Historic proportions - Page 3

Green City: A battle over the former longshoremen's hall has sparked a move to rethink waterfront planning
A Bancroft Library archival
photo of the labor hall entrance

In general, "Public-private developments provide the dollars needed to make improvements," she told us.

In the wake of concerns about 8 Washington, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu sent a letter to the Port Commission requesting an update to the waterfront plan for that area. "Concerns are currently being raised regarding the proposed development ... and the future development of seawall lots along the northern waterfront, and I share many of these concerns," Chiu wrote. In response, the Port agreed to conduct a six-to-eight month focus study for those seawall lots.

Meanwhile, a quietly growing problem may mean that plans for this stretch of the Embarcadero will get more complicated. A report released in early April by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission predicts a 16-inch rise in the level of the San Francisco Bay by 2050, and a 55-inch rise by 2100, based on data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Along San Francisco's waterfront, the most vulnerable area will be from Pier 35 to the Bay Bridge, the report found. "Sea-level rise has been linear, and it's continuing, and we expect that based on what we know about climate change, it will accelerate," notes Joe LaClair of BCDC. In the event of storm surges, he adds, "we will have to find a way to protect the financial district from inundation."

As local governments begin to get up to speed on mitigating the effects of climate change, new questions — beyond developers' plans vs. neighborhood input — will have to come into play. One that BCDC plans to tackle in coming months, LaClair notes, is: "What does resilient shoreline development look like?" It's a good one to start asking now.