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So Wide These Streets Can Be

February 23, 2009

As Gillian of Greening Guerrero notes, in the 50s, the houses on the east side of Guerrero were moved into their backyards to widen the street from 60 to 100 feet to make way for the Mission Freeway (thankfully stopped before it got started). Cesar Chavez/Army got blown out as well from 40 to 100 feet. The neighborhood has suffered since.

While a lot of work has been done in the past 5 years…

  • Guerrero is now two lanes in each direction instead of three
  • Stoplight at 27th and Guerrero
  • Trees and plants in the middle of Guerrero

…there’s still a lot on the list — here’s a resolution passed unanimously by the sups in 2004.

All the more reason to attend the Cesar Chavez Design Workshop this Tuesday at 6:30 pm at Leonard Flynn Elementary School, Auditorium (3125 Cesar Chavez Street).  And don’t forget the CPMC Community Meeting on March 4th at 6:30 in the St. Luke’s Cafeteria to address the new expansion plans.

For some context, here are some shots from the SF Public Library of Guerrero in the 20s and 30s, compared to current photos via MapJack. Click on any picture to get to the source.

1928, Guerrero @ 27th, looking south:



1932, 27th @ Guerrero, looking east towards St. Luke’s:


27th and Guerrero

Note the staircase on the white apartment building — even with the houses moved back on their lots and narrower sidewalks, all the front stairs along that side of Guerrero had to be jammed to the side of the houses.

1931: Looking north on Mission @ Army (the old Sears building would be over your left shoulder)



The Walgreen’s construction site is on the left hand side — retail before, retail again.  Hey, the Palace Steak House is in that 1931 shot!  (Just kidding.)

1940, Army between Valencia and Guerrero (can’t for the life of me find a matching picture for this one — if I’m not mistaken, all those buildings were torn down when Army got widened.)

UPDATE – this is between Valencia and San Jose — you can barely see the Salvation Army building in the top right corner.  (This was before the Salvation Army bought the lot and cut off San Jose.)

Army looking west towards Guerrero, 1962, now more than twice as wide.  The liquor store on the left hand side is on the corner of San Jose and Army. (Source – 1962 Dept of Public Works, via G. Gillet)


The store and all but three of the houses were torn down to make the St. Luke’s surface parking lot, resulting in a rather bleak street.  (St. Luke’s also has a rather empty multi-story parking lot on Duncan…)  At least there are trees.  (Which I am sure will be cut down if St. Luke’s builds a 2nd hospital tower on that lot — but more on that later.)


Anyway, if you’ve read this far, you obviously care about La Lengua — consider attending the Cesar Chavez Design Workshop this Tuesday, the 26th, as well as the CPMC / St. Luke’s meeting on Wed, March 4th.

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