Photograph by Don Nolte

Photograph by Don Nolte

Axis Cafe will remain open indefinitely with the same management and style, now called Araceli.

February 2013

Short Cuts

Steven J. Moss

Tear Down that Freeway!

The idea of demolishing 280’s northern section, near Mission Bay, is gaining traction as planners look for ways to usher in high-speed rail and transit-oriented development South of Market and Downtown. Last month Mayor Ed Lee’s transportation policy director, Gillian Gillett, floated a proposal modeled after the removals of the Embarcadero Freeway and a section of the Central Freeway, which revitalized the neighborhoods the roads used to divide. Gillett argued that replacing 280’s elevated portion with a street-level boulevard, from its terminus at Fourth and King Streets south to 16th Street, would improve the area’s livability, open up land to develop new neighborhoods, provide funding through real estate revenue, and create engineering solutions to facilitate the extension of Caltrain and California High-Speed Rail to the Transbay Transit Center. If the freeway is left standing, its pillars would present an engineering obstacle to running the train tracks underground; the only other feasible way to allow rail to safely and expediently cross 16th Street would be to dip 16th underneath the tracks. That would make the intersection — a gateway to Mission Bay — even more hostile for pedestrians and bicyclists than it already is. In a moment that would make the City’s mid-20th Century freeway protesters proud — including Potrero Hill’s Estelle West (aka, “the Goat Lady”) — Gillett told the crowd, “Let’s be San Francisco and take down the freeway.” Walk SF executive director Elizabeth Stampe called the proposal “an exciting opportunity to re-orient our City around sustainable public transportation and create a more walkable City.”


Parking restrictions — in this case, seemingly welcome — have been added to the west side of the south end of Connecticut Street, off Cesar Chavez, according to Hill resident John Zane. Late last year the City posted signs indicating one-hour parking from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. to the left of the entrance to Cherin’s Appliances, with four-hour parking from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. allowed to the right of the entrance. Prior to the changes, taxi drivers would park their personal vehicles in the area all day. “Now you can eat at Oscar’s Deli on the corner, leave your car at Dynamic Autobody — without double parking — workout at Arena Ready fitness center, and take a daytime Zumba class or rehearse at Danzhaus, without worrying about your car,” Zane said. “The new parking restrictions also mean the street is regularly patrolled by police/parking agents, providing more safety and security than ever before.” 


Cup of Blues is being coverted to a full-service restaurant, featuring healthy and moderately priced American foods. Plans by Josh Shertz, who’s owned the coffee and sandwich shop on the corner of 22nd and Minnesota streets for nearly 20 years, include a remodeled kitchen, new fixtures, flooring and other upgrades, as well as the addition of an accomplished chef. Though most of the funding for this transformation has been secured, Shertz is looking for community members to join a “crowd funding” effort to finance the remaining capital needs. Contributors will get naming rights for tables and menu items. Potential donors can find Shertz at Cup of Blues six days a week until 2 p.m…After spending the last decade catering to New York’s food scene, Chef Josie Smith-Malave, of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” is running a three-month pop-up restaurant, Global Soul Corner, at Thee Parkside on 17th street. Smith-Malave, a classically trained bohemian chef and former women’s professional football player, has revamped the restaurant’s daily menu, and is offering Sunday brunch… Axis Cafe will remain open at least until this June. The building in which the eatery is located is being redeveloped, but its owners, the Nibbi Brothers, aren’t yet ready to raze the edifice. The cafО will operate under a new moniker, Araceli, with the same attitude, spirit and staff. Linda Edson will continue as manager while opening a new cafe with the same name on Treasure Island in partnership with Mark Smallcombe.


Last month the Community Opportunity Fund Project Selection Committee recommended that the Recreation and Park Commission award McKinley Square $38,551. The monies, which will be administered by Friends of McKinley Square, will be used for native plantings, installing a drinking fountain, and remediating hillside trails. 

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