Open Thread: Hayes Valley’s People Street. What Would You Pedestrianize Next?

Perhaps no other neighborhood has come so far--from the bad old days of the Central Freeway, to pedestrianizing one block of street. What's next?

Formerly the footprint of a freeway, Patricia's Green and Hayes Valley is getting returned to the people. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
Formerly the footprint of a freeway, Patricia's Green and Hayes Valley is getting returned to the people. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

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The SFMTA Board approved closing Octavia Street between Linden and Hayes, next to Patricia’s Green, to automobiles and trucks at its regular meeting yesterday.

From the SFMTA’s project page:

As part of the Octavia Boulevard Enhancement Program, SFMTA is advancing a proposal to close one block of Octavia Street – between Linden and Hayes streets – to vehicular traffic to create safer travel conditions around Patricia’s Green. The project is in response to long-standing requests from residents to calm traffic and create more public space around Hayes Valley’s central gathering area.

“We’re happy to see the streets fronting on Patricia’s Green become more people-oriented. That block is the green, sociable, and walkable heart of Hayes Valley’s commercial district, and prioritizing walking and cycling makes good sense,” wrote Livable City’s Tom Radulovich, in an email to Streetsblog.

From SFMTA’s project page, showing the streets to be closed

Arguably, no other area has seen such a profound transformation, from the bad old days when the neighborhood was darkened and split apart by the Central Freeway, which was partially torn down after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

This short stretch of Octavia will be made car free. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
This short stretch of Octavia will be made car free. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Perhaps this bodes well for other, more ambitious car-free plans, such as Better Market Street. Advocates are also pushing to pedestrianize–create a ‘Woonerf’–on Valencia. “The City must do more to transform blocks or whole neighborhoods where residents need and want traffic calming, greening, or car-free public places,” wrote Radulovich. “City agencies seldom support bold moves to reclaim neighborhood streets, and it’s one of the reasons we’re making no progress towards our Vision Zero goal of eliminating traffic deaths and injuries.”

The timeline from SFMTA's project page for Octavia
The timeline from SFMTA’s project page for Octavia

Where would you pedestrianize next? And what streets would you like to see turned into woonerfs, or streets where cars are guests, restricted to walking speed?

Walk San Francisco’s Marta Lindsey got the conversation started with a wish list sent to Streetsblog: Valencia between 15th and 19th should be pedestrian, bike, and commercial loading only. Stockton from Market to Geary (which was closed for the subway construction). ALL OF GOLDEN GATE PARK! Fulton from Market to Larkin (the new Civic Center Public Realm Plan is leaning this way), Larkin and Polk in front of Civic Center. The Embarcadero from North Point to Powell, and Jefferson from North Point to Hyde. Minna and Natoma between 2nd and Beale, which are next to the Transbay Terminal. How about pedestrianized streets near all of the new subway stations, including Chinatown?

What would you add to that list? Post below.

  • thielges

    Outside of SF but a good example: Campbell Avenue through the 4-6 blocks of downtown Campbell would be a good choice. That area is already closed to vehicles once a week for the farmer’s market so the effects of the closure are well known. Traffic diverts to the two adjacent side streets which were redesigned to allow auto traffic to move smoother than going straight through Campbell Ave.,-121.9448741,17z

  • 94110

    The DMV.

    No really, I’m serious. It squats on a full block that effectively terminates the Golden Gate Park Panhandle. Extending the park onto this lot seems like an opportunity too good to pass up.

    If San Francisco needs a DMV, put it somewhere out of the way. The land it’s on today is much too important to waste on the Department of Motor Vehicles.

  • mx

    Valencia. Sunday Streets was packed last weekend, which just shows the demand for it. It would be easy enough to start doing it every weekend without expensive infrastructure, which would still allow deliveries all week. Try it for a while, and we can figure out how to expand it to every day after that.

  • angermuller

    The fact that this project looks like it’s going to take 2-3 years to complete is absurd.

    In place of wishing for pedestrianized everything, I’d rather use my wish ticket for this and other similar projects to be sped up, in terms of both planning and construction.

  • Jeffrey Baker

    All three blocks of Center St in Berkeley.

  • Jame

    I’d like to see that last block of Telegraph in Oakland butting up to Latham Square closed to make the square bigger.

  • As did a lot of us when they built it. Sigh.

  • Annie alley, near SPUR?

    Also, some streets should be open to transit but not to private vehicles, like Telegraph between Bancroft and Dwight in Berkeley.

  • Jeffrey Baker
  • Valencia between 16th and 17th every Friday and Saturday from 5 pm to 11 pm. Even better, that block 24/7 so drivers learn not to take Valencia to Cesar Chavez when they should be using Guerrero anyway.

  • Grant Avenue through Chinatown. Mind-boggling to crowd so many pedestrians on tiny sidewalks to accommodate really a very small number of cars.

  • Next:

    East-bound Duboce between Church and Fillmore.

    Carl, East from Cole to where the Muni tracks depart the street (approx. @ 83 Carl).

    Polk between McAllister and Grove.
    Fulton between Larkin and Hyde.

    These are easy ones, so many more could be turned into dead-end local-access only for garages and commercial deliveries.

  • sf in sf

    In addition to Valencia, 18th Street from Valencia to Dolores has extremely crowded sidewalks from people accessing Dolores Park. I’d pedestrianize the Valencia to Guerrero block, reroute the 33 so it uses Guerrero instead of Mission to switch from 16th Street to 18th Street, and make the Guerrero to Dolores block bus, bike and ped only.

  • thielges

    +1. This bustling market street would be safer and better if the crowds and merchants could use the full width of the street. The street grid provides the necessary redundancy to reroute motor vehicle traffic.

  • City Resident

    Haight Street between Masonic and Schrader or Stanyan, except for Muni and bicyclists – at least on weekends from say 11 am to 5 pm every summer (or on a trial basis).

  • Bessie

    When I was working for my past employer I was in search of legitimate work-at-home opportunities where I can gain big money and also at the same time get sufficient time to devote with my family and offcourse I am not looking for internet scams that misguide you to make you very very rich in simply few days or more. Finally I found a superb opportunity and I can’t tell you how delighted I am now adays. You Can Learn More and Become More Self-dependent:Because you don’t have co-workers just a few feet away or a tech team one floor down, you’ll find yourself building the skill of searching for your own answers and becoming more proactive to find what you need on your own. Of course you can still ask questions and get help if you wish to. But, a lot of the time, you could do a Google search, download and read a free manual. Here’s the best way to start====>

  • Dan Carew

    Wow, is this timeline really showing that cutting off one block of Octavia is a seven-year project from start to finish?


Casey Hildreth, Martha Kuntzen, Mark Dreger, and Elizabeth Bremner at the outdoor open house on Octavia.  All photos by Roger Rudick/Streetsblog

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