Mini-park at Geary and Masonic: a forlorn bus stop of a green space
That's a lot of concrete and asphalt for a mini-park to balance
From the street it's all about hard surfaces and vehicles crowding along all three sides
New Masonic Boulevard plan will broaden the park, add trees & amenities
Image: San Francisco Planning Department
Right where Masonic and Geary tangle their traffic on the south side sits a little triangle of a park that really needs some attention and care. A grove of hardy New Zealand Christmas trees adds a touch of green to the otherwise all-concrete plaza. A bus shelter clings to Geary and offers some respite from the wind blasts from the west. No one has lunch there. No one says, "Meet me at the plaza." Entering or leaving the often dark and gloomy space is not for the faint of heart: double-checking the traffic flow is a must. But it doesn't have to be this way, and it won't once the city adopts the Boulevard design for the Masonic corridor.
As part of the Masonic Traffic Design proposal, the uninviting triangle at Masonic and Geary will be transformed into a welcoming spot for strollers, Muni riders, shoppers and anyone needing to stretch their legs after too many mahi mahi tacos at Hukilau across the street. Concrete will give way to trees, shrubs, and grasses and permeable surfaces that will cover 11,000 square feet. Benches will permit a rest. And public art will give the site the distinction it now severely lacks. Crosswalks will be upgraded and the street will be re-paved. Vehicle access to residences and businesses along the short stretch of westside Masonic will remain, but a quieter space and more attractive view will greet merchants and customers, homeowners and renters.
Strategic plantings will take advantage of the wind shadow created by the buildings on the west side of Masonic, and new trees will be selected to help block the wind. A full median of newly planted trees and addition street trees along the sidewalk will complement the new plaza. The greening of Masonic can begin right here.
City staff working on the Masonic Traffic Calming Project will complete a final report -- including the design for a revitalized plaza and art park -- by the end of December. Then Masonic area neighbors will get another chance to endorse a new green transportation corridor from Geary to the north and the Panhandle to the south.
For other stories in the A Better Masonic series, check here.