Eyes on the Street: Octavia for People

SFMTA Wraps up Week-long 'Open Streets' Event

Casey Hildreth, Martha Kuntzen, Mark Dreger, and Elizabeth Bremner at the outdoor open house on Octavia.  All photos by Roger Rudick/Streetsblog
Casey Hildreth, Martha Kuntzen, Mark Dreger, and Elizabeth Bremner at the outdoor open house on Octavia. All photos by Roger Rudick/Streetsblog

Today marks the end of a week-long closure of Octavia, from Linden to Hayes along Patricia’s Green. It was part of an SFMTA sponsored “open streets” event and open house to get feedback on the future of how streets are used in Hayes Valley.

From the SFMTA website:

The SFMTA has scheduled a series of public events that coincide with a trial week-long closure to motor vehicles of Octavia Street adjacent to Patricia’s Green (Linden to Hayes), March 31st through April 7th. The combination of public outreach and an “open street” event is consistent with the neighborhood’s desire to improve the public realm at Patricia’s Green and stay actively engaged with the City’s plans for Octavia Boulevard.

Streetsblog was able to attend an open house on Wednesday. Mark Dreger, a senior planner with SFMTA’s Livable Streets division, said that one of the biggest challenges of the closure was accommodating Uber and Lyft drop offs, but they were able to use Lindin, discharging passengers in the “living alley.” He hoped applications such as Google Maps will eventually add “geo fencing,” so GPS-based services won’t direct traffic into the closed-off area, preventing cars from getting jammed at the closure point.

The Wednesday meeting was sparse–not surprisingly, late evening and weekend meetings had far better attendance. Still Elizabeth Bremmer, a local real estate agent, managed to get there. She said that closing the street permanently to cars could be beneficial. “In this area, the majority don’t own vehicles,” she said, adding that the park and traffic calming measures have increased property values.

“Everybody walks along here,” said Marth Knutzen, a nearby resident who has lived in the area for 15 years. She recalled what it looked like when the freeway still cut through it. “It so exciting to see it completely changed.” Another resident who dropped by liked the benches. “It’s nice to have places where people can sit that aren’t necessarily full-blown parks.”

Others suggested adding basketball hoops or other games here and there.

The street closure and events this week, meanwhile, were part of the overall “Octavia Boulevard Enhancement Project,” which is in turn part of the Market-Octavia Area Plan to make the boulevard and surrounding streets safer and more pedestrian-friendly.

Did you get to any of the events or open houses? What would you like to see happen on Octavia or other streets in Hayes Valley? Photos below.

Speaking of open streets events, remember Sunday Streets is in the Bayview/Dogpatch this weekend, 11-4 pm. See you there!

Ubers dropped off passenger either at the turn to Linden, or just around the corner
Ubers dropped off passengers either at the turn to Linden, or just around the corner
UberBackup
Drop offs caused a bit of backup at Linden.
Parking? No parking? Opinions differed during SFMTA's open house.
Parking? No parking? Opinions differed during SFMTA’s open house.
The portion of Octavia, from Linden to Hayes, adjacent to Patricia’s Green, that was closed to cars this week.
The portion of Octavia, from Linden to Hayes, adjacent to Patricia’s Green, that was closed to cars this week.
ChalkCU
Chalkboards full of opinions.
As one SFMTA official remarked, it's not really closed--people are welcome. Just leave the cars behind.
As one SFMTA official remarked, it’s not really closed–people are welcome. Just leave the cars behind.

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