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At one end of Annie Street is San Francisco’s newest public space — at the other, visible evidence that the success of such spaces is not assured.
The new plaza is a patch of asphalt at Mission Street, closed to cars but with plenty of room for bicycles to coast through, below a gateway-like frame of salvaged wood adorned with hanging rat tail cactus.
The program is best known for the 50-plus “parklets” that have opened since 2010, slivers that include seating and replace one or two parking spaces.
There are concrete benches that overlap the sidewalk, a low wooden seating platform that doubles as a stage, and a dozen movable chairs.
Verticality is provided by the gateway-like frame of salvaged wood and a trio of tall posts at either end of the small plaza, with succulents up high for a hint of green.
Abad described the design by landscape architecture firm CMG as “a venue for amplifying types of uses that we’ve already seen,” a test and only a test, to be reviewed and tweaked as needed.
Even the concrete seating sits atop a layer of plastic, so it can be removed without harming the surfaces below.
The $118,000 plaza was built and paid for by the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, which also will provide maintenance and schedule events to activate the space.
The squares of tall greenery beneath a single tree might have been bucolic at the start — they were installed after the 1970s redo of Market Street — but in recent years the only people you’d find there probably were indulging in alcohol, drugs or who knows what else.
Restoration work began on the Monadnock Building next door, and the protective fencing swallowed up the plaza.
The fourth was a little-used flop near the California College of Arts; it’s now being used as a staging area for a nearby housing development.