The SF Public Utilities Commission is the unlikely force behind a new design for two new plazas and a lush streetscape along Valencia between Mission and Caesar Chavez in the microhood known as La Lengua (not to be confused with SoCha). The project, termed the Mission & Valencia "Green Gateway" is one of 8 pilot projects for Phase I of the PUC's Sewer System Improvement Program, a 20-year multi-billion dollar series of infrastructure improvements intended to prevent the polluted flows of San Francisco's combined sewer system from overflowing into the Bay. In addition to the new plazas, the current Gateway design includes an ambitious array of upgrades, including traffic reconfigurations focused on cyclist and pedestrian safety; rain gardens, permeable paving in parking lanes and plazas, widened sidewalks and planted bulb-outs.
La Lengua was chosen as one of the first projects because of "constant reports of flooding" due to its location in the floodplain of historic Islais Creek. Instead of simply adding more "grey infrastructure" like pump stations and treatment plans, the PUC is investing in lower impact "green infrastructure."
Since the PUC can only fund projects that directly manage stormwater, it has partnered with the Planning Dept., DPW, and MTA to amplify the Green Gateway project into a more involved neighborhood beautification, educational and traffic calming initiative as well. The design is tied to a major outreach effort, with the latest round of design options emerging last night at a PUC-led community meeting last night, focusing on two new plaza spaces.
Gateway design will be undergoing another round of revisions in preparation for yet another community feedback session later this year. To donate your two cents, visit the project feedback site here. The team will present the final design present this October and move into the detailed design phase, with plans to wrap construction by December 2015. · Mission Valencia Green Gateway Project Page [SFPUC]
· Mission Valencia Green Gateway Project Feedback Site [official]
· Mission District Streetscape Plan [SF Planning]