Fight over how to use Maybeck’s Palace of Fine Arts reflects San Francisco tensions


1930 postcard of the Palace of Fine Arts designed by Bernard Maybeck. (Boston Public Library/ Flickr)

A battle is brewing in San Francisco’s Marina District over the fate of the Palace of Fine Arts rotunda and the adjacent structure that formerly housed the Exploratorium.
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San Francisco City Hall light show proposal sparks anti-advertising controversy

San Francisco City Hall lit up for a June Centennial light show. (Flickr albedo20)

San Francisco City Hall lit up for a Centennial Celebration light show in June. (Flickr albedo20)

In 1915, when San Francisco’s City Hall, designed by Bakewell & Brown, opened to the public after the Great Earthquake destroyed an earlier edifice, architect Arthur Brown, Jr. couldn’t have predicted that a digital light show would grace the Beaux-Arts building a century later. But, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recently proposed just that—his plan would allow for corporations and city events to use the east façade for projected light and multimedia displays.

Continue reading after the jump.

San Francisco Passes Major Earthquake Retrofit Measure

Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Soft story building damaged after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. (Courtesy California Watch)

Soft story building damaged after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. (Courtesy California Watch)

A big one hasn’t hit California for a little while, which means it’s the perfect time to enact more stringent retrofit legislation. Just in case, you know… Near the end of last month San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee signed into law the city’s new mandatory soft-story retrofit program, which calls for retrofits to buildings with large openings for storefronts or garages. There are quite a few in the city: 2,800, home to about 58,000 people and 2,000 businesses, according to the Mayor’s office.

Continue reading after the jump.

San Francisco Mayor Pledges Improved Transit

Thursday, January 31, 2013
Inside T-Central's Chinatown station (SFMTA)

Inside T-Central’s Chinatown station (SFMTA)

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has seen some success in his time in office. But one element still remains a thorn in his side: MUNI, the city’s transit agency. In his State of the City address the other day (watch full speech below) Lee vowed to improve the notoriously late and overcrowded system, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. “We need to modernize our system…to better match up with 21st century patterns of where people live, work, and shop,” said Lee.

A few remedies that Lee has suggested: the formation of a task force to help develop a plan for modernizing the system and dealing with the city’s growing population; expansion of BART, the Bay Area’s regional transit system; new work rule reforms; and a bevy of new technologies. “Truly great cities have great transportation systems—Paris, New York, London, Tokyo,” Lee said. “I say San Francisco is pretty great, too, and deserves one as well.” The city is in fact adding a new transit line, the downtown T-Central, to help alleviate congestion problems. It’s slated to open in 2019. Check out images of the city’s upcoming line below.

Watch the State of the City address after the jump.

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