Octavia Blvd. could look a lot different in a few years!

Some decidedly modern buildings might be sprouting up in Hayes Valley — at the corner of Market & Octavia; on a 16-foot-wide lot on the east side of Octavia between Oak and Fell; and a one-acre plot of land on Oak between Laguna and Octavia. The Chronicle has the full story as well as artist’s renderings of the proposed buildings.

But if will likely be a while — perhaps a long while — before any of these three sites see any progress. In all-too-familiar San Francisco form, the projects are stalled because:

“of a civic jousting match over a plan for 70 blocks of San Francisco between Civic Center and the Castro District.

The plan has been in the works since — wait for it — 2002.

It’s an ambitious vision that tries to look at a complex area in holistic terms. The plan adjusts height limits and parking requirements, maps out how to landscape alleyways, and includes an ongoing survey to identify historic buildings.

While initial reaction to the plan was enthusiastic, environmental reviews stretched an absurd four years — and when the document reached the City Planning Commission last fall, critics starting chipping away.

Every side demands changes, and is happy to see the plan stalled unless. Transit advocates want even less parking, for instance, but some residents say tight parking limits are a bad idea.

It’s a San Francisco ritual. Skip the “community process,” then pile on when it is time to vote.

But while everyone angles for concessions, good projects get stuck. In this case, the Octavia projects could face delays because they’re designed to conform to the proposed zoning.

The original schedule called for a December vote. Instead, the Planning Commission meets today and may — or may not — vote. Even if it approves the plan with tweaks, don’t be surprised to see more posturing and delays at the Board of Supervisors.”

So, stay tuned…

Trinity Plaza creeping toward approval

BeyondChron is covering this story quite thoroughly. The Land Use Committee met yesterday and it looks like the full board will vote next week, perhaps unanimously. Check out the link for an artist’s rendering of what the buildings will look like. It’s obviously much denser than what’s there right now, but in my book, it’s an improvement.

The Examiner also weighs in today, with a less optimistic take on yesterday’s meeting. Jake McGoldrick is trying to force the developer to include more below-market rate rental units, saying, “I smell that they can afford it. It meets my sniff test.”

He’s my new favorite reason to support term limits for the Supes.

Trinity Plaza redevelopment up for a vote today

We’ve written in the past about the on-again, off-again plan to redevelop the eyesore at 8th & Market — the former hotel turned apartment building known as Trinity Plaza. BeyondChron has a great summary of the drama surrounding the project, including the actions of a few of our esteemed Supervisors, who have almost derailed the plans at the 9th hour. The Land Use committee is voting on it today. Let’s hope they do the right thing and pass it.

This project is rare: its supporters include “tenant and landlord organizations, organized labor, builders, neighborhood activists, and the business community.” I don’t recall those groups being nearly unanimous on anything in recent years! It will revitalize a run-down part of Market St., add desperately needed rental housing, give lifetime leases at far below market rates to 360 existing tenants, and provide construction jobs.

Let’s see what the Supes do.

What's that building growing out of the Bay Bridge?

No doubt you’ve seen the growing towers on the San Francisco skyline, and one of them will be the tallest residential tower in the west. One Rincon will be 60 stories high, and it’s up to 540 feet right now. By next year when it’s done, it’ll be 640 feet tall. The Chronicle has been publishing stories periodically about the tower, and today’s piece is about the guy who runs one of the cranes on the site. The next time you think getting to work is a challenge on the ground, consider what he has to do, every day:

To get to his workplace, Rubio rides a hoist attached to the outside of the building. He gets off at the 30th floor, then climbs over some piping and crosses to a plank a dozen feet long to the open steel frame of the crane. A series of ladders leads straight up.

Then he climbs, hand over hand, up 24 rungs of a steel ladder, to a platform. There are seven more platforms, 192 rungs on the ladders in all. At the top is a shorter ladder leading to the spot where the crane’s arm pivots. Here the operator must scramble up over the steel pivoting mechanism to the top, to the crane’s arm and control cab. Below is nothing but air and the cold wind of late winter. The view is breathtaking.

He can see the curavture of the earth from up there. That’s pretty cool.

And on another note, I wonder if he would have felt the earthquake up there.