Planning Dept updates: Castro Street Design additional features, sidewalk furniture

Sidewalk Pavement Details

Sidewalk Pavement Details via SF Planning Department

Some of the commenters in our post regarding the final design for the Castro Street Redesign had some questions for the Planning Department that we could not answer. Nick Perry, Urban Designer and Project Lead for the Castro Street Design project, reached out to us to help answer some of those questions.

Q: The BAR reported that Castro history facts, LED lighting, mica sparkles, rainbow crosswalks, etc. did not make the final design cut.
A: They did not make the final design cut, which is true, however if bids come in low enough for the rest of the project, some of these additional enhancements may be included in the project.

Q: There was discussion about allowing businesses to place café tables and chairs on the new sidewalks. Where would this furniture go?
A: Café tables and chairs would be allowed in the Frontage Zone which is +/- 4 feet directly adjacent to the buildings and possibly in the Furnishings Zone (nearest the street) where trees, poles, bike racks, etc will be located.

Q: Will the furniture crowd up the sidewalk, defeating the purpose of widening the sidewalks?
A: No, the main Throughway Zone is 9 feet in width and is scored in a 3×3 pattern to distinguish it from the Frontage and Furnishing zones. The scoring will help the city regulate the space and keep it clear of obstructions. In addition, Throughway Zones will be 9 feet wide (around 3 feet wider than the current sidewalks) allowing for plenty of unobstructed foot-traffic.

Q: Will anybody be able to put out a table and some chairs?
A: Whether they’re in the frontage zone or furnishing zone, any tables and chairs placed by businesses would need to be permitted and approved by the City on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any other questions for the Planning Department regarding the improvements to Castro’s proposed streetscape redesign, let us know and we’ll try to get some answers for you!

Roy McKenzie

Roy has been a Castro resident since 2010 and is passionate about drag queens, bicycling, and food. Follow his babbling on Twitter.

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10 Responses

  1. rblack says:

    Thanks for following up – that answers a lot of open questions that I had.

    I have no problem with restaurants and cafes adding outdoor tables as long as they stay out of the throughway zone. People visibly hanging out and enjoying the neighborhood is much better than them just passing through.

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  2. ls says:

    A bit sad though for the mica sparkles… I really like the glitter on Valencia sidewalk. It is much better than the simple concrete.

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  3. I wonder if the City would allow for private fund raising to secure the implementation of the mica sparkles, rainbow crosswalks, history walk insets, etc. I would be willing to put in a few dollars. If enough people did this using one of the fundraising sites we might have enough to make sure these details are included.

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    • Stephen says:

      I agree with Sanchez Resident. I too would donate money. A fund raiser is a great idea to implement some of the additional elements. It would also be great if the MUMC took the lead and all members make contributions.

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      • rblack says:

        Actually, I’ve been tossing a similar idea around.

        Like the residence in Noe Valley were able to secure open space funding from the city to buy the parking lot on 24th St, why couldn’t the neighbors in the Castro get the same kind of funding to rejuvenate Harvey Milk Plaza and raise it to street level.

        The neighbors raised around 500k which I think was helpful in showing the city their level of commitment. I’m sure we could get enough people in the Castro to get at least that much.

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        • rblack – I am having a hard time visualizing your idea of elevating the plaza to street level. Has the initial design work been done for this idea? Do you have a link for the drawings?

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          • rblack says:

            No it’s all in my head.

            There is no reason the stairs down to MUNI cant be like every other MUNI entrance (Church ST for example).

            Im not an architect/engineer, but basically create a ceiling over what is now HM Plaza and have the new plaza at street level.

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        • Roy McKenzie says:

          This is a really good idea. I will shoot an email to the planning department asking them if they have plans already written down/drawn up. If so, that can give us a starting point to how much a fundraiser would need to raise and we could work on getting MUMC to help match or at least help fundraise. Kickstarter perhaps?

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          • rblack says:

            That would be great, thanks. Im on the shy side to lead on this, but if the ball starts rolling I will definitely volunteer my time (and money) to help make it happen.

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  4. TonyC says:

    Definitely sad there won’t be mica sparkles :(

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