As part of a plan to streamline bus rapid transit along Geary Boulevard, the city of San Francisco is proposing to demolish two pedestrian bridges which they claim stand in the way. The proposed removal of the bridges, which would be a key element of the Geary Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project, has been met with strong opposition from those in the community that depend on the bridges as a safe means to navigate the busy intersections by foot.
The pedestrian walkways, one of which crosses over Geary at Steiner Street and the other at Webster Street, span numerous lanes and provide pedestrians and school children from the nearby Rosa Parks Elementary School a means of avoiding what could otherwise be a dangerous street crossing.
It seems, however, that the bridges' concrete support beams stand in the way of the transit-only lanes the project seeks to create — lanes that are a crucial element of the proposed Bus Rapid Transit project.
In place of the pedestrian bridges, the city has proposed "clearly-marked crosswalks and landscaped medians."
In conversation with Hoodline, one neighbor expressed her belief that any increased convenience for bus riders resulting from the project cannot justify increased risk to the community.
"To us, saving 20 seconds doesn't compare with putting a child's life in danger," explained Karen Kai.
However, a spokesman with the SFMTA told Hoodline that as they currently stand, the bridges are not serving every member of the community and that any replacement crosswalks would be fully ADA compliant.
"Both bridges are long and steep, requiring a significant walking distance," explained Robert Lyles. "Any pedestrian with low mobility seeking to cross the bridges is simply unable to navigate the climb on foot."
The decision to raze the bridges is not set in stone, however, and a public meeting will be held tomorrow night at St. Mary’s Cathedral (1111 Gough Street) to discuss the project. It is set to run from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.