Walk Stops

by Mari Hunter

Invited by GOOD Magazine to host a City Research and Development (R+D) event, a small group of impassioned District 5 residents with strong professional and/or personal interests in urban planning, environment, safety, and community ideals gathered in August to brainstorm and produce strategies to improve the safety, identity and transportation network of District 5. From this session, the D5 R+ D group developed a concept that addressed safety, identity and transportation all in one–Walk Stops.

Walk Stops

Image Courtesy Ron Stanford, inspired by Booka Alon, D5 resident and Marketing and Development Strategist with Hayes Valley Farm

Inspired by Portland Oregon’s City Repair Placemaking Program, Walk Stops will calm traffic, encourage walking as a viable mode of transport, and reinforce the concept of community. The vision is to elevate the walking environment with ergonomic or patterned crosswalks, provide a little extra space for pedestrians with bulb-outs (expanded sidewalk space) at corners, provide information with wayfinders and when possible, offer a resting place with benches and greenery. Walk Stops will emphasize the pedestrian space to draw in more pedestrians and to alert drivers to recognize they need to drive slowly. The Walk Stop is also intended to reflect the identity of the area in which is it located effectively, building a sense of community.

Since that first meeting, GOOD Magazine listed Walk Stops as their top strategy (www.good.is/post/sanfrancisco- is-2010-city-r-d-winner/), and the creators, with the leadership of Thea Selby (D5 resident and President of the Lower Haight Merchant + Neighbor Association), have further developed the concept with mapping and sketches, development and implementation research, and have explored funding opportunities.

In the coming weeks, the creators will be meeting with an architect to finalize designs as well as the first three locations—one in Hayes Valley is among five being considered. If you would like to get involved or get more information email voice@hayesvalleysf.org Attention: Mari Hunter.