Friday, August 04, 2017

Hillary Ronen and Jason Henderson: Big Thinkers

The area of Highway 101 near Cesar Chavez Street and Potrero Avenue, with its many many on- and off-ramps, is known to Mission and Dogpatch residents as the “Hairball.” Photo: Santiago Mejia, The Chronicle
Santiago Mejia, the Chronicle

Like the subway fantasy encouraged by the MTA last year, Big Thinkers Supervisor Ronen and Jason Henderson want to underground the "hairball" (S.F. supervisor pushes to untangle freeway Hairball). 

From the front page of this morning's Chronicle:

...San Francisco completed two major freeway redesigns after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, knocking down the badly damaged double-deck Embarcadero Freeway and later demolishing the overhead U.S. 101 ramp along Octavia Boulevard.

Those two projects helped inject life into neighborhoods that had previously been desolate, said Jason Henderson, a professor of geography and environment at San Francisco State University who specializes in urban transportation. “That Embarcadero (waterfront) used to be a place where no one wanted to go, and now it’s beautiful,” Henderson said.

Similarly, he said, the freeway demolition on Octavia helped reconnect the Lower Haight and Hayes Valley neighborhoods with the Civic Center, and transformed Hayes Valley into a chichi pocket of boutique shops, taprooms and expensive homes...(link added)

Since 2004 this will be post number 100 on this blog with the "Octavia Blvd." label. 

Conflating taking down the Embarcadero freeway with taking down the Central Freeway over the Hayes Valley neighborhood has been a familiar ploy by anti-car people like Jason Henderson, who hates anything that makes it easier to drive and park those wicked motor vehicles in San Francisco. (Henderson even wrote a whole book featuring an imaginary history of cars and bikes in the city.)

Unlike the Embarcadero, which has the wonderful Ferry Building Marketplace, there are few businesses on Octavia Blvd. itself, except for those near Hayes Street. Octavia Blvd. now essentially functions as an expressway to and from the Central Freeway on the other side of Market Street, which creates chronic traffic congestion for most of the day in that part of town:

[Supervisor]Ronen, who lives in the Portola and whose husband regularly bikes across the Hairball on his way to work in the public defender’s office, has refused to let cost projections get in the way of her vision. “I don’t want us to be limited by finances,” she said. “I want to think big.”

Go big and go dumb! Like her comments during the appeal of the 13th Street bike project last month, this is more evidence that Ronen is just another dim bulb on the Board of Supervisors.

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