Wednesday, March 16, 2011

8000 new units on a sea-level island...?

Um, yes, SF Supervisor Eric Mar wants to know what would exactly happen to the 8000 new units of housing proposed for Treasure Island in the middle of San Francisco Bay.

This is a picture of the weensy tsunami echo we got last week. See the ramp rising across the water? That's the Bay Bridge, viewed from north of the Oakland approach. That's the San Francisco downtown skyline in the background. See the forested hump in front of the city skyline? That's Yerba Buena, the natural rocky island in the Bay that the Bay Bridge traverses in a brief tunnel. See the low indistinct stuff to the right of the bridge towers? Some of that is Treasure Island, a flat thing built out of fill next to Yerba Buena as a glorified carnival midway for the 1939 World's Fair. According to this 1938 WPA publication, it was "thereafter to become an airport for the trans-Pacific clipper ships." (Didn't people use to have lovely dreams?) In fact Pan Am did use it briefly, but the island was a naval air base from the U.S. entry into World War II until 1993.

Um, the Treasure Island development plans call for adding more fill "to raise the island between three and six feet."

Really, then, not a good place to be sitting if a wave rises higher than, oh, between three and six feet. Also not a good place to be stranded if there's ever trouble with the bridge.

Is it quite necessary to build heaps of apartments and condos on that island just because there is money to be made from its privatization?

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