Cesar Chávez Street: From Traffic Sewer to Livable Street

In the 1940s, the City created a freeway that ran through the heart of San Francisco, splitting a community in two. Cesar Chávez Street, then Army Street, was built as a high-speed, multi-lane traffic artery to connect to the 101 and 280 freeways. For years, it remained one of the most dangerous and unpleasant streets for people biking, walking and living along this corridor.

Today, we celebrated Cesar Chávez Streets’ transformation into a beautiful, calmer, more livable street, complete with bike lanes, bulb-outs, a planted median and a road diet from six to four lanes.

New median and road diet on Cesar Chávez Street; Photo by SF Department of Public Works

For decades, community members and advocates have been working to tame Cesar Chávez Street. San Francisco Bicycle Coalition members, like Fran Taylor, have been at the heart of this movement. Taylor launched CC Puede, a community-led group to calm Cesar Chávez., and she and other neighbors have worked to remind the City and commuters that Cesar Chávez is a neighborhood street where people live, work and go to school.

The Cesar Chávez improvement project isn’t just a great example of community-involvement; it’s also a showcase project for what happens when City agencies work together. The Cesar Chávez project was initially just a sewer replacement project, but the Department of Public Works, Planning Department and SF Municipal Transportation Agency partnered together to create a full redesign of this street.

Other major corridors — like Polk, Market, Masonic and 2nd Streets  — are slated for safer redesigns. The successful Cesar Chávez redesign can serve as an example of positive change that comes about when City agencies, community groups and neighbors work together to transform their streets. Thank you to everyone who joined us in creating a safer, more beautiful and more people-friendly Cesar Chávez Street.

Come celebrate this and other recent successes with the SF Bicycle Coalition and CC Puede!

Cesar Chávez Celebration!
February 23, 2014
El Rio

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