17th St and Market St Plaza Opens Next Wednesday

17th_st_tram.jpgSite of the trial 17th Street closure and pedestrian plaza. Photo: Matthew Roth

The trial street closure for a pedestrian plaza at the corner of Market Street, 17th Street, and Castro Street will kick off next Wednesday, May 13th with a press conference with Mayor Gavin Newsom.  As we wrote about here, the trial closure will incorporate techniques used in New York City to transform a street into a public amenity without spending loads of money on capital construction.  If the plaza proves a success, the Department of Public Works will be looking for other locations to replicate the pilots. 

Though some community members, particularly residents on Hartford Street, have reacted negatively at community meetings to the idea of eliminating their vehicular access to Market Street, the Castro Street Community Betterment District (CBD) is fully supportive and expects the amenity to attract shoppers and neighborhood residents to enjoy the area. 

Tentative word is the press conference will start at 10:00 am, though we’ll be sure to update you if there are any changes.

  • I’m really looking forward to this plaza opening up. I’m surprised it’s happening so soon! Today I was down at Castro and Market volunteering for Great Streets taking surveys of random people on their perception of the Castro commercial district. (“Random” people meaning anyone who would talk to me. Geez, carry a clipboard in the Castro and people run away from you.) Anyway, people were generally very positive about the idea of a plaza. Curiously, almost no one had heard that it was going to happen. A number of folks, especially those who lived in the neighborhood, were positive about the plaza but concerned about the homeless taking it over. It was kind of a constant refrain.

  • This is lovely news. Now, when can we tear up that gas station and put in a park and cafe?

  • DaveO

    If this becomes permaent, the F-market should stop on the tracks to the right of the island, the island should be removed, the stop moved to the curb, and the tracks adjusted so the streetcar can make the turn onto market.

  • Taomen, don’t take it too hard. You can barely go 100 feet without someone with a clipboard asking you to support the repeal of prop 8 (I found out from one of them yesterday they are campaigning only in the Castro) and I think just about everyone has had it with them.

    DaveO, I suspect the turn radius is already close to being as tight as you can get, but you’re right that it doesn’t make sense to have the stop cut right through the middle of the plaza. I’ve always thought the loop goes the wrong way and a better first time experience would be for the cars to go all the way down Market to Castro and then head back downtown via 17th and Noe.

  • DaveO


    I think there’s plenty of room to make the turn from the right side tracks. You might need to start the turn a little earlier and maybe remove a little bit of the curb in front of the Chevron sign, but I don’t think it will be a problem.


    As for going all the way up Market to Castro and returning the other way, I just don’t think it’s a wise move to try to make a left turn off Market at the Castro/Market intersection. Noe is less busy.

  • A proper study would probably come up with the same conclusion, I meant that more as a general comment about the rider experience than as a specific suggestion.

    The Upper Market Plan considers what options for the plaza using part or all of the Chevron property. If the City did acquire the corner lot and make it main plaza, it would be better to leave the F-Line where it is now as it would be towards the outer edge and would sort of frame the plaza.

  • After my last comment, I remembered the Harvey Milk memorial plaza included some alternate routing for the F-line and looked it up. The winning design (PDF warning) for Harvey Milk plaza that the Upper Market Plan recommends, moves the F-Line turn around further up Market, using 17th and Eureka. An interesting idea that would extend the reach of the F-Line a little further and free up that entire 17th and Market