Mayor Asks CPMC for Money to Fund Transit, Ped Safety, But Is It Enough?

A rendering of CPMC's proposed 555-bed hospital on Van Ness Avenue as it would be seen from Franklin and Post.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has sent a proposal to California Pacific Medial Center (CPMC) officials requesting more than $108 million to help mitigate the impacts of a proposed 555-bed hospital and office building on Cathedral Hill in the heart of a rich transit district and congested area that will be the future crossing point of two bus rapid transit (BRT) lines.

The mayor’s proposal was first reported in the Chronicle this morning. It includes a request that CPMC contribute $73 million to the city’s affordable housing fund, provide $4.5 million for the loss of 20 single-room occupancy (SRO) units and 5 rent-controlled apartments, along with $18 million for pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements in the Tenderloin and Mission, and $10 million for both the Van Ness and Geary BRT projects.

“It’s certainly a good start,” said Tom Radulovich, the executive director of Livable City, who has been a critic of CPMC’s plans. “It’s great to see some projects in there that have long been priorities for the adjacent neighborhoods.”

As we’ve reported, transit advocates and a broad coalition of neighborhood and labor groups have raised serious concerns about CPMC’s long-range development plans for San Francisco, including new parking being proposed for the enormous facility that would be built on Van Ness Avenue, and the plan for St. Luke’s hospital in the Mission.

Advocates say the parking garages proposed for the Van Ness location (a total of 1200 spaces, 650 above current conditions) would have a detrimental impact on streets and neighborhoods in the area, including the Tenderloin. Radulovich and other advocates have criticized the Planning Department’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) and outdated EIR models that fail to consider how additional parking affects driving demand.

A copy of the Mayor’s demands [pdf] obtained by Streetsblog doesn’t go into great detail, but outlines some of the pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements that would benefit the Tenderloin, which has some of the highest rates of pedestrian fatalities and injuries in San Francisco.

The proposal includes:

  • $3.5 million to fund the conversion from one-way to two-way traffic on Ellis and Eddy Streets between Leavenworth and Mason.
  • $3 million to fund curb bulbs, crosswalk treatments and signal modifications at a number of intersections in the Tenderloin.
  • $3 million to fund pedestrian lighting along several streets through the Tenderloin.
  • $500,000 to fund a “Safe Passage Program” creating a designated safe walking route for children through the Tenderloin to BART.
  • $1 million in capital funding for the establishment of a neighborhood CBD for the Lower Polk Neighborhood, and initial set of physical improvements “to be implemented by the CPD on an ongoing basis.”
  • $1 million to fund streetscape-related improvements in the Lower Polk neighborhood.
  • $7 million to fund a series of streetscape, pedestrian safety and lighting improvements in the immediate vicinity of St. Luke’s in the Mission.

Similar to requirements that were placed on the parking garage for the upcoming City Place development on Market Street, CPMC would remit to the SFMTA a .50 cent fee for each peak hour entry and exit, and a .25 cent fee for each off-peak entry and exit at its parking garages.

We had several questions for the Mayor’s Office about this proposal, but a phone call to Ken Rich of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development was not immediately returned.

Will $18 million really be enough to mitigate the true impacts on transit, pedestrians and bicyclists?

What about some of the shelved proposals that were included in the San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s 2007 Tenderloin/Little Saigon report [pdf], including a recommendation to two-way Leavenworth and Jones Streets?

Why no money for bicycle improvements? A garage for the Van Ness facility would let out on Polk Street. Why not fund a protected bikeway on Polk Street? It’s a heavily traveled bike corridor (Route 25 on the bike map) that serves as a major north-south connection.

While many questions remain about the Mayor’s proposal, Radulovich said it was encouraging to see these kind of issues addressed at this point in the process.

“Mitigation measures like these being proposed by the Mayor’s Office before the project goes through the entitlements process, rather than being brokered after the fact as part of an EIR appeal as happened with Cityplace, is definitely progress,” said Radulovich.

CPMC has not had time to officially respond to the Mayor’s Office, but a spokesperson told the Chronicle: “We have only just begun to review the document, but clearly this is an ambitious request of a nonprofit hospital that is trying to meet its legally mandated seismic obligations.”

Stay tuned.

  • Fran Taylor

    When we evaluate the transportation impacts, we need to look beyond immediate streetscape issues and consider how folks in the southeastern part of the city will have to travel much farther for care if the current plan to reduce St. Luke’s to a tiny boutique hospital is allowed to go forward. The healthcare inequity of building a 500-bed monster on the north side and a puny 80-bedder on the south side is compounded by the transit difficulties this will impose on patients and their families coming from the Excelsior, Bayview, Ingleside, and so on.

    Mayor Lee’s demands do include a list of services that St. Luke’s must continue to provide, but he makes no mention of the size of the proposed new hospital. We need to make those transportation connections and not be bought off by money for BRT and better sidewalks.

  • … and bike parking. Thanks for thinking outside of the (gift)box on this 🙂

  • Sicko

     Too much parking!!!
    But it appears that the city’s new approach is, if you can’t beat em, tax em!
    Now that the city gets a cut of the parking revenue, the  incentive is switched for as large a garage spewing out as much traffic as possible.  Mo money for Muni!

  • Ftwfine

    I believe this approach is called EXTORTION. 

  • Anonymous

    Instead of $78 million for affordable housing and $28 million for transit, it should be the other way round. If there were reliable and cheap transit, and if density (and parking) regulations were relaxed along those routes, there would be a thousand places where you could find a low-cost apartment which was still convenient to everywhere you’d need to go.

    I’m becoming more and more discouraged with the idea of the city building “affordable housing”. It’s not affordable housing– it’s a lottery! It’s the city dropping half a million dollars on a single family– great for them, not much help for anyone else, and hardly a solution to the overall problem of affordable housing. Putting the resources into rapid transit instead benefits everyone, and leads to the kind of affordable housing that you can actually get instead of putting your name on a list and crossing your fingers.

  • david vartanoff

     Make employment at this site covenanted NO  auto commuting; CPMC to provide full commuting pass/ticket costs.   Provide a half dozen Zip/carshare spots for the occasional employee emergency (sick child at school etc) also on CPMC’s dime.   And in reply to (ftwfine) no more extortionate than insisting on adherence to building codes, zoning, etc

  • Mr. Burns

    This is extortion.  It’s sleazy and disgusting to force the hospital to create a slush fund for local politicians.  It is not the hospital’s responsibility to provide affordable housing.  The hospital should focus on delivering cost effective health care and pay for all the other ills of the city.

  • david vartanoff

     @d00ab58be3bf250b5c3c190fe0a8723c:disqus  So the price per acre demanded by the speculator(landowner) is not extortion, but a fee payable to the government is?      

  •  I take it your name is ironic?

  • Nathanael Johnson

    I’m not sure I follow the logic here. What are the harms that CPMC needs to mitigate against? Can someone bring me up to speed or point me in the direction of a good source on this?

    I’m all for paying more for transpo infrastructure. I’m just not sure I understand why a nonprofit hospital should be the source of funds. It seems great that the location would be in a transportation-rich area. Easier for all the workers to commute, easier for dialysis appointments etc.

  • GlenParkDaddy

     A huge employer like this is going to bring in thousands of extra trips a day, which is especially going to stress the local streets if they don’t do anything to encourage transit use. Most hospital visitors are going to end up coming by car, especially if they build a 1200 unit parking garage. The city streets are already at capacity, so there is going to need to be upgrades here to support all the extra traffic.

    There will be increased transit use, which costs money as well.

  • mikesonn

    1,200 parking spaces where two proposed BRT routes will cross. Also, Polk is a main bike corridor. 

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