The much discussed, debated, and met upon Castro Street Design Project that has been the hot topic within the neighborhood since it was first proposed by the CBD and then championed by District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener comes before the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors meeting for approval today at 1PM at City Hall in Room 400.
As we’ve posted previously, the facelift will build upon the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District’s (Castro CBD) 2008 Neighborhood Beautification and Safety Plan which called for sidewalk widening and streetscape improvements along Castro Street between 16th and 19th Streets. The current plan is also a result of hundreds of hours of work by the SF Planning Dept., two community town hall meetings in January and April of 2013, a survey open to all for comment and input, and immeasurable feedback from political heavy hitter neighborhood organizations Merchants of Upper Market Castro (MUMC), Eureka Valley Neighborhood Association (EVNA) and the Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association (DTNA).
The Board will be asked to approve widening the Castro sidewalk from its current marker of 12 feet to the proposed 20 foot expanse as well as:
- New lighting, trees, leaning posts, bicycle racks and other furnishings along the widened sidewalks.
- Narrowed travel lanes mid-block and removal of travel lanes at intersection approaches.
- Realignment of crosswalks at the intersection of 17th/Castro/Market streets in conjunction with new pedestrian islands and curb extensions adjacent to Jane Warner Plaza, which will be resurfaced and upgraded.
- Corner sidewalk bulbs extending into 18th Street at the northeast and southwest corners of 18th/Castro streets.
- Mid-block sidewalk bulb in front of the historic Harvey Milk residence and Castro Camera Store now currently the HRC swag headquarters.
- Upgraded paving materials and crosswalk markings.
- Changes to metered parking stalls and loading zones to reduce double parking.
According to the agenda for the meeting, the Castro Redesign is last up at number 11. If you don’t want to wade through all the other business before the Board you could sneak in well after the scheduled start time of 1PM.
The Board usually has seven members but one member, Leona Bridges, abruptly resigned in June leaving the Mayor appointed slot unfilled. Board Prez, Tom Nolan, is a former Executive Director of Project Open Hand. The Board is rumored to be in favor of the redesign and City insiders are saying the proposal should pass easily.
This meeting will be the time for community members with reservations to raise concerns, worries or outright objections before the Board gives the project their stamp of approval. If you can’t make it to the meeting but would still like to watch what’s going on the SFMTA is generally broadcast on SFGTV2, cable channel 78.
The projects budget has been secured which includes a point person to help impacted neighborhood businesses and citizens deal the disruptions that will most likely occur due to the construction. The Project itself should be completed in time for October 2014′s Castro Street Fair.
(To see this in a PDF version of the design above, click here.)