Why Does Narrow Webster Street Widen into a Boulevard for Just 11 Blocks?

You all know Webster Street, right? It’s Fillmore’s little buddy, taking people from Market Street north all the way up to our mismanaged Marina Yacht Harbor.

But take a look here to see what happens after it crosses Hayes Street. It turns into boulevard for some odd reason, for some 11 blocks, only to shrink back down again into a regular street at the intersection at Bush.

Looking north. The traffic heading up this street, (like the silver SUV) needs to jog right to get on the other side of the very wide median See that? It’s goes parking lane, bike lane, slow lane, fast lane, huge median, fast lane, slow lane, bike lane, and then another parking lane:


Here’s a bird’s-eye view. From Grove to Bush, from the Western Addition to “Little Osaka” (the cartographers’ favorite term for what people actually call Japantown in real life) it’s an unbusy boulevard, for an only-Gaia-knows-why purpose:

jtown copy

I cry foul.

Here’s a modest proposal – why not de-boulevard (v.t.) Webster by getting rid of the useless treed-up median and the twin northbound lanes for the entire three-quarters of a mile? Would anybody miss the median and the extra lanes? I mean, Fillmore does the all the heavy lifting with traffic and buses and whatnot, right?

That would leave us with 200,000 square feet of space to do whatever we want with. What would you do with 3.5 football fields worth of space?

In Japantown, some people already want to shut down the northbound lanes for extra parking or for temporarily housing businesses displaced by planned seismic upgrades for buildings on Post Street. But why not just kill the whole boulevard now in one fell swoop?

(Poorly-designed Octavia Boulevard has the opposite problem of having too much stalled traffic idling away, blocking travelers journeying east and west. Oh well.)   

In conclusion:

 What do we want?

A de-boulevarded Webster Street!

When do we want it?


(Repeat as necessary.)

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4 Responses to “Why Does Narrow Webster Street Widen into a Boulevard for Just 11 Blocks?”

  1. rhys1882 says:

    No one in their right mind uses Fillmore for North/South driving. The only reason to be on Fillmore is if you are actually going to a location on Fillmore.

    Although it doesn’t reach 100% of the way, Webster is a connecting corridor between the Oak/Fell corridor and the Geary/Bush/Pine corridor. It’s very useful for drivers.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    Well, sure, Webster is one of the few north-south streets that continue for a distance without getting blocked off by Redevelopment, but the amount of traffic it has is minimal.

    It would serve quite well as a corridor with only two lanes…

  3. James says:

    Was it part of the “redevelopment” during the 1950’s? Same reason why Geary is auto-centric now?

  4. sfcitizen says:

    I assume so, but I don’t know….