Eyes on the Street: Valencia Gets Trees and Decorative Streetlights

trees_and_light_small.jpgNew trees and new roadway scale lighting. Photos: Matthew Roth

Now that the Valencia Street sidewalk reconstruction between 15th Street and 19th Street has given us sparkly new pedestrian space, the Department of Public Works (DPW) has begun putting on decorative touches. The DPW has planted two types of trees as well as pedestrian and roadway scale lighting, all of which reflects the decision from the community outreach process that began in 2004.

The DPW said the two types of trees are the deciduous London Plane (platanus acerifolia) and the evergreen Brisbane Box (lophostemon conferta). The DPW is planting 96 new trees across the length of the project, which project manager Kris Opbroek said were "just a hint of things to come."

The streetlights are two different heights: The teardrop shaped fixtures are approximately 27 feet tall for roadway scale and the harp-shaped pedestrian scale fixtures are approximately 14 feet high.

Now if they could just clear the bike lanes of gravel and fix that dangerous pavement edge near Mission police station!

light_post_small.jpgThe pedestrian scale light fixtures.
tree_2_small.jpgTrees waiting to be planted. Notice the roadway scale light pole without the fixture.
  • In related news, I was just on Valencia Street and talked to the contractor who is finally reinstalling the bike racks: http://www.flickr.com/photos/velobry/sets/72157623746323505/

  • Another benefit: Western Swallowtail butterflies have adapted to Plane Trees. Perhaps soon they will float up from Market Street and enjoy the Valencia warmth. All for a more livable city, for butterflies and us.

  • Nick

    Did they chose these specific trees because they are somehow native to the area? I was hoping the City would start planting different types of trees already, perhaps Cherry Blossums. You can see in other neighborhoods that the current ones can become a type of “green blight.” The leaves collect black sediment from air pollution, people back into them with their cars, and they don’t hold up well in storms. But the City seems intent on planting hundreds more of them each year without regard to whether they are working or not.

  • PatchRock

    I am also disappointed with the tree selection. Those two trees are so over-planted in the City and the plane tree especially looks pretty ugly for most of the year.

  • Walking by them yesterday, I assumed the trees on the corners looked so sickly from the shock of being transplanted. You mean that’s what they are supposed to look like?

  • friscolex

    Can’t wait wait wait wait wait for this project to see completion. Trees, no matter! Just give me beautiful sidewalscapes when I’m a ped and smooooth pavement to zip by on on my bike.

  • spitpalm

    Weren’t the bike racks supposed to be more “decorative”? I remember seeing designs that had somewhat of a “El Dia de Los Muertos” theme. No dice? That being said, it is looking great. I would love to see more of this happen across the city…Haight, Noe, Mission, etc.

  • and now we got some Banksy artwork sitting above Amnesia. sweet!

    also, i remember reading that Palo Alto was going LED for their streetlights. was hoping i’d hear SF start talking about that soon.

  • Peter,
    San Jose, SF, and Oakland are all experimenting with LED streetlights:


Work Begins on Divisadero Ped Upgrades, but Skinny Sidewalks Remain

Widening the median on Divisadero Street. Photo: Janel Sterbentz Ninety years after city traffic managers widened Divisadero Street between Haight and Sacramento Streets, skimming off five feet of sidewalk and adding a travel lane on both sides, the Department of Public Works (DPW) is spending $3.3 million to upgrade the landscaping on the median, without […]

In Search of a Better Pedestrian Realm for Broadway in Chinatown

On Broadway near the corner of Stockton, pedestrians jostle for space on a lively but overcrowded sidewalk. Photo: Michael Rhodes The stretch of Broadway between Columbus Avenue and the Robert C. Levy tunnel is an unheralded segment of San Francisco’s Chinatown: storefront after storefront of neighborhood shops and restaurants, with far fewer tourists than Grant […]

Valencia Project Will Bring Improvements Worth the Short-Term Headaches

Construction begins this week on a nine-month project that could periodically disrupt Valencia Street’s bike lanes. The result, residents hope, will be a greatly improved streetscape for pedestrians and bicyclists. Valencia Street at 15th Street. Flickr photo: Iznot The Valencia Streetscape Improvements project, which spans Valencia from 15th Street to 19th Street, is intended to […]

Castro Street Redesign Breaks Ground, Rainbow Crosswalks Unveiled

The new Castro Street is on its way, with the Department of Public Works breaking ground today on the two-block street redesign, which will include wider sidewalks. One detail of the plan was also unveiled at the event — rainbow crosswalk designs for the Castro and 18th Street intersection. “This streetscape project will be transformational […]