CBD to pay for rainbow crosswalks, lights, Castro facts

Rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver, BC (photo: Anita Hart)
Rainbow crosswalk in Vancouver, BC (photo: Anita Hart)

This past Thursday, the Castro Community Benefit District voted to make up much of the funding gap of the $206,000 bid to pay for 5 decorative crosswalks, programmable LED down-wash lighting on 24 streelight poles, and 20 cement stamped Castro facts for the upcoming Castro Streetscape Improvement Project. The Castro Streetscape Improvement Project will see the streetscape of the Castro rebuilt with wider sidewalks (from 12′ to 22′), pedestrian friendly bulbouts, traffic reconfiguration, improvements to Jane Warner Plaza, installation of the Rainbow Honor Walk, and more with construction starting end of February / beginning of March.

The decorative sidewalks were initially mocked up in the Planning Departments renderings to be rainbow colors parallel with the sidewalk. The Planning Department has since come up with 6 design options, two of which are not rainbow-esque. The CBD and the Planning Department will be seeking the public’s input on the final design and locations in a survey they will be conducting at Jane Warner Plaza this Sunday, February 23rd, from 1-4PM.

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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28 Responses

  1. rblack says:

    I’d rather that money go into improving Harvey Milk Plaza.

    How can that plaza be left untouched during a renovation of Castro St?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

    • Mitch Mansfield says:

      It gets difficult with Harvey Milk Plaza because that is BART property. I know that sounds strange, but that’s the situation. In order to do anything to Harvey Milk Plaza, BART would need to be involved.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      • rblack says:

        Interesting, why does BART own property that doesn’t even have a BART station?

        How did HMP get built the first time?

        Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. Mark Vogel says:

    I know all that bedazzlement was part of the original plan, but it seems so Disney-like, fake, and tired. Do we really need rainbow flags everywhere and glittery sidewalks? It’s really more about the quality of the restaurants, shops, and bars that matter to tourists and residents. All this pretty ornamentation will do is add to the many who take the F, snap a picture of two, grab a Hot Cookie, and hop right back on the F to return to downtown and more interesting environs.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 38 Thumb down 5

    • Rob says:

      One never knows what the results will be unless one tries. Besides, it’s a GIFT — FREE MONEY! Nobody is asking you to do anything for it. And besides, what’s wrong with more people riding the F Line to the neighborhood to snap a pic of the flag? I see people do that, too, but I usually see them wander down the street further than Hot Cookie. I see them going into other shops and restaurants. There is nothing wrong with that.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6

      • Kittens4Peace says:

        Yes, we really do need rainbows everywhere! My opinion anyway :) I remember the first time I went to the Castro when I first moved to SF and I thought “OMG – Gay Mecca, I have arrived! I lived in Massachusetts so it wasn’t like I grew up in a scary, homophobic place, but the neighborhood pride rocked my world and continues to.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

    • Right on, Mark. I love your term “bedazzlement!” I really don’t think what the Castro needs is a major bedazzling. I’d much rather see that money go into more community policing, social services for homeless youth and more traditional beautification projects of Harvey Milk Plaza.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  3. Sanchez Resident says:

    Who will control the programmable lights? If this is not defined, guess who will try to take control.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5

  4. Matthew says:

    I completely agree with what Mark Vogel said. I have witnessed the tourists hop off the F-line, take a pic of the rainbow flag, a pic of the Castro theater, grab a penis cookie and hop back on the F-line to head back down to Union Square.

    We do not need rainbow crosswalks.

    Jane Warner Plaza is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, and nudits.

    We need open stores to attract and keep the tourist dollars.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 8

  5. bluesparrow says:

    That rainbow crosswalk is hideous.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 3

  6. Castro Resident says:

    TACKY. Within weeks the rainbow crosswalks will be filthy. Lights, rainbow sidewalks, glittery concrete, what are we 12 years old?

    I could not agree more with many of the comments above. Improve JWP. Steam clean the sidewalks. Get a better mix of retail (note: it is complete bull*** that the community has to approve a Hamburger Mary’s in the Patio space but was seriously considering a male strip club in the old Diesel store). Clean and replace the rainbow banners on the lamp posts. GET RID of the formula-retail restrictions. Some formula retail would BENEFIT the small shop owners who rely on foot traffic.

    The Castro is an actual neighborhood not just a tourist attraction. It can be both.

    Please let’s grow up.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 7

    • sjg says:

      Most of the formula retail is failing miserably in the Castro. I know that most larger chains have lost interest in the Castro for the moment. Lifting a restriction will not add any incentive to expand into the Castro

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

      • Castro Resident says:

        Do you think they have lost interest because battle is just not worth it. Think about Trader Joes (now we are getting a CVS – the Umteenth drug store in the neighborhood). The old Home Restaurant was to be Chipoltle, so instead it sits empty paying little in RE taxes and no sales taxes. The old Industrialists was to be Starbucks little RE taxes no sales taxes.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

        • Mark Vogel says:

          Other than chain drugstores and coffee shops — which everyone seems to agree we don’t need more of — other chain stores in the hood are failing just as fast (if not faster) than independent businesses. The Sprint store closed some time ago; now the Body Shop is gone and soon L’Octaine. While the issue of formula retail restrictions is contentious, a recent article describes what lack of restrictions did to Chelsea. It’s pretty hideous if you’ve been: a Chase and Starbucks on every corner, etc. http://chelseanow.com/2014/01/parting-ways-with-the-neighborhood-they-helped-define/

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  7. sjg says:

    Maybe we can wrap the parking meters in gold sequined cozies. This whole thing is starting to get a little too FABULOUS.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 3

  8. Elsewhere says:

    Are our wrought iron street lamps originals or reproductions? In any case, I’m sorry to see that they’re going, even though they’re being replace by better technology. The iron “carving” and glass globes have always made a handsome statement on the street.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  9. Mitch Mansfield says:

    Why is everyone so afraid of change?????

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 7

  10. Area resident says:

    Just because the Castro is gay doesn’t mean it has to be tacky. Rainbow everything is tacky. Let’s all show a little style and stop acting like its 1995.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

    • Mitch Mansfield says:

      Any suggestion as to what “style” you are talking about?

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

      • Area resident says:

        Fair question.

        I would advocate for an option that fits the Spanish Baroque-style of the Castro Theatre. Walking down Castro you’ll notice a number of older buildings have a reference to this style (though many are faded and/or partially covered). In addition, though a stretch, the Pottery Barn and eventual building that will replace the RC gas station (http://sf.curbed.com/tags/376-castro) both attempt to reference this aesthetic.

        In all cases referenced we could have a thoughtful conversation about whether these architectural pursuits were successful, but, regardless, there was an attempt at some coherence.

        With all this in mind, some sort of more permanent presentation of the crosswalk would be preferred. Stone, brick, or similar presentation would fit the architecture in the area well. Painted rainbow lines, in my opinion, would be short sighted.

        Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  11. Johnny says:

    Stop with the” Disneyfication”: of our neighborhood! Its no longer a real living and working neighborhood, its a theme park. The tourist take the F Line up to see the homosexuals in there natural habitat…

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  1. February 21, 2014

    […] Castro Community Benefit District has released their survey showing 4 design ideas for new crosswalks for the upcoming Castro Streetscape Improvement Project that will begin construction end of […]

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  2. March 13, 2014

    […] CBD voted to make up the difference of the budget shortfall for the project in February which included decorative crosswalks and street lighting, and pavement stamped with […]

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  3. March 31, 2014

    […] Castro / Upper Market Community Benefit District, which offered to pay for the etchings and other improvements after a budget shortfall, will be holding a meeting this afternoon at 12 noon to finalize what text […]

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  4. May 5, 2014

    […] Over the weekend, the Castro Community Benefit District released a draft summary of the 20 facts about the Castro area that are to be stamped on Castro’s sidewalks with the completion of the new streetscape improvements. The Castro facts were part of the original Streetscape Improvement Project plan and are being paid for by the CBD after a budget shortfall was revealed last year. […]

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