SQUARE 181 | PORTOLA 101 ZONE
In 100 words
Cars and trucks speed up on the freeway, immigrants run their errands on San Bruno Avenue. Where the exits of the freeways transform into neighborhood streets, the two worlds with totally different pace meet. Cars and pedestrians stare at each other, almost in disbelieve by the other's existence. Conversations in Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and English can be heard, cars honk at each other, trucks buzz somewhere high in the sky on their way to leave the City. In the mean time, the neighborhood is quiet, peaceful, and unaware of the two corridors that have their own pace, only a few blocks away.
Portola neighborhood is enclosed by elevated freeways and steep hills, connections to other neighborhoods are complicated. Simple improvements of the public space and a few new buildings will make the neighborhood more visible and attractive.
Dead end streets become green, quiet pockets where people can escape the crowded shopping street, while a fence in between the bus and the freeway will be replaced by a long bench with plants and flowers. A mixed use building will replace one of the gas stations and become the gateway of the shopping street. The side wall of an existing building can be improved with a mural or vertical wall, and make the neighborhood more visible from the freeway.
Related project: San Francisco in 237 Squares
In 4 pictures