Concept Plan: Transportation
Caltrain Station at 22nd Street:
Improve the aesthetics to create a more pleasant environment and uplifting transit experience. Enhance safety by facilitating the addition of platform-level vendors, improving lighting, and adding call boxes. Make the station accessible with new ramps and elevators down to the platform. Link it to the neighborhood by pursuing development opportunities on appropriate sites around the station and by improving the pedestrian linkages.
Improve east-west transit services: The Central Waterfront has quite good north-south transit connections, but its east-west crosstown access to other neighborhoods and attractions in most of San Francisco need improvement. Currently, the Muni #22-Fillmore and #48-Quintara bus lines terminate in the Central Waterfront. A study must be undertaken to look at improvements of the #48 which runs over Potrero Hill, as well as to explore other supplementary services. Muni efforts to implement planned improvements for the #22 should be supported.
A pleasant and safe walking environment is the essential backbone of any transit system and any livable urban neighborhood. Adding special streetscape treatments, including sidewalk improvements, landscaping, wayfinding signage, and art, to the pathways leading up to and including the Caltrain station and light rail stops would do much to tie the transit lines into the neighborhood. Clearly identified signage should be included throughout the area, indicating the way to transit stops, parks, and other key centers of activity, cohesively weaving together the entire open space and pathway system. Pedestrian improvements, including sidewalk widening and curb bulbouts, should be made to all of the east-west streets, which lead to transit nodes and form the heart of the residential sectors. Third Street will see many improvements as a result of the Third Street Light Rail project, but sidewalks will remain 10 feet wide (narrowing to 9 feet near light rail platforms); the sidewalk space could be augmented if the opportunity arises to set back a significant length of buildings from the sidewalk edge.
The Central Waterfront is a crucial, flat link in creating continuous, safe, and convenient bicycle connections between downtown San Francisco and southeastern neighborhoods, especially the Bayview. Third Street, which is currently the only through-street from downtown through the Central Waterfront and southward across Islais Creek, is currently designated as a city bicycle route. However, as this street carries swift traffic, and will continue to do so, and with the impending construction of Third Street Light Rail which will leave no room for bicyclists, a convenient parallel bike route must be found. Illinois and Indiana Streets are currently the best candidates. While Illinois is heavily used by trucks, there is no inherent conflict between a truck route and bicycle route, so long as sufficient space is left for bicycles. An Illinois Street bridge across Islais Creek planned by the Port should include accommodation for bicycles.
Parking can be a powerful tool in managing congestion and affecting how people choose to move about. Parking policy in the Central Waterfront must recognize that the approved and impending development of 21,000 parking spaces at Mission Bay will consume virtually all street capacity in the area. Further, current parking requirements for new development both constrain the amount of new housing that can be created by reducing space and increasing cost and encourage auto ownership in areas that are well-served by transit. The vast majority of parking in the Central Waterfront is unregulated.
An absence of parking management keeps short-term parking in neighborhood retail areas tight. Parking policy needs to support local businesses, but not facilitate excess auto trips that the street system cannot handle or excess parking construction that impinge on the supply of needed affordable housing. Free, unrestricted parking facilitates excessive car trips that are especially unnecessary given the availability of decent alternatives found in the Central Waterfront.
Manage parking spaces better:
1) Create a Residential Permit Parking zone in the Dogpatch and surrounding residential neighborhoods. Priority for non-metered on-street space must be given to area residents over commuters. The RPP program should ensure that the number of permits issued is limited to the spaces actually available (as opposed to current practices), and rates for the permits should reflect market price of such spaces. Revenue derived from this program should be directed into neighborhood improvements and/or Muni.
2) Establish parking meters north of 23rd Street outside of Dogpatch residential area. Two-hour meters should be installed along 20th and 22nd Streets to ensure adequate supply and turnover for local businesses. As development proceeds to increase activity and demand in the area, time limits on meters throughout the area should be adjusted.
Convert minimum parking requirements in the Planning Code to maximums for all uses within a half-mile of transit stations and for all below-market rate, elderly, and institutional housing. Given the high level of transit accessibility of the Central Waterfront, there is no need for a minimum parking requirement, especially for uses within convenient walking distances of major transit lines. Parking that is included in new development should be required to be rented or sold separately from the housing units or commercial spaces themselves so that non-car owning households or employees are not forced to pay for the expensive spaces they do not use.
Limit long range parking associated with Pier 70 opportunity site development. As transit improves and new uses replace surface parking lots at the Pier 70 complex, the Port should strive for maximum efficiency by encouraging tenants to build minimal parking, use shared parking among tenants, charge market rates for parking, and offer cash-out programs to employees.