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4. LAND ACQUISITION STRATEGIES
A significant amount of land must be acquired from Byer Properties along Division Street before the Mission Creek Bikeway (MCB) plan can be fully implemented. Fortunately, sufficient publicly owned land exists along the former Mission Creek rail line to compensate (through trade or match) for these acquisitions.
The overriding land use strategy for the Mission Creek Bikeway project is to take primary advantage of the existing, publicly-owned former rail corridor along Division Street and expand the public ROW for an off-street section of Class I bikeway in the most crucial and bicycle-unfriendly stretches. Most of the existing vehicular roadway along the route is flanked by SF City or Caltrans property; some of which is proposed to be included in the project (See Exhibit 19 on the next page). Many of the critical elements of the MCB project involve intersection improvements, which do not require land acquisition.
The land acquisition and right-of-way expansion strategy proposed in this analysis assumes that some public land along the corridor, under the control of City and State transportation agencies (DPT/DPW & Caltrans), will be contributed to the project, and that these public lands will be used as "trade" for lot line adjustments to adjacent landowners. No "out-of-pocket" acquisition costs for land will be required if properties are exchanged at fair market value. However, some of these publicly owned properties generate significant revenue for agencies (such as Caltrans) that lease the land for parking purposes. There may be significant lost revenue as a result of transferring ownership of lands or incorporating lands into the MCB project. The actual amount of land that public agencies are willing to contribute will determine the breadth and scope of the project, and/or how the project will be phased and grow over time. Real estate negotiations should commence as soon as possible after public agencies have reviewed the recommendations and prioritized elements of the project given their respective budgets.
The 50-foot wide railroad right-of-way between 16th and 7th St. provides the backbone for the bikeway and greenbelt. However, the MCB project does not depend on all of the railroad lands (some which is now privately owned) to create a safe and usable bikeway along the historic corridor. Wherever possible, publicly owned land and rights-of-way are utilized for the project. For example, the relatively quiet section of Treat Ave. between Harrison and Bryant can function as a "bicycle boulevard" with traffic calming and landscaping of the existing public roadway, instead of attempting to purchase additional lands adjacent to Treat Ave.
The busiest and least friendly section for bicyclists today is between Bryant and Potrero, where the public ROW could be expanded via lot line adjustments between the City, Caltrans and Byer Properties. Further east, between Potrero and Vermont streets, the MCB would utilize a large parcel owned by Caltrans, as well as a proposed street vacation of the north end of San Bruno. This street vacation would create "new" land available to trade for some of the privately held railroad land along Division.
Exhibit 19: Land ownership map
In and around the 8th & Townsend Circle, the bikeway would be accommodated primarily within the existing public right-of-way, with striped Class II bike lanes west of the circle and either a Class I, grade-separated bikeway or Class II bike lanes east of the Circle. A neighborhood planning and rezoning effort is currently underway for this "Showplace Square" area, where significant changes to the allowable land uses and street configurations between 7th and 8th Streets are being discussed.
AF Evans, the developer of 601 King Street, a key parcel between King and Berry Streets, has agreed to dedicate private land to the MCB project if the City Planning Commission approves their housing project. This alignment would provide the most direct link from the western sections of the corridor to the Commons Crossing and Mission Bay.
A bridge from Berry St. over 7th Street and the Caltrain tracks to Mission Bay still needs further study, but land acquisition does not appear to be a constraint. Alternative #2 may require land acquisition or setbacks on the west side of 7th St. between Berry and Hooper.
Potential Land Contributions by Public Agencies
City & Co San Francisco:
· Street use of Treat Ave between 16th and 15th Streets — Main entrance from the southwest
· 15 ft. wide landscaped sidewalk, south side of Treat Ave. between 15th & Florida Streets
· Street vacation of San Bruno Ave. between Division & Alameda, as trade for portions of railroad lands along south side of Division
· Small island in Division at corner of 9th Street for a pocket park
· Small building owned by HHP&L (SF Water Dept) at entrance for community resource (Block 3926)
State of California CALTRANS:
(All are leased as parking lots)
· SE corner of Bryant & Division (Block 3904) (this was a city street, controlled by State)
· Lot line adjustments to move State land to be adjacent to Division (Blocks 3905,3906)
· Northern strip between San Bruno & Vermont (Block 3909)
· Portions of parking lots in Blocks 3907 & 3908 may be involved
Discussion by Project Section
1. Treat Ave between 16th & Harrison and Bryant & Division
Summary: Since all land along Treat Avenue is city-owned, no acquisitions would be required. Some transfer of responsibility between City agencies is anticipated.
The relatively quiet Treat Avenue (between Harrison and Bryant) is City property under the jurisdiction of SF DPW and DPT. It can be improved primarily with traffic calming measures, utilizing the existing public right-of-way. The preferred alternative will encompass the majority of Treat Ave. from 16th to 15th Streets as the main entry to the bikeway from the west. The City of SF acquired in 1997 a fifteen-foot wide swath on the south side of Treat on Block 3924 & 3902, in exchange for a "street vacation" of Alameda Street (between Treat and Florida). This serves as a precedent for similar land trades along the corridor.
SF Animal Care & Control (SF AC&C) "took responsibility" for a small section of Treat Ave near 15th Street, where they constructed an outdoor park for employees and dogs. We recommend this triangular piece of City property be reconfigured slightly to round off the corner and allow the diagonal "river route" to pass by the SF AC&C, rather than jog around a sharp corner. (APN 3925) The area returned to street use could be replaced by extending the park northward. None of these adjustments would require any acquisition of new land by the City, but rather a transfer in responsibility for the properties discussed from one City agency to another.
SF Hetch Hetchy Power & Light (SF PUC/Water Dept) own a small, triangular building between Treat & Harrison, and 16th and 15th, which presents an opportunity to implement a community resource center, since it is located at the west entrance to the Bikeway, where landscaping opportunities also exist. Uses such as a Mission Creek Museum and an adoption center for animals have been proposed. MUNI currently uses the building to store bus tires (APN 3926/04). This would also be a transfer of responsibility between City agencies.
2. Trade for railroad lands along Division between Bryant & Vermont
Involves State parcels in the following City blocks: 3904, 3905, 3906, 3907, 3908 & 3909.
Summary: Expand the public right-of-way as much as possible, to create an off-street, Class I bikeway on the south side of Division, through the busiest and most vital section of this historic transportation corridor. Utilize land trades between public and private landowners to eliminate need for new funding.
The block between Bryant and Potrero is the most crucial segment of the corridor on which to create an off-street bikeway. It is also the most difficult because the adjacent land uses are constrained for space, as described in the Technical Design Analysis section.
The southeast corner of Bryant & Division (north of Block 3904) is publicly owned and currently leased to Byer Properties for parking. This land used to be Division Street before the Central Freeway was built, and as such, the City may have some jurisdiction over it, in addition to Caltrans who currently controls the leases. East of this block the corridor narrows, and State parcels are set back from the street.
Caltrans owns two parcels sandwiched between the old railroad land (now private) and private land owned by Byer Properties in Blocks 3905 & 3906. State lands are leased to these same adjacent landowners. The "land-locked" State parcels could be reconfigured (through lot line adjustments) to allow the City & State public land to be contiguous along the public right-of-way of Division Street. Byer Properties has no incentive to relinquish their railroad land, or their leases of the "land-locked" State property unless the City or State take the lead in these negotiations, and propose an attractive deal. The parcels should be reconfigured to allow at least a minimum width for an off-street bikeway (14 feet) along Division. A wider strip would allow for some landscaping. Removal of street parking would accommodate most of the required width if negotiations are slow or difficult and an interim solution is required.
East of Potrero, Division Street is more bicycle friendly, but traffic is projected to increase dramatically when Mission Bay is completed. All of the land on the south side of Division, between Potrero and Vermont (Blocks 3907,08,09), both public and private, is currently used for parking. This stretch of the corridor is the most feasible for a Class I facility with landscaping, since space constraints are less severe, and being under the Central Freeway, there are limitations on other potential uses. Byer Properties owns the 50-foot wide railroad corridor, which they lease to one of their commercial tenants, Gold's Gym, for parking. Gold's Gym also leases some of Caltrans property for parking adjacent to the private railroad land. The northernmost portion of Caltrans Lot 1 Block 3909, between San Bruno and Vermont, is currently used for parking, and is proposed for inclusion in the expanded public ROW.
It is recommended that as much of the Byer's former railroad land as possible be included in the project and added to the public right-of-way between Bryant and San Bruno Ave. In exchange for this land, the MCB plan recommends the "street vacation" of one block of San Bruno Ave (contributed by City & County of San Francisco) to be traded to Byer Properties and used for parking. Some additional Caltrans property in Blocks 3907 and 3908 may also be included in this exchange. The street vacation of San Bruno Ave. between Division and Alameda provides a mechanism to compensate Byer Properties for their railroad land, without having to provide new funding for any acquisitions. The area occupied by San Bruno Avenue is larger than the areas proposed for relinquishment by Byer Properties, so we believe the proposal will be attractive. The City and State must step forward and open the discussions and negotiations for these land trades.
A pocket park is proposed to occupy a new bulb-out at the northeast corner of 9th and Division. No new land acquisitions are required for this.
3. The 8th & Townsend Circle and Vicinity
Summary: East of Vermont Street and around the traffic circle, available public land diminishes, and the bikeway moves onto Division Street via new bike lanes and improved sidewalks. Private land has been made available along the sewer easement between King and Berry, assuming the developer's proposed housing project is approved. Other private property along the corridor will augment landscaping plans.
The AF Evans Company has incorporated the Mission Creek Bikeway project into their designs for a new housing project on the 601 King Street site (See Exhibit 17 on page 33). This will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to pass through their property using the most direct route to the Mission Bay Commons Crossing and any future non-motorized bridge to the Mission Creek Park pathway, planned along the south side of the channel.
Michael Nicolai of SF Gravel & Nicolai Supply, owns a key parcel (Block 3800 Lots 3 & 4) also covered by the sewer easement. The planning team spoke to him about trading some of his land along the sewer easement (to create a true "public" right-of-way) in exchange for narrowing the public street along one of his frontages. He expressed openness to these ideas but will need a concrete proposal to respond to.
4. Crossing to Mission Bay
Summary: Because the Mission Bay development includes a bikeway along the length of the channel on public parkland, no specific land acquisition is required in this area. Between Berry St. and the channel path, depending on the crossing alternative selected, some limited acquisition may be necessary.
Once the trail leaves the 601 King St. property, there are three alternatives to allow trail users to cross 7th Street and the Caltrain tracks into Mission Bay. The existing conditions require bicyclists and pedestrians to follow 7th Street and sidewalks to the Commons Crossing. One alternative would involve acquiring private land along the southwest side of 7th Street for a Class I facility between Berry and the Commons Crossing. The preferred alternative includes the construction of a bike/pedestrian bridge over both 7th Street and the tracks, which would require land for approaches on either side.
The bridge would require dedicated land at both the east and west approaches, which most likely can be accommodated on the east (Mission Bay) side within existing public land adjacent to the sewage treatment plant. The western landing of the bridge would need to occupy a significant portion of Berry Street. However, Berry Street is unusually wide, and a portion of the street could be dedicated to the western landing of a new bridge without significant operational impacts.
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