Cesar Chavez Will be Transformed

Upgrades to Cesar Chavez Street took a step forward this week with a vote of confidence by the SFMTA Board.

The project will mean significant changes to the long-neglected traffic-sewer. For years, advocates have been begging the city to fix the street, which is plagued by fast, dangerous traffic. The street has suffered a disproportionate volume of accidents.

The improvements will be numerous: an attractive median, wider sidewalks, shorter crosswalks for faster pedestrian crossing, and bike lanes. Cars will be slowed to a safe speed, rather than being allowed to speed until they crash.

But problems will linger. The current project only calls for a portion of Cesar Chavez to be modified. And the bike lane will be painted perilously close to parked cars, which will result in drivers opening their doors directly into a lane of oncoming traffic.

As traffic calms over the next few years, hopefully the city will be able to eliminate either traffic lanes or parking lanes. But such improvements would be many years off, if they are to happen at all.

Funding for the project was identified through a clever collaboration with the Public Utilities Commission, which will pay to relocate some of its sewer lines in the area. Some elements of San Francisco's sewer system are over a century old.

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