Preparing for San Francisco’s Big Central SoMa Plan and More HeightNovember 20, 2015
Have no fear, unless you happen to rely on the parking lot at 350 Second Street or own a condo at 77 Dow Place that currently overlooks the parcel, an architect has been engaged to start working on plans for a new building to rise upon this lot.
Currently zoned for an office or residential building to rise up to 130 feet in height, the parcel could be up-zoned for 200-feet in height as part of San Francisco’s Central SoMa Plan.
As such, don’t expect any firm proposals for the parcel until The Plan, which will define the City’s vision and strategies, and the overall potential, for developing the area bounded by Market, Sixth, Second and Townsend Streets, is adopted.
The authors of the draft plan are aiming to publish the required Environmental Impact Report by the end of the year with formal hearings at the Planning Commission now slated for early 2016.
Comments from Plugged-In Readers
I hope whatever building replaces the Second Street parking lot builds right up to the AT&T exchange lot line; that is one blank and ugly wall.
Can’t, 77 Dow has an access road there.
As a longtime resident of 77 Dow Place I’m not opposed to the development of the eyesore parking lot. Hopefully they will consider finally improving Dow Place and forcing the developer to integrate our public space in front with theirs, making it more palatable for all.
I really wish they were doing this in West SoMa as well. That area is a huge loss of opportunity for housing in this city.
[Editor’s Note: A Short-Sighted Plan For Western SoMa?.]
When I look at the various zoning maps, with all the different heights for seemingly similar parcels, it sometimes seems so random.
It is random.
Going from 130′ to 200′ does NOT seem like enough for me, especially in such a dense area. It’s a block from towers on Rincon Hill that are all 400’+ Also, is there not a way to make the height restrictions more fluid, rather than on a parcel by parcel basis?
This draft Central SoMa Plan would remove traffic lanes from many of the major streets in the area, including Folsom, Howard, Brannan, Bryant, Harrison, 3rd and 4th. In most cases to widen sidewalks and construct dedicated bicycle lanes.
Anyone that regularly travels on Howard, Folsom, or Brannan might want to consider how they would operate with half as many traffic lanes. One alternative in this plan would configure all of them as two-way with only a single through lane in each direction, similar to how 2nd Street will be in a year or two.
The plan has many nice statements about “re-balancing”, none about gridlock. Folsom sounds dreamy:
“Under the two-way scenario, Folsom Street would feature wider, well-furnished sidewalks and more frequent crosswalks, two-way transit, and cycle tracks. The roadway would feature one traffic lane in each direction, which transit would share with general traffic west of 4th Street.”
After we build a network of new subways and close most of the CBD parking garages, this could work fine. Unfortunately, neither of those are “featured” in this plan.
If the Central SoMa plan is still in draft, then its time to start sending emails to the appropriate people about constricting the streets you mentioned. I can’t believe they’re actually serious about this idea given the growth in the area. It seems like these folks have never spent any prolonged time visiting this area during the entire day, which is now varies from extremely busy traffic to clogged during morning and evening commutes.
As for 2nd, I’ve already emailed people about the plan to ask them to reevaluate/drop. Guess I need to do this again. From what I can tell, 2nd is now essentially a parking lot for several blocks north and south of the Bay Bridge entrances just about six days a week.
SFMTA board unanimously approved the 2nd Street project back in August. Construction to start fall 2016, with completion by fall of 2017. Too late for emails on that now.
I too thought “I can’t believe they’re actually serious about this idea” when I read in the ~2009 Bike Plan that they would reroute the FiDi traffic that uses 2nd to Folsom to use Hawthorne instead to make 2nd better for bikes. Hawthorne is little more than an alley. But they were serious and they are going to do it. In fact the 2009 Bike Plan didn’t call for the dedicated cycle tracks on 2nd that will be built, so when they got around to the details they went further than even the Bike Plan, seriously.
SocketSite above has a link to the draft Central Corridor plan pdf.
Chapter 4 lays out the street changes. It has many very good ideas, especially the pedestrian improvements. The problem is we can’t optimize everything (pedestrian, bike, transit, parking, traffic) because the SoMa street grid is oversubscribed, has been for decades and will be for decades. Obviously, the “improvements” or optimizations made in SF circa 1930-1980 auto-uber-alles era went way too far for private vehicles. But we aren’t going to close the Bay Bridge or the freeways to San Mateo or the SF parking garages that house the 100-200k cars that transit through SoMa to those freeways every commute.
This plan is scheduled for approval next year. Once approved, AFAIK the costs are the only thing slowing this plan. Otherwise, the politics is lined up to do these re-balancings as fast as they can push them through the process python. Gotta believe they mean what they say, from page 58 of this Draft Plan:
“Some street improvements could be implemented in the near-term. Specifically, major reconfigurations to street operation (such as conversion from one-way to two-way operation, installation of transit and bicycle facilities, and changes in the number of travel lanes) could be initially implemented on a street-by-street or block-by-block basis using roadway striping, traffic signal modifications, corner bulb-outs, and other low-cost tools.”
the 2nd street project is truly terrible for SF
Bummer about 2nd street. I’m not sure how making Hawthorne a throughway will help the northbound traffic on 2nd south of Folsom, especially during commute. Its become such a heavily traveled street during the entire day just about every day of the week.
To me, it sounds like King, Townsend, Brannan and Bryant will just be more congested as traffic tries to turn onto 2nd. And I’ll wager that 3rd will end up being a parking lot (along with traffic on 2nd) between King and Folsom. What a mess.
Transit and general traffic sharing one lane of traffic. And people wonder why MUNI is the way it is.
The reverse is even worse. Private vehicular traffic having to stop behind buses waiting as passengers unload/board.
The should put the world’s largest bounce hour there. Or better yet: How about a small park…some grass, flowers, benches and picnic areas….
It’s a shame that the 200 ft building will shade the park across the street deeming it unusable after noon not to mention the wind tunnel a building of this height will cause.
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