A Castro group will pay nearly $122,000 for decorative improvements in the heart of San Francisco’s gay business district as part of a sidewalk widening project expected to break ground in late February.
At its meeting last night (Thursday, February 13) the Castro Upper Market Community Benefit District board voted to allocate the money toward paying for special crosswalk treatments, colored lighting and historical facts in the sidewalk.
The streetscape elements will be added to the work the city is paying for along Castro Street between 19th and Market Streets. As the Bay Area Reporter noted in a January 30 article, sometime on or after Monday, February 24 crews will begin readying Castro Street to widen the sidewalks, upgrade Jane Warner Plaza, plant new street trees, and install other pedestrian-friendly elements.
The construction costs total $6,738,800, which includes relocating Muni’s overhead wires and installing a new water main. The bid from Marin County-based Ghilotti Brothers for the streetscape work did not come in low enough to include the decorative elements the CBD is footing the bill for.
It agreed to cover up to $74,360 for 48 LED down wash decorative lights, with two lights each for the 24 light poles to be installed along Castro Street. The lights will be programmable to display various color schemes, from rainbow to all red.
The CBD is also covering the $37,500 cost to paint four decorative crosswalks on the roadway. It will be seeking the public’s input on where to place the crosswalks and what they should look like.
The proposal is to either install all four at the intersection of Castro and 18th Streets or place two there and two at the intersection of Castro and 19th Streets.
Residents will be asked to weigh in on six various options for the crosswalk design: four different rainbow versions and two non-rainbow options.
The CBD is also paying $10,000 to etch 20 historical facts about the neighborhood into the sidewalk at 10 different sites along Castro Street near where new trees will be planted. There will be two facts at each site.
City planners are working with community leaders to cull a list of proposed facts to include. The CBD plans to then seek the public’s advice on which to install through an online survey it will launch later this month. The survey will include questions about the various crosswalk designs.
CBD officials and city planners plan to be at Jane Warner Plaza, at the corner of Market, Castro and 17th streets, with mock-ups of the six crosswalk designs from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, February 23. Passersby will be able to vote for their favorites that day.
The decorative elements are expected to be installed later this summer. Construction on the sidewalk project is slated to be done in time for the Castro Street Fair, annually held the first Sunday of October.
For more information about the project, and to sign up for emailed alerts, visit http://www.castrostreet.org/.