Today’s Headlines

  • Tales of Anti-Bike Bias From SFPD Told at City Hall Hearing (KTVU 1, 2CBS, SFBC)
  • SFMTA: Four New Bicycle Green Waves Coming Next Spring (SF Examiner)
  • Potentially Life-Saving Bike Lane Coming to Folsom, and All SF Appeal Can Headline is the Price Tag
  • Muni Metro Installs Platform Markings Telling Boarding Riders to Wait Their Turn (SFist)
  • More From This Week’s City Hall Hearing on Double Parking (Mission Local)
  • Vigil Held for Woman Run Over in Holly Park; Parks Driver Still Not Charged (NBC, SF Appeal)
  • Hayes Valley Project With Grocery Store, 136 Units, 275 Parking Spaces Heads to Planning (SFBG)
  • UCSF Synapse Puts the Spotlight on the SF Bike Party
  • BART Talks Take Small Step Forward (ExamSFGate, KQED), Non-Riders Oppose Strike (SFW, KTVU)
  • Marin County Drivers Ignore Ban on Cut-Thrus to Skip Freeway (People Behaving Badly)
  • Sunday Streets Berkeley Returns Next Week (CoCo Times)
  • Without Full Funding, Dumbarton Bridge Rail Restoration to Be Put on Hold (Green Caltrain)

More headlines at Streetsblog Capitol Hill

  • Mario Tanev

    275 parking spaces for 136 units in a dense, centralized, transit rich area? That is insane. It should be no more than 45 spaces. There needs to be a mechanism to enforce standards. It seems everything ifs just magically waived these days.

  • mikesonn

    People drive to the store!

  • Peter

    It’s a grocery store in a dense neighborhood in the center of the city. If people are going to drive to a store in that area, they’ll drive to the Safeway on Market & 14th.

    Underground parking is fantastically expensive ($80-100k/space) to build. 275 spaces – roughly $25M in construction costs for parking???? The rents in that building are going to be nuts.

    It’s a very walkable neighborhood, the people shopping there aren’t miles away, they’re blocks away.

    By what measure are they determining they need 275 spots? Are they modeling this like it was a suburban development? Because it sure ain’t an urban one.

  • mikesonn

    When the whole world looks like a parking problem…

  • Anonymous

    When I tell relatives in rural towns or suburbs that I don’t drive, their eyes get big and they ask how I get groceries.

    Then I explain how I have a liquor store across the street, a grocery store 2 blocks away, and my favorite store is a little over a mile away and easy to bike to. At this point, even if I have a rented car or someone is visiting with a car, I would never, ever drive to a store. It’s just never been worth it in terms of traffic, parking, loading and unloading a cart into a car, finding parking again back home, buying more than I need, etc.

    Now when I hear someone in SF tell me that they drive to the store, it’s my turn for my eyes to get big and ask why.

  • Looking at the demographics, it gets even more ridiculous.

    Hayes Valley straddles the Civic Center and Western Addition neighborhoods. The Western addition average household size is 1.9. Only 9% of households have children. 56% of households are *single* persons. The Civic Center neighborhood is even more extreme. Average household size is 1.6. Only 6% of households have children. 71% of households are single person.

    Close to 40,000 people live within a ten minute walk of this proposed store. Two-thirds are shopping only for themselves and will buy only a bag of groceries or so a week. Walking to this store will be faster for most than trying to maneuver in and out of an underground parking lot. It is a simple matter to put even two bags of groceries in a handcart and wheel it home ten minutes, even if this involves walking uphill.

    Given these demographics, there are few locations in North America outside of Manhattan where it makes less sense to provide car parking (except, perhaps, for the disabled) than at a grocery store at this location.

  • Anonymous

    Now that trader joe’s is 5 blocks from my home, I can shop more frequently, so a bike with saddle bags and pushed uphill partly is usually enough. We have gone from grocery shopping by car every week to doing so maybe once every two months. Short distances to grocery stores seems key. For the few times one needs a car, simply install paid parking. That should manage demand.

  • Anonymous

    Short distances are certainly key, and so is the design of the building. Rainbow for example has over 30 spaces for bikes, transit screens showing bus times, pedestrian amenities, and you don’t have to walk/bike through a parking lot either.

    I don’t bother going to trader joe’s because the one closest to me at 9th an Brannon is just such a hell-hole for pedestrians, bikes, and even cars that it’s never worth dealing with compared to the other alternatives I have.

  • tongjun


  • RonD

    Karen, surely the crucial demographic is the number of families in that area who have two cars. That implies a need for two parking spaces per unit for at least that percentage of residents in a given area.

    I live in a different part of SF but more than 10% of the homes on my black have two or more cars. Two working adults in the same household where one of them needs a car for commuting to work will typically need two cars.

    So there is a demand for homes with two parking spaces per unit.

  • First off, as I said, the number of families in this area is extremely, extremely low. As in the lowest in the city per sq mile. As in possibly one of lowest in the entire nation per sq mile.

    Secondly, as I said, the number of single person households is enormous! As in one of the highest densities of single person households per sq mile in the city. As in one of the highest densities of single person households per sq mile in the entire nation. And this is neighborhood data is based on 2009 census data (latest available.) I’m willing to bet the density is quite a bit higher as of October 2013 and will be getting higher still in the next six months.

    Car ownership levels here are also extremely light. In the Civic Center area there is .11 car per person. Even if we consider the few large households that might have as many as three (!) people, that only gets you to a third of a car per household. In the Western Addition, there are .39 vehicles per person. With an average household size of 1.9, that produces .78 cars per household.

    It is true some neighborhoods in San Francisco are far less dense. It is true some neighborhoods in San Francisco have far higher levels of car ownership. However, Hayes Valley is quite different from many San Francisco neighborhoods being close to transit, a ten minute bike ride to the train station, and even within walking distance of most of downtown. This makes Hayes Valley a fantastic neighborhood for people who want to live car-free or nearly so. It also makes it very easy for even a four-person family to make do with just one car. (Which saves them lots of money!)

    Hayes Valley is a poor neighborhood for people who want to drive everywhere. Why push up rent/condo costs building out parking when people who own multiple cars, who aren’t interested in walking, biking or taking public transit, and who can’t imagine not driving to the grocery store would probably be much happier living somewhere else? The density of Hayes Valley is going to make any two-car family whose lives necessitate driving most of their trips pretty crazy.

  • RonD


    Two things there. First I’m not sure if the parking spaces are tied to the proposed housing units or for the grocery store. To the extent that it’s the latter, then the demographics who lives close by probably isn’t important because, as you say, they won’t drive there anyway. It’s for people who want to visit that store from further afield where the parking matters.

    Second, I’d imagine the people buying these new condo’s are not the typical resident from that neighborhood but rather people moving there from elsewhere – perhaps new to the city. They may well have 1-2 cars.

    (Third, I suppose, is that spare parking units can typically be rented out for $200-$300 a month is it turns out that a resident of this new complex doesn’t need one or both of his parking spaces. That drives down the demand for parking on the street.

  • JohnLee

    Rainbow’s dirty little secret is that many of their customers park in massive car park of that big-box office store next door. Overflowing into the Best Buy and Sports Authority stores.

    The irony is that the groovy co-operative Rainbow store anchors big-box hell. Going there by foot or car doesn’t feel any dfferent from the TJ’s you cited. Worse if you don’t like being under elevated freeways.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve never seen anyone take their groceries from Rainbow to Office Max, but maybe they do? Also, who says car park? There’s only two big box retailers and both of them have sidewalks and bike racks. I’d rather go to those big box than the other shops in the trader Joe’s shopping center. I usually see cars waiting to park in Rainbow’s garage on busy days, not taking things to Office Max. But how do you get to TJ’s without crossing under a freeway unless you live at the Caltrain station? It has a freeway on two sides. You can get to rainbow without crossing the freeway if you come from the Mission.

    Trader Joe’s shares 2 bike corrals (always full) with the entire complex and has no bike directions or walkways through the parking structure, only from the 9th street entrance. They have a few benches, but in general it’s not a pleasant environment for me to walk to or bike to or around. Part of that is also the lack of bike infrastructure in the area.

    Rainbow has the 14th street bike lane if I’m coming to the mission and Harrison and Folsom have bike lanes (what I usually take). Rainbow always has bike parking and all entrances have sidewalk and pedestrian protection as well as a natural space with a table for enjoying outside and TV Screens showing bus time departures. I don’t care if people shop at rainbow or TJ’s, but I think the layout of Rainbow is a nice model for both size and amenities for all transit modes.

  • JohnLee

    CB, the Rainbow car park is small and congested at any busy time, leading to a backup on 14th part-way back to Folsom. Rather than deal with that, drivers often find it easier and quicker to park at the NE corner of the OfficeMax car park. I’ve seen enough other people doing it to believe it to be a common rouse.

    I cannot speak for riding a bike but, by car or by foot, the area around Rainbow and around the TJ’s/BedBath complex nearby are both ugly and unpleasant. Ditto Costo. But we love the prices, right?

    Of course, my real problems only start when I get inside Rainbow but that’s another story for another time.

  • Anonymous

    The back up is actually on 13th under the freeway. There’s also a second parking lot for rainbow, though smaller, behind it.

    The area around TJs and Rainbow is similar (although I’d say Rainbow is slightly better since the mission has more trees and quieter streets than SoMa). What I’m trying to explain is that the parking lot and structure of Rainbow is nicer and safer for pedestrians and bikes than TJ’s. If you enter TJ’s from the brannon or bryant sides there’s no space for bikes or pedestrians other than in the middle of the street. Rainbow treats all modes pretty well and tries to accommodate them all. TJ’s structure, I’m sure they’re leasing and it’s not their design, prioritizes cars over everything and is not easy or comfortable to get to walking or on bike.

  • Anonymous

    Man, if only all neighborhoods in SF were as dense with grocery stores. The three nearest grocery stores to me are each 1.8 miles away. One includes a kinda-rough walk over 280, one is the Westlake center (which means an even worse walk through Daly City Bart), and one includes a walk with 500 feet of elevation change (the flattest route involves three blocks with a 20% grade). I usually just spend 45 minutes each way on Muni to go to Church because that’s easiest… but when you’re doing a month’s worth of groceries because of the time investment in getting to and from the store, it’s hard to manage, whether on transit, a bike, or walking.

    That’s not to say I think people should be driving – a much better solution is avoiding food deserts to have more, closer choices – but I can understand why people sometimes might make that choice, even in San Francisco.