Before the I-280 Freeway

Unfinished History

The Interstate-280 freeway was the last major freeway built in San Francisco, and one of the few to escape the broad opposition that came to be known as the Freeway Revolt. The valley through which the freeway runs for much of its San Francisco course was once the Islais Creek before it was put into culverts and eventually covered with San Jose Avenue and Alemany Boulevard.

Ocean Shore Railroad 1915 wnp32.0166.jpg

Ocean Shore Railroad, 1915, easterly view from the Mission Street viaduct over Islais Creek and the future route of I-280.

Photo: wnp32.0166


San Jose Avenue northwest at Sickles Street, Southern Pacific Railroad running down the street, 1926. Interstate-280 now runs along this right of way.

Photo: C.R. collection


Monterey Boulevard northeast at San Jose Avenue. Diamond Street enters at left, and Holly Park is in distance--large building is the former Junipero Serra Grammar School, seen here in June 1953.

Photo: SFDPT, courtesy C.R.collection


Glen Park to southwestern Bernal Heights, c. 1940s.

Photo: C.R.collection


Bernal Avenue (now San Jose Avenue) southwest at St. Mary's Avenue with the Southern Pacific railroad at right, at the southern end of the newly widened Bernal Cut, seen here in 1930.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, courtesy C.R. collection


San Jose Avenue southwest at St. Mary's Avenue. Southern Pacific Colma line and Arlington Street at right. Monterey Blvd. in center distance, on opening day of the new Bernal Cut, April 16, 1930.

Photo: SFDPW, courtesy C.R. collection


Bernal Avenue (now San Jose Avenue) southwest at Diamond Street (far right) with Montery Boulevard up hill at left-center, and Joost St. going uphill from right of center, February 22, 1936.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, courtesy C.R. collection


Mission Street south over Alemany viaduct, 1926.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, courtesy C.R. collection


I-280 freeway under construction at Mission/Alemany viaduct, c. 1965.

Photo: C.R. collection