in case you were wondering what's becoming of the Central Freeway

The official site seems to be, which is heavy on the web-design wanking and light on the detail, but the pages have a lot more information and pictures. It's hard to get a sense of what it's really going to look like from the illustrations: where's the 3D transparent fly-by I was expecting? Or even a building-scale overhead map! But it does sound like it's going to be a lot nicer than another looming concrete freeway shadow.

Tags: ,

20 Responses:

  1. hafnir says:

    I know this might trip you out a little, but I love that song. :)

    And I have a friend who just moved to right where the Fell exit used to end. He's pretty weirded out by the whole thing right now! I'm sure it's a wonderful intro to life in SF. :)

    • jwz says:

      Sometimes I think I ought to switch the DNA webcasts back to "radio free jwz" during off hours instead of just re-playing the DNA archives.

      But then, you know, it would kinda be false advertising to play anything other than house.

  2. 1eyedkunt says:

    doesn't look all that bad, though looking at those pictures i'm afraid they're trying to plunk down walnut creek in the middle of the city. when are people going to stop trying to make this city into a suburb?

    • jwz says:

      I think this is the opposite of turning SF into a suburb: suburbs are about commuting and car dominance, with vast distances separating living areas from working areas and shopping areas, where you have to drive constantly. Cities are about density, with all of those things occuring right on top of each other.

      So I'm glad to see a design that's somewhat pedestrian-focused instead of exclusively car-focused. As San Francisco gets denser, it's either going to have to largely abandon private car ownership (like Manhattan) or largely abandon foot travel and push everything out into the suburbs (like Los Angeles.) I know which one I'd pick.

      My two favorite urban planning rants:

      • Recommended Detours:
        The best way to avoid congestion is to AVOID DRIVING on San Francisco freeways if at all possible

        oh, THAT'S nice.

        mitch is ALREADY developing a commuting ulcer. i fear for his little head popping right OFF.

        shaking my fists like angry paul....grrrrr.

        • jwz says:

          See, that's the thing. Right now we're in this halfway point where it kinda sucks to own a car in this city, but is not completely intolerable; plus we have terrible public transporation. The worst of both worlds.

          From here, how do you get to a state where we have good public transportation? Only by making it absolutely miserable to own a car in SF, so that there's actually a demand for public transit. The money won't get spent otherwise. Sorry, Mitch. It's all for the best.

          Oh, or we could continue heading down the path toward Losangelesization by making it easier to own a car: discard pedestrian areas and housing units in favor of wider roads add more parking spaces. (Because what if some day I want to go offroad?)

          • i LOVE not having a car, but puni sucks SO. MUCH. ASS.
            (i don't know what's worse: mitch's commute-ulcer, or my public-transit rage!)

            and i just LOVE how everyone has the idylic perception of their little car-less utopia, WITHOUT grasping the context that post-boom SF creates for the potentially employable: need a job? better be willing to travel!

            yes, it would be nice if we had a carless city with timely public transit (aka toronto's system)--but then, it would be nice if we could employ all the denziens of this city, too. they HAVE to go elsewhere. i KNOW mitch hates driving, commuting, and owning a car. it's the way it is, though, and there's this psychotic DENIAL of this fact....

            • jwz says:

              Car-less doesn't mean foot-bound. For example, it's not terribly hard to imagine a world in which CalTrain and BART aren't completely useless. When I was commuting, I would have loved to be taking a train, but it wasn't even close to practical.

              If you hate MUNI, get a bike. If you're not leaving the city, your destination is less than seven miles away.

              • if BART went everywhere, it would be an entirely different story. BART has always been a shiny happy experience for me.

                but a bike? CCSF is so far away and i'm lazy!!!

                and something i missed from your previous response: i though losangelesization wasn't possible here due to space restrictions (bordered by water, etc.).

                oh and BTW: that "changing the climate" site was funny.....i'm thinking of arming sara with about a hundred of those and letting her loose in pacific heights.
                she'll probably get arrested again.

                • 1eyedkunt says:

                  believe me, i've been lusting after those stickers for a few years now, but i just can't decide whether i really approve of defacing other people's private property, even if they are egregiously self-centered assholes (and even though they evidently don't have any compunction about fucking with my "support al quaeda" sticker!). i did get some of those mock parking tickets with list of offenses committed by SUV owners and some other stuff on them and put a few under people's wipers, though. kinda afraid of getting my ass kicked if i'm caught...

                  anyways i agree that making this city a more difficult place to drive is a good thing, in the long term. (i know, this from a girl who owns not one, but TWO cars and bitches constantly about parking and traffic) but in fact, i'm a perfect example. i LOVE my car. but the worse this city gets for cars, the more i'll turn to public transport (which really isn't that bad). i already am taking the bus more. but fuck bicycles - that only works if you don't mind showing up everywhere you go red-faced and sweaty or are some kind of non-sweating alien robot. a scooter might be helpful. jess, maybe if the truck's ever done we can sell my car and get a motorcycle or something...

                  • (a) sara, some of those yuppies' toddlers could kick your ass if you get caught.

                    (b) you're not allowed to ride a motorcycle because you ONLY HAVE ONE EYE, remember?

                    although you can ride *bitch* with me.....heh.

                  • 1eyedkunt says:

                    yeah, yeah, well the more parking sucks, the more serious i get about cheating on the vision test. c'mon, i'll only be a danger to myself...and whoever i happen to run into. and i'm sure that'll be some stupid soccer mom driving an suv anyways.

              • ciphergoth says:

                Impose a congestion charge and spend the money raised on public transport! It's working for London already - the reduced congestion has made buses much more useful.

      • 1eyedkunt says:

        i like overall design, i'm just afraid they'll install some sort of McLandscaping instead of something with character and originality worthy of this city. it's hard to tell from those renderings what exactly they have in mind, and some of the drawings look vaguely reminiscent of some of the more upscale but characterless suburban shopping areas...we'll see.

        and it's peoples' desires for another aspect of suburbs - the peace and quiet - that i have a beef with. i'm all for improvement, and maybe getting rid of this freeway will be better in the long run, but this is a CITY. just like i can't stand the folks who moved into SOMA and then made noise complaints creating problems for the pre-existing clubs down there, i don't understand why a person would purposely move into a house next to a freeway and THEN complain about it. if you don't like the freeway DON'T MOVE THERE. if you want peace and quiet, move to the suburbs, don't expect a city to provide that.

      • earle says:

        Home from Nowhere was a wonderful article. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. In parts, it sounded very much like Alexander's Timeless Way of Building, which is one of my favorite books.

  3. greyhame says:

    As a vict--er, beneficiary of the infamous Big Dig, I wish you luck with your freeway construction adventures. Here's hoping Bechtel didn't get the contract.

  4. retrodiva1 says:

    Not related to your post but...just in case you missed it:

    Feel free to snag pics and thumbnails. Also if you want the original high res's let me know.