Will Portland-Style Apartments Catch On in San Francisco?

It's a mere 12 units but a huge test for apartments with no auto parking but plenty of bike parking. The 5-story, mixed-use Mission District building was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission on Sept. 6 despite neighborhood opposition.
September 11, 2012, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Aaron Bialick continues SF Streetsblog's coverage of this small but significant, mixed-use development proposal for 1050 Valencia St., lacking parking for cars, even for car-share, and providing 24 parking spaces for bikes. Few projects in San Francisco have been built without car parking, unlike Portland where most new downtown apartment developments lack car parking.

"The building will be located on the corner of Valencia and Hill Streets, along one of the city's most heavily-traveled bicycling streets and business corridors." Valencia's traffic lights now provide a permanent green wave.

Neighborhood opposition has been formidable.

"Since 2009, opponents have attacked the project on a number of grounds, including the assertion that residents moving into the building will own cars and compete with existing neighbors for street parking."

"The reality is that until there is an alternative, people will need cars and a place to park them," said Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association representative Risa Teitelbaum, who wanted the project to include some car share spaces. "The residents of this building will be no different."

In addition to the absence of auto parking, height is an issue, as explained in MissionLocal.

"The Liberty Hill Neighborhood Association has led the opposition to the development, as many of its members live in two-story Victorian houses on Hill Street, which is part of the Liberty Hill Historic District."

In a July 15, 2010 Streetsblog interview with the developer, Mark Rutherford, the rationale for the absence of car parking is explained: "We would rather build housing and restaurant space than parking, and coincidentally that's what the Mission Plan calls for: maximum unit density, no parking and ground floor retail." Since that interview, the project was downsized by four units.

Both Streetsblog and MissionLocal indicate an appeal from the neighborhood group to the Board of Supervisor is likely.

Thanks to Streetsblog San Francisco

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Published on Friday, September 7, 2012 in Streetsblog San Francisco
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