Go west, new housing — within reason
By Joel P. Engardioi : sfexaminer – excrept
Venture west of Twin Peaks and you will discover something very curious and strange, even by San Francisco standards: entire neighborhoods full of detached homes with a yard on all four sides.
Urban planners say this defies land-use logic, given the demand to live in San Francisco and the limited space of our small peninsula.
But District 7, which stretches from Mount Sutro to the ocean, is a unique and essential tile in the mosaic of our diverse city. It’s designed for families. It attracts people who seek a less frenetic pace and don’t mind a little more fog.
My husband and I own one of those detached homes. We enjoy the quiet surroundings and extra space for gardening while still being able to travel through the West Portal Muni tunnel to work downtown and access more lively parts of San Francisco.
I understand the anxiety westside residents feel upon hearing plans for San Francisco to build itself out of a housing shortage. We fear losing our quality of life if charming single-family homes are replaced with boxy condo towers and our neighborhoods become overrun with people and traffic…
“All my neighbors know people whose children cannot find homes of their own,” Noto said. “Decades of downzoning and anti-housing politics got us where we are today.”…
One of my favorite ideas is from 78-year-old Eugene Lew, a retired architect. He recently designed a five-story elevator building in which all 15 units are 1,400 square feet, have three bedrooms and a parking space. It’s perfect for keeping families in San Francisco and would fit nicely on a transit corridor — or a section of the unused Balboa Reservoir near Ocean Avenue.
“Five stories is a useful height,” Lew said. “You can house more people and keep a nice scale. At five stories, you can still whistle to your kid in the courtyard and call him to dinner.”
Talking to seniors like Noto, Strassner and Lew convinced me that we need to make sure the kids and grandkids of longtime residents will have a place to live when they start their own families.
The future of San Francisco depends on it… (more)