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Pacifica’s Historical Main Street – Palmetto Avenue

Many years ago, the 10-block stretch of Palmetto Avenue between Clarendon and Paloma Avenues was identified in the General Plan as the future site of a “Main Street” for Pacifica. The Palmetto Streetscape Project is one of several projects to develop the “Main Street”.

The Pacific City Council approved a $3.8 million dollar project to begin it’s Palmetto Main Street concept.  Palmetto street has historically been a center of social, commercial and community since before incorporation. This project ties the southern 10 blocks of the street into a unified look to create a more walkable, safe and attractive ‘Main Street’ for visitors and residents. What makes this main street so unique is it’s proximity to the ocean. It runs adjacent to Shark Park beach which boasts a 1.5 mile walking promenade, a park like picnic area and of course, the Pacifica Pier. To south, is the Shark Park golf course and Mori Point State Park with it’s many trails and tremendous views of the Pacifica Ocean. This project is one of many in the area, the City has also authorized the building of a new high end Hotel with restaurant and boutique shops that sits on the beach at the Pier’s entrance, just one block from Palmetto. The wildly popular coastal FogFest festival takes place on Palmetto street each September and these improvements will only encourage visitors to return for more.  Pacifica already boosts some of the best beaches in the Bay area, the addition of a main street will surely bring visitors from far and wide. Only 10 miles from San Francisco, it is an easy drive down scenic Coast Highway 1. This project will truly make Pacifica the gateway to the Coast.

the Plan

Palmetto Avenue is undergoing an transformation. This area has long been a center of social, commercial, and community activities and is home to the annual Pacific Coast FogFest in September. The long-time vision for the Palmetto Main Street in the historic Sharp Park neighborhood is finally underway.

The streetscape improvements are based on a design plan developed by the West Sharp Park Advisory Committee working with the Palmetto Avenue businesses and property owners. This redesign is expected to
make Palmetto Avenue a more inviting and effective retail
district that will help encourage more businesses to locate here, such as restaurants, shops and personal services, turning the street into a thriving “downtown.

The effort kicked off with the undergrounding of power and communications lines. The utility undergrounding project completed in 2016. All of the distribution lines have already been placed beneath the street and sidewalks to unclutter the view of the street. The cost of the undergrounding project was funded by money set aside by the utility companies for such projects. A few finishing touches remain, such as patching at some sidewalks where poles were removed.

Today, the next phase, streetscaping has begun. This project brings attractive main street improvements to these 10 blocks for a more walkable, safe, and attractive ‘Main Street’ for visitors and residents.

The most important changes include new intersection corner bulbs that will slow traffic, make pedestrian crossings safer, and allow decorative landscaping and accessories such as benches. The sidewalks will be
made safer for everyone, including people with impaired mobility. New decorative streetlights, like those recently installed on the Pacifica Pier, will be
placed on both sides of the street with their wiring underground and with
provisions for decorative banners. Dedicated bicycle lane striping will be provided, along with bicycle racks to allow for locking bikes while shopping
or eating in the nearby shops and restaurants. Finally, the street will be
repaved and re- striped.
STREETLIGHTS
•Pedestrian scale
•5 per block
•includes Power – festival lighting
•Flag/Banner mounts
•Architectural design
*these were previously purchased.
BICYCLE PATH
•dedicated lane
•new markings and safety colors
SIDEWALK
•repair critical cracks
•corner ramps and driveway aprons
•accessibility for ADA
STREET CORNER BULBS
•traffic calming
•pedestrian protection
STREET CROSSWALKS
•highly marked visibility
•new paint 
STREET SIGNAGE
•new street signs  – this will complete in a future phase.
Official City of Pacifica project link Palmetto Streetscape Project
 

Map

The project area, focused on Palmetto Avenue is part of by the Sharp Park neighborhood, already home to many shops and restaurants.

What makes this main street so unique is its proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Palmetto Avenue runs parallel to Beach Blvd. and Sharp Park Beach which boasts a 1.5 mile walking promenade, a park-like picnic area and of course, the Pacifica Pier. To the immediate south are the Shark Park Golf Course and Mori Point (GGNRA) with its many trails and tremendous views of the Pacifica Ocean and Marin Headlands.

The Palmetto project is one of several projects and initiatives in the area. In September 2016 the City Council selected a developer for a new hotel and restaurant at the beach, just one block from Palmetto. The wildly popular FogFest takes place on Palmetto each September. In addition, the City Council approved the purchase of the last segment of land to connect the Coastal Trail that runs the entire length of Pacifica’s coastline to Devils Slide and points south in San Mateo County.

Pacifica boasts some of the best beaches in the Bay Area. The addition of a Palmetto Main Street will be an attractive addition with anticipated small restaurants and shops. Only 10 miles from San Francisco, it is an easy drive down scenic Highway 1.

History

Pacifica is best know for two things: The San Francisco Bay Discovery site where, in 1769, the Gaspar Portola expedition climbed the mountain ridge and became the first Europeans to see the great San Francisco Bay; and yes, the Taco Bell on the beach just above the surf break.  While unrelated, these two examples demonstrate the rich and varied history of this small community just south of San Francisco.

The City of Pacifica is spread along a six-mile stretch of coastal beaches and hills in north central California, just 10 miles south of San Francisco. The city comprises several small valleys spread between Sweeney Ridge in the east, Montara Mountain to the south, and the Pacific Ocean’s rocky bluffs to the west.

Pacifica is well known regionally as a popular surfing destination. Surfers and families often visit Linda Mar Beach. Rockaway Beach is a scenic location and offers recreation, shopping and dining.  Pacifica is also a popular mountain biking destination, with many trails crossing the hillsides that surround the city, including Pedro Mountain Road, Sweeney Ridge, and areas of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Fishermen frequent the local beaches and the Pacifica Pier, often catching Striped Bass and Salmon. Pacifica is also a popular place to hike, with many trails that wind along the beaches and bluffs, including Mori Point, San Pedro Valley County Park, the Sanchez Adobe, Milagra Ridge, and the privately owned Pacifica quarry. For live local theater and performing arts, Pacifica Spindrift Players is a local and popular favorite, in addition to Pacifica Performances which regularly provides both musical presentations and performing arts as well. Pacifica is also home to the Sharp Park Golf Course, which was designed in 1931 by architect Alister MacKenzie.

Pacifica Historical Society

Contact

For questions about the 2017 Palmetto StreetScape project contact the Pacifica Department of Public Works.