Market & Octavia Plan: Feedback from Workshop #4
Over 300 people attended our December 4, 2001 workshop. Below are links to the comments we've gotten to date.
You are amazing, talk about thinking out of the box. You leave me with nothing to criticize. The planning is good, the landscaping is good, as well as the basic design. I can see so much thought that went into all this. What I like best is the stretching you've all done, such as lowering parking requirements and the idea of taking the freeway back to Bryant Street.
Late last year, I was fortunate to attend the Market/Octavia Better Nehiborhoods Planning Session and shortly after Amit Ghosh's presentation to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
I would like to express my firm support for the initial proposal in what I feel is a very well conceived plan. It is obvious much thought, consideration and creativity has been invested in this project by the planning staff and design team. I sincerely hope some of the more 'radical' ideas but forth are further explored. Particularly the Van Ness Busway and the near complete removal of the Central Freeway. These are 'fantastic' ideas. Excitedly, I look forward to the impending improvements to traffic flow within and though Market/Octavia, as a bicyclist, City Carshare member, and a heavy user of public transit. Top
Also, I applaud the Octavia Boulevard design and am heartened to hear that this component of the plan is a foregone conclusion. The replacement of the viaduct with a series of 'park blocks will result in a wonderful urban space. In addition, housing infil around this space is certainly the best and highest use of the land and I really liked the idea tossed out at the session of sponsoring an open competition for the design of the boulevard façade buildings.
In closing, I want to commend everyone for their hard work and a job well done. I look forward to following the continued evolution of the plan at the next neighborhood planning session. Top
This is a very bold, thoughtful plan and I am really enthused to see emphasis being focused on pedestrian and alternative transportation. Would like to see the (or a) bike plan intergraded with larger plans such as city wide or regional plans. Some concerns about the traffic being funneled through Fell/ Oak without addition safety measures. Even at lights, crossing Fell/ Oak, at the bottom of hills is a major challenge. Any ideas as to how the improvements will impact the homeless situation?
As a person who lives in the neighborhood I think 99.9% of everything your doing is wonderful. I like all of the proposals- especially housing on the Safeway site- this is a real annoying intersection. Top
Thank you so much for this presentation. I am so excited about these ideas and will work to help out in getting them implemented.
Need public microphones for public questions. Would increase feeling of engagement and dialogue. Without a microphone, experience of public questions is silence. Images and text of slide presentation need to be larger. They are not readable from the back of the room. Top
Speak more slowly and calmly. Urgency gets communicate/transferred to others and sets the 'tone' for a group. What 'tone' do you want to create? In general, GREAT job.
I certainly appreciate the thorough and extensive research that you demonstrated at this meeting. By having these meetings and sampling the public acceptance of your conclusions, you should be well on your way to making my neighborhood a greater place to live. I applaud your efforts and encourage you to take a vote and begin the reality demolition and re-construction. Lets not get lost in the paperwork and otherwise talk this thing to death...Let's do it! Top
Goodwill Industries is headquartered at 1500 Mission Street. Our processing plant, classrooms, administrative offices, retail store and subterranean garage are at this location. It is our hope that the process is well thought out and any negative impacts are minimized by involving us.
As you forge ahead with your plans, I'd like you to consider a new ideal to add to your bulletpoints of "guidelines" for the project. I call it "The Golden Rule." Top
Try to imagine yourselves in the position of living here. When you talk about banning cars or eliminating parking, ask youself a few questions: Do you drive? Do you own a car? Do you ever have friends from out of town who visit and will need to park somewhere?
When you can't guarantee an improvement in public transporation, but decide to forget ahead with anti-car measures, ask yourself a few questions: Are you willing to plan an hour's travel time in each direction every time you want to do an errand? To get to work? To go to a movie?
When you decide to build a low-income, high-crime housing project in a neighborhood, ask youself: Would you like to live next door? Would you like your kids to play there? Would you be willing to absorb a huge loss in the value of your property for the sake of cheap housing for others? Top
If these are sacrifices you are not willing to make yourself, then you probably should not be asking others to make them. I don't pretend to have all the answers, but some of the comments made tonight seemed somewhat cavalier. And they really distracted from an overall creative plan.
Pedestrian Safety and Traffic:
Oak and Fell Streets are very frightening for pedestrians to cross. I am pleased to see that you are considering bulb-outs at the Oak/ Fell intersection, but encourage you to also propose bulb-outs at Oak/Fell where parking now exists. Specifically the north side of Fell and the south side of Oak, could have sidewalk extension (bulb-outs) along is length to shorten the number of lanes for pedestrians to cross. Also, please be aware that the south lane of Fell between Scott and Baker, may soon have the tow-away (evening) restriction, such that both sides of the street maybe bulbed-out. This would effectively reduce the number of lanes for pedestrians to cross; to three from the current five... a dramatic pedestrian improvement.
I fully support everything I heard tonight, especially related to improving transit efficiency and discouraging additional parking. Don't let the politicians or the media or knee-jerk public reaction force you to water down your vision.
In addition to the people moving portions of Octavia Blvd., I am very concerned about the very dangerous intersection of Laguna/ Guerrero/ Market, as well as Duboce/ Market. Also, as a bicyclist and intentionally car-free, I am excited about the proposed traffic calming, less curb cuts, bike lanes (which I think J.B. isolated from the cars and pedestrians altogether). I wish Better Neighborhoods 2002, was more involved with the SF Bike Coalition and SFBAC.
I am very active with the SF Bicycle Coalition and the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association and have been to every Better Neighborhoods 2002 workshop for Octavia Blvd. I am glad that this project is quite visionary and transit first oriented.
I also like the proposed idea of South Van Ness closure, except for buses.
The meeting was well-run and well-attended. I urge you to move forward on your plans to put in a bus-only lane on Van Ness and build the transit mall and one-way oval on S. Van Ness. This is an ugly no-man's land that serves no one. It's such a hub for the City, yet it gets the least amount of attention.
The "Franklin" extension to Mission is critical. Please get it done. Ending the freeway back (nearer) to 101 is a great idea.
I believed it is a great idea for a push for mass transit on Van Ness. I also suggest that on Mission Street from 6am to 9am and 3pm to 7pm no cars be permitted to drive through. You know how long a 14 bus (Daly City to ferry building)?, takes 2 hours +. Also close 24th Street to auto parking from 6am - 10 am so trucks can unload, otherwise the 48 bus line gets stuck. Thank you.
Although I wholeheatedly support the removal of the Central Freeway, I have mixed feelings on having the freeway on- and off-ramps on Market Street. My sense is that cars will continue to work their ways throughout the Hayes Valley to get to and from the freeway. Although through-traffic is important to support the Hayes St. commercial district, at the same time a high volume of cars would continue to have a detrimental impact on the quality of life in the neighborhood. If the Bryant St. exit is still a viable alternative, then I would prefer that over the Market St. scheme.
Thanks for working with the Hayes Valley community.
I would not like to see the central freeway torn down and make Octavia one-way. When we get to Fulton Street there will be too much of a traffic jam.
I want to register my objection to any change in Van Ness Avenue with less than three open lanes in each direction for all traffic. Fro many of us it is inconvenient or impossible to attend public hearings on this matter so I am registering my concern in letter form. The reasons are plentiful:
Van Ness is a natural North/South low point across the City. If more traffic were diverted to Gough Street, there would be a huge increase in the amount of exhaust fumes that would be detrimental to those people living in Cow Hollow, Pacific Heights, etc. Other alternatives such as Park Presidio and Oak Street are already at capacity.
Many of us who commute into the City do not have the option of public transit. Many of us are providing substantial tax revenues for the City of San Francisco and we depend on our cars for a major portion of our business. Many of us who live in Marin County pay a lot more tax revenue to the City than residents of San Francisco. Therefore, we should not be treated any differently than those in the City.
The buses are not being held up by automobile traffic. The flow for all vehicles seem to be satisfactory through the rush hour albeit heavy. The main problem is the enormous amount of construction in the streets of San Francisco that continues to be a huge impediment to traffic flow.
In closing, Van Ness Avenue is a vital link in the transportation network for all people there should be no reduction in lanes of traffic. One option would be to remove the esplanades so the busses could go along the center portion. Trees could be planted such that it would still be somewhat pleasant to look at. The only people using the esplanades at this point are the street predators who have their signs out and are creating a safety hazard by walking through traffic and asking for donations.
I also like the proposed idea of South Van Ness for buses and not heavy auto traffic.
I was at the neighborhood meeting last night 12/4/01 for the Market and Octavia Workshop #4. I support many of the features of the area plan-redeveloping the Safeway site, Octavia street improvements, Van Ness improvements with bus lanes. It all makes a lot of sense. I was less convinced by the bus turn around/public plaza as a terminus to Van Ness. I have sat in traffic many times heading south on Van Ness to 101. It is hard to believe that the grid can handle distributing that amount of south bound traffic before the traffic reaches Market Street where the driver must weave around SoMa in order to reach 101. I think a better solution would be to connect Van Ness, via a blvd extension along 12th Street, to a new Brannan Street on-ramp to 101. It would be easy access, a natural extension of the Van Ness Blvd and an elegant terminus to Van Ness. As you said in the presentation last night, the SoMa grid would disperse traffic quicker to all parts of the city if the freeway access were located well south of Market. Good Luck.
I liked the idea of New Franklin taking out South Van Ness. I like the bus lanes and would prefer a study of whether a subway line would be more effective in moving people, but the bus lanes would be preferable to the current situation.
It seems as though much of you plan relies on the idea that public transportation will improve enough so people will willingly abandon their cars. How can you guarantee that public transport will be fixed?
MUNI is unreliable, and runs limited hours. It actually stops before the bars close, prompting people to drink and drive. The city already knows this, but won't improve service. If such a blatant safety threat can be so easily ignored, what makes you think MUNI will step up to the plate just because you think it's a good idea?
CALTRANS goes a maximum of 30mph, and isn't even electrified. It's no wonder people traveling to and from the Peninsula would rather drive. Can you control CALTRANS and make it actually work?
I was disappointed by the "anti-car" tone of the meeting. I was troubled to see bike advocates from Berkeley on the sign in sheet (as if they should have a voice in what happens in our neighborhood). And I thought the reference to people who drive cars as "yuppies" was lame left-wing stereotyping.
I am willing to bet the guy who said that drives a car everywhere he goes. I guess having a car is good enough for him, but anyone else who gets behind the wheel is some sort of wasteful squanderer of the world's resources. That whole attitude is such a loser. Please drop it. Realize that cars won't go away, simply because you want to dabble with social engineering.
11th Street as the New Off Ramp
I heard the comment that 11th Street would make a new replacement off ramp for Highway 101, instead of Van Ness. Aren't you just transfering the problem to another street? As soon as you do that, 11th will become the traffic nightmare that Van Ness is today. Worse yet, 11th does not actually go through to anywhere! It stops at Market, and becomes a "right turn only."
Where will those drivers go? Onto Market? Yikes! That's one street that does not need any more cars, and the fact you can't take a legal left off it means folks will be making a circle right back into South of Market (where they came).
And since I live near 11th Street, I can make an observation about traffic flow. Your study says it is "under used." Well, get your engineers to work a little overtime. Doing a study on the 9 to 5 clock really doesn't tell the story. Have them come to 11th late on Friday and Saturday nights (during good weather). It's one of the city's hottest nightclub districts, and the streets are teeming with pedestrians - many of them drunk.
To have a highway exit ramp go right down into that area would be remarkably irresponsible. Someone is going to get run over.
Central Freeway/Octavia Boulevard:
It's quite amazing that this same concept of removing the Central Freeway farther back from Market was talked about and studied years ago. That particular alternative (it was #9) was one of four finalists analyzed by the Transportation Authority. I was a member of that task force and many of us favored that alternative, but didn't choose it in the end because we thought we'd never get it because of politics. We weren't as strong then as we perhaps should have been, but I also think we were wise. Back then we barely, by the skin of our teeth, got what we wanted- the freeway down and the boulevard up. But it was always our mantra that the farther back the freeway went the better the traffic would be dispersed. If you are serious about the idea, now seems the time to try and make it happen, before Caltrans builds the ramp. Do you think it's remotely possible?
Thanks for all the good work!
Wonderful presentation. Please include taking the freeway down to Bryant in this plan! It works better for everyone
I really like the idea of taking the Central Freeway back further to Bryant because this makes the most sense for diverting traffic, "fan-like", into the City. Instead of a touchdown at Market Street which could be problematic. I sure hope we at least try to make the long-term goal possible, instead of spending millions at a stop-gap measure at Market/Octavia. We should be pushing the lan that makes the most sense long-term! Keep the Bryant Street idea alive! Don't let a few drivers tell you to stop improvements along Van Ness. Theya are only looking at their short-term "inconvenience". We need to stick by our "transit first" priority- it benefits everyone.
It seems the best solution is to end the freeway at Brannon Street and continue Van Ness as an extensive boulevard from 101 to the north, then it matters less what type of street Octavia is and celebrates Van Ness.
1. Since Van Ness Avenue functions as Hwy. 101 and is therefore under the jurisdiction of Caltrans, what has been their input on the proposal to eliminate S. Van Ness and therefore disconnect the now-continuous street/ highway corridor to the elevated Hwy. 101 corridor? Perhaps they will accept the section of Market Street between the end of Van Ness and the new Octavia Blvd. to function as an alternative to S. Van Ness.
2. Overall, I think the proposals have great merit and deserve further study- especially additional traffic modeling and analysis.
3. I support moving the central freeway back to Bryant Street.
Because the freeway ending at Market and Octavia Boulevard was created through the initiative process, what are current options available for making the Bryant Street option work?
I am impressed by your transportation guy. He takes a wholistic view of transportation within the context of the city and sounds like he has some creative ideas.
I don't like the idea of dumping all the freeway traffic onto Market. If Market Street is to be transit and pedestrian friendly, then a huge outpouring of traffic there, will only make it worse.
Is there some possibility that some of the money dedicated to this project could be used to expand car share resources within the city?
To increase perceived safety at the performing arts garages, could the edge of the garage at street level be developed into retail with a broad range of hours? San Luis Obispo has a parking structure with retail at the base that blends fairly well into the neighborhood. (i.e. it doesn't look like a parking garage- located on March Street).
If planting lots of trees on the street, don't forget to include lighting at the pedestrian level. Normal street lamps are shading by the trees, such that little light gets through to the sidewalk.
Would be nice to have havens and planted medians around crazy Van Ness and Market Street intersections. But I have heard a lot about how the extensive construction on Market in the past of Muni lines, etc. forced many good businesses to close and poor quality ones to move it. I worry that by trying to make things better, they may get worse in some areas.
What would be the feasibility of putting a new BART stop at Otis and McCoppin?
Great presentation. Please continue with your studies to move the central freeway back to Bryant. The benefits are well worth the effort and I fully support the idea. Has anyone considered the idea of tearing down Fox Plaza? It is unspeakably hideous and it ruins many blocks of middle Market, not only by being so damn ugly, but by creating hurricane winds. Removing the structure and rebuilding replacement housing on the site would very dramatically improve Market Street.
Pulling freeway back to Bryant is a good idea. Include rail transit in median of new boulevard to Bryant (to connect Duboce and N line with SOMA)
Look at redesigning street similar to Duboce Triangle, which may actually increase street parking and improve pedestrian environment.
I'm very pleased with the plans for Octavia Boulevard. Housing facing the boulevard is a good idea. Please don't put parallel parking there.
Please keep as much of the freeway parcels for affordable housing as possible. Like idea of having no minimum on number of parking spots since this is an area where bus transportation is available. Keep working on high density, low income, affordable housing, as well as keeping areas beautiful, interesting and safe for people and bicycles. Thank you for keeping this process open.
Looks like all the proposals for housing sites are within existing zoning limits. It was my understanding that a large feedback was presented to lobby for relaxed height limits.
We need more housing opportunities and we need to be bold.
We need to go taller (a bit) and help stem the exodus of residents who want to buy in this area.
In terms of new housing, I like the diverse stock intended, but I would like to see more home ownership for renters.
There was a lot of referencing to something called "high density" housing to be built near here. The housing would purposely exclude parking, as a way of encouraging people to use public transit.
Without parking, realistically you are targeting only low income people to occupy this housing. Are we talking about a housing project? If so, please just call it that so people will know what you mean. It seems misleading to call it anything else.
I asked one of your staff members about this, and he said it would be housing for a wide mix of people from all socio-economic levels. If that's the intention, it would seem to be wishful thinking that wealthy people are going to live in the same project as someone on welfare. I'd like to believe people of all kinds can live together, but I don't think that's realistic.
All that said, high-rise low income housing projects have been a universal failure all over America. They are being blown up and torn down in favor of low-rise public housing. Why makes you think it will succeed here?
And the city has an abysmal record with existing housing projects. They are centers for crimes, drugs and other problems. The only one with a decent reputation is in the Marina, and the city is currently tearing that one down.
Right now South of Market has the highest violent and serious crime rate in the entire city. Some of us are working to change that. Just last week we met with Capt. Perra of the police department. SoMa is already home to the largest concentration of convicted criminals in the city, possibly the state. The state parole system places murderers, rapists and child molesters here. We are also home to most of the city's homeless shelters, drug addiction programs, and mental health outreach programs.
We're feeling a bit under seige. We feel like we have the lion's share of the city's problems dumped onto our doorsteps. We love SoMa and its mixed-use nature (that's why we live here), but the crime problems are out of control. Is it really fair for us to handle more?
To help move transit through this area, please consider 'flashing reds', traffic signals that act like stop signs (the best 'signalization' for pedestrians), until a transit vehicle approaches, changing the light to green for transit and red for opposing traffic. The technique is already use at California and Powell- it functions as atop sign, but does not force transit vehicles to stop when they are present.
Here is where I think the flashing reds make sense:
The idea would be that surface transit would only stop when people are boarding, but not at intersection where they can't, without sacrificing the pedestrian friendly pattern of stop signs when no transit vehicles are present.
I saw no recognition or allowance made for taxis. Are cabs envisioned to be able to use "transit only lanes"?
The infill of the central freeway and other development will eliminate at least one thousand spaces. But limiting parking to minimize new traffic, does not create places for people who come to the area out of the region for events museums and sightseeing. I don't believe the plan as it is now presented, will take care of peak demand, deliveries, etc. Portland, Oregon is a mess. It looks like a model, but I've lived there recently and experienced the "ring" around the city- a parking lot.
Has the idea been studied to build remote parking garages for residential use in this area to offset the reduction of parking requirement for the new development?
I am extremely, extremely in favor of getting rid of parking minimums in residential areas and establishing parking maximums. I think this is what we need to do to get the neighborhood character that we want. This will help us avoid becoming an ultra-rich enclave like Orange County.
Promoting a code change to reduce parking stalls in new buildings is like trying to hold back the tide. Sounds great in theory but, just won't work & will cause the cost of living to increase without any benefit for that increase. People will not give up their cars so make a solution work with cars as a reality.
South Van Ness- public open space- great! Lots of talk about squeezing in as many mid-rise apartment complexes as possible, not enough about public squares, parks, sunny areas (these tall building will cut off out precious sun), pedestrian malls. High-density cities (successful ones) like some have the relief of squares with fountains. We need areas in which the streets are completely closed off to traffic- including buses. These areas exist in every successful high density european city. "Streets are for people," that means public open spaces. I don't see enough emphasis on this. Public transit only lanes on Van Ness- Yes!! Car-share sounds very interesting. Yes, public right of way! Trees! Corner plazas! Open space! Open space with sun! Dare I even suggest fountains and status? Pedestrian only shopping on Hayes or anywhere else! Every major european city has one and they are successful.
Great work! As I mentioned to John Billovits, make sure that public spaces, like mini parks etc., have a retail presence, otherwise homeless people will take them over. The covered transit hubs, even bulb-outs! -same thing. But don't let that stop you, just plan for a mixed presence, not a dead space.
In terms of urban landscaping, I am happy about Hayes Green, but would like to see a 'nature trail' weaving thru the liberated parcels. Also, no more eucalyptus trees and more California natives (Redwood, Willow, Scrub Oak).
I just haven't heard very much about open space. Largest emphasis seems to be housing density, more housing, more density. So where are the local NEW open space parks for recreations for all NEW people living in this new density of housing? I ask for open park spaces (plural) for all ages. Small playground areas, teen spots for skateboards, fun boxes (many teens are in schools in the Oak/ Octavia) Van Ness area) and quiet area for elders and general public.
Please, also, no more Plane trees, they always look sick. Palms are ok. Liquidambar (sweet gum) trees are a good choice too.
The presentation last night was very well presented.
Professor Jacobs was right on when he said that the first Europeans saw a treeless landscape when arriving in what-is-now San Francisco. The suggestion to plant native tree species is ludicrous. Looking at what grows well in the district is a good approach. However, I urge the project team to stay away from planting Lombardy poplars (Populus nigra), which are weedy, appear sickly, and create a lot of leaf litter in the neighborhood.
Yes to dedicated public transportation corridor on Van Ness!
Yes to parks.
Yes to connected bike lanes.
I am concerned about 'market-rate' parking permits- it seems the richest people will have the most opportunities to park.
I appreciate attention to Herman/ Duboce intersection; it seems to be a good solution, definitely a place in need of help.
I will be happy to see our city improved.
Improvement of public transportation is important.
I love the attempt to find new public open spaces within the fabric of the city. Love the north side of the street for hangout space.
Don't like the proposed way of distributing the parking permits (richest people win)
Like the overall parking proposals (except for the permits above)
Like the planting of trees all over the place, please pick the nicest trees, not necessarily 'native' trees- Palms are fine with me (please no trees that drop sappy stuff all over cars and footpaths).
Like the idea of pushing the freeway touchdown back to Bryant (or was it Brannan?).
More transit lines on Van Ness. Minimize parking requirements- yes! (for new buildings). Widening sidewalks at intersections- yes! Traffic circles- yes! Why put (open space) plazas where the freeway touches down (freeway exit?) Noisy, black dust, only desperate homeless will inhabit it. Consider in your proposal the protection that will be used for the planting of new trees. New trees die at a rapid rate in my neighborhood, mostly due to their makeshift use as urinals.
Generally the presentations were interesting and informative, however, the gentleman who presented the parking section made a very stereotypical comment about "Yuppies and SUV's" which was ignorant and offensive.
Secondly, it is obvious that the parking proposal is an under-handed agenda to do more social engineering, which will be a disaster. It will not fix the affordable housing problem. We have vacant space now that could be used to solve this deficit. Building more housing for everyone, in particular the middle class (who are those most in need of a car to commute) is the only solution. Otherwise we will end up a city of the poor and the very wealthy only.
We are interested in hearing what you will do with Octavia. Will it be a one-way street?
Wind issues at Market and Van Ness need to be addressed.
Where are the design guidelines?
Thoughts about optimum density.
Have other than buildings been considered for blvd. 15 foot lots, such as sculptures?
Has traffic spillover been addressed?
How do proposals for "new" Franklin affect "old" Franklin?
What has carried forward from earlier workshops?
How will parking issues be addressed?
Intend to engage businesses affected by plans?
Have you contacted businesses?
Get broader outreach.
What about taking freeway back to Bryant?
Traffic at Van Ness and Market, how go to SOMA?
Issues of understanding highway system if Van Ness not a state highway.
Question social equity of selling parking permits all for outsiders and visitors.
How does this fit with city's bike plans and network?
Consider safety of separating bikes and autos.
Car-share spaces on the street?
Bulb-outs on Oak and Fell where there is no tow-away.
Considered native tree plantings on Market, in place of Palms.
Why not 'pedestrianize' the commercial stretch of Hayes?