aerial view of project area
Base image: Pictometry
South of Market

Central SoMa Freeway Corridor Transformation Strategy

The Central SoMa Freeway Corridor Transformation Strategy will guide the transformation of a long-neglected area at the heart of SoMa to provide open space, recreation, public art, and other civic and environmental benefits for the neighborhood.

The Central SoMa Freeway Corridor Transformation Strategy is led by an inter-agency* project team that will partner with the community to identify priorities for improving the approximately 10 acres of under-utilized state-owned land under and next to the I-80 freeway between 4th and 6th Streets.

Transforming the Freeway Corridor into a green asset was a priority community goal identified during the Central SoMa planning process. The Central SoMa Plan recognizes this by directing the City to produce a “comprehensive freeway corridor transformation strategy” within one year of plan adoption. 

The Central SoMa Plan allocates impact fees and other funding streams to recreation and ecological improvements at the site. As developers prepare to begin building, we need to have a strategy in place for the funds they will soon provide.

*The Strategy core team includes San Francisco Planning, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Parks and Recreation, Public Works, the Office of Workforce and Economic Development (OEWD), and the Office of Real Estate.
 

The I-80 freeway separates many residents of SoMa from the extensive park systems in Mission Bay and the Central Waterfront. The Central SoMa Plan includes new parks and recreation facilities south of the freeway as well as new office and retail space, but the neglected spaces make crossing under the freeway feel unpleasant and unsafe for pedestrians. Finding beneficial uses for this public land will improve SoMa residents’ access to amenities and improve their overall experience. 

SoMa has less green space and fewer recreational facilities than many other City neighborhoods. Father Crowley Playground, the largest playground in SoMa, which was on the block now occupied by the Hall of Justice, was demolished in the 1950s to make way for the freeway. The New Deal-era Bay Bridge approach at 5th Street included landscaping, but this has since been challenging to maintain and today offers no greenery or recreation opportunities. Improving this area and turning the adjacent underutilized land into green open space will help address historic environmental injustice.
 

Community groups in SoMa were strong advocates for open space throughout the Central SoMa planning process. The Strategy team will continue working with the community to identify open space concepts that address community needs and aspirations. Ideas generated in this early engagement will serve as the foundation for a more in-depth community conversation in late 2019. 

The Strategy core team includes San Francisco Planning, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Parks and Recreation, Public Works, the Office of Workforce and Economic Development (OEWD), and the Office of Real Estate. With the help of leadership groups including the SoMa Community Stabilizations Fund CAC, the SoMa Community Collaborative, SoMa Pilipinas, the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District, and the newly formed SoMa West Community Benefit District, we are reaching out to other interested community groups and non-profits – all crucial voices in the conversation. Finally, we are engaged with Caltrans, who owns the land, to ensure that its sustainability goals and ongoing maintenance considerations are also factored into the Strategy. 

If you’re interested in scheduling a presentation or area walk through for your organization, please contact Amnon Ben-Pazi. 
 

Upcoming Events

None at this time.

Schedule

Date Details Event Materials
(will be posted after completed event)
Summer 2019  Targeted Outreach  
Winter 2019/2020 Public Workshop  
Spring 2020 Draft Strategy and Open House