Revitalization efforts within Central Market are gaining momentum and show no signs of slowing down. Twitter opened its doors earlier this month and officially moved into the neighborhood. At last week’s Central Market Partnership meeting at Canon Kip Senior Center District 6 Supervisor, Jane Kim welcomed Twitter and shared her hopes as to how the mini-blogging company can benefit the neighborhood. Kim envisions more street activity along Market Street and wants employees to support the local business community. Neighborhood tours for Twitter employees are currently being organized and will be provided as a way to introduce our new neighbors to the community.
The Strand Theater
American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) is moving forward with its plans to redevelop The Strand and operate it as a 300-seat, experimental theater. A.C.T. is working with Equity Community Builders, LLC to assist with the design and development of the property. They are still in the design phase, have conducted an historical analysis of the site and plan to reconstruct it as a LEED Certified building. Jason Seifer, A.C.T’s CFO announced plans to go for the Silver certification and will likely install energy efficient mechanical systems, use environmentally friendly paints and construction materials and to the extent possible, refurbish any existing materials from the building. There is a great deal of excitement around this project. A.C.T. has a target open date of fall 2014. Its initial design will go to the Planning Commission in August.
Episcopal Community Services Education and Director of Employment Phil Clark also gave an overview of their services. As an amazing community support resource, it was fantastic of them to host our meeting and also to be able to talk about the services that they offer to the community. Episcopal Community Services (ECS) has provided essential services to homeless San Franciscans since 1982. Serving more than 10,000 people last year, ECS, guided by its mission to “help homeless and very low-income people every day and every night obtain the housing, jobs, shelter, and essential services each person needs to prevent and end homelessness,” utilizes a holistic approach that addresses the multiple causes leading to homelessness.
Better Market Street
Taking place in conjunction with the Central Market revitalization efforts is Better Market Street, an urban design project that will reestablish Market Street as San Francisco’s premier cultural, civic and economic center. Neil Hrushowy, a planner and urban designer with the City’s Planning Department, attended the Central Market Partnership meeting to provide an overview of the project.
Market Street was originally designed to accommodate the most amount of people and uses. At the time, city officials were criticized for making it so wide, but now their foresight can be appreciated. During most weekdays, more than one-quarter of a million people use Market Street – either on foot, in cars, on bikes or by transit. Determining how best to accommodate these uses is challenging.
Better Market Street examines the interaction between public transportation and vehicular transit, cyclists, and pedestrian activity while also considering public places as well as the economic and cultural uses along Market Street. The design will identify ways to integrate these uses and redevelop the city’s central boulevard as a vibrant and accessible corridor.
Better Market Street looks at Market Street as a whole while examining its six different neighborhood segments: Octavia to 12th Street, Civic Center, Central Market, the Retail Core, the Financial District and the Embarcadero. Each neighborhood has its own unique character to integrate into the overall design. The project provides an opportunity for those involved in the revitalization of Central Market to participate and provide input into the design process.
The Better Market Street visioning process and research phase continues through 2012. Members of the public are invited to attend upcoming outreach meetings that are scheduled for July. Earlier visioning workshops were conducted last year; concepts participants identified as priorities include: placemaking, walking, cycling, economic vitality, public transit and incorporation of civic uses.
Better Market Street is developing urban design concepts and strategies around these initial areas of focus. Some currently being explored include:
- Reconfiguring transit lanes and boarding areas to improve the speed and reliability of public transit.
- Developing solutions such as a physically separate “Cycle Track” or shared lane to better accommodate cyclists.
- Introducing a “Street Life Zone”, an area between the street and sidewalk that would provide facilities such as benches, trees, cafe tables and public art to facilitate public interaction.
Better Market Street is spearheaded by the Department of Public Works, the Planning Department, Metropolitan Transportation Agency (MTA), the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the County Transportation Authority. Public meetings are scheduled for July 17th and July 21st. For more information please visit www.bettermarketstreet.org.