Whoa, that's a lot of highrises

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By Tim Redmond

I know that we're all supposed to love urban density these days, and even Sup. Chris Daly likes tall buildings, but at a certain point, you have to say:

Holy shit. This is way too much.

Check out the presentations here, from a recent SF CIty Planning Commission discussion on development around the new Transbay Terminal and Rincon Hill. Forget the early stuff; click down to around page 39 of the pdf and look at how this part of the city is going to look and feel.

I'm still one of the loney dissenters: I don't think the days of the highrise wars are over, and I don't buy the notion that we have to accept ever-higher towers that turn the city even more into a jungle of steel canyons that block out lihgt and sun. And I don't think these "slender" towers that city planners love to talk about are going to be anything but urban blight once you get too many of them in the same place.

And I wonder why we're doing all of this when the stated premise -- to create more urban density instead of sprawl -- is such a provable lie. We are building housing for people who will drive or take vanpools to big-money jobs on the Peninsula. We are encouraging car-based commuting and office-park sprawl by building an urban bedroom community for high-paid young workers who want a San Francisco lifestyle but have jobs somewhere else. That and jet-set pied-a-terres for wealthy retirees and world travelers.
We are giving up human-scale neighborhoods and views of the Bay for a a failure of a housing policy.

Hell of way to plan a city.