Skip to content

Posts from the "Richmond" Category

39 Comments

Bulb-Outs: Noe Valley’s Getting Them, Outer Balboa’s Got Them

Photo: SFMTA

Two business corridors are getting a boost from sidewalk bulb-outs: Balboa Street in the Outer Richmond recently had some finished, and 24th Street in Noe Valley will get them this fall.

The dozen-odd sidewalk extensions on outer Balboa were completed in May as part of a larger project under construction since last year that also includes a road diet and repaving. The SFMTA said that the switch, to two from four traffic lanes, both calmed traffic (as part of an area traffic calming plan) and provides wider lanes that Muni buses could actually fit in.

In April, Balboa also got a parklet, in front of Simple Pleasures Cafe at Balboa and 35th Avenue. The parklet is the second one in the Richmond, and the city’s second to occupy angled parking spaces.

The bulb-outs provide space for planters, although some neighbors were riled by their size relative to the sidewalk. One corner also features a monument that marks the Balboa corridor, which an SFMTA Facebook post called “an Outer Richmond gem.” The SFMTA wrote that staffers refer to the bulb-outs as ’Balbo-outs.”

In an SF Chronicle article last year, District 1 Supervior Eric Mar called the Outer Richmond strip “a quirky, great place,” and said “the project will bring new life to a very old neighborhood.”

The size of the planters that came with the bulb-outs on Balboa irked many residents. Photo: SFMTA

Read more…

64 Comments

Hampered by Tunnels, Center BRT Lanes on Geary Limited to the Richmond

This post supported by

A rendering of the recommended plan for Geary BRT at 17th Avenue in the Richmond. Images: SFCTA

Correction 12/17: The next community meeting on Geary BRT is tonight, Tuesday, at 5:30 p.m. at the Main Public Library.

The latest iteration of the plan for bus rapid transit on Geary Boulevard includes center-running bus lanes only on the Richmond District segment between Arguello Boulevard and 27th Avenue — about a quarter of the street’s length. East of Arguello, where Geary’s center traffic lanes run through two tunnels designed to whisk cars past Masonic Avenue and Fillmore Street, planners say center-running transit lanes are too problematic and expensive to engineer. Instead, they propose side-running colored transit lanes all the way to downtown.

Planners from the SF County Transportation Authority maintain that their recommended plan [PDF] for Geary’s Richmond segment, previously called Alternative 3-Consolidated, will still produce significant gains for riders on Muni’s busiest bus line. Along that segment, the project is expected to cut travel times by a quarter, make the line 20 percent more reliable, and increase ridership by up to 20 percent. The current estimated cost for the project is between $225 million and $260 million.

That comes out to $35-40 million per mile, and with more than 50,000 riders every weekday already, planners say Geary BRT is worth it. “It’s a really cost-effective investment to make because people are going to start using it if we make this set of improvements,” said SFCTA planner Chester Fung.

Filling in the Fillmore underpass to raise Geary’s center lanes back to street level would cost an estimated $50 million and could add years to a project that has already been delayed extensively, planners said. Geary BRT was originally supposed to open in 2012, and the SFCTA says its current proposal could be implemented by 2018, the same year as Van Ness BRT — an improvement over the previous 2020 timeline.

“It’s not what I’d like it to be,” said Winston Parsons, a member of the Geary BRT Citizens Advisory Committee, though he said the SFCTA’s reasons for limiting the center-running lanes are “understandable.”

“I initially advocated that both tunnels be filled, but it’s simply not in this project’s budget and would drastically increase our timeline,” he said.

Read more…

5 Comments

Inner Richmond’s First Sunday Streets Lively With Llamas and Humans

This post supported by

Despite the cloudy weather, Clement and Arguello Streets were bustling yesterday during the first Sunday Streets in the Inner Richmond — the first Sunday Streets to come to the west side’s neighborhood streets. (The other events have all been in Golden Gate Park and on the Great Highway.)

With the event tied in with Clement’s on-street farmer’s market, which launched a few months ago, the throngs of humans were no surprise. Less expected were the llamas.

Arguello, a residential street, wasn’t quite as lively as Clement, though removing the cars certainly made it more kid-friendly and provided a much quieter, safer connection to walk and bike between the Presidio and Golden Gate Park.

More photos after the break.

Read more…

4 Comments

Sunday Streets Coming to the Richmond in October

This post supported by

Clement Street will finally be opened up to people instead of cars. Photo: musicsack/Flickr

Later this year, for the first time, the Richmond District will be graced with Sunday Streets. The event in late October will run from inner Clement Street all the way out to Ocean Beach, D1 Supervisor Eric Mar announced at a Board of Supervisors meeting this week.

Organizers haven’t established the details of the route or the exact date, but an aide from Mar’s office said it will likely include inner Clement’s commercial strip and a major section of Balboa Street, running out to the Great Highway and including connections into Golden Gate Park, where eastern John F. Kennedy Drive is already car-free every Sunday.

Sunday Streets events in the western neighborhoods thus far have been limited to extensions of Golden Gate Park’s regular car-free route out to the Great Highway, and the Richmond event would be the first time it comes to the area’s neighborhood and commercial streets. Inner Sunset residents have made strides in establishing regular street openings, but the city’s sky-high fees have forced organizers to commercialize the event and limit it to one block.

Noting how much he enjoyed the Sunday Streets 2013 kick-off on the Embarcadero last Sunday, Mar said he hopes “people take the chance to explore other neighborhoods like the Richmond.”

While three other dates have been announced for this year, Sunday Streets organizers say they’re still finalizing the rest of the schedule before it’s released.

25 Comments

Eyes on the Street: A Traffic Circle Sprouts Up in the Richmond

Photos: Aaron Bialick

A new traffic circle has cropped up at 23rd and Anza Street in the Richmond District as part of traffic calming measures being implemented by the SF Municipal Transportation Agency.

As KRON 4′s Stanley Roberts showed in his “People Behaving Badly” segment yesterday, some drivers are still getting used to the circle, since the treatment is fairly new in the western neighborhoods. But by changing the way motorists navigate the formerly wide-open intersection, the circle discourages speeding, and it’s added some greenery to a very grey neighborhood. With 23rd being the flattest north-south bike route in the area, and the intersection being in a 15 MPH school zone, the location was ripe for traffic calming.

D1 Supervisor Eric Mar, who visited the circle on a bike ride with staff from the SFMTA and the SF Bicycle Coalition while it was under construction, said he “enthusiastically supports traffic circles and other traffic calming improvements in the Richmond District and citywide. As an advocate for stronger pedestrian safety measures, I am pleased to see the first traffic circle implemented in the Richmond.”

“Research shows that traffic circles like this actually move traffic more efficiently through intersections than stop signs, yet have less high-impact collisions,” he added. The intersection has stop signs for traffic traveling along 23rd, but not Anza. That’s one reason this is a “traffic circle” and not a “roundabout,” where all entering drivers would simply yield to cars in the intersection.

On the bike ride, Mar said the SFMTA “needs to create better signage and street striping that will help residents become more educated about traffic flow in the intersection,” and that neighbors could have been notified that the circle was coming. “But overall, this is a great design that will also create a new green space in an area that had been pavement and concrete,” he said.

Read more…

17 Comments

Great Highway Re-Paving to Come With Minor Bike-Ped Upgrades

This post supported by

The Great Highway, the motorway that divides Ocean Beach from the Outer Sunset and Richmond, is set to get some bike lane and pedestrian improvements north of Lincoln Way as part of a nine-month re-paving project started this week by the Department of Public Works.

The 6-foot painted bike lanes planned between Lincoln and Cabrillo Street would be an addition to the original SF Bike Plan [PDF], which only called for bike lanes north of Cabrillo and along the length of Point Lobos Avenue. Last Friday, the SF Municipal Transportation Agency gave preliminary approval at a public hearing to extend the lanes south to Lincoln past Golden Gate Park, and the project is expected to receive final approval from the agency’s board of directors at an upcoming meeting.

While much more remains to be done to create a safer, less car-dominated Great Highway (see SPUR’s long-term vision, which includes fewer traffic lanes and a two-way, protected beach-side bikeway), the bike lanes and pedestrian refuge islands will provide some improvements in the meantime.

SF Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum praised the SFMTA’s adjustments to the Bike Plan, calling it “a great example of city staff working together to layer bicycling, walking, and traffic calming improvements into a repaving project, so that the benefits are tripled.”

“If this project is approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors, we will have a much more ‘complete street’ along this section of the now-intimidating Great Highway, and all road users will benefit,” she said.

The road space for the bike lanes will be created by narrowing the Great Highway’s four traffic lanes. Point Lobos Avenue, which runs by the Cliff House, will go on a road diet under the Bike Plan, with two of its four traffic lanes replaced with median space and a buffered bike lane in the northbound direction. The southbound, downhill traffic lane is only slated to receive sharrows.

Read more…

9 Comments

Livable Streets Concerns Overshadowed at Geary Blvd BRT Meeting

IMG_4190.jpgSupervisor Eric Mar, right, sought to ease concerns and set straight untrue rumors about the Geary BRT project. Photos: Michael Rhodes

At a community meeting in the Richmond last night, planners from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and Supervisor Eric Mar sought public input on the Geary Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit project - and sought to dispel some false rumors about it.

In a presentation that preceded open discussion, the project's lead planner at the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (TA), Zabe Bent, went over the major aspects of the project, including its benefits and plans for mitigating any potential negative impact on the neighborhood. Most of the information was the same as that presented at last December's scoping meetings, but planners and Mar sought to use the meetings to assure the public that BRT would not cause major traffic problems, and would bring worthwhile improvements.

Read more...
6 Comments

Seeking Accountability for Poor Curb-Ramp Installation on Park Presidio

park-presidio-curb_1.JPGPhoto: Susan Vaughan

In early April, Caltrans contractors replaced the sidewalk curb ramps along Park Presidio, but left without ensuring a smooth transition between the clean, new curb ramps and the road pavement.  Instead, they filled in the spaces between the curb ramps and the roads with bumpy, uneven black asphalt – or they left unfilled gaps. While a minor difference in grade may not appear to be a problem for most pedestrians, it is a major burden for visually and mobility impaired users trying to access bus stops along Park Presidio and its cross streets. At the least it's an unacceptably sloppy job, though the new curb ramps could be in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

“Accessible routes of travel are required from the new curb ramp through the crosswalk, even if the item is
still under construction," said John Paul Scott of the Mayor’s Office on Disability. "The asphalt should be suitably patched even if the milling and resurfacing of the street is to be done later.”

Park Presidio is a part of California State Route 1, but this particular project is a joint project between Caltrans and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Estimated to cost $18.4 million, its purpose is to upgrade signalization and curb ramps in order to improve traffic flow and enhance pedestrian safety from Lake Street past San Francisco State University.  It is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2010.

Adding insult to potential injury, Ghilotti Brothers, Inc., the sub-contractor hired by W. Bradley Electric, Inc. to complete that portion of the job, was supposed to only do alternate diagonal corners at each intersection.

“It didn’t happen that way,” said W. Bradley Electric Project Manager Brian Finley.  “There was scolding going on with the contractors.”

Read more...