San Francisco, CA— Mayor London N. Breed joined City leaders, safe streets advocates, neighbors and merchants to celebrate the Masonic Avenue Streetscape Improvement Project. The project brings transformative safety upgrades for pedestrians, cyclists, transit riders and motorists, along with new infrastructure, landscaping, street trees and public art.
“For years, Masonic Avenue has been the site of too many traffic-related injuries and fatalities,” said Mayor Breed. “I am committed to investing in transportation safety upgrades like this one so that everyone can feel comfortable choosing to walk, ride a bike, or take transit in San Francisco.”
Mayor Breed was joined by Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru, SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin, SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr., District 5 Supervisor Vallie Brown, District 2 Supervisor Catherine Stefani, and San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Brian Wiedenmeier for the announcement. The unveiling was held at a new public plaza on Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue, which was a major facet of the project.
“The City has come together to make a better Masonic Avenue for all San Franciscans. I appreciate the patience of neighbors during this important work and look forward to working with the community to continue improving our corridors,” said Supervisor Brown.
From 2009 to 2014, there were 113 traffic collisions on Masonic Avenue between Fell Street and Geary Boulevard. This included 14 pedestrian collisions and 24 bicycle collisions, including two fatalities.
“The Masonic Avenue Streetscape Project will provide safer and more efficient transportation for cyclists, motorists, and transit riders. Roadway improvements, including a landscaped median, wider sidewalks, bus bulb-outs, and a new open park space are an important part of the City’s Vision Zero mission to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024,” said Supervisor Stefani. “Thank you to Public Works, Planning, the SFMTA, and Masonic residents and businesses for all of their efforts on this project.”
The two-year, $26 million project began a decade ago with a community petition signed by more than 500 people, which led the Board of Supervisors to pass a resolution to improve safety on the corridor.
“We have transformed Masonic Avenue from an outdated, mini-freeway that divided neighborhoods, into a beautiful, welcoming street that knits communities together,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin. “The SFMTA’s sweeping safety improvements to Masonic Avenue include new, separated bikeways and safer pedestrian crossings in support of Vision Zero, the City’s goal to eliminate traffic fatalities. Thanks to our tenacious community organizations, strong City leaders and committed City staff, we have remade Masonic Avenue into a safer, more livable and sustainable street for all.”
The streetscape improvements on Masonic Avenue extend from Fell Street to Geary Boulevard, with additional roadway repaving that stretches to Haight Street and Presidio Avenue. The upgrades include improved pedestrian access to transit, new bus bulb-outs and cycle tracks, widened sidewalks, water and sewer upgrades, new lighting in medians, pedestrian-scale lighting on sidewalks, new trees, and the conversion of the southwest corner of Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue into a dynamic public plaza.
“The redesign of Masonic Avenue brings much-needed improvements to this busy corridor,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “The project serves as a great example of successful collaboration among City agencies in partnership with the community and our elected representatives to enhance neighborhood safety and livability.”
“As one of the most important thoroughfares in San Francisco, Masonic Avenue now has the modern infrastructure it has long deserved. A project of this magnitude required the close coordination of multiple City agencies, community groups and civic leaders, and the SFPUC was proud to take part in this collaborative process,” said San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “These critical improvements, which include new sewer lines and water mains, will ensure that Masonic Avenue meets the need of everyone who uses this vital corridor.”
“The San Francisco County Transportation Authority is a proud supporter of the Masonic Avenue Streetscape Project, which began with the community's advocacy for safety and access improvements,” said Transportation Authority Executive Director Tilly Chang.
For the new plaza, the San Francisco Arts Commission commissioned artist Scott Oliver to create a site-specific installation, titled Points of Departure. It consists of three signposts featuring multiple arrows pointing in all directions with a total of 111 place names – both familiar and exotic—and their respective distances. In keeping with the project’s commitment to community input, the place names were derived from a questionnaire the artist presented to individuals he encountered near the plaza and adjacent bus stops.
“The San Francisco Arts Commission was thrilled to contribute to this incredible new streetscape feature with this fantastic installation by Scott Oliver that celebrates the uniqueness and diversity of our beautiful City,” says Director of Cultural Affairs Tom DeCaigny.
For more information on the project, please visit https://www.sfpublicworks.org/masonic.