Land Use Planning & Transit-Oriented Development

In order to accommodate future residents and jobs, the Bay Area must plan for growth, but the region will ideally grow in a way that is not just environmentally responsible — compactly, densely, and near high-quality transit — but also inspired by urbanist principles, to create vibrant public spaces and complete, livable neighborhoods.

Note: This page is mostly incomplete at this point. It will eventually resemble the transit projects page, including information on planning and development from throughout the region. For now, only two plan areas are listed:

Berkeley: Downtown Area Plan
Who doesn’t love a land use battle in Berkeley? In the summer of 2009, the Berkeley City Council approved the Downtown Area Plan, which is the first time in almost thirty years that the city has carried out such a sweeping review of downtown land use. The plan, which will later be implemented via more specific design guidelines, allows for the construction of several taller mid-rise buildings that would increase residential density near the many transit routes that serve downtown, as well as re-energize the downtown. There were, however, competing versions of the plan, and the City Council ended up approving a plan that attempted to compromise between community input and information from the Planning Commission. That of course means that some people are not happy with the plan, and signatures have now been collected to put the downtown plan to a vote in a referendum.

Read More:
Downtown Berkeley’s Growing Pains, 15 Jul. 2009

page_market-octaviaSan Francisco: Market/Octavia Plan
In 2008, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors finally, after a planning effort that occupied the better part of a decade, approved the Market/Octavia Plan. Transbay Blog only started in 2007; we followed this prolonged, Herculean planning process well before that, but then jumped in to report the very end of it. The Market/Octavia Plan preserves the character of its component neighborhoods, while codifying logical increases in density that are tailored to the flow of Muni lines through this transit-rich section of the city, zoning in thousands of new homes within easy reach of transit. It also helps to clarify the transitional nature of this area’s street layout by creating new vibrant nodes. Its passage will allow the vacant former freeway lots along Octavia to be filled, so that Hayes Valley may at last be repaired. The Market/Octavia Plan has been and remains one of our favorites among specific plans in the Bay Area, and we look forward to following the execution of the plan from this point forward.

Read More:
Market-Octavia: Building a Vibrant Hub, 31 Mar. 2008
Thumbs Up for Market-Octavia and 55 Laguna, 14 Apr. 2008
Board of Supervisors Hears Appeal of 299 Valencia, 14 Jan. 2009
555 Fulton: When Parking By-Right Just Isn’t Enough, 12 Mar. 2010

page_vis-valleySan Francisco: Visitacion Valley Redevelopment Area
Long in the making is a plan to clean up the contaminated industrial Schlage Lock site in Visitacion Valley, in southeastern San Francisco, to make it fit for redevelopment. The Schlage Lock site is the centerpiece of a plan to transform the 46-acre Visitiacion Valley redevelopment area into a well-connected, transit-oriented neighborhood. The plan would add 1,250 homes (at least 25% affordable), over 100,000 square feet of retail, and open space on the Schlage Lock site — within walking distance of businesses, the T-Third light rail line, and the Bayshore Caltrain station. It would extend the local street grid through the Schlage Lock site,  connecting an improved Leland Avenue commercial strip to Caltrain and better integrating the whole neighborhood. The plan also calls for infill of the Leland Avenue and Bayshore corridors. In general, height limits in the plan area are set to a relatively modest 55-65 feet (with 85 feet allowed only near the Caltrain station) to better blend into the existing Visitacion Valley neighborhood.

Read More:
Unlocking Schlage, 4 Feb. 2009

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