EL TECOLOTE: Mission construction starting soon

EL TECOLOTE

Mission construction starting soon

By John Nuño

1:40 pm Friday June 10, 2011

The lazy hazy days of summer are fast approaching, but the air of the Mission District will soon be abuzz with the rattle of jackhammers and the roar of tractors.

The face of the Mission District is ever changing, and this summer will prove no exception, with the children’s playground at Dolores Park getting a much-needed renovation. The Mission Playground will also see improvements and Cesar Chavez Street–from Hampshire to Guerrero Streets–will the be site of an even more ambitious project that will change the look and use of the heavily-traveled corridor.
New playground at Dolores Park
In early June, the current children’s playground at Dolores Park–the popular hillside hang out for hipsters as well as young families–will be demolished to make way for the new playground, which is scheduled to be completed in February, 2012.

“It’s most definitely something to look forward to,” said RPD Info, spokesperson for San Francisco Recreation and Parks. “It will be a state-of-the-art playground for the community and children to enjoy. That’s who it’s really for.”

Chan said the playground will include: a central play mound with an Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible suspension bridge, a slide, climbing nets, a ‘ship-wrecked boat’ and a super-slide built into the hillside.

The project was made possible by a private $1.5 million donation from Helen Diller, a long-time San Francisco resident. In honor of her contribution, it will be called “The Helen Miller Playground At Dolores Park.”

Chan added that limited funds will also be available for other “capital improvements” to Dolores Park, and that the community will be involved in deciding how those funds will be spent.

“We are very understanding and respectful of the community and there will be workshops in which they can have a chance to prioritize the improvements to be made such as the bathrooms, irrigation, sewage and infrastructure,” she said.

Construction, she added, will only affect the playground and the rest of Dolores Park will remain open throughout the process.

Mission Playground
Meanwhile, just a few blocks east, major renovations at the Mission Playground on 19th and Linda Streets have already commenced. The ground breaking was May 11 and the park is scheduled to reopen for Summer 2012.

In addition to general repairs to the courts and clubhouse, the $7.5 million project will bring a new playground, a water garden and a brand-new artificial-turf soccer field that will the replace the current asphalt pitch.

The Mission Playground renovation was funded by the 2008 Clean & Safe Neighborhood Parks Bond, but Chan said that the soccer field was made possible by a donation from the City Fields Foundation, a San Francisco-based playfield advocacy group, and a grant of $25,000 for field lighting fixtures that was provided by the US Soccer Foundation.

Cesar Chavez Street
Starting in late June or early July, the Cesar Chavez Streetscape Improvement Project—the biggest undertaking in the Mission this summer—will begin. The goal of the project is two-fold: to increase and improve the sewage system to minimize flooding in the area and to make the street safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Other objectives include improving traffic flow while also greening the busy traffic corridor. The project will take about two years to complete.

The sewer work will begin first, starting on Hampshire Street and continuing in three block increments. As the first three blocks are completed, the “streetscaping” work–including median and side walk widening, irrigation and landscaping–will immediately piggyback the sewer work in order to cause the least amount of disruption.

According to a fact sheet provided online by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, sewer service will not be interrupted at any time during the construction phase.

Traffic and parking, however, will be impacted. Traffic will be reduced to two lanes in both directions and “no parking” signs will be posted in some areas, but driveways will remain clear.

While the construction phases may not be easy to tolerate at times, the end result should be beneficial to pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and residents alike.

This summer might be not be so quiet for Mission residents, but with any hope, there will be safe, clean parks and tree-lined streets with bicycle lanes to be enjoyed by all in 2013.

El Tecolote: http://eltecolote.org/content/2011/06/mission-construction-starting-soon/