San Francisco’s Two Newest Trial Plazas Nearly Complete

IMG_5148_1.jpgSan Jose/Guerrero plaza. Photo: Michael Rhodes

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.

IMG_5077_2.jpgLower Potrero plaza.

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."

IMG_5096.jpgLower Potrero plaza.

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."

planning_dept_planting_090904.JPGIn addition to the community planting on Sunday, members of the Planning Department planted native and drought tolerant plants at Guerrero Park on Friday. Photo credit: Jane Martin

IMG_5157.jpgGuerrero Park.
IMG_5149.jpgThese steel planters at Guerrero Park will soon have soil and plants.
IMG_5134.jpgGuerrero Park.
IMG_5103.jpgLower Potrero plaza.
IMG_5073_2.jpgThese salvaged sewer pipes at the Lower Potrero plaza will be planted in the next couple days. In addition to serving as planters, they provide a giant barrier between the park and the street.
IMG_5084_2.jpgDespite the new plants, this stop sign at the Lower Potrero plaza is still in use.
IMG_5122.jpgPainted logs at Guerrero Park.

  • Protest: Critical Mass
    Institution: Sunday Streets

    Protest: PARKing Day
    Institution: Pavement to Parks

    I’m am so damn proud to be a part of this movement.

    Next Up: Let’s pedestrianize Irving Street from 7th to 11th and Haight from Masonic to Stanyan.

  • ZA

    Hear! Hear!

    Also: obey the stop sign! Sit, smell the native flowers!

  • This is such excellent news. In the nineties there used to be a guerilla garden named “Wind Tunnel Park” on the plot of land behind Guerrero Park, where that round yellow building is now. It is great to see more greenery and public space returning to that neighborhood. San Francisco is being beautifully transformed into a more livable city, one block at a time.

  • Interesting stuff here. But if you think you’re going to get the auto off of Irving Street (my neighborhood) from 7th-11th, keep dreaming. Whatever the merits, the fact you have that multi-ton train on it means it’s DOA.

    that said, you may want to consider other options. Ban turns at 9th and Irving and you may have something there for a start.

  • Adam Hartzell

    I volunteered at the Lower Potrero Park (“Showplace Triangle”) on Friday for a couple hours planting one of those Norcal bins during an extended lunch hour I was able to finagle from my boss. And walked by again today to see Andres and John planning out the hanging garden. It’s really coming along and I can’t wait for the launch on Thursday!

  • Nick

    @ Brian and Greg: a Stop sign is coming soon to 17th and Irving. Hopefully within the month.

    The ride from 9th to 19th used to be pretty bad… until these last few years. I like to call Irving “Valencia West”. Bikes are outnumbering cars there at all hours.

  • CE Montgomery

    Guerrero looks great, just great. I especially love the bamboo…

  • Aaron B.

    Unless I’m mistaken, I think by “pedestrianize”, Brian means to do what they’re already doing to Valencia – widening sidewalks, adding bulb-outs, trees, planters, etc. Not to remove cars, but to discourage them. Ideally, I’d go as far as to widen the sidewalks far enough to reduce the street to one lane and force cars to share with the N, with space enough for a bike lane. And past 19th, it’s too much like a parking lot. How ’bout some damn striped crosswalks?

  • Aaron B.

    Correction: I mean reduce it to two lanes (one each way)

  • Jason

    Planning and DPW are kicking it into high gear on these projects. Kudos to ReBar for spearheading the design of and adding lots of sweat equity to Showplace Triangle / Lower Potrero plaza. It’s awesome to see neighbors, the city, and non-profits collaborate to make new spaces.

  • I’m so love this blog, already bookmarked it! Thanks.


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