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Say goodbye to the Geary Boulevard pedestrian bridge

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It goes down over Memorial Day weekend

A concrete bridge over a busy street.
The pedestrian bridge was built in 1962.
Photo courtesy of SFMTA

You will have until Memorial Day weekend to traverse the skyline bridge on Geary and Steiner. The circa-1962 crossover will be demolished in favor of improved crosswalks and medians.

The reason for the bridge’s removal? It’s too steep. The bridge features a 11 to 17 percent ramp slopes higher than the five percent limit established by the Americans with Disabilities Act long after the bridge was built.

What’s more, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), “The bridge’s support piers also reduce visibility of people crossing at the intersection. In place of the overpass, the SFMTA will be improving conditions for how people already prefer to travel—currently, over 80 percent of people on foot or wheelchair cross Geary and Steiner at street level.”

The bridge was a sore spot for some locals who alleged longstanding blight. Residents have called for the bridge’s destruction for seven years, with one denizen claiming that the walkway was a hotspot for drug activity and even rat breeding, the SF Examiner reported in 2013.

As for the demolition itself, don’t get too excited, thrill seekers. The bridge won’t receive the implosion treatment. It will instead be gingerly dismantled and removed “using two large five-axle mobile cranes, flatbed trailer trucks, and other large construction equipment.” Alas.

During construction cars will be rerouted and bus stops relocated. The two bridge landing spaces will be renovated later this year by SF Recreation and Parks, with a new stairway added at the northwest corner of Steiner and Geary.

This is all part of the Geary Rapid Project, the goal of which is to improve transit along the busy corridor between Stanyan and Market streets. An underground Muni train would, of course, help solve a lot of issues along the main artery, but that is a lovely pipe dream for another lifetime.

Rendering of Geary and Steiner, with the Steiner bridge removed and new median and crosswalks added.
Rendering courtesy of SFMTA