Image credit: StreetFilms
Dangerous intersection reclaimed as public space
One of my favorite things about the folks at StreetFilms is that they don't just report on innovative projects for livable streets - they deconstruct what has been done so we can all learn from it. It's like they are building a sense of collective literacy around planning and public space. Whether it's physically separated bike lanes or Bogota's comprehensive approach to transport planning, their short videos show us inspiring examples of real change, and they explain how and why they really work. The same goes for their latest offering - a short film about a temporary park created on a dangerous intersection in the Castro district of San Francisco. We get an understanding of the history, a breakdown of what has been done and why, and of course we get to see how the ever flamboyant residents of San Francisco are putting their new park to use. The idea for the park was proposed as an experiment in both traffic calming and in creating usable public space. With the pro bono help of Public Architecture, the city was able to create a low cost, temporary and totally reverseable park/plaza that replaced a once dangerous intersection with plantings and tables and chairs. The space is separated simply by color and by moveable objects - so if it doesn't work, it can soon be returned back to its original state. But the city and transportation advocates (as well as businesses surrounding the new park) are clearly hoping that this will mark the beginning toward a larger shift toward people friendly streets. After all, where else can the people of San Francisco show off their new underwear?