UCSF Ponders New Building and Parking Structure

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En Español.

UCSF is considering erecting a new building and adjacent parking lot at 15th and Folsom streets as part of its new long-term development plan. The university currently employs more than 800 employees at the 72-foot Mission Building Center, which includes a 207-space parking lot at 1855 Folsom.

“We can never predict what the future would hold,” said Kevin Beauchamp, the university’s director of physical planning. “But at least now we want a snapshot in time of our thinking based on what we know today.”

With 22,000 people on staff, UCSF is the second largest employer in San Francisco, second only to the city itself. The university’s rapid growth over the past decade is expected to slow due to a decrease in research funding, Beauchamp said. He is looking to increase the density of the school’s existing sites, and hopes development at the Mission location will align with that vision.

While university planners have not settled on a plan for the underused lot, they are in the process of publicizing the options currently under consideration. The planners and other university officials said they do not want neighboring residents and business owners to be surprised by the designs, should the university decide to proceed in developing the Mission Building Center site.

This week university officials began providing neighbors with a handful of proposals for the site. Most of the plans include constructing two buildings, one of which would have between 294 and 360 parking spaces.

UCSF’s proposed buildings would bring more change to the already changing northeast Mission neighborhood, which hosts a diversity of commercial uses, from industrial buildings to live-work spaces. Other plans and proposals complicating the neighborhood’s parking puzzle include:

  • Construction of a new park on an existing parking lot at 17th and Folsom streets, set to begin this summer, which will remove a significant parking facility in the area
  • A proposal by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to install some 5,000 parking meters to mitigate parking issues, which has irritated local businesses and some neighbors
  • The possible elimination of some parking on 16th Street, from Third to Guerrero streets, which the transit agency is considering to speed up Muni lines
  • A facility that UCSF has proposed building on a site currently used for parking at San Francisco General Hospital, which would displace an additional 158 parking spaces

The Northeast Mission Neighborhood Association, which has fought the SFMTA on its plan to install parking meters, is concerned with the continuing decline of parking in the area, said Douglas MacNeil, the organization’s president.

“There is a shortage of parking and any time you bring more employees, you’re going to need more parking,” MacNeil said. “Regardless of whether you build a parking lot or not, they won’t necessarily park in the parking lot.”

All of UCSF’s proposals for developing the 15th and Folsom site include a parking structure that would have at least 87 more parking spaces than the current lot.

“I think the more parking the better on this site,” MacNeil said. “But unfortunately, the more parking, the more it gives them the idea to put more work space, and that defeats the purpose.”

15 Comments

  1. marcos

    The City needs to follow its own planning code and make sure that on-street parking in the Eastern Neighborhoods is managed for the benefit of existing residents.

    Parking permits for residents and small businesses that override expensive meters for everyone else is the way to cut down on the number of new cars while prioritizing the parking needs of existing residents.

    The increase in new auto trips from such a large garage adjacent to the bike lanes on Harrison and 14th Street as well as frequently cycled 15th, will further endanger cyclists. I understand people’s need for parking, but that has to be balanced against the managing growth in favor of the safety of your cycling neighbors.

  2. Joe Todaro

    Minor item: that first garage would be 54 feet not 44.

  3. Joe Todaro

    …unless the bottom floor is 10 feet underground I guess; sorry

  4. Pamela

    Great idea about the park; that stretch of Folsom is pretty gritty. The new UCSF building & garage will be a huge improvement..

    • marcos

      Right, less sky and more shade and wind is what is needed to make that block less gritty. All the better to breathe the diesel fumes from the Muni articulated coaches.

    • foo

      Nothing like a parking garage to make a neighborhood more lively. There’s so much to do and see in a parking garage. You can park your car, you can…well, that’s about it.

  5. Freedom

    This is great! I hope they build the biggest 6 floor version. That many new jobs in the neighborhood would be great, bringing more life and vitality to the area!

    And — I strongly disagree with MacNeil ‘s claim that “any time you bring more employees, you’re going to need more parking,” This is a transit rich area with great bike access too. Lots of buses and BART a short walk away. Once parking in the area is saturated (which it is), people will use other means to get to work.

    And yes, neighborhood permits should allow one to park at a meter without paying. I think that is a *great* solution to keep residential parking functioning while encouraging commuters to use transit.

    and — the city is getting denser — parking will get harder to find — that is almost a law of physics — so if your life is built around a car right now, its time to start planning for the future…. Ever consider a zip car membership?

    • marcos

      15th and Folsom is proximate to transit for most Bay Areans if you happen to be on the BART or CalTrain lines and then it is an hour commute each way.

      The regional and local transit infrastructures are in no way capable of handling existing loads, much less the massive new loads being placed on them.

      So long as this disinvestment is taking place, people will drive because it is cheaper. There is no free lunch, we cannot add jobs until we beef up transit.

      The MTA is not even trying to pretend that it is doing this anymore.

      • Freedom

        Actual, there is a significant system wide review of city transit getting underway. This is the first such review in 30 years, and is the type of planning that leads to the real performance improvements we need. Without it, only small incremental changes are possible, which often hit up against logistical challenges that can only be solved by a significant planning effort.

        So, actually there IS progress being made.

        • marcos

          The TEP has been scaled down to improve a few lines and funding has not been identified yet to pay for it. BRT will only see minor gains in travel time. For the 25 year plan, of the $4b required to bring the existing system into a state of good repair, keep existing and new facilities up to standard for 25 years, there is only $3.14b identified. That means deterioration under existing loads and crisis under added loads. To meet the City’s GHG goals, another $10b would be needed.

          Remember that the Mission was upzoned for Transit Oriented Development, it was predicated upon a set of transit assumptions that have proven to be false. With out transit and along freeway lines as Mission and 15th is, it is not TOD, it is OD for our communities.

          We need to find those $11b that we need to make this equation balance or else we need to rein in the development envelope until developers help us find those resources. All of this development benefits developers, bureaucrats and hypothetical San Franciscans while all of the downsides are borne by existing, real, live San Franciscans.

          There ain’t no free lunch and I’m not willing to share the lunch I paid for with developers who are wealthier than I.

          • Freedom

            Marcos — thanks for the additional details! I was being optimistic again….

            I like our transit oriented policies — I didn’t realize that the city was underfunding it though… that sucks.

          • marcos

            The policies are not transit oriented unless the policies are actually transit oriented. Developers, and their highly paid consultants, attorneys, architects and lobbyists at SPUR and HAC along with the enviro nonprofits have come at us with argument by “the waving of the hands” that fogs over the fact that the equations don’t balance. My greatest failing as someone who’s tried to have both enviro social justice components to my values is failing to name this scam for what it is a decade ago.

      • Sprague

        Are our streets and freeways capable of handling more traffic (especially in the vicinity of this project)? It’s easier to increase transit capacity (ie. more buses on dedicated lanes) than road capacity. UCSF contributes a lot to San Francisco. Since they already have an extensive shuttle system and since their new developments are in very transit accessible locales, UCSF’s future contributions should be as car light as possible.

  6. Good to see there are some intentions to involve the public and the neighbors at this early stage in the design of the project. We hope this level of communication continues.

  7. Christine

    I can’t believe the number of parking lot preservationists on this website. I am all for the removal of large, open concrete lots. Removing parking on 16th Street sounds great too, that should speed up the 22! I’m all for residential parking permits, but lets stop opposing neighborhood improvements for the sake of commuting drivers.

    15th & Folsom is a highly transit-friendly location. I would know —my house is even rendered in the graphic above, just a block away from UCSF. I would hope that us who have to live here would get a say, over those who just want to keep the parking lots because they’re too lazy to take the bus to my neighborhood.

Comments are closed.