Preview the Upgrades Coming to the Castro’s Jane Warner Plaza

Jane Warner Plaza, seen here in 2011. Photo: Mike Bjork/Flickr

Jane Warner Plaza, the first plaza created using semi-permanent features as part of SF’s Pavement to Parks program, will get some repairs and upgrades as part of the Castro Street overhaul currently underway.

Upgrades coming to Jane Warner Plaza at 17th, Castro, and Market Streets. Image: DPW

The worn-out painted asphalt will be replaced with an easier-to-wash colored asphalt, and a pedestrian island will allow a more direct link between the Market and Castro Street crosswalks, said Department of Public Works project manager John Dennis. Bollards will also be placed outside the potted planters that currently separate the plaza from the roadway, and the metal barricades placed at the plaza’s east end on 17th Street will be replaced with permanent gates.

The streamlined crosswalk configuration will be “the big change,” said Dennis. “Right now, a pedestrian [coming from Castro] has to cross 17th Street and then cross Market Street. In the future, they’ll be able to walk directly across Market from Castro and 17th.”

The plaza will feel “less chopped up,” said Andrea Aiello, president of the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefits District.

The plaza improvements were selected by residents through a Planning Department survey of residents last year. Asked to choose between four different ways to spend a chunk of the Castro project’s money, plaza upgrades were heavily favored over options for bus bulb-outs on 18th at Castro, bulb-outs and a “gateway” median at 19th and Castro, and bulb-outs on the northern corners of Castro and Market.

Aiello said the new colored pavement is “exciting,” and will make the plaza “look a little more permanent,” compared to the peeling paint on the existing asphalt.

The pedestrian island and bollards should also help provide a stronger sense of protection from the fast-moving car traffic upper Market, Aiello said. “I’m hopeful that it will make people feel a bit more comfortable sitting there… there is always going to be that element that some people are afraid to sit there because a car’s going to come crashing into them from Market Street.” (No drivers have crashed into the plaza since 17th was closed to cars five years ago.)

Dennis said it’s unclear when the plaza improvements will go in, but they’ll be done at some point before October, when Castro construction is scheduled to be completed.

The Planning Department’s plans for the Castro/17th/Market intersection (left) compared with a Google Earth shot of the current layout (without the existing concrete planters).
  • 94103er

    Now, if only we could get rid of that Chevron–what the hell was the city thinking, allowing gas stations anywhere on Market St?

  • twinpeaks_sf

    I think those two @ Market & Castro are the only ones left. We’re making great progress.

    Wouldn’t it be great to have a couple signature buildings framing the head of Market Street in the place of those gas stations!

  • davistrain

    I remember when there were two gas stations at Duboce & Market. These photos were taken in Sept. 1971. Not sure if it will show up in the first image, but the price board for the Standard station reads 29.9 cents per gallon. The era of cheap gasoline and usable cars for $100 or so, with no smog inspections, was one of the major factors in the decline of public transit in the 1946-1973 period.

  • vcs

    Check out this photo of the Twin Peaks tunnel in 1929, that location was already a Standard/Chevron station. I’m curious if there was *anything* located there before the gas station

  • RoyTT

    There was a gas station on Market Street a couple of blocks east of there until quite recently. Other than that there isn’t a gas station for a long way in any direction. Offhand I can only think of the two at Fell and Divis, one at 6th and Lincoln, and one at 16th and Guerrero.

    The Chevron at Fell and Masonic is no more, and at least half of the gas stations in the Mission have closed.

  • Jamison Wieser

    Actually… The City has already decided to pursue acquiring the property if (when) the owners want to sell that Chevron. These concepts come from the 2010 “Upper Market Community Vision & Recommendations” and we’ve come a long way from 17th being an open street where we had to dodge cars coming down the hill at high-speed.

  • Sprague

    It is unfortunate that these otherwise great plans do not include a bike path along the northern edge of the plaza. Westbound cyclists wishing to access the bike route along Corbett Avenue are very well served by the bike lane along 17th Street (ie. east of Church Street). Often, it is a significant detour to have to head north to 16th so as to then legally reach Market before returning to westbound 17th. A bike path (like the one recently installed on Duboce just west of Church) and pavement markings to direct cyclists through the Market and Castro intersection would be reasonable measures to encourage bicycling and provide riders with a less congested (and seemingly safer) route than the Market Street bike lanes.


Castro Street Redesign Breaks Ground, Rainbow Crosswalks Unveiled

The new Castro Street is on its way, with the Department of Public Works breaking ground today on the two-block street redesign, which will include wider sidewalks. One detail of the plan was also unveiled at the event — rainbow crosswalk designs for the Castro and 18th Street intersection. “This streetscape project will be transformational […]

Drivers Hit Two Seniors in Two Days at Castro and 19th Crosswalk

Two seniors were injured by drivers in a crosswalk at 19th and Castro Streets in separate crashes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bryan Goebel, Streetsblog SF’s first editor, and his neighbor Hank Cancel happened upon the aftermath of the crashes. Both victims sustained minor injures, according to Goebel and Cancel. But they said close calls with […]

Plan for Ped-Friendly Castro Takes Shape: Will Parking Trump Muni Riders?

City planners presented detailed options for pedestrian upgrades on Castro Street at a community meeting last night. The improvements, set for construction next year, will include sidewalks as wide as 22 feet, new trees, and pedestrian-scaled lighting. By reclaiming space from Castro’s excessively-wide traffic lanes, the plan is expected to provide more room for people on […]

City Moves Forward on a More Pedestrian-Friendly Castro Street

San Francisco’s world-famous commercial strip on Castro Street, which gained a popular pedestrian plaza in 2009, is poised to become a more inviting destination as the SF Planning Department develops plans to widen the sidewalks and install other improvements from 17th Street to 19th Street. The sidewalks on Castro, currently 12 feet wide, could reach widths up […]

Planning Dept. Presents Draft Designs for a Ped-Friendly Castro Street

The city’s effort to make Castro Street more welcoming for pedestrians took a step forward yesterday, when the SF Planning Department presented preliminary design concepts at a packed community meeting. The plan [PDF] would improve the pedestrian realm on the commercial corridor with wider sidewalks, sidewalk seating, pedestrian-scaled lighting, small plazas, and greening, while reclaiming some […]

Finding Unused Pavement for Parks and Plazas in Lower Potrero

Axis Cafe and Wolfe’s Lunch across 8th Street, which could be closed for a pilot pedestrian plaza. Photo: Matthew Roth When Mayor Gavin Newsom dedicated the trial pedestrian plaza at 17th Street and Castro last week, he took a significant stride toward improving his record on livable streets issues. He demonstrated engagement with local community […]