November 15, 2012
The Framework For San Francisco's First Urban Eco-District
With ideas including the use of the elevated highway along the southern border of San Francisco's Central Corridor to capture rainwater for community or rooftop gardens, and utilizing the space underneath the highway for stormwater management facilities, Planning’s framework for a Central Corridor Eco-District has been drawn:
With the framework in hand, a plan and implementation program is expected by fall 2013.
First Published: November 15, 2012 11:30 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Spending money to "beautify" the worst possible locations that no one in their right mind would use. What utter absurdity.
The spaces under freeways should be used for storage facilities and other structures that need not be very pleasant places to be.
The only public use I can imagine is for bike lanes because there are usually fewer cross streets under the overpasses.
Posted by: BobN at November 15, 2012 12:33 PM
I hope they fit all the eco buzzwords into one project and now they don't have to be in any others.
The ability to have a rooftop garden is a great reason to be rich, but the recreating the hanging gardens of Babylon under a freeway as a method of supporting supposedly green rooftop undertakings is absurd. And it makes a mockery of sustainability in any real sense of the word.
Posted by: frog at November 15, 2012 12:57 PM
I think this idea has great potential; they need to work out in more detail the issues of enough sunlight and dealing with car noise and exhaust.
But, it's a much more eco friendly use than more parking lots and crappy storage facilities.
I would give this idea some time to develop.
Posted by: futurist at November 15, 2012 1:06 PM
swimming pools for the homeless; I hope they are heated
Posted by: asiagoSF at November 15, 2012 1:11 PM
how about solar hot 'springs' for homeless bathing under there
Posted by: bossmillion at November 15, 2012 1:11 PM
But, it's a much more eco friendly use than more parking lots and crappy storage facilities.
So we'll just continue to put parking lots and crappy storage facilities in better locations to drag them down, perhaps to the point that they can benefit from some future "eco-renovation"...
Posted by: BobN at November 15, 2012 1:41 PM
This is one of those documents that some planning organization will give them an award for and will never be acted apon. Lots of great ideas that when translated to the real world aren't practical or there is no money to spend on them.
Not sure that City Planning should be wasting money on this, might have been more appropriate for a consulting firm to do as a way to build their image, but what consultant can spend that much time and money with no return.
Posted by: Sunset Guy at November 15, 2012 1:42 PM
Wood flooring with pools and fountains every five to ten feet...
It looks like a utopia drawing of the future from 1960.
And it sounds like a open bathhouse for the homeless.
Posted by: SFMichael at November 15, 2012 2:13 PM
This is an absolutely great idea and we need a Robert Moses type to make any of it happen.
The idea of property owners cooperating on a grand scale is just not gonna happen.
Posted by: Pietro at November 15, 2012 2:19 PM
The pools and fountains are the stupidest idea yet to come from SF Planning Commission. They will become nothing but a homeless bathing location.
San Francisco can't even maintain the fountains it currently has.
Remember the central rectangular reflecting pool in front of City Hall? It was filled due to maintenance and homeless issues.
You can add in the non-working water feature at the Japanese pagoda in Japan Town, and two additional non-working fountains on the Buchanan Street mall.
(Although there hasn't been any discussion, of late, about how much it costs the City for electricity to run the Vaillancourt Fountain.)
My point is, City Planners need to realize San Francisco is not a "financial utopia" and it is not getting any better either.
The water saving idea is good one, but the current proposal will have too many long term associated maintenance costs.
Posted by: Jackson at November 15, 2012 2:36 PM
"San Francisco can't even maintain the fountains it currently has. "
Excellent point Jackson! And considering how few fountains San Francisco has compared to other "world class" cities, it does not speak well for our little town.
Could we use some of this money to help fix MUNI instead please?
Posted by: anonandon at November 15, 2012 3:41 PM
Submerge the highway, and then we can really talk about making an ecodistrict. Increase density adjacent to this this would-be greenway. (notwithstanding the W. SOMA plan). Create transit/greenway/essential links to downtown). Submerge from 5th to hospital curve -- will help reconnect all the neighborhoods which have a massive highway flying above.
Posted by: Invented at November 15, 2012 3:56 PM
In Japan, spaces under roads and railways such as this are often used as small industrial zones, with shops using the spaces for various activities that do not need full street frontage.
I can imagine many small contractors and other companies would be able to use this. Under one large railway viaduct in Tokyo is a famous concentration of repair shops, plumbers, electrical contractors, stone masons etc. etc.
Posted by: anon94123 at November 15, 2012 4:14 PM
The homeless could use a place to bathe and if we use collected rainwater to do it, I can't see why people might have a problem with it. We need to be ready to clean up the mess left behind though.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at November 15, 2012 7:05 PM
You answered your own question, NVJ.
This is really stupid. It will get douched instantly. And Duboce - 13th - Townsend is a very useful corridor for travel.
Posted by: Anew at November 15, 2012 7:17 PM
Besides the homeless problems mentioned, who exactly would want to hang out under the freeway? Dark, dank, noisy, noxious exhaust fumes.
Posted by: frshmn at November 15, 2012 7:25 PM
Underpasses are where all the dust, light trash and plastic bags come to rest. The reasons: no rain and wind patterns.
I like the idea of having pools like these where the homeless can crape off the gunk from their feet. Collect and make biofuel out of it. See, it's sustainable!
Posted by: lol at November 15, 2012 9:20 PM
Its nice to see what the planners that make upwards of 80,000 a year come up with after months of work. What a complete waste of money.
Posted by: joke at November 15, 2012 10:02 PM
If I did this with my parent's money, they would have spanked me and put me on home detention for a month.
Its just that stupid an example of squandering our collective tax money.
I wonder if they will figure out how to tuck parking meters into the muck. Just to make it a true "Planning, SPUR and SFMTA Symphony of the sucky."
Posted by: Stucco_Sux at November 15, 2012 10:41 PM
In Hong Kong, lush gardens have been built under freeway. It provides welcome respite to citizens in the dense city and is often full of activities.
I'm not saying it will be the same in San Francisco. Only they should see more before rejecting it out right.
On the other hand I think designers should go easy on all these water features that count on rain water catchment. They should learn the climate of San Francisco first and think about how they will work during the nine months with hardly any rain.
Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at November 16, 2012 8:43 AM
Wow. What a heap of shit comments.
Since when have the homeless flocked to the public water features to bathe? Should we be afraid of new parks and green space too? Or maybe continue to neglect public seating/benches for the same reason...
Using the heavily underutilized dead space under the highway for storm water collection and greening sounds like a fantastic idea. Granted, I feel that there are other more important projects that should be attended to — Market St as an example.
Of all of the projects that the city has recently proposed, this and the use of space under and near the Transbay Center are some of the more interesting and forward thinking I've seen yet... Give them a chance to do some planning, research and budgeting before you swear on your life that its the worst idea the city has ever attempted.
Posted by: Rob at November 16, 2012 10:07 AM
Forgot to say San Francisco already have a decent outdoor space and sports court in Mission Creek under the 280 freeway.
Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at November 16, 2012 10:42 AM
Since when have the homeless flocked to the public water features to bathe?
Why do you think the fountain in United Nations Plaza is roped off?
Posted by: BobN at November 16, 2012 5:59 PM
@BobN I've never seen it roped off... And if it is, it must be for you. ;)
Posted by: Rob at November 17, 2012 10:23 AM
homeless bathing or not, its just lame design.
nyc got the high line and we get this?!
Posted by: citicritter at November 17, 2012 10:59 PM
And if it is, it must be for you. ;)
It's prolly cuz I carry around a rubber ducky...
Posted by: BobN at November 18, 2012 12:18 AM
@wai yip tung, the fountain at civic center was closed not long ago because homeless were bathing in it and it was deemed a health hazard.
Posted by: Marco at November 18, 2012 9:01 PM
I'm all for reclaiming these spaces, but I'd much sooner see something like businesses or a soccer field for instance take some of this real estate. I love the idea of bike-only lanes and pedestrian thoroughfares under/along the overpasses.
Posted by: Joel V at November 19, 2012 11:41 AM
Just engage "Friends Of The Urban Forest" to focus on that area and please move on to something more important to San Francisco - like building tens of thousands more residential units.
Posted by: Gregg at December 5, 2012 2:44 PM