San Francisco’s Yerba Buena neighborhood celebrated the debut of Annie Street Plaza, the latest pedestrian-friendly open space from San Francisco Planning’s Pavement to Parks program, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and acoustic concert Wednesday evening.
“San Francisco streets and public spaces are being transformed with new plazas, pedestrian safety improvements and more innovative approaches to improve the urban experience for our residents and visitors,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “The Pavement to Parks program and the Yerba Buena CBD working together with the neighborhood and community have created this new and imaginative Annie Alley public plaza for our entire city to enjoy.”
“Annie Street Plaza is an exciting example of how the community can re-envision open active space through the Pavement to Parks program,” said Supervisor Kim, who has championed open space initiatives in District 6. “The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District has pulled together an amazing array of programming ideas from the community and Annie Street Plaza is set to become a pedestrian oasis for workers, seniors and families alike.”
Located at the intersection of Annie and Mission Streets between New Montgomery and Third Streets, the plaza marks the re-launch of the Pavement to Parks Pedestrian Plaza program. As an important midblock connection, Annie Street Plaza will make it safer for high volumes of pedestrians who use the alley every day to travel from Market to Mission Street. The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District (YBCBD) funded the Plaza and its completion involved a collaborative effort with the YBCBD, Yerba Buena’s residents and businesses, San Francisco Planning, San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, and Supervisor Jane Kim’s office.
“Pedestrian safety and public open spaces are high priorities to San Francisco,” said Planning Director John Rahaim. “Annie Street Plaza demonstrates how City collaboration can meet those priorities beautifully while celebrating the community. As a pilot project for the Pavement to Parks Pedestrian Plaza program, I look forward to working with the Yerba Buena community on how Annie Street Plaza can continue to enhance the neighborhood character.”
The plaza will allow for a variety of uses and programming, such as music, movies, festivals, luncheons, dance performances, and places to relax. The picturesque alley is framed by brick and stone buildings with movable table and chairs, cement seating, a trellis of reclaimed wood with more than 40 hanging plants, a small stage, lighting and chalk boards for community messages. YBCBD, in collaboration with neighborhood organizations, will program the location with events each week.
“This is about bringing people together and creating a sense of community,” said Lance Burwell, YBCBD board member. “We’re grateful to everyone in the neighborhood and at the City for their efforts to make this incredible transformation possible.”
Designed by CMG Landscape Architecture, Annie Street Plaza is part of the YBCBD’s award-winning Yerba Buena Street Life Plan, a road map of more than 30 projects for enhancing public spaces in the neighborhood.
“The alleys within Yerba Buena remind us of the neighborhood’s history and have a very human scale, which makes them great pedestrian spaces,” said Kevin Conger, principal, CMG Landscape Architecture. “We thought the space would be even more interesting with vertical elements, and allow for movie nights and other events. Our goal was to make a temporary design elegant and flexible, but I think the end result will make folks think that the space feels permanent.”
Annie Street Plaza is a temporary installation expected to be in place 2-3 years. The YBCBD will manage and maintain the plaza using its ‘Clean Team’ to routinely wash sidewalks and remove any graffiti or trash. YBCBD also funds an SFPD bike patrol officer that is dedicated to the district.