Posts Tagged ‘parklets’

These “Rain Gardens” on Fell Street are Now Complete – Will They Make You Like the SFPUC More?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

IDK, maybe they will.

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Of course, this design is the “beautiful” version. (What would an ugly rain garden look like, one wonders.)

And look, the “natural” weeds have already been carefully planted. Is our PUC going to water these weeds, you know, during the months and months when we don’t get any rain at all, to keep them green and “beautiful?” We’ll see.

(BTW, if you label the PUC the PUC, at least a few employees / contractors / interns / somebody who has access to the PUC’s email system just might hector you about instead calling the PUC “SF Water,” or SF Water Power Sewer. Let’s hope our SFPUC isn’t paying its employees $114 an hour on the side to email about how “confused” I am with my belief that the SFPUC can, at least sometimes, be rightfully be called the SFPUC.)

But, Gentle Reader, the well-paid PUC outreach people say that you can take a “tour” of these rain gutters if you want. Email at

Here They Are, Our Brand-New “Beautiful. Functional. Rain Gardens” on Fell – Like Parklets, But for Weeds, Not People

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

[UPDATE: Our PUC writes in tell about how I’m confusing them with the CAPUC, the same way, one supposes that Mssrs. Matier and Ross got “confused” when calling them the PUC here. But take their tour if you want – see Comments.]

Remember the revival of “Victory Gardens?” I do. It peaked in 2009. But the new thang in urban gardening is upon us.

As seen on Fell, looking inbound:

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(Oh, and the microfences already indicate that no bike parking is allowed. So what’s the PUC going to do? Ticket your ride? Cut off your lock and impound your bike?)

On Fell, looking outbound:

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And look, clobblestones!

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Are these real cobblestones? One can’t tell. Should they be? One doesn’t know.

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All right, that was the windup, and now here’s the pitch, from the SFPUC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of PG&E:

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Are these realtor-backed parklets “beautiful?” I don’t think so. Will they “improve safety?” I don’t see how. And actually, spending tax and fee payer money on “streetscape” “beauty” instead of safety is the opposite of  “improving safety,” PUC. Oh, and PUC, if you ever want to talk about how best to “manage” California’s water resources for the benefit of all Californians, look me up, cause you’re doing it wrong…

All the deets:

Oak Street and Fell Street Pedestrian and Bike Safety Project

Picture of Bulbout Area

Learn More About the Project

Check out SFMTA’s project website to learn more!

Improving Traffic Safety and Enhancing Stormwater Collection

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is teaming up with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) on the Oak Street and Fell Street Pedestrian and Bike Safety Project to integrate stormwater management with their traffic calming project.

In response to strong public feedback for more greenery and planting for the project, we’ve added rain gardens to the bulbouts along Oak and Fell Streets. A rain garden is a stormwater management technique which infiltrates stormwater into the soil, diverting water from going into the sewer. This addition to the project will benefit community members; not only will the project make residents and travelers safer, the rain gardens will add beauty and character to the intersections. Our partnership with the SFMTA will extend the improvements already underway. While the addition of green infrastructure will not result in any additional parking losses beyond what was approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors in May 2012, four of the bulbouts will be larger than initially proposed. Originally scheduled for construction in late 2013, the project is slated to begin construction in early summer 2014.


For construction inquiries, please contact:

Dadisi Najib – SFDPW

Luis Montoya – SFMTA

Ari Frink – SFPUC

For more project information, visit SFMTA’s site here.

Can You Legally Drink Alcohol While Sitting on the Street in a Parklet? The Surprisingly Complicated Answer is …?

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

I don’t know.

But today Camden Avery of UpperCasing (The Upper Haight Blog) has the deets on this issue.

Presenting the Martin Macks Gastro Pub Parklet, as seen at Haight Street – don’t try stealing this one, you know, the way other people have stolen parklets:

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I’m stumped on this issue – I can’t even hazard a guess as to the answer.

But I’ll tell you, I appreciate the way this particular parklet doesn’t block traffic the way the poorly-designed and overly wide Mojo Bicycle Cafe Parklet does block traffic

Audi Avenue: Powell Street Promenade is a Big Fat Joke – A Series of Eight Parklets to Market Audi’s Cars

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

[During all of this Powell Street Promenade stuff, please remember:

“…the benches draw their inspiration from the aluminum chassis of the all-new A7, the Audi ASF® frame.”

There will be a test later.]

[Chronicle Urban Design Critic John King just weighed in. Uh, John, the original plan was supposed to relieve “pedestrian congestion,” as this recent design concept from Audi shows, but the current design won’t do that. And “parklet” is a pejorative in this case. And those “abstract oars” you see are “inspired by” a 2012 Audi. Thusly:

The hockey stick behind the rear wheel – see it? That’s where your oars came from.]

Get up to speed on the new Audi Avenue / Powell Street Promenade Project right here.

Let me tell you, the Powell Street Promenade in Union Square will look nothing like this:

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Instead, it will look like this, with aluminum grating and paddles and twisted things. See?

Are these tables? I think they’re tables:

We were promised no advertising, but you make the call:

“…like much of the promenade, the benches draw their inspiration from the aluminum chassis of the all-new A7, the Audi ASF® frame. While the twisting and sculpting of the metal is intended to reflect the dynamic styling of the luxury sedan…”

Is this why Audi owners make such bad drivers, generally, the boldness? (I’d call it hubris, frankly.) Anyway, let’s let Audi make the case:

“We believe that a boldly designed car, like the new Audi A7, deserves a boldly designed world. So today we’re breaking ground on an urban design initiative to re-imagine Powell Street in San Francisco.”

I’ll tell you, the last thing Audi drivers need is anything to do with boldness.

Oh, and Foursquare too: Audi Powell Street Promenade

This is the primary surface. Number one will pass right through, number two not so much:

Now, the original idea was to have a widened sidewalk but that would have caused issues with area hotels (like them suing the City and County for starters). So we’re going to get cutouts on both sides of both blocks. Thusly:

Here’s parklet eight of eight, near the Cable Car turnaround:

Now let’s thank Gaia that the aluminum hasn’t been arranged in interlocking rings to further advertise Audi and its million-dollar Audi Avenue. But there will be Audi’s name onsite and that’s too much, IMO. Oh well.

And I can’t think of any other carmaker that’s as closely associated with aluminum as Audi, so there’s that.

Was this marketing deal put out to bid, like maybe some other car companies might want to market their vehicles using the streets of San Francisco as well, right? Anyway, I don’t know.

Feel free to share your thoughts with SFGov – oh, whoops, comments be closed, just like the way they have it at BeyondChron, which is also financed with your taxpayer dollars.

All right, which particular Audi did the Powell Street Promenade draw its inspiration from? All together now, the A7! Get one today – starting price is merely $60K.


Lively SocketSite has some deets along with reaction from the commonweal.

SF Streetsblog

Progress on Powell 

[Earworm of the day: We’re going rock down to-oo/ Audi Avenue.]

[UPDATE: And a commenter from frets over the metal theft issue. I wonder how much this aluminum would be worth melted down. See comments.]