12/31/2014 11:15 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What Will Living in San Francisco Be Like in 2020?

San Francisco Bay Area: What will living in San Francisco be like in 2020?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and access insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.


Answer by Rich Wang, San Francisco Resident

Within San Francisco proper, there will be roughly ten new mid to high-rise towers on the skyline grouped around Rincon Hill across to the central subway corridor, fanning out to more mid-rise tower complexes across Central SoMa and tailing out towards the west end of SoMa (Van Ness) and lower Polk.

The Transbay Terminal project, Central Subway project, Moscone Center expansion project, and MoMa expansion project will all have been completed giving the neighborhood a much more cosmopolitan feel.

All parking lots in SoMa will have been converted to mid-rise to high-rise tower complexes with some underground parking allotment, but you will no long be able to find a open surface parking lot to park a car in SoMa.

Private auto traffic will be barred from Market Street east of Van Ness and much of the surface street infrastructure, especially in downtown, will be increasingly multimodal with protected bikeways in green separated from dedicated transit lanes in red.

Mass transit capacity will be an increasingly pervasive issue with limitations being reached on light and heavy rail systems in the short to medium term, and an increasing need to expand express bus route service augmented by more aggressive measures to deter the use of private autos along transit corridors.

Efforts to reduce motor traffic, casualties, and improve quality of life will meet higher adoption rates of bicycle commuting to increase the coverage of protected bikeways all over the city despite some resistance. Parking fees and fines will probably increase by no less than 50% in the heart of the city.

Mid-Market/Central SoMa will have been revitalized into a more commercially-viable retail district having considerably more consumer foot traffic from the Twitter building to Westfield shopping center.

Mission Bay will be a bustling new neighborhood with a considerable amount of street activity year round due to the completion of residential development complexes with ground floor retail across the channel from China Basin and the operation of the new Warriors Arena as a sporting and indoor special events venue just a few blocks from AT&T Park.

Candlestick and Hunter's Point up to the south peak of Potrero Hill will be in the early stages of gentrification with the redevelopment efforts at Candlestick Point and South Potrero well underway. By 2020 the public housing at Alice Griffith, the massive outdoor shopping center at Candlestick Point, the budding green and clean technology business district, and over 300 acres of parks and open space will have been completed and the remainder of the work will be infill housing development around these features.

The Treasure Island redevelopment project will be about a quarter of the way complete with much of the demolition and infrastructure work finished and a number of cranes building up two rows of mid-rise towers along Treasure Island's southern and western shores. There will be a single high-rise tower at the junction of these two avenues.

The Park Merced redevelopment project will also be about a quarter of the way complete with many of the low-rise towers and above ground parking lots being demolished to be replaced by mid-rise towers and underground parking. Its curvilinear streets will also be replaced by a more urban grid pattern.

The Presidio Parklands project will be completed giving way to an open and expansive new visual experience for visitors and passersby.

There will likely be an approved design and construction in progress for a bike path along the western span of the Bay Bridge connecting San Francisco to Yerba Buena Island. The old eastern span will be gone. The Golden Gate Bridge will have its suicide barrier.

We will be more than halfway into the next business cycle which will reign in a new wave of technology and professional services businesses to backfill the economic contraction of 2015-2016. The economy will most likely still be in an upswing. Health care will likely remain the city's biggest industry by revenue, but technology and professional services will continue to trend upwards.

Overall the city will be more dense and active around its core and to the eastern shore and along the south shore up to Candlestick Point, but the cost of housing will continue to climb due to the inadequate level of new housing development relative to demand and the unwillingness of local politicians to rebalance job creation policy against housing creation policy.

Besides the neighborhoods of Mission, SoMa, Dogpatch, Mission Bay, Hayes Valley, Candlestick Point, Hunter's Point, Park Merced, Treasure Island, and potentially North Beach once the subway is online, the remainder of the city will remain fairly unchanged having undergone very little redevelopment. A major reason for this is because Prop 13 disincentivizes the sale of and new construction on existing property, which mostly effects neighborhoods composed of single-family homes (of which a large swath of San Francisco remains). Neighborhood associations are also very effective at preventing changes to density. Demographic changes in these single family homes will trend towards younger and much wealthier families as those titles are slowly but surely transferred to new owners who can afford their unmitigated appreciation.

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