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Major Projects

The links below provide more information about the City Design Group’s projects.

Transit Center District Plan


The Planning Department has received funding from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority to draft a comprehensive plan for the area around the Transbay Transit Center, including mechanisms to direct any increased development value to help fund the construction of the Transit Center Program. This Plan will build on the City’s renowned 1985 Downtown Plan that envisioned the area around the Transbay Terminal as the heart of the new downtown. Consistent with the Transbay Redevelopment Plan, which focuses mostly on public properties south of the Transit Center along Folsom Street, this new effort will focus on both private properties and properties owned or to be owned by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority around the Transit Center itself.


Fourth and King Street Railyards Study


The Planning Department has received funding from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority to produce a study and concept plan for air-rights development of the 4th/King railyards, including explorations of how increased development value can help fund public improvements, including additional funding for completing the Caltrain Extension to downtown. The railyards falls under multiple jurisdictions and property owners. This study will identify and analyze all of the key issues that are critical to consideration of building anything over the railyards, including urban design, engineering, open space, land use, circulation, implementation, finances, and rail operations.


Better Streets Plan

Streetscape Master PlanThe Better Streets Plan will develop a single set of standards to guide capital projects aimed at improving street design. The goal of these standards will be to improve the overall urban design quality, aesthetic character, and ecological function of San Francisco’s streets while maintaining safe and efficient use of the streets by all modes of transportation. The Better Streets Plan will be drafted in conjunction with the Mayor's Office, Public Works, Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Public Utilities Commission and San Francisco's Transportation Authority.

The non-automobile oriented functions of San Francisco’s streets have been neglected for many years, and the result is a fragmented and largely unattractive network of automobile dominated routes. The City has strong streetscape policies in its General Plan, including the Transit First policy, as well as numerous design guidelines in the Urban Design Element. These policies and sound ideas have not been transformed into streetscape standards that are rigorously used to rebuild and maintain streets. The inter-agency Better Streets Plan will remedy the gap between policy and practice.

The Better Streets Plan will include an extensive community involvement program to ensure San Francisco residents have ample opportunity to help identify the most pressing streetscape challenges and how best to solve them. The City will solicit input from those groups who have special needs, such as the visually- and physically-impaired, recognizing that street design has a larger impact on their ability to move about the city. The City also will make special efforts to reach out to groups and individuals traditionally underrepresented in community discussions, such as the poor, recent immigrants, youth and families. The goal will be to produce a plan truly representative of the diverse needs of San Francisco residents.

TopBetter Streets Plan web site

Mission District Streetscape Plan


Mission Public Realm PlanThe Planning Department has received a $745,000 grant from the state of California to undertake a Mission Streetscape Plan and to secure the environmental review necessary for its adoption. A public process will articulate a vision for better street design and public spaces in the Mission District in order to set a framework for future capital improvements.

The goal of the Mission Streetscape Plan is to re-imagine Mission District streets as vital public spaces that serve the needs and priorities of the community. The outcome will be designs for a system of neighborhood streets stressing gracious, accessible, safe sidewalks; closely planted street trees; pedestrian-scaled lights; well-marked crosswalks; widened sidewalks at corners; comfortable crossings; creative parking arrangements; bike paths and routes; close and friendly integration of transit; and roadways that accommodate automobile traffic but encourage appropriate speeds. Once approved, the plan will set out a roadmap for getting the planned improvements built over time.

Cesar Chavez Street Design


TopThe Cesar Chavez Street Design Plan is a detailed design effort to re-envision Cesar Chavez Street in the Mission District, between Guerrero Street and Hampshire Street.

Downtown and SoMa Transportation and Public Realm Plan

Downtown and SoMa Transportation and Public Realm PlanIn the past few years, new planning initiatives in Rincon Hill, Transbay, Showplace Square, Mid-Market, SoMa, Market and Octavia, and the C-3 Downtown Office District have developed local land use programs and transportation strategies. While each of these efforts has sought to introduce controls and guidelines consistent with the General Plan’s transportation objectives, they primarily address the characteristics and needs of the subareas that they cover. Other agencies, too, have developed ideas for transit and other improvements in the area. These all need to be brought into a cohesive whole.

Residential development in the study area has driven the need to balance increased density with the characteristics of a livable neighborhood that include ease of moving about in all modes, and a gracious public realm. Given that all of these planning subareas are geographically linked and interdependent, there is a need to explore and understand the key mobility issues confronting the larger area, as well as to develop an awareness of the common threads that tie the individual neighborhoods together.

As a result of SoMa’s evolving residential character and changing role in the city, the Planning Department is in the preliminary stages of determining the best approach to creating a neighborhood-wide transportation and public realm plan. This process includes engaging other City agencies in an effort to build the necessary support for this large undertaking. The goal of the plan would be to develop a robust set of public realm and transit improvements that become the foundation for a livable and sustainable urban mixed-use residential neighborhood. Staff will continue to post updates on the progress towards this goal.Top

Urban Forest Plan

Urban Forest PlanThe Urban Forest Plan will identify policies and strategies to proactively manage and grow the City’s street tree population. The goal of the Plan is to create an expanded, healthy and thriving urban forest now and for the future.Top


Transit Boulevards

The Planning Department is working with the SFCTA, MTA and other City departments to study physical improvements to important transit routes. These improvements would ensure that good pedestrian and design enhancements are integral parts of efforts to make transit service faster and more reliable in the Van Ness and Geary corridors.

Geary Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit Study

Geary Blvd. Bus Rapid Transit StudyThe Planning Department is participating with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the MTA, DPW and others on the Geary Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Study. The Planning Department is assisting with consultant support in urban design, and in providing urban design concepts and guidance for future improvements.

SFCTA's Geary Blvd. web site

Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Study

Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) StudyThe Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit Study, is evaluating alternatives for bus rapid transit on Van Ness Avenue. Proposed designs include dedicated bus lanes, transit signal priority, pedestrian improvements, and transit platform improvements. The Planning Department is partnering with the San Francisco County Transportation Authority to provide urban design concepts that will create a distinct design and a generous pedestrian environment for the BRT line.

TopSFCTA's Van Ness Ave. web site

Neighborhood Commercial Streets

The Planning Department is working with the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Department of Public Works, and other agencies to make improvements to neighborhood commercial corridors throughout the City. These projects will focus on streetscape design and beautification, economic revitalization, land use and development issues, on-street parking and circulation, and building design with the goal of improving the overall activity, economic vibrancy and aesthetic quality of these corridors.

Leland Avenue

Leland AvenueThe Planning Department has led a process to design streetscape improvements to Leland Avenue, the neighborhood ‘main street’ of Visitacion Valley. The Leland Avenue project enhances the street’s aesthetic appeal and will help to revitalize its commercial businesses.

Polk Street

Polk StreetWorking with the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the Department of Public Works and others, the Planning Department is involved in comprehensive planning for lower Polk Street, including streetscape improvements, economic development activities, and other planning concerns. Public workshops took place in Spring 2006.

Divisadero Street

Divisadero StreetThe Planning Department is participating in planning and design efforts for Divisadero in concert with economic development work led by the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Public workshops took place in Spring 2006.Top

Pavement to Parks

Pavement to ParksSan 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 therm, and ultimately, whether the temporary closure should be a long term community investment. Three Pavement to Parks plazas will be constructed in the Spring and Summer of 2009 through an inter-agency partnership between the Planning Department, the Department of Public Works, the Municipal Transportation Agency, and the Mayor's Office of Greening. Please visit the project website for more information.

Pavement to Parks web site

Other Projects

San Jose Avenue

San Jose AvenueThe Planning Department is working with Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval’s Office to design traffic calming and pedestrian improvements to a busy stretch of San Jose Avenue, between Highway 280 and Ocean Avenue. Design changes will improve pedestrian access to Glen Park BART, Balboa Park BART, Balboa Park and City College.


Newcomb Avenue

Newcomb AvenueThe Newcomb Avenue Model Block Streetscape Improvement Project is an innovative synthesis of community stewardship, agency collaboration, public realm enhancement, and environmental benefit. It will provide a valuable asset and a model for improvement to one of San Francisco’s most environmentally challenged neighborhoods. The street design will provide a repeating series of green areas, integrally connected to the overall streetscape design, and will include significant areas for stormwater management, increased permeable area, and a dense canopy of street trees along both block frontages. Large corner sidewalk extensions, raised pedestrian crosswalks, traffic chicanes, and stormwater planters are all included in the design. The improvements will beautify the block, create gathering places for the residents, and transform a barren strip of concrete into an urban oasis that functions with, instead of against, the natural functions of the landscape. The stormwater performance of the street in its existing condition has been gathered and will be compared to the stormwater performance post-improvemetns. It is anticipated that much of the rainwater that falls along this block of Newcomb will permeate into the ground instead of being conveyed to the combined sewer system.

TopDPW's Newcomb Streetscape Improvement Project web page

© 2009 San Francisco Planning Department

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