Former Caltrans property could become Bayview ‘gateway’

Third Street project with sign, landscaping could be first of several to mark neighborhood entrances

San Francisco’s plan to install a gateway to the Bayview could move forward this spring after an agreement was reached for the state to give The City a small parcel of land at no cost.

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote next week on the land transaction, which will transform a Caltrans right of way described as “a vacant lot that is currently underutilized and overgrown with vegetation.”

The area, along Third Street at Meade Avenue, will become a “gateway” to the Bayview with features including benches, plantings and letters spelling out Bayview, according to renderings of the project by architectural firm HOK.

Jeremy Spitz, a Public Works officials, told a board committee last week that Caltrans has agreed to give up a small parcel near Third Street and Meade Avenue to allow for the Bayview Gateway Project.

The project can’t advance if the state holds onto the land, Spitz said, because “Caltrans has a prohibition on decorative features within their jurisdiction.”

The Bayview Hill Neighborhood Association was instrumental in the project and has worked on it with Public Works since 2016, along with then Supervisor Malia Cohen and now her successor Shamann Walton.

Spitz said this “is an effort to identify and beautify the entrances to our southeast neighborhood.”

The Third Street and Meade Avenue location, near the Highway 101 ramp, is considered a pilot project “to create a welcoming sign to identify the neighborhood.”

“This is a pilot project and larger effort to install gateways at all the entrances, hopefully, to the Bayview neighborhood,” Spitz said.

Walton said last week that “the community is very excited about this project.” He said residents are “looking to do more things” to ensure people “know and feel when they are entering the Bayview community.”

According to the neighborhood group, the project is meant to help people “recognize the area for its beauty and charm.”

“The Bayview encompasses some of San Francisco’s premier ecological and cultural landmarks including Bayview Hill, a natural hill that sits at the southeast entrance to San Francisco,” the group writes of the project on its website. “We have been working closely with the Bayview community to develop a unified vision for the neighborhood and will develop a gateway pilot site that will highlight the cultural richness of this area.”

Funding for the $450,000 project is already allocated, which includes $150,000 from a voter-approved streetscape bond, $200,000 through the board’s budget “add-back” process and a $100,000 city grant.

Upon approval by the board, the California Transportation Commission is expected to vote to finalize the deal in March.

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