The Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm Plan

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As per the class workshop, write your overall assessment of The Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm 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.

1 thought on “The Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm Plan

  1. Kaitlin Fischer
    Eunice Shear

    Fisherman Wharf Public Realm Plan
    Fisherman Wharf is one the most popular destination that is situated in the northern part of the San Francisco City, in California. Thousands of tourists visit here for its renowned crab/clam chowders, souvenir stalls, scenic views of sea lions, historic ship tours, and to simply experience its unique livelihood. Originally Fisherman Wharf was a commercial fishing dock until the 1970s/80s, it got revamped into a tourist attraction. Even to this day, this place serves as a home for many fishermen and their fleets. To live up to the past hype the city has brought forth a plan that will solidify the wharf’s future economic vitality, strengthen its connection to other surrounding cities, and continue to stand as one of the best cities in the world, Fisherman Wharf Public Realm Plan. This Plan was first introduced by Supervisor Aaron Peskin in 2006, it officially began in December 2007. The plan suggested five elements that was going to be worked on, 1) Redesign for Jefferson Street, 2) Streetscape plan for the remaining street, 3) Parking and Circulation Plan, 4) Open Space Plan, and 5) Urban Design Guidelines for public and private development. Backed up by strong local community and their commitment, the vision for Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm Plan was to provide a world-class experience to not only the visitor but to its local residents. The planning department encouraged participation of key stakeholder groups and small businesses within the neighborhood in order to achieve a substantial level of support for the plan it developed with the community. Hence, making the decision of the plan and process participatory by the community to improve the area.
    One way the project meets the need of the local residents is the proposed redesign of the layout of Jefferson Street. Since this was community enforced plan, the planning department made sure that the needs of the local residents were accounted. Keeping this is mind, the westbound roadway were structured to occupy 37’ feet of the street space leaving only 15’ feet on either side for public walkways and cafe seating. The proposed design adds an additional 15’ for a north sidewalk alongside the already existing cafe and public seating area in order to cope with the larger flows of pedestrian traffic on Jefferson street. In turn this will help reclaim the seating and cafe space that was compromised in the current layout of Jefferson street. The stub of Jefferson street also will be converted from what now is used for parking for swim and boat clubs into a public plaza with additional seating and better physical/visual access to the beach. New Muni services are also proposed in order to reduce crowding that is happening with the current lines that run through the district. By changing to articulated buses during the day it will help reduce the impact that the large amount of daily visitors that come to the neighborhood. The new 11-Downtown Connector is proposed to travel in both directions along North Point Street from Powell Street to Van Ness Avenue, this will serve the residents of fisherman’s wharf and provide the residents with a way to efficiently to downtown.
    Out of many designs that was brought forth in the plan, the Jefferson street redesign is what we determined to be the most successful part of the Fisherman’s Wharf Public realm plan. The Jefferson Street redesign plan described in the paragraph has already been praised by San Francisco Beautiful, a group dedicated to creating and maintaining the beauty of the City, they honored The Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm Plan with the top award for beautification in the category of “Access” at the 42nd annual award ceremony. The redesigned roadway serves the local pedestrians and cyclists in the area by providing them with safer streets all while still maintaining the charm of the area as well as continuing to bring in ample foot traffic for local businesses. The stub of Jefferson Street that was transformed into a public plaza replaced the eyesore that was a parking lot for the local swim and boat clubs. The access to these neighborhood clubs has not been affected by the removal of the lot. There is still ample areas of public street parking as well as handicap parking in order to still serve those who attend these clubs.
    While this plan has a lot of great benefits for the communities it serves, it has its pitfalls as well. With the expansion of the sidewalk space on Jefferson Street, it has taken away from what was an already congested road. Now just down to two lanes there is an increase in the amount of traffic in the area and a shortage of parking along Jefferson Street itself. This redesign leaves less space on the road for cyclists forcing them to be in an uncomfortable proximity with cars or ride on the sidewalk which is a space dedicated solely to pedestrians. The space that is defined as “the little embarcadero” will remain an unattractive surface parking lot instead of being used as possible development for more public space or even a more effective parking structure along the pier.
    If we were to redo the project we would emphasize the importance of public transportation even further by creating additional Muni routes to and from the Fisherman’s Wharf area to prevent overcrowding on the current lines. More specifically during evenings and weekends there would be a dedicated route for residents and tourists traveling to Pier 39 which would help ease the amount of visitors driving to this popular attraction. We would also invest more money in restoring and revamping the local store fronts in order to encourage visitors to go beyond the pier and waterway itself and into areas of the district that may not be as popular. One mistake that we would like to avoid is the diversion of traffic from Jefferson Street to other areas of the Fisherman’s Wharf district. This diversion creates a disturbance to the more residential areas of the Wharf in which visitors to the neighborhood will now occupy what was just residential parking before. Another mistake to avoid would be the reliance on street parking. The only proposed plan to help with parking turnover is a switch from a flat rate charged by the existing garages to hourly rates instead. This proposed idea is meant to benefit short term visitors of the pier, however it only seems to benefit the garages that are profiting from this high rate they can now charge by the hour as opposed to a daily basis. Many individuals that visit Fisherman’s Wharf are not just at the location for a limited amount of time, they explore the many attractions along the waterfront such as Pier 39 along with Ghirardelli Square which is located more centrally in the district.
    Fisherman’s Wharf has continued to invite numerous of tourists in San Francisco City building good relationship and economic boost for decades, but we have noticed the insufficient investment allocated by neglecting past city mayors. If one of our group member was the Mayor of the city, we would definitely support the Fisherman’s Wharf Public Realm Plan, in order to upgrade and improve this beautiful part of the city. We also saw that this city has been out of the revitalization projects since 1980’s. Now would be the best time to pass the given plan, if we were the Mayor of the city. The plan benefits the residents of the area drastically as it has plans for accessible pedestrian and bicycle friendly lanes, assisting in the safety of the public. Lastly, we think that the idea of creating more public space as opposed to congested parking lots and industrial buildings that are only hindering the beautification of the city, should be welcomed by any mayor of such major city.

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