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Century-Old Van Ness Streetlamps To Be Removed For Rapid Bus Project [Updated]

September 20, 2016

By Nathan Falstreau  : streetsblog – excerpt

The city’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, along Van Ness Avenue from Mission to Lombard streets, is set to break ground this year, consisting of transportation upgrades aimed to improve congestion, safety and beautify the two-mile long stretch. But among several other utility upgrades included in the project is a plan to replace the current streetlamps with brighter, more efficient streetlights. And that has San Francisco Heritage, as well as District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin, rushing to find a way to protect the lamps which they say are 102 years old. Update, 4:45pm: Paul Rose of the SFMTA clarified some of the details pertaining to the history of the streetlamps and the BRT project, stating that the earliest lighting features on the existing lightpoles date to 1936, making them no older than 80 years…

…Peskin, along with a group formed called the Coalition to Save the Historic Streetlamps of Van Ness Avenue, with the backing of San Francisco Heritage, San Francisco Beautiful, and the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco, hopes to find a solution that would either keep the existing lamps, or find a way to replicate them in order to maintain the historical character of the corridor.

Mike Buhler, a representative from San Francisco Heritage, wrote in a letter to the Board of Supervisors that he is seeking that the SFMTA, “Make every effort to avoid their removal. With the installation of new landscaping and BRT stations, retention and reuse of the “Historic Streetlamps of Van Ness” would provide the architectural framework and historical continuity for new development along the entire Van Ness corridor, and celebrate civic pride to unite old and new San Francisco.”

Unless the Board of Supervisors responds to the resolution and and looks at an alternative to the proposed plans, demolition of the streetlamps should commence sometime later this next year… (more)

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