The 5M Project is an ambitious undertaking that seeks to address several challenges faced by San Francisco residents. It is taking place in the South of Market (or SoMa) neighborhood. The project is creating 241 new affordable housing units in SoMa. It is also adding new public open space and attempting to tackle the area’s notorious traffic problems.
New Affordable Housing Units
Lack of affordable housing ranks as perhaps the biggest problem San Franciscans face in the 2010s. The city has become even more unaffordable than famously high-priced enclaves such as New York City and Los Angeles. The median San Francisco home price in 2016 stood at $1.1 million. Only 11 percent of the city’s residents can afford to pay for an average-priced home, compared to 30 percent for California and 58 percent for the entire country.
While 241 new affordable units isn’t a panacea for the hundreds of thousands of city residents who want to buy a home but can’t afford one, it’s a start. These units will be available to individuals making up to $35,700 per year and families of four making up to $50,950.
What’s more, since no residents currently live at the site of the 5M Project, it won’t displace anyone.
New Public Open Space
Like most population-dense urban areas, San Francisco struggles to balance the need for office, commercial, and residential space with open, green areas for the public to enjoy. The 5M Project is making room for both. It is adding over 50,000 square feet of public open space to an area, District 6, that desperately needs it. The project is also committed to having a minimal effect on nearby parks and green spaces. For instance, the new construction will increase the shadow cast on nearby Boeddeker Park by less than 0.005 percent.
San Francisco’s downtown streets are famously clogged with traffic. The 5M Project is doing its part to alleviate the problem. It is adding nearly 500 bicycle parking stalls along with showers and lockers to encourage people to commute by bike rather than by car. The project is also situated with easy access to BART and the Muni Metro. As the sidewalk on 5th Street will be more than doubled in width, area residents can commute by foot safely and comfortably.