Mayor Lee Highlights Great Streets Program Expansion to Transform City’s Streets & Neighborhoods

11/4/11— Mayor Edwin M. Lee today highlighted the expansion of the Great Streets Program during a tour of the Cesar Chavez Sewer and Streetcape Improvement project. The Great Streets Program was established to implement comprehensive public realm improvements in neighborhoods citywide and demonstrates best practices in planning and design by incorporating the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, people with disabilities, motorists, and transit riders.

“Infrastructure improvements are vital to the modernization and economic growth of our world class City,” said Mayor Lee. “When we invest in infrastructure like our streets and sidewalks, we are putting people back to work, building strong neighborhoods and transforming our environment.”

San Francisco’s Great Streets Program was established in 2005 to provide a safe, livable, inviting, ecological and sustainable street that balances all the needs of the community and users of neighborhood corridors. Great Streets projects are driven by community groups, merchants, and residents and are custom-designed to maximize the use of public space. Since 2005, the City has completed six streetscape improvement projects: San Bruno Avenue, Valencia Street, Leland Avenue, Polk Street, Divisadero Street, and Van Ness Avenue, all totaling $11 million.

Today, the program has expanded to total $56 million in streetscape improvements with nine new projects in the works. Of the ten, eight are in the planning or design phase including Balboa Street, Broadway, Marina Green Bicycle Trail, Folsom Street, Point Lobos Avenue, Second Street, 19th Avenue, and Better Market Street. Two projects are already under construction at Newcomb Avenue and Cesar Chavez Street.

Projects under the Great Streets Program are part of the City’s Ten-year Capital Plan. This plan is a comprehensive guide for the City to address critical capital infrastructure needs by identifying and prioritizing investments for the short and long-term. The $35.2 million Cesar Chavez Sewer and Streetscape Improvement project will create approximately 163 jobs.

“DPW is committed to creating streetscapes that modernize the city’s infrastructure in addition to providing a range of safety features that will enhance the livability of our public realm,” said DPW Interim Director Mohammed Nuru. “Our Great Streets Program is a best practice that incorporates interagency coordination and years of hard work and dedication from the community and the City.”

The $35.2 million Cesar Chavez Sewer and Streetscape Improvement Project is being completed in two construction phases. The first phase began in July and consists of installation of new sewers and rehabilitation of old brick sewers on Cesar Chavez which is part of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)’s Wastewater Capital Improvement Program. This upgrade will provide area-wide improvements to the existing sewer system, increase reliability and help minimize potential flooding in the area, which services more than 200,000 people in the Mission and lower Bernal Heights areas.

“While this project will address the immediate needs of our sewer system in the area, it is also a great example of a collaborative effort between City departments,” said SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington. “That approach will be used throughout the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s multi-billion dollar Sewer System Improvement Program that will address the long-term challenges of our City’s sewer system.”

The second phase includes streetscape improvements, between Hampshire and Guerrero Streets, and includes the construction of bicycle lanes, left turn pockets for vehicles, widened sidewalks at the corners for pedestrian safety, curb ramps to provide access for people with disabilities, stormwater planters that will add green landscaping pockets and stormwater management, trees, new Light Emitting Diodes (LED) streetlights, which will provide more light while reducing energy consumption, two new pedestrian plazas with site furnishings, bike racks, and landscaping, and street repaving. The streetscape work will begin in the spring. The Funding source for the project is from a combination of Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act (SAFETEA) grants, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), additional state and federal funds and grants with local matching funds and fees from wastewater services.

Cesar Chavez is a Great Streets project that started small with little funding that eventually became the largest streetscape improvement project for the program thus far. The planning of this street is an example of interagency coordination between City agencies including the Planning Department, DPW, SF Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and SFPUC with partner stakeholders within the community. The project complements existing studies and plans including the Better Streets Plan, San Francisco Bike Plan, Eastern Neighborhoods Plan, Mission Streetscape Plan, School Area Safety Program, Stormwater Design Guidelines, Traffic Calming Program and the Transit Effectiveness Plan.

For more information about San Francisco’s Great Streets Program, go to: