Amid Controversy, Jane Warner Plaza To Close For Another Revamp

Late last year, work on the extensive Castro Streetscape Project culminated in the completion of a redesign at Jane Warner Plaza, the public mini-plaza at Castro and Market. But it seems that the construction that plagued Castro merchants is not quite over after all, as the Bay Area Reporter brings word that the plaza will close down for yet another go at a redesign designed to cut down on unsavory behavior at the plaza. 

The plaza will close down later this month for work to begin. At a recent meeting of the Castro Merchants group Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District Streetscape Committee about the issue, Castro CBD executive director Andrea Aiello estimated that it would remain closed for further work until April.

Around Thanksgiving, we reported that work had wrapped up on the plaza, with an expanded sidewalk area to reconfigure pedestrian crossings within plaza, an ADA compliant pathway, and the addition of safety bollards and new colored asphalt paving for the entire plaza. Comments on that article reflected some dissatisfaction with the plaza and its new design:

  • "It looks so slapped together and uninviting."
  • "It is an abomination and meets virtually no commercial standard that the City or its residents should accept."
  • "You can't make a silk purse out of a pig's ear."
  • "Some of the fixtures are nice, but the sidewalks seem uneven and very unclean. It doesn't look 'new,' it looks poorly done and messy."
  • "Horrible."

One chief complaint, as aired at the Castro Merchants meeting, is that the work raised the flooring of the plaza, effectively lowering the height of the planters and making it easier for transients to sleep in the planter, use it as a toilet, and keep their pets and belongings there. (The BAR has a full recap of the meeting, which included much discussion about the homeless issue in the plaza.)

"The flooring of the plaza was improperly installed by the contractor and needs to be reinstalled," said Supervisor Scott Wiener, when reached for comment. "The planters will be modified so that people can't as easily sit on the landscaping (thus destroying it) or place their animals or belongings on the landscaping." Some electrical work also "needs to happen," according to Wiener.

Wiener is in charge of pushing the new alterations through, while the Department of Public Works will handle the construction. Look for the plaza to close down later this month, with work continuing until April (at the earliest).

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