April 24, 2015 Housing Action Coalition

Public Plazas to Pocket Parks: A More Walkable Dogpatch

As a new resident of Hayes Valley, who’s amazed at what a difference community members have had by actively ensuring developers support density, transit, walkability and biking, I was excited to explore another SF neighborhood with a strong focus on safer, better streets. Recently, Walk San Francisco and the SF Housing Action Coalition brought an enthusiastic crew of our members on a landscape architecture tour of Dogpatch to explore how several housing developments, parks and open spaces can transform a once industrial part of town into a more human-scaled, family-friendly neighborhood.

image (4)The tour began with David Fletcher of Fletcher Studio, who has played a key role in shaping the Dogpatch’s public realm. He gave us a lay of the land(scape) highlighting the Dogpatch’s 22nd Street Greening Master Plan which includes the Dogpatch Potrero Serpentine Steps, and the QB3 Pocket Park. The proposed Serpentine steps would realize one of the key elements of the Master Plan by providing a critical connection from the core of Dogpatch and local transit to its neighbor, Potrero Hill. The project includes three public plazas, small sub spaces, and a belvedere (overlook) as landings on the outdoor staircase. The forms and pathway routing of the staircase will draw its inspiration from the local, native stone (and California’s state rock): Serpentine.

imageFor Build Inc’s Michael Yarne, the idea of a green corridor is crucial. From Third Street, the tour wound down Minnesota to Mariposa Park, before turning onto Indiana to stop at the site of the planned 8,000 foot public, pedestrian Dogpatch Art Plaza, at the corner of 19th and Indiana Street, where the tour met up with Yarne. As part of the the new 650 Indiana Street housing development, Yarne highlighted the connection from the Art Plaza to Esprit Park, which currently lacks any hardscape elements to host concerts, performances, or other larger scale social gatherings. The 650 Indiana Street building will introduce a mid-block crossing and ground floor cafe, which further activates the Art Plaza situated at the dead end of 19th Street and a gateway to the city’s Blue Greenway which extends all the way to the Candlestick Point Recreation Area.

The tour continued down to QB3 Pocket Park further south on Indiana, which reused broken pavement from the project’s construction and California native plantings that didn’t require any irrigation. From there we stopped at the children’s Woods Mini-Park playground. Bruce Huie of the Dogpatch Neighborhood Association explained how it was the first of a series of parks in the area conceived and implemented with the San Francisco Parks Alliance, Supervisor Malia Cohen’s office, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the community. The playground transformed 900 square feet of previously unused SFMTA space into a tiny, beautiful oasis for neighborhood parents and children.

image (1)From the Mini-Park, the tour wound its way down 22nd Street to the site of the last stop, AGI Avanti’s 1201 Tennessee project, currently the largest housing development in the Dogpatch with 259 units. Jesse Herzog highlighted the building’s mixed-use function by providing both retail and flex workspaces, and touted the 0.6 car parking and a one-to-one bicycle parking ratios to emphasize the easy access to nearby transit. The U-shaped design of the tri-colored building also gives a few nods to its historical roots, both as the original site of the Tubbs Cordage (the largest factory making riggings in America), and as the prior edge of the city’s shoreline. The project will also include a historic promenade (designed by Fletcher Studios) that will function as a mid-block crossing and provide access to the 10,000 square feet of dedicated open space between Third Street and Tennessee, and enable critical stormwater capture and reuse onsite.

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Hard to believe a once so industrial neighborhood will soon have so many walkable, green, community spaces that are inviting to neighbors, families and visitors alike. I walked away from the tour eager to engage  community members to come together to create more walkable pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in which we all want to live.

Guest Blogger Natalie Burdick spends her days as the Membership and Volunteer Director at Walk SF. A Hayes Valley resident and avid walker, Natalie enjoys making San Francisco a pedestrian-friendly city for all of us.

Thanks to all our tour speakers for dedicating their Saturday morning to our neighborhood tours.


If you like this tour recap, join us on the next tour!  The SF Housing Action Coalition’s tours are open to all Business Members and Friends of the SFHAC. Receive tour announcements and join all our tours for free when you become a member of the SF Housing Action Coalition.

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Housing Action Coalition

The Housing Action Coalition is a member-supported non-profit that advocates for the creation of well designed, well-located housing at all levels of affordability. We believe more housing means more choices and better solutions.

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