Bids for Castro Streetscape extras in limbo

Additional Streetscape Element (SF Planning)

Additional Streetscape Element (SF Planning)

Construction on the Castro Streetscape Improvement Project is set to begin next month with Ghilotti Brothers, Inc. as the winning bidder for the bulk of the project. Ghilotti Brothers was the same contractor that worked on the Valencia Streetscape Improvement Project in 2009 and will be working in the Castro to widen sidewalks and reconfigure Jane Warner Plaza in addition to adding ADA compliant curb ramps, bike parking, street trees, and bulb-outs at specific intersections. Muni overhead wiring and catenary pole relocation is also within the scope of the project.

castro-streetSome of the streetscape improvements agreed upon by residents during the Castro Street Design discovery phase which included adding GLBT facts inlaid in sidewalks, mica sparkles in the pavement, and decorative lighting and crosswalks did not receive any bids low enough to fit within the projects $7 million budget. The Castro / Upper Market Community Benefit District is considering stepping in to help fill in the funding gap associated with adding the improvements.

The Rainbow Honor Walk, the 3′x3′ sidewalk placards commemorating GLBT historical figures and designed by artist Carlos Casuso, is still a go and is being funded separately through local grants and community fundraising. Many of the placards will be included in the new streetscape which is set to be completed in October, just in time for the Castro Street Fair.

via EVNA

Roy McKenzie

Roy has been a Castro resident since 2010 and is passionate about drag queens, bicycling, and food. Follow his babbling on Twitter.

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15 Responses

  1. Matthew says:

    Have they given any thoughts to the traffic pattern when trucks are delivering to stores in the area? On Thursday, the truck that delivers to Cliff’s Variety takes up a full lane. And when a bus comes I have seen traffic backed up 2+ blocks when they are both in front of the store.

    I have also seen other delivery trucks that need that 1/2 lane that Castro has in that two block area from Market/Castro – 19th/Castro.

    And please… NO RAINBOW Crosswalk.

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    • I believe that the planning department worked with the local merchants to setup deliveries in the early morning and late evenings once the construction is completed. The rainbow sidewalk does seem a little fairytale-esque.

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    • sjg says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Mitch Mansfield says:

      Many public meetings covered many of your issues. Cliff’s has been the driving force against all changes. You can guess why. Many alternatives have been offered, but none have been accepted by Cliff’s. Oh I mean Castro Merchants.

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  2. Shane says:

    Mica sparkles and rainbow crosswalks are a no no! This isn’t Disneyland.

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    • For many who make the pilgrimage from around the world to visit gay-mecca it might as well be Disneyland Park.

      To paraphrase Walt Disney, “To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. [The Castro] is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. [The Castro] is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams, and the hard facts that have created America, with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world.”

      I wish we’d aspire to the quality standards of design and urban planning Walt Disney set. Can’t we at least aspire to average. How is it a good thing to have a boring concrete sidewalk that looks cheep and boring compared to Valencia street?

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  3. David says:

    Very exciting (and long overdue) changes ahead!!

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  4. Elsewhere says:

    The planners on this are convinced that narrower streets with only one lane of traffic in each direction (along with a lane of parking) will influence drivers’ decisions to not double park. I hope they’re correct, but I find it hard to believe; a certain number of drivers will put almost always defer their decision to their best convenience — and “just run in for a second”.

    I would be extremely happy to be wrong on this point, though.

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  5. Mitch Mansfield says:

    Life does seem to be going on at Valencia Street after their re-do.

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    • Sanchez Resident says:

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  6. Trey says:

    I went to a planning meeting for the Castro Street Redesign hosted by Sup. Scott Wiener and I also went to the most recent CBD board meeting on January 9th. During the CBD meeting they said that Scott had told them that there were three things that his bugdet could not accommodate.
    1. the led lights on poles (first estimate $38,000 current estimate over $100,000),
    2. special cross walk paint (as I remember roughly $70,000),
    3. engraved historical messages in the sidewalk (initial estimate same as current $10,000).
    Since Scott said he couldn’t afford these aspects of his plan he told Andrea Aiello of CBD that they would have to foot the bill.
    The board asked the city presenters why the bid for the lighting and the cross walk paint had more than tripled, their response was, “The developer has so much work he came back with a higher price. The demand is for developers not for contracts in the current market.”
    CBD voted in favor all but one member of the board to send the city back to the contractor and ask for the developer to come down to roughly $170,000 total for all three improvements.
    Before the meeting ended one board member said that he wanted the board to have a say in the writings in the sidewalk because he didn’t want anything controversial.
    My question is, since when do businesses determine the historical documentation of a neighborhoods past? Is it their job to highlight only certain aspects of our history. Slimey!
    Also, why in Scott Wiener’s million dollar budget could he not find 10k to make the engravings happen. Colored LED lights are nice but isn’t documenting our LGBT movement which largely began in the Castro more important? I guess it’s not so important to Scott. He’s willing to allow developers to bulldoze and construct for a profit. They love him.

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    • rblack says:

      “Also, why in Scott Wiener’s million dollar budget could he not find 10k to make the engravings happen.”

      Have you contacted him and asked him? Or is it easier to assume?

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    • Mitch Mansfield says:

      Which developers specifically love him? Sounds like you are on the inside track…

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