Tuesday, May 22, 2012


This barren plaza at Second and Folsom Street was built in 1965 entirely of the same brick. It was designed by MBT as part of the AT&T switch-gear windowless high-rise that looms over and often shades the plaza. The original abstract design was modified later with more not quite matching brick to incorporate more seating and add skateboard defensive devices, but it's not entirely successful from either a design or use perspective. Two rows of Plane trees along Folsom Street are the only greenery. More planting might help it attract more people. It is open 24/7.

SPUR has done an excellent report on POPOS: 

601 Folsom Plaza is surprisingly barren and typically not populated.

601 Folsom Plaza is a POPOS was built in 1965. 

Good materials, but a bit forlorn.

There are four POPOS on Second Street, of which 601 Folsom is the least successful.

Monday, May 21, 2012


101 Second Street, at the corner of Second Street and Mission, is an SOM designed high rise with a large glass enclosed plaza, a POPOSPrivately Owned Public Open Spaces. This space was dedicated to the public in exchange for development rights.  It's a five story high greenhouse built in 2000. It feels quite public even though the large glass sliding doors to Second Street are almost never opened.

SPUR has done an excellent report on POPOS: 

101 California's POPOS is well used by the public.

There are four POPOS on Second Street, all on the northern half of the street.

Some good art in this well managed space.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


This corner plaza is located on the CBS Interactive (formerly Cnet) property on the corner at 235 Second Street and Clementina Alley.  It's an intimate urban open space and though it feels a bit privatized it doesn't exclude the general public. The inside space is also a POPOS where you can hang out, though this fact is fairly obscure.  If there was a cafe nearby this space would be much more active.  

SPUR has done an excellent report on POPOS: 

The 235 Second Street Plaza @ Clementina is urban and (semi)public.

A view from the rear corner along Clementina.
235 Second is one of four POPOS on the northern half of Second Street.
The fountain along Second Street is a nice touch.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


The largest open space immediately adjacent to the Second Street sidewalk is on the block between Folsom and Harrison. It's recently been given a total rehabilitation from it's original 1980s design. Bordered by restaurants, it's a great place to eat your lunch in the sun on the grass and people watch. Though privately owned it feels public with no separation from the street.

Sunny grassy lawn at Marathon Plaza.

Marathon Plaza is currently the best open space along Second Street.

Some nice art in Marathon Plaza.

A sunken lounge area is well done.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Named after the Denver traffic engineer who invented it in the 1950s, the Barnes Dance, Pedestrian Scramble, or Diagonal Crossing, is a great way to make an intersection pedestrian friendly. The SFMTA has done one at Folsom and Fourth, and it has made that intersection much safer. The good news is that it can be done with the existing traffic lights, which all turn red for vehicles going any direction during a crossing phase. This allows pedestrians to cross in any direction, including diagonally, with no danger from turning motorists.

There are two intersections on Second where this might make sense: at Bryant and at Harrison. Both these intersections have a lot of turning, are very unpleasant to walk across, and have high pedestrian accident rates including a fatality at Harrison.

This video from Streetfilms.org has a great description of Barnes Dances.


The Pasadena Barnes Dance, or "All Cross" as they call it, with peds.

The Pasadena Barnes Dance before the pedestrians cross every which way.