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.