Proposed Safeway renovation plans median removal and wide driveway

Safeway wants to remove a part of the median for truck access.

The Planning Department is preparing to release the final environmental review for the soon to be remodeled Safeway on Monterey Blvd. The grocer hopes to begin a ten month renovation in the next year. Safeway has posted a new web site with details on the planned renovation including a driver’s eye video of the store from the street and inside the rooftop parking lot.

The upgrade is sorely needed in the neighborhood but we wish Safeway had spent more effort looking at the project from a pedestrian’s point of view. Seen from the sidewalk instead of from behind the wheel, a big issue is the removal of a large portion of the median along with three palm trees in front of the current parking lot to accomodate round the clock deliveries. The plan calls for trucks to back into the enclosed loading dock across all four lanes of Monterey from the westbound side of the street.

Hundreds of kids use this crossing each day to get to school

A small island will remain at the crosswalk at Foerster where slow pedestrians will be able to find shelter at this busy school crossing. FoMB feels the effect of removing the median will open the street up to faster traffic – the opposite of what we have been working toward for the last few years.

FoMB has several proposals for ways Safeway can ameliorate this situation. We want to “bulb out” the sidewalk at Foerster, reducing the distance pedestrians have to walk when crossing Monterey. We also want a bus bulb at the westbound Muni stop to provide

in-pavement pedestrian warning lights

more room for bus riders and to calm the traffic. In addition, we request that Safeway fund a permanent radar speed detector at Detroit, as well as in-pavement warning lights that alert drivers to pedestrians in this mid-block crosswalk. Another request is to fill in the missing median west of Foerster.

Another controversial issue is Safeway’s request for a variance to allow a third lane from the roof-top parking lot. The planning Department’s traffic study counted cars

Safeway's driveway as it is today

crossing the sidewalk into the parking lot during its busiest times– Sunday and Monday evenings between four and seven o’clock. They counted 288 cars per hour on Sundays and 300 on Mondays. Planning projects these numbers will increase fifty percent after the renovation to 525 per hour. That’s one car crossing pedestrian space every seven seconds!

Retouched to show three lanes if traffic crossing the sidewalk

Safeway’s thinking is that a third lane will speed up traffic in and out of the lot. That is the precise reason we oppose it! We want to calm traffic, not speed it up, especially when it intrudes into the pedestrian realm! Our solution is for Planning to deny the variance from the Planning Code and allow just one lane in and one lane out. Several parking spots should also be removed in front of the store to allow for a wider sidewalk that will compensate for the extra traffic by expanding pedestrian space. This will allow room for landscaping and street seating, allowing for a neighborhood meeting place.

The Friends of Monterey Boulevard welcomes this positive improvement to our neighborhood and we hope these suggestions will help to make our main drag a safe and convivial place. We wil be submitting a letter to the Planning Department with our suggestions in the nest week. Do you have additional ideas? Leave them in the comments!

The Planning Department is asking for input from the community. Letters about the environmental effect of this project are due no later than Nov. 14 and should be sent to: 

Andrea Contreras
San Francisco Planning Dept.
1650 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Refer to Case #2010.0401E
Letters about things that pertain to to the project itself (such as the proposed 24 hours of operation) should be directed to Sharon Lai, at the same address.

10 responses to “Proposed Safeway renovation plans median removal and wide driveway

  1. Come to the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association (SNA) meeting tonight, at St. Finn Barr Church social hall, 415 Edna Street, at Hearst, 7:00pm.
    The Safeway renovation update is on the agenda: with an update on the EIR (environmental impact report) that Jon is talking about responding to, and also about the SNA’s draft letter responding responding to the EIR to the Planning department. There is a subcommittee of the SNA that is dealing directly with Safeway and the Planning Department (I think that Jon knows and is on this committee, I think?)
    I am hopeful that the SNA’s letter, through its Safeway Committee, on behalf of our hundreds of members, will address neighborhood concerns not only Traffic issues, but Noise concerns, whether it be in support of the 3 lane parking lot exit, against it, or any modifications to the Plan, for the Foerster/Monterey intersection.

    • I completely agree with your Trader Joes comment with waiting for parking is super dangerous. Just a few weeks ago someone was struck and killed right near there trying to cross the street (probably because they did not want to wait 15 minutes for parking and crossed the street and was struck and killed).

  2. This is a great discussion of some of the pedestrian issues around the Safeway project. Thank you for explaining it so clearly! I received an email from Natalie Mattei at Safeway yesterday that said they are in discussions with MTA about some of the proposed traffic calming elements mentioned in your post in exchange for removal of the median strip (automated speed radar detectors and bulbouts). You do noRegarding the variance for the wider driveway, I am mixed. I don’t like the idea of crossing a wider driveway, but there will be one driveway instead of the current three. If there is a bottleneck at the driveway entrance, then cars will back up in the street trying to enter, as I have observed at the Andronico’s on 13th Ave., the Safeway at 7th Ave, and the Masonic Ave. Trader Joe’s entrance. I think this creates a dangerous situation for pedestrians, too. I appreciate all your advocacy for pedestrians (and bikes) on Monterey.

    • I completely agree with your assessment of Trader Joes where just a few weeks ago a pedestrian was struck and KILLED crossing the street (probably going to Trader Joes) and probably parked across the street due to not wanting to wait in line to park for 15 minutes.

      • Richard G.

        Exactly: let’s be sure that the nightmare that is Trader Joe’s parking lot on Masonic Street between Euclid and Geary does not happen on Monterey Blvd. The plans and additions to the plans will mitigate that dangerous scenario for sure.

  3. I forgot to mention that Natalie’s email also said that Safeway has agreed to have a flagman for each 18-wheel truck delivery to ensure that traffic stops safely so the truck can back into the loading dock across Monterey Blvd.

  4. We have been remiss! Your work on this issue on behalf of the Sunnyside Neighborhood Assoc. is very much appreciated Daphne!

  5. Pingback: Friends of Monterey Boulevard

  6. It’s 2016, I went to this Safeway yesterday, and the places does not appear to have been renovated yet???? why the delay????

    • Largely due to the merger of Albertsons-Safeway, Justin: everything slowed down, to a crawl this past year plus. Additionally, there has been a long arduous City Planning process, which took years. It took awhile to tackle some of the major traffic-transport-design issues. Things moved very slowly, and then the merger happened. We have had our patience tried.
      However, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the project (Dec. 2014), during the merger . . . . and we have just heard from the construction managers, who will be giving us a timeline in the coming weeks, for the remodel. They are excited to get the project started and will be giving us, the FoMB and the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association, a timeline of key events. Stay tuned !

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