May 13, 2013

Castro Street Makeover: Expected Features And Formal Unveiling


Slated to start construction in January 2014 and last ten months, the final design concept for the Planning Department’s Castro Street Makeover project will be unveiled at a community open house tomorrow from 7 to 9 pm at 2278 Market Street.

The makeover includes the widening of sidewalks; addition of street trees, landscaping, and lighting; and improved intersection safety between Market and 19th Streets.

Based on vetted design concepts and community input, expect the final plan to include the reconfiguring of the crosswalk at Castro and Market Street so that it is aligned with Jane Warner Plaza and bulb-outs on the corners of Castro and 18th Streets.


A mid-block bulb-out and mini-plaza in front of the historic Harvey Milk Residence and Castro Camera Shop site is also expected to make the final design cut:

First Published: May 13, 2013 8:15 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Was it not part of a greater MUNI plan to start moving bus stops from the light to across the intersection, or did I just imagine reading that?

If so, shouldn't the 24 bus stop at 18th St move from in front of BofA to in front of K-POP, and the one in front of Twin Peaks, move across Market to the corner next to Pottery Barn?

[Editor's Note: The Plan To Make Muni More Convenient, Reliable, And Attractive.]

Posted by: wc1 at May 13, 2013 9:13 AM

But that wouldn't give the city a chance to tear up the streets again in another year and burden the city with traffic nightmares.

Bureaucracy loves company.

Posted by: @wc1 at May 13, 2013 9:16 AM

In general you want the bus stop to be after the traffic light. But there are some cases where it makes more sense to put the stop before the light. Maybe this is one of those exceptional cases given the asymmetry and complexity of the Castro/Market/Divisidero/17th intersection.

Wider sidewalks, bulb-outs, street trees: looks like a nice improvement to this little commercial district.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at May 13, 2013 9:25 AM

I wish they would just drop the bus stops at 18th and Castro. The bus could easily stop only at Market and Castro (the most important transfer point). People making a transfer to service on 18th could walk ONE MEASLY BLOCK. Similarly, the 24 going South stops at Market, 18th and 19th, the 19th stop is completely superfluous. It's insane, and part of the reason transit is so slow in this town.

But this streetscape project is great, otherwise.

Posted by: curmudgeon at May 13, 2013 9:51 AM

I have never understood why the buses in this town stop on nearly every block. It's part of what makes MUNI so infuriating. Should be a minimum of 3 blocks, with exceptions for seniors/disabled folks sitting in the front.

Posted by: rabbits at May 13, 2013 9:57 AM

The northbound 24 stop at Market & Castro (i.e. BEFORE the intersection) is in the correct spot, IMO. Moving it across the street, in front of Pottery Barn, would be a mistake.

For one, there are many more businesses -- and far more foot traffic -- on the south side of the intersection, where the stop is now. Moving the stop would require lots of folks to cross the street unnecessarily.

Second, many commuters transfer to and from the Muni Metro from there, and the entrance to the subway is much wider on the south side of Market. The Muni entrance north of market -- a narrow little staircase -- would be totally overloaded if the 24 stopped up there.

Posted by: NJ at May 13, 2013 10:01 AM

Regarding eliminating bus stops, that was one of the considerations of TEP. But it seems from the website it was only for a limited number of routes, and the 24 is not one of them. (See URL in name.)

Posted by: NJ at May 13, 2013 10:10 AM

This is WONDERFUL!! I'm especially a fan of the mini plaza in front of Harvey's Camera Shop! That side of Castro doesn't get much love and I can't wait to see added features to draw people to over there!

I really like how the sidewalk is widened in certain parts where there is always extra pedestrian traffic and/or people waiting in line.

Great job!

Posted by: JaysOCD at May 13, 2013 10:22 AM

@rabbits. Stopping for seniors and disabled persons sitting in the front only works if they are already on the bus. What about the ones waiting at the bus-stop? Try hiking up Union Street from Van Ness to Hyde if you have trouble walking and then figure out ho many stops you need.

Posted by: Oceangoer at May 13, 2013 11:16 AM

I'm not a planner but, given a ten-month project timetable and Pride month occuring in June, might it not be more reasonable to start the project in July and end in April?

I get that more happens in the Castro than Pride (like many film festivals) but wouldn't it be smart to avoid "High Season" as much as possible?

Posted by: Scott at May 13, 2013 11:37 AM


The city most likely doesn't have the money for this project in this year's budget, which is why they are starting in January.

[Editor's Note: Funding for the planning and construction of the project was allocated from the 2011 Road Repaving and Streets Safety Bond.]

Posted by: wc1 at May 13, 2013 12:38 PM

@Scott - You must not be from around here. When they say "ten-month timetable", they actually mean 18 months.

Posted by: Joel at May 13, 2013 12:42 PM

Spacing distance for bus stops should be reduced if the street is too steep, but in general the majority of MUNI stops are too close. On the L train alone it stops every two blocks once it leaves the Market St. tunnel. Increasing the distance to 4 blocks between stops will definitely reduce commute times, but MUNI will never do something that makes sense. All of its focus is on the Central Subway boondoggle that keeps climbing closer to the $2 billion mark.

Posted by: Mark at May 13, 2013 1:04 PM

As a castro merchant you must start in January to ensure the project is complete before the holidays. Most retailers make the vast majority of their annual profits during the Christmas holiday season. Having the streets torn up during this season is a sure way to kill sales. Most the retain merchants I've spoken with (outside of bars and restuarants) don't get much of a sales bouce during pride. In fact Pink Saturday and Pride Sunday are usually one of slowest weekends of the year

Posted by: patrick at May 13, 2013 6:31 PM

I'd like to echo Patrick said. There is supposed to be a moratorium on construction between Thanksgiving and Christmas, although it was somewhat botched last year.

Posted by: castroanon at May 13, 2013 6:37 PM

So, with bulb-outs and narrowed lanes, where are taxis supposed to pick up and drop off? And what about all the stopping/pulling over that the wide lanes allow? Are people going to block traffic now? Yes, yes they are.

Posted by: BobN at May 14, 2013 9:42 AM

The proposed street is 38' wide at its narrowest point. Given that we have 30' wide streets with bidirectional traffic and two lanes of parking as well, I think 38' will be ok.

Posted by: Alai at May 15, 2013 2:17 AM

Posted by: SocketSite at May 16, 2013 6:00 PM

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