By Mohammed Nuru, Director, Department of Public Works
Thanks to the support of San Francisco voters in 2011, the condition of the City’s roadways and sidewalks is improving. Every neighborhood in San Francisco is seeing the benefits of the $248 million Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond, with safer conditions for pedestrians and smoother streets for motorists and cyclists on hundreds of city blocks.
You might have noticed it is a busy time for new construction. The Streets Bond is a significant capital investment into perhaps the most important, most utilized elements of the City’s infrastructure: our streets and sidewalks. We are grateful to be deeply involved in all the activity delivering these quality-of-life projects.
We are a little more than a year into the three-year bond program and there are hundreds of public works projects going on currently.
More than 10 City blocks are being paved each and every week. By the end of this calendar year, Public Works will have overseen the resurfacing of about 800 city blocks. That’s 6 percent of all blocks in San Francisco.
This week, for example, construction work is happening along such major thoroughfares as Balboa and the Great Highway, Bayshore and San Bruno Avenues. Every week more and more blocks are being resurfaced and striped for use along transit routes, bicycle routes, residential streets and business corridors.
Along with paving the streets, work is being done to sidewalks to make them safer and more accessible. We’re halfway through the process of building 1,700 ADA-compliant curb ramps, and you can find them popping up all over at a rate of more than three per day. Our inspectors and sidewalk repairs team have exceeded their goals, prioritizing the renovation of nearly 200,000 square feet of sidewalks. And the work continues.
There are two dozen major streetscape-improvement projects that will be completed using bond funds, with ten currently in the planning and design phases, moving forward with community developed enhancements that will create world-class corridors. Year One projects that are in the works include improvements along Castro, Taraval, Fell, Oak, Irving, and Potrero streets. These projects bring new lighting, innovative, pedestrian-friendly street designs, bike lanes, and more.
One of the things I’m most excited about is that you, the residents, merchants and advocates, are so involved in the planning of these key projects – attending workshops and engaging with our project teams every step of the way.
And that’s not all. In addition to streets and sidewalks, we are rehabbing important street structures. The Broadway Tunnel has a new, energy efficient lighting system. A dozen or so guardrails, stairways, retaining walls, and handrails have been repaired. There are plans to make repairs and improvements to the Islais Creek Bridge and the Fourth Street Bridge.
All of this work takes monumental coordination between City departments, utility companies, and the residents of San Francisco. I want to thank everyone for their patience and support during this busy time. All of this paving activity is being managed with proactive and strategic planning, and I look forward to bringing you more updates on how the bond activities are progressing.
Maybe the next time you come across street construction it will be a bond-funded project. I invite you to take a moment to note that these critical projects are an investment into our streets that will pay off for years and years to come.