SF has finished closing off a section of Octavia Boulevard to traffic, adding space to Hayes Valley’s central Patricia’s Green park while also curbing some dangers to pedestrians.
“Before Octavia Street, this was the Central Freeway, a space dedicated to moving cars quickly through this neighborhood,” said Mayor London Breed. “Today, we are creating a space for friends and family to play, shop, and enjoy Hayes Valley. This is one example of our larger efforts to create more open space in San Francisco to benefit the community.”
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) board voted unanimously in July to permanently cut off traffic between Hayes and Linden on Octavia, part of what the city dubbed the “Octavia Open Street Project.”
Shortly before the vote, SFMTA said that the street closure and conversion was in response to “longstanding requests to calm traffic and create more public space” in the neighborhood.
Although some neighbors were unhappy that the conversion nixed ten Hayes Valley parking spaces, for the most part public feedback was positive.
The closure was part of a larger, $7 million plan to improve the area around Octavia, which remains ongoing through 2021.
Outgoing District Five Supervisor Vallie Brown called Patricia’s Green ”the heart of Hayes Valley.” The public green space opened in 2005 as “Hayes Green,” later adopting the name of late neighborhood activist Patricia Walkup, who was central to removing the defunct neighborhood freeway after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
In the same emailed statement, SFMTA’s interim Director of Transportation Tom Maguire said that the city is happy to make the longtime Octavia pilot permanent.
Back in July, much discussion was made at the SFMTA board of closing additional blocks around the park, but there’s nothing concrete yet.
Although popular, Patricia’s Green is one of the city’s smallest parks, less than half an acre in size. Like Octavia Boulevard itself, the park grew out of the removal of the damaged freeway, enabled by a voter-approved bond in 1999.
Octavia Boulevard is also part of the city’s “high-injury network,” the select city-owned streets where vehicular accidents happen most often.
The map of dangerous byways completely encircles Patricia’s Green, although the city has not recorded any fatalities near there this year.