Balboa Reservoir Project Update

From Jennifer Heggie of SNA’s Balboa Reservoir Committee (presented at recent SNA Quarterly Meeting). More about this important local housing development at tab at top of this page.

Update on the Balboa Reservoir Development and Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Study

A brief history
This Spring, the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee (BRCAC) approved a set of Principles and Parameters that were pulled together after two years of public meetings. The Principles and Parameters were folded into a Request for Proposal for developers. Three developer teams out of a pool nine were selected by a cross-City department group which also includes one representative from the BRCAC, Lisa Spinali, and one representative from City College, the Associate Vice President of Facilities Management.

In June of this year, the public was invited on two occasions to listen and provide comments on the three developer team proposals. The proposals were also posted online. These are initial proposals, and as one of the developers said, the end product will probably look very different from the first version.

Going forward
The next step in this process is the selection of the winning developer. The same group that chose the three finalists have interviewed the developers again and are currently reviewing more detailed proposals. They will choose one developer based on three criteria:

  • How responsive the developer is to community concerns;
  • The financial viability of the developer; and
  • How well the proposals address the Principles and Parameters submitted by the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee.

Their selection is then approved by the SFPUC General Manager, and they hope to announce an approved developer team in early September.    

The Exclusive Negotiating Agreement that will be entered into with one developer does not make any commitments around characteristics of the project, such as the size of open space or number of housing units or parking spaces; therefore what the developers have presented up until now might not be included in the final plan.

That is why Sunnyside will continue to be very involved going forward. The final characteristics of the project will require approval from the SFPUC Commission, Planning Commission, and Board of Supervisors. According to the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), that approval is likely several years away.

The transportation aspect
Intertwined with the new Balboa Reservoir development is the current draft Transportation Demand Management Framework (TDM) for the area. The purpose of the TDM is to offer a framework to coordinate a conversation between the Balboa Reservoir development, City College of San Francisco, and adjacent neighborhoods about how to reduce auto trips, vehicle miles traveled, traffic congestion, and transportation costs so more affordable housing is possible. The TDM is not meant to identify or fix current transportation shortcomings, although the usefulness of TDM recommendations will be impaired if existing issues are not handled. Also, there is no guarantee developers will implement the suggestions.

The final draft of the TDM will be presented September 26, 2017. to the Balboa Park Station Community Advisory Committee. Sunnyside residents Pauline Levinson (SNA Vice-president), Rita Evans, Alvin Ja, Monica Collins, Jon Winston, and Jennifer Heggie have all submitted suggestions, support for, or concerns with the TDM. The posted draft doesn’t take into account requests we have made repeatedly in the past, excludes important parking data from City College, and includes congestion studies that are inadequate. The Planning Department will produce a revised version that incorporates responses to at least some of our comments before the next Balboa Park Station CAC meeting.

All forms of transportation in the area will be impacted by the Balboa Reservoir development so we encourage all Sunnyside residents to become involved in the two Community Advisory Committee meetings in September.

Here’s what you can do
Attend the next Balboa Reservoir CAC meeting tentatively scheduled for September 25, 2017. At that meeting discussion will revolve around developing a process and timeline for leveraging the BRCAC going forward. You can listen to recordings of past meetings and find all the Balboa Reservoir documents online at:  http://sf-planning.org/balboa-reservoir-cac-meeting-schedule

Also, there is still time to provide feedback on the Transportation Demand Management draft document. If you miss the September 25 comment deadline, you’ll have an opportunity to comment in person the next day, September 26th, when the final draft is being presented to the Balboa Station CAC. In the meantime, you can obtain the TDM Framework document online at http://sf-planning.org/balboa-area-transportation-demand-management-plan

Important Dates:

  • September 25 (tentative date)—Balboa Reservoir CAC (BRCAC) meeting
  • September 25—TDM written comments are due
  • September 26—Balboa Park Station CAC (BPS-CAC) meeting

Important Websites:


Question: What about the issue of parking?

All three Balboa reservoir developer proposals address City College parking as well. Two of them propose parking for City College on the Balboa Reservoir site, while the third suggests that it be built on the campus, in the location(s) identified in City College’s Facilities Master Plan. One of the proposals offering City College parking on the reservoir site includes an option to provide additional housing with parking on the campus.

Coordination between the Balboa Reservoir development and City College is primarily via the Balboa Reservoir Community Advisory Committee (BRCAC) and two City departments, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and the Planning Department. City College is represented by one of the BRCAC members, who also serves on the City College Board of Trustees. The Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Framework also offers a framework for coordination as it is expected to continue to reflect changes to transportation and congestion.

The Balboa Park Station Community Advisory Committee (BPS-CAC) is expected to vote on whether to endorse the TDM at their September 26 meeting (more about this committee in following paragraph). Although the document is being finalized, the Planning Department has stated that the final document will continue to be “a draft.” The TDM incorporates congestion and parking statistics and suggestions to recommend more sustainable methods of transportation that enable more housing, and we expect these to continue to change. Ultimately, it is up to the board of the SF County Transportation Authority (SFCTA.org) to accept and adopt the framework.

The Balboa Park Station Community Advisory Committee (BPS-CAC) plays a role due to its community oversight of transportation and other public improvements in an area that includes the Balboa Reservoir and City College. A representative from all schools, including City College, sits on the BPS-CAC, although that slot was vacant at the time of the last meeting. The Transportation Demand Management (TDM) document offers a framework for communication and coordination, as it is expected to continue to reflect changes to transportation and congestion.

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Please join Sunnyside Neighborhood Association. 

Annual dues: Residences $20 (includes all members of household). Businesses $25

Your donation to Sunnyside Neighborhood Association is tax deductible.

Please include name, address, phone number and email address. Members receive the Sunnyside News, our quarterly newsletter, as well as advance notice of membership meetings and special events, and periodic email updates. Membership fees help support this website, and pay for meeting hall fees and supplies, insurance, and other expenses.

Thank you for your support.

To join by mail, click here.

To learn more about the timing of the development and future direction of the Balboa Reservoir CAC,  come to the September 25 meeting (date to be confirmed.)

To learn more about current and future transportation and parking, come to the Balboa Park Station CAC on September 26.

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