Bay Area/ San Francisco
Published on March 02, 2015
Changes On The Way To Haight As Final Public Realm Plan Released

Image: SF Planning

After two and a half years of work, the final Haight Ashbury Public Realm Plan draft is complete. (Or, as complete as something working its way through city bureaucracy can ever be.) The whopping 75-page plan includes tons of interesting demographic tidbits about the neighborhood, feedback from each open house, and hand drawings of proposed plans designed to beautify the neighborhood and improve pedestrian comfort and safety. You can see the full draft here.

If you don't have time to read the whole thing, here's a recap for the roughly 21,000 people living in the Haight:

The basic ideas, overall, are these: 

  • The neighborhood should be more accommodating to all forms of transportation: driving, biking, walking, public transit, etc. All of these options should feel viable, safe, and accessible.
  • Street design should allow tourists and residents to live in harmony, and not be fighting for space.
  • The design should reflect the neighborhood's unique history and culture, while still celebrating its current state.
  • Whatever happens should have a clear maintenance plan, and have proper upkeep going forward.
  • Greenery should be maximized. 

Specifically, a lot has been decided. Let's start with basic traffic functionality:

  • Pedestrian bulb-outs will be installed at Shrader, Cole, Belvedere, Clayton, Ashbury, and Central streets. The bulb-outs are partially funded by a grant, and other funding is being sought. 
  • Pedestrian bulb-outs will include greenery, temporary seating, and historical plaques and "fact bands." These have been partially funded by DPW and HAMA.
  • New traffic lights will be installed at Shrader, Clayton, and Central streets. 
  • The Muni stops at Clayton will be moved to the other side of the intersection. Muni stops will be removed from Cole and Central Streets, and transit bulbs will be installed at Stanyan, Ashbury, Masonic, and Central streets.
  • Right turn pockets will be added at Stanyan and Masonic. These are not yet funded, and Planning is working with Rec and Park and the Masonic Street Redesign project to figure out the logistics of getting these done.
  • You will no longer be able to turn left on Masonic from either direction. 

Specific non-transit items that will be implemented to improve the quality of living on Haight Street will include trash cans at transit stops, bike corrals, additional pedestrian lighting overall (exact fixtures to be specified later), more street trees, and wayfinding signs and neighborhood identity markers. (No more giving directions to the park!)

Planners are also aiming to jazz up the Haight Ashbury intersection. It'll get extended sidewalks on three out of four corners, with colored concrete, stamped paving with street names, an "etched history fact band" with neighborhood history, bronze history plaques, and flexible open spaces for public events. There will also be some seating, which is described as a "limited planting area with low seating edges that are of a width and angle to encourage temporary lingering." 

Most of these upgrades are as-yet unfunded, and the city is seeking a combination of public and private funding to accomplish them. 

In addition to refurbishing intersections, mid-block treatments are also in store. The Plan recommends the Pork Store for a mid-block bulb-out (which seems basically like a parklet, based on the drawings and descriptions). Pork Store will likely get the preliminary mid-block bulb-out, as a trial to see if others can be added later. The report encourages other interested merchants to apply. 

As for implementation, most of the elements of the Plan will be staggered. As mentioned earlier, the Muni changes will happen in 2016. Greening has an estimated time frame of three years for completion. Everything else (Stanyan & Masonic street changes, historical elements, seating, lighting, wayfinding, bike corrals) have a "near-term"estimation of 1-5 years. 

So, what do you think? Will that make the Haight more palatable to tourists and residents? Let us know what you think in the comments.