Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 42 / 16 October 2014
 

Construction of street project at full speed in Castro

Castro Street constructionConstruction on the long-awaited sidewalk-widening project in San Francisco’s gay Castro district is steaming along at full speed.

Workers have begun digging up the west side of the 400 block of Castro Street. Parking has been eliminated on both sides of the block, as the traffic lanes have been down-sized to one lane in each direction.

A pink marking along the sidewalk shows just how little room will remain for pedestrians over the next three months as the sidewalks are extended out into the street. Ramps are to be installed along the street to allow for access in and out of businesses.

Writing about the construction work commencing on Facebook Tuesday, March 18, Cliff’s Variety co-owner Martha Asten warned shoppers to consider taking public transit and avoiding driving through the Castro altogether.

“Driving on Castro will be challenging, so have patience. Check the lot for parking but Muni may be the way,” warned Asten, referring to a public parking lot behind the Castro Theater. “Also try side streets for parking but remember they are two hours or S permit. Choose alternate driving routes if just traversing the neighborhood.”

On the 500 block of Castro Street, workers could be seen this morning (Thursday, March 20) “potholing” along the street. They excavate small holes to determine the location of underground utilities as a first step before ripping up the street.

As the Bay Area Reporter noted in an earlier blog post, city planners and the project contractor are planning an intense three months of work simultaneously on both the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street. The result is that parking on those blocks will be eliminated between March and early June during both the day and night.

Ghilotti Brothers, the Marin County-based company that won the bid for the nearly $6.7 million project, will be leaving five feet of walkway adjacent to the buildings on the 400 and 500 blocks to allow for pedestrian access while work is taking place.

Due to the city’s annual Pride festivities in June, work on the streetscape improvements will end June 18 and all construction equipment removed from the streets. The contractor will be back at work likely as soon as Monday, June 30 to finish the second phase of construction, which is expected to be completed in early October prior to the Castro Street Fair.

The project will result in colored lighting and historical facts in the sidewalk on Castro Street between 19th and Market Streets. A rainbow crosswalk will be installed at the intersection of 18th and Castro Streets.

New street trees, an upgrade to Jane Warner Plaza, and a new bulb-out for pedestrians in front of the Human Rights Campaign store, initially the home of the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk’s camera shop and campaing HQ, will be built.

For updates on the construction work, visit http://www.castrostreet.org/.

— Matthew S. Bajko, March 20, 2014 @ 1:32 pm PST
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