“Daylighting” has been a problem for some time in both the Sunset, and now the
Richmond District. It is based on the confusing and miss-directed city
“Vision Zero” campaign.
The concept of daylighting is based on the feeling that eliminating parking just before a
crosswalk will increase the distance a waiting pedestrian can be seen by approaching
cars, so that drivers have the needed distance to see and react to the need to slow and
stop. With crosswalks on both sides of a given street, each with approaching cars, the
daylighting on each side for those approaching vehicles can eliminate four parking spots
on each side, for a total of eight parking spots – and that is a conservative estimate.
The concept of using the width of a street for the daylighting distance can save this loss
of parking spaces – parking for residents and small businesses.
Muni’s two recent flyers both show with diagrams how a four-way intersection involving
a neighborhood avenue and a major arterial would work, as well as how a three-way, or
“T,” intersection would work. Both use street width to determine the amount of space
needed for daylighting.
Removing parking is only useful and can be justified by Muni’s campaign to eliminate
personal cars in San Francisco. It’s very simple. The safety advantage of daylighting can
be accomplished without removing parking spaces.
Unfortunately, lacking effective mass transit from the three major commute directions
into the City for businesses downtown, the end result will be to force the migration of
business back into the communities that are currently sending workers to
Daylighting, and all of the other commuter unfriendly actions of Muni, may hit
the wrong target – the now thriving and growing economy of San Francisco.
Will the Richmond District go too far?
The SF Planning Department proposes to delete from the SF Planning Code the
“tantamount to demolition” formula, which determines what constitutes a
demolition, and protects neighborhood character and affordable housing.
Instead, a “floor-area-ratio” (FAR) number will apply to each of the residential use
zones – One-family: RH-1(D), RH-1; Two-family: RH-2; Three-family: RH-3.
Should a development fall below a resulting “residential expansion threshold” (RET)
number, no SF Planning Commission review will be triggered – approval will be
“bright;” but if the RET is exceeded, approval by the Planning Commission will rely on
vague, subjective criteria. “Monster homes” may come next door under the proposal.
Today, the use of FAR is exempted in these residential zones. Also, buildings violating
today’s “of-right” Planning Code would be eligible for another 10 percent increase.
Moreover, another “accessory dwelling unit” (ADU) is allowed. Will this entice numerous
demolitions without creating family-friendly, affordable, or more units of housing?
See http://sfplanning.org/residential-expansion-threshold or send questions
and comments to Elizabeth at Elizabeth.Watty@sfgov.org.