Noe Valley Gets Sidewalk Extensions and Decorative Crosswalks on 24th
City officials celebrated new brick-trimmed crosswalks and sidewalk bulb-outs on 24th Street in Noe Valley at a ribbon-cutting ceremony today.
The changes will make for a more pedestrian- and transit-friendly environment on Noe Valley’s commercial corridor. At Castro and Noe Streets, the transit bulb-outs — curb extensions at bus stops — will help speed up Muni’s 24 and 48 lines.
“Property owners and merchants have invested heavily in streetscape improvements” on 24th in recent years, and the latest upgrades “keep the momentum going,” said Noe Valley Association Executive Director Debra Niemann in a statement. “That’s one of the reasons Noe Valley appeals to many as a place to live and as a shopping destination.”
“The commercial heart of Noe Valley is 24th Street, one of the great neighborhood corridors in San Francisco,” said D8 Supervisor Scott Wiener in a statement. “It’s a community destination to shop and eat and to catch up with neighbors. These streetscape improvements make 24th Street safer, more attractive and more welcoming for residents and visitors.”
Completion of the “24th Street Urban Village” project, led by the Department of Public Works, was delayed from last fall. The project also includes new benches and planters on the bulb-outs, and was paid for with $560,000 from the $248 million street re-paving bond passed by voters in 2011.
“One of the most important investments we can make in our communities is making our neighborhood streets safer,” said a statement from SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin, who called the improvements “significant upgrades for pedestrian safety that will help us reach our citywide Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths.”
While 24th isn’t especially dangerous, the sidewalk extensions and crosswalks should help protect pedestrians from impatient drivers. At a recent community forum on traffic issues in Noe Valley, a woman complained about “young people who come to the curb and just keep going” at stops signs, where they have the right-of-way.
“I come too close to” hitting them, she said. “I feel like threatening them.”
By next October, a parking lot on 25th east of Sanchez Street is set to be transformed into a public plaza. The final $600,000 needed to construct the Noe Valley Town Square was approved as part of the city budget last month, thanks to a push from Wiener to allocate funding from a state parks grant.
Wiener also plans to keep 24th’s sidewalks clear of cars and driveway ramps by opposing any curb cuts for new developments, he told the SF Chronicle in April.
The parking lot conversion and bulb-outs were conceived as a fallback plan to create more public space on 24th after some neighbors shouted down a proposal to convert a block of Noe at 24th into a pedestrian plaza.