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Membership in Livable City is a small investment for more joy in your life and that of your fellow city-dwellers! Members receive our impressive Path to a Livable City, invitations to special receptions and regular opportunities to make a difference! Click here to join online.
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Livable City works to create a San Francisco of great streets and complete neighborhoods, where walking, bicycling, and transit are the best choices for most trips, where public spaces are beautiful, well-designed, and well-maintained, and where housing is more plentiful and more affordable.
Join us for Sunday Streets Mission on April 14
On Sunday April 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday Streets' 2013 Season returns to the Mission. Valencia street, from Duboce to 24th, and 24th Street, from Valencia to Hampshire, will be transformed into recreational space for all to enjoy.
Sunday Streets transforms city streets into safe, car-free recreational space for walking, cycling, jogging, dancing, yoga, and other activities.Sunday Streets is a partnership between Livable City and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, other City agencies, and other program and neighborhood partners.
We are planning 9 events in 2013;
Livable City has organized Sunday Streets since it began in fall 2008. We work with the Municipal Transportation Agency, the Mayor's Office, and various City departments, including the Shape Up Coalition and Health Department, as well as other nonprofit and community partners, like the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, the YMCA, and neighborhood and local business associations The program is made possible by generous program sponsors and in-kind support from city agencies and by our amazing volunteers (to for information on volunteering, check out the Sunday Streets volunteer page).
For information and updates, and to let us know what you liked about the events, or to give us your ideas about the events, use the Sunday Streets website. Your generous gifts will help us continue to grow the program! To donate to Sunday Streets, use Livable City's secure web site, and check the 'Sunday Streets' box to let us know your contribution is for Sunday Streets.
Livable City's 10th anniversary Livabliity Awards celebrate extraordinary San Franciscans
Livable City celebrated our 10th anniversary by inviting our members to meet one another, enjoy some great food and drinks, and recognize the people, projects, and organizations who are helping make San Francisco more livable.
Our 10th Anniversary awardees included:
A special thanks to 18 Reasons, Bi-Rite Market, Delfina, Dolores Park Cafe, and Robin Chiang and Company for their generous support of this event.
Livable home, livable city: start spring cleaning early and support Livable City and Sunday Streets
Need a little more space? Looking for a better home for those gently used items? Looking for more ways to support Livable City and Sunday Streets? Livable City is now a partner with Community Thrift Store, San Francisco's nonprofit thrift store located at 623 Valencia Street between 17th and 18th streets. For donation hours, store hours, and information about which items they accept, see Community Thrift's donation page. As you donate, be sure to specify Charity 58 for the proceeds to benefit Livable City or Sunday Streets. Donated items may tax-deductible if you ask for a donation receipt.
Corner retail and secure bicycle parking legislation approved
Two ordinances, Sponsored by Supervisor David Chiu with Livable City, became law on September 1.
One ordinance exempts secure bicycle parking in buildings from Floor-Area Ratio (FAR) limits. Currently automobile parking is exempt, and this change will provide parity for bicycle parking, creating an incentive for both voluntarily providing secure bicycle parking, and for providing more than the minimum required. Secure bicycle parking will be required in more types of development projects. More secure bicycle parking at both workplaces and homes expands sustainable transportation options, and helps the city achieve its goal of 20% of trips by bicycle by 2020. The ordinance also makes it easier to convert automotive service stations on important pedestrian and transit corridors to other uses.
The other ordinance permits small, neighborhood-serving historic retail spaces in residential districts to be reactivated. Current law recognizes that neighborhood-serving retail spaces provide convenient walking access for nearby residents, eyes on the street, and affordable space for small businesses. These retail uses to continue indefinitely in residential districts, but once a retail space becomes inactive for three years, it cannot be reopened. Many of these spaces are ill-suited to housing, and can become dead spaces that detract from neighborhood vitality and walkabilty. This ordinance permits these spaces to be reactivated with a conditional use authorization, so they can once more serve neighborhood needs. These changes were endorsed by the Planning Commission, Small Business Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, and San Francisco Architectural Heritage.
Legislation creating Fillmore, Divisadero, and Outer Mission Neighborhood Commercial Districts move forward
Ordinances that will create new Neighborhood Commercial Districts along Fillmore, Divisadero, and Outer Mission streets are moving forward.
The Neighborhood Commercial Districts in the City's Planning Code permit a range of commercial uses on lower floors, and housing above. The 30 separate districts vary in the uses they permit, and other factors like density, required parking, height, and rear yard requirements.
The Fillmore, Divisadero, and Outer Mission Neighborhood Commercial Districts would replace the generic NC-3 and NC-2 zoning in these corridors. Each will permit a 5' height bonus for projects which provide taller floor-to ceiling heights on the ground floor, and permit small nonprofit office uses on the second floor. Both will also remove minimum parking requirements in these transit-rich corridors. The Divisadero District will permit a greater range of uses on the second floor for existing buildings without second-floor residential uses, and an incentive to adapt and reuse the district's historic structures. The Fillmore Neighborhood Commercial District will restrict conversion of existing residential uses above the ground floor.
These ordinances will go through community meetings and review before heading to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors this Spring.
Think globally, eat locally: Livable City leads reform of San Francisco's perplexing restaurant regulations
San Francisco prides itself as being one of the country's great food cities, and a leader in sustainabiility. The overhaul of decades-old regulations, approved by the City this April, has made San Francisco's Planning Code friendlier to locally-owned restaurants and cafes, small-scale production of artisan foods and other goods.
The new law simplifies and rationalizes the Planning Code controls on restaurants. It consolidates the 13 restaurant definitions in the Planning Code into three. The three definitions focus on the two aspects of restaurants that typically cause the most neighborhood concern - alcohol service and chain stores. Restaurants would be a principally permitted use in most zoning districts, but tighter controls would remain in neighborhoods, like North Beach, that wanted want them. Controls on formula retail restaurant controls will get tighter on Taraval Avenue and Mission Street. The ordinance creates standard conditions of approval to address noise, litter, trash receptacles and odors.
The ordinance also removes limits on the amount of retail space that can be devoted to the production of wholesale goods, including food, beverages, clothing, and household goods. The mix of wholesaling and retailing space can vary long as the business maintains an active retail use. This will enable the city's neighborhood commercial districts to remain as incubators for growing local businesses and local jobs, while maintaining the small scale and active store fronts that make commercial districts successful and limiting impacts on adjacent residents.
providing local residents with jobs and business opportunities,, providing 'eyes on the street', and fostering walkable neighborhoods, neighborhood-serving restaurants and cafes provide city dwellers with important "third places". According to sociologist Ray Oldenburg, third places, which he calls "great good places", foster community cohesion, livability, and local democracy by hosting "the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work."
Two-way streets keep coming
The past year has been a landmark year for restoring two way streets in San Francisco. San Francisco, like many other cities, converted many city streets from two-way to one-way streets, in order to move more autos through the city. One way streets can create many problems - high-speed traffic, harming business vitality, creating circuitous routes for transit, cycling, and delivery vehicles. Livable City has led advocacy for restoring two-way traffic on certain one-way streets back in order to lower traffic speeds, restore commercial vitality, and improve transit efficiency, and enhance bicycle and pedestrian access.
in April, two-way traffic was restored to portions of Ellis and Eddy streets in the Tenderloin, as called for in the Tenderloin-Little Saigon Community Transportation Study. The easternmost sections of these streets remain one-way for the time being.
In October, SFMTA approved converting of the first block of Haight Street, between Market Street and Octavia Boulevard, from one-way to two-way. Livable City joined Walk SF, the SF Bicycle Coalition, and the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association in campaigning for this important improvement.
Two-way Haight Street allows the MTA to move the eastbound 6 and 71 routes from Page Street to Haight Street. Consolidating transit operations on Haight Street will eliminate two turns, and improve transit speed and reliability for 20,000 Muni customers who use this route each weekday. The project includes a short segment of colored bus-only lane. Used extensively in other cities, this project will be San Francisco's first colored transit priority lane.
The project includes pedestrian safety improvements at the Haight, Market and Gough intersection. Curb extensions, realigned crosswalks, expanded traffic and Muni boarding island, and signal improvements are designed to shorten crossing distances, improve pedestrian visibility, and reduce collisions at one of the City's most dangerous intersections.
This project complements the two-way McAllister project, which opened last Autumn, and provides similar time savings and reliability improvements for Muni's 5-Fulton route. Both the Haight Street and McAllister Street projects help advance the Transit Effectiveness Project, Muni's plan to significantly improve the speed, reliability, and accessibility of the City's most-used bus routes. Hayes Street between Gough and Van Ness was also converted from one-way to two-way in 2011, calming traffic on Hayes Valley's most important commercial street. The Haight, McAllister, and Hayes projects were priorities for Livable City's Complete Streets campaign. See our Complete Streets campaign page for more details.
What's next? Livable City is advocating that the City evaluate additional two-way conversions where they will provide transportation and livablility benefits. Candidate streets include 7th, 15th, Battery, Eddy, Ellis, Folsom, lower Grant Avenue, Howard, Jones, Leavenworth, Mason, Sansome, and Washington.
Livable City's plan for a more livable San Francisco
Get The Path to a Livable City, our vision for San Francisco, based on the five elements of a livable city -- strong neighborhoods, walkability, vital public realms, affordability, and accessibility. Its 48 attractive pages include charts, pictures, and 41 specific policy recommendations to take us to a more a livable city.
Or come visit us! Livable City's office is in the David Hewes Building at 6th and Market streets, located within walking distance of downtown and one block from the Powell and Civic Center BART/Muni stations.