Freeway Transforms Into People-Friendly Boulevard

A new chapter in San Francisco's freeway saga.
September 10, 2005, 9am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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After the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 in San Francisco, the Embarcadero Freeway was razed, replaced with a multi-modal roadway that included a promenade and streetcar line. Now The Embarcadero's cousin, The Central Freeway as it was known, also damaged.

Now known as the new Octavia Boulevard/Central Freeway connection, the project has a long history dating back to when it was damaged in the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989. Unlike the other damaged freeway, the Embarcadero, this freeway was rebuilt and continued to operate in its original capacity. However, San Francisco, never at a loss for civic activism, decided the fate of the freeway at the ballot box.

"It took three ballot measures -- in 1997, 1998 and 1999 -- to reach a decision. And then more than a dozen designs were presented to the public for review and debate. Caltrans was responsible for rebuilding the freeway; the city was in charge of the Octavia Boulevard component. Combined, they cost $62 million."

Thanks to Irvin Dawid

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Published on Friday, September 9, 2005 in The San Francisco Chronicle
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