Richard Johnson Design

linda living alley


The Linda Street Garden has been started informally by the Linda Street Gardeners. This growing group represents a diverse set of twenty neighbors engaged in

organizing the garden. They have begun greening the street by placing potted plants along the sidewalk as well as chairs and tables to be used by visitors. They have started a Facebook Page and held six block parties over the last several years to bring together the community in support of the project and fund raise for plants and supplies.

The Linda Living Alley will formalize the design of the street through a collaborative planning process between the Studio for Urban Projects and the Linda Street Gardeners. The principals of the Studio for Urban Projects, Richard Johnson and Alison Sant, are residents of Linda Street and members of the Linda Street Gardeners. We came to this proposal through a series of neighborhood meetings and decided on a phased strategy encompassing the creation of the garden and the expansion of the project to a Living Alley.

Project Phases

Phase One: Linda Street Garden

Phase one of the Linda Street Living Alley will seek a sidewalk planting permit that will turn the sub-standard sidewalk running along the eastern edge of the street into a garden. It will green the shared boundary of the Mission Playground/Pool by remov- ing 200 linear feet (700 square feet) of sidewalk paving to create a garden planted with drought tolerant native plants that may support butterflies, bees, and birds. In addition, the scheme will include areas for seating and gathering for neighbors and visitors. Further, the design will emphasize solutions for stormwater management outlined in the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Stormwater Guidelines. Rainwater to irrigate the garden will be collected on-site or from the adjacent park through a collaboration with San Francisco Recreation and Parks. Once completed, the garden will not only benefit the residents of the fourteen buildings along the block but also offer visual beauty to the adjacent park and the neighborhood. Further, it will support the Linda Street Gardeners as agents for transforming the street into a living alley planned for phases two and three.

Phase Two: Living Alley

Linda Living Alley is conceived of as a pilot of the Living Alley Project being developed by David Winslow, the architect of Linden Living Alley in Hayes Valley and currently a city planner. The project will be developed in concert with the guidelines he is developing and as a pilot of his program.

If permitted, phase two of the project will convert the street to a shared street. It will narrow the street using bulbouts or parklets as permitted. These additions to the street will attempt to calm traffic on the street, which can be dangerously fast. The bulbouts/ parklets will add additional garden space and habitat. They will expand San Francisco?s urban forest on a street where there is currently only one street tree. Parklets will provide additional seating, green space, neighborhood gathering spots, bike parking and places for play. If permitted, bulbouts will allow for further stormwater management measures along the street.

Phase Three: Traffic Calming

Once permitted, phase three will support further traffic calming of the Linda Living Alley as well as additional stormwater management. It will feature a planted bulb-out on the corner of 19th and Linda Street which will neckdown the end of the street. In addition, a continuous sidewalk, similar to improvements recently completed on Shotwell Street between 17th and 18th, will aim to slow traffic entering the street and increase pedes- trian safety. These improvements will be complimentary to those outlined in the Mission District Streetscape Plan,

Finally, this last phase of the project proposes an operable barrier that could be raised or lowered to block vehicular traffic during permitted street closures, furthering the abil- ity of the street to act as community space.


Ongoing maintenance of the project will be organized and committed to by the Linda Street Gardeners. Our non-profit fiscal sponsor, San Francisco Beautiful, will not share in these duties. Fundraisers in the form of block parties will provide funding for mainte- nance of the street?s gardens and monthly work days will allow for the care of the plants and facilities. The garden is currently self-watered through residents household systems, however, a water collection system will supplement this supply. In addition, planting the garden with drought tolerant native plants will help to minimize the water needed for maintenance.

With all three phases of the project completed the Linda Living Alley will become an inspiring example of a neighborhood-led community greening and stormwater manage- ment project, an addition to the living alley network throughout the Mission and beyond, and an example of how we can design shared streets streets. This project is a timely opportunity to partner with San Francisco city agencies in the piloting of sustainable city programs that will help to test the methods for how San Francisco may green its conventional streets.


6,000 sqft

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ENTITY: Person 39 id: 39 last_modified: Wed Apr 24 06:55:17 UTC 2013 description: null name: Richard Johnson Design date_created: Wed Apr 24 06:55:17 UTC 2013 creator: {User:1}

ENTITY: Person 37 id: 37 last_modified: Wed Apr 24 06:53:59 UTC 2013 description: null name: Linda Street Gardeners date_created: Wed Apr 24 06:53:59 UTC 2013 creator: {User:1}

San Francisco, CA