It's been eight years in the making, but starting next month, work on the Masonic Avenue Streetscape Project will finally commence. As we reported last month, the project is expected to break ground in June, and will take 18 months from start to finish. During this time, parking will be removed, bike lanes added, bulb-outs installed, and trees planted, with the goal of making what's currently a speedy north-south corridor into a safer transit path for everyone.
The project began as a petition organized by neighborhood residents in 2008. Since then, the SFMTA has worked with the community to develop no less than eight different versions of the plan, the last of which was approved for funding in 2013.
76 percent of people polled like the current plan, which, of all the prior options proposed, includes the largest number of parking spots removed (a total of 167) to make room for bulb-outs and bike lanes.
"This is really a reboot of Masonic," said Tom Maguire, the Director of Sustainable Streets at the SFMTA. "Currently, it's a mini-freeway. It's an arterial road, but it doesn't currently reflect the urban environment it runs through, and it doesn't reflect the values and priorities of the community around it."
In addition to surface-level infrastructure changes, work will also be done underground. The oldest sewer pipe running along Masonic dates back to 1840; the oldest water pipe, to 1896.
SF Public Works is still working with the project's contractor, Shaw Pipelines, to determine on which end of Masonic Avenue the work will begin. The order of events, however, has been decided: underground water and sewer replacement will happen first, followed by curb and bulb-out construction. Bike lanes will be added last.
To prepare residents and businesses along Masonic from Fell to Geary, the SFMTA is holding a pre-construction open house tomorrow, Wednesday, May 25th from 5:30-7:30pm at San Francisco Day School, at 350 Masonic Avenue. Swing by to see renderings of the final product, ask questions and get informed on how the construction will affect your commute.