Tonight: Public Information Meeting for Doyle Drive, the Southern Approach to the GGB

Can you see the photo illustration below? That’s the future of Doyle Drive, whether you like it or not!

Parts of it are going underground soon, courtesy of Barack Obama stimulus money and your San Francisco County Transportation Authority, and a few others. Get all the deets of this Big Dig tonight, July 23, 2009 at Fort Mason – 6:00 PM open house, 6:30 PM presentation.


Can you see Doyle Drive in the background? That’s the way it looks today, all concrete and clay, and general decay.


Supervisor Bevan Dufty speaking at the recent ceremony announcing the acceleration of the project.

Here’s the meeting:

*Doyle Drive Community Construction Meeting
When: July 23, 2009 – Thursday
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Fort Mason Center (Marina Blvd. and Buchanan Street) San Francisco Landmark Building A Conference Center, Golden Gate Room, San Francisco
What: Discussion includes construction schedules, road closures and detours.
Lots more deets, after the jump.


Constructed almost 60 years ago to provide direct access to the Golden Gate Bridge, Doyle Drive has deteriorated structurally and cannot accommodate the existing traffic volume. The problems include: Lanes that are too narrow by 2 to 3 feet, Lack of a barrier separating opposing traffic flows, Lack of shoulders for use by disabled vehicles, maintenance crews, and emergency and enforcement vehicles. As of 1992, Doyle Drive was experiencing almost three times the normal number of accidents for a facility of its type. In addition, the effects of heavy traffic and exposure to salt air have significantly deteriorated the structures that support the elevated roadway. Maintenance and seismic retrofit measures may add a few years to its service life. However, with the current situation, Doyle Drive may be vulnerable to earthquake damage.

In conclusion, Doyle Drive:

  • Is reaching the end of its useful life
  • Has safety problems with narrow lanes and no shoulders
  • Is highly vulnerable to earthquake

Why is Replacing Doyle Drive So Important to the Region?

Doyle Drive is the primary highway and transit linkage through San Francisco, between counties to the south (San Mateo and Santa Clara) and to the north (Marin and Sonoma). As a multimodal corridor, Doyle Drive currently carries:

  • 91,000 weekday vehicles
  • 17,000 weekday transit riders
  • 127,000 weekday persons in cars
  • 144,000 weekday persons in all modes

To put this in perspective, the entire 74-mile Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system carries about 250,000 passengers per day. Because the Doyle Drive corridor is at capacity during rush hours, even minor incidents, such as stalled vehicles, result in major disruptions and delays to drivers and transit users.

In terms of intensity of use, the Doyle Drive corridor is comparable to the Bay Bridge, which links San Francisco to the East Bay. Doyle Drive, however, has fewer and narrower lanes than the Bay Bridge.

Doyle Drive serves many non-work related trip purposes, particularly on weekends (tourism and recreation). But on weekdays, it is most heavily used for work trips, which account for 88% of total use during peak hours and 48% during off-peak hours. Should an earthquake or structural failure force the closure of Doyle Drive for any significant length of time, freeways in the north and East Bay areas would experience staggering congestion from rerouted trips, and the regional transit and ferry systems would be greatly overburdened. Severe economic hardship and job relocation would likely result for the North Bay Counties as well as for San Francisco.

Previous Planning Efforts Caltrans Studies

In the early 1970’s, Caltrans prepared plans for improving Doyle Drive including, in 1973, a Draft Environmental Statement. Over the years since then, various Caltrans studies have been undertaken. These studies led to a 1991 request for acceptance of one or more concepts from the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Doyle Drive Task Force: In 1992, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors established a Doyle Drive Task Force to consider the Caltrans alternatives and develop a consensus on the preferred replacement alternative, recognizing that specific methods for replacing Doyle Drive had been actively debated among San Francisco neighborhoods affected by its use, and that the imminent closure of the Presidio by the US Army would have an effect on any alternatives being considered. In February 1993 the Task Force submitted its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. Despite the complexity of the issues, the work of the Task Force was a major step toward reconciling Caltrans requirements, the needs of the new Presidio National Park, environmental concerns and community expectations. The Task Force had achieved an extraordinarily high degree of consensus among all stakeholders in the Doyle Drive replacement process.

The Project Study Report: In 1993, Caltrans completed a Project Study Report (PSR). The PSR contained several alternatives for the replacement of Doyle Drive and took into consideration the recommendations of the Doyle Drive Task Force. The PSR is the first step toward securing state funding for the replacement project.

The Doyle Drive Intermodal Study: In 1996, the Transportation Authority completed the Doyle Drive Intermodal Study. The study called for the following features for the multimodal replacement project:

  • A center divider barrier to eliminate head-on collisions
  • Direct vehicular and transit access to the new Presidio National Park
  • Vastly improved design to expand views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the National Park and increase safety
  • Expanded transit, car pooling and alternative commute options
  • Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies for toll collection, vehicular safety enhancement, and transit schedule coordination.

Where Are We Now?

Construction Overview

Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2009 at the western end of the project corridor. By the end of 2009, construction activity will be occurring adjacent to the entire existing roadway, including construction of a temporary detour on the eastern end of the project. Traffic is expected to be transferred onto the completed detour in early 2011 and onto the final roadway in early 2013. After years of intense regional coordination, environmental reviews and careful planning, construction of the Doyle Drive replacement, a world-class design, is on the horizon and expected to begin in fall 2009!

Preparing for Construction

In order to prepare for construction, the following site preparations must occur:

  • Utility Relocation: Utilities in the project orridor, including potable water, sanitary ewer, telecommunications and electrical, will be relocated beginning as early as uly 2009.
  • Native Plant and Seed Collection: ative plants and seeds will be collected n summer 2009, prior to construction and grown in the Presidio Nursery to be used for post-construction landscaping and wetlands mitigation.
  • Initial Tree Removal: The area surrounding the construction site must be carefully cleared and graded to accommodate construction activities. Although there will be a visual impact during construction, an extensive landscaping effort is a critical part of the project design. Tree removal will begin as early as August 2009.

Visit for current information on the Doyle Drive Environmental and Design Study.

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