Transportation & Planning Update
Jason Henderson, Chair, Transportation & Planning Committee
Despite the economic downturn and decline in housing construction the transportation and planning committee remains busy these days. While construction is probably a few years off, developers are working on getting their environmental clearance and permits finalized and “shovel-ready” because they anticipate economic recovery in the next few years. Two projects stand out:
1960-1998 Market (the 76 gas station at Buchanan)
This proposed mixed-use project would have 115 housing units above retail space fronting Market Street. It would include 17 on-site affordable units. The HVNA supports the concept of mixed-use infill development at 1960-1998 Market Street, and applauds keeping affordable housing on site. We are cautiously optimistic with this proposal provided that it accords with the letter and the spirit of the Market and Octavia Neighborhood Plan. A major concern is that we want to ensure it maximizes the transit first and walkability potential at this site, minimizes the impact of automobiles, and fits the scale of the street. We will be working with the developer to make sure we get a great building on that derelict corner.
2001 Market Street (Whole Foods Proposal)
Many people turned out for HVNA January meeting to hear about the Whole Foods mixed-use development proposed at 2001 Market. The proposed project is planned on the site of the vacant S&C Ford dealership. Whole Foods would occupy the entire ground floor and 80 residential units would be built above. The developer is seeking to build the project by mid-2011. The concerns expressed by our community were three-fold. First, there was a critical discussion about the need and merits of a mega-chain store in the area. Many neighbors are concerned that a Whole Foods will put the family-run Golden Produce on Church Street out of business. Second, there was much discussion about the transit-oriented, walkable characteristics of the project. While HVNA strongly supports mixed use housing and re-use of this site, what we were presented with appeared “greenwashed.” Meanwhile, a third major concern we have with this project is the lack of on-site affordable housing. This site must include affordable housing in order to ensure lower and middle class people can live on Market Street. Stay tuned we remain vigilant.
In the meantime, it seems that 55 Laguna (the UC Extension) remains in financial limbo, and the T & P committee continues to watch proposed developments at 401 grove and 555 Fulton still in the works. Lastly, HVNA should be proud that the affordable housing on Parcel G (Fulton at Gough) has finally cleared all hurdles and will be built soon. We want to thank all the neighbors who have spoken out about the dire need for this type of housing in our city.
On the transportation front, the City reintroduced the south crosswalk at Hayes and Gough on March 10th. Supervisor Mirkarimi is planning an official celebration soon. However, the larger goal of returning Hayes to a two-way neighborhood retail street remains elusive due to bureaucratic stonewalling by city traffic engineers intent on keeping the street a car sewer. The HVNA T & P committee will continue to work with Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi to return our streets to humans rather than high speed automobiles.