Many Sidewalks in San Francisco are just Too Darn Wide

Take a look at Masonic Avenue here. What’s the point of having such an uber-wide sidewalk like this?

Couldn’t some of this sidewalk be used for a bike lane or something useful?

Click to expand

You have to wonder what people were thinking, back in the day, when they were laying out the sidewalks of San Francisco.

[UPDATE: Geez, people, we’re not talking about removing the sidewalks here, but making them a reasonable size. Obviously, some planners a long time ago thought it was a great idea to have Masonic be some kind of grand boulevard or avenue or something. Does anybody want this underpopulated windblown stretch of sidewalk to be even wider? What do you want to do, play volleyball on the sidewalk?]

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10 Responses to “Many Sidewalks in San Francisco are just Too Darn Wide”

  1. Mike says:

    And streets like Columbus, Upper Grant, Stockton NEED bigger sidewalks.

  2. dustbunny44 says:

    They were thinking how wonderful it would be to have a large dedicated pedestrian space for residents and passers-by to use in lots of creative ways.
    Thank fate for your wide sidewalks. I thank those with the foresight to get them in.

  3. Whit says:

    This is Masonic, right? Traffic here can be bumper to bumper during the AM and PM commute, and the sidewalk provides a small but nice “noise buffer zone” for the houses in the area.

  4. SlideSF says:

    Webster Street, Masonic Avenue? What’s your beef with having a little breathing room? Besides, there are plenty of times when there are lots of people on this sidewalk.

  5. KC says:

    In a place where the grid is has longer blocks going E-W, Masonic is a major N-S artery so the ROW is extra wide and and it is very nice to have the pedestrian space.

    Sheesh, what is it with your war on wide roads? First the random screed about Webster, now this. What is your issue? Boulevards are nice, even if they are not infested with cars.

  6. doogiehowsah says:

    Um, complaining about a wide sidewalk in SF is like complaining about a cold week in Texas at a global warming conference. Like, the real problem is _entirely the opposite_ , if you look outside your tiny frame of reference. Everywhere around the city, cars have huge wide berths while pedestrians are forced to march single file between trash cans, bus stops and building walls, psychotic mother******* in Range Rovers speeding by just inches away. Ever tried walking down Broadway at Columbus? Howabout SOMA streets which have 5 big lanes for cars and barely enough room to walk side-by-side without hitting a lamp post? Valencia St finally had something done to its sidewalks and it’s still too small and obstruction filled. Of course, bike lanes off the street are a great idea (and standard in places like Germany) so if that’s what you mean then super. But public space for pedestrians is so rare in this town, it should be cherished and celebrated, not derided. Especially since wide sidewalks are also, on a basic level, pleasant. Seriously, WTF?

  7. BV says:

    I live in the neighborhood and LOVE walking on Masonic. It’s such a pleasure. As do the many older residents who like to shop at the Lucky on Fulton and walk there. Why aren’t you photographing the five lanes of traffic and complaining about that? Why aren’t you riding in the street.
    Take the lane! If you can’t take the lane then get off your bike and get on the bus.

  8. Jim says:

    The point is not that the sidewalk is too wide and it should be narrower so the street can be wider. The point is why all this concrete when there could be a gracious planting strip between the sidewalk and the auto lanes? This much concrete serves no purpose at all except to flush all that rainwater into the sewer system instead of into the water table.

  9. SlideSF says:

    So what are you talking about? Cutting down all the trees in order to widen the streets? Put “garden” or “lawn” space in so dogs (and humans) can use it as a “bathroom”? Geez people! Can’t you just leave well enough alone?

  10. Philip says:

    Seems to me one could put a bike lane between the trees and the rest of the sidewalk. Just some paint would do the job. No, they want to cut the car lanes down so the traffic will be worse.