Mission District Streetscape Plan Project Example
Chicanes, bulb-outs, bollards, green gutters, rain gardens, living streets, and road diets are all part of the proposed the Mission District Streetscape Project, the final plan for which is now online.

The [Mission District Streetscape Plan Project] (MDSP) is the product of a community‐based planning process to identify opportunities for the implementation of potential improvements to streets, sidewalks and public spaces in the City’s Mission District (“Plan Area”). The boundaries of the Plan Area are roughly Division Street to the north, US 101 to the east, Precita Avenue, Mission Street and San Jose Avenue to the south, and Dolores Street to the west.

Mission District Streetscape Project Map

The MDSP is intended to result in “a system of neighborhood streets with safe and green sidewalks; well‐marked crosswalks; widened sidewalks; creative parking arrangements; bike paths and routes; well integrated transit; and roadways that accommodate automobile traffic but encourage appropriate vehicular speeds.” The MDSP seeks “to improve pedestrian safety and comfort, increase the amount of usable public space in the neighborhood, and support environmentally‐sustainable stormwater management.”

All great macro goals. Of course plugged-in people should be thinking in terms of the micro (i.e., which blocks will actually benefit the most) as well.
Mission District Streetscape Project Plan: Mitigated Negative Declaration [sf-planning.org]
Mission Streetscape Project [sf-planning.org]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I like this idea though think it is odd that the Army St. modifications that were discussed in the past are not included in this plan. Was I just imagining it or wasn’t there a plan to reduce Army from 3 to 2 lanes ? That would be somewhat of a road diet too.
    Also nice that this rendered street’s pavement reduces glare to a more pleasing look :-)

  2. Posted by TallGuy

    For a fast forward on this project, check out out Linden St. alley between Gough and Octavia, you know, right in front of Blue Bottle coffee. They just sprayed the sidewalks and streets with utility marker paint, replacement of the water main is first, and then on to “Linden Alley Greening”. The plans look much like the above. In theory, the work will start in days, and be done in a few months. Too bad I’m just a renter at 300 Linden, wasting all that money and an opportunity for appreciation due to “chicanes, bulb-outs and bollards”. I’m just bummed I’ll have to drive around more Blue Bottle groupies to get into my garage.

  3. Posted by noearch

    ah…I believe it’s called Cesar Chavez…not army..
    that went away quite a few years ago..
    fyi.

  4. Posted by Dan

    Cesar Chavez will be reduced from 3 lanes to 2 in each direction, TMoD.
    I am concerned about the reduction in lanes from 2 to 1 in each direction for Folsom St. This is the main thoroughfare from north Bernal to the rest of the city– whether going to South of Market, or turning up 9th, 7th, 6th, or 3rd to get north of Market. If one takes South Van Ness, one ends up on Mission St or Market St, and there are no left turns from either to get north of Market.

  5. Posted by stucco-sux

    These people are smoking crack. The aesthetics aspect is fine, of course, and I’ll believe it when they build it, but the net net effect of this will be to reduce available parking by roughly 20% overall but more like 40% in many areas. Anyone who actually lives here knows that parking is extremely tight (there are very few garages) already and this is going to make it “north beach” tight. The is how planning works — they let all these bright but totally impractical people guide the process, bury it in 100 pages of small print, and one day you wake up and realize *oops* they have totally changed your neighborhood without anyone who actually lives there being made aware. A few sketches are fine, but bottom line these people scare the hell out of me.

  6. Posted by stucco-sux

    Here’s one example: Mission Laundry, almost the whole block between Mariposa and 18th, along Alabama Street. On the massive planning doc, they envision getting rid of most of the parking along the laundry, even though those very spaces are used 24/7 by Mission Laundry to park their big white trucks.
    Keep in mind that it was only a few years ago that the locked down all the zoning in this area to make it “industrial” forever, and now they are coming in behind themselves and making the surrounding streets utterly incompatible with the use they previously dictated on the neighborhood. They are great at the broad brush strokes, and total f**k-ups on the details. Its amazing.

  7. Posted by curmudgeon

    MoD, I’m assuming that the road diet on Cesar Chavez already has all the necessary environmental documentation. This neg dec is covering a variety of planned streetscape plans that have not yet been cleared. Aside from a few road diet projects (notably Folsom), most of these have very little impact. (and, stocco-sux..I know you won’t like this but parking changes are not considered an “impact” in EIRS. Of course, all of this will take many years to implement, so I wouldn’t hold your breath. But good for SF Planning to plan it and and clear it comprehensively…the environmental process uneccesarily slows down very desirable small scale projects like this.
    Oh, and one comment on the road diet on Folsom. As long as there are left turn pockets, I think you’ll find that the shift from two to one through lane is relatively inconsequential. If you think about how the streets in SF actually function (since we almost never have protected left turning movements), there is often really only one lane of traffic that it truly “through” on a two lane (in one direction) street.

  8. Posted by SFer

    Adding some shrubs will not clean up the Mission. Get rid of the gang bangers, homeless who defecate on the streets and hoodlums.

  9. Posted by stucco-sux

    @curmudgeon, I agree with you on a million levels. All the aesthetics are lovely, but they are in startling denial of the underlying issues. Its truly lipstick on a pig of incompatible uses, implemented over time, mostly for political factional reasons, and the net result is more of the same: a place that thrives in spite of its planning department, not because of it.

  10. Posted by stucco-sux

    Just look at the figure of underground contamination. And their utter lack of addressing it. Or the fact that the 10 year catastrophe of the “eastern neighborhoods rezoning” is relegated to one paragraph and a check box. Its magical thinking at its worst.

  11. Posted by spencer

    this will be covered with used hypodermic needles and homeless poop in no time.
    i prefer that they spend the money to get the people off the street before fixing the landscape

  12. Posted by Rod Roddy

    @noearch, natives still refer to Cesar Chavez as Army. Fyi

  13. Posted by noearch

    @ rod roddy: that’s just pure bs..those who refer to it as Army are old, stuck in the past, and ignorant.
    has nothing to do with being a so called native, or not.

  14. Posted by anonee

    foearch,
    nice level 5 knowledge there. and you call others ignorant…
    and there’s spencer and his hypodermic phobia.

  15. Posted by noearch

    ignorant: by definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary:
    “Lack of knowledge or awareness of a particular thing.”
    Saying someone is ignorant is not name calling. Read the definition again.
    Army Street was renamed Cesar Chavez, what? 10 years ago. A true SF native is not ignorant of the correct name of that street.
    Go take your ridiculous posturing elsewhere.

  16. Posted by Scooter

    Oh, FFS noearch, why are you so grumpy and pedantic lately? Lots and lots of people still call it Army, particularly when that is the name they were raised with. Certainly all my childhood friends and I do. You may have noticed all the signs that still reference Army in parentheses?
    When something was named one thing your entire life, and then the name changes but everyone still knows what you mean if you say the original name, do you really think everyone automatically switches over? Quick, what do you call a plum that has been dehydrated? If you say a prune, I’ll know what you mean, but it’s not what they’re called any more. Who cares?

  17. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    A few things:
    My Grandmother called Lexington Ave (in NYC) 4th Ave to her dieing days even though the name was changed in the early part of the last century. Same holds true with Sixth Ave (again in NYC) and Army in SF. Old habits die hard. As I recall the Army Street name change was more about Angela Alioto’s political aspirations than anything else.
    Also, I noticed that the western boundary of the Mission goes all the way to Dolores. According to my SFAR Map of SF, the “official” boundary of the Mission is now Guerrero Street.
    M.R.

  18. Posted by Schlub

    To clear things up:
    1. the Cesar Chavez street improvement is on schedule and will begin in the coming year.
    2. the micro-greening that’s already been happening here in the Mission has already been having a great effect on the nabe. Still a lot of homeless, but the poo and needles have been disappearing.
    3. one of the more contentious aspects of this plan is the sidewalk widening and replacement of ficus trees on the lower 24th street corridor.
    4. Most people here call it Cesar Chavez. As a matter of fact, the area right below CChavez on Mission is now being called SoCha. That said, hassling people who still call it army seems to be a sad waste of energy!

  19. Posted by Average Joe

    For an example of how the 2-lanes-to-1 “road diet” thing can work (and work well) just check out the Eastern side of Lake Merritt in Oakland. That was just converted over the winter. It still has parking, but now has a dedicated bike lane, a center turn lane (or whatever the official term is), and a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. Traffic flows at least as well, if not better, around that side of the lake now. I know, it’s weird to say that Oakland can do anything well but I think they got this one right.

  20. Posted by anon

    … you’d think the resident architect would correct the architectural project question before harping on a proper noun …

  21. Posted by Dan

    MR: Just because the SFAR map says Dolores Street is no longer part of the Mission doesn’t mean its true. Neighborhood boundaries are not universally agreed upon. Realtors have been stretching the boundaries of Noe Valley for years.

  22. Posted by Dan

    Valencia St had a very successful road diet several years ago. I enjoy the bike lanes, but by car it is a much slower street. Since the changeover, I take Guerrero instead if I’m in a car. I’m glad Valencia and Harrison have bike paths, but is it really necessary to make every street through the Mission that slow? On Folsom Street it will slow MUNI as well as cars.

  23. “…center turn lane (or whatever the official term is)”
    The official name is a Two Way Left Turn Lane or TWLTL, pronounced “twow-let” by some traffic engineers. I have no idea why that trailing L is dropped in the pronunciation.
    4 to 3 conversions (i.e. TWLTL creation) are counterintuitive. You’d think that with less traffic lanes that there would be more congestion. But as an acquaintance I know phrased it “Sometimes two lanes of smooth traffic is better than four lanes of crazy”. The best 4-3 conversions are actually 4-5 lane conversions with the extra two being bike lanes.
    And sorry about igniting that Army/Cesar Chavez controversy. Yes, I’m just using the original name that I originally learned. Check out Bombay … er … um … Mumbai. There everything significant is called alternatively by the old British Colonial names as well as the recently assigned Indian names. Long time residents scoff at the new Indian names. The general rule seems to be when talking with someone over 40, use the colonial names, otherwise use the new names.

  24. Posted by Zig

    “Old habits die hard.”
    Oh believe me it’s not just about old habits for everyone.
    When my Dad and his friends call it Army they know what they are doing.

  25. Posted by REpornaddict

    I totally agree re the Cesar Chavez/Army thing. Think people get wound up way to easy on this. It says Army in parentheses, why not pick on the people who make the signs too?
    Its largely an age thing, a generation thing, a native thing (to some extent). I am not going to start preaching to older natives what they should or should not call a street.
    Anyway, what are prunes called now??

  26. Posted by Po Hill Jeff

    stucco-sux: It sounds like you have some specific concerns that ought to be addressed by the planners. I realize you don’t have much confidence in them, but there is, AFAIK, a painstaking process for gathering and considering public input. Indeed it seems like nothing in SF can be done without an interminable period of public comment and feedback… Why not participate?

  27. Posted by Po Hill Jeff

    Dan: (re: Folsom), can’t you go “straight” onto Howard from South Van Ness past Division? Harrison’s the alternative one block on the other side. More stop signs, fewer lights – I find that’s usually a wash.

  28. Posted by Scooter

    Prunes are now dried plums, for some reason.

  29. Posted by Dan

    PHJ: Howard is one way going south, so it’s not the route to take if one is going north. If you are going south/east on Howard, one has to turn left on 12th st to Folsom to get to the Mission– there is no left turn onto South Van Ness at the end of Howard. Harrison is not bad, but becomes one way going west/south at 10th St, so one can’t take Harrison directly all the way going north/east.

  30. Posted by Snark17

    These changes are going to have a great impact on the Mission over time. The neighborhood is gentrifying quickly IMO. The Chavez construction is supposed to start in June, last time I checked.
    Unfortunately there is not a lot of money to put the Mission Streetscape into effect right away. I think the Bryant and Folsom work will start first, and a couple of other things. But the rest will have to wait for a better budget environment.
    Drivers think of Chavez almost as part of the freeway because it is so wide and barren. Hopefully the landscaping and narrowed road will help.

  31. Posted by anon

    sorry, but folsom is too narrow for 4 lanes. this is a very smart idea. just take south van ness to 15th or 14th, and problem solved. surely that’s the idea.

  32. Posted by Dan

    Thanks, anon, but the alternative depends on the trip. I will probably cut through Potrero Hill more often if traffic in the Mission becomes a mess.

  33. Posted by noearch

    sounds like fluj is back here parading under several different names…

  34. Posted by corntrollio

    So who here says “South of the Slot” instead of “South of Market” or even “SoMa”?
    Who says China Basin instead of Terry A. Francois Blvd?
    Btw, in case someone wanted a little more history around the origin of Army Street and several other streets in Noe Valley, this is a decent summary, notwithstanding the misspelled “Morman.”
    http://www.sfgenealogy.com/sf/history/hgoe04.htm
    You’d have to be pretty old to say “East Street” instead of “Embarcadero.”

  35. Posted by a_native_son

    I, for one, call it Army St., as do my parents. My younger sisters call it Cesar Chavez.
    For some, calling it Army is just like calling Candlestick Candlestick, as opposed to 3Com or Monster or whatever name it took on over the years–it’s just habit and rolls off the tongue.
    For others, calling it Army is sort of a statement. I don’t think anyone really opposed renaming a street in the Mission after Chavez. It was more a debate as to why they chose Army. Renaming an already “named” street like Army or Fillmore will be a bit more controversial than renaming a numbered street like 24th simply because a named street is more personal? has more sentimental value? Something.
    Back in those days, a lot of people did find something symbolic in renaming Army. Some saw it as pro-peace. Others as anti-military. Not necessarily interchangeable, those two.
    I’ll always call it Army because it was Army when I was a kid, just like the Stick was always the Stick. Hell, it’s PacBell Park to me, and it had that name for all of, what, 3 years or so?

  36. Posted by NoeNeighbor

    With any luck, most of this won’t be done. The plan is the typical thinking from the Planning Department. They actively look for ways to obstruct vehicle traffic rather than looking for where the pedestrian experience could be most enhanced. Some parts of it are fine — Capp St. should be improved. Other parts make little sense — Why block up Folsom St? The fact is that the cars will go elsewhere in the Mission (not magically disappear). It would be much better to ensure that some streets work well for vehicles and others work well for bikes and pedestrians. Instead, these plans just increase conflict.

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