Eyes on the Street: Guerrero Park Update

This bronze pony is a highlight of Guerrero Park. Photo: Streetsblog.
This bronze pony is a highlight of Guerrero Park. Photo: Streetsblog.

Back in 2009, Streetsblog informed readers about neighborhood efforts to calm traffic at San Jose Avenue at Guerrero and 28th Streets. There’s little that aligns more closely with the mission of Streetsblog than the creation of small inviting parks that can transform a dangerous traffic sewer into an enlivened public asset. And, thanks to the hard work of advocates, that’s exactly what’s happening–and with more permanent infrastructure in each phase of the project. From the “Pavement to Parks” website:

Vehicle speeding on Guerrero Street, and the area around the intersection with San Jose Avenue, prompted a series of improvements to the neighborhood to increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists. San Jose Avenue was closed at its intersection with Guerrero Street and is now a two-way “cue street,” providing local access to residents along the block.

The design of the resulting space was developed by Jane Martin of Shift Design Studio who provided services free of charge to the City. Raised planters, made of reclaimed logs from Golden Gate Park and featuring native and drought tolerant plants, are placed along the edge of the plaza facing Guerrero Street, creating a comfortable place for relaxation, contemplation, and more active uses.

It’s almost hard to imagine, but just a few years ago the intersection looked like this:

Just asphalt, paint, and speeding cars. Photo: Pavement to Parks.
Just asphalt, paint, and speeding cars. Photo: Pavement to Parks.

And now, after phased improvements that started back in 2009, it looks like this:

The new public space carved out of a notorious intersection. That's a big concrete chair on the left. Photo: Streetsblog.
The new public space carved out of a notorious intersection. That’s a big concrete chair on the left. Photo: Streetsblog.
Another angle on the bronze horse that anchors the park. Photo: Streetsblog.
Another angle on the bronze pony that anchors the park. Photo: Streetsblog.
Although construction is not yet complete, the small park is really taking shape. Note the use of logs and concrete art to make sure cars can't intrude on this public space. Although it is permeable to pedestrians and slow moving bikes. Photo: Streetsblog.
Although construction is not yet complete, the small park has really taken shape over the years. Note the use of logs and concrete art to make sure cars can’t intrude on this public space, although it is permeable to pedestrians. Photo: Streetsblog.

Just yesterday, Streetsblog reported on the horrible crash at Sutter and Market. Whenever there’s a crash that puts a car on a sidewalk or another pedestrian space, wouldn’t it be great if the City responded to it by protecting the space with attractive and robust infrastructure like they did with Guerrero Park? Inexpensive, off-the-shelf materials could be fairly quickly put in place to keep people safe.

  • Elias Zamaria

    To whom it may concern: the link to Streetsblog writing about San Jose and Guerrero in 2009 is broken. I think it is supposed to point to http://sf.streetsblog.org/2009/07/17/san-jose-and-guerrero-plaza-could-mark-triumph-over-deadly-traffic/.

  • RichLL

    “Whenever there’s a crash that puts a car on a sidewalk or another pedestrian space, wouldn’t it be great if the City responded to it by protecting the space with attractive and robust infrastructure”

    A classic case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. A better approach might be a systematic assessment of relative and economic risk rather than a kneejerk example of ambulance chasing and emotive over-reactions.

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