The Fruitless Trees of Divisidero – A False Promise of Livable Streets?

Well they’re finally up, some of them anyway – they’re the fruitless trees of the newly-widened medians of Divisidero Street.

Boy, don’t these new leaveless trees and the the widened median make this body shop sooooo much more livable?

Of course the concomitant lane width reductions weren’t discussed at the time decisions were being made and, I would argue, were actually hidden by the powers that be. Oh well.

In this case, greening the median meant widening it. Does this benefit car drivers, bus drivers or cyclists? No, not at all. So why did we do it? The slow lanes now, in particular, are very narrow considering that big buses (from MUNI but also private employers) are supposed to use them.

Do you see where it says Divisidero Street Streetscape Renewal? What’s being renewed here? Well, let’s take a look at back in the day.

How about 1947? What do you see here? Do you see streetcars and wide lanes and plenty of room for cars and bikes to co-exist? Do you think the pedestrians of ’47 bumped their noggins into each other all the time? I don’t. What don’t you see? A big old median filled with trees and streetlights – that’s what you don’t see. The street lights and trees are off to the side where they belong, not in the middle of the damn street taking up all the space.  

How did our fore mothers and fathers survive with reliable steetcars and wide lanes on Divis? How did they get by, how did they live without a giant median and decimated (and soon to get worse) modern bus service?

The World Wonders.

Plenty of room for the median, not enough room for the #24 Divisidero – your stimulus dollars at work:

Oh well.

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4 Responses to “The Fruitless Trees of Divisidero – A False Promise of Livable Streets?”

  1. Well they’re finally up
    That is nice. I walk Divis every day and I was going to contact 311 and see what was taking s’damn long.

    Does this benefit car drivers, bus drivers or cyclists? No, not at all.
    I disagree that it doesn’t benefit “at all.” Many great streets are much more beautiful with median trees, and therefore much more welcoming to most. I look forward to when Geary’s foliage fully grows in just west of Divis.

    not enough room for the #24 Divisidero
    I entirely disagree. I’ve walked, driven, and MUNIed along Divis and there’s plenty of room for vehicles and pedestrians (though admittedly not bikes). The last thing Divis needs is a widening* between Geary and Fell/Oak, which already have cars driving way too fast through residential neighborhoods. If drivers are in a hurry, there are several other north/south thoroughfares available, which they should have been taking anyway, as Divis has always been pretty slow-moving (walking home takes me a scant five minutes longer than driving).

    *-unless it added full bike lanes on each side

    Divisadero is the heart of the Western Addition, we should be nudging it toward being the WA’s Clement or Valencia, not Cesar Chavez or Gough.

  2. sfcitizen says:

    I’d take out the median entirely and use the space for the slow lanes. I don’t think that would make traffic go faster necessarily.

    In the alternative, I’d take out the trees and narrow the medians back to the way they were a month ago and put in some other kind of shrubbery or whatever that didn’t require wide medians.

    Or I’d restripe giving a lot more room for the slow lanes at the expense of the fast lanes.

    Or sure, taking out one of the car lanes and calling that a transit and bike lane – that would make me happier too.

    Or taking out a traffic lane and putting in bike lanes, but I don’t think that will happen.

    I’ll check again the 24’s and the interstate buses that use the slow lanes – it appeared to me that they literally don’t fit in the slow lane…

  3. Spitpalm says:

    It’s still a work in progress. They still need to redo the street lamps and plant the foliage around the trees. These trees will look great once they grow a little and sprout their leaves. Patience. It already looks better than that rusty concrete slab that blighted divis prior to these changes.

  4. Philip says:

    The trees will all be dead within 3 years. More money-wasting folly from the buffoons at City hall.