John M. Woodbridge has resigned as executive director of the Pennsylvania Avenue Development Corporation, a post he has held since 1973, to join an architucture-planning firm in San Francisco.

Woodbridge, who presided over formulation of the controversial plan to upgrade Pennsylvania Avenue, the nation's ceremonial thoroughfare, said yesterday that with completion of the project his job would become an administrative one.

"I am not a bureaucrat with much enthusiasm. I have stayed on to see that the plan got funded," he said.

Congress approved an initial $29 million appropriation last April so the corporation can begin work on such projects as renovation of the famous Willard Hotel at 14th and Pennsylvania Avenue NW and for street improvements.

The Corporation will use the bulk of the money, $25 million, to purchase land along the Avenue for redevelopment into shops and apartments. Last June, the Canadian government announced plans to build a new embassy on the avenue and the Quadrangle Corporation announced that it will build an office building at 13th and E Streets NW, fronting on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Woodbridge said yesterday that the private sector had shown "tremendous interest" in the Pennsylvania Avenue plan. "My real concern now is that we in government can move fast enough to respond to them, and we have some, problems in that area," he added.

Woodbridge, who has been involved with the Corporation since 1963, returned to Washington in 1973 to oversee the drawing up of an Avenue plan, which finally won Congressional approval after more than a decade of debate and controversy.

"I think we have a good plan," Woodbridge said yesterday. "I think its going to be difficult to carry it out because there is so much bureaucratic red tape in Washington."

A Princeton University graduate, the 48-year old Woodbridge spent 14 years as an architectural designer in the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill before being named Executive Director of the redevelopment corporation.