The San Jose/Guerrero Coalition to Save our Streets, a neighborhood coalition, was awarded a Transportation for Livable Communities Planning Grant by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in late 2004, to help them develop a coherent, cohesive neighborhood, improve transportation choices for local residents, and beautify their streets while reducing the speed of traffic.
In January 2005, the Coalition engaged Project for Public Spaces, Inc. in the planning process. PPS engaged key stakeholders and partners in a series of meetings, public workshops and pedestrian and resident surveys. PPS helped the neighborhood develop a vision for their streets that placed green and comfortable places at the heart of community life; where children can cross safely on their way to school; where mothers can comfortably walk with their toddlers; and where elders can take a rest on their way to the supermarket.
Based on the results of these community workshops and meetings, PPS developed conceptual plans for the redevelopment of the neighborhood’s streets. The concept sketches of a reconfigured San Jose Avenue and Guerrero Street illustrate how new public spaces will be carved out of former street right of way.
What was truly remarkable about this project was the way in which city and agency staff partnered with community leaders and neighborhood advocates as problem solvers and guides through the regulatory, legal, design and approval processes to expedite the feasibility analysis that precedes final design and construction. City staff and community representatives were brought together at key decision making points to review the evolving concept plans. In this way, clarification of issues was achieved, questions were answered in minutes instead of weeks, and the agencies were able to obtain information from each other in regard to key issues within the corridor. This process could serve as model for future community-based planning activities city-wide. The resulting efficiency of decision making, coupled with the resultant trust-building and empowerment, both of city staff and their community clients, bodes well for the future of the City of San Francisco, its neighborhoods, and for the potential of San Jose/Guerrero to serve as a regional destination, a gateway boulevard, and a neighborhood main street.
In 2006, the San Jose/Guerrero Coalition to Save Our Streets was co-recipient of the Grand Award, given by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in recognition of the group’s success in transforming what was a dangerous 6-lane arterial into a traffic-calmed street with wide medians, safe pedestrian crossings, and bike lanes.
Congratulations to the San Jose/Guerrero Coalition to Save Our Streets, co-winner of the 2006 Grand Award given by the MTC!
Read more on the Grand Award:Citizen Activists Take Back Their Streets