Look to Pier 70 to see Why San Francisco Voters do Not Trust City Hall

Op-ed by Zrants

You need to Look no further than the ‘Pier 70 Mixed-Use District Project’ to understand the anger and frustrations of neighborhood groups and ordinary citizens who spent hours and their time to work out deals with city planners to somewhat mitigate the negative effects of increased populations moving onto their tender turf, to be told that the plan has changed.

The project voters approved is being amended for a much less friendly design. Density levels are going up. Six stories are really nine stories. In fact forge the promises the voters counted on. Now that the project got through the election, they are scrapping it.

That is why, when voters get the chance, the only safe way to vote on a development project is to vote against it. Look the difference between 8 Washington and Pier 70. The voters voted against 8 Washington and nothing changed. The voters approved a plan for Pier 70 as it was presented by the developers but the design has changed since the vote.

An editorial by Don Clark that ran in the Potrero View outlines some of our primary concerns. To see the draft EIR and see for yourself, go here and scroll down the page:

…The City and County of San Francisco intends to grant Forest City Enterprises rights to build a wall of nine-story buildings along the Central Waterfront, from 20th to 22nd streets, which would completely obscure scenic Bay vistas for many, if not most, Potrero Hill eastern slope residents.  As one travels down 20th Street from Missouri Street to Third, beautiful Bay views would disappear.  Imagine that the American Industrial Center, the red building with white columns at the corner of 22nd and Third streets, was doubled in height.  The replacement of four- and six-story structures with nine-story edifices would dramatically Manhattanize this historical waterfront… (more)

Building height limits are not the only promises being broken. One of the major concerns to neighbors and all who drive through the area was the increased traffic and congestion that SFMTA claimed they could handle. That no longer looks likely. Not only are the buildings going to be taller and contain more people, but, the DOT announced they are not funding the electrification of Caltrans and other transit projects until they conduct an audit to find out why there are such large cost overruns.

A couple of recent laws that were passed that citizens should know about are: mentioned by Den Clark: California Senate Bill 743 eliminated scenic protections from transit infill projects, which the City quickly applied. The November 26, 2013 Planning Department Summary, Attachment A, shows that the Planning Department has removed consideration of scenic vistas from most of San Francisco’s waterfront (http://sfmea.sfplanning.org/CEQA%20Update-SB%20743%20Summary.pdf)

Send comments to Lisa Gibson Lisa.Gibson@sfgov.org on Pier 70 Mixed-Use Project by Tuesday, 5 PM February 21, 2017. Sample letter from Peter Linenthal (eir-pdf-new)

The Developer, Forest City, is publishing a Design for Development document which will be presented to the Planning Commission in an informational hearing on March 23rd. There will be an opportunity then for public comment. The Final EIR will take months and will go to the Planning Commission as part of the final approvals. There’s a lot we don’t know yet. The Draft EIR has a Maximum Residential Scenario and a Maximum Commercial Scenario and Forest City is doing a phased development which makes it especially difficult to know what to expect.

Railyard Alternatives and 280 Boulevard Feasbility Study Among Projects Funded Through Community Grant Programs




More than One Million in Funding
Will Benefit Second Phase of Analysis

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The San Francisco Planning Department announced today that its Railyard Alternatives and I-280 Boulevard Feasibility Study (RAB), a multi-agency program studying transportation and land use alternatives around the existing 4th & King Caltrain Railyard, received grants totaling $1,190,000 from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to continue the second phase of the Study, projected to begin in 2015. The RAB study areas also include the interface of Mission Bay, South of Market, and Showplace Square/Lower Potrero Hill.
“With the multitude of projects currently underway in San Francisco, it is imperative that we create a coordinated vision for the future of this area; one that links state of the art transit systems with future growth,” said San Francisco Planning Director John Rahaim. “These grants allow us to continue our efforts on behalf of the future of transportation and land use. We are grateful to the MTC and SGC for these grants, and in recognizing the importance of this work to the future of the city and the Bay Area.”… (more)

This is where the transit funds are going. To plan things like tearing down the 280 Freeway. How many of these plans are given priority over Muni operations and services? Can you add them up and figure it out?

Let you Supervisors and Mayor know how you feel about spending millions on plans to tear down the 280 Freeway while asking voters to take on $500 million more bond debt.

Potrero Streetscape Plan – November 7 meeting at General hospital


  • How does this effect emergency access to the hospital?
  • Are narrow lanes safer when cycles insist on shared traffic lanes?
  • Not many bikes in the bike lanes on Potrero.
  • Potrero is in horrible condition. Pave and paint first.
  • Why does the SFMTA want to encourage bikes on Potrero when there are safer, level alternatives nearby?

Potrero Streetscape Improvements Community Open House – November 7

Potrero Streetscape Improvements Community Open House
Thursday November 7  6 PM – 8:00 PM
San Francisco General Hospital Second Floor Cafeteria
Find out how SFMTA proposes to slow traffic on Potrero Avenue. Potrero provides freeway access to 101 and 280 South, and is a major point of departure for San Francisco’sSouth Eastern neigbhorhoods.

  • Voice your opionions.
  • Bring your own ideas to share.
  • Demand better.
  • Support the neighborhood.

Sign the petition to save parking on Potrero: http://www.potreroparking.org/
Information on the plan: sfdpw.org/potrero