SANF May 2010 : Page 82
82 parking made easy Buyers’ market street life for the first time, parkmerced will be dotted with dry cleaners, hardware stores, delis, banks, and maybe (someday) a library branch. unlike now, the complex will be open to home buyers, say the developers. one idea: “smart meters” with flexible pricing would allow residents to park more cheaply and send out gps signals indicating open spots. almost off tHe grid parkmerced plans to generate a fifth of its own electricity, in part through solar panels and wind turbines, and to cut its energy consumption by more than half. muni pedestrian power the ’50s-era streets will become narrower, take on what hartman calls a “much finer pattern,” and be con nected by paths— including, for the first time, a trail to nearby lake merced. munifiCenCe gatHer Here within a two-minute walk from every residence will be a small park, a com mu nity garden, a workshop with shared tools, or a kitchen for cooking classes or block parties. at the new m-car stop—one of at least two stops inside the complex—hartman envisions a café, a magazine stand, and a place to plug in your laptop. on tHis spot: Superwide, garden apartment–lined Crespi drive (left) will be trans formed into a hub of pedestrian action (right). The addition of a light-rail stop and grocery store and produce market near the center of parkmerced will “allow you to get off Muni, walk directly into the store—no grade change—get your groceries, and walk home,” hartman says.
His vision: to transform what in the ’50s was a cutting-edge, semisuburban haven of apartment living into a denser, transitsmart city neighborhood that stays on the cutting edge.<br /> <br /> What’s there now: the 7,500-resident development, built by metLife after World War II in the fog belt near san Francisco state, includes almost a dozen 13-story towers set amid flowing courtyards, 1,500 garden apartments that require constant expensive repair, and a once admired but now outmoded layout of wide, curving, autocentric streets radiating from Juan Bautista Circle.<br /> <br /> Who’s trusting him: the ownership group led by stellar management hired sOm to master plan a whole new complex without dramatically changing the layout.“they are pointing the way to something replicable,” hartman says.<br /> <br /> Out-of-the-box idea: to totally urbanize the neighborhood. That means almost tripling the number of housing units, to 8,900 (first by building on nonresidential pockets of the property, then by replacing the signature garden apartments with three-to-six-story buildings); rerouting muni’s light-rail line directly into the com plex; and adding neighborhood retail.<br /> <br /> Estimated cost: $1.2 billion.<br /> <br /> NimBy watch: some residents and sympathizers want to preserve many of the garden apartments and thomas Dolliver Church–designed courtyards and are actively opposing hartman’s plan.<br /> <br /> Where things stand: an environmental impact report is being prepared. The developers hope to have the project before the Board of supervisors later this year.<br /> <br /> Finished: 15 to 20 years after ground is broken.<br /> <br /> <br /> More than an architect: “my first reaction to the existing towers was, ‘Let’s tear them down. They’re so ugly,’ ” hartman says.“But those are really the most functional buildings. And as much as I would like to put a beautiful, pencil-thin tower in the middle of them, it’d be wrong on the west side of the city.”