In their ongoing efforts to soften the city's hard concrete edges, the San Francisco Planning Commission and the Public Utilities Commission are putting together a new plan that would create even more green patches along Valencia Street while cleaning up some of those flood-prone corners at the same time.
During a community meeting last weekend, the PUC shared some of their latest ideas for the Valencia Green Gateway Project between Cesar Chavez and Mission Streets, which makes an excellent place to test out some alternative uses for runoff rainwater since it happens to sit on top of the Islais Creek watershed. One of the proposed ideas includes building bigger sidewalk rain gardens to slow the drainage and generally provide a nice alternative boring, old gutters. Another demonstration showed off a permeable paving material that allows water to filter through and would be used to pave new sidewalks and plazas. In addition to greening the sidewalks, the PUC hopes to upgrade the aging underground sewer infrastructure. San Francisco's is one of the few municipal systems where storm runoff and household sewage end up in the same place, which has led to some gross situations in the past.
While there's no official blueprint for the final project just yet, the SFPUC and the Planning Commission are, as always, looking for some constructive feedback. (You can weigh in on some of their ideas here.) There will be more Mission community debates in June and an initial plan will be presented in the Fall, with construction to begin in late 2014.