Folsom Plans

The city of San Francisco has big plans for Folsom Street, and the LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District is working to make sure that these changes genuinely benefit the folks who live and work and play in the area, and recognize the role of the Leather and Queer community in shaping this neighborhood.

Advocating for recognition and inclusion is a long and painstaking process, and our Board President, Bob Goldfarb, has been working with multiple agencies, departments, and individuals.  At this time we anticipate that the future Folsom Street will include:

Mockup showing proposed street signage identifying the LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District. Signs on street light and traffic light poles identifying the LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District by name.

(Example mock-up shown.)

Leather pride flags painted on all the new street light and traffic light poles being erected on Folsom Street, from 8th to 11th Streets.

(Example mock-up shown.)

Mockup showing proposed street signage identifying the LEATHER & LGBTQ Cultural District, and wraparound leather flag designs on light poles.

Decorative crosswalks across the alleys at Folsom from 7th to 11th, colored black, blue and red.

A fourth key element of leather-theming is the installation of plaques marking the past locations of various important businesses, such as Fe-be’s at 11th and Folsom, and the Folsom Street Barracks at the corner of Hallam.

Installing bronze plaques in the sidewalk requires a whole string of city approvals, including tests to make sure folks won’t slip on them.  We are working to get all those approvals in time to have the plaques installed as part of the Folsom Street project. The Cultural District will work on plaques in other locations in the future.

Eventually, the plaques will form a kind of leather trail, guiding folks through the history of our neighborhood, in conjunction with a smartphone-based walking tour.

The city’s plan for upgrading Folsom Street (and later Howard Street), is extensive and dramatic.  According to the SFMTA Web Site, the Folsom Streetscape Project will include: “the removal of one to two eastbound travel lanes and the addition of traffic and bike signals, protected corners at intersections, corner bulb-outs, raised crosswalks, mid-block crosswalks and crosswalks at alleyways and minor streets, a two-way separated bikeway, a transit-only lane, transit boarding islands, and improved curb management.”  These changes are intended to make biking and walking in SoMa more comfortable and enjoyable, improve transit services, and improve safety for all.

Also in the works:  “tree-lined medians and Civic Amenity Zones”, better lighting on the sidewalks, bike racks and street furniture, and perhaps even a “Gateway” element to welcome folks to our naughty little neighborhood.

San Francisco Public Works (SFPW) and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) held a Virtual Open House for the Folsom Streetscape Project on January 28, 2021.  Their presentation slides are here, and the video of the event and more info about the project are here.

They are now conducting a survey, which you can participate in  here, until February 2, 2021.  If you have questions or comments, you can contact them at folsom@sfmta.com.

Construction might not start until 2022, but we will continue working to make sure our history and culture is respected and reflected.