First, they gave Cesar Chavez Boulevard a fashionable makeover. Then, they added a red carpet to Mission Street. Next, local transportation officials are considering plans to give the 101-280 Spaghetti Bowl in southeast Bernal a pedestrian-friendly rethink.
Actually, the focus isn’t on the Spaghetti Bowl per se. Instead, our local planners and infrastructuralists seek to make improvements for people on foot or on bikes traveling beneath the Spaghetti Bowl. The goal is to better unite the people of Bernal Heights with our colleagues in The Portola by making it simpler and safer to bike or walk between the Alemany Famer’s Market and Portola’s San Bruno Avenue shopping street.
Today, of course, Bernal Heights is separated from The Portola by the daunting I-280 viaduct. So here’s how the San Francisco County Transportation Authority is thinking about strengthening connections the between Bernalese and The Portolans:
The Alemany Interchange, where U.S. 101, I-280, Alemany Boulevard, Bayshore Boulevard, San Bruno Avenue, and several other local streets intersect, presents major challenges to pedestrian and bicycle safety and accessibility. Together with hilly topography, the freeways act as barriers between the surrounding neighborhoods with few locations where they can be crossed. The interchange has the potential to provide critical connections between the adjacent communities of Bernal Heights, the Portola, Silver Terrace, and the Bayview, as well as destinations beyond. However, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders seeking to reach these communities must navigate a circuitous maze of high-speed streets and ramps.
Safety is a significant issue in the interchange area, with several severe-injury or fatal collisions having occurred on the streets in and near the interchange in recent years. The Alemany Boulevard, San Bruno Avenue, and Bayshore Boulevard corridors, which converge at the Alemany Interchange, have all been designated by the City’s Vision Zero initiativeas Pedestrian High Injury Corridors. Please see the project Allocation Request Form for more information.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND BENEFITS
Neighboring communities, led by the Portola Neighborhood Association (PNA), developed two specific proposals that would improve multimodal connectivity and safety by providing pedestrian and bicycle connections through the interchange:
- New north-south pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists, connecting San Bruno Avenue to the Alemany Farmer’s Market.
- New bicycle lanes along Alemany Boulevard between Putnam Street and Bayshore Boulevard.
Kicking off in winter 2016, this planning study will further develop the proposed pedestrian and bicycle improvement concepts, perform a traffic and initial feasibility assessment, and prepare the projects for consideration by the public and decision-makers.
That’s where things now stand. There were a few information sessions about the Alemany Improvement project last month. Right now a lot of traffic analysis is taking place. There will be another round of community outreach in June, in parallel with project design and cost estimating. The final report for the Alemany Interchange Improvement Project study is set for delivery in November.
You can read more about the project in this dandy-dandy overview, and Bernalwood will share more detail about this grand Spaghetti Bowl detangling effort in the months ahead. In the meantime, you can also sign up for the project newsletter, or contact Rachel Hiatt, Acting Deputy Director for Planning, at email@example.com or 415.522.4809.
PHOTO: Top, Spaghetti Bowl, as seen from Bernal Heights by Winni Wintermeyer