SPUR Urges City to Reap the Benefits of Removing Highway 280

“If the freeway were removed, Mission Creek Park would become an asset to the entire area. The lower drawing shows a future view of Seventh Street to Mission Creek and beyond.” Image: SPUR

Taking down the northern spur of highway 280 is the cover story in the latest issue of the Urbanist, the SF Planning and Urban Research Association’s member magazine. SPUR makes the case that if San Francisco is to reap the full benefits of moving Caltrain and high-speed rail underground and re-developing the Caltrain yard at 4th and King Streets, taking down the freeway is a can’t-miss opportunity:

Currently, the stub end of Interstate 280 creates a barrier between the developing Mission Bay neighborhood and Potrero Hill. At the same time, the Caltrain railyard — 19 acres stretching from Fourth Street to Seventh Street between King and Townsend — forms a barrier between Mission Bay and SOMA. The obstruction will only get worse if current plans for high-speed rail proceed, forcing 16th Street and Mission Bay Boulevard into depressed trenches beneath the tracks and the elevated freeway.

Check out the rest of SPUR’s analysis here.

  • Richard Mlynarik


    The SF Brains Trust.

    But without the “brains” part.

  • Upright Biker

    Gosh, Richard. Seems like a lot of educated, critical thinking has gone into this, as opposed to what is required to toss a neg bon mot.

    This calls into mind comparisons with Mission Bay, The Embarcadero, Octavia Blvd – all ideas to which SPUR contributed – that have become positive parts of our urban landscape. None of them is perfect, of course, especially when we have to drive, but when we have to live (which is most of the time) they, and this proposal, certainly score pretty high in the “brainy” department.

  • Anonymous

    I really like the idea of leaving one of the ramps up– having it just end in mid-air over Mission Creek– and turning it into a high-line-style park. That view would attract a lot of people (and is one of the only reasons “normal” people say they like that freeway).

    (also, somebody teach these guys photoshop!)

  • david vartanoff

    If Caltrain retains ownership of the railyards. the lease payments could be a good stable funding base for operations. As to tearing down 280, severing it at the 101 interchange keeping the off ramps to Cesar Chavez is the easy choice. Critical to all of this is getting rid of the freeway pillarswhich obstruct a second tunnel for the 3rd and 4th tracks of Caltrain/HSR under Potrero Hill. Bring on the bulldozers.

    21st Century Urban Renewal is the removal of freeway blight.

  • Andy Chow

    Caltrain does not own the railyard but has a permanent easement to operate trains on that land. Caltrain basically owns it if it runs trains on it, but will not own it if it means developing it. Why is the city suddenly got so enthusiastic about developing the yard despite the fact that Caltrain and TJPA have reservations about it?

  • Jim

    Somewhat off the main topic, but I wonder if there has been any new discussion in regards to tearing down the rest of the Central Freeway. There aren’t as many parcels that can be developed, but a road diet or an improved implementation of Octavia on 13th/Division can allow for some development.

  • Dan


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