Summer workshops are underway to engage residents and businesses of Duboce Triangle and adjacent neighborhoods on their ideas for a Slow Triangle. It has been great meeting some of you at our recent workshops and at the Farmers’ Market, and we look forward to hearing from you at a future meet- ing. In the meantime, we also invite you to fill out our survey, to help us understand your thoughts on what a Slow Triangle could mean.
This concept of designing an improved Duboce Triangle began at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Noe Street was converted into a “Slow Street.” Throughout San Francisco, and in cities across the country, these “Slow Streets” were implemented to limit through traffic and open the road to more accessible and wider uses for pedestrians and cyclists. These modes of street design and usage are not necessarily new. Temporary street closures make way for block parties, street festivals, and farmers’ markets. Examples of permanent pedestrianized streets can be found all around the world in cities like Barcelona, Copenhagen, and Paris, along both major thoroughfares and in more intimate neighborhood settings. While there are some universal approaches to redesigning streets to create safer and more open public spaces, Duboce Triangle is unique in its history and relationship to the rest of the City. A tailored approach to understanding the neighborhood is necessary before diving into a Slow Triangle design proposal.
Initial research was done on the current and potential implementation of Vision Slow Triangle here in Duboce Triangle by 3 groups of graduate students from UC Berkeley on the topics of Walkability & Mobility, Sustainability, and Activation.
Some of the proposed ideas included improving existing corner bulb-outs as mini-plazas, adjusting parking orientation in key areas to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and pedestrian improvements on 14th Street to support movement and access to businesses. After hearing feedback on these ideas from residents at a December 2021 presentation, we have remained open to any and all of your ideas. This summer, we are conducting community workshops to add to these initial ideas and we are inviting everyone to play a part in this process. As stakeholders in this community, your wants, dreams, and lived experiences are essential ingredients in how a potential vision for a Slow Triangle can be articulated, planned for, and implemented.
So far, we have completed two workshops: in the first one, we collected ideas on potential Design Values that resonated with community members and shared precedent examples that could be applicable in Duboce Triangle. Participants in the second workshop took part in a design charrette, giving people an opportunity to articulate their ideas through creative brainstorming and interactive activities. As a result of these workshops, we are planning to present concept designs and refined recommendations to seek additional neighbor input before connecting with City departments and other community partners to make what the neighborhood wants a reality.
To stay informed about the Slow Triangle workshops, please RSVP here: https://forms.gle/JtLKRZ- jAcn8VC18B7, or email us at slow- email@example.com with any and all ideas. You can also learn more at dtna.org (under “Initiatives”). We will be sending out more detailed information about each event to those interested.
This document contains meeting notes and photographs of the neighbor input from our first community meeting discussing what we care about and what matters to us when we think of a "Vision: Slow Triangle".
Vision Slow Triangle - Meeting 1 Notes - June 23, 2022.pdf
202206 DTNA Vision Slow Triangle Presentation Materials.pdf
These are interim results as of a total of 52 responses. We will continue to update.
Survey Results 52 Answers.pdf
We are fortunate and grateful to UC Berkeley Graduate Student, Jieqiong Yang for completing her capstone project on the Duboce Triangle
"Enhancing Street Livability By Traffic Calming and Streetscape Design in the Duboce Triangle" can be found here
The below file shows design solutions that workshop participants developed during our 2nd workshop.
These design solutions are grouped into four thematic areas that were highlighted as "areas we care about" or "design values" in our first workshop.
These design solutions were later incorporated in the presentations shared during workshop 3 and 4.
Charrette - Design Output from Work Shop No 2.pdf
My name is Martine Kushner, and I am excited to introduce myself as DTNA ’s summer intern! I ’m looking forward to joining the team and getting to know the community over these next few months.
As for my background, since graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 2019 with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and minors in Urban Design and Global Health and the Environment, I ’ve worked as a Landscape and Urban Designer at Balmori Associates and as an Intern for Humanitarian Development practice at UN-Habitat. Last fall, I moved from New York City to the Bay Area to pursue a dual Master ’s degree in Architecture and City Planning at UC Berkeley, where I just completed my first of three years. I am passionate about the built environment and its potential as a vehicle for sustainable and equitable change, and I ’m excited to help the DTNA move forward with its vision for a slow triangle.
As many of you may know, since last fall DTNA has been collaborating with the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley to conduct research for Vision: Slow Triangle, focusing on three topics: walkability and mobility, sustainability, and activation. This summer, building on that work and continuing with the participatory approach, I will help conduct a series of community meetings and workshops where we will work together to identify a set of design values for the public realm. From there, I ’ll propose concept designs based on these values, your input, and the research generated by my peers.
I ’m very grateful to be a part of this project and look forward to meeting you and hearing your ideas! Should you have any questions or comments, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Plans for Slow Triangle Make Progress with Support from Supervisor Mandelman's office.
In March, DTNA representatives met with Supervisor Mandelman and staff, as well as officials of the Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) and the Department of Public Works (DPW) to begin outlining the scope of work for initial progress on our Slow Triangle plans. Jamie Parks of MTA had created a slide show of bulb-outs and medians that need work, and Bryan Dahl of DPW offered ideas for structures at various intersections that could improve pedestrian and vehicle safety as well as traffic flow.
Supervisor Mandelman explained that with a large-budget project like this (it could run into multi-millions) they will start with budgetary areas that are already in the system, like those for street and sidewalk repair or pedestrian safety, and then look to the Mayor ’s office to fund the remainder. Funds will be available from President Biden ’s infrastructure and COVID-19 stimulus bills (the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill and the American Rescue Plan), and we need to have our ducks in a row by the end of 2022 to be considered for the 2023 budget.
Thanks to funding from the Supervisor ’s office and a donation from Waymo, DTNA has hired a graduate student intern for the summer to conduct a series of workshops with neighbors and to develop the design work that will provide a vision we can rally around. We are thrilled to introduce you to Martine Kushner – you can learn more about her and her work in this issue. We are actively fundraising to include a second graduate student intern – if you have any information on funding resources, please contact email@example.com.
Please watch your email and this space for invites to the workshops, and get involved with the process – the more neighbors who participate the better the final outcome will be. See you there!
There have been a lot of COVID-related changes to our neighborhood over the past two years. Prior to the pandemic, our streets were exclusively for cars (either parked or moving). The only space for pedestrians were the narrow sidewalks - only three feet wide in some locations! Businesses were not allowed to have any presence on the street (especially if they were serving alcohol) without obtaining difficult and costly permits. Now, people and businesses are using our streets in unprecedented ways. It will be curious to see what remains and what changes in the months and years to come.
The state of ground-floor retail was not in a great place at the beginning of 2020, and the pandemic did not help. While it’s been sad to see neighborhood favorites like Cafe Flore sit empty, it’s been inspiring to see other gems like L'Ardoise Bistro adapt. The new parklet spaces that extend businesses into our streets have become a staple of city life during COVID-19. DTNA has been a strong supporter of these efforts, encouraging businesses to get creative and do whatever they can to not just survive, but thrive. Overall, they have been a net positive to our city streets. The extra life and vitality make a stroll through our neighborhood even more exciting. Even the simpler parklets, such as the waiting area outside of Healing Cuts SF, have created a chance to bump into friends. Sure, you may have to do a bit more sidewalk dodging if it’s a hopping night at Willkommen, but that’s part of living in a city. Plus, the extra “eyes on the street” are a great way to make our neighborhood safer.
Another notable change to our neighborhood caused by the pandemic is the Noe Slow Street. DTNA played a very active role in having Noe Street selected for SFMTA’s program. Having been installed for several months now, it’s been wonderful to see people walking, playing, and even celebrating (10/17 Phoenix Day Block Party) in the street. This would have been almost impossible to imagine and implement before the pandemic. Now, it’s a valued asset to our neighborhood. It’s not perfect, and hopefully, over time, people will grow more accustomed to it. No one should feel stigmatized for walking or driving (or rollerblading) on Noe Street. It is a space that belongs to all of us, and something we need to learn to share.
Overall, we have all witnessed and had to live with some pretty significant changes to Duboce Triangle that probably would have never been possible if not for the pandemic. DTNA is a proud advocate for parklets, shared streets, and slow streets. We see them as a silver lining to the depressing lockdowns of COVID-19. Now, as the pandemic seems to be winding down (fingers crossed) and we enter a new normal, it will be interesting to see what becomes of these additions to our neighborhood. Hopefully, they also become a new normal. An integral part of Duboce Triangle. Without the masks and restrictions, we are able to use these amenities in a new way - with smiling faces.
Once the UC Berkeley students’ research on the Vision Slow Triangle came to a close, the board of DTNA organized a neighborhood walk with Supervisor Mandelman’s team and a representative from the SFMTA to discuss findings and recommendations. Everyone was excited. We are now moving from community research and analysis to planning for implementation.
For any stage of the Vision Slow Triangle work, we have made a commitment to an open, transparent, and participatory process. Past experience shows that using participatory workshops for neighborhood improvements not only generates better, more balanced decisions but also achieves better usage of new improvements by residents and local businesses. A secondary, but not negligible outcome is that we all get to know each other better. In other words, this is a great opportunity to build community in Duboce Triangle together, by working on something we all care about.
The next stage of our work will include two concrete parts. First, developing an overarching value statement for the public realm in Duboce Triangle; Second, supporting the development of concept designs for improving critical intersections, the Duboce Triangle neighborhood gardens on bulb-outs and sidewalks, as well as additional traffic calming measures. These two steps are critical to ultimately generate an initial budgetary request to fund the implementation of proposed improvements.
We will conduct much of the work in a series of community workshops. We’d love your participation - either to co-organize workshops or simply participate. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to be added to the list so we can keep you involved! It’s going to be a fun and meaningful effort to work on this together.
The DTNA Land Use and General Meetings in December saw record participation as Professor Lamb and three graduate student groups from UC Berkeley ’s College of Environmental Design presented their community research findings for our Vision - Slow Triangle (see earlier newsletters for more details on that).
The teams had been instructed to use methods that broadly reflect the diverse perspectives of our community: they conducted interviews with residents, merchants, and visitors - randomly, with a survey stand at our Phoenix Day block party, and via direct outreach to ensure minority representation. Students also spent countless days in the Triangle observing behavior, such as counting people jaywalking or vehicles running stop-signs. Finally, they accessed secondary data, including traffic statistics provided by Uber and records in the city archives.
Here are a few snippets of what they found:
Parking configurations: Students saw evidence that vehicles parked at intersections obstructing visibility cause a higher incidence of cars running stop signs and pedestrians hesitating to cross. A comparison of different parking configurations (parallel, perpendicular, angled) showed that angled parking increases perceived pedestrian safety and therefore encourages jaywalking (leaving aside aspects of desirability or legality for a moment). Their recommendations included selective removal of parking spaces at critical intersections (Duboce & Sanchez, 14th & Sanchez, 14th & Noe, 16th & Castro) to improve pedestrian safety.
Streetside mini-plaza design: This group found a positive impact of vegetation, slow traffic, and wood (instead of stone) seating on increased resident use of our corner bulb-outs. The group suggested that gathering spaces need better upkeep and can be designed to cater to different users (e.g. visitors vs. residents) with different functions (e.g. social vs. quiet activities).
UC Berkeley Masters of Urban Planning studied the mini-plazas mapped above. Two were found to be “nice currently”, the rest need various upgrades for different uses.
Sidewalk activation: This group researched how sidewalk safety and walkability influence the desire of pedestrians to use certain streets. They highlighted the challenges pedestrians face on 14th Street, given unusually narrow sidewalks and a very uncomfortable intersection at Sanchez and Noe. Recommendations included sidewalk widening and traffic slowing measures, such as chicanes and center islands.
Full copies of their research reports are available upon request, and minutes of the meeting summarizing community feedback are available on the DTNA website.
It was clearly a privilege to have mid-career urban design professionals in one of the world ’s best urban design programs generously study our small corner of this planet. Their outside perspectives highlighted issues that most of us have stopped actively seeing and proposed fresh ideas to address them.
As a community, it now rests upon us to act and decide on the desirability of their recommendations. We want to hear from you and involve you in the process of making the Vision - Slow Triangle a reality, translating these findings into design guidelines and budget requests to policy makers and city departments. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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