A $6.8 million yearlong project will transform half of a busy four-lane road in San Francisco’s McLaren Park into two lanes of designated bicycle and pedestrian only pathways starting this month.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Mansell Street Corridor Improvement Project was held today and construction is slated to begin next week.
The infrastructure project will place vehicles on one side of a wooded median and pedestrians and cyclists on the other, and will also update signage, crosswalks, and bring flashing beacons to major intersections in the area.
This project will also incorporate bioswales, broad ditches used to catch and filter stormwater runoff and decrease flooding potential.
The improvements to the roadway aim to prioritize pedestrian and cyclist safety on Mansell Street between University Street and Brazil Avenue as well as a small stretch of Persia Avenue between Brazil Avenue and Dublin Street, according to San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.
Situated in the southern portion of the city, McLaren Park is the second largest park in the city, after Golden Gate Park.
With the Bayview and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods to the east and the Excelsior and Crocker Amazon neighborhoods to the west, McLaren Park serves as one of the few large green spaces in the area.
The changes to the park’s infrastructure are also likely to help improve the park’s reputation, which has been scarred by numerous homicides, acts of violence and traffic collisions over the years.
In May, 18-year-old Balboa High School student Jonathan Sauceda Caballero, was fatally shot at the park and in June, 23-year-old bicyclist and San Francisco resident Donald Pinkerton-DeVito, died in a collision with a marked police patrol vehicle in the park.
When the Mansell Street Corridor Improvement Project is completed in late 2016, not only will cyclists and pedestrians experience a safe, dedicated pathway, but drivers will also notice newly paved roads and reduced vehicular speeds, according to San Francisco Recreation and Park officials.
San Francisco District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen said this streetscape improvement project “is a transformative project that will build stronger connections with neighborhoods that utilize Mansell and border McLaren Park.”
Cohen said residents surrounding the park deserve to see these safety improvements in their neighborhood.
The project, a partnership between the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, San Francisco Public Works, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, aims to create better infrastructure that will encourage more people to bicycle and walk in the park, free from fears of speeding vehicles.
District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, whose district includes the western edge of McLaren Park, said he is looking forward to riding his bike on the new cycling path in the fall.
The $6.8 million in funding secured for the project came from vehicle registration fees, gasoline tax revenue and the city’s half-cent tax for transportation funds, as well as grants from One Bay Area and the California Urban Greening program and the 2012 Clean and Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, according to SF Rec and Park officials.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News