17th Street Trial Plaza Builds Sense of Community Character

July 15, 2009 at 10:45 pm 1 comment

The 17th Street Plaza has been monitored and evaluated since its implementation as part of the Pavement to Parks trial process. Before and after the opening of the plaza, The Great Streets Project collected pedestrian counts, street perception surveys and timed photographs to analyze how the space was being utilized. We’ve compiled our observations into the 17th Street Trial Plaza User and Perception Analysis. We are also finalizing a survey of the businesses in the area to gauge their perception of the impact on their stores.

Some of the most interesting findings of our work were from the pedestrian surveys, where we could get a sense of how people viewed the area. Residents of the Castro neighborhood who felt a strong sense of community character rose from 76% to 89% after the plaza opened and those who considered the pedestrian experience of the area as positive rose from 79% to 84%. This was an unexpected but extremely interesting development, and one of the oft-overlooked impacts of improving street spaces; this is not just a “transportation” project, it’s a community building project. In the not surprising category, given that there was nowhere to gather before the trial plaza, visitors are staying in the area as much as eight times as long and are now actively engaging with each other.

Based on such observations and wide community feedback, the trial period for the plaza has been extended for four more months. We will continue to monitor the use of this space and publish our findings.

Special thanks to all of the volunteers that have helped collect this data.




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Our Mission

The San Francisco Great Streets Project catalyzes the return of our city’s streets to their rightful place as the center of civic life in this wonderful city by working with government, business, and neighborhood leaders to test, analyze and institutionalize placemaking.


Kit Hodge
San Francisco Great Streets Project
995 Market Street, #1550
San Francisco, CA 94103
kit [at] sfgreatstreets DOT org
415-431-2453 x313

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