Plaza in the Castro to become permanent fixture 

Residents will have an everlasting place to kick up their feet in the Castro.

The first ever temporary street plaza is slated to graduate to a permanent pedestrian hangout nearly a year after the intersection was closed to vehicle traffic.

The “Castro Commons” at 17th and Castro streets was the guinea pig for The City’s Pavement to Parks program and was used to test whether converting the traffic-jammed corner into a pedestrian lounge with cardboard planters and mobile benches was worth it.

“It used to be a pedestrian nightmare,” said Castro Community Benefit District Executive Director Andrea Aiello. “I think this really helped.”

Now the plaza is under construction for its debut as a permanent structure while organizers replace the weather-soaked pots with concrete ones and other more permanent furnishings. But the plaza — which sits where
the F-line ends at Market and Castro streets — must first get approval to become permanent by the Municipal Transportation Agency board.

“I’m thrilled,” said Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who said he sits with his 3-year-old daughter in the plaza on weekends. “She just loves to sit there and look at the F-line trains, and look at people. I guess that’s what I’ve come to see it be. You have respite.”

So far the Office of Economic and Workforce Development has granted the Castro Community Benefit District with $56,000 to keep the plaza stable.

But before the area is considered permanent, the treated asphalt must first be raised and repaved to make it look less like an old street intersection, which has always been the intent of Pavement to Parks projects.

“The idea with the program is that we work to find locations that have the potential to become permanent,” said Project Manager Andres Power.

 

“Castro Commons” at 17th and Castro

Location: End of 17th Street at the intersection of Castro and Market streets
Construction: May 10–12, 2009
Opening date: May 13, 2009
End of initial trial run: July 11, 2009  
Estimated initial cost: $20,000

Source: SF Pavement to Parks

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Kamala Kelkar

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