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Monday, May 13, 2013

Interactive Map Shows Which S.F. Transit Stops Are Rich and Which Are Poor

Posted By on Mon, May 13, 2013 at 2:45 PM


This probably isn't news, but there's some pretty stark income discrepancies between certain neighborhoods of our fair city. What is news is that while most of us are aware that the rich people live in the Marina and the poor(er) people live in the Tenderloin, the income gaps can vary widely from one short BART stop to the next.

Two local software developers -- Dan Grover and Mike Belfrage -- were kind enough to design an interactive map of San Francisco's public transportation, illustrating the money-making patterns along all the routes of BART, Muni, and Caltrain

Distressing disparities obviously emerge between certain stations. In San Francisco, the Powell BART stop attracts those people with the "how-the-hell-do-you-live-on-that" average income of $23,000, while just down the road the Montgomery stop is livin' lushly, with incomes reaching $112,000.


Grover and Belfrage gleaned this income data from the 2010 US Census, via their API (application programming interface), gathering the values from the single census tract where each stop is located. 

In an interview with KQED, Grover did caution against taking the numbers at face value, as telling as they seem to be. "The values can be way off because the area the train station is in is not representative of the total area."

He also had some insights however. He finds the Tenderloin's pariah status rather "uncanny" insisting that in most cities -- due to its proximity to to City Hall and its central location -- people would typically pay a "heavy premium" to take advantage of those elements.

A former New Yorker, Grover is also consistently startled by the "block-by-block" basis in which San Francisco seems to operate.

"I live on Geary Street, which is to me the demilitarized zone between the Tenderloin and Nob Hill, and it's incredible the difference between one street down and one street up. When I lived in NYC, I lived in a similar 'zone' between the Upper East Side and Spanish Harlem, and the New Yorker graph elegantly shows the cutoff at 96th St."

Grover believes the middle class is largely "out chilling in the Sunset and Richmond," primarily using the bus to get around town.

Check out the map.

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Katie Tandy


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