Planning Commission OKs Car-Free Housing at Fulton and Gough

A rendering of the new project approved for Gough and Fulton Streets. Image: ## Baker + Partners Architects##

A massive Hayes Valley parking lot, formerly occupied by the Central Freeway, will be developed into a car-free apartment building and Boys and Girls Club after the project was approved unanimously by the Planning Commission last week.

The six-story apartment building at Fulton and Gough will include 69 rental units, eight of them available at subsidized below-market rates, all without car parking. The adjacent Boys and Girls Club will include parking — six tandem spaces which drivers will access via Ash Street, an alleyway, where the project developer will add a raised crosswalk along Gough. Pedestrian improvements like sidewalk seating and bulb-outs at Fulton and Gough will also be added as part of the agreement, and the site will include 70 indoor bike parking spaces.

Occupying a corner just two blocks from City Hall, the project “continues the reparation of the neighborhood damage caused by the collapse and removal of the Central Freeway,” notes project architects David Baker + Partners on the firm’s website.

Jason Henderson of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association called the project “a key precedent” for the integrity of the Market-Octavia Area Plan, which sets limits on new parking to make room for people, not cars.

The project also marks what could be an upward trend of car-free housing being built in the city. In September, the Planning Commission approved a project with 12 car-free condos at 1050 Valencia Street.

The site currently exists as a parking lot. Image: Google Maps

Ben Golvin of Equity Community Builders, the project developer, told the Planning Commission, “We looked at the Market-Octavia Plan, we listened really carefully to the advocacy from the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association and other folks who have said, in the transit-rich area, that the city is moving towards a place where people are willing to live without cars, and we’re willing to take that risk that this is a place where that can happen.”

No commissioners took issue with the lack of parking in the project except Michael Antonini, who said he thinks “that people will have cars, they just won’t be able to park it there,” despite studies showing that private residential parking spots create incentives to own and drive cars.

“I like the fact that there’s no cars here,” said Rich Hillis, the commission’s newest member, who was appointed last July. Hillis said he’d like to see more streetscape improvements proposed for Ash Street to make it more inviting for people to use. “We hope that it’s not just a parking lot,” he said.

It’s not known yet when the project may begin construction.

The entrance to Ash Street on Gough. Image: ## Baker + Partners Architects##
  • mikesonn

    As jaded as I’m feeling today, I have to ask: how will the city delay this project?

  • Turin

    First step: have planning play architect and force the developer to redesign it to be as generic as possible. See:

  • foo

    I imagine Rob A’s planning a CEQA suit as we speak, since this building will cause congestion because of the lack of a parking garage.

  • Anonymous

    How long before we see the howling Polk Street merchants march on this building with pitchforks in hand? I mean, how can potential customers possibly drive west to patronize Polk Street’s automobile-oriented businesses if they can’t also park their cars easily in front of their apartment building on Gough Street? Boo! Hiss! Agenda 21!

  • @bfc317fb7ffc6cfbb736ae442fd62dc3:disqus The SocketSite post is incorrect — the Planning Commission approved the dark facade.

  • Sprague

    Kudos to the planning commission for approving this project. Projects like this one are necessary for San Francisco and the region to grow sustainably.

  • DWH

    69 units and only 30 bike parking spots? I would think you’d need at least 100.

  • Gilla

    As far as modern architects in the city go, David Baker IS generic. Glad he’s a staunch advocate for bike commuting, but his work is so chunky and poorly proportioned.

  • Charles_Siegel

    When you say “car-free housing,” do you just mean that there is no on-site parking? Or are there other measures to prevent residents from owning cars?

  • Turin

    That’s great news, Aaron. I think it needs the contrast, especially on the corner. Thanks.

  • Just car-free in that it includes no new on-site parking.

  • My thought exactly. I love that they are doing car-free buildings, but if it’s car-free and the structure makes it hard to bike, what are these people going to do? Muni and CityCarShare I hope. But I’m afraid that they will instead buy cars, park them on the street, complain about the lack of parking, and be held up as an example of why car-free buildings fail.

  • You know, I have to apologize for inaccurately reporting the number here. The residential building will actually include 70 spaces, whereas 30 are required by the Planning Code.

  • AnnaS. temporary housing

    This is a great post. You seem to really understand what so many people are dealing with.


    Anna Scheller
    Capri Temporary Housing
    1320 East Garrison St. Suite D.
    Eagle Pass, Texas, United States 78852

  • SF Native

    Sure … Great for 20 something tecchies .. Not great for families. Families continued to be squeezed out. Families need actual cars – not just car share.

  • SF Native

    You obviously don’t have kids…

  • I obviously do have kids. I obviously don’t have a car. I obviously live in SF and have for many years. I’m obviously saving boocoo cash monies, not to mention time spent circling for parking. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • SF Urban Film Fest

    I raised my twin sons who are now 14 years old without a car in SF – it can be done.


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