New parks open in SF neighborhood with many Filipinos

/ 08:11 AM July 17, 2014

San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee announcing the opening of new parks in heavily Filipino South of Market neighborhood. CITY HALL PHOTO

SAN FRANCISCO, California — The city’s South of Market neighborhood, which has significant concentration of Filipino residents, opened on July 16 two new parks to calm traffic and improve pedestrian safety.

The South of Market (SoMa) West Improvement projects include the newly opened skate park and dog park. A new public plaza at McCoppin Hub also is set to open in August.


“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,” Valente added.


The transformation and opening of these new spaces in the South of Market neighborhood is an “investment in our families and our youth,” said Mayor Edwin Lee.

The SoMa West Improvement projects are examples, he said, of smart planning supported by the community.

Community input 

Supervisor Jane Kim thanked McCoppin/Valencia and Brady/Stevenson neighborhood leaders and city agencies for spending “countless hours advocating and working for the completion of the SoMa West Improvement projects.”

The SoMa West improvements 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.

Freeway led to project  


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, to 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 tapped a common vision for improvements to the public areas.

The selected improvements were designed to enhance the public’s experience with beautification, create open space and improve the usefulness and flow of Octavia Boulevard.

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 were among the improvements.

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 72,000 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.

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TAGS: Mayor Ed Lee, open spaces, park development, South of Market Improvement projects, Supervisor Jane Kim
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