As per the class workshop, write your overall assessment of Mission District Streetscape Plan. Use the questions presented in class for guidance but feel free to expand on them or use a different outline. Make sure to add the name of your group members in the blog text. Your submission shouldn’t exceed 5 pages and not less than 4. Feel free to use other sources to support your argument.
The Mission District Streetscape Plan
By Sara Tuz and Frank Delgado
The Mission is a district in San Francisco that has a lot of different types of people living in the community, with different cultural importance and different cultural backgrounds. The mission district streetscape plan wants to turn the streets into areas where people want to spend time, not just use strictly to get where they are going. Some ways of improving the streets is to add green spaces to the area, improving the pedestrian traffic signs, and focusing on making these streets more suitable for the people that use them.
One aspect of the plan is to add more of a green space type thing. This is an interesting idea because the district wants to add trees and green plants to things like concrete and streets, in a way greenify the streets of mission. This type of planning makes it easy for the community to come together and utilize these parks. The plan wants to focus on making the streets that are already in the area public spaces without taking away from the artistic culture of the mission. It would ultimately make walking through mission like walking through a park.
Another aspect of the plan is to widen the streets, this is important to make sure that the new greenery fits in designated areas. Widening of the streets would also allow for street furniture to be provided by the city and by the local coffee shops and restaurants to put their tables out there as well, mocking Valencia street. Like Valencia street this new plan wants the type of outdoor activities but also to incorporate green into this project.
Another aspect of this plan is to connect the green spaces together. This type of connectedness will make it easier for the people to get around on foot around the mission. The way it will be built will also be aesthetically pleasing to make sure the artistic background of the city is preserved. The connectedness would also bring more health to the people because these green spaces could be used as parks where people can run through or do other exercises.
This plan focuses on very important aspects of building and developing, Mission is a district that is prone to flooding and this plan wants to make sure and include strom-water design guidelines that will help ease the trouble the mission faces when flooding is involved. The plan gives the policy makers the tools to develop and redeveloped to make sure that flooding is control in the areas that this plan will affect.
Another area that this plan covers will be the bicycle traffic of the area.
This plan wants to make it safer for bicycle traffic, where they either want to make bike lanes be part of the new parks or raise the bike lanes from the streets to make them not as easily accessible by cars and make it so that bicyclist would be safer. Focusing on making biking part be a better part of the community is very important to a place like the Mission because an estimated of 40% of the people living in the Mission bike to work, this is a large number even for San Francisco.
This plan is a plan that was proposed in 2010 and didn’t get implemented until 2015. This plan want to make sure that the al of what the mission represents is still represented in the plan. One important thing to consider when reviewing the plan is to consider the possible gentrification that occurs with this plan. The Mission wants to make their land a lot nicer and that could raise the cost of living in this area, the plan doesn’t want for this to happen, but it will eventually occur when thinking of upkeep and making sure that the plan continues to stay in place.
The plan in its basic form is designed again to make sure that there is a multi model plan, where pedestrian traffic is emphasized and observed a lot. Then the plan focuses on the green aspects of the city, where the emphasis becomes planting trees and putting in grass into places that were previously paved. Going on the plan wants to make sure that this new way of building would be community based, this meaning making it easier for communities to come together and be together, and making it harder for their to be car traffic, but instead focusing on the community. Expanding on the community belief the plan wants there to be space for street venders to safely sell and advertise their things. Another aspect of the pvan that’s important is the important emphasis on how safe and enjoyable of the new built areas, by shortening the pedestrian crossings and improving the street lighting in the areas. Also the plan focuses on keep the area well maintained so keeping the artistic streets of Mission artistic and making sure they are not lost in the planning and building. Finally the plan wants to make the streets of Mission more memorable by doing what the mission does best and adding art to the public spaces as well. Here are the goal of the plan and following are the ideas that the people of the community have.
The Mission is just one of many of the vibrant cultural areas in San Francisco. In a city that has districts which already embody dozens of cultures, the Mission stands out. The intentions of this plan were to make the bustling Mission district more versatile to different forms of transportation including bicycles and pedestrians, and to make the area even more vibrant and exciting than it already was. This goal is being pursued with mixed results. The project has likely helped people and improved infrastructure in some ways, but in many ways, this project was a hindrance.
As with many municipal projects, the bright and optimistic view of the completion of this project was not totally achieved. Despite a large amount of opposition to this plan in public forums amongst residents, the plan has begun implementation. One of the most glaring issues regarding the plan was the changing of the entrance to San Francisco General Hospital which resides in the area covered by this plan. The hospital used to have an exit on 23rd street, but as per part of the plan, the entrance was subsequently changed to 22nd street. In a planning room this sounds like no major problem, but this proved to be a huge oversight as the area of 22nd street where the hospital entrance now resided has a median. This median makes it difficult for emergency vehicles to enter the hospital from the opposite side of the road. Anthony Rivera, assistant deputy chief of the San Francisco Fire Department said, “our department does have concerns about access to the hospital. There haven’t been any documented cases of ambulances getting stuck in traffic, but I’m not saying that it hasn’t happened- just that nothing has been officially documented, as I’ve just been made aware of this.” It is concerning that a mistake such as this was somehow overlooked by those planning and implementing this project. Just by itself this is a major blunder that could be the difference between life and death. Besides the emergency vehicle issue, there are residents who have complained of inadequate parking in the areas affected by this plan. One of the most troubling factors however, is a condition that has been forcing people out of their homes in San Francisco for years: gentrification. As part of the Mission Streetscaping District, there will be a relative beautification of the area as well. There will be planted medians and sidewalk, along with more access for people who do not live in the mission. This has made residents nervous that an influx in business could result in the eventual destabilization of rent in the area. Overall, the city supervisors and everyone who had to do with the planning and implementation of this project likely did not take into account the will of the people when doing this.
If I were in the position of the city planner or someone else overseeing this project, there are certainly things I would change. The most glaring issue with this project seems to be the lack of interest in actually following public opinion. There were several public forums on this matter and it seems that the issues the public raised in these forums were more or less ignored. Although this is something that generally happens in public forums, this seemed to be a far more defiant dismissal of public opinion. It seems that much of this project has good intentions, but whether or not the intentions are good, there are still consequences to them. Even if eventual gentrification is not the goal, one must admit that other places in the city have begun to be gentrified during projects such as this one.
All said and done, as with most projects as large and ambitious as this one, there is an exciting upside. If the remainder of the plan can be implemented with careful precision and thought, there could be a lot more green in the Mission. This area, which has been a true example of the term “concrete jungle,” could transform from being an area in which soot covers the streets and smog hangs in the air to something new. It could become an area that has less runoff of toxic substances as per the addition of a sustainable groundwater collection system. It could be an area that pedestrians feel safer walking along after the amount of lanes are cut down on Cesar Chavez. It could be an area which people are proud to call home- it just has to be implemented with care, and without clashing with the opinions of the people who call this legendary San Francisco District home.
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