Trees, historic trolley poles to be removed for bus project

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

A challenge to The City’s Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project was shot down Wednesday night, in a blow to those looking to preserve trees and historic trolley poles on Van Ness Avenue.
The fight pitted residents who wanted to preserve historic fixtures against transit advocates and others interested in paving the way for faster bus service for thousands.

The trolley poles were first constructed in 1915 for the Pan Pacific International Expo, which drew thousands to San Francisco’s Marina district.

The San Francisco Board of Appeals voted down an appeal by the City’s Historic Preservation Commission, which previously granted the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency permission to remove trees and historic trolley poles for the construction of traffic medians as part of the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit project.

The project would convert the two center lanes of Van Ness Avenue into red-painted bus-only lanes, and construct medians that act almost like train stops, in an effort to speed up Muni’s 47 and 49 bus lines.

The Historic Preservation Commission issued SFMTA a “certificate of appropriateness” to allow the project to move forward in November last year, but it was conditional. The SFMTA was told to preserve four of the historic trolley poles — two in front of City Hall, and two in front of the War Memorial building, and to create a plaque commemorating their historic significance.

The Board of Appeals decision to deny the appeal upholds the Historic Preservation Commission’s original decision to allow the SFMTA to continue, conditionally, with the Van Ness BRT project… (more)

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