The discussion around the proposed plans for a series of new towers rising up to 1,070 feet within the Transit Center District naturally turns to new shadows, the effects of which are extensively covered in the second appendix of the Transit Center District Plan and Transit Tower Environmental Impact Report.
For those who haven’t managed to make it all the way through the nearly thousand page report, we offer a few summary excerpts with respect to the proposed towers’ shadows:
Shadow effects of the draft Plan were analyzed by computer generation of shadows that would be cast by the proposed Transit Tower as well as shadows that would be cast by other buildings that could be built with implementation of the draft Plan….For potential future buildings other than the Transit Tower, shadows analyzed are based on massing models representative of potential future development in the Plan area.
[The shadows] from several potential future Plan area buildings at 500 feet in height or greater would reach a number of parks subject to Section 295 controls, including Union Square, Justin Herman Plaza, Portsmouth Square, St. Mary’s Square, Maritime Plaza, and Boeddeker Park.
With one exception, shadow from any given potential building would cover part of any affected Section 295 park for less than 45 minutes per day over a period of time ranging from 4 to 12 weeks (one to three months) per year; the exception would be that Union Square would be newly shaded by up to about one hour per day, over a period of six months, by a 600-foot tower addition to the southwest corner of the Palace Hotel on New Montgomery Street. Most new shadow on Section 295 parks would be in the early morning hours, except that Justin Herman Plaza would be newly shaded in the early afternoon in late fall and early winter.
Union Square, because it is in a retail and tourist hotel neighborhood, is generally not heavily used during the early morning hours (before 8:00 a.m.) when much of the new shadow from Plan area buildings would fall on the park. Between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., when shadow from the Palace Hotel tower would fall on Union Square, activity is increased, although there is substantially more pedestrian activity on the sidewalks surrounding Union Square at this time than in the park itself, as many people pass Union Square when walking to work and other destinations.
Portsmouth Square, at the eastern edge of Chinatown, a very dense residential neighborhood, is relatively heavily used even between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., when new shadow from Plan area buildings would fall on the park. Much of the activity in Portsmouth Square at this time of day consists of individuals, many elderly, exercising.
St. Mary’s Square, although near the southern edge of Chinatown, is not as heavily used as Portsmouth Square. However, it is used by people exercising in the early morning, when new shadow from Plan area buildings would fall on the park.
Justin Herman Plaza, which would be newly shaded in the early afternoon in late fall and early winter, is heavily used during the midday period by persons traveling to and from the Ferry Building, tourists, street vendors, and lunchtime office workers and strollers.
The non-Section 295 public open space that would be most greatly affected by Plan area development is Rincon Park along the Embarcadero. This open space would be newly shaded in the late afternoon throughout much of the year, except from mid-fall through mid-winter, by the Transit Tower, 181 Fremont, the 50 First Street project, and potential 700-foot buildings at the Golden Gate University site and at 350 Mission Street.
Click on either of the images to enlarge. Keep in mind it’s the orange bits (“Net New Shadow”), not simply the building outlines, that really matter. And beyond the effect on parks, plugged-in people might also note the unrestricted effects on other buildings.
∙ The Plan For San Francisco’s Tallest Tower And Transit Center District [SocketSite]
∙ Hines And Pelli Clarke Pelli Bid The Most (And Get The Transbay Nod) [SocketSite]
∙ Transit Center District Plan and Transit Tower EIR Second Appendix [sfplanning.org]
∙ San Francisco Planning Code Section 295: Shadow Restrictions [amlegal.com]