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Cesar Chavez, the Friendly Road

February 25, 2009

Plans + diagrams (and damn good salsa and oranges).


Highlights and recommendations:

  • Dedicated bike lanes
  • Central median with drought resistant trees
  • Two lanes of traffic each way
  • Dedicated left hand turn lanes (in the middle)
  • Parking with permeable pavement
  • Wider sidewalks at intersections (bulb-outs, etc)
  • High-speed monorail to 22nd St Caltrain (just kidding (I wish))

They have to coordinate with the rebuilding of the sewer, but they are estimating starting early summer 2010.

Pretty impressed with the city planners and traffic folks there.  They know their stuff, and were respectfully practical with the Q&A.  For example, when asked about wider sidewalks, the presenter responded that sidewalks are ridiculously expensive to make and it would simply blow out the budget allocated to the project.  Medians and bike lanes are easier and cheaper (as we saw on Guerrero). And a couple of interesting ideas on taking care of the plants in the median, such as using the day laborers that wait on the north side of CC, along with the storm cisterns that DPW could draw from.

I’d like to see a) timed lights and b) different colored pavement for the bike lanes so distracted drivers would subconsciously notice it like they do a curve or curb.

green lanes

Found these in an SFMTA doc. Looks like San Jose @ Guerrero is already be on a list:

san jose @ guerrero green

Then there’s the St. Luke’s meeting next Wednesday at 6:30.  This one may be fraught with drama — the people and the city seem to have noticed the street uglification plan that CPMC has pushed through in the dead of night. More detail later, but they seem to want to build the ass-end of a 100′ tower  up to the edge of Cesar Chavez and backing right up to two story homes — not exactly the friendly neighborhood walkable feel we are after.  I’m perfectly fine with the hospital expanding, but for the love of god make it human, will you?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 25, 2009 8:14 am

    There will be 2 lanes of traffic in each direction – four altogether, plus turn pockets at major turning points.

  2. Pierre from Cathedral Hill permalink
    February 25, 2009 4:49 pm

    Actually, St. Luke’s is not expanding. According to the CPMC 2008 Institutional Master Plan filed with the city, when it is built, the new 86 bed 100 foot hospital will replace the 229 bed 158 foot existing Main Hospital, which will be demolished and replaced with a 5 story expansion building. Whether it’s good or bad is a question of point of view.

  3. February 25, 2009 5:25 pm

    More buildings sounds like expansion. Plus more beds — only 60 or so of the current 229 are being used.

    Anyway, my issue is not with the expansion. It’s about the abrupt transition from residential to hospital, as well as the unfriendly effect of buildings backed right up to Cesar Chavez and Valencia.

    Pierre, do you live in the neighborhood? If not, different points of view indeed.

  4. SFDoggy permalink
    February 25, 2009 9:53 pm

    The funniest part of the meeting was when the planners squirmed when asked about the impact on vehicle traffic (that is the thousands of people who use buses, trucks and cars to traverse CC every day).

    The planners stated that the bike plan EIR had looked at eliminating a lane of traffice but were to timid to admit that the EIR shows that eliminating a lane will cause massive traffic jams.

    The planners (as they have throughout the process) insisted that the plan would not significantly impact vehicle traffic, but admitted that they STILL have not done any traffic studies. So basically the “public” part of this process is now complete, without the public ever having been informed of what the impact of the project will be.

    These meetings are basically a joke. The planners do not provide relevant information and dodge the tough questions. The whole process has had a pre-determined outcome. I and others suggested that the planning department actually look at altnernative approaches to making CC safer and prettier, but these suggestions were curtly dismissed.

    This plan was driven entirely by a few residents who live near CC. They and the planning department apparently don’t care that thousands more people depend on CC every day.

  5. February 25, 2009 10:15 pm

    I talked to the traffic guy afterwards (not one of the planners) and it sounded like they had in fact done pretty detailed traffic studies. You’re right, not well communicated by the planners though — sounds like bureaucracy at work.

    One thing he mentioned (that the planners didn’t) was they were looking at timing lights to keep the traffic moving at a rate that won’t fill up the left-hand turn pockets, as opposed to the “let’s turn every light red at the same time” technology they have in place now. I’d guess this would be a slower average speed, but if it’s more constant with fewer lights, I’m up for that.

    Regardless, more info on the traffic studies would be welcome. CC is pretty much a clusterfuck eastbound in the morning and westbound at night, and I really don’t see it getting much worse. If they can smooth the flow and get the left hand turners out of the way it will be a huge improvement IMHO.


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