Taraval Street due for a makeover on west end
By Matthew Snyder
Residents of the outer Sunset and Parkside districts came together Wednesday evening to have their say in how the Taraval Streetscape Improvements Project might make the end of Taraval Street a more inviting part of the neighborhood.
The Department of Public Works has allocated $1.6 million from the 2011 Road Repaving and Street Safety Bond to revamp the section of Taraval Street between 46th and 48th avenues.
Potential improvements include sidewalk bulb-outs at the 46th Avenue Muni stops, crosswalk enhancements, LED light fixtures, new plantings, site furnishings and the possibility of a gateway feature on Lower Great Highway.
Wednesday’s meeting at the Congregation B’ani Emunah was the second of three meetings before the project gets underway, with the final meeting to come in four to six weeks.
Martha Ketterer, a landscape architect who works for the City, explained the newest proposal, which was based on input from residents and merchants at an earlier meeting in December.
“We had a conversation, we collected comments — we take those comments to heart —and then we tallied them up and looked at it from a design perspective, and we incorporated that and brought it all together as one design and package,” Ketterer said.
Ketterer assured residents that the City will repave the entire section of road between 46th and 48th avenues, which becomes progressively riddled with pits and potholes as one nears the beach. The “worst section of sidewalk” will also be repaired.
Residents raved about the implementation of a parklet — a street seating feature that has become a fixture in San Francisco urban-design upgrades — on the Taraval-facing side of the Bashful Bull Too restaurant, at 46th and Taraval.
The city team also presented three potential plans that would reduce the current number of 39 parking spaces in the two-block stretch by either three, six or 13 spaces.
Residents favored ‘Plan C’, which would reduce current parking by only three spaces (leaving 36), noting that if too many spots were removed, parking might overflow into the residential neighborhoods.
The DPW team wants to create “bulb-outs” at the 46th Avenue Muni stops, which frequently overflow with commuters awaiting L-Taraval trains. The bulb-outs would lengthen the sidewalk and prevent commuters from spilling into the streets.
Supervisor Carmen Chu, who attended the meeting with legislative aide Katy Tang after Mayor Ed Lee announced earlier in the day he would appoint Chu as San Francisco’s next assessor-recorder, noted that bulb-outs have been successful when they’ve been introduced in other parts of the city and have enhanced commuter safety.
Local resident Ashley Summers, who grew up a block away from the affected part of Taraval Street, first proposed the City renovate this pocket of the Sunset three and a half years ago.
As a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, Summers wrote her master’s thesis on the potential renovation.
“It excites me that there’s this many people that came to the meeting, and I saw people that were under the age of 30, which is promising to me,” Summers said. “You have to enhance things as society changes — as culture changes — and I think if we don’t enhance it now, we’ll kind of be at that point where it’s going to start deteriorating.”