Although this repair only addresses one aspect of the outstanding issues for the Havelock Pedestrian Bridge, SNA extends a big thanks to D7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar’s office, especially Sunnyside liaison Lila Carrillo, for following up, and to the SFMTA painting department for fixing the problem.
The badly worn-off traffic markings at the intersection of Havelock and Circular were just repainted. At this blind corner, many cars slide through without a stop, endangering people walking and cycling who are entering or exiting the bridge. It’s a great start on completing the project!
Lila Carrillo, Legislative Aide to D7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar, gave this reply:
“Rest assured that Havelock Pedestrian Bridge and landing is a priority space for us to help improve, and the complexity of it will not deter us. Very shortly after Supervisor Melgar took office, Christine [Weibel, author of The Havelock Street Bridge Beautification and Safety Project] reached out to us to put this on our radar. Since then, we’ve been actively engaged with understanding the nuances of this space and connecting with agencies (especially CalTrans, who’s the most difficult to reach) to solve for: 1) who has jurisdiction over what, 2) who would “own” what project, 3) true costs and implications for every action item, etc. Although we are not yet where we’d like to be, we are firm in our advocacy for resources and improvements needed for the Havelock Bridge and pedestrian area.
“As we work with DPW to fulfill the vision and scope of the PB project, we are working simultaneously with SFMTA to prioritize the crosswalk. The most recent update we received is that funds transfer was initiated early this month to Public Works, they should have the funding in-hand in approximately three weeks. MTA has also asked DPW to provide us with info on how soon they can schedule the work and how long it will take them to complete. I will keep SNA updated on that timeline, once we receive it.”
Let’s take a walk through the Sunnyside neighborhood in San Francisco. Head south on Edna Street where it meets Havelock. Straight ahead you’ll see the lush green bushes and the fence for the City College tennis courts. Now look left, and there it is—the Havelock Street Bridge—the main pathway over the freeway, connecting Sunnyside to the wide green lawns, playgrounds, off-leash dog park, swimming pool, and other facilities at Balboa Park in District 11.
What comes to mind is, how does one safely cross? There is no crosswalk to access the bridge and no sidewalk on the south side of Havelock Street. Peering even farther left, at the corner of Circular Avenue, cars and bicycles treat this intersection as a quick yield. With no other traffic entering from the east, cars typically roll through the intersection, even though there is a stop sign.
Once across the street and on the bridge, something else becomes visibly apparent. This bridge is ugly. It is riddled in graffiti and discarded litter ranging from broken glass to dirty diapers. This concrete jungle pathway, connecting two oases, is an eye sore and doesn’t reflect the warmth and beauty of the Sunnyside and Mission Terrace neighborhoods, or the wonderful park on the other side.
Why? Why is there no crosswalk? Why is the bridge repeatedly vandalized? This is the crux of this article. All bureaucratic roads lead back to here. So, let’s start with how we got here and how we can move forward.
Running all along Sunnyside’s southeastern edge is the Interstate 280 freeway, a part of the neighborhood environment at many points since the freeway was built in 1964. Now CalTrans, the state highway agency, is offering the public an opportunity to tell them about situations in San Francisco where pedestrians interact with freeway infrastructure and conditions are unsafe or inhospitable.