News and Construction alerts about the transformation of Jefferson Street into a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly street.

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Tourist-friendly Wharf street makeover to begin soon

Posted on in Jefferson Street News
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The long-awaited plan to transform a section of Jefferson Street into a pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare is expected to begin next month.

A key segment of Fisherman’s Wharf, Jefferson Street attracts 40,000 to 75,000 pedestrians a day, but its sidewalks are crowded and traffic congestion is often difficult to manage. To deal with the crowds and get the area prepped for next year’s America’s Cup regatta, a redesign is under way to reduce automobile traffic, remove parking spots, widen sidewalks and add greenery to a two-block section from Hyde Street to Jones Street.

Construction on the $5.5 million project is slated to begin Jan. 2. During the work, two lanes will be open on the north side of the street, but there will be no parking available. The project will not affect Muni’s F-Market historic streetcar service, agency spokesman Paul Rose said.

The finished project — which has been in the works since 2006 — will feature new trees, more outdoor seating, bike lanes and more walking room for pedestrians. Delivery trucks will be allowed on the street before 11 a.m., and two narrow lanes of traffic will be open for personal vehicles. 

The goal is to finish work by June, in time for the start of the America’s Cup on July 4, said Rachel Gordon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Works.

Even though the proposal will eliminate 33 on-street parking spaces, local retailers and restaurants are looking forward to the transformation, said David Perry, a spokesman for the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District.

“The merchants on Jefferson Street are aware of the trade-offs, but they think they are worthwhile to improve pedestrian access,” Perry said. “This will not only maintain the appeal of Fisherman’s Wharf, but actually make it much better.”

Joe D’Alessandro, executive director of the San Francisco Travel Association, said public transit to the neighborhood — notably the F-Market line — is already popular among tourists. Plus, many of the parking structures in Fisherman’s Wharf are underutilized, he said. 

“Even though Fisherman’s Wharf is a top tourist attraction in San Francisco, there are always ways to improve and enhance the experience,” D’Alessandro said. “Many European cities feature pedestrian-friendly plazas; this will be our way of competing with those destination spots from around the globe.”

Money for the plan will come from San Francisco’s general fund, state bonds and local sources. An update on the project will be presented at today’s Port Commission meeting.


From the SF Examiner:

Will Reisman