Richmond residents move to sever Presidio artery 

Richmond district residents concerned with motorists zipping through their neighborhood are asking the Presidio Trust to shut down an important throughway in the former Army base, though the move could isolate businesses and residents in the southwest area of the national park.

Commuters, either from the North Bay or from neighborhoods such as the Marina or North Beach, have long used Battery Caulfield Road — the street eyed for closure — as an alternative route through the Presidio, with the road directing the motorists out through the 15th Avenue gate in the Richmond.

Next month, 154 units of rental housing will open on Wedemeyer Street. Motorists continue to use the Presidio to avoid construction on Doyle Drive. These bring more traffic to the Richmond. As a result, residents have asked the Presidio Trust to close Battery Caulfield Road completely — or at least bar automobiles during commute times.

“That area is made up of quiet residential streets,” said Ray Holland, president of the Planning Association for the Richmond, a neighborhood group. “The increased amount of vehicles would really be a major disturbance.”

Supervisor Eric Mar, whose district includes the Richmond, said restricting automobile access on Battery Caulfield Road would address neighborhood concerns about excessive traffic, while also opening up more opportunities for cyclists and pedestrians in the area.

However, the street closure would also limit mobility to the Presidio’s Public Health Service District, a new development located just north of the 15th Avenue gate.

Anna Haglin, a bookbinder at the Grabhorn Institute, a nonprofit printmaking organization located on Hays Street, said that Battery Caulfield Road is the only way to reach the center through the Presidio.

“We’re very concerned that people won’t be able to make it over to us,” Haglin said. “Closing Battery Caulfield Road cuts us off from the being part of the historic aspect of the Presidio.”

To get to the institute, visitors would have to drive along Lake Street, a measure that would actually put more cars through the 15th Avenue gate, Haglin said.

Dana Polk, spokeswoman for the Presidio Trust, said no decisions have been made yet on the street closure. The trust is currently collecting public feedback from community groups before opting to move forward with the plan.

Last year, the Presidio Trust experimented with street closures in the northeastern area of the park as a way to collect traffic information. That pilot program was cut short, due in part to strong backlash from residents.

Polk said the latest project is different because it comes at the request of neighborhood groups.

The street closure at Battery Caulfield Road would not be applied to emergency vehicles andPresidiGo shuttles.

Presidio at a glance

4,000-4,500: Workers employed in the Presidio
2,500-3,000: Residents in the Presidio
1,200: Residences in the Presidio
750: Structures in the Presidio

Source: Presidio Trust

Battery Caulfield Road

Alternative 1
Limit vehicle use during weekday commute hours and weekends

Alternative 2
Limit vehicle use at all times

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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