Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NOPA Gets Its First Bulbout

Bulbouts are cool, and NOPA now boasts one of its own. As part of the street renewal of the Divisadero Corridor, bulbouts will appear at select intersections. First up is the southwest corner of McAllister. The Divis re-design unfortunately retains the skinny sidewalks, but stop by the bulbout and see what some extra breathing and moving space is like.

Bulbouts are all about pedestrian safety. They extend the corner sidewalk and thus shorten street crossing time for pedestrians and permit better visibility of peds by drivers. They also permit more expansive landscaping. With the new pedestrian refuges -- cut-outs in the concrete median -- crossing Divis at a few locations will be decidedly safer. But these sidewalk enhancements don't come cheap. Walk San Francisco estimates that bulbouts cost up to to $500,000 each.

And then there's the law of unintended consequences: bulbouts used for pull-over deliveries with trucks straddling the street and the new extended sidewalk. The fellow in this potato chip truck explained, reasonably so, that the bulbout wasn't there two days ago and it caught him by surprise. Fair enough. But a "surprise" is only good for the first time.

We're already into Week Four of the Divisadero revitalization. Last week the west side of the corridor from Fell to Grove took its turn with the tear-up, and motorists traveling north between Grove and McAllister are perhaps already forgetting how rutted, cracked, and potholed that stretch was just a few days earlier.

The east end of Turk street is about to get its own spiff-over. With the same federal stimulus dollars that cover the Divisadero work, Turk will be resurfaced from Market to Van Ness with sidewalk upgrades and curb improvements as well.

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