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Weekend Roundup: Bancroft Lane Gets Concrete, Party in Downtown S.F.

...and the Bay Bridge to get its lights back

Here are a few Streetsblog news nuggets to start your weekend.

Berkeley gets a new concrete-curb-protected bike lane

Advocates in Berkeley posted pics on social media showing the ongoing work on Bancroft to add a protective curb to keep cyclists and pedestrians safe, as seen in the lead image. Bancroft bus and protected bike lanes are part of the Southside Complete Streets Project. More from the city's page about the project, which includes new protected bike lanes on Bancroft Way, and Fulton and Dana Streets.

The project goals are to:

  • Ensure safety for everyone walking, riding bicycles, riding transit, or driving, consistent with the City of Berkeley Vision Zero traffic safety policy.
  • Improve transit reliability and travel times consistent with the City of Berkeley General Plan Transportation Element Policy T-4 “Transit-First.”
  • Support the economic and cultural vitality of Berkeley’s Southside neighborhood consistent with the Economic Development goals of the City of Berkeley Southside Plan.

Construction of the $16.5 million project should continue through December. Cycling south of the U.C. campus is soon going to be much easier and safer.

Parties and booze as tools for jump-starting Downtown San Francisco

First Thursdays on 2nd and Howard is another such effort to revitalize downtown with events. Photo: Luke Bornheimer

"First Thursdays," a new open-streets event held in downtown San Francisco at 2nd and Howard, launched this week. "Events on car-free streets, like tonight’s 'Downtown First Thursdays' show the amazing life, community, and vibrancy that pedestrianization can bring to cities," wrote advocate Luke Bornheimer in a post on social media about the event, which is modeled on Oakland's long-running First Fridays. "San Francisco should pedestrianize streets throughout the city, especially merchant corridors!"

The hope is these events will go a long way towards revitalizing San Francisco's now-sleepy downtown. Along those lines, Mayor London Breed, Senator Scott Wiener, the Office of Economic Workforce and Development (OEWD), business and community leaders announced new legislation to create an “entertainment zone” in Downtown. The legislation would enable three bars along Front Street (Schroeder’s, Harrington’s, and Royal Exchange) to sell open beverages for consumption during special events in the zone. This is yet another part of the larger scheme to re-purpose streets for live entertainment and other activities.

Lights returning to the Bay Bridge

The Bay Bridge in 2017, before the lights went dark. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick

Speaking of ways to brighten up downtown San Francisco, do you miss the lights on the Western Span of the Oakland Bay Bridge? Illuminate, the art non-profit that was responsible for the now-dark art project, has announced that it is well on its way to bringing back a new and improve lighting project. From Illuminate's release:

We've reached our $10M major gift goal, and the monumental artwork by artist Leo Villareal is officially starting ...  we anticipate installing the 50,000 new LEDs this fall if everything goes as planned. The artist will test and fine-tune the artwork throughout the winter, and the grand lighting will be held in early spring.

The Bay Bridge originally got lit up in 2013, according to reporting in SFGate. In 2023, due to budget constraints and damage caused to the lights by wear and tear, the project went dark. Since then, Illuminate has campaigned for the funds to bring back a new and improved lighting project. Looks like that's going to happen next year.

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