SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – It’s one of San Francisco’s busiest streets, and a major project to beautify the area, while also making it more friendly for pedestrians, is underway on Castro Street.
On Thursday, a groundbreaking was held for the Castro Streetscape project, which will stretch from Market to 19th Street. San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener said the project will help to transform the neighborhood.
“This is one of the most exciting things that has happened to the Castro in a very, very long time,” he said.
Wiener played a key role in obtaining the funding for the project, which was one of his first tasks when elected to office – to make the streets of the Castro District more friendly for residents, merchants, and visitors.
“We’re going to almost double the width of the sidewalks, we’re going to have new street lighting, Jane Warner Plaza will be refurbished, we will have these great new rainbow crosswalks at 18th and Castro,” Wiener said. “It is really a visionary project for the neighborhood.”
The project will also include new street trees and landscaping, improved intersections, pedestrian-scale street lighting, bike parking, and new roadway paving. The Castro/Upper Market Community Benefits District agreed to fund four decorative crosswalks on Castro Street, with modern rainbow stripes adorning the pavement at 18th and Castro streets.
Department of Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru said it is all coming together very quickly.
“It starts tomorrow morning, when crews will be here,” Nuru said. “The businesses around here, they seem to be happy with it.”
The hope is that construction will be completed by as early as July, although October 2014 might be a better timetable. The $4.5 million streetscape project is being funded from the $248 million Road Repaving and Streets Safety Bond, which voters approved in 2011.