Muni 15, 26, 29, 36, 43, 49, 54 lines.

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