Once again we start the week talking about construction, and projects in the works. That might be because construction is taking place all over the City, and San Francisco will emerge in a few years as a very different place. Fingers crossed, all for the better!
Hoodline reported last week that significant changes are coming to Market Street. We’ve heard about this for years, but it looks like construction could start in late 2018 or early 2019.
The $604 million Better Market Street project is set to bring pedestrian, bicycle, and public transportation improvements to 2.2 miles of one of the City’s busiest streets, between Octavia Boulevard and the Embarcadero.
Once the project is completed, plans include restricting private vehicles from certain portions of the street. Market between 10th Street and the Embarcadero could only see commercial vehicles, buses and the historic F-Line streetcars.
For more details and to see some illustrations that show how Market Street may look in the coming years, click here.
Have you seen the show United Shades of America on CNN? If you have, then you know what we’re talking about. If you haven’t, then you’ve got to see it. The Chronicle just profiled its star, W. Kamau Bell, who got his big break with a one man show in San Francisco called “The W. Kamau Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour.”
Now, on United Shades of America, he travels the country, and talks with people from all walks of life — from members of the KKK to Muslims living in American cities, from folks in Appalachia to residents of our own Chinatown. As the Chronicle puts it, the Berkeley resident has “an eminently likable, calm but confrontational style that encourages political adversaries to just … keep … talking.”
He has in-depth and revealing conversations with people of all stripes, and more often than not what you see is far different than what you might expect — defying stereotypes. He is in their homes and neighborhoods, and he’s very good at finding common ground. He seems to offer a more hopeful picture for our country than you might find elsewhere. The challenges are clearly there, but the people you meet through the show have a story to tell. More often than not, they are simply trying to make a better life for themselves, and for their children. It’s a remarkable journey.
To learn more, visit www.cnn.com/shows/united-shades-of-america.
Okay, we can’t really promise you’ll sleep like a baby, but according to sf.curbed.com, a new service will offer travelers the chance to get to Los Angeles overnight on a big cushy rig — they don’t like the word bus — complete with stacks of two dozen “sleep pods.”
The service will launch full-time on July 14. Trips roll out at 11 PM and arrive at seven o’clock the next morning. There’s Wi-Fi and an on-board lounge for those who can’t sleep.
A one-way ticket will cost you $115. To learn more, click here.
The Trust For Public land, a non-profit dedicated to creating public parks, hailed San Francisco this month as the first U.S. city to achieve almost total recreation saturation, estimating two weeks ago that anywhere in San Francisco is within half a mile of one of the City’s roughly 220 parks.
Nationally, only Arlington, Virginia and Boston, Massachusetts come close to San Francisco’s perfect 100, both coming in at 98 percent according to a recent sf.curbed.com report. The Trust looked at the nation’s 100 largest cities when putting together these rankings.
The Trust also estimates that some 20 percent of the area of San Francisco altogether is now parkland. That’s enough to net San Francisco third place in the ParkScore report, behind Minneapolis and Saint Paul — the Twin Cities — in Minnesota.
The Salesforce Tower reaches 61 stories high making it the second tallest building in California, and by far the tallest building in San Francisco. The tower should be fully enclosed by the end of July, and Salesforce employees should begin reporting to work there in October. 1 million of the 1.4 million square feet of office space has already been leased.
Even so, the question remains: Is it a good thing for the skyline, or a bad thing? Chronicle Architecture Critic John King recently wrote a column on the topic. He doesn’t seem to offer an opinion one way or the other – saying that San Franciscans once vehemently opposed the Transamerica Pyramid, now an SF icon. He does, however, explain why the Salesforce Tower is so provocative.
He offers five reasons:
- It’s everywhere: It can be unexpectedly seen from neighborhoods throughout the City, even from Geary Boulevard in the Outer Richmond.
- Size matters: It’s big because the City wanted it that way. After Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects was selected, a new neighborhood plan specified that the tower “should be the tallest building on the city’s skyline,” with a height of at least 1,000 feet.
- Perpetual flux: From the moment it began to climb in January 2016, Salesforce Tower has put on a show, like some Erector Set on steroids.
- Design mysteries remain: There still are unanswered questions about how the tapered titan will touch the ground — including its half-acre plaza at Fremont and Mission streets, which will double as the main entrance to the Transbay Transit Center, set to open early next year.
- The shock of the new: The story of the Bay Area since the 1960s is defined by the tension between a region with global aspirations and one that doesn’t want to lose what made it special in the first place. Salesforce Tower raises the stakes, like other towers have before.
To read the entire column, click here.
Last week, we told you that San Francisco was ranked #16 among the best places to live in the country, well ahead of New York City at #80 and Los Angeles at #88. This week, good news, according to a report posted by sf.curbed.com, SF is ranked the #1 best city in the nation in which to live without a car.
Other cities making the list include New York City, Boston, and Washington D.C., placing second, third, and fourth, respectively. Oakland came in tenth place. These are cities where you can forgo having a car and still be able to get around town in a variety of ways; whether by foot, bike, or public transit.
The study looked at U.S. cities with populations greater than 300,000, and reviewed their composite Walk Score, Transit Score, and Bike Score rankings. San Francisco ranked #1 overall – simply a great place to live, and a place where it’s easy to get around without a car.
U.S. News & World Report just named the 100 best places to live in the USA, and San Francisco ranked #16. To land near the top of the list, a city had to have good value, be a desirable place to live, have a strong job market, and a high quality of life.
Austin was ranked as the #1 best place to live in the country and we hear good things about that city, but still, it’s Texas we’re talking about. San Jose beat San Francisco out by being named the #3 best place to live. A nice city for sure, but absolutely no water views, so no thank you.
How did other big cities do? San Diego came in at #22, New York City at #80, Los Angeles at #88, and party town Miami was ranked #92.