Along time ago, in the office of a city planner far, far away, a plan was hatched to solve San Francisco’s traffic problem.
The year was 1928, and the San Francisco Traffic Survey Committee had mapped out a vision for the future that involved widening selected city streets to adapt them for use as major arterial throughfares.
Bryant Street in the Mission was to become one such proposed artery; it would carry much of the traffic traveling between South of Market and the Peninsula via Bayshore and San Bruno Avenues. But how would all those vehicles get from Bryant to Bayshore (and vice-versa)?
Why, through the Bernal Tunnel, of course!!
Look closely, and it’s right there: A short tunnel running under present-day Franconia Street to whisk motorists through layer upon layer of our beloved Bernal Hill chert. One end of the tunnel would open roughly at the intersection of Holladay and Faith, and the other would disgorge traffic at the site of what is now that weird triangle-shaped gas station at the junction of Precita, Bryant, and Cesar Chavez.
Notice the other plans in store too. Like, for example, completing the street grid across the top of Bernal Hill via a much straightened-out Esmerelda Avenue (presumably after much of the hilltop was quarried and flattened). GENIUS! No Bernal Hill Park! No unseemly wildlife! No feral radish! Just a few dozen more homes, and a much more tidy drive around the neighborhood… all in the name of Progress.