Friday, January 15, 2010

Divisadero -- Makeover Nearly Complete But Gets Omitted From Sunday Streets; New Signal for Grove Street Crossing

Improvements at Grove and Divisadero

Sidewalk treatments along Divisadero

Grove @ Divisadero: currently no traffic or pedestrian lights

Westbound on Grove from Alamo Square park

The Divisadero Corridor is almost ready for its close-up. After several months of streetscape improvements from Waller Street to Geary Boulevard, the revitalization of Divisadero is expected to be completed by March of this year. "The trees are going in, the landscaping will follow, and the street lights are supposed to arrive within a few weeks," according to Ellyn Parker, Manager of the Divisadero Corridor project for the Mayor's Office of Economic Workforce and Development. She added, "Everyone is getting anxious for the work to be completed, but no one wants to get too far out in front with predictions." For one thing, she cautioned, there's the rain. "With the lighting to be installed yet, we have to get some dry weather."

Once the last street tree has been planted and the final street pole capped with its new fixture, NOPA neighbors can tick off the full list of improvements to this long-neglected thoroughfare:
  • median greening
  • new street tree locations and replacement of dying or damaged trees
  • streetlight upgrades (good riddance to the cobra lighting)
  • sidewalk bulb outs at bus stops
  • pedestrian countdown signals at crosswalks
  • bus stop removals to improve service at Ellis and Fulton
  • pedestrian refuges at medians

And don't forget the curb-to-curb repaving of one of the city's previous candidates for worst road surfaces on a thoroughfare. Thank federal stimulus funds for the repaving of Divisadero. With the smoother and safer asphalt, BIKE NOPA has noticed bicyclists now braving the tight traffic lanes of the corridor.

But, sometimes getting all dressed up for the party doesn't snag an invite. Although the much-touted Sunday Streets celebration will course through the Western Addition and NOPA this year, Divisadero will not be part of the route. According to event planners, the two MUNI lines on Divisadero are the sticking points. The disruption of regular service is difficult enough for the MTA, but the apparent lack of logical re-routes for the two lines is especially troublesome. However, Sunday Streets will interact with Divisadero at two points: the route will extend on Grove to meet up with the Farmer's Market and will cross the spiffy new corridor on Golden Gate Avenue. (The hunch at BIKE NOPA is that a little creative outreach will pull Sunday Streeters along Divisadero and into the great shops and restaurants).

(The following segment revised 11:00 a.m. following further discussion with SFMTA).
The improvements keep coming. The Grove Street intersection at Divisadero has always been an anomaly: the only cross street to not merit a signal light or pedestrian crossing light. That's scheduled to change. Although not part of the Divisadero Revitalization project, the underground wiring for the Grove traffic signal was completed during the current corridor work and new signal lights will be installed in approximately two and a half years.

Michael Sallaberry, Associate Traffic Engineer for SFMTA, explained that the standard time period for planning, preparation, and installing a new traffic signal is usually three years. In the interim, the crosswalks at Divisadero and Grove will be upgraded with temporary tape striping to increase visibility. Sallaberry said a more substantial striping -- ladder or zebra patterns -- would normally be installed at an intersection similar to the "uncontrolled" situation at Grove and Divisadero, but to avoid ripping into the new asphalt when the signal light project moves forward in the near future, the MTA will use temporary markings for now.

Expect a huge celebration -- organized or spontaneous -- once Divis has finally gotten its due.


  1. let's hope for cyclists and pedestrians that the Grove/Divis. traffic controls are timed with the rest of the intersections on Divisadero and NOT weight pressure sensitive for Grove St. vehicles. I'm afraid that this improvement will increase the volume of cars speeding above 25 MPH and making California stops along Grove St. between Divisadero & Shrader to avoid the traffic controls on Hayes and Fulton. Time will tell. Let's hope that there are no fatalities in the mix!

  2. Two bus lines on Divisadero? I know of only one, the #24 line.

  3. The 31 Balboa traverses Divisadero right in your own backyard, Rob.

  4. @Doug: Rather than "time will tell" how about zipping a message to SFMTA Traffic Engineers ( or about your traffic calming concern? Let us know.

    @ Rob: The 31 Balboa runs from Eddy to Turk on Divisadero.

  5. I actually think a traffic light at Grove is unnecessary. It's a rare Divis block without a lot of cross traffic (due to Alamo Sq.) and doesn't need a light. As a 24 rider, I'm sad that the gains in transit time that were made with the elimination of the Fulton and Ellis stops will be canceled out by the extra stop light at Grove. The 24 is already too slow.

    The blocks are short enough (really 1/2 blocks), that a wary pedestrian can easily just go to Fulton or Hayes to cross divis from Grove, if they really want the comfort of a light (that's what i do now-- and i would gladly keep it that way to eliminate the extra delay in 24-Divis transit time that an unnecessary light at Grove will entail).

  6. @Troy: all good points about the possible impact on the 24. At the same time, Grove is a bike lane, and an easier, safer crossing at Divis (with a light)would be better for cyclists, especially those who want to access the Wiggle at Scott without traveling the dangerous blocks of Oak Street. It's a trade-off that probably looks differently depending on how you travel: by foot, bike, bus, or vehicle.