By Hans Galland
As the pandemic paused commuter traffic, San Francisco rolled out a massive experiment: Slow Streets. Noe Street was selected as one such street, running right through the Triangle. In our Jun/Jul Newsletter, DTNA Land Use Chair Kevin Riley wrote about DTNA’s exploration of a Slow Triangle A Slow Triangle is a vision...not a policy, ballot measure, or SFMTA plan. It's an idea.”
To research aspects of the Vision: Slow Triangle, DTNA has been working with the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. This was originally inspired by a conversation DTNA Board Member Hans Galland had with Hugo Errazuriz, resident on Beaver Street, who had conducted research on the Triangle in 2002 when he was a student at Cal (see page X). With Hugo’s help, Hans secured the support of Dr. Zachary Lamb, Assistant Professor of City and Regional Planning, who teaches Urban Design Research Methods” and helped turn Vision: Slow Triangle into a research project for graduate students.
The goal of this research project was threefold. Firstly, for DTNA to use a participatory approach for residents to explore the complex nuances of a Slow Triangle. Secondly, to create an objective scientific basis for future design and implementation of a Slow Triangle from one of the world’s most respected research institutions on this subject matter. Finally, it was our hope that this process could become the first chapter in a playbook that other neighborhoods in San Francisco and the world can use for community-driven assessments of Slow Neighborhoods.
DTNA Land Use Committee members kicked off the project on Sunday September 12, 2021 at Duboce Park touring 3 groups of 3 graduate students through the Triangle. DTNA emphasized the importance of exploring the relationship between a Slow Triangle and mobility, environmental sustainability, activation, and equity. Ultimately, the student groups decided to research the following three areas.
Walkability & Mobility. Researching the impact of parking configurations on traffic calming and the public realm. Field work focuses on Sanchez Street and three intersections considered high traffic zones (14th/Noe, Sanchez/Duboce, 14th/Sanchez). The findings can guide the design of future parking configurations.
Sustainability. Researching how characteristics of streetside gathering spaces (vegetation, amenity, size and dimension, location) encourage resident use and contribute to resident satisfaction. The findings can help the neighborhood activate underutilized spaces, promote resident satisfaction, and build more pleasant new community gathering spaces.
Activation. Researching how physical characteristics and vehicular traffic influence the desire of pedestrians to use streets. Field work focuses on 14th Street. Findings can guide design of streets for a more pleasant pedestrian experience, as desired.
Since September 12, 2021, the student groups have conducted multiple visits to the Triangle, attended DTNA Land Use and DTNA General Meetings, conducted observations, resident interviews, and archival research. You may have also met them as they participated at the Phoenix Day Street Fair to gather more comprehensive resident input.
We are very excited to learn about the findings the research has generated during our next General Meeting at 7 pm on Dec 13, 2021. We welcome your participation at the meeting and always appreciate your input and feedback. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org