Pavement to Parks San Francisco

Jane Warner Plaza

Location: 17th Street at Castro and Market Streets.

Opened: May 2010

Pavement to Parks Demonstration: May 2009 - July 2009

Pavement to Parks Trial Plaza: May 2010 - August 2013

Incorporation into DPW Streetscape Improvements  for Castro / MTA Approval: August 2013

Current Status: Jane Warner Plaza has graduated from the Pavement to Parks Program and is now a permanent public space!

Partner: Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District

Design Consultants: Boor Bridges Architecture with Flora Grubb


VIEW PHASE 1 Trial Demonstration of the Jane Warner Plaza

After being evaluated for over a year, the Castro Plaza has been made permanent by request of the community. Marking this milestone, the plaza was upgraded using grant funds awarded to the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District.

Building off lessons learned during the trial, Seth Boor of Boor Bridges Architecture designed this new space, providing a greater sense of enclosure, more seating, and more greening opportunities. In collaboration with Flora Grubb Gardens, a beautiful palette of low-water, wind tolerant plants have been added, including a variety of palms, olives, and succulents. Seth contributed his design services pro bono while Flora Grubb provided materials at a significant discount. Paul Cesewski fabricated the movable gates over the unused Muni tracks using surplus rail and other metal donated to the project by the Port of San Francisco.  And finally, Nibbi General Contractors, who installed the concrete planters, provided their services at reduced cost to the CBD.

Building off the community partnership model common to all Pavement to Parks projects, much of the labor was volunteered by people in the community. The Castro / Upper Market CBD provided invaluable help in organizing these volunteers (many of the member businesses were even out with shovels) and has graciously accepted responsibility for maintaining this beautiful public space.

The City encourages both formal and informal use of the Castro Plaza. If you would like to hold an event here, please contact for more information.

Please visit the Castro Plaza Facebook page! 17th & Castro Facebook Group


Photos below courtesy of Seth Boor:


Photos below courtesy of Steven Kyle Weller. Bottom right photo courtesy of Andrea Aiello.


Phase 1: Jane Warner Plaza

End of 17th Street at the intersection of Castro and Market Streets

May 10 – May 12, 2009

Opening Date:
May 13, 2009

End of Initial Trial Run:
July 11, 2009 – with four month extension pending review.

Estimated Cost (Including Labor): $20,000

Community Partners:
Public Architecture, The Castro Community Benefits District, Flora Grub Gardens, High Caliber Growing, Pacific Fiber Tube, Inc., Great Street Projects, Orphan Andy’s Restaurant, and Chevron Station Owner - Sahagun Brothers. Public Architecture, a national nonprofit organization that engages architecture firms and nonprofits to commit to design for public good through its national 1% program, provided pro-bono design services for the plaza.


Before & After:


TOP ROW ABOVE: The wide unused swath of pavement at the foot of the Castro Street district is now a welcoming seating area.

ABOVE: The F-Line trolley’s path of travel is now clearly marked through the once confusing intersection.

LEFT: The 17th street roadway now serves as an expanded sidewalk area with potential for café seating.


Photos on this page courtesy Nick Perry


Planted bollards, moveable tables and chairs, granite benches and a painted surface were the key materials used to create the plaza.

Design Details:

A local design firm, Public Architecture, donated their time and resources to help design and acquire materials for the plaza, including one of its more innovative features; the use of “Sonotube” concrete forms as temporary bollards/planters. In addition to the planters, the plaza features salvaged granite curbs and moveable chairs and tables to provide a diversity of seating options in the plaza. The surface was painted a terracotta color to delineate it from surrounding streets and the F-Line right-of-way.

For conceptual plan view of the plaza, click here.



An historic F-line streetcar makes its way through the plaza.

Special Design Considerations:

The F-Line Streetcar:

One of the most unique features of the plaza is the presence of the historic Muni F-Line streetcar trains. The colorful trolleys provide a unique kinetic element to the space as they turn the corner and head down Market Street and onward to Fisherman’s Wharf. The plaza now serves as a pedestrian friendly terminus to this route and creates a much more welcoming front door to the world-famous Castro neighborhood. From the plaza, visitors riding the F-line can now comfortably disembark the trolley without worry of speeding traffic, orient themselves, snap a photo with the landmark Pride Flag or Castro Theatre marquee in the background, and set off on an exploration of the Castro neighborhood.

Emergency & Tunnel Access:

In addition to normal emergency access for buildings along 17th Street – the plaza’s design had to address a number of unique emergency access challenges. In the event of a major emergency, currently unused tracks on 17th Street may need to be put into service by safety personal to enter tunnels into the City’s subway system. The plaza’s design team worked carefully with Muni and the Fire Department to ensure that the design did not impede access. Hard to move granite benches were sited outside these access routes. All other objects located in the plaza were designed to be easily moveable in the event of an emergency.

Public Activation:

The Castro CBD (Community Benefit District) worked closely with the City to do public outreach and has taken on the responsibility of managing and activating the plaza. In addition to special events planned by the CBD, the plaza’s moveable seating allows for a wide flexibility of use. From the morning till late evening dozens of people can be found using the space to people watch, relax, walk their dog, meet a friend, or enjoy a bite to eat.

Plaza users enjoy a sunny weekday afternoon and warm weekend night.

The Castro CBD brought a variety of community groups to the plaza during its first Saturday and has plans to continue to activate the space on summer weekends.


Monitoring & Evaluation:

The City is closely monitoring the success of the plaza to help inform future plans for additional Pavement to Parks projects.


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