Thursday, July 8, 2010

Pedestrian Removal Project

If you've walked down Van Ness between Market and City Hall lately, you've seen the results of a recent "Streetscape Improvement Project," new landscaping along the sidewalk planted with bamboo and London Plane trees.

Landscaping along the sidewalk can beautify a street and absorb stormwater but, if poorly designed, it can impede pedestrian traffic and lower the overall quality of the street. And these new plantings on Van Ness are poorly designed. They take up half the sidewalk and are surrounded by a raised lip of granite, which will prevent them from absorbing any rainwater that falls on the sidewalk around them.

Van Ness, particularly this section of Van Ness, is well-used by people on foot. These new plantings take needed space away from them in order to, in my opinion, make the street prettier to people in cars. Bad idea.


rocky's dad said...

I agree completely with you. This is same type of sidewalk planter that was installed in Noe Valley on Noe st. at 24th..same curbs, same ugly little metal fences. They remind me of gravesites.

How can we get the city to design these sidewalk elements with more sensitivity toward rainwater..and aesthetics?

Pedestrianist said...

As far as I know the Better Streets Plan is still in public comment. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

Eric Fischer said...

I just got a message that the final draft of the plan is now available at

Going to check it out now...

Eric Fischer said...

And tragically there it is on Page 9 of Chapter 1 still showing a street with its sidewalks ridiculously narrowed to make room for planters. Bah.

Pedestrianist said...

... and yet still enough room for an (albeit traffic-calming) median island. Bah indeed.

It looks like they lifted the image for the sidewalk directly from the early days of the Shotwell Street greenway. That comes to my mind as one of the foremost examples of poorly-designed sidewalk greening.

That image is definitely fascinating. They included three people, two walking next to each other in conversation. My immediate thought when seeing that is 'what's going to happen when they encounter each other?' The flaws in this mockup are startlingly obvious! Wow.