Pavement to Parks is a collaborative effort between the Mayor’s Office, the Department of Public Works, the Planning Department, and the Municipal Transportation Agency.
San Francisco ’s streets and public rights-of-way make up fully 25% of the city’s land area, more space even than is found in all of the city’s parks. Many of our streets are excessively wide and contain large zones of wasted space, especially at intersections. San Francisco’s new “Pavement to Parks” projects seek to temporarily reclaim these unused swathes and quickly and inexpensively turn them into new public plazas and parks. During the temporary closure, the success of these plazas will be evaluated to understand what adjustments need to be made in the short term, and ultimately, whether the temporary closure should be a long term community investment.
San Francisco’s Pavement to Parks projects are inspired by the recent success of similar projects in New York City – where plazas and seating areas have been created in excess roadway simply by painting or treating the asphalt, placing protective barriers along the periphery, and installing moveable tables and chairs. Streets such as Broadway have been transformed into much more inviting and pedestrian-friendly spaces through New York’s efforts.
Each Pavement to Parks project is intended to be a public laboratory where the City can work with the community to test the potential of the selected location to be permanently reclaimed as public open space. Materials and design interventions are meant to be temporary and easily moveable should design changes be desired during the trial-run. Seating, landscaping, and treatment of the asphalt will be common features of all projects
Sizeable area of under-utilized roadway
- Lack of public space in the surrounding neighborhood
- Pre-existing community support for public space at the location
- Potential to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety via redesign
- Surrounding uses that can attract people to the space
- Identified community or business steward
17th and Castro “Castro Commons”
May 13, 2009
July 11, 2009 – with four month extension pending review.
Public Architecture, The Castro Community Benefits District, Flora Grub Gardens, High Caliber Growing, Pacific Fiber Tube, Inc., Great Street Projects, Orphan Andy’s Restaurant, and Chevron Station Owner – Sahagun Brothers. Public Architecture, a national nonprofit organization that engages architecture firms and nonprofits to commit to design for public good through its national 1% program, provided pro-bono design services for the plaza.