Neighbors Welcome a Calmer, Greener Bryant Street Near Cesar Chavez

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.

A piece of the long-term vision for Bryant in the Planning Department's Mission Streetscape Plan.

Meanwhile, construction continues on nearby western Cesar Chavez, where two of the six traffic lanes on the dangerous motorway will be removed, making way for a wide planted median, bike lanes, and sidewalk corner bulb-outs. Completion for that project, previously scheduled for this summer, has been pushed back to the end of the year, according to the Department of Public Works website.

Taylor said that since the lanes were removed from Bryant, it has seen some car congestion during the evening rush hour, “sometimes obstructing the Bryant crosswalks at 26th Street, so it’s a trade-off.” Experience suggests the back-ups won’t be permanent. As drivers adjust to street changes, traffic patterns evolve, and initial increases in congestion don’t last. And, as Taylor noted, the back-ups only occur during a short time of the day, “whereas the noxious double left turn was always a danger.”

Bryant Street before the redesign. Photo: SF Planning Department
Bryant Street, after. Photo: Dan Sherman
Photo: Dan Sherman
  • Wow!

    It will be interesting to feel out the dynamic for cyclists headed East on Cesar Chavez. Coming from the West it is standard to take 26th to Bryant and then left onto Chavez. I would take the left of the two left turn lanes while motorists favored the right one – motorists were mostly headed to US-101 (right lane exit) and I was headed under the 101 to continue on CC and would take the left lane of Chavez until merging over after the Bayshore onramp. “Do not try this at home”. Less intrepid cyclists would make the left hand turn from the rightmost left turn lane and hop the sidewalk to the bottle strewn bike path.

    Summary – the real problem is the 101 crossing.

  • Elliottbloom74

    Let’s spend a crapload of money and back up cars throughout the whole neighborhood. I hope the jackasses that push for these projects are enjoying the sound of my loud exhaust and smelling my smog.

  • Foo

     Feel free to drive somewhere else if you don’t like it!

  •  They don’t enjoy it. That’s why they are trying to kick you out.

  • Bob

    Love the trees. Don’t love the tacky pink-and-white cement. 

  • Southvannesstraffic

    Keep on ignoring all of the accidents on South Van Ness.

    I know of at least four accidents where cars wrecked on to the sidewalk. I know of at least 12 big accidents on the street in less than a year. Nothing has been done…nothing.

    Bryant has stop signs which naturally slows the street. Everyone I inquire about what will be done for this street I am told that someone will get back to me and that all projects are on hold. I then see all of these projects sprouting up.

    There is a serious traffic safety issue on South Van Ness that has not been addressed by SFMTA.

  • North Bernal Observer

    I hope they still intend to remove the street parking to implement the dedicated left turn lane from Bryant to CC as shown in the Mission Streetscape Plan (p.69).  The recent backups would be somewhat helped by this, since all traffic must now funnel to only one lane at the intersection.  Why is this significant piece missing, although it was clearly planned and communicated?

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, I accidentally posted under a name previously used by someone else.  This comment (above) wasn’t posted by the same person using North Bernal Observer as a profile.


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