Leland Avenue Existing Conditions Memo
A New Leland Avenue | Existing Conditions Memo
Leland Avenue is the neighborhood 'main street' for Visitacion Valley, a diverse neighborhood in the southeastern part of San Francisco. Stretching approximately four blocks from Bayshore Boulevard to Cora Street, the Leland Avenue commercial district contains many neighborhood-serving businesses and civic uses such as a post office and library; however, there are many underutilized sites and retail vacancies, and the street has an undistinguished visual environment.
Leland Avenue in the section between Bayshore Boulevard and Schwerin Street contains a number of community-oriented institutions and services, including: a post-office located on the North side between Bayshore Boulevard and Alpha Street; the Visitacion Valley Clubhouse at the corner of Cora Street; the Visitacion Valley Elementary School at the corner of Schwerin Street; and a public library at the corner of Desmond Street. The public library plans to build a new facility at the corner of Leland Avenue and Rutland Street to replace the existing facility. The Visitacion Valley Greenway, extending five blocks from Tucker Street, terminates on Leland Avenue at Hans Schiller Plaza at the intersection or Leland Avenue and Peabody Street.
These institutions and public spaces give Leland Avenue within the project site a civic character, in addition to its use as a neighborhood shopping street. Additionally, there are many residential buildings and residential units above businesses on this stretch of Leland Avenue, adding a residential presence to the street.
The 3rd Street Light Rail, scheduled to open in 2006, will have stations on Bayshore Boulevard at Blanken Avenue and at Sunnydale Avenue. Although there will not be a Leland Avenue station, each of these stations will be within a 5-minute walk of Leland. The 3rd Street Light Rail is planned to extend to the CalTrain Bayshore Station as well, approximately ½ mile walking distance from the intersection of Leland and Bayshore.
Additionally, the 9, 9X, 15, and 56 Muni bus lines run in the vicinity of Leland Avenue. These lines cross Leland at Bayshore or at Rutland Street, where there are Leland Avenue stops. The 9X and the 15 lines also run along Visitacion Avenue, one block south of Leland, in the west bound direction, and on Arleta, two blocks north of Leland Avenue, in the eastbound direction.
Microclimate and Drainage
Stormwater drainage in Visitacion Valley generally occurs in a northwest to southeast direction, with the Greenway open space system developing along a pre-existing water conduit from the top of the hill on the Northern side to the intersection of Peabody Street and Leland Avenue. The Greenway incorporates an open dry creek bed that acts as an active, natural drainage system during the rainy season. Leland Avenue slopes gently from the west to the east, meaning that water drains in the direction of Bayshore Boulevard.
Buildings and Storefronts
There are a number of businesses on Leland Avenue providing a wide range of goods and services tailored to the needs of the local community. However, many storefront facades are covered with window bars and are in need of improvement. Most stores are oriented inward and don't generally use the sidewalk space for seating and displays. A few Leland Avenue businesses have taken to use the sidewalk space for signage or outdoor displays. Stores are generally open until the early evening, meaning the street is not active after dusk.
There is also a lack of pedestrian amenities such as pedestrian lighting, trash receptacles, informational markers and bike racks. Currently, the street lighting consists of cobra heads mounted on the utilities poles, which tend to light the roadway but do not provide sufficient light for pedestrians on the sidewalk.
Crosswalks are not consistently marked at all intersections and they appear to be in need of substantial improvements, especially at key locations such as Hans Schiller plaza, the public library and the clubhouse.
Leland Avenue is cluttered with overhead wires attached to the existing telephone poles; these wires create visual blight on Leland Avenue.
Traffic and Parking
There are a total of 72 metered parking spots in the project area; these appear to be used at less than full capacity. There is also a surface parking lot owned by the Bank of America building at Leland and Bayshore that serves Bank of America customers; there is no public off-street parking.