Sunday, March 29, 2009
Two years ago, the competition to win the rights to build San Francisco's tallest tower drew powerful developers, celebrity architects and fervent public interest in the proposed designs.
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Now there's another competition just two blocks away, the grand prize a site with room for a 60-story tower at a major entrance to the Financial District. But only three teams bothered to respond - and the way the rules are currently written, the public won't be allowed to glimpse any of the proposals until the city selects a winner.
Monday, March 16, 2009
The smart growth movement has long called attention to the problems with sprawl, but has often been focused on residential sprawl. Yet the dispersion of jobs into suburban and exurban office parks that can never be served by transit is just as much of a threat to the environment as residential sprawl, if not greater. To achieve a low-carbon future, Bay Area residents need to be able to commute to work without relying on a car.
SPUR argues that our best strategy to reduce job sprawl is to channel more employment growth toward existing centers, particularly the transit-rich downtown of San Francisco.
Other transit-served employment centers in the Bay Area, such as downtown Oakland and San Jose, as well as Concord and Walnut Creek, also should capture a growing share of regional employment. The success of the other transit-served job centers is key to a future Bay Area that uses less carbon. But most workers in these other locations, including downtown San Jose and Oakland, drive to work. Future SPUR reports will look at what can be done to improve the land use, urban design and transportation networks for the other employment hubs in the Bay Area.
But downtown San Francisco is the only employment node in the region where most people travel to work without bringing their own car. This paper focuses on downtown San Francisco as the node with by far the greatest near-term potential to accommodate regional employment growth with a low carbon footprint. In fact, if reducing emissions and the amount of driving was our only criterion, we would advocate a region that adds as much of its incremental growth as possible into San Francisco. Even if San Francisco retains its share of regional jobs (16 percent), the increase in driving and emissions in the suburbs will prevent the region from attaining climate change goals.
While done from an environmental perspective, this is an excellent plan all around. One question, though: with regard to the Market-Mission and Civic Center, is public safety the Chicken or the Egg?
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Friday, March 13, 2009
This is a person who has worked as a police manager in three very different but challenging jurisdictions: Lansing, Michigan; Fargo, ND; and now Richmond.
He's a "stereotypical white guy" who nevertheless understands and honors diversity - and at the same time won't back down in the face of racial cronyism.
He's got experience in successfully implementing community based patrol schemes, handling community concerns from entertainment issues, tackling hate crimes, and reaching out to classified constituencies.
Most importantly, in Richmond he's learned how to survive vicious political infighting.
He even looks a little like Hennessey. Plus he's single and collects art, so certain gatekeepers in the LGBT community could just assume he's... well, no, that probably wouldn't fly.
Oh well, just a thought. Still, who in the SFPD has this kind of experience, is still young enough to care about using it right, and isn't inured to the department's archaic culture?
Just A Thought.
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