Coming Soon: Wider Sidewalks and Slower Traffic on Valencia

Over at The Snitch, Masha Rumer tells us about an overhaul of Valencia Street in the works at the Department of Public Works:

Some highlights of this $6.1 million project, according to DPW’s Great Streets Program: the center median will be removed; the sidewalks will be widened from their current 10 feet to 13-15 feet, allowing for more foot traffic, for outside seating in cafes and hopefully for room to push through swarms of bluegrass-crazed people congregating outside busy Mission establishments. The parking lane will grow by 0.25 feet to 9 feet. [...] Also planned are new bike racks, art, trash receptacles, curb ramps and bulb-outs instead of left-turn pockets in some areas.

Full analysis here. Now, I’m open to change, and I love sidewalk seating and pedestrian safety, but I also love Valencia’s narrow sidewalks and crummy old bike racks and trash receptacles. Will improvements curb our beloved boulevard’s fundamental charm?

Update: Subito_Piano informs us that there’s a “status update meeting” regarding this project being held at the Mission Police Station tonight at 6:30pm. More at Better Valencia Project.

Previously on Mission Mission:

Construction Camp on Valencia Street

9 Responses to “Coming Soon: Wider Sidewalks and Slower Traffic on Valencia”

  1. zinzin says:

    this is a tough one.

    i mean, who wouldn’t love more trees, less cars, nicer sidewalks, a generally “nicer” Valencia street? i certainly would. it sounds cool to me, but then again, i’m yuppie scum, and i feed all day on imperialist handkerchief pasta made with the sweat of oppressed workers (and a little semolina flour…no eggs though). honestly, it doesn’t taste that great, but eating it is good for my property value.

    here’s my question: how does this effort push poor folks out of the hood? poor folks don’t like wider sidewalks and trees? poor folks’ rent is going up because of wider sidewalks and trees? wider sidewalks and trees somehow limit poor folks’ economic opportunities?

    why can’t we just make the hood “nicer”, without this bullshit rhetoric? how is that the city – FOR ONCE -is paying some attention to the hood, and it’s getting spun up as being bad for poor folks?

    that shit amazes me.

    ion the “oh my god there goes my grit!” note…nteresting – but not surprising thing – is, according to the article, NO ONE from the hood went to the meeting where this was presented. sure, it was in the middle of a Tuesday. who the fuck can skip work for this shit, right? but still. the hood – every faction but the hot-air progressives – is totally disorganized. hipster apathy.

    folks will get on this blog, and lament the demise of the gritty Mission, say that they hate trees and wider sidewalks because they’re harbingers of strollers and SUVs, say that they like shootings and shit more than they like trees and wider sidewalks (yo Al Pastor!), say that trees and wider sidewalks are more evidence that we are all in the pocket of Real Estate Developers (hi Josh!)…love you guys, still!

    But most will not be doing anything about it. I’m not sure, of course, and i am a presumptuous asshole, but i am betting most folks here would be barking from the sidelines.

    did anyone know this was under consideration? is anyone trying to mold the plan to their liking? is the “art” being done by Mission artists? Latino artists? is anyone concerned about MORE traffic on their streets voicing an opinion?

    me, i hope they do it. i fucking love the idea.

    then again, what’s to keep all this “nice” stuff from being covered in human feces like the rest of the neighborhood? then it ill be “nice” AND “gritty”.

  2. ct says:

    The 26 is going away; cars looking for maximum speed are probably taking Guerrero or Dolores. Valencia is already the de facto bike path through the Mission, because it’s flat and it has a lane. Nudging the street towards bikes and foot traffic is fine.

  3. Allan Hough says:

    Well yeah, look at Mission Street. It has trees and wide sidewalks and bulb-outs and arty trash receptacles, but it’s still dirty as hell and mostly devoid of yuppie scum.

    I’m happy to see these changes occur, but I do think Valencia is plenty nice the way it is. It’s a modest neighborhood street that got action-packed in a totally natural way; it didn’t need city planners to give it a leg up. Narrow sidewalks and all, it became one of the best and most bustling stretches in the city, and that’s part of what makes it so great. So I hope that feeling is not lost.

  4. zinzin says:

    i agree with you. Valencia’s nice just the way it is.and i TOTALLY agree about the “natural” evolution & the results it’s produced over time.

    but any attention to the hood is good, in my opinion.

    and really, they’re not doing this work on the “hipstery” part of V street. it’s the “yuppie” / bridge & tunnel part…only from 15th to 19th. what self respecting hipster ventures north of 20th these days anyways?

    am i sounding like a troll? sorry. i agree, i don’t want the Mission to lose its unique character. that’s why i am always going on & on about how folks need to be educated & involved.

  5. Subito_Piano says:

    This project is largely funded by a capital improvement grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (Tom Ammiano represents SF County on this) through a Transportation for Livable Communities grant written by the Department of Public Works. MTC/TLC grants encourage transit-oriented design, so funding this project in between 2 BART stations competed very well. DPW held a series of stakeholder meetings in 2005 at the Mission Police Station. There’s another stakeholder meeting tonight at Mission Police Station, 6.30PM. For more info.: http://bettervalencia.org/

    At a price tag of approx. $2,000,000/block, this kind of humane, gracious streetscape is very precious. Desolate places remote from regional transit (like Cesar Chavez, Potrero or San Jose Avenue) will continue to be a stark contrast to what is possible.

  6. Josh says:

    This project has been in the works for a looong time, and a plan for guerrero is in an earlier stage of development. More livable streets are a good thing and, imo, offer the most benefit to the neighborhood with the lowest amount of displacement as a result.

    Remember, these streets were more ped-oriented, with wider sidewalks years ago. Wide streets for commuters zipping through the neighborhood have given us expressways like Guerrero where once we had streets like Church.

    A shift towards pedestrian-friendly streets discourages real estate speculators who would move to the mission on a whim (“We’re just not ready for walnut creek… maybe once the little ones reach school age”) because there is less room for their cars. Instead, enjoyable public spaces make the lives of those who live here better and encourage more visitors.

  7. Josh says:

    Also in the pipeline, C. Chav redesign, and a comprehensive “better streets” plan for the whole neighborhood.

  8. zinzin says:

    such a positive response!

    i am so happy to have been wrong!

  9. sarah says:

    Hot fantasies of a safer C. Chavez street keep me up at night. It’s impossible to bike to CalTrain from the south side of the Mish/North Bernal without risking your life. So sad.

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