Sense of place: Civic Center’s a festive place when the Giants are celebrating another World Series triumph or revelers gather after the Pride Parade. Now, bureaucrats want to see if they can bring some of that life to the area and its central plaza year-round.
“We want to turn it from an empty, “come look at me as a picture” space into something that invites you to stay a while,” said Gil Kelley, director of citywide planning for the City Planning Department.
Next week, the department will begin working with four other city agencies on a coordinated plan for what it calls the “public realm” of the Civic Center area. This includes the plaza framed by such classical landmarks as City Hall, the streets around and various small spaces or alleys nearby.
Setting a goal that’s either ambitious or absurd, the quintet hopes to release a draft plan this winter that will include a range of possibilities, from sidewalk design to proposals for activating the plaza on weekdays to, as Kelley puts it gingerly, “the needs and wants of different parts of the population.” In other words, meld urban design with the reality that on a non-event day, the main users of the plaza are homeless people or indigents with few other places to go.
It’s not as if the Civic Center hasn’t been a topic of conversation before: At least four full plans have been drawn up in the past 30 years, none of which have left much of a mark.
No public meetings have been scheduled, but we’ll keep you posted.
— John King
John King is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer.