The conceptual designs and detailed plans for the complete makeover of Polk Street from Union to Market, including bike lane placements (both dedicated and shared); proposed lighting, pedestrian safety, alley and streetscape improvements; and a block-by-block count of the parking spaces to be lost, or gained, were unveiled last night.


The block-by-block plans for Polk Street: from Union to Sutter and from Sutter to Market.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by lolcat_94123

    New trees?!
    Would love some beautification work to be done on this street. Anything to make it more Union St esque would be fantastic.

  2. Posted by seriously

    I hope they carry this all the way down Polk to Civic Center. That would really help out the area.

  3. Posted by seriously

    is there a timetable for this?

  4. Posted by Unwarrantedinlaw

    This has probably been mentioned, though I read most socketsite posts and haven’t seen it – after spending a zillion dollars on the project, will there be opportunities for streetfront businesses to commandeer new space?
    On the Fishermans Wharf improvements, several restaurants simply barricaded and confiscated the sidewalks, leaving things pretty much the same as before.

  5. Posted by wiger toods

    BTW, they’re looking to do similar changes to 2nd street by the ballpark.

  6. Posted by Stucco_Sux

    SO an already narrow street will just become worse. Sounds about right for the SFMTAINT. WIth retiming lights, removing traffic lanes, jamming bulb-outs into already tight spaces, etc. that run amok agency has turned SF into a dangerous, crowded, idling, polluted gridlock. We need to take that agency back.

  7. Posted by Anonconfused

    This was being created because the SFMTA claimed Polk Street was very dangerous, but now it is just a poorly crafted compromise that is leaving nobody happy or safer. Bike people are angry that they did not get the protected 2 way path, business owners are angry they lose parking spaces, drivers will face longer travel times, and pedestrians are no safer. Btw, the landscaping is underwhelming. Who are the winners?

  8. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Car drivers can take Van Ness, Franklin or Gough which are one, two or three blocks away. This is a commercial corridor with heavy foot traffic and cars should be going as slowly as possible.
    Anyone hurrying through here should be arrested.
    This is a compromise solution that leaves no one satisfied but there were a lot of different stakeholders with opposing points of view. There is no real way to please everyone, though I with the MTA would have considered building a parking garage and eliminating street parking.
    The overall cost is supposed to be only $6M, a drop in the bucket really.

  9. Posted by Anonconfused

    @NoeValleyJim, the parking garage idea is an excellent compromise! I believe the garage idea was suggested by Polk merchants in the past and blocked by MTA Board member Cheryl Brinkman without hesitation. About 2 years ago a private commercial property owner had wanted to build a garage between Polk and Van Ness and was prohibited as well because of their policy of discouraging any additional parking built in the city. (Reiskin and Brinkman spoke against the garage at Board meeting)

  10. Posted by anon

    ^The stuff that you’re talking about is wildly different from NVJ’s option, which was to build a parking garage and eliminate street parking simultaneously. The merchants and the private developer simply wanted a parking garage to add more parking, without removing the street parking.

  11. Posted by Mark Ballew

    There is an opportunity here to tie parking ratios to removal of street parking. New buildings usually include benefit districts, so parking removal could be tied to adding public spots in a new commercial or residential building nearby. An easy compromise to Reiskin and Brinkman would be any public-access subterranean garage with affordable housing and ground level retail.
    Businesses like to have metered spots out front, but in dense areas this doesn’t really work out with so much activity. It is better to use those spots for street furniture, delivery vehicles, bus stops, etc.
    Yes, Reiskin and Brinkman are against new public garages. The existing publicly owned garages, while cash cows for the agency, have a lot of deferred maintenance since the funds are directed into bike projects and Muni but not upkeep. They are also a terrible use of urban space and attract blight since they are single-use structures that face an empty sidewalk.

  12. Posted by Anon94123

    Is Reiskin and Brinkman’s goal still that no new additional parking spaces should be added in the city? I remember reading this about a year ago but cannot remember source. Their position may have softened since many of the recent neighborhood protests have erupted.

  13. Posted by Brendan

    How is a lump of concrete block better than a lump of parked car? This rendering is as preposterous as the non-problem it claims to solve. Trucks are still in the bike lanes, larger sidewalks didnt make anything more safe, in fact they made the thoroughfare less convenient. I am pretty sure the rendering is supposed to show Ace on Polk, which is where the ambulances hang out because it is strategically located between the hospitals and the accident scenes they serve. Lets not put concrete blocks in the way of that public service. Yes, parking has some benefit to a neighborhood… .or we would live in the financial district.

  14. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “How is a lump of concrete block better than a lump of parked car?”
    1. people can walk on a lump of concrete, reducing the amount of time they’re exposed to street hazards
    2. you can easily see over a lump of concrete, increasing safety at the most dangerous part of a street: the intersection
    3. big trucks have the option of mounting the curb and partially driving over a lump of concrete
    4. the lump extends to the corner, reducing the curve radius and slowing turning traffic, increasing safety.

  15. Posted by Spencer

    “This was being created because the SFMTA claimed Polk Street was very dangerous”
    Whats the stats on accidents on Polk? I cant imagine the serious injury rate is very high. It already moves at a snail’s pace. getting from north to south in a car already sucks in this area. This may be a new reason to add Polk to the list of places not to go for vast majority of San Franciscans who drive cars

  16. Posted by Jake

    Brendan, yes that is in front of the hardware store on Polk at Green. The extended sidewalk section where the woman is shown sitting replaces an existing bus zone. The proposed plan eliminates this bus stop and preserves the adjacent ones 1-2 blocks away north and south. The bus stops are shown in the new plan pdf link in the main article.

  17. Posted by scurvy

    @Spencer, I bet the accident rate on Lower Polk is a lot lower than the shooting rate.
    @NoeValleyJim, Polk is faster than Van Ness when heading south to City Hall in the morning.

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