Recently in San Francisco, the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District and CMG Landscape Architecture unveiled the Yerba Buena Street Life Plan. The plan is meant to serve as a master plan for the mixed-use neighborhood known as Yerba Buena that is located south of Market Street and includes prominent public buildings and spaces such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, Yerba Buena Gardens, and the Moscone Center. The goal of the plan, meant to be implemented over the next ten years, is to create an identity for the neighborhood and foster a sense of community where residents and passers-through can stop and enjoy the area and engage with its outdoor spaces.
The first of the proposed 36 projects included in the Yerba Buena Street Life Plan is a set of six Parkmobiles, mobile gardens that will be moved around the neighborhood and will add much-needed green space and seating. At the public unveiling at SPUR, aka the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, two Parkmobiles made their debuts.
The Street Life Plan projects each fall into one of six categories: (1) anchoring the heart of the district, (2) promoting the alleys, (3) making new social spaces, (4) improving sidewalks for street life, (5) promoting walking and biking, (6) and promoting sustainability. This rendering shows the proposed redesign of Howard Street between 3rd and 4th streets, which connects two of the Moscone Center convention buildings. The space, currently serving through-traffic only, will be literal and social center of the district in the new plan.
The Parkmobiles aim to alleviate the lack-of-seating and lack-of-greenery problems in the Yerba Buena neighborhood (and fits into the goal of "improve sidewalks for street life"). The first two Parkmobiles will be parked in front of the Catharine Clark Gallery on Minna Street at 3rd Street and at the 5M Project on 5th Street at Mission Street but will move about the district throughout the next six months, letting people explore the neighborhood to find them.
Each Parkmobile measures 16 feet by five-feet-nine inches and fits in the area of one parking space—as well as on the back of a tow truck.
Designed with wheels on the bottom, this Parkmobile, filled with ferns, easily rolled off the tow truck and into its spot next to the other one already in place.
In CMG's research with the Yerba Buena community, lack of seating was sited as a major problem in the district. CMG designed this bench, currently installed in front of SPUR, as one of the many seats to come.
An original request from the Yerba Buena Community Business District included flower baskets around the neighborhood. The idea was short-lived but CMG installed these floral tubes along the sidewalk outside SPUR for the Street Life Plan unveiling.
From now until August 19, the master plan and its proposed projects are being displayed at SPUR as an exhibition titled Street Life/Yerba Buena, A Community Design Initiative. The gallery space was packed on opening night but the boards, which describe each proposed project, were well worth wading through the crowd to see.
This square at the exhibition explains the concepts behind the Parkmobiles. Other projects include dog parks and dog runs in alleys, public art in the streets and mural on retaining walls, alleyway signage, signature lighting throughout the district, new crosswalks, additional bike parking, and low-impact storm water strategies, among others.
This rendering shows details of the Clean Energy Public Docking Station project. Here, solar panels would power public outlets and wireless connections and the supporting structure would offer seating and work spaces.
Near the entrance, a board asked visitors to add their suggestions for neighborhood improvements. The responses—such as "More bike lanes!", "Fix Annie Alley," and "More outside seating"—reflect what CMG's months of research revealed to be the main concerns of Yerba Buena residents as well. The full plan—detailing CMG's research and each of the 36 projects—can be viewed online. It's a wonderfully detailed yet easy-to-skim-and-understand explanation of the goals of the Street Life Plan, packed with images and renderings that illustrate the current state of Yerba Buena's streets, alleys, and intersections and what, if all elements of the plan are put into action, the neighborhood could be. If you're in San Francisco, be sure to stop by SPUR to view the exhibit and then take a wander through the neighborhood to find the Parkmobiles.