Transit Wins and Community Development [August-September 2010 print edition]

Haight/Market Street transit and pedestrian improvements coming soon:

Transportation & Planning Committee is pleased to report that San Francisco has been awarded a Federally-funded Livable Communities Grant to reintroduce two-way bus service on Haight Street. The “straightening” of the bus route will shave-off 3 to 4 minutes of time for buses from Fillmore Street to the Market and Van Ness intersection. The $2.8 million grant funds the following improvements:

  • The conversion of Haight Street between Octavia Boulevard and Market Street to a two-way street.
  • New overhead wires for the transit lane on inbound Haight between Laguna and Market Street
  • The extension of the transit lane on Market Street from Franklin Street to Gough.
  • Pedestrian infrastructure on Haight and Market Streets including enhanced corner bulbs, additional pedestrian refuge islands, more directly aligned crosswalks, new pedestrian signals, and additional street tree plantings.

Additionally this project improves bicycling by removing transitbicycle conflicts on the Page Street bicycle route and adding safe-hit poles to the bicycle lane on Market Street.

The HVNA has a long history of supporting the reintroduction of two-way bus service on Haight Street and removing the current ‘jog’ of the Haight Street buses to Page Street. HVNA advocated for this to be part of the city’s “Transit Effectiveness Project” and it is part of the Market and Octavia Better Neighborhood Plan. The grant was a joint San Francisco Planning Department/ San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency proposal and we are grateful for their successful application. This project will now enter a design phase and will be watched closely by the T & P committee.

SF Jazz approved

The proposed SF Jazz performance and educational center at 205 Franklin Street (at Fell Street) was approved unanimously by the San Francisco Planning Commission in July. SF Jazz found an excellent location in the heart of an already established performing arts district, allowing the type of agglomeration economies that make talent and creativity thrive. It is easily accessible to the BART Station at the Civic Center, and to the Muni Metro Lines on Market Street, as well as the Hayes Street bus line. It is also in the center of a dense, walkable, mixed-use neighborhood with many dining and entertainment opportunities.

The T & P Committee is pleased that the project sponsor is not building a parking garage at this site, in keeping with the transit first policies of the Market & Octavia Plan. If a patron needs to drive to the venue, there is adequate parking in the Performing Arts Garage and in the Civic Center Garage.

At the July Planning Commission hearing, the commission directed the department to work with SF Jazz and HVNA to get the crosswalk reintroduced on the east side of the Fell and Franklin Street intersection. This intersection will have a considerable increase in pedestrian activity with a new 800-seat venue and education facility, and it is critical that the crosswalk be introduced in tandem with the project. The T & P committee will also work closely with SF Jazz and other immediate neighbors to make Linden Alley a “livable street” between Franklin and Gough Street. A critical component of the open space plan for the Market and Octavia Plan is to provide living streets. In this case, making Linden Street into a living street in conjunction with the project is a logical extension of the proposed transformation of Linden Street between Gough and Octavia Street.

2001 Market Street

The 2001 Project (aka Whole Foods on Market) is likely to go before the San Francisco Planning Commission in late September or October. In June the T & P committee met with the Prado Group to get the latest iteration of the project. We are pleased to report that Prado has dropped its pursuit of excess parking and will keep the project aligned with the hard-won parking standards outlined in the Market and Octavia Plan. Prado is now proposing 0.5 parking spaces per residential unit. We thank the staff of the San Francisco Planning Department, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association for joining HVNA on the parking issue.

While this project is just beyond our neighborhood borders, it will have a dramatic impact on our neighborhood, especially with potential traffic on Buchanan, Laguna, and Market Streets. We will continue to engage with the project as it moves through the planning process. One outstanding issue is the location of the affordable housing component. It is not clear whether the project will have on-sight affordable housing, as required by the City, or if the developer buys-out of providing on-site affordable housing by paying in-lieu fees to the city. The HVNA believes that in keeping with the spirit of the Market and Octavia Plan, affordable housing should be built on-site. We need to make sure that people of lower and middle income backgrounds can afford to live in the transitrich, walkable Market Street corridor. We will continue to monitor this project and advocate for on-site affordable housing.

Congestion Pricing

There will be a presentation at the HVNA general meeting in August.