Planning for displacement - Page 2

Regional planners want to put 280,000 more people into San Francisco — and they admit that many current residents will have to leave

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And while ABAG is not a secret government with black helicopters that can force cities to do its will — land-use planning is still under local jurisdiction in this state — the agency is partnering with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which controls hundreds of millions of dollars in state and federal transportation money. And together, they can offer strong incentives for cities to get in line.

Over in Contra Costa and Marin counties, at hearings on the plan, Tea Party types (yes, they appear to exist in Marin) railed against the notion of elite bureaucrats forcing the wealthy enclaves of single-family homes to accept more density (and, gasp, possibly some affordable housing). In San Francisco, it's the progressives, the transit activists, and the affordable housing people who are starting to get worried. Because there's been almost zero media attention to the plan, and what it prescribes for San Francisco is alarming — and strangely nonsensical.

Under the ABAG plan, San Francisco would approve 92,400 more housing units for 280,000 more people. The city would host 190,000 more jobs, many of them in what's called the "knowledge economy," which mostly means high tech. Second and third on the list: Health and education, and tourism.

The city currently allows around eight cars for every 10 housing units; as few as five in a few neighborhoods, at least 10 in many others. And there's nothing in any city or regional plan right now that seeks to change that level of car dependency. In fact, the regional planners think that single-occupancy car travel will be the mode of choice for 48 percent of all trips by 2040 — almost the same as it is today.

And since most of the new housing will be aimed at wealthier people, who are more likely to own cars and avoid catching buses, San Francisco could be looking for ways to fit 73,000 more cars onto streets that are already, in many cases, maxed out. There will be, quite literally, no place to park. And congestion in the region, the planners agree, will get a whole lot worse.

That seems to undermine the main intent of the plan: Transit-oriented development only works if you discourage cars. In a sense, the car-use projections are an admission of failure, undermining the intent of the entire project.

The vast majority of the housing that will be built will be too expensive for much of the existing (and even future) workforce and will do little to relieve the pressure on lower income people. But there is nothing whatsoever in the plan to ensure that there's money available to build housing that meets the needs of most San Franciscans.

Instead, the planners acknowledge that 36 percent of existing low-income people will be at risk for displacement. That would be a profound change in the demographics of San Francisco.

Of course, adding all those people and jobs will put immense pressure on city services, from Muni to police, fire, and schools — not to mention the sewer system, which already floods and dumps untreated waste into the Bay when there's heavy rain. Everyone involved acknowledged those costs, which could run into the billions of dollars. There is nothing anywhere in any of the planning documents addressing the question of who will pay for it.

THE NUMBERS GAME

Projecting the future of a region isn't easy. Job and population growth isn't a straight line, at best — and when you're looking at a 25-year window in a boom-and-bust area with everything from earthquakes to sea-level rise factoring in, it's easy to say that anyone who claims to know what's going to happen in 2040 is guessing.

But as economist Stephen Levy, who did the regional projections for ABAG, pointed out to us, "You have to be able to plan." And you can't plan if you don't at least think about what you're planning for.

Comments

is safe as long as you shift the focus of arguments.

"Oakland better suits their cultural and economic ethos" translates to black and "hispanic" people shouldn't live in SF after you and your fellow evictors tell people where not to live.

You said something entirely different from your last comment.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

it would appear that he is probably right and you are probably wrong here.

Posted by Anon on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

lower income people live in lower housing cost areas--SE SF, the flatlands of the East Bay, etc.

You and your friend (which is probably also you) are racist, classist authoritarians.

But no one can touch your undefeated debating record.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 4:08 pm
Posted by Anonymous on May. 29, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

"...cultural and economic ethos" would that be?

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

But clearly it is not nothing.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

...I'm asking you. Please be specific.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

SF is a city full of neighborhoods with ethnic majorities.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

You mention an ethnically linked ethos, or more than one, but don't describe its, or their, attributes.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 30, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

racial or other, are not factors that bind people to co-exist then I really cannot imagine what could convince you.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

A few observations: 1) a 100% decrease in greenhouse gases is prerequisite pre-2020, if even this will stop the “tipping point,” 2) that planning requires, not only human habitat, but sustainable habitat, i.,e. flora, fauna, arable land, recreational spaces for humans, expandable mass transit systems to adequately (meaning that affordability is part of the discussion) developed suburban areas—only until human governments can effectively ratify human population control solutions and substantive implementation with time constraints set at 2020 or before, 3) the assertion that human population will cause more job creation (not matching), can only be valid if numerator and denominator reflect the same number increase each time there is a change in digits, or if the numerator “1” represents jobs and the denominator “1” represents population, then changing the denominator to “2” means that population is greater than number of jobs, or unemployment; 4) the Association of Bay Area Governments, Plan Bay Area is DoD as anti-tax sitting and future government officials will continue to collude with tax-cheats. The SF Bay Area will be approaching criticality by 2040, not forgetting the influence of neoliberal constituents in governments, academia and business. There is reason to be pessimistic about the new epoch, judging from the last quarter-century.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

A few observations: 1) a 100% decrease in greenhouse gases is prerequisite pre-2020, if even this will stop the “tipping point,” 2) that planning requires, not only human habitat, but sustainable habitat, i.,e. flora, fauna, arable land, recreational spaces for humans, expandable mass transit systems to adequately (meaning that affordability is part of the discussion) developed suburban areas—only until human governments can effectively ratify human population control solutions and substantive implementation with time constraints set at 2020 or before, 3) the assertion that human population will cause more job creation (not matching), can only be valid if numerator and denominator reflect the same number increase each time there is a change in digits, or if the numerator “1” represents jobs and the denominator “1” represents population, then changing the denominator to “2” means that population is greater than number of jobs, or unemployment; 4) the Association of Bay Area Governments, Plan Bay Area is DoD as anti-tax sitting and future government officials will continue to collude with tax-cheats. The SF Bay Area will be approaching criticality by 2040, not forgetting the influence of neoliberal constituents in governments, academia and business. There is reason to be pessimistic about the new epoch, judging from the last quarter-century.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

Actually two. Naïve.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

I really appreciate the comprehensive analysis of growth and what it will do to the Bay Area. One way or another we are going to end up growing, it is probably better to do it in a planned way. Those Berkeley City Planning types are mostly okay, they are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Your efforts here have gotten me to thinking. Hopefully it kicks off a dialogue or at least some action.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 30, 2013 @ 6:33 am

not attractive places. Compare the dull, planned Brasilia with lively, spontaneous, chaotic Rio.

Likewise Canberra versus Sydney. Ottawa versus Montreal, and so on.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 7:02 am

All of us are racists in one way or another.
That sais, the upcoming redevelopment by earthquake will not discriminate and destroy and kill many people of every color.
Prices will come down when insurance companies can't pay the massive claims and the city will be back to be affordable.

Posted by Guest on May. 31, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

Population of SF 2000 census was around 790K and in 2010 came out around 805K.
So help me here, where is this explosion coming from. Also population even decreased during 2000-2010 in some years. Population in the 70's was similar to now.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 02, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

Here's a solution to the transit issue: develop San Jose and Silicon Valley communities with infill and up to the "6-story sweet spot". If this huge wave of new employees are largely working there, they need to live there.

Why cram more folks in SF to commute south for minimum 1.5 hrs RT per day to another city? Stop commuting. Live where you work. If the companies where they work are not in SF, those companies are not paying taxes to support the city services for these employees.

Is there a city income tax on employees who live in SF but work outside it? Other municipalities in the US have such taxes. This might make a small dent in the cost of housing these people in SF and might encourage them to seek housing closer to where they work, which is logical, cheaper and ethical.

San Jose and surrounding Silicon Valley communities have much more room for in-fill and the build up to the "six-story sweet spot" for the new employees coming to work in their cities. San Francisco needs to hang the No Vacancy sign. It doesn't need more people or money.

Posted by Guest 1000 on Jun. 03, 2013 @ 3:26 am

Mountain View Patch. Mountain View low inventory of homes. Yesterday I went to Mountain View, had a look on a website to find some information instead found the above headline.

In May of 2012, 76 homes were sold.
In May of 2013, 8 homes were sold.

In the last 6 months new buildings have been built or approved. Total jobs going to be created over 2,000.

What does this mean, less housing, higher prices, more traffic. Because while 2,000 plus people will be working in a small area, they have to drive over a greater area. You think they will have to enjoy their backyard, neighborhood or any community benefit.

Our transit can't handle the amount of people works and living so far. Low income worker can take the bus and spend 1 1/2 hour one way. I did for a while. Newark to Mountain View.

In short if you are low income the chances are you have to work more hours, your partners also has to work more hours. If you have kids, you will spend a little bit of time with them.

Posted by Garrett on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:24 am

The Plan is unworkable as written and for all the reasons that are listed in this article.

In San Jose there is no appetite, except among a small group of politicians who are pro-BART in their districts!

They view single family parts of the city as "not economically attractive" for transit.

That's because of their limited view of transit.

What we need are politicians who will appoint representatives to ABAG who can "think outside the box" -- imagine just how horrible this picture of density and gridlock really sounds -- and find other solutions --

Rather than dismiss distance, we must dismiss the idea that current technology is what will drive future urban life --

And we have to start planning to be an American region -- not Singapore West!!

The people who least deserve this bizarre plan are the people who live in Hunters Point, South City and Chinatown!!!

We've forgotten that density brings crime and disease with it --

And this plan completely ignores the fact that at some point there will be another 7.5. or higher earthquake that will level all these planned yuppie high rises!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

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