Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Octavia Boulevard: "A jewel in our city"?

From Channel 7's story on how the 1989 earthquake improved San Francisco:

San Francisco's Central freeway is also gone. The elevated structure cutting across Market Street with ramps at Gough, Fell and Franklin was torn down, restoring sunlight to neighborhoods robbed of it for decades. The freeway now touches down at Market and Octavia where a tree-lined boulevard is anchored with a park. "That whole Hayes Valley area is a jewel in our city with wonderful shops because we took down a freeway that shouldn't have been there in the first place," said [Art]Agnos.

A neighborhood with 45,000 cars a day on its main street is a "jewel"?

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At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

So a neighborhood hidden under the shadow of a freeway was better, in your opinion, than tree-lined, walkable streets with shops and services people actually want to frequent?

What kind of people do you think each of those two situations attracted? If we keep burying our neighborhoods under freeways, we're going to end up on the ground floor of Blade Runner.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

We can disagree whether the freeway overpass was better or worse than what we have now, but let's take a hard look at the present situation: 45,000 cars a day coming through the heart of the neighborhood going to and from the freeway; there are now few "shops and services" on Octavia Blvd. itself, since that would be a lot like doing business on a freeway; Octavia Blvd. is only minimally walkable now because of all that freeway traffic. The new, unimproved Octavia Blvd. was advertised as a great bit of progress for cyclists and pedestrians, but it has turned out to be nothing of the kind. No one is "attracted" to hanging out on Octavia Blvd.

I'm not advocating rebuilding the Central Freeway there, but we shouldn't gloss over what we've created in its place.

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Greg said...

One of my favorite cafes is on Octavia, actually.

I also use Octavia as a bike route pretty frequently.

And I go to the little park there from time to time.

Pretty sure I wouldn't be doing any of that under a freeway.

At 9:00 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

That cafe, one of the few businesses on Octavia Blvd., has gone through a number of changes over the past several years, as one owner after another has had a hard time making it at that location. Riding a bike from, say, Market Street to Hayes Street and vice versa is safe and easy if you stick to the frontage roads on either side of Octavia. But of course you also see the occasional passive-aggressive cyclist on Octavia itself slowing down the freeway traffic---to demonstrate what, exactly?

At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But of course you also see the occasional passive-aggressive cyclist on Octavia itself slowing down the freeway traffic---to demonstrate what, exactly?"

Maybe you've seen that. I havn't seen too much of it. I have seen people driving a bit more that the posted 15mph on those side roads you mentioned, though.


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