Located in the South of Market (SoMa) area in downtown San Francisco, the Oceanwide Center is the largest mixed-use development in the city. The project is also part of the Transit Center District Plan (TCDP), which is one of the most significant transit-oriented plans in the United States. Currently, the SoMa area is already experiencing traffic congestion during rush hour. The San Francisco Planning Department needed to understand the traffic-related impacts that this development would bring to the project vicinity, and to identify recommendations to mitigate or minimize any project-related impact. Given that the project would add employment and housing opportunities within an intense, walkable urban context, the City was particularly concerned about pedestrian/vehicular conflicts at the project site. In addition, as part of the project, an existing alleyway was realigned, altering the existing access to the project site and the project vicinity. With the realignment, the San Francisco Fire Department had concerns over whether emergency vehicles could access the site in case of an emergency.
In order to address all project-related impacts, Kittelson:
• Worked with the San Francisco Planning Department, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) and Public Works, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (CTA), Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA), San Francisco Fire Department, Golden Gate Transit, SamTrans, and AC Transit to identify feasible recommendations and mitigations;
• Evaluated the traffic-related impacts following the Transportation Impact Analysis Guidelines for Environmental Review, as adopted by the San Francisco Planning Department;
• Worked with the architects to find solutions that would alleviate pedestrian/vehicular conflicts, especially in the public walkway within the project site; and
• Provided analyses and guidance to the project team in ensuring that the proposed site plan was adequately designed and would provide enough room for fire trucks to maneuver.
Walkable Development Brings Employment Housing
The Oceanwide Center would meet not only the goals and objectives of the TCDP to focus developments near the future Transit Center; it would also meet the TCDP and Downtown Plan’s goal to provide a safe environment in which employees and residents can walk or utilize transit, instead of relying on automobiles.