Reimagine Potrero Yard with Us – Summer Milestones

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

A rendering of the future modernized Potrero Yard

A potential rendering of the future modernized Potrero Yard

The Potrero Yard Modernization Project will rebuild the existing Potrero bus yard to ensure we maintain our bus fleet as efficiently as possible and enhance the facility’s resilience to climate change and other natural disasters. The Project will also ensure our staff is able to perform their work in a safe and efficient way and address the City’s broader goals for new housing and affordable housing.  The Project has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ), an important step for modernizing the yard.

The Project Concept

The modern yard will be able to store 213 buses, increasing capacity by approximately 50%.

In addition, the facility will include the following features:

  • LEED Gold Certification
  • An elevated structural and seismic building standard
  • Infrastructure for battery-electric buses
  • Centralized location for Street Operations - Muni’s “first responders”
  • Centralized, modern space for Muni operator training
  • Active ground floor uses on Bryant, and possibly 17th streets

“This exciting project will help fix two of the city's most pressing issues: lack of affordable housing and unreliable transit service,” said Alexander Hirji, Potrero Yard Neighborhood Working Group member and San Francisco Youth Commissioner. “The yard portion of the Project allows the SFMTA to maintain buses effectively, send them out to the riders, and it allows for future bus technology innovations in years to come. Up top, the affordable housing portion allows this city to make strides toward its goals for providing quality affordable housing to residents. This project will shape the Agency for many decades, and in a good, sustainable, and equitable way.”

An image showing a three level bus yard with mixed-use housing on top

A modernized Potrero Yard would have multiple uses.

Housing on Top of the Yard

An image of the Potrero Yard

Potrero Yard is home to much of Muni's trolleybus fleet

The SFMTA is proposing up to 575 rental units of housing with an initial affordability target of 50%. The city’s committed to addressing the shortage of affordable housing and is therefore challenging potential developers to seek additional funds to maximize the affordability percentage, up to as much as 100% affordable. Many factors informed the proposed project’s size and unit count, such as building height, massing, financial feasibility and shadows on Franklin Square.

Two months ago, virtual community conversations were hosted to provide a refresher about the project and discuss where we are in the process. If you were unable to attend, please listen to the June 6 conversation to hear the project team and members of the community discuss the project. 

We’re excited to announce that we’ve achieved three major milestones last week:

  1. The Project’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) was issued to begin the developer procurement process followed by a press release

The RFQ is the first of a two-step process to bring a developer partner under contract with the city. This stage is to pre-qualify a group of professionals who have the experience and financial backing to successfully complete this project. Ideally, we will end up with three qualified developer teams. 

The second step is to ask those pre-qualified teams for project proposals as part of the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage, which will end up in the selection of a single developer partner.

  1. Special legislation was introduced by the Board of Supervisors last Tuesday, August 18, to set rules for a long-term agreement with a developer team that would design, build, finance, operate and maintain the new yard.

The legislation obligates the project to prevailing wages, a Local Business Enterprise (LBE) program, the city’s local hire policy and first source hiring ordinance. The ordinance also allows payment of a design stipend for up to two unsuccessful respondent development teams. This special legislation will first be heard by the Budget and Finance Committee consisting of Supervisors Walton, Fewer and Mandelman.

  1. A meeting to introduce all the topic areas that will be covered in the environmental impact document (referred collectively as the “project scope”) will be held by the San Francisco Planning Department on Wednesday, September 2, beginning at 6:00 p.m. 

You may also view a video presentation by SF Planning for the project and provide comments to concerning the scope of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) until 5:00 p.m., September 18.

The meeting event will take place on Zoom: Meeting ID: 925 7763 0432, or join by phone at 1.888.475.4499.

The purpose of the meeting is to collect comments from other regulatory agencies and the public on the draft scope. This is an opportunity for the public to add topic areas that SF Planning may not have included in their initial scoping process. More information can be found at the Planning Environmental Review Documents page under Potrero Yard Modernization Project – 2019-021884ENV.

Community Outreach

We will be tabling on Labor Day weekend, September 5 and 6, from noon to 5:00 p.m. at John O’Connell High School (Harrison Street between 18th and 20th streets) for the Carnaval San Francisco Latino COVID-19 Healing & Recovery – Salud es Poder event hosted by CANA-Carnaval San Francisco in partnership with the San Francisco Latino Task Force, community based organizations, health providers, and San Francisco City Departments.

We’re also planning to host English- and Spanish-language virtual community events to discuss the second step of the developer procurement process, the RFP, which we hope to issue in early 2021.

Learn more about the project by visiting the Potrero Yard Modernization Project page.

For more information, please email or call us at 415.646.2223.