New downtown signs will tout privately owned public spaces

Mike Koozmin/The S.F. ExaminerThis quaint POPOS is at 50 Beale Street.

Plaques directing San Franciscans to often-hidden public open spaces downtown will be more visible under new rules adopted Thursday by the Planning Commission.

The guidelines for dozens of privately owned public open spaces — small parks, gardens, plazas and sunny sitting areas, some located atop high-rises — aim to create signs that are of uniform size and design, and are easier to notice and read, under legislation introduced by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu.

Planning commissioners approved the new guidelines unanimously Thursday, adding suggestions about requiring property owners to keep the spaces in good shape, providing workers at the sites with information about them, and looking into whether The City can pursue no-smoking regulations there.

Although there was little dissent among the commissioners, one owner of a mixed commercial-residential property expressed concern that better signage would attract homeless “vagrants” and drug users into the open spaces.

The so-called “POPOS” were designed to meet the “quality open space” needs of downtown workers, residents and visitors, according to the Planning Department.

For a list of The City's POPOS see below.

In 2009, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association compiled a list of 68 such spaces scattered throughout the downtown area. The City is working to update that list.

SPUR’s 2009 Secrets of San Francisco list included 68 green spaces at 56 downtown locations. For descriptions, visit


  • 100 Pine St.
  • 101 California St.
  • 123 Mission St.
  • 14 Fremont St.
  • 160 Spear St.
  • 199 Fremont St.
  • 201 Mission St.
  • 201 Spear St.
  • 25 Jessie St.
  • 301 Howard St.
  • 425 Market St.
  • 456 Montgomery St.
  • 525 Market St.
  • 555 California St.
  • 555/575 Market St.
  • 560 Mission St.
  • Empire Park, Commercial and Montgomery streets
  • 1 Bush St.


  • 1 Sansome St.
  • 101 Second St.
  • 505 Sansome St.


  • 135 Main St.
  • 50 Beale St.
  • 55 Second St.
  • Marathon Plaza
  • 505 Sansome St.


  • 211 Main St.
  • 221 Main St.
  • 235 Second St.
  • 333 Market St.
  • 444 Market St.
  • 45 Fremont St.
  • 555 Mission St.
  • 595 Market St.
  • 611 Folsom St.
  • 650 California St.
  • 77 Beale St.
  • Foundry Square, First and Howard streets
  • 1 Market St.
  • Trinity Alley, Bush and Montgomery streets

Sitting areas

  • 180 Howard St.
  • 200 California St.
  • 345 California St.
  • 50 California St.
  • 600 California St.
  • Embarcadero Center West
  • Golden Gate University, Mission between First and Second streets
  • Marriott Courtyard
  • 1 California St.
  • 1 Post St.


  • 1 Kearny St.*
  • 100 First St.
  • 150 California St.
  • 343 Sansome St., 15th floor
  • Crocker Galleria, Sutter and Montgomery streets


  • n 49 Stevenson St.
  • n 71 Stevenson St.

Source: San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association

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