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The latest news and announcements from Mayor Lee

News Review
Mayor Lee Announces Two New Parks & Urban Open Space in South of Market
City’s SoMa West Improvement Projects Enhance Growing Neighborhood for Families, Residents, Skaters & Public to Enjoy
Posted Date: 7/16/2014
Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee and Supervisor Jane Kim announced the opening of a new skate park and  dog park as part of the South of Market (SoMa) West Improvement Projects, bringing new vitality for families in the neighborhood. With the new public plaza at McCoppin Hub also set to open in August, these new open spaces were designed to enhance the urban fabric, calm traffic and improve pedestrian and transportation safety in the neighborhood.

“I am thrilled to see the transformation and opening of these new spaces in the South of Market neighborhood to support and invest in our families and our youth,” said Mayor Lee. “The SoMa West Improvement projects are examples of smart planning supported by the community that activate open areas and maximize public space, providing more families and residents with tailored community space for the growing neighborhood.”

“I am thankful to our McCoppin/Valencia and Brady/Stevenson neighborhood leaders and City agencies that have spent countless hours advocating and working for the completion of the SoMa West Improvement projects,” said Supervisor Jane Kim. “These projects have been a long time in the making, and I am thrilled to see new parks and streetscaping in a part of our City that will only continue to grow.”

The SoMa West Improvement projects are a multiagency collaboration led by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Office of Supervisor Jane Kim, Department of Public Works, Recreation and Parks Department, Real Estate Department, Arts Commission, Caltrans, Municipal Transportation Agency and County Transportation Authority. Community partners included the Valencia McCoppin Neighborhood Watch and the San Francisco Skate Association, a skater based advocacy group dedicated to building more skate parks in San Francisco.

The Central Freeway replacement created a number of vacant land parcels previously occupied by the former freeway structure. The City dedicated the revenue from the sale of the 22 parcels for various transportation projects including the implementation of the SoMa West Improvement projects, which mitigate the impact of the new Central Freeway touchdown at Market Street and Octavia Boulevard.

Through a series of public workshops with the community, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and Department of Public Works developed a collaborative vision for improvements to the public realm. The selected improvements were designed to enhance the public’s experience with beautification, create open space, and improve the functionality and flow of Octavia Boulevard with pedestrian and transportation safety features such as colored and textured asphalt, raised crosswalks, the installation of chicanes to narrow the roadways, streetscape improvements, and landscaping.

“These improvements add life and provide opportunities for people in the community to join together for both passive and active recreational activities. That’s especially needed with the influx of new housing in the area, where there has been very little open space,” said Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru. “This truly has been a community-driven process. We heard from people from all parts of the neighborhoods and at the end of the day we came up with project designs that work for everybody.”

“Rec and Park manages 220 recreation facilities and parks in our City, including dog parks and skate parks,” said Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We are pleased to be a part of these great projects and increasing open space for people to enjoy parks in their neighborhood.”

The total construction cost of the SoMa West Improvement projects is $9.3 million, and include:
•    Dog Play Area: Tucked beneath the elevated Central Freeway between Valencia and Otis Streets, this new 7,000 square feet open space is a dog play area. The space is owned by Caltrans and through a negotiated lease agreement; the City was able to transform this space into a play area for pet owners and dogs alike.  
•    Skate Park: East of the dog play area is a new 21,000 square feet skate park. The space is owned by Caltrans and through a negotiated lease agreement, the City was able to transform and activate the underutilized and blighted land into a place for skateboarding. New Line Skateparks, one of the world’s leading design and construction firms specializing in skate parks, designed the new skate park.  
•    McCoppin Hub Plaza: Located at McCoppin and Valencia Streets, this cul-de-sac is being transformed into a new plaza for families to enjoy. It was designed by the Architecture firm Boor Bridges and the Department of Public Works to revitalize and enliven and increasing security through activity and use. The plaza will serve as a community gathering hub for hosting music, food and cultural events starting in August. For more information on the activities, go to: www.peopleinplazas.org.
•    Streetscape and Alleyways: The improvements include streetscape improvements for McCoppin Street, Jessie Street, Stevenson Street, Valencia Street, Elgin Park and Pearl Street. The project consisted of street trees, medians, chicanes, landscaping, new lighting, street imprint/cobblestone and brass street name plaques.   

The improvements also included two public artwork pieces commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission. The mural located at the skate park is titled There Slipped Saturn A Perpetual Tock - a.k.a. The Saturn Clock by local artist Jovi Schnell and a large-scale sculpture is titled Handsignals by MoreLab located at McCoppin Hub Plaza.

“We are lucky to live in a city that values art as an essential part of new city developments,” said Director of Cultural Affairs Director Tom DeCaigny. “Jovi Schnell’s mural enhances the skate park by transforming the existing infrastructure of the freeway underpass into an environment that evokes the City’s history and inspires our imagination.”

“I am so pleased to now be able to walk down Valencia Street and see folks sunning on benches as their ecstatic dogs play in the dog park,” said neighborhood resident Lynn Valente. “I’m able to chat with neighbors I have never met before and watch athletes of all ages perform amazing feats in the skate park. Both the skate park and dog park have replaced blight and desolation with energizing urban activity.”

“The City has kept to its promise and after tirelessly advocating for this project, skateboarders now have a new skate park for the public to enjoy,” said San Francisco Skateboarding Association President and Co-Founder Bryan Hornbeck. “This skate park bridges the cultural gap between the skaters, the City, and the residents of the community and we are thrilled to see this once in a lifetime effort become reality.”