Duboce Avenue facelift causes concerns

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The heavily trafficked intersection at Church Street and Duboce Avenue may receive a major facelift soon — including new light-rail tracks, paved streets and possibly a few extra trees — but some commuters are wary of the plan’s future transit impacts.

The plan would combine the efforts of several city agencies working to improve the fluidity, safety and aesthetics of the bustling intersection, said Kit Hodge, who chairs the Duboce Triangle Transportation Improvement Plan.

Residents say the overhaul — which wouldn’t break ground until early 2010 and could take several years to complete — would aggravate public transit in the area, which sees significant vehicle and bicycle traffic and features the popular N-Judah and J-Church rail lines and the 22-Fillmore bus line. The rail-improvement project would also affect the historic F-Market streetcar line.

But while the construction involved might be frustrating, it is also necessary, Hodge said.

“We are a transit-oriented community, so it will be a challenge,” she said. “We’re focused on the long-term benefits of the project as a whole and making improvements to the neighborhood.”

Exactly what improvements would be made beyond the laying of new Muni tracks and repaving of streets are still being discussed, Hodge said. The community is pushing for widening the “narrow, unsafe and unpleasant” N-Judah island on the north side of Duboce Avenue between Church and Fillmore streets along with other beautification projects, such as added foliage and street furniture.

The comprehensive plan would also replace rail tracks, upgrade waterlines and add new streetlights and poles, according to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

“In some places our tracks are like a worn pair of shoes — if you step over a rock, you can feel it,” MTA spokesman Judson True said. “We need new shoes.”

The agency has already completed similar rail improvements on Ocean and West Portal avenues, and others are in the works, True said.

Locals credit MTA with stalling its Duboce rail-replacement plan in order to coordinate with the community on all proposed projects. The idea is to have all planned construction happen simultaneously so that it “doesn’t rip open the streets a few times over,” Hodge said.

“We’ve been meeting [with MTA] since January and there’s been positive communication,” she said.

City agencies have been increasingly coordinating with one another on all future projects so they have a minimal impact on residents, True said. During construction, the MTA will offer bus service between affected routes, he said.

The project could reach upward of $28 million.

The proposed improvements will be discussed Wednesday at a community meeting at the Davies California Pacific Medical Center, 45 Castro St., from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

By the numbers

Renovations to the traffic system near Duboce Avenue:

26 months Length of construction

$26 million Cost of project

Early 2010 Construction to begin

Affected Muni lines N, J, F, 22-Fillmore

Construction amenities:

Upgrade tracks, signal system, and reduce noise and vibration

Resurface roadways

Replace street poles with new painted poles

Replace streetlight fixtures with new decorative light fixtures

Lengthen boarding islands along the corridor

Upgrade existing water main

Upgrade sewer system as needed

Upgrade curb ramps

Source: SFMTA

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