EVAN DUCHARME/SPECIAL TO THE  S.F. EXAMINERZoning changes and street reconfigurations may come soon to SoMa.

EVAN DUCHARME/SPECIAL TO THE S.F. EXAMINERZoning changes and street reconfigurations may come soon to SoMa.

SF planners propose zoning changes, street reconfigurations for central SoMa

Heavy industry is no longer the lifeblood of The City’s South of Market – but the neighborhood’s zoning regulations and transportation infrastructure still seem tailored toward the days when it was.

Now planning and transit officials are moving forward with a project to help the transforming area accommodate anticipated growth in housing and jobs.

The area included in the proposed Central SoMa Plan – Market to Townsend streets and Second to Sixth streets – originally was set for rezoning along with the Mission, Potrero, Dogpatch and the Central Waterfront as part of the Eastern Neighborhoods Plan. At the end of 2008 with the recession, however, the SoMa section was considered too complicated and had to be dropped, officials said.

Tuesday, Planning Department officials will present the project for central SoMa released in April to San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board members. Plans call for reducing industrial zones – which mostly lie south of Harrison Street – in favor of mixed-use development.

“We have a lot of zoning in SoMa that prohibits new housing and new offices, and it doesn’t make sense in a neighborhood that has some of the best transit in the Bay Area,” said Steve Wertheim, a planner with the department. “We want to allow new development to happen there.”

Along with zoning changes, the plan calls for street reconfigurations.

Harrison, Bryant, Third and Fourth streets would get widened sidewalks, reduced traffic lanes and transit lanes. Brannan Street would receive the same, but a cycling track in place of a transit lane, while Folsom Street would be re-envisioned as a civic boulevard.

“SoMa was designed back when it was an old industrial neighborhood, to get vehicles through as fast as possible,” Wertheim said. “That’s not the SoMa we have today and it’s not the SoMa we expect to have in the future, so we’ve done a lot of design work to make it comfortable for all modes of transportation.”

Such planning keeps in mind that San Francisco is expected to grow by 200,000 people and 190,000 jobs by 2040, according to the planning department. Currently, about 8,700 housing units and 50,000 jobs exist. The plan allows for an additional 2,500 to 4,600 housing units and 24,000 to 36,000 jobs by 2040.

Design and construction – not including Folsom and Howard streets – will cost an estimated $110 million. A draft environmental impact report is expected in September 2014. In the meantime, planning and transit officials will continue fine-tuning the plan with community input.Bay Area NewsSFMTASoMaSteve WertheimTransittransportation

Just Posted

A felled tree in Sydney G. Walton Square blocks part of a lane on Front Street following Sunday’s storm on Monday, Oct. 25, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
After the rain: What San Francisco learned from a monster storm

Widespread damage underscored The City’s susceptibility to heavy wind and rain

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
$1.4 trillion ‘blueprint’ would address Bay Area’s housing, transit woes

Analyzing the big ticket proposals in ‘Plan Bay Area 2050’

A felled tree in San Francisco is pictured on Fillmore Street following a major storm that produced high winds and heavy rains on Oct. 24, 2021. (Photo courtesy of Philip Ford)
Storm updates: Rainiest October day in San Francisco history

Rainfall exceeded 10 inches in parts of the Bay Area

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
The Department of Building Inspection, at 49 South Van Ness Ave., has been mired in scandal since its creation by voter referendum under Proposition G in 1994. (Courtesy SF.gov)
Whistleblowing hasn’t worked at the SF Dept. of Building Inspection

DBI inspectors say their boss kept them off connected builders’ projects

Most Read