Saturday, July 30, 2011

Powell Street Promenade An Innie Or Audi?

Deformed railings on the parklets
   Mere weeks after the completion of the Powell Street Promenade, the poor selection of materials used in the construction of the perimeter railings is becoming apparent.  Aluminum is an obvious choice in areas where aesthetics trump structural integrity.  But attempting to use 1/4 aluminum as a railing protecting pedestrians from the Cable Cars and vehicular traffic along Powell street is simply egregious. 
  I noticed this on each of the 4 parklets that have an exterior railing system of this type. I walked up and down Powell Street on a busy Saturday to get the feeling of the street from both approaches, yet I observed many tourists
and locals sticking to the sidewalk.  I decided to sit in front of DSW for about 10 minutes and during that time noticed only 3 other people on the entire block enjoying the parklets. 
 Many tourists seemed bewildered by the parklet containing mostly plantings, and multiple parents wouldn't let their children play on the structures.  This in due, in part, to the lack of a geographic marker at either end to designate this as Powell Street Promenade, and partly to the continued and intrusive presence of lost motorists, honking taxis and loud motorcycles along the corridor.
Traffic still clogs Powell Street
 Yes, Powell Street is still a parking lot; but it looks more contrived now than it did when  bucket drums and card sharks littered the landscape.  The City should've extended the sidewalk to where the parklets now end instead of monopolizing 1/4 of the streetscape with 8 parklets en masse. The space doesn't yet feel like what the visionaries likely had in mind for Powell.
 I have been a huge proponent of parklets in San Francisco's neighborhood commercial districts since the beginning, but I believe that parklets en masse in dense urban centers only serve to clog what precious space we have; and monopolize an area where a large percentage of the pedestrians are passing through. BTW, if the wavy railings were actually done intentionally; my cousin knows a guy for next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment