June 5, 2013
A Competition To Rethink The Space Beneath Highway 280
With a conceptual plan to take down Highway 280 north of 16th Street in San Francisco, eliminating the ramps at Sixth and Brannan and at Fourth and King and building a street-level boulevard in its place, a design competition to rethink the use of the space beneath the highway in San Francisco is underway.
Competition participants are invited to submit concepts for public art, buildings, landscape treatments, public amenities and infrastructure, or other urban design interventions that are made possible through the replacement of the elevated Highway 280 north of 16th Street. Suggested areas of focus are the parcels of land freed up by this transformation, especially along the western edge of Mission Bay, as well as the open space/landscape opportunities at the west end of Mission Creek to unify both sides of the creek.
In the words of the design competition’s organizers: "The tradition of removing freeways is not a new one for our city– two neighborhoods, the Embarcadero and Hayes Valley, have enjoyed a renaissance through freeway demolition that healed scarred communities."
And in the words of a plugged-in reader, might some of San Francisco's elevated highway have the potential to become the equivalent of New York's High Line?
∙ A Bold Plan To Tear Down I-280 North Of 16th Street In San Francisco [SocketSite]
∙ 280 Freeway Competition [cadsf.org]
First Published: June 5, 2013 9:45 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
They can't be serious about this project, can they?
For those saying that this stretch of the highway is mostly empty and, check traffic patterns on Google Maps. Click on "change" next to "Live Traffic" and select any weekday around 9 am and 5 pm.
Posted by: SFBear at June 5, 2013 10:37 AM
Maybe, just maybe, if the Bay Area had a world class, extensive mass transit system then I could see removing freeways. Otherwise, you're just going to send traffic on already congested streets.
Posted by: Mark at June 5, 2013 10:44 AM
With Mission Bay growing quickly and the UCSF hospital coming in a couple years the intersection at 16th that runs under the freeway would be a major hazard. Mission Bay is blocked by having only one entrance on the west side and limited entry from the north over bridges that span Mission Creek.
Dropping the freeway and and putting tunnels in for the trains would be huge for opening the area up and making traffic safer. Right now traffic gets jammed up after baseball games. Made worse by the trains cutting all westbound traffic off every few minutes.
I look forward to this being complete - but getting this done is going to be an ugly process.
Posted by: gribble at June 5, 2013 10:47 AM
The highline in manhattan works because they've made an attractive public space in an area that had none before and wouldn't have been possible without it.
You don't need to convert the 280 into a highline because there is already a ton of public space in mission bay that no one is using. Most likely because they've done nothing with it except plant some grass. There is probably even more unfinished public space in mission bay as well.
Posted by: nsfw at June 5, 2013 10:55 AM
Honestly I wish it would get torn down closer to Caesar Chavez.
Posted by: Sam at June 5, 2013 11:07 AM
Mark, you're aware that the city has removed two freeways in the last 20 years, both times opponents predicted overcrowding on surface streets, and both times that didn't happen? It's pretty much been proven false by real wold experience.
Posted by: James at June 5, 2013 11:36 AM
@SFBear and @Mark:
No one said there is no traffic on the freeway. It's just that replacing the freeway with a boulevard will not cause armageddon with traffic and will dramatically improve a big part of the City. It's been proven time and time and time again. Look at the Embarcadero, look at Hayes Valley, etc etc. There will be traffic congestion -- there is now, there will be in the future. Newsflash: the future of the world is traffic gridlock whether you do anything about it or not. The choice is to live in a crappy place with elevated freeways blighting everything around them or to live in a nice one. There is the same level of traffic in both of them.
Posted by: intheknow at June 5, 2013 11:40 AM
Taking it back to Caesar Chavez would supercharge Dogpatch and the surrounding area long term coupled with all the other changes on the horizon. I'll take 16th street for now.
I thought this would eventually happen given the major shifting of use and demographics in the area, but I was not sure it would be in my lifetime. Too bad they spent the money on re-opening it after 1989--now taking it down is harder because more people "depend" on it.
I use 280 as a Potrero Hill resident. It can be convenient (though taking 7th Street is often faster). However, I would be the first in line to take a sledgehammer to it if I could. The possibility of a depressed 16th street pseudo-Caesar Chavez hairball to accommodate high speed rail makes me shudder.
The benefits to the surrounding neighborhoods and the city coffers enormously out way the costs. Would anyone sacrifice Hayes Valley now for rebuilding the central freeway? Sacrifice the revitalized waterfront for a reborn Embarcadero skyway?
If you've actually lived here long enough to see the before and afters it's a no brainer. Traffic patterns will change. It will not be carmageddon.
Posted by: bruiteur at June 5, 2013 11:42 AM
"It's been proven time and time and time again."
Yeah, because 19th avenue is such a fantastic paradigm to aspire to! Massive traffic flow crawling from block to block right next to thousands of houses.
This is an asinine idea unless there is a 'big dig' style train and automobile tunnel where the existing highways and rail tracks are.
Posted by: anon at June 5, 2013 11:47 AM
Why anybody would use 19th Ave as an example when Octavia & Embarcadero are clearly far more relevant is beyond me.
This is a great idea, the naysayers will be proven wrong once again. I look forward to the tremendously improved neighborhoods that will spring up once the freeway is gone.
Given that this is being proposed to make way for HSR and Caltrain to the Transbay Terminal it seems ridiculous to claim the small amount of traffic coming in on 280 will be an issue. By the way, we already had the debate in the last thread, so before making any further claims of carmageddon please read the previous comment thread.
Even though I drive on 280, and don't live anywhere near the neighborhood, I can't wait for the freeway to be torn down!
Posted by: lyqwyd at June 5, 2013 11:55 AM
@anon - 19th Ave. is problematic because a large portion of the congestion is thru-traffic heading from the peninsula to the North Bay. In all honesty, a grade-separated Hwy 1 would have made sense for SF's westside.
Removing 280 isn't going to make traffic worse, because all of that traffic is heading downtown, which is congested anyway.
Posted by: Joel at June 5, 2013 12:01 PM
"Yeah, because 19th avenue is such a fantastic paradigm to aspire to! Massive traffic flow crawling from block to block right next to thousands of houses."
Yes it is, compared to putting an elevated freeway down 19th avenue and putting those houses in the shadow of such a behemoth. Why don't you ask the residents of 19th ave which they would prefer?
Posted by: intheknow at June 5, 2013 12:11 PM
Oh, yes, let us bring all those noisy, dirty, speeding cars to ground level...
Posted by: BobN at June 5, 2013 12:17 PM
"Oh, yes, let us bring all those noisy, dirty, speeding cars to ground level..."
I know, the Embarcadero is a horrible place to spend time on.
Posted by: wc1 at June 5, 2013 12:30 PM
Someone had sent me this 1963 film on San Francisco and it is funny looking at it now, especially how it highlights the "progress" of the new freeways throughout the city, and I thought of it reading this post and comments.
Transit planning ideas are in some ways similar to fashion in that they reflect the opinions and lifestyles of people at the time. What was once a sign of urbanity (rushing cars overhead on freeways) is now looked at as being suburban blight.
Posted by: Anon94123 at June 5, 2013 12:38 PM
Commute times between the Peninsula and Downtown would undoubtedly be longer. I guess Peninsula property values go down (incrementally), and S.F. values go up.
For anyone who thinks destroying freeways does not cause congestion, try going from Sunset/Haight/Cole Valley to the freeway. Oak Street is heavily congested much of the day.
Posted by: NJ at June 5, 2013 1:01 PM
Great to see big moves proposed for this area! Makes one think about it in a whole new way.
The entire idea requires burying CalTrain & HSR below 7th street & the existing rail yards - that's all below water in this hood.
Big Dig indeed.
Posted by: rubber_chicken at June 5, 2013 1:07 PM
anon @ 11:47 said "This is an asinine idea unless there is a 'big dig' style train and automobile tunnel where the existing highways and rail tracks are."
I think that's really the best overall long-term solution: put high-capacity traffic and train flow underground, then build a beautiful new neighborhood right above.
Would be super expensive, but if the new buildings were large and dense enough, it might be possible for the developments above to finance construction of the roadways below.
Posted by: anon at June 5, 2013 1:12 PM
Regarding Hayes Valley: removing the highway didn't cause armageddon, but it made things incrementally worse. More recently, making Hayes a two-way street also made things worse. We are not talking about complete clusterf@ck gridlock here, but now it takes 10 minutes longer to get home to the Richmond district compared to pre-Octavia times.
Is it the end of the world? Hardly. But that's 10 minutes people can't spend with their families.
I suspect that removal of the section of 280 will have a similar effect, but on a larger scale.
Posted by: SFBear at June 5, 2013 1:25 PM
People are delayed only 10 minutes to get across half the city, and we now have an incredibly scenic, hip, and successful new neighborhood with fantastic restaurants and beautiful outdoor/green space in an area that used to be known for urban blight and drugs/crime. While nothing is perfect, sounds like the city came out ahead with Hayes...
Posted by: JWS at June 5, 2013 1:34 PM
I drive Oak every day. It's congested at rush hour, and when garbage / delivery trucks block a lane, definitely not much of the day. Generally by 10am there is little traffic. Of course it was also quite congested during those same times when the freeway met it directly.
Of course the neighborhood is way better than when the freeway was there. So much so those living across market tried to block that side from being rebuilt after it was torn down.
Posted by: lyqwyd at June 5, 2013 1:35 PM
When Hayes was made two way at first it was pretty bad, but they've re-timed the signals now such that it's maybe 1 additional light cycle of wait, nowhere near 10 minutes.
Of course the folks that have reason to go in the new counter flow lane are now saving time.
Posted by: lyqwyd at June 5, 2013 1:39 PM
The comparison to the Highline would only be valid if the existing freeway were repurposed with a parklike installation on top of it; it remains to be seen if anyone will offer this alternative in the competition.
Posted by: Highliner at June 5, 2013 1:58 PM
"The comparison to the Highline would only be valid if the existing freeway were repurposed with a parklike installation on top of it; it remains to be seen if anyone will offer this alternative in the competition"
Probably 50,000 new residents will live within short walk of 280 if we can look 10-15 years foward, I'm liking a park above. Some of NY's most creative buildings are happening there. (And the West Side Highway public spaces are but two blocks away).
Posted by: Invented at June 5, 2013 2:15 PM
I think that one of the constraints for this project is that the elevated freeway structure be torn down. Its footings interfere with undergrounding the railway. So an I-280 Highline is probably not going to fly.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at June 5, 2013 2:44 PM
Commute times between the Peninsula and Downtown would undoubtedly be longer. I guess Peninsula property values go down (incrementally), and S.F. values go up."
If you could take Electrified Caltrain from the Peninsula all the way downtown in 15-25 minutes Peninsula property values go nowhere but way up would be my bet. In fact there would be no better place to live for upper middle class downtown workers
Posted by: Zig at June 5, 2013 2:48 PM
i support this if we could do a swap and put an elevated freeway above 19th ave. it is so hard to get to the airport and the peninsula from the north side of the city.
by the way, hayes valley was nice in the main part of hayes valley even when the central freeway was there. the outskirts of hayes valley are nicer now, but imho, hayes valley is still just hayes st, which was already nice.
Posted by: spencer at June 5, 2013 2:48 PM
Oak Street was congested before they took the freeway down, I used to live in the Haight and went that way on my motorcycle all the time. I don't think that it is really any worse now. That stretch to get on the freeway definitely adds some time to getting out of town though.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at June 5, 2013 3:25 PM
I love reading comments on here that say tear down 280 but put a freeway down 19th Ave. So, my neighborhood gets a massive concrete structure, but yours gets a pretty park. NIMBYism at its finest. How about looking at the city as a whole and focus on getting better transit and accessibility for all. Just guess we're not hipster enough west of Twin Peaks.
Posted by: Mark at June 5, 2013 3:26 PM
They have only replace 0.3 miles of freeway from Market St to Fell. Most of the time I can drive through the whole stretch in about 1 minute. How can this cause you additional 10 minute of delay?
Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at June 5, 2013 4:27 PM
In my experience, a long line forms on Oak to turn right onto Octavia. This is especially bad during rush hour, when, of course, it matters most to most people. You have to sit through multiple light cycles at Oak & Octavia. This is what adds the most time to the trip to the freeway by the new configuration. You also have to sit through the lights on Octavia, though that's usually not as bad.
Sure, a few neighborhoods got nicer, which benefits some, but I think one should weigh that against the many folks who spend the extra 10 minutes (or whatever) in traffic per day.
I think it's reasonable to be on either side of that one.
Posted by: NJ at June 5, 2013 4:34 PM
I notice the problem on Oak also. One thing they should do is to permanently eliminate the few parking space just in front of Oak. That allows cars to line up in two lanes before the right turning into Octavia rather than squeeze into it in the last minute and slow down everyone. In my opinion those few parking spaces are the most inefficient because of the magnitude of delay it can cause to the right turning traffic.
So this is already happening in rush hour. The other thing to consider is to increase the timing of the green light cycle. I guess it shouldn't be too hard to make the green cycle long enough to saturate Octavia St so that the 2 lanes of Octavia will be fully utilized.
Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at June 5, 2013 4:56 PM
I say let it stay. I live on 6th Street directly off 280 and I specifically bought there for the exact reason of easy access to down to the Peninsula. Would the neighborhood be "nicer" without 2 elevated expressways going through it? Undoubtedly yes and I would benefit from a nicer neighborhood. However, the city needs transportation options for people to get to their jobs; you know the jobs that actually pay the taxes for all the far left socialist programs that San Francisco holds so dear. So leave my expressway alone and I prefer not to use 101 as it gets far more congested with all the east bay transit traffic.
Posted by: Davetser at June 5, 2013 4:57 PM
"Oak Street is heavily congested much of the day."
That is false.
You are now claiming that the freeway removal adds 10 minutes, which is completely unsubstantiated. First you would have to show how long it took before the freeway was removed.
Obviously there is a tradeoff in removing a freeway. People who generally don't live near the freeway will experience some amount of minor delay when they take the freeway. On the other hand people who live near the freeway will have a much better life for every minute of their day that they spend near home.
SF has chosen the vast improvement in life for those who live near the old freeway over the brief, and minor inconvenience of those who only drive through that neighborhood. I personally agree with that choice, even though I am one of the people who drives onto the freeway, but does not live in the affected neighborhood.
Posted by: lyqwyd at June 5, 2013 5:04 PM
@Way Yip Tung
I don't think they need to permanently eliminate the parking as there is rarely any backup after 10 am, but what the should do is make that entire parking lane a traffic lane during rush hour, which would alleviate a good amount of the backup during rush hour.
I'm not sure if extending the light would work as it would impact the traffic coming off the freeway from Octavia.
Posted by: lyqwyd at June 5, 2013 5:13 PM
It could work, except...
That staggeringly-stupid reverse curve to get around that poorly-placed development right at the end of Berry Street. What were the planners thinking when they gave permission for that complex. Oh wait, they were not thinking that the the freeway would ever be removed. Without that development you could have a gentle curve to direct the traffic, but with it...
If the city will entertain using eminent domain to get that land back, this plan has legs. But they won't.
Posted by: Adam at June 5, 2013 5:58 PM
My statement that you deem "false" is a matter of opinion. Each of the words "heavily," "congested," and "much" is open to interpretation. You might disagree with the statement, but it cannot be shown false. I happen to stand by the opinion for reasons already stated.
Also, I did not set forth unsubstantiated figures. Notice that I wrote "(or whatever)" after "10 minutes," clearly indicating that I did not seek to specifically quantify the actual amount of delay. I took the 10-minute figure came from another post, but I clearly did not intend to affirm it.
Posted by: NJ at June 5, 2013 6:01 PM
Embarcadero has relatively light traffic during daylight weekdays because nobody can afford to park downtown for work like they did in the 70s. Drive it on weekends though, and it's a shitshow. I only see it from my bike, but I wouldn't doubt that it takes an hour to get from the ballpark to Pier 39.
Posted by: EH at June 5, 2013 6:03 PM
first of all, i was being TIC about the elevated 19th ave. i was being a nimby but not in the way you think. I live in northwest SF and use 19th ave frequently. it sucks to get through 19th to go to the airport or peninsula.
i dont care about 280 from 16th to king because i dont use it. I was being TIC about swapping. in reality,i think that part of 280 is a really nice approach to downtown. it is a beautiful way to introduce new people from airport into SF.
i do think octavia BLVD is way slower than the central freeway was, but i understand the neighborhood is a bit nicer. i think the central freeway was better for a greater number of San Franciscans than the few who benefit in hayes valley. that is nimbyism. frankly, i think we need better cross town auto lanes, whether elevated or not. it takes too long to get across the city.
Posted by: spencer at June 5, 2013 6:10 PM
Before they bother with 280 how about recovering Potrero Hill and turning 101 underneath into a tunnel and emptying it at Zynga. Actually not that hard to do since the cleft is relatively vertical. As for 280, since it never connected to the bridge why not finish that job and make it the bridge connection from 101/280. The land under 101 (and what would be over it) would really "reconnect torn neighborhoods" way more than 280, which mostly divides nothing but industrial.
Posted by: Retail in chains at June 5, 2013 6:56 PM
@Highliner if we keep 280 - either as a park or as a freeway as a park it doesn't matter - Caltrain and Caiifornia High-Speed Rail will have to run along the current alignment along 7th Street. With the increased rail capacity the intersections will be closed and 16th Street will dip to cross under and 7th would also drop down to meet it at a below grade intersection with blind corners on all sides because of the retaining walls. Here's a link to a rending of it:
Both 16th and 7th streets are bike routes and both the below grade, blind intersection and the climb are going to right there make the eastern waterfront inaccessible to some share of cyclists and pedestrians.
Moving rail underground and tearing down 280 will allow more grade level connections - no climbing, no broken sight-lines, nothing police are going to warn us to avoid at night - between the entire Eastern Waterfront and the rest of the city. The exact kind of new development and activity sprouting up around the High-Line is possible because it doesn't sit on top of an active rail yard with retaining walls on surrounding streets that prevent any activity at all.
An elevated park was the right solution for the High Line, but our situation is different - we have parks along the waterfront current plans will limit access too - and we can still take inspiration from New York City. What we're about to build is more analogous I think to Park Avenue before the tunnel when trains running on the surface cut off either side of the street.
Posted by: Jamison Wieser at June 5, 2013 7:04 PM
Now that you are backtracking on the 10 minutes it just shows you have no evidence that there's a delay any worse than was there before the freeway removal.
You are welcome to your opinion, I'm glad to see you've made it clear that it is solely an opinion without any basis.
It's not a bit nicer, it's way nicer, especially the parts immediately where there freeway used to be.
But like I said before. SF is choosing great neighborhood benefit over the minor convenience of a few people saving a brief amount of time getting on the freeway. I support it 100%.
Posted by: lyqwyd at June 5, 2013 7:04 PM
lyqwyd, not sure where you got the idea that I backtracked, but whatevs. Can't argue with folks who have reading comprehension issues.
Posted by: NJ at June 5, 2013 7:11 PM
Obviously none of the supporters have to commute down the peninsula to make a living
Posted by: Mike Sims at June 5, 2013 7:12 PM
i agree that its way nicer exactly under where the freeway was , but the main part of hayes valley (meaning hayes st) is not very different in terms of "niceness"
i would argue that the freeway benefited more people than the immediate area under the freeway. But I really dont care too much about this so am going to shutup.
I do think there needs to be a better way for a car to get from one side of the city to the other in under 30 min. the problem is not traffic. it is stop signs and red lights. traffic is still quite light in the city compared to other places.
we are turning SF into a bubble. we might as well put a wall and a moat around it. maybe we could disconnect the peninsula around noe valley/ mission. possibly, just cut a 10,000 ft rift in at caesar chavez/army st
Posted by: spencer at June 5, 2013 7:20 PM
@Mark: I never said anything about a "massive concrete structure" - a tunnel would have been my first choice (and I believe such was proposed for the westside back in the great freeway building days.) I also live near Twin Peaks, and I recognize that residents in our western neighborhoods often use private autos to get around, and an underground freeway would make sense for us. It would have mitigated many of the problems we face with 19th Ave today. It certainly would have made more sense than two on the eastern half of the city.
Posted by: Joel at June 5, 2013 7:56 PM
Random question: Are there any plans for the vacant lot directly adjacent to Parcel 1? A rectangular development could work and would make the most sense if the lots were merged.
Posted by: Joel at June 5, 2013 7:59 PM
"Maybe, just maybe, if the Bay Area had a world class, extensive mass transit system then I could see removing freeways. Otherwise, you're just going to send traffic on already congested streets."
These arguments were the same arguments heard in opposition to the removal of the Central Freeway. The traffic does indeed flow on city streets instead of the freeway, but that's a good thing. See: http://sf.streetsblog.org/2010/09/29/new-study-analyzes-traffic-around-former-central-freeway/
Posted by: anonymous at June 6, 2013 1:15 AM
I want to validate the claim that Octavia Blvd cause additional 10 minutes of traffic delay. Without any actual data, I fired up the trusted Google Map to do a simulation. I measure a 2 mile route from Fell after Masonic to 101 around Harrison St, with the mid point at the former off ramp on Laguna St. If the elevated freeway was there, this will be 1 mile on freeway and one mile on surface street. After the central freeway removal, only 0.7 mile of it remain.
Ideally we can compare this to the before condition with the same amount of traffic. But since the freeway is long gone, I tried to find comparable proxy. I decided to use 101 around General hospital to City Hall in front of Van Ness, where they are connect by the straight shot one way artery road 9th and 10th St. Again it is 1 mile freeway and 1 mile surface st with the mid point at Bryant St ramp.
Here is the estimated traffic time
6 min to Fell and Central Ave (near Masonic)
6 min from Oak and Central
7 min from City Hall
7 min to City Hall
So the physical structure of Octavia Blvd does not seems to slow down traffic compare to 101 at Bryant St.
Google Map also provide in traffic estimation. This is the result at 8:30am in a week day.
14 min to Fell and Central Ave (near Masonic)
9 min from Oak and Central
9 min from City Hall
11 min to City Hall
The worst case is West bound traffic to Fell St. If you believe its traffic time should be comparable to the traffic to City Hall, then there is an additional of 3 minutes of delay during commute hour.
In any case I'd Google Map does not support the claim of 10 minutes additional traffic delay caused by the freeway removal.
Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at June 6, 2013 9:19 AM
great to see a bunch of coherent comments on such a big (and complicated) idea.
just an fyi - I see there's a talk at spur at 12:30 today on just this subject. there'll be a a 4 person panel representing different agencies / organizations.
"What if Highway 280 were taken down and replaced with a surface boulevard? What if the 4th and King railyards could be redeveloped? Come hear some bold ideas for transforming major infrastructure near Mission Bay."
Posted by: gosh at June 6, 2013 9:24 AM
I take the Octavia street boulevard all of the time, and it is horrible. It results in an additional 5-15 minutes depending on traffic which means that for the thousands of people who take it, it means thousands of unproductive minutes of idling cars that contribute to more pollution (just check out the buildings on Octavia, they are covered in soot) plus the noise pollution. As for the Embarcadero, the traffic is terrible. It only moves because most people have stop taking it. The off ramp for Octavia is even worse b/c it is backed up all of the time. Again, idling cars putting out more pollution. But, I realize that SF is full of people who hate cars and feel that adding all of this traffic time will eliminate them. Long live the Luddites!
Posted by: Jabba at June 6, 2013 10:58 AM
It doesn't matter if Octavia slows down traffic, it slows down traffic making it safe for pedestrians and cyclists. The space created along the boulevard is allows housing, retail, and dining. There's a park and community gathering spot that weren't there before.
I really don't understand the blatant selfishness drivers who want to inconvenience or endanger everyone else's lives to save a few minutes in traffic they created in the first place by choosing to drive.
@Mike Sims, you've obliviously not considered what it's like for anyone who doesn't drive to commute down the Peninsula to make a living. My commute along 16th to Mission Bay will be made more dangerous by underpass beneath Caltrain/HSR and I don't care if you add a couple minutes to your commute because I value my LIFE a lot more.
Posted by: Jamison Wieser at June 6, 2013 11:39 AM
No no no, the Warriors arena proponents tell us the traffic on the Embarcadero is light. Please don't burst their bubble.
Posted by: formidable doer of the nasty at June 6, 2013 12:23 PM
We should also be careful what is the baseline we are comparing to. For this discussion we should not be comparing commute hour traffic v.s. free floating traffic? The relevant comparison is today's traffic versus the travel time in the 90s when the structure is still there, under the same amount of traffic.
I don't have any recollection of how is the traffic back then. I believe there were also backup to the freeway. Anyone remembers?
Other things to consider is there is a 5% increase in population in the last 10 years. This affects the traffic with or without the freeway. Also according to this web statistics San Francisco GDP is increased by whooping 45% in the last 10 years. This is probably the primary reason of very significant increase of traffic in SOMA.
Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at June 6, 2013 12:36 PM
I was and am a fan of the removal of the Central Freeway (CFWY) north of Market, especially the first stage of the teardown north of Oak that opened up Hayes Valley.
According to SFMTA stats, the rebuilt CFWY at Market carries about 30% less traffic than the pre-quake carried (~25,000 cars/day less). Fortunately, that area has many surface roads to diffuse this displaced traffic: Gough, Van Ness, Polk, Larkin, 10th, 9th, 6th, etc.
FWIW, I often drive the CFWY during non-rush hour. Today around 11 AM the backup eastbound was about a block and a half on Oak to get to Octavia. It took less than 5 minutes from the backup until I was crossing Market. However, the backup the other way on the elevated northbound was back to Folsom Street in both lanes and back to Harrison in the right lane, which from my experience is about a 10 minute delay to get to either Market or Duboce/Mission. It is almost always like this on weekends by 11 AM.
I think the commutes that suffered the most from the CFWY teardown were from Cathedral Hill/Nob Hill/Pac Heights that used to have CFWY access on Gough and Franklin near GG Ave.
This is a good report on some of the Octavia Blvd design issues and results:
Posted by: Jake at June 6, 2013 1:56 PM
I know, the Embarcadero is a horrible place to spend time on.
Spend a lot time walking along Octavia at rush hour?
I didn't think so.
I'm glad they tore it down, as Hayes Valley is a residential neighborhood, but I'm not going to pretend that a surface road has made walking around that area more pleasant.
The same stupid decision was made in the Presidio. You can move around under an elevated freeway, ugly as they are. The replacement is even uglier and it divides the Main Post from Crissy field. Mega ick.
Posted by: BobN at June 6, 2013 6:16 PM
I can't believe people are claiming that the removal of two freeways was succesful from a traffic stand point. Octavia street is a mess and the difficulty of getting onto 101 there backs up traffic throughout the neighborhood. The Embarcardero should be avoided at all hours as it varies between stop-and-go sluggish and a standstill.
Removing the Embarcadero probably made sense because it was so ugly but they really should have allowed 101 to cross Market before landing.
280 is a vital connecting for getting into the City; removing it will just create increase congestion on 101 and push people onto inadequate streets and into residential neighborhoods. I really can't see any reason to remove it.
Posted by: Valenchia at June 6, 2013 7:10 PM
@BobN, Presidio is gorgeous! I just went to the off-the-grid picnic in the past Sunday and has the most wonderful time. You can relax in the huge lawn in the main post and see the expansive view of the bay. I can wait for them to finish constructing the roof deck that connects the main post to the shore. That's one of the few example of ingenious architecture.
I guess you hate the Doyle Drive because you just driving by. Stop by sometime in the Presidio and join the thousand of people who enjoy this great piece of treasure in San Francisco.
Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at June 6, 2013 7:32 PM
BobN, wait until the Doyle Drive project in the Presidio is completed. When it is, I believe you'll have more access between the Main Post and Crissy Field than what is available now.
Posted by: Fishchum at June 7, 2013 8:32 AM
BobN: Presidio Parkway currently divides Crissy Field from the main post while the other tunnels are built. Once the tunnels (there will be four in total) are done, the two roads that went under Doyle will now go over the tunnel. Everything on top of the tunnel will be made into public space, which was just an area under the viaduct before.
While I do miss the elevated Doyle Drive, I am not saddened by it being removed. I can't imagine the Embarcadero having Route 480 over it. There is a reason the Freeway Revolts happened.
The removal of the 6th St exit would not be that big of a loss. My only wonder is what would happen to the railyard. There are no more railyards for what is a good rail system.
Posted by: Serge at June 7, 2013 9:17 PM
For those supporting the elimination of the stretch of freeway discussed-- most of the streets on Potrero Hill go north south parallel to the freeway. Most if not all of these streets are residential and are not set up for traffic beyond people coming and going from their homes. Now imagine the freeway going away and these streets becoming mini freeways. No thanks.
Posted by: Charuz at June 8, 2013 4:28 PM
Not to worry, the steepness of Potrero Hill will route traffic around it not onto it.
The '280 Freeway Competition' that inspired this thread is only for a teardown of 280 to the flatlands up to the northeast base of Potrero hill around 16th Street, though it also entails undergrounding Caltrains south of 4th St station and the relocation of the Caltrains marshalling yard to somewhere south of San Francisco.
While some on this thread have speculated about tearing 280 down further south, so far no responsible authority has been so foolish.
A teardown of 280 back to 16th Street would further load 7th, 3rd, 4th, and 16th. Taking it all the way back to Cesar Chavez, and the load would have to be carried by just 3rd, some new blvd along the old 280 route with less capacity, and 101.
I was a SOMA resident and commuter to the south bay during the closure and rebuild of 280 east of 101. It definitely made 101 traffic worse and property in Bernal and Noe more valuable.
Posted by: Jake at June 8, 2013 6:11 PM
Posted by: SocketSite at September 4, 2013 3:16 PM
I'm Taein Park, Reporter for K-ART News. and I'm doing a story about 280 span removal. I would like to get some video soundbite (interview) of your opinions. I'm on a deadline by this Sunday on October 4th. Please contact me at email@example.com.
Posted by: Taein Park at September 30, 2013 9:17 PM