Posts Tagged ‘brt’

The Japantown “Better” Neighborhood Committee Waits for an Environmental Impact Report

Thursday, September 10th, 2009


The Japantown “Better” Neighborhood Plan Organizing (nee Steering) Committee held a meeting last night to “share information on the status of the plan and to develop effective steps to incorporate community input into the process.” 68 somber souls showed up – people expressed their opinions but it was nothing like the Chernobyl that occurred in Golden Gate Park when they tried to charge admission at Strybing Arboretum to everybody not born in San Francisco, or something.

As it looked at the JCCCNC at 1840 Sutter Street:

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Can you see some of the themes of the evening? Click to expand:

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Here’s the takeaway – the Organizing Committee is aware of a little blowback over The Plan. In the words of one attendee, “There was a feeling that these issues weren’t fully explored.” 

O.K. then, but realize that there’s no developer chomping at the bit to start digging, and there’s no Environmental Impact Report yet, and the Planning Department hasn’t assigned the 20-hour-per-week worker to get going on things, and the Board of Supervisors hasn’t voted yet, etc. So it’s all going to take a while. And The Plan will change.

Al right, what’s on the mind of The Community?

Well, parking for one thing. The Community Wants Parking during renovations and after. So, if you tear down the underground parking garage and lose 700 spaces, where is everyone going to park? What’s that you say, Transit First? Yeah, they’ve heard of that concept, but they don’t accept it. So, an inadequate parking situation will “kill the merchants of J-Town.” That’s what they’re saying.

(By the way, did you know that the Cathedral Hill Hotel (the former Jack Tar Hotel) on Van Ness is going to turn into a 550-bed hospital one of these days? Is there worry about the 2500 employees “on any given shift” stealing the parking spaces that belong to J-Town? You bet.)   

And where would the merchants go during the renovation time? Would you want to shut down Webster Street and put in temporary structures complete with running water and electricity? Would that be following the post-Loma Prieta earthquake Santa Cruz Model when businesses set up in temporary buildings? Yes. Would the developer pay for that? Maybe yes, maybe no.

And There You Have It.

Look forward for another meeting before year’s end. After that, who knows?

Come and learn about the status of the Japantown BNP Draft Plan and how to get involved in making it responsive to community needs.   The Japantown BNP Organizing (formerly Steering) Committee is hosting this community meeting to share information on the status of the plan and to develop effective steps to incorporate community input into the process.

The agenda for this meeting will include:
*   Summarizing the Draft Plan.
*   Reviewing the Planning Commission Resolution approved on June 25.
*   An update on the Planning Department’s proposed workplan and funding for the next 12-months of the plan process.
*    Getting the community involved in reviewing and improving the Draft Plan.
*   General questions.


Bus Rapid Transit is Coming to Geary, Whether You Like It Or Not!

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

Last night’s meeting on the proposed Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit Project was co-hosted by District One Supervisor Mar and the San Francisco Country Transportation Authority. Lots of people showed up, including at least one blogger – read all about the meeting here at the Richmond District Blog.

They’re still working on some major details, so it’s not too late for citizens such as yourself to get involved. Just saying.

San Francisco Country Transportation Authority Principal Transportation Planner and Geary BRT QB Zabe Bent taking questions along with Eric Mar:

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Yes, this event WAS well-attended, with about seventy-something souls at the Rec Center on 18th Avenue. Some of them didn’t look or sound too happy. Crossed arms was the order of the day:

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So, the long-running BRT Battle continues. Read all aboot it here, courtesy of “Don’t Call Him Crazy” Rob Anderson, and here, courtesy of Rescue Muni, and you might as well get up to speed with all the deets of this project here, from the Official FAQ.

As they say, Go Geary!

Japantown Different Neighborhood Plan – Informational Meeting Today at City Hall

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Japantown Redevelopment Fever – catch it today in the Civic Center. You know, this whole Different Neighborhood Plan (some people call it the Better Neighborhood Plan, others call it the Worse Neighborhood Plan) has not been without controversy – get a flavor of that at Akit’s Complaint Department and Nakayoshi Young Professionals. Here’s what the coverage has been from Curbed SF and the Socketsite. (And there are some websites with people who advocate for the BNP.)

Below are the materials that will be presented today to the Historic Preservation Commission (nee Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board) by Planner Matt Weintraub sometime this afternoon after 12:30 PM (item #9 on the calendar) at Room 400 of City Hall, 200 Polk Street.


Historic Preservation Commission Case Report, June 3, 2009 - PDF 233 kB

Japantown BNP Survey Area Map -PDF 214 kB

Historic Context Statement: Japantown, San Francisco, California - PDF 8 MB

Physical Heritage Report - PDF 1.6 MB

Traditional Cultural Property Evaluation Report - PDF 412 kB

District Record -PDF 400 kB

Survey Findings Report - PDF 736 kB


Property Evaluation – 1530 Buchanan Street -PDF 371 kB

Property Evaluation – 1745-1747 Buchanan Street -PDF 372 kB

Property Evaluation – 2018 Bush Street -PDF 408 kB

Property Evaluation – 2020 Bush Street -PDF 263 kB

Property Evaluation – 2031 Bush Street -PDF 469 kB

Property Evaluation – 2178-2182 Bush Street -PDF 479 kB

Property Evaluation – 1908-1914 Fillmore Street -PDF 385 kB

Property Evaluation – 2000-2016 Fillmore Street -PDF 330 kB

Property Evaluation – 1450 Laguna Street -PDF 474 kB

Property Evaluation – 1501 O’Farrell Street -PDF 772 kB

Property Evaluation – 2158 Pine Street -PDF 272 kB

Property Evaluation – 1646 Sutter Street -PDF 479 kB

Property Evaluation – 1745-1751 Sutter Street -PDF 334 kB

Property Evaluation – 1830 Sutter Street -PDF 618 kB

Property Evaluation – Buchanan Mall -PDF 307 kB

Property Evaluation – Japan Center - PDF 5.2 MB


More deets, after the jump.


A Little Blowback for the Japantown “Better” Neighborhood Plan

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Here it comes from the We’re-from-the-Government-and-We’re-Here-to-Help-You people. Brace yourselves:

“The DRAFT Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan is ready for your review!”

O.K. then. But the problem is that some of the people involved in this process from the get-go now use the term “complete disaster” to describe it today. Let’s journey to Akit’s Complaint Department to get the reaction from Paul Osaki, Executive Director of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California. It’s under “SF Japantown Crisis” – check it out, if you want.

Tearing down those malls on Post Street  – is that a good idea? I don’t know. But keep in mind that these are the same people that sold you the “Great Street!” of Octavia Boulevard, which turned out to be a scar upon the land. (In mitigation, the Japantown “B”NP lacks the complicating factor have having architects designing like-nowhere-else-in-the-universe boulevards. Sorry, “Great Boulevards!”)

Anywho, check out the latest news and the meeting sked below, and check out the notes from a meeting with Mayor Gavin Newsom and Ross Mirkarimi after the jump. Things were so much happier back in 2007. 

See if you agree that this plan is simply “a road map for developers.”

To Be Continued.


The DRAFT Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan is ready for your review! 


After several years of analysis and community process, the Draft Plan phase is ready for your review. The Draft Plan will be presented to the Planning Commission for Commission endorsement at the end of June 2009. Prior to endorsement, we will hold two informational hearings at the Planning Commission, and one hearing at the Historic Preservation Commission. In the upcoming month, please review the Draft Plan, attend any or all of the hearings to provide feedback , and send us your comments.
You can review each chapter individually by
clicking on the links below:

Chapter 1: Introduction - Acobat PDF 4 MBChapter 2: Community Heritage - Acobat PDF 2.5 MBChapter 3: Community and Economic Development - Acobat PDF 1.2 MBChapter 4: Land Use - Acobat PDF 2.1 MBChapter 5: Built Form - Acobat PDF 3.1 MB

Chapter 6: Public Realm - Acobat PDF 9.1 MB

Chapter 7: Transportation and Circulation - Acobat PDF 4 MB

Chapter 8: Japan Center - Acobat PDF 2 MB

Chapter 9: Implementation - Acobat PDF 1 MB


Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan Appendices

There are also a number of appendices referenced in the Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan. Click below to download them.

Appendix A: Japantown Opinion Survey Summary

Appendix B: National Heritage Areas

Appendix C: Historic Property Benefits Matrix

Appendix D: Community Benefit District Case Studies

Appendix E: Implementation Case Studies

Appendix F: Planning a Multi-Use Community Facility

Appendix G: Transportation and Circulation Analysis

Appendix H: Japan Center Proforma Analysis

If you would like to purchase a hard copy of the Draft Plan, they will be available beginning May 26th in the Japantown Planning Room during our office hours (2nd floor of the Miyako Mall) or at Japantown Task Force at 1765 Sutter Street. We will also have free CDs and free copies available that you can read on site.


We will present the Draft Plan to the Planning Commission in May and June to seek endorsement. Please attend to express your opinion of the Plan’s recommendations.

The Draft Japantown Plan is currently on the Planning Commission’s calendar for:

  • Thursday, May 28 (Information Only)
  • Thursday, June 4 (Information Only)
  • Thursday, June 25 (Anticipated Endorsement of Plan)

The hearings begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers – Room 400, San Francisco City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place. Check the Planning Commission calendar at (under “Calendars”) as the dates get closer; calendars are subject to change.

We will also present the Japantown Historic Resource Survey Findings and the Context Statement to the Historic Preservation Commission on June 3, 2009.

Want to discuss the Draft Plan or ask questions? Visit us during Office Hours in the Japantown Planning Room:

  • Monday 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday 4:00 – 6:00 pm
  • Thursday 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

If these times don’t work for you, please schedule a different time by contacting Rosie Dudley at 415-575-9068 or via email at

Send your comments to Rosie Dudley at 1650 Mission, Suite 400 San Francisco, CA 94103 or email them to


62 Souls Attend this Morning’s Japantown “Better” Neighborhood Plan Meeting

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Comes now The Govmint (federal, state, local, whatever), the very same one that assisted with rounding people up back in ’42 (we’ll never use your tax or census information for this purpose, unless of course we feel like it), the one that participated with the Redevelopment that began back in ’48 (“unsuccessful and regrettable“) and went on for a good loooong time. Government is back at it again with the Japantown Different Neighborhood Plan. (You can’t really call it “better” yet – as that remains to be seen, right? Just like every other Plan, this will end up being good for some people, bad for others. But let’s leave Orwellian language aside for now, moving on…)

Despite a delayed Environmental Impact Report (EIR), the San Francisco Planning Commission will take up this Plan as soon as June 2009.

Overarching Goals:

Spring 2009 Update.

Check it:

One possible Future:

The gritty nitty:

The Japantown Task Force and the San Francisco Planning Department will host a community meeting on the Japantown Better Neighborhood Plan on Saturday, April 25, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California, 1840 Sutter St. in San Francisco Japantown.

The public will receive an update on the Better Neighborhood Plan schedule, which is almost done, and hear a presentation of the plan’s recommendations.

There will also be a presentation on Geary Bus Rapid Transit’s newest options for the Japantown/Fillmore area.

Attendees will have time to learn more about the recommendations at topic stations and then ask questions. Coffee and a light lunch will be served.

Over the last two years, the Planning Department and the Japantown BNP Steering Committee have worked with the community on deciding what physical improvements, community support preservation strategies, and zoning updates are needed to secure Japantown’s future.

A few highlights of the plan’s 20-year vision for Japantown include:

• Strategies for cultural and historic preservation
• Design guidelines and zoning controls for new development
• New open space along Webster Street
• A vision for the future of Japan Center
• Strategies to strengthen community organizations and businesses
• Safety improvements for pedestrians
• Improvements to and maintenance of existing open spaces and sidewalks
• Prioritization of community facilities in Japantown’s core

Since the last town hall meeting, Planning Department staff and the BNP Steering Committee have been meeting once or twice a month to develop the plan’s recommendations.

They are in the process of writing the draft plan and are seeking input.

For more information, call Bob Hamaguchi of the Japantown Task Force at (415) 346-1239 or Rosie Dudley of the Planning Department at (415) 575-9068, or visit

After 23(!) focus groups, things are winding down. This is your last chance to speak your piece, else you’ll be obliged to forever hold your peace…

Geary Boulevard Temporarily Closed to Cars But Open to Buses

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

This was the scene today when an extended protest at the Chinese consulate forced the closure of Geary Boulevard to cars. As you can see, the buses were allowed to chug along. (It would seem preferable to close off one block of languid Laguna instead of four blocks of galloping Geary, but oh well.)

Is this what BRT will look like?

The buses really didn’t go any faster without the cars, but oh well.