Potrero Ave Improvement Plan, Photo Credit: SFDPW
What makes a neighborhood become more of a community? What does making a neighborhood more livable mean to you?
To one of my neighbors, Gillian Gillet, it means long term projects with an end game that adds up to a more livable city for us all.
From Gillian Gillet, Director of Transportation Policy:
“As some of you may know, I’ve been active in trying to make our neighborhood more safe, livable and walkable since about 2002 when I began a traffic calming petition for San Jose/Guerrero
. Since then, we have bike lanes, a planted median, Guerrero Park
, upcoming streetscape improvements that CPMC will build when it rebuilds St. Luke’s
, and the sewer upgrade and streetscaping project on Cesar Chavez Street
(including permeable, planted bulb-outs). The third leg of the package of projects we need in order to begin to heal the injury brought to our neighborhood during the Freeway era (Burrito Justice
have excellent posts on this), is to restore Potrero to livability. The Department of Public Works
is leading an effort to widen sidewalks, formalize the bike lanes and make pedestrian safety improvements to Potrero. Wider sidewalks and bulbouts make walking more pleasant and crossing the street safer, especially for seniors and people with disabilities.”
So here we are, with great success on San Jose/Guerrero with the greening project, the amazing reconfiguring of Cesar Chavez Street with the new sewer line installation, greening and traffic re-organization, both examples of community cooperation that led to safer and more enjoyable streets!
Next on the schedule, I hope, is the safety improvement project on high-traffic Potrero Avenue in the Mission district. Plagued by a fatal bicycling accident in October 2013, the city with local encouragement, will hopefully perform a dramatic facelift.
Focused on blocks 21st-25th Street, city plans are calling for a $3.2million renovation to be completed in 2015. The proposed upgrades compliment the San Francisco General Hospital rebuild. The investment constructs wider sidewalks, new lighting and structured methods to slow traffic and secure pedestrians and cyclists.
Some local merchants and neighbors are supporting the preservation of existing parking spaces, while other neighbors and some San Francisco General Hospital employees express their concerns and needs for increased pedestrian safety. Sasha Cuttler, a nurse at SF General, shared her perspective with SF.Streetblog reporter Aaron Bialick. “I know people that work here (SF General) that have been injured just coming to work, and I’m concerned that we need to do more to protect people”. Cuttler has rallied workers to voice the urgency for buffered bike lanes, longer transit lanes or better yet, exclusive transit lanes to secure their safe daily transit.
Ideal plan for cyclists, Photo Credit Aaron Bialick
The plan also proposes the expansion of street corners, bus stops and the addition of T lights at every corner. “The improvements to Potrero Avenue is a large project with lots of considerations to account for. As San Francisco Supervisor ensuring our citizens safety is the top concern. So of course pedestrian and bicyclist safety is absolutely a priority,” says Malia Cohen, District 10 Supervisor.
Nonetheless, the big debate was in not just the aesthetics but the functionality of the project. At some public meetings, the conversation targeted the addition of a landscaped median, and the removal of many existing parking spaces. Neighborhood residents and businesses strongly rejected this design, contending not only the effect a reduction of parking spaces will have on them, but also the possible effect of increased speed from commuters.
However, there now seems to be compromise, with option 1 being the preferred choice after 5 community meetings, there might be a ribbon cutting in the future, like that at the Cesar Chavez Streetscape project.
The SFMTA Traffic Engineering Public Hearing on the ‘Potrero Streetscape Improvement Project’ is scheduled:
Room 416 (Hearing Room 4)
4th Floor, City Hall
Public Comment needed on the proposed parking, traffic, and transit changes toPotrero Avenue between Alameda and 25th streets. (This is the proposal that will remove 58 parking spaces along Potrero Ave.)
Following the public hearing the project will go to the SFMTA Board for final approval.
The hearing date at the SFMTA Board has not yet been scheduled .
More information on the project can be found at
Streetscape Improvement Plan, Photo Credit Aaron Bialick
Rita Roti is a broker associate / assistant manager at Zephyr Real Estate and can be reached at Rita@ritaroti.com.