So-Called “Great” Streets Initiative Already Fails at Divisidero Street – An Obsession With Medians

What’s with DPW’s obsession with medians? I mean is there any median proposal that’s too wide for the Little Eichmanns Speers at the San Francisco Department of Public Works? Perhaps Hitler’s proposed Welthauptstadt Germania had Great! Streets! too wide even for DPW’s taste, but there’s no way to tell.

Valuing Aesthetics over Life, that Hitlerian tendency certainly appears to be alive and well in San Francisco.

The medians are getting wider on Divisidero, so that means less room for cars and bikes and buses and whatnot. Where did all our lane width go?

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As seen on Friday.

Why do we have a median at all on Divisidero? Why not have that street go on a “median diet?” Does Masonic have a median? No, so why Divisidero? What’s the obsession with trees? I mean who cares what light posts look like except architects like Albert Speer (yes those are his light poles – that’s all that’s left from him) and the fascist ivory tower academics who took in six figures worth of your money to promote Octavia Boulevard? Who wants a fourteen-freaking foot wide median on Cesar Chavez? I mean, where does the original idea come from? Did somebody write a book about medians or something? And what do mike foxtrotting architects know about transit safety? Absolutely nothing. Say it again.

Medians? What are they good for? Absolutely nothing. Perhaps pedestrians would be better off without the Great Tree’d Median of Divisidero and its concomitant “pedestrian refuge?” Yes.

What’s that? “The Feds” demand medians since they’re kicking in money? Not sure about that. Are the Bridge-to-Nowhere Feds responsible?  

What’s that? “The Community” demands medians and DPW is just powerless to say no? Really? No, not really. Here’s a phony balongna rationale for The “Renewal.”

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Do you see “sacrifice safety to widen the median” in there? Do you see “narrow the slow lane so cyclists have less room” in there? And who are these 73 people? Are they from all over the city? Any bus drivers in there? Any commuters?

Signs point to no.

Why not just repave the street and do other non-median-widening activities and then pay the workers as if they did widen the median? That way they workers would get paid and The Community would be better off.

Just asking, DPW.

Yet another DPW improvement on the “World Class” Streets of San Francisco. Do you think this genuine SFDPW light standard was built to last with its hollow fiberglass construction? See how it’s held together with a hose clamp and caulk? Isn’t it beautiful?

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And why is every act of DPW automatically labeled an “improvement” even in the design phase? Have any planned “improvements” of the thousands committed by DPW over the years actually turned out not to improve anything? Yes, some. So why call everything you do an “improvement?”  

Divisadero Street Pavement Renovation Project

DPW will reconstruct 14 blocks of Divisadero Street between where Castro and Waller intersect to Geary Blvd.

This project is tentatively scheduled to begin during the summer of 2009 and last approximately 6 months.   This project will include improvements to the curbs, sidewalks and new ADA curb-ramps. 

Please continue to visit our website for project updates as the start date approaches.

For more information please contact:

Ms. Dadisi Najib

Bureau of Construction Management

Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Ph:       (415) 437-7018


Yes, it turns out that the “Divisidero Community” are deputised traffic engineers:

Divisadero Streetscape Improvements

Project Background
In 2007, the Divisadero community, in coordination with the Department of Public Works, Municipal Transportation Agency and Mayor’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development, created a visionfor the Divisadero corridor between Waller Street and Geary Boulevard.

Improvements include new bus bulb-outs, median widening with trees, landscaping and irrigation, lighting fixture upgrades, new street trees and site furnishings.

Construction Information

The Divisadero Streetscapes Improvements begin September 2009. For more information about construction, visit Divisadero Construction Information page.

The streetscape project is funded through a combination of a Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) federal grant with local matching funds to total $3.3 million. Roadway repaving will be funded through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to total $3.2 million.

Constructions begins – September 14, 2009 
Complete construction – Winter 2011

For more information:
Transit Improvements (pdf)
Streetscape Improvements-Final Community Workshop (ppt)
Divisadero Streetscape Improvements Fact Sheet (pdf)

Kris Opbroek
Great Streets Project Manager

Oh well.

Ästhetik über alles


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9 Responses to “So-Called “Great” Streets Initiative Already Fails at Divisidero Street – An Obsession With Medians”

  1. Philo says:

    Well, they provide a place for the conscious derelicts to beg, and for them to sleep when so inclined. Also, the agonizing death of whatever unfortunate plants are placed there at great expense will serve as public theater.

  2. Chris says:

    Pardon my positivity, but I think this sounds like a good idea. That strip of Divis is pretty bleak, and getting some green there, especially trees, will make it a lot more attractive. If Octavia is a sample of what DPW can do with traffic flow, I think that will be improved as well.

    References to Hitler are way over the top. Perhaps the author could register disagreement without going nuclear.

  3. Brett says:

    This is a rediculous article. I agree with Chris: referencing Hitler… are you serious?

  4. sfcitizen says:

    Both Hitler and DPW never met a wide median they didn’t like. Did Big Brother like wide medians? He’s the kind of guy that would like wide medians but I don’t know. Give me a cite to 1984 talking about how transit safety doesn’t matter a whit when deciding where to put some fucking trees, and then I’ll change the references to Orwellian or something.

    Does there come a point where the slow lane gets too narrow? What point is that for you? Do you know, do you care? Obviously not. Enjoy your trees and plastic pink flamingos (srlsy, a photo of that is in the pdfs)in the median.

    Perhaps traffic engineers should be in charge of traffic instead of architects, nail salon owners, and artists?

  5. Fred says:

    It’s impossible to take you seriously with the Hitler references.

    Have you ever been to the Holocaust Museum in DC, or spent any time at all looking at the horrors of WWII? Also, did you happen to know that today is Yom Kippur?

    Even San Francisco’s citizen media is stunningly self-obsessed. Sigh.

  6. sfcitizen says:

    What does Yom Kippur have to do with the slow lanes of Divisidero being narrower than necessary due to some peoples’ concept of aesthetics?

    You value Trees more than Life, that’s fine.

    If you want to learn about others who take a cavlier attitude about traffic safety, read the links that have already been graciously provided to you, free of charge.

    And I’m sure other blogs around town would have a different viewpoint….

  7. Fred says:

    Fine. So we can stipulate that you’re either an idiot, or so incredibly hip and wry that you really don’t see that hyperbolic Hitler references in a blog post on Yom Kippur might be insensitive.

    For the rest of us sentient beings, here’s a reminder of why conversations that *start* by invoking Godwin’s Law rarely go anywhere:

    BTW, I’m writing all of your advertisers to see if they think you’re as funny as you think you are.

  8. sfcitizen says:

    You can stilupate all you want, but you’re doing it by yourself. If you can find an entitity that loves medians more than Hitler/Speer and or SFDPW, I’ll cheerfully amend the post.

    It’s not really a conversation you’re talking about, you’re talking about a blog posting.

    Don’t mess with my Proctor and Gamble ad account – they’re sending me $100k/quarter these days, so enamored are they of this bone stock WordPress. And OctoberFest, don’t queer that deal, although for some reason they seem mad about my last post about having to do with how much their event sucks. Can’t imagine why they’d be peeved. Oh well.

  9. fmws says:

    I don’t care about the Hitler references, but I’m with sfcitizen. Not only does it slow down the traffic but also is completely unnecessary. What a waste of money. Also, the Yom Kippur reference was completely pointless.