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Linden to Get Flattened Out and Turned Into a 'Living Alley'

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Among the recently passed Market and Octavia Plan's many wide-ranging effects: a vision for establishing a network of "livable streets" along San Francisco's somewhat neglected alleys, in Hayes Valley and the area just south of Market and west of Van Ness. Before sending out a cadre of workers to go rework our alleys, however, the plan calls for the city government to establish a process for the remakes, first developing a "prototype" and then creating a process through which residents can suggest their own improvements. That first prototype appears to be nigh, as the Hayes Valley Voice reports "all approvals have been received" for the Linden Living Alley Project, and sponsors just need to get to fundraising now. This is for you, Blue Bottle lingerers: "the road is tabled to the same level as the sidewalk to blur the distinction between the pedestrian and the automobile realms and to create a unified space," with plants and the like to create a kind of "outdoor living room."

Guidelines for residential alleys in general also include concentrating parking along one side of the street (the one with the least curb cuts), planting more street trees, and generally creating "more public space" for the residents who are ostensibly living right above these alleys: public space such as corner plazas, seating and play areas, community gardens "and the like." Nonresidential alleys are slated for treatment too — with probably a little more care to preserving their various and sundry uses. Still, the goal is to "protect the intimate scale of these alleys." A few vague bullet points for fixing them up includes sexing them with "active uses where possible," while accommodating loading areas "in ways that add to the character of the alley." Based on renderings at the Linden Living Alley blog, it looks like other alleys that could follow Linden soon are Ames Street in the Mission and Sumner Street in SoMa.
· Linden Living Alley [Website]
· Hayes Valley Voice Apr-May 2010 (PDF) [HVNA]
· Market and Octavia Area Plan [Planning Dept]
· Market & Octavia Nabe Plan Actually Approved [Curbed SF]