UCSF’s Plans

I attended a Community Action Group (CAG) meeting of UCSF last evening, mainly about their Long Range Development Plan (LRDP), 2014-2035. (It was a follow-up to the previous meetings, one of which is reported HERE.) This meeting covered three broad areas: The Space Ceiling; Parnassus Avenue Streetscape and traffic; and UCSF Shuttle bus operations. But first, an announcement, important for anyone following the Mount Sutro forest battle:

DEIR notice Jan 2012The Sutro Forest Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) will be published on Jan 18th, 2013. Then UCSF will take comments for 45 days; respond to the comments; and then they plan to certify the EIR.  There’s a meeting on February 25th, at 7 p.m. during which people can give comments and feedback. (Clicking on the thumbnail picture here will take you to a larger – and hopefully readable version of the notice.)


demos plannedIn that last article, I noted that UCSF had set itself a 3.55 mn square foot “space ceiling” in response to neighborhood anger at their expansion strategies in the 1970s. However, it shot past this space ceiling early on, and currently exceeds it by 8.2%. For many neighbors – especially those in the Inner Sunset – space ceiling compliance  is one of the most important issues.  They hoped the new LRDP would bring UCSF into compliance.

No such luck. It looks like it will actually go to as high as 9% over the limit when the existing Moffat Hospital is demolished and rebuilt, perhaps 10-12 years from now.

UC Hall, an old and historic building, was originally slated for removal. That would have reduced the excess over limit. But now they plan to convert it to a mix of housing and other uses. Since housing doesn’t come under the space ceiling, this helps – but it doesn’t actually reduce congestion and related concerns. Later, UCSF may convert UC Hall completely to student housing, thus taking it out of the calculation. They also plan a similar housing conversion for Milberry Union towers, which also will be gone from the numbers (though not from the campus).

Other minor reductions in the space ceiling will come from demolishing a bunch of small buildings, including several in the forest, and three blocks of student housing in Aldea campus. I’m finding this counter-intuitive. The main congestion impact is down in the Inner Sunset, so UCSF is demolishing buildings in the lightly-trafficked Sutro Forest, and adding housing along Parnassus?

Anyway, by a combination of housing conversions and minor demolitions, they expect to end 2035 at only 5% over the space ceiling, compared with 8.2% now. The map above shows the actual demolitions in turquoise; the pink buildings will either be demolished and rebuilt, or converted to housing. One building, Proctor, is undecided; it could be made Open Space, or converted to housing.

UCSF are also considering giving up their Laurel Heights space and co-locating those functions at Parnassus or Mission Bay (or both).


The people numbers – which were originally supposed to be limited to 13,400 average daily population and then to 16,000 – is already at around 18,000. According to the forecast, it will rise to 18,500-18,900 in 2035. Members of the CAG were rather skeptical about this number.

In addition to construction and changes in use in the buildings along Parnassus, they plan to remodel the road itself to make it more pedestrian-friendly and give it a stronger sense of place. Better sidewalks and a huge cross-walk are in the plans. The tree plan involves removing some 60 trees that are hazardous or “poor quality” and planting around 70. They will also evaluate the redwood grove at Parnassus and 7th at some later date, if they haven’t removed it during their construction work first.

There was also a discussion of shuttle-bus operations, the upshot being that they may be better able to match demand (peak demand exceeds number of trips on some routes, but doesn’t match capacity on others) and supply.

If you want more details, UCSF has its website for the LRDP HERE.

4 thoughts on “UCSF’s Plans”

  1. I’m a solitary hiker who loves San Francisco’s beautiful parks and am concerned about all the overdone enthusiasm lately for baring our forests so there will be mostly native plants, as in the drastic deforestation of hundreds to thousands of healthy mature trees.

    In these days of confirmed climate change and global warming, I continue to read that more and more experts on the subject are advising that use of pesticides should be reduced and more trees should be planted — instead of doing the exact opposite and destroying hundreds or thousands of perfectly healthy trees, and making this mountaintop practically bald. Sutro Forest just FITS so perfectly; it is a totally unique midcity treasure and oasis that we’re so lucky to have, and we’ve become used to having it here over many years.

    The native plant advocates can plant their natives all over the place without destroying so much of the forest. They can extend trails, trim the ivy, do trailwork, etc. without cutting down all those trees. Why is there such a trend these days to drastically overdo things instead of making it a priority to protect our precious, dwindling openspaces.

    I’d like to also mention the Presidio Trust as regards its management. When the Trust has projects planned, they TELL people in detail about what is planned, send out explanatory e-letters, answer people’s email inquiries, and even take people on walks to show them what is planned for the particular area, i.e., El Polin Spring before the wood boardwalk was built. The Trust makes an effort to include neighbors and park-goers in discussions instead of seemingly trying to thwart any opposition, or in my case being blocked on Sutro Stewards’ Facebook site for merely asking about their plans.

    I merely expressed concern and asked the Stewards at their Facebook site what was going on with all this. I wanted to hear what people in the group had to say. I got an answer after several posts saying only that I was mistaken and not to believe everything I read. So naturally I wanted to ask them to explain their “side” of this, but then found myself to be blocked from further comments. This, to me, is like a parent saying to a kid, “Because I SAY so” and not allowing any further discussion at all to try to shut them up. With me, it has the opposite effect.

    I then made an attempt to email Craig Dawson and another person in the group separately but my rebuttal went into “Other.” This is no way to get people to think favorably toward a company or group. Instead it tends to make me feel that they do indeed want to block the public from disagreeing or even commenting. I had the same off-putting experience when I was concerned about the Glen Canyon deforestation recently. I sent an email to a guy hoping he would print it in his blog and that people could comment on it. Instead, he did not print it and just told me I was wrong, again without any further explanation on his part. What IS this — some sort of conspiracy to shut the common folk up if they express disagreement on something?

    So how can I help but think, from these recent examples from native-plant enthusiasts, that something fishy is going on here, and that they would prefer not to hear from the “little guys” out there: we who live in the area and/or who love and use these parks. Is it because they have plans to develop the area also and don’t want the public to find out until it is too late to stop it? I am thinking about two past instances of neighbors working to get the city to buy the parks, i.e., Mount Davidson’s summit area and Bernal Heights Park, so that greedy developers couldn’t snap them up to build a bunch of “little boxes” on them. This was successful; hopefully if Mount Sutro is indeed in danger of development, this can be nipped in the bud too.

    I am NOT opposed to common-sense trail maintenance/extensions and taking down trees or other plants that are ailing or dead. In fact, one of the things I’d most like to see and would enthusiastically support would be to open up the no-trespassing-signed areas around here to hikers that are now owned by various city agencies, like the water dept. For instance, the area on the other side of Laguna Honda reservoir where hikers are not supposed to go. That is, GREENING the city more in the process — allowing more trails while still keeping as many of the gorgeous old trees as possible — NOT doing the exact opposite! Natives are fine, but let’s not get so carried away and destroy all those healthy trees in your enthusiasm. Again, more common sense is needed in these days of concern for global warming and the environment. I am especially concerned about the rampant use of pesticides. LESS poisons, not more!

    I am an animal/nature-lover, treehugger, and hiker who has enjoyed hiking Mount Sutro for many years, back before all the trailwork was begun, who wants to see protection for the area from development, destruction of animal habitats, use of poisons to kill the plants, and the massive, shocking deforestation causing multiple bare spots atop the mountain — thus causing lots of environmental problems as well. I want to see common sense prevail, and that neighbors and concerned citizens might have just as much a say in this very serious matter as the owners of the land, the overly enthusiastic native plant advocates, and Rec & Park have. I think we deserve this. We live here too.

    Let our beloved forest live on as it has for so many years and stop this unbelievably stupid trend of excessive tree removal from this and all San Francisco’s parks for no good reason. Let ordinary folks speak up and force the rich landowners and seemingly misguided native-plant people out there to let the public know what they are up to, and prevent destruction of our plants and animals in the name of “progress” or whatever they choose to call this horror nowadays. WHAT are they thinking?

    Tony Holiday

    San Francisco
    website: http://galomorro.weebly.com

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