San Francisco’s two newest Pavement to Parks trial plazas are both on track to open by Thursday, with only the finishing touches remaining. Jane Martin, who helped about 40 neighbors plant trees and shrubs in the planter beds at the San Jose/Guerrero plaza this Sunday, said the space has already begun to come to life.
"It’s socially already working really well," said Martin. Judging from the reaction of neighbors who passed by today, the plaza is already being embraced. From Martin’s experience as well, there’s been a very positive response from the community.
Both plazas are nearly complete, except for their taller planters, which also function as oversized traffic bollards. At the San Jose/Guerrero plaza, these planters are made of stainless steel. Over at the Lower Potrero plaza, surplus sewer pipes are being used for the same purpose. At both locations, the planters will have soil and plants added to them in the next couple days.
The San Jose/Guerrero plaza, or Guerrero Park, still has a few trees that need to be planted in the ground as well. Once that’s finished, the surface will be coated with a special paint, in time for a Thursday launch if all goes well.
The bamboo trees at Guerrero Park were sold at cost by Bamboo Sourcery, Martin said, which made it possible for the plaza’s planners to afford them. Without the bamboo, the plaza would hardly be the same place, Martin added.
At the Lower Potrero plaza site, large debris boxes have been converted to planters. In fitting with the plaza’s location near the California College of the Arts, each box will be painted with a different design by a graffiti artist. "We have a graffiti artist who’s putting that design treatment on the planters on the larger debris boxes," said the Planning Department’s Andres Power, "both to add a little bit of color to the space, and also to discourage tagging."
Power, who was coordinating work on the site of the Lower Potrero plaza this afternoon, said the plaza’s ground surface would also have a touch of aesthetic flair to it. Similar to "the double-yellow stripes that demarcate opposing traffic in the center of the roadway," said Power, "we’re going to be taking a single line, the width of one of those lines, and creating a pattern across the surface with it."
The community response has been very positive so far, said Power, though there was some initial confusion about the logs at the Guerrero Park site when they first arrived. "Now that they’ve all come together and you can see what they’re intended to be, we’ve got a lot of positive comments on that," said Power.
One neighbor who passed by said she’s ecstatic about the new park. "Who cares about parking," she said. "I take that back – I spend too much of my life looking for parking. But I’d much rather have a park."