Friday, August 31, 2007
This is a San Francisco story for a Labor Day weekend.
Once upon a time there was a freeway coming into the city that crossed Market Street and disgorged cars into a neighborhood called "Inner Haight" or "Hayes Valley" or just "north of Market." The cars mostly ended up on one-way Fell Street and streamed toward Golden Gate Park and points west. Coming east on Oak Street, cars entered the freeway at Laguna and headed off toward San Jose or the Bay Bridge.
The 1989 earthquake showed that all the local freeways needed shoring up to prepare for the next shake -- and provided an opportunity to the city's many devoted opponents of freeways to get a few torn down. Besides the collapsed Embarcadero freeway, we also got rid of the bit of the Central freeway that crossed Market as I've described in the previous paragraph.
After a couple of rounds of referenda that pitted commuters from the west side of the city against the progressive, anti-freeway east side including the residents of "Inner Haight" or "Hayes Valley," a new grooud-level Octavia Blvd. became the route across Market and onto a shored up Central freeway.
So, finally, here's my question: how do folks in the Octavia Blvd. area feel about the changes in traffic patterns? I'm a big user of Golden Gate Park who lives south of Market and (I admit shamefacedly) drives. I find that the back up on Oak leading to Octavia Blvd. encourages me to turn south on Laguna or Buchanan, or even Webster. That is, I'm part of a new traffic flow through what were previously far less trafficked residential streets.
Is the change bothering residents of the area? Does anyone have any suggestions for re-routing those of us who just pass through?