How Redistricting Could Harm the Rincon Hill Neighborhood
|January 9, 2012||Posted by jamie under Activism|
While I admit that I do not know a lot about the redistricting process that is currently redrawing the lines within San Francisco County in regards to legislative representation on the Board of Supervisors, I know a little more than most. You can catch up and learn by visiting the Redistricting Task Force website at www.SFGov.org/RDTF.
The most disconcerting aspect so far in the very first, initial January 4, 2012 map is that the Rincon Hill neighborhood, which really evolves around and holds a co-dependent relationship with the Transbay Transit Center Project, is split up at Folsom Street. Just for those folks not familiar with the Rincon Hill neighborhood, it is generally that portion of the South of Market District east of 2nd Street between Bryant Street and Market Street. While the formal Planning Department and Redevelopment Agency plans are split along Folsom Street, the single Rincon Hill monicker reflects the two formal planning areas mirroring one another and sharing planned improvement characteristics to the streetscapes, such as widening along Spear, Main, and Beale Streets from Bryant all the way northwest to Market Street, and types of buildings (high-rise and mid-rise residential).
Here’s the preliminary map so that you can see it for yourself:
Just as the Mission Bay neighborhood’s center of gravity is the UCSF Mission Bay campus and South Beach’s center of gravity is the AT&T Ballpark, I strongly believe the Rincon Hill neighborhood’s center of gravity is the Transbay Transit Center project. I hope that you will come to the District 6 meeting of the Redistricting Task Force on Saturday, January 21st at 10 a.m. at the Bayanihan Center at 1010 Mission Street (at 6th Street) to communicate to the Redistricting Task Force that first, the Rincon Hill neighborhood should NOT be split up … keep the area east of 2nd Street between Market and Bryant Streets together wherever it ends up (District 6 or District 3) and second, it is really important to keep the entire South of Market District together in a single Board of Supervisors district because of the similar characteristics shared across the District such as:
- Highway ramps that touch down in our neighborhoods and greatly impact the safety for pedestrians across SoMa. No other area of San Francisco really has the major conflict of being built for pedestrians while at the same time containing roadways that are driven like freeways. Other neighborhoods that are walkable have much shorter blocks with four-way stop signs, keeping the speeds of vehicles lower.
- Traffic congestion due to Financial District workers and others working north of our homes all leaving their workplace and heading to the highways (Bay Bridge especially) on weekday afternoons is a huge problem that we need a champion to mitigate. It is our shared interest, whether some of us accept it or not, to decrease the air pollution from the traffic that piles up between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. almost every weekday, and we need a Supervisor who will support moving forward with a pilot of congestion pricing for weekday evening, outbound only congestion charges to help change the behavior of some drivers so that they leave earlier or later in order to avoid the congestion charge (or they pay it and help fund item 3 below).
- The lack of a SW to NE MUNI bus route from the water to Division Street, despite the high-density housing going up along the water and the primary location of grocery stores being located on the west end of SoMa, is kinda ridiculous.
- Transforming Folsom Street into Folsom Boulevard and creating SoMa’s primary commercial corridor will create a central spine for all of SoMa’s foot, bicycle, and bus service traffic.
- There are more entertainment venue licenses in the South of Market District than anywhere else in the City – including North Beach. While most of us want to the entertainment industry to remain vibrant in South of Market, we also need to have a Supervisor who will be able to stay on a single page to find compromise between residents and venues when there are conflicts. If there are multiple Supervisors who take different sides and points of view, it could create a hellish condition as existed in western SoMa a decade or so ago where a condo building on Folsom at 11th Street ended up getting set on fire as the tensions grew out of control.
- The deficiency in open spaces is consistent across the SoMa (granted District 3 also has a huge deficiency in open space, the planned population growth in SoMa makes the deficiency even worse in SoMa).
- Look at a map of SoMa – we’re the only large area with the diagonal street grid! Isn’t that reason enough to keep us together? 🙂
Please do get involved and try to keep 1) the Rincon Hill neighborhood united and 2) the entire South of Market District united.