Letter to the Editor: The Sunset Needs More Housing, Families – Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon

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Last December, the SF Standard released aerial photos of just how much San Francisco has changed over more than 85 years. I was particularly drawn to how much the Sunset has transformed in that period.

As a relatively new resident of the Sunset, my family and I have been enamored by what the neighborhood has to offer: friendly neighbors, active commercial corridors, and good schools. It has all the ingredients necessary for raising a family. 

And that’s only the beginning. See what our neighborhood has seen in the past few years. 

  1. night market showcasing our small businesses and demonstrating what is possible with our public spaces. 
  2. The Great Highway is gaining national and international recognition as a travel destination. 
  3. The Sunset is now home to the biggest pickleball courts complex in the city. 
  4. According to the New York Times, while other neighborhoods are struggling, the Outer Sunset is “thriving.”

That’s why when I learned that San Francisco had to build 82,000 housing units – many of which would be on the west side – I welcomed the challenge. Back in September of last year, I participated in a focus group organized by the SF Planning Department to collect feedback on what future plans for the west side of San Francisco should look like. This group specifically focused on feedback from families with young children like mine.

The Planning Department presented proposals about how tall and how dense homes should be in merchant corridors, like Irving Street and in the surrounding areas. We discussed what this would look like and what kind of units could fit in. Ultimately the discussion turned to what housing would be acceptable to current residents. Would it obstruct people’s views, how would it be received, and is there any way we can mitigate the inevitable opposition?

We discussed what the buildings would look like, but we barely talked about who would live in these homes. The buildings aren’t just a pretty view. They are places where people live, grow, design, create, develop and innovate.

San Francisco has no future without families, and families need places to live. Without more housing, “SF natives” are an endangered species. I don’t want San Francisco to just be a nice place to visit. It should be a place where people not only want to raise their children but can afford to raise their children. Where children can access the resources and creativity of a world-class city. 

Our City’s best resource is not our landmarks, our libraries or our parks; it is the people. Look no further than downtown to see what it looks like when a neighborhood doesn’t have enough people. 

More people means more children attending our half-filled schools. It means more people patronizing our restaurants and small businesses. It means more workers and customers spending money to raise revenue for more city services. It means more eyes on the streets to ensure greater public safety. It means more people starting new businesses and developing ideas that we can’t even imagine.

Instead of sand dunes, the City had a greater vision for what it could be and embraced it. 

We don’t have to fear San Francisco’s future. The Sunset can be a leader in the City by welcoming more neighbors and creating a community that is truly welcoming, inclusive and forward looking. 

We’ve already been doing it, not just recently but for decades. Why stop now?

Alex Wong 

Outer Sunset Resident

This post was originally published on 3rd party site mentioned in the title of this site

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