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Boulevard of dreams

District residents seek safety makeover of San Jose Avenue.

By Jo Stanley | Staff Writer
Published on Wednesday, June 23, 2004

San Jose Avenue residents say they would like to slow things down on the fast-moving shortcut between Glen Park and the Outer Mission District for safety's sake in addition to improving the street's aesthetics for the sake of neighborhood morale.

They have enlisted the support of two supervisors, Bevan Dufty and Tom Ammiano, in convincing city planners to begin implementing some traffic-calming measures sooner rather than later along the 10-block stretch between Randall and Cesar Chavez streets.

"It really isn't a freeway," Dufty said when introducing a resolution calling for a study and a hearing on how to address the issue.

"But the traffic on Guerrero and San Jose is extremely quick. It's really dangerous to the schools that are in the area and it really impacts quality of life."

In view of The City's budget crunch, however, residents such as Toby Levine say they are starting small with their requests. For starters, they would like to reduce the widest portion of the street from three to two lanes, create a new bicycle lane and expand the pedestrian island in the middle of the street so people have a safe place to stand while waiting for the light to change.

Drivers headed to or from Interstate 280 have their minds set on where they're going, Levine said, and not on how their often-erratic driving affects people living nearby.

"They're not out for a Sunday drive," she added.

Levine, who has been trying to improve the area since moving to Guerrero Street near St. Luke's Hospital in 1967, said that she and other activists have raised $5,000 to post safety signs containing children's pictures in English and Spanish.

"We live here, please slow down," the signs read.

Eventually, Dufty and members of the San Jose Coalition for Safe Streets would like to see San Jose Avenue become something similar to the Embarcadero or Junipero Serra Boulevard. The wish list includes landscaping along a widened median strip and raising the sunken part of San Jose Avenue more in line with the street level.

A budget, however, has not been created for the proposals, which could easily run into millions of dollars.

The Board of Supervisors is likely to hold a hearing on the issue by late July, Levine said.

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