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A San Francisco neighborhood that doesn’t exist yet will name its main street after Mayor Ed Lee

Mayor Ed Lee died in office in December 2017, and San Francisco has already honored his pioneering term in office in several ways. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A yet-to-be-built San Francisco neighborhood will have a new street named after the late Mayor Ed Lee, who died unexpectedly in December 2017.

The Balboa Reservoir project, which will build 1,100 housing units on a large parking lot right next to the City College of San Francisco near Balboa Park, will name its major corridor “Mayor Ed Lee Avenue,” under a resolution proposed by Supervisor Myrna Melgar.

“Mayor Lee was a staunch advocate for affordable housing across the city,” Melgar said in the Tuesday Board of Supervisors meeting. She praised Lee for being “ahead of his time” in identifying the city’s west side site for development.

Per Melgar’s resolution, the street sign will also have a traditional Chinese “李孟賢市長街” name alongside its English name.

Melgar hopes that once the Board of Supervisors passes the resolution, the road could be completed within a year. Housing construction will begin after that.

A rendering of the proposed Mayor Edwin M. Lee Avenue | Courtesy Balboa Reservoir

The idea of redeveloping the 17-acre parking land took shape decades ago, but it took until the pandemic for then-Supervisor Norman Yee to establish a firm timetable. Melgar said she plans to name a child care facility in the project after Yee.

In a message to The Standard, Anita Lee, the late mayor’s widow, expressed her thanks to Melgar. 

Ed Lee, a Seattle native and son of Chinese immigrants, was appointed mayor of San Francisco in 2011 and made the history of becoming the first Asian American mayor of any large U.S. city. He was later elected to a full term and re-elected in 2015. After his death at age 65, San Francisco renamed an airport departure hall, a public housing project and a Chinatown school to honor him.