The Better Market Street project, a multi-agency effort to overhaul San Francisco’s main thoroughfare for walking, bicycling and transit, may have trouble staying on schedule, to the frustration of some city supervisors.
At a recent hearing of the SF County Transportation Authority Board, which is comprised of the Board of Supervisors, staff from the SFCTA and the Department of Public Works said the project is currently “on hold” while planners re-assess the timeline and coordinate efforts between the various agencies before moving full speed ahead. It’s unclear if the city will meet its target to begin construction in 2015, and it’s not the first time project managers have told the board they need more time to organize the effort.
Supervisor David Chiu grilled DPW Project Manager Kris Opbroek about the project’s repeated rollbacks. ”Given how many issues have come up, I don’t have much faith that this project is going to see any real progress in the near-term future,” said Chiu. “This is Groundhog Day, I don’t really know what more we can say other than that the process has been very disappointing thus far.”
In regular updates to the board, planners on the project said they underestimated the complexity of coordinating efforts between DPW, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency, the SFCTA, the Planning Department, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, and a number of consulting firms. In March, the SFCTA Board granted $170,000 in additional consultant funds for the project, though board members worried that might set project costs on a rising trajectory.
Opbroek noted that the Planning Department hired a Better Market Street project manager, who began last month. ”Yes, we are not on the schedule that we had committed to earlier this year, but we think that some time spent now will result in savings later,” said Opbroek.