edlee_swornin.jpgSan Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other city officials today celebrated the completion of a project that transformed a block of a street in the Bayview District into one of the most environmentally friendly streets in the city.

The 1700 block of Newcomb Avenue, located between Phelps and Newhall streets, was one of 16 blocks around San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood targeted for improvements as part of the Model Block program started by the city’s Redevelopment Agency in 2005.

“We want this street to really reflect the beauty of all of the great streets of San Francisco,” Lee said.

Starting in May, the $1.7 million project transformed the street, which Supervisor Malia Cohen, who represents the Bayview, said had been “infamous” for quality of life issues in the past.

However, with the changes, which include the adding of landscaping and about 20 trees, as well as new sidewalks and stormwater management facilities, the street marks “the beginning of the rebirth of a very exciting time for a very exciting neighborhood,” Cohen said.

Along with adding aesthetic improvements to the street and a design that reduces speeding in the neighborhood, the new layout is also environmentally friendly, Lee said.

Various biofiltration planters were installed, and 20,000 square feet of previously impermeable surfaces now soak in water to reduce runoff, according to city officials.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed Harrington said 400,000 gallons of water a year will now be going into the ground in the neighborhood instead of going to wastewater treatment plants.

“If we can duplicate that throughout San Francisco, we can have a wonderful system,” Harrington said.

The SFPUC also had to spend an additional $814,000 on the project to replace the aging sewer line under the street and the pipes leading to each individual house.

For more information on the Model Block program and the city’s plans to redevelop the Bayview-Hunters Point area, visit www.sfredevelopment.org.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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