Freeways Never Built, or Unbuilt after 1989 quake

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This is an excerpt from a 2-hour interview, part of the Shaping San Francisco "Ecology Emerges" oral history collection, with long-time San Francisco environmental writer Harold Gilliam (conducted by Chris Carlsson). In this short clip he tells how he was lured to Washington DC to work for the Stewart Udall Interior Dept. under LBJ, where he was able to help derail plans to run a northern Bay Bridge from apx. Telegraph Hill to Angel Island to a new freeway up the Tiburon Peninsula. Below are images and proposed routes for this never-built bridge.

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Thanks to Eric Fischer for making these images, and many more, all in high resolution, available at his flickr account.

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Proposed Central Freeway along 7th Avenue, 1956

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The deconstruction of the Embarcadero Freeway, 1990

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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Demolition of Embarcadero Freeway.

Photo: Michael Kiesling via Facebook

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Demolition of Embarcadero Freeway, July 1991.

Photo: wnp72.16966d


Embarcadero Freeway early 1960s, before highrises made it to the edge the City.

Photo: Shaping San Francisco

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In 1959, the idea that freeways could relieve traffic was still somewhat plausible, before every local highway was jammed with traffic within a few years.

Photo: courtesy Mike Fusello via Facebook


Freeway hides historic ferry building in this 1985 photo until its demolition in 1990.

Photo: Private Collection, San Francisco, CA

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Embarcadero Freeway at apx. Clay Street, Ferry Building hidden at center left, c. 1969.

Photo: © Chuck Gould, all rights reserved.

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Freeway stump of Interstate-280 where it originally ended construction at 3rd Street near King. Later it was torn down to accommodate the Mission Bay plans and the new Giants stadium just east of this spot.

Photo: Gabriel Patrick Navarra via Facebook

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In the 1940s the California Dept. of Highways came up with various plans to blanket San Francisco with freeways. This is a version proposed in 1948 by San Francisco's Planning Department.

Thanks to Eric Fischer for making this map, and many more, all in high resolution, available at his flickr account.

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Early 1960s fantasy of new bridge adjacent to the then-brand new Candlestick Park.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

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Plans for Panhandle Freeway.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

Eric fischer Looking east toward Fillmore, between Fell and Oak, from the 1948 Transportation Plan for San Francisco 3890829846 8741707330 b.jpg

1948 vision of easterly view towards Fillmore between Fell and Oak.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

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Route of proposed Panhandle freeway.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer


1966 recommended routes for Panhandle and Golden Gate freeways, after they had been defeated twice in previous years.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

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Golden Gate Freeway alternative F using St. Francis Yacht Harbor breakwater.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

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Sunset-Golden Gate Park freeway plans.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

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Richmond-Golden Gate park freeway plans.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer


The 7th Avenue/Lincoln Avenue interchange for the Crosstown Freeway where it would have met the Sunset-Golden Gate Park Freeway!

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer


More of the same interchange.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

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One route proposed for the freeway through (under) Golden Gate Park.

Image courtesy Tim Drescher

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Panhandle/Golden Gate Park Freeway route plan on aerial photo.

Image courtesy Tim Drescher

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Freeway interachange at Fell and Oak Streets, if plans had ever been approved.

Image courtesy Tim Drescher

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1950 plan to flatten Yerba Buena Island to serve as a hub for multiple bridge/freeways to intersect there in mid-bay!

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

Maps and photos of San Francisco's original freeway plans

images and maps of many San Francisco freeways that were never built and some that were

Freeway Revolt 1958-64

Second Freeway Revolt

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