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Powell St. Parklet

San Francisco's thriving Pavement to Parks initiative—dozens of street parking spaces have been transformed into small, hardscaped parks the city over—arrived on center stage Wednesday. After success outside scruffy Mission District coffee shops and pram-litered Noe Valley, some of the most iconic blocks of San Francisco are newly widened with torqued aluminum raling, drought-tolerant plants, and enough space for pedestrian-choked Powell Street to breathe. The cash came from Audi (more on that to follow) and the design from landscape architect Walter Hood. I walked the eight new parklets with Hood and metal fabricator Scott Atthowe when they were unveiled. Here's what I saw.

There are eight parklet sections over the two blocks of Powell St. just north of the famous cable car turnaround. The street is a popular shopping district just south of Union Square that is routinely mobbed by locals and tourists alike. Undoubtedly the widening of the sidewalks, and narrowing of the street, will cause some growing pains, but as an investment in the pedestrian streetscape, this is a wonderful step.

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