DPW crews have been working at a feverish pace to complete the city's first "Pavement-to-Parks" plaza, pouring yellow, slip-resistant road paint over the surface and installing 70 demarcation bollards that will be filled with soil and gravel and adorned with fan palms, yucca jewels and birds of paradise. Crews are installing movable barriers at both ends of the plaza to allow for emergency fire access. Tables and chairs will also be situated around the plaza, and locked at night on a nearby catenary poll.
"The goal of this opening on Wednesday is to show how you can do something really quick, really simply," said Andres Power, an urban designer at the SF Planning Department.
Liz Ogbu, an architect with Public Architect Inc., which has designed the project pro bono, said, "This is a little nuts. It’s sort of forced everyone to have to think out of the box and sort of roll with the punches and just be quick on their feet."
For example, Ogbu said they ran out of paint Sunday and a new shipment was still a day away but "somebody came up with the idea of, well, we can tap the traffic paint, and we were a little skeptical because we couldn’t match the color, but it works well and we’re in good shape.”
Crews have also set up the bollards to accommodate the streetcars and buses that will continue passing through the plaza. Ogbu said plazas with transit ways have worked well in some European cities, including Amsterdam.
"All the Muni drivers have been giving us thumbs up as they’ve been coming through," said Ogbu. "And the business owners who we’ve been back and forth with, they’re in good shape.”