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Cesar Chavez Street Improvement Project Honored

Before & After CC Ave Project Improvement

Before & After Cesar Chavez St. Project Improvement, Photo Credit: Kimberly Chua

 

Neighbors are celebrating the completion of the 3 year transformation of Cesar Chavez Street! It’s happening Wednesday, January 29th @ 11AM with  ribbon cutting celebration for the safety and street scape improvement project.

Re-named Cesar Chavez Street in 1995 to reflect the passion and cultural shift in the area, the avenue’s original name Army Street,was first designed as a car-centric thoroughfare to connect Twin Peaks and western San Franciscans to a second Trans Bay Bridge development. Years ago, the city and environmentalists shot down the original second bridge design.

2nd Bridge map

2nd Bridge map, Photo Credit: Todd Lappin

Nevertheless, Cesar Chavez Street cuts through the Mission and Bernal Heights neighborhoods and the three lanes of traffic going each way was an unattractive river of concrete to cross if you were on foot.  Despite differences between local special interest groups who wanted easy commuter access, car parking restrictions, traffic calming, school children and cyclist travel safety, and creek daylighting, compromise was reached.

Now, the neighborhood will enjoy:

  • A Road Diet: Three lanes of traffic reduced to two in each direction
  • Left-turn pockets for vehicles
  • A bike lane added in each direction
  • A fourteen foot planted median in the middle
  • Every corner has pedestrian treatments, including bulb-outs, better crosswalks and storm-water catchment planters
  • The end of Capp Street at Mission Street is now a plaza and with crossing distances reduced
  • Upgraded Street Lighting with LED bulbs
  • Sewage & Storm water drainage management

Spearheading civilian interests, Fran Taylor of CC Puede, a local grassroots group, shared her patient success with SF.Streetblog.com reporter Aaron Bialick.

“For me, the most important improvement has been the elimination of the double left-turn that used to feed traffic from southbound Bryant onto eastbound Cesar Chavez and the freeway ramp, making the pedestrian crossing on the east side of Chavez a death-defying experience,” she said. “The median, especially now that it’s landscaped, makes the street feel smaller and cozier.”

Public Service Plan

Public Service Plan, Photo Credit: Rigoberto Hernandez

Bialick has been tracking Taylor’s and others efforts to challenge the status-quo of an outdated plan for Cesar Chavez Street and to serve its local neighbors.

Taylor’s efforts are a success. The intention for Cesar Chavez Street has been re-envisioned to enhance quality of life for the neighborhood, promoting ecological functionality in balance with high-volume traffic patterns. Enhanced greenery, trees and landscaping thanks to our Friends of the Urban Forest, evolved an auto artery into a low impact zone, transforming the livability of the neighborhood. Taylor continues the conversation with SF.Streetblog.com reporter Matthew Roth. “It could be good that it’s taken three years because people have had time to get use to the project.”

Coming together to make the best of a long term public project that impacted residents with noise, dirt and traffic, it seems to me that everyone came out a winner.  We’ve vastly improved the sewer system, created a better traffic flow with bike lanes, and there’s trees and plants where once there was only concrete.  Now on pleasant and safe walks from Precita Park to 24th Street, it is a vast difference for all to enjoy.  Safety, quality of life and neighborhood property value increases are immediate benefits of this project’s completion.

Community Action Planning

Community Action Planning, Photo Credit: Todd Lappin

Join in the celebration Wednesday, January 29th @11AM at the Si Se Puede Plaza in front of the popular eatery The Palace Steak House. To read more on the development of the plan, visit http://www.sfhomeblog.com/2010/05/cesar-chavez-sewer-streetscape-improvement-project-update.html.

References:

http://sf.streetsblog.org/2009/02/04/unclogging-the-caesar-chavez-traffic-sewer/

http://bernalwood.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/a-brief-history-of-how-cesar-chavezarmy-street-became-so-awful-in-the-first-place-3/

http://bernalwood.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/wednesday-cesar-chavez-ribbon-cutting-ceremony-to-celebrate-our-new-infrastructure/#comments

 

Rita Roti is a broker associate / assistant manager at Zephyr Real Estate and can be reached at Rita@ritaroti.com.

 

 

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