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City leaders want to preserve Van Ness Avenue’s historic streetlights

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The 101’s famed “Ribbon of Light” as we know it stands in peril

Today the San Francisco Board of Supervisors urged the SFMTA to stop any and all plans to replace the detailed and historic street lamps that grace Van Ness Avenue.

See, the congested stretched is getting a major facelift. Among other things, the Van Ness BRT (bus rapid transit) project will get underway this month, a plan that will reduce the two center lanes of traffic to necessary bus lines.

It also has a plan to replace the decorative streetlights (save for a couple) with illumination that is decidedly more contemporary. Behold:

And also:

And for San Francisco city leaders who look longingly toward the past, this will do not. Among the fray of civic leaders voicing their concern is none other than former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown.

"As the Mayor who took charge of much of the restoration of our glorious, iconic City Hall, where San Francisco’s history and character are honored and remembered daily by those who work and visit here, I cannot imagine Van Ness Avenue without its historic street lamps," said Brown.

And, indeed, the current street lamps are a delight—even if (shhh) the new ones do look pretty darn sleek.

More than 200 historic trolley poles and street lamps now run the length of Van Ness, from Market Street to North Point Street. They were initially erected for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition and later moved in 1936 for a Golden Gate Bridge inauguration project.

We will follow this story as it unfurls. In the meantime, you can expect major delays along Van Ness until the project completes.