Castro Construction Wrapping Up, Ribbon-Cutting October 30th

Castro Construction Wrapping Up, Ribbon-Cutting October 30th
By Roy - Published on October 18, 2014.
Castro Street neighbors, rejoice! We can see the end from here. 
On Thursday, October 30th, Castro Street from Market to 18th Street will be closed off for a block party and ribbon-cutting celebration marking the end of the Castro Streetscape Improvement Project. 

Well, almost the end.

We reached out to Supervisor Scott Wiener's office to find out for sure. Supervisor Wiener told us that most everything would be completed, including the Castro and Market Street intersection that is currently under construction as part of the reconfiguring of Jane Warner Plaza that includes bulb-outs at the north end of the intersection. The work that will not be finished by celebration time is the resurfacing of Jane Warner Plaza.

Despite this, the Oct. 30th celebration will start at 6pm at the rainbow crosswalks at 18th and Castro. Starting with an invocation from the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the event will include remarks from Supervisor Wiener, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and project leads with the Department of Public Works, plus the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus and other entertainment lined up by the Castro Community Benefit District.

The eight-month project was initially set to wrap up before the Castro Street Fair at the beginning of the month, but material delays pushed the project's completion further into October. 

Improvements focus on pedestrian safety, accessibility, and leisure with wider sidewalks, bulb-outs at crossing intersections, leaning posts and pedestrian lighting. The Castro is arguably more scenic as well, with the addition of the Rainbow Honor Walk and Castro History Walk embedded into the pavement, four rainbow crosswalks at 18th Street, new palm trees near the 18th Street intersection (in addition to new ginkos throughout), and downwash LEDs on the street lamps to provide a little color year-round. 

To widen the Castro's sidewalks, Department of Public Works construction crews narrowed the street to one lane in either direction with a zero-net loss of parking spaces (a demand from merchants and people who love their cars).

"This project is transformative for the neighborhood," wrote Wiener. "It was long overdue, and we now have sidewalks that are wide enough for such a pedestrian-focused corridor. The project will benefit residents, merchants, and visitors for decades to come. I want to thank members of the community, both residents and merchants, for putting up with the significant disruption that's unavoidable with this type of project. I'm very grateful for people's patience."

In the middle of the project in June, crews cleared out construction equipment and temporarily repaved the road for the Pink Saturday celebration. Less than a week later, crews started working at a fever pitch to finish up construction before the Castro Street Fair, but missed the deadline.

Crews are currently working on reconfiguring Jane Warner Plaza to make it easier for pedestrians crossing Market Street and Castro Street. A new gate styled after the Castro Theatre marquee will be going in on 17th Street, replacing the police barriers. 

Crews will also be working throughout the coming week to repair the street base at the intersection of Market and Castro and will perform overnight work Wednesday and Thursday to grind and repave the intersection. Expect some traffic delays during the day.

And with all that, the myriad changes to the neighborhood are grinding to a close, so mark your calendars for October 30th to celebrate.