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The 17th Street plaza is located at the busy six-spoke intersection of Market St., Castro St., and 17th St. in San Francisco, California.  By closing one of the 17th St. spokes to vehicular traffic, a pedestrian plaza was born just outside the historical landmark Castro Theatre.  It has given the dense neighborhood a new outdoor meeting space and eating area.

The Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District (CBD) and other neighborhood groups had considered this idea for more than a decade, but the City was finally inspired by 2008 projects in Manhattan, New York City.

On Sunday, May 10, 2009, the plaza was informally born with just temporary police barricades and a first coat of mustard yellow paint.  Over the next two days, the installation of bollards, concrete benches, and planters as well as the application of a subsequent coat of peach colored paint completed the construction.  Tables and chairs have been provided by area businesses.

At the end of the first two-month period, high plaza use and strong support from the community residents and businesses encouraged the city to extend the trial for another four months.  The trial was further extended until the plaza was made permanent after one year.  The site’s success has already led to two other plaza trials under the San Francisco’s “Pavement to Parks” initiative.

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