Sinking Problem in Mission May Only Gets Worse

Recently, San Francisco’s long-term experience of sinking infrastructures and sidewalks escalated along Mission Creek, concerning the safety and welfare of civilians living and working around the municipality. Last year news outlets released alarming photos of Mission Creek’s south 4th street sidewalk, showing bay mud engulfing nearby buildings slowly. The sinking problem sparked daily dangers for pedestrians and earthquake safety for residents.

Several locals expressed their concerns with the submerging pavement. To resident Ian Fregosi, he can tell that something is wrong with the situation. While gazing at Long Bridge street’s cracks, citizen Berley Faber theorized that whatever is happening either elevate the buildings or sink the sidewalks. To KPIX, the street’s every single street corner has spaces in it. 

The state has a long history of sinking buildings, marked by the 5-year long issue of the Millenium tower descending into the mud below. That dilemma is finally coming to an end. However, another neighborhood is causing citizens to worry due to its plunging sidewalks.

According to geotechnical engineer Larry Karp, every single attempt the building’s owner makes to repair the gaps only causes the sinking to go at a faster rate compared to the original deluge speed prediction.

Every year in Mission Bay, the gaps found between the neighborhood’s many blocks and sidewalks get bigger and broader. According to KPIX’s recent report, the sidewalks and streets are not safe to walk into as they start to separate slowly from nearby infrastructures every year at around a quarter-inch rate. However, the buildings were deemed safe due to their construction beneath bedrocks and durability to survive during earthquake emergency crises.

SFPWD’s Response and Mission Bay’s Past

In response to the rising issue, San Francisco Public Works Department’s Rachel Gordon said that it’s the responsibility of the building’s owner to either hire a private contractor or the city’s construction workers. Additionally, Gordon also mentioned that Mission Bay tries not to become too strict about the matter. However, charging extra fines is a possibility in case they failed to fix the gaps before it’s too late to do so.

In the past, the Mission Creek neighborhood used to be an industrial community. In recent years, however, the district experienced extensive development in constructing the UCSF Mission Bay Campus and Chase Center. 

From San Francisco’s underground watercourses, the neighborhood is still its largest bay outlet for water. Moreover, the area got built in a liquefaction sector from an old rail yard’s garbage lot. Under liquefaction zones, its grounds move like a liquid when put in extreme stress conditions, such as random earth tremors.

Mercy Housing’s Plans to Solve the Submerging Sidewalk Issue

The plunging sidewalk concern causes a puzzling problem to the municipality, as any solutions made on the surface only makes the situation worse. The consequence of trying to fix the sinking pavement is to speed its deluge into the junkyard by adding to the sidewalk’s weight. Moreover, Mercy Housing’s Vice President of Operations Jennifer Smith Dolin admitted to KPIX that there are not enough funds to pay for the restoration. Mercy Housing is a non-profit organization for the neighborhood’s affordable housing needs.

According to Dolin, they need to raise funds if they ever want to execute a long-term solution to fix the sinking problem. As of late, Mecury Housing’s current financial budget and repair plans are not enough to resolve the issue.

Requests for fixes rose in recent years based on the city’s official records retrieved by KPIX – most of them not resolved, however. During the past year, the municipality determined at least 59 sites appealing for sinking repairs in the neighborhood. The previously mentioned information contrasts with that of 10 years ago’s yearly ten calls, asking for renovations.