Skip to content

Posts from the "Cesar Chavez" Category

13 Comments

Cesar Chavez: A Traffic Sewer Transformed Into a Safer Street

As part of the newly-completed redesign of Cesar Chavez, there’s a new plaza at the corner of Mission and Capp Streets. Photos: Aaron Bialick

Western Cesar Chavez Street has been transformed after decades as a dangerous motor vehicle speedway that divided the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods. City officials cut the ribbon today on a redesign of the street, nearly nine years after residents began pushing for safety improvements.

Cesar Chavez was widened in the 1930s and 40s at the expense of safety and livability to serve as a thoroughfare from the 101 and 280 freeways to a planned Mission Freeway that was never built. As a result, it became a virtual no-man’s land for walking and biking, and crossing the street was a huge risk.

Fran Taylor speaking at the ribbon cutting today.

Fran Taylor speaking at the ribbon cutting today.

“Our neighborhoods were cut in two by this dangerous street that was in no way worthy of the man it was named after,” said Fran Taylor, who helped found CC Puede to push for a redesign of the street. “It’s taken a long time, and the efforts of many, but we finally have a Cesar Chavez Street to be proud of.”

With the redesign, the six traffic lanes on Cesar Chavez (known as Army Street until the nineties) were reduced to four. In place of those two lanes are unprotected bike lanes, bulb-outs with rain gardens, and a center median lined with palm trees. With fresh pavement and markings like continental crosswalks, the treatments have made the street calmer and more habitable for people.

The ribbon cutting was held on Si Se Puede! Plaza, which was created at the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez and Mission Street, where Capp Street ends. Drivers can still pass through at the end of Capp, but permeable, textured pavement raised to sidewalk level signals that they are guests.

“We finally have a street that’s going to protect families and reflects what we value, which is safety, first and foremost,” said D9 Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes Cesar Chavez. “It took longer than it should have.”

The project snowballed from a simple re-paving planned by Department of Public Works into a full redesign as residents pushed for safety improvements, and city agencies sought to coordinate those changes with the re-pave to save costs. Andres Power was the project manager for the Planning Department until 2012, when he became an aide for Supervisor Scott Wiener.

“On one hand, it’s unbelievable that it takes this long to get anything like this done. On the other hand, it’s such a transformative project, and I think the wait was well worth it,” said Power. “We wanted to do something that was not just a street project, that was about bringing the neighborhood together, and encouraging people to use the street outside of their cars.”

Read more…

33 Comments

Eyes on the Street: Bike Lanes on Cesar Chavez, Green Wave on 11th

Eleventh Street. Photo: Mark Dreger

Two bicycling upgrades were spotted in the eastern neighborhoods this past week: Preliminary striping for bike lanes on western Cesar Chavez Street and a “green wave” on 11th Street in west SoMa.

Cesar Chavez as seen last Wednesday. Photo: @dfro78/Twitter

The unprotected bike lanes being installed on Cesar Chavez are part of the ongoing rehab on the section west of Hampshire Street. A photo posted on Twitter last Wednesday shows temporary striping on fresh asphalt, and it’s unknown when permanent stripes will be laid down.

Construction on western Cesar Chavez was originally set to finish this summer, but the Department of Public Works website currently says it will be completed in the winter.

Meanwhile, the new green wave signal re-timing on 11th Street spotted by Mark Dreger comes as a bit of a pleasant surprise. The only other known green waves installed in SF so far are on Valencia and 14th Streets. The SF County Transportation Authority approved funds in April for green waves on five other streets, but 11th wasn’t on the list, and I couldn’t turn up anything on the project. The other five green waves are scheduled to be installed by next March, according to SFCTA documents [PDF]:

  • Arguello from Lake to Clement
  • North Point from Stockton to Polk
  • Folsom from 15th to 24th Streets
  • Fulton from Laguna to Steiner
  • Potrero from Alameda to 25th Street

We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about these projects.

17 Comments

Freeway Sign “Eyesore” Comes Down on Cesar Chavez

Photo: Lynn and Margo via Bernalwood

With an ongoing overhaul, western Cesar Chavez Street is looking less and less like a freeway these days, but the changes aren’t only happening on the ground. At about 2 a.m. Friday morning, city crews took down an overhead navigational freeway sign pointing drivers to the 101 freeway — the kind of motor-oriented infrastructure expected to be seen on freeways themselves, not on a street running through a neighborhood.

Bernalwood posted pictures of the removal of the “ugly-ass roadsign” taken by a couple, Lynn and Margo, who said they have lived with the “eyesore” at their home on Hampshire Street for 25 years.

Cesar Chavez, previously known as Army Street, was widened in the mid-20th century to serve as an “arterial” connector between 101 and the Mission Freeway, which was envisioned by freeway planners but never built. Step by step, the mistakes which the Freeway Revolt didn’t prevent are slowly being undone.

Streetscape work on western Cesar Chavez is expected to be completed in January, according to the Department of Public Works.

Army Street in 1931, before it was widened to serve as a traffic sewer between freeways. Photo: SF Public Library/Flickr

8 Comments

Neighbors Welcome a Calmer, Greener Bryant Street Near Cesar Chavez

This post supported by

Residents are enjoying a more livable outer Bryant Street since the city implemented a road diet last month, reducing four traffic lanes to two (plus left-turn bays at some intersections) between 23rd and Cesar Chavez Streets. Neighbors joined Friends of the Urban Forest on Sunday on the block between 26th Street and Cesar Chavez to add trees and plants to two new medians — visual signals that drivers should slow down as they enter the neighborhood from the 101 freeway.

Friends of the Urban Forest joined neighbors Sunday in planting two new medians that were installed along with a road diet on Bryant Street between 26th and Cesar Chavez Streets. Photo: Dan Sherman

The project, part of a bigger slate of traffic calming improvements planned for the neighborhood, has made the intersection of Bryant and Cesar Chavez much safer for pedestrians, said Fran Taylor of CC Puede. ”For me, the most important improvement has been the elimination of the double left-turn that used to feed traffic from southbound Bryant onto eastbound Cesar Chavez and the freeway ramp, making the pedestrian crossing on the east side of Chavez a death-defying experience,” she said. “The median, especially now that it’s landscaped, makes the street feel smaller and cozier.”

In its 2010 Mission Streetscape Plan, the Planning Department noted that Bryant had “far more roadway space than is needed for the amount of traffic that uses the street,” which led to ”fast-moving traffic and neighborhood cut-throughs, and… a landscape that is dominated by asphalt.”

To calm car traffic, planners removed traffic lanes, added medians, and re-arranged some on-street parking spaces to be perpendicular with the curb, narrowing what used to look like a wide-open roadway.

The plan also calls for more midblock sidewalk extensions (also known as chicanes) along Bryant, including a “landscaped plaza” between 25th and 26th, but those improvements are included in the long-term phase. And that’s not set for implementation for ten or more years, due to the limited funds available for such projects.

Read more…

12 Comments

Charges on Hold for DUI Driver Who Killed Man on Bayshore at the Hairball

The SF District Attorney’s office has put charges on hold against the driver who killed pedestrian Francisco Huarcha-Salanic, 31, on Bayshore Boulevard on the dangerous junction with Highway 101 known as the “Hairball.”

The approximate area where Francisco Huarcha-Salanic was killed by driver Caitlin Rea. Photo: Google Maps

The driver, 25-year-old Caitlin Rea, was arrested for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing Huarcha-Salanic at 12:40 a.m. on September 21, according to SFPD spokesperson Michael Andraychak. The crash occurred about 60 feet south of the point where several ramps merge together onto southbound Bayshore from eastbound Cesar Chavez Street and southbound Potrero Avenue.

However, as Bay City News reported on SF Appeal today, prosecutors “discharged” the case on September 28, pending further investigation. ”Once further investigation has been completed, we will charge the case accordingly,” DA spokesperson Alex Bastian told Streetsblog. (Note: SF Appeal’s headline had originally stated that the DA wouldn’t charge the driver, but it was later corrected to reflect that the charges were only put on hold.) Bastian said he couldn’t comment on the investigation.

The existing means for pedestrians to cross the Hairball. Image from the SF Planning Department's Cesar Chavez East Community Design Plan

While we don’t know why Huarcha-Salanic was crossing the road in the area, the Hairball is widely considered one of the city’s most dangerous and difficult areas for pedestrians to traverse. Crossing it from Bayshore requires pedestrians to make an extensive detour, and the crosswalks that do exist provide far from any guarantee of safety. The distance between the two nearest crosswalks on Bayshore, located at Cesar Chavez and Oakdale Avenue, is roughly half a mile, judging by Google Maps.

The Planning Department’s Cesar Chavez East Community Design Plan, released in February, is intended as a guide for a long-term re-envisioning of the Hairball and the eastern section of Cesar Chavez, but it doesn’t recommend adding any pedestrian crossings on Bayshore.

9 Comments

SFMTA Adds Green Treatments, Posts to Eastern Cesar Chavez Bike Lanes

The SF Municipal Transportation Agency added “safe-hit” posts and dashed green pavement treatments to the bike lanes on eastern Cesar Chavez Street this week between Vermont and Pennsylvania streets.

The new additions should improve the sense of separation, safety and visibility for people using the bike lanes, which were installed this spring. The bike lanes replaced car parking lanes on Cesar Chavez between the 101 and 280 highways, rather than the traffic lane as originally envisioned in the SF Bike Plan.

“As we continue to implement the vision of the Bike Plan, we understand that the work does not stop once the plan is on paper,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin in a statement. “This project is another example of the MTA listening to the community and adjusting designs to meet their needs. This work showcases an inexpensive, effective and attractive transportation option that that makes for a clearer and safer separation between bicycles and cars on this busy road.”

A post on the SFMTA Livable Streets Facebook page said crews were out today installing the green pavement treatments, which highlight areas where bikes and cars merge. The posts were installed last week.

3 Comments

DUI Driver Arrested for Killing Man on Potrero Avenue Near Highway 101

The approximate area on Potrero, approaching the Bayshore onramp, where the man was reportedly killed. Photo: Google Maps

Details updated 5:30 p.m.

A man was killed by an allegedly drunk pickup truck driver early Friday morning at 12:39 a.m. near a vehicle ramp connecting southbound Potrero Avenue to Bayshore Boulevard over Cesar Chavez Street, according to SFPD spokesperson Michael Andraychak.

The driver, 25-year-old Caitlin Rea of San Francisco, was arrested for driving under the influence and felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of the unidentified man, who is estimated to be in his thirties, according to police. The victim was reportedly in the road and not in a crosswalk.

Drivers travel fast at the junction of Cesar Chavez and Highway 101, known as “the Hairball,” and it remains notoriously dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists. It’s not clear from the report where exactly the victim was killed, but the nearest crosswalks on that stretch of Potrero, at Cesar Chavez and 25th Street, are roughly 1,056 feet apart, judging by Google Maps. A fence was installed there by the Department of Public Works in 2009 to discourage pedestrians from crossing, despite the Municipal Transportation Agency neglecting to add a crosswalk and traffic calming measures called for by residents and pedestrian safety advocates.

“This whole area is incredibly unfriendly and unsafe for walking right now, and local workers and residents have been asking for new crosswalks and other improvements,” said Elizabeth Stampe, executive director of Walk SF.

A revamp of Cesar Chavez west of the Hairball, currently under construction, is expected to be finished next summer. The SF Municipal Transportation Agency also striped bike lanes on eastern Cesar Chavez this spring. However, broader bike and pedestrian improvements on the Hairball and eastern Cesar Chavez being developed by the SF Planning Department aren’t expected to be completed for several years.

The latest pedestrian death “shows how necessary it is to fix the streets here and not delay,” said Stampe. “Delay can cost lives.”

27 Comments

Bike Lane Progress on JFK, Bayshore, Cesar Chavez, and Cargo Way

This post supported by

SF Bike Coalition staffers enjoy the partially-completed JFK bikeway. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

Bike network expansions are going in at a rapid clip so far this spring. In Golden Gate Park, parking-protected bike lanes on John F. Kennedy Drive are mostly finished on the stretch in front of the Conservatory of Flowers, and drivers already seem to be picking up on the new parking arrangement.

Progress on new bike lanes connecting eastern neighborhoods continues on Bayshore Boulevard, Eastern Cesar Chavez Street, and Cargo Way. Folsom Street in the Mission has also been re-paved, and the SFMTA said bike lanes should be striped there soon.

New buffered bike lanes are almost finished on Bayshore. Photos: Aaron Bialick

On Bayshore Boulevard, the SFMTA is striping buffered bike lanes similar to the recent Caltrans project on Sloat Boulevard, reclaiming a roughly 9-foot travel lane for bicycle traffic. In the coming weeks, the street markings should create a safer bicycling connection and calm traffic between Cesar Chavez at the 101 Highway south to Silver Avenue.

Read more…

15 Comments

Crews Installing Bike Lanes, Two-Way Bikeway on C. Chavez and Cargo Way

This post supported by

Preliminary markings are already making room for bike commuters on Cesar Chavez just east of the Evans Street intersection. Photo: SFBC/Flickr

Two bike corridors connecting the city’s southeastern neighborhoods should be safer after crews finish constructing buffered bike lanes on eastern Cesar Chavez Street and a two-way protected bikeway on Cargo Way.

Bike commuters are already enjoying more room on a section of eastern Cesar Chavez, where car parking has been cleared and preliminary striping put on the ground, as shown in photos posted by the SF Bike Coalition yesterday. The SFMTA writes on its Livable Streets Facebook page that the construction is only in its first phase. The plan for the Evans Street intersection, which recently cleared a public hearing, must still be approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors on April 3 before it is implemented.

The project will also include green pavement treatments and soft-hit posts separating the bike lanes and will be completed some time in the summer, according to the SFMTA’s latest report [PDF] to the SF Bicycle Advisory Committee.

Just to the southeast, crews are building a two-way protected bikeway linking Third Steet to Hunter’s Point and Heron’s Head Park. The project, led by the Port of San Francisco, will include a chain-link fence separating the bikeway from motor traffic as well as green pavement treatments and bicycle traffic signals. The SFMTA report says the bikeway will be completed in May.

Read more about Cargo Way at San Franciscoize, and check out more photos of both projects after the break.

Read more…

13 Comments

Safer Bike Lanes at Cesar Chavez and Evans Approved at SFMTA Hearing

This post supported by

The "4-lane" option for dedicated bike lanes through the Evans Street intersection on Eastern Cesar Chavez was approved for recommendation. Image: SFMTA

An SFMTA panel approved a safer bike lane plan for the intersection of Cesar Chavez and Evans Streets for recommendation to the agency’s Board of Directors today, marking a key milestone for short-term improvements on the street’s eastern section. The plan, which was chosen over an alternative that would have forced bicyclists to merge with trucks, is expected to receive final approval in the coming weeks with implementation to follow in late March.

“Without having [this] critical link through the intersection, where there’s all this traffic and heavy vehicles, we’re really not doing justice to bicyclists who are trying to traverse the corridor,” SFMTA Engineer James Shahamiri told officers at the hearing.

All but one of the speakers spoke in favor of the plan. Opposition was expected from some industrial business owners who use Cesar Chavez as a trucking route, but it never materialized.

“No professional truck driver wants to be involved in a crash with a bicyclist, or anything else, of course,” said Peggy da Silva of The Veritable Vegetable, which ships produce on Cesar Chavez. “Anything that will decrease the number of private vehicles on the road as we get more bicyclists there in bike lanes really helps our bottom line because our trucks can move, not at excessive speeds, but expeditiously.”

Read more…