Axis Development abruptly abandons proposed 117-unit Folsom Street project

By Julian Mark : missionlocal – excerpt

A potential 117-unit residential project at 2675 Folsom Street will not be moving forward in its proposed current form, Mission Local confirmed today. Its developer, Axis Development, has put the fully entitled site up for sale, Axis Managing Partner Theo F. Oliphant said Thursday.

“I have no comment beyond that,” Oliphant told Mission Local. He declined to name the development company’s desired price and why he is not moving forward with the plans.

This is a surprise move following a fierce battle between community activists and the developer to offer more affordable housing and community benefits. It was resolved last May after District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen brokered a deal between the developer and activists.

With that deal apparently dashed, the land could potentially yet house a 100-percent affordable structure — and the Mission District’s affordable developers are already beginning to queue up… (more)

Upzoning property to raise the value of real estate appears to be a national past time for wealthy government officials of both parties. Neither party cares about protecting affordable housing for working class Americans.

The real reason for upzoning is not to build more housing. The real reason for upzoning is to raise property values and this project a prime example of how that works. For a closer look at the national trend under the current administration and how this program is being sold to to California read the New York Times article linked here.

Ben Carson, is the HUD secretary. He was recently sued for his part in raising rents of HUD-managed properties. His aides are quoted as saying, “…he is focused less on federal solutions than on prodding local governments to ease barriers to construction. He has ordered his policy staff to come up with proposals to push local governments to reduce zoning restrictions on new projects, especially low-cost manufactured housing. HUD will also begin working with landlords around the country to come up with ways to make housing vouchers more attractive and more inclusive, aides said.

Stop state overreach! Find out what you can do to stop SB 828 and similar bills attempting to remove local jurisdiction over zoning and development decisions from local communities. livablecalifornia.org

RELATED:
HUD Secretary Ben Carson to be sued for suspending Obama-era fair-housing rule
Complaint filed against HUD Secretary Ben Carson

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Recent senior pedestrian deaths prompt hearing

By Jerold Chinn : sfbay – excerpt (includes a video on the HAWK system.)

Seniors in San Francisco are disproportionately affected by traffic collisions, said city officials who work on achieving The City’s goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024, also known as Vision Zero…

Supervisor Norman Yee held a hearing on Thursday at the Board of Supervisors Public Safety Neighborhood Services and called for city agencies working towards Vision Zero, which included the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Department of Public Health and the Police Department, to report on data and solutions to keep seniors safe when crossing city streets.

The City recorded its lowest number of traffic fatalities last year — 20 deaths — but Yee said city agencies need to do more to make streets safer, especially those who are most vulnerable crossing the street:…

Olea said the transit agency has already begun retiming traffic lights in The City after senior advocates called for the transit agency to allow more time for seniors and people with disabilities to cross the street…

Dmitry Scotkin, 69, was struck and killed by a vehicle on July 17 at a crosswalk where Caltrans installed a High Intensity Activated Crosswalk (HAWK). Caltrans has jurisdiction over Sloat Boulevard, also known as State Highway 35…

Supervisors had concerns after the death of Scotkin that drivers might be confused about the HAWK system, including what they do on some of flashing lights…

Yee said, “I think that’s half of the solution. The drivers are the ones who are confused.”

Yee said himself he was confused by the lights when the Caltrans installed the first HAWK and also watched drivers not know what to do:

Log into YouTube to let Cantrans know what you think about their HAWK system : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZ3OJD6gWT4

CONFUSED DRIVERS AND PEDESTRIANS ARE NOT SAFE!

What happened to basic human communication skills? Quit confusing everyone with new tech gadgets and systems that distract people. Drivers have enough to pay attention to and so do pedestrians. They need to watch each other and not traffic signals and signs. Changing systems are the most stressful and the most confusing thing you can do to a human being. Drivers know how stop on red and wait until the light turns green. Pedestrians know the same thing. Most pedestrians over 60 learned how to drive at some point and know what to expect from drivers. In the daylight you can even exchange glances with a driver. I try to do that when I am walking and may even gesture to confirm that I am going.

All you need to do is lengthen the timing on the red lights and the yellow lights to give people enough time to cross the street. Longer yellows give drivers more time to stop. If you can’t figure it out, hire someone who has a system that works. There are cities with systems that work. San Francisco used to be one of those. Get rid of all the expensive stupid different signals and signs and get back to the old-fashioned system where people paid attention to what was going on around them instead of a machine in their hands.

By the way, there are some colorblind people who see shades of gray who tell me that they judge the color light by the position on the lit light. If you start rearranging the lights and blinking the lights they will not know what is going on at all. The more you change a system the less safe it is!

As Affordable Housing Crisis Grows, HUD Sits on the Sidelines

By Glenn Thrush : newyorktimes – excerpt

Mr. Carson (the housing secretary), continues to prioritize his push to reduce, rather than expand, assistance to the poor.

WASHINGTON — The country is in the grips of an escalating housing affordability crisis. Millions of low-income Americans are paying 70 percent or more of their incomes for shelter, while rents continue to rise and construction of affordable rental apartments lags far behind the need.

As city and state officials and members of both parties clamor for the federal government to help, Mr. Carson has privately told aides that he views the shortage of affordable housing as regrettable, but as essentially a local problem…

For his part, Mr. Carson publicly acknowledges the crisis in most of his speeches. “Alarmingly high numbers of Americans continue to pay more than half of their incomes toward rent,” he told a House panel in October. “Many millions remain mired in poverty, rather than being guided on a path out of it.”

But he is focused less on federal solutions than on prodding local governments to ease barriers to construction. He has ordered his policy staff to come up with proposals to push local governments to reduce zoning restrictions on new projects, especially low-cost manufactured housing. HUD will also begin working with landlords around the country to come up with ways to make housing vouchers more attractive and more inclusive, aides said.

“Subsidies are a piece of the puzzle,” said Raffi Williams, a spokesman for Mr. Carson, “but we must also address the regulatory barriers relative to zoning and land use in higher-cost markets that are preventing the construction of new affordable housing. This is not just a federal problem — it’s everybody’s problem.”… (more)

Breed calls for increased services, street cleaning in walk through SOMA

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Mayor London Breed on Thursday said she wants more engagement with homeless people on the street and greater frequency in power washing sidewalks, and reiterated her commitment to opening a safe injection site…

She said that she would like to see regular engagement with those living on the streets by city officials, such as members of the Homeless Outreach Team. “I envision them walking on the streets and being out here where we know there are people who are homeless. We should be out there every day, ‘What can I do to help you? What can I do to help you? What can I do to help you?’ Till the point where they are like: ‘Fine you can help me,’” Breed told the Examiner…

Breed is a proponent of opening safe injection sites to reduce syringe litter and help steer drug users into treatment, but since heroin and other intravenous drugs are against federal law, The City is wary of the legal ramifications. Breed, however, said she is committed to figuring out a way to make it work.

“I am going to aggressively push to try to get it done this year,” Breed said.

When asked about why the delay, she said, “I am trying to open one. I wish we can open one yesterday. But I also have to be responsible in the approach.” She said she wanted The City to be prepared for any “fall out” and for those “putting their lives on the line to work at these facilities, I don’t want them in jail. I have to make sure that I am responsible in my approach.”… (more)

Looks like our Mayor is concerned about both state and federal laws. That could put a damper on injection sites for a while, even though many support them. Perhaps the medical community could come to the rescue or the rules and regulations re: methadone could be altered to make it easier to procure for those who want it.

Push to scrap downtown cap meets resistance

by Gennady Sheyner : paloaltoonline – excerpt

Citizens’ initiative would cap new office space at 850,000 square feet between 2015 and 2030

A divisive proposal to eliminate the limit on commercial development in downtown Palo Alto ran into a wall of resistance Wednesday night, when the city’s Planning and Transportation Commission opted not to advance the change.

In a decision that ran counter to wishes of the City Council majority and that overruled the recommendation of planning staff, the commission voted 4-0 to keep in place — at least for the time being — the existing 350,000-square-foot cap on non-residential development in downtown…

The vote followed testimony from about 20 residents, including members of the group Palo Altans for Sensible Zoning, which favors slow-growth policies and which is spearheading a November initiative that would halve the citywide cap on non-residential growth. Every speaker urged the commission to keep the cap in place. They pointed to downtown’s ongoing parking and traffic problems and argued that taking up the issue at this time — just months before the voters are set to opine on the issue of office growth — is an affront to democracy. ..(more)

We shall see if the citizens of Palo Alto will be allowed to set the commercial growth limits or if their decision is overturned by the courts as Prop M was in San Francisco.

RELATED:
Measure to limit office growth qualifies for November election
A citizens’ initiative that would roughly halve the amount of new office space that Palo Alto would allow to be built between now and 2030 has officially garnered enough signatures to land on the November ballot… (more)

SF parks commissioners surprised by news of big 2019 bond

: sfchronicle – excerpt

Last month, in an effort to give the parks department faster access to money needed for a number of major renovation projects, then-Mayor Mark Farrell directed city officials to create one large bond for voters to consider next year by merging two smaller ones originally planned for 2019 and 2025.

Farrell and Recreation and Park Director Phil Ginsburg said that the larger, combined bond would allow the city to begin the renovations sooner, before they become more expensive…

But several commissioners said they were frustrated to first learn about the proposed size of the bond and what projects it would fund from an article in The Chronicle. Allan Low said it felt as though the commission, as well as the public, were cut out of a critical decision-making process.

“I’m concerned that you have moved forward with this bond without commission approval,” Low told Ginsburg during Thursday’s meeting. “When I read the article, my impression was … the number is already set, the projects are already selected and this decision was made before commission approval. It seems that a lot of this is premature. You still have not completed the community engagement on some of these projects,” which could affect their final costs… (more)

That is sort of how the citizens feel about how they are ignored. Maybe they will not approve any of these bonds for projects that they were left out of. That might change the way these projects move forward.

Supervisors move to ban workplace cafeterias

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

San Francisco Supervisors Aaron Peskin and Ahsha Safai are proposing to prohibit companies from providing on-site cafeterias in an effort to encourage workers to buy their meals from local restaurants. The legislation, expected to be announced Tuesday, is inspired by the lavish on-site cafeterias provided by some tech companies in the Bay Area

The measure, proposed by Supervisor Ahsha Safai and co-sponsored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, would adjust zoning laws to ban workplace cafeterias moving forward, but would not be retroactive.

Peskin said the measure, was inspired by tech companies like Twitter and Airbnb, which are widely known to have access to dining in their own buildings, depriving nearby restaurants of the dollars usually spent by nearby workers. The measure has the support of Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and other local merchants.

Under the legislation which is expected to be introduced Tuesday, “you can’t have an industrial kitchen in your office building,” Peskin said…

The measure, proposed by Supervisor Ahsha Safai and co-sponsored by Supervisor Aaron Peskin, would adjust zoning laws to ban workplace cafeterias moving forward, but would not be retroactive.

Peskin said the measure, was inspired by tech companies like Twitter and Airbnb, which are widely known to have access to dining in their own buildings, depriving nearby restaurants of the dollars usually spent by nearby workers. The measure has the support of Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association and other local merchants.

Under the legislation which is expected to be introduced Tuesday, “you can’t have an industrial kitchen in your office building,” Peskin said… (more)

This legislation was announced during the SF Board of Directors meeting today. Please comment on the source and let your supervisors know how you feel about this legislation.