Road to rebirth? S.F.'s Post-Freeway Octavia May Be A Model
San Francisco Chronicle
12 May 2014
By John King
Photo: Paul Chinn, The Chronicle
Elizabeth Macdonald, Urban designer and CED Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design, introduced City Officials from New Orleans and Syracuse to the concept of a post freeway urban corridor in San Francisco this week. The visitors wanted to see what happens when a dominating double-deck freeway is erased from the map.
Octavia Boulevard opened in 2005, nearly 16 years after the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged pillars supporting the freeway. The biggest issue in the freeway’s design is the transition from freeway to city. Elizabeth Macdonald and her firm, Jacobs Macdonald: Cityworks, designed the boulevard with the city’s Department of Public Works.
The removal of the freeway frees more land for development. Officials from the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development explained how sales of the 22 parcels of leftover land are expected to generate more than $55 million - money that went to construct the boulevard and fund other transportation improvements close by. Roughly 1,000 apartments and condominiums will be created, with 50 percent reserved for lower-income families.
"The city is committed to preserving diversity here as best it can," Rich said. "The face of the community is changing."