photo: Brian Guiney @fivealive55

South Downtown Design + Activation (Soda)

Project status: completed

The South Downtown Design and Activation planning process (aka “Soda”, 2017-2019) is a partnership of The East Cut Community Benefits District (CBD) and City agencies to identify a comprehensive community vision for the public realm of San Francisco's South Downtown – the Transit Center District and Rincon Hill.

The Soda vision includes concepts for design, activation and stewardship of neighborhood streets and publicly accessible open spaces to foster vibrant streets and open spaces, support high performing transit operations, and encourage active transportation choices for the people who live, work and visit the district.

The South Downtown area (see map, below), is roughly 30 city blocks bounded by Market Street, The Embarcadero, Bryant Street and 2nd Street has been transformed following the adoption of the Rincon Hill Area Plan, the Transbay Redevelopment Plan and the Transit Center District Sub-Area Plan.

Twenty years ago, much of the area was characterized by light industrial land uses, surface parking lots, and streets dominated by private automobiles. Today it is a high-density mixed-use neighborhood, and there is an opportunity to re-imagine the streets and public spaces to serve residents, workers, and visitors while meeting community expectations for a safe, resilient and vibrant public realm. Streetscape concepts that were developed via the Soda process will serve as a starting point for future City-sponsored streetscape projects, while ideas for activation and stewardship of publicly accessible open spaces will be spearheaded by The East Cut Community Benefit District (CBD). Sign-up here for updates on Streetscape projects in the South Downtown area.

South Downtown


Spring 2017 Interagency Coordination; Background Research
Summer 2017 Develop communications plan
August 2, 2017 First Outreach Event: Kickoff and Project Overview
August - December 2017 Focused Outreach Events, Lunch-and-Learns
September 10, 2017 Walking Tour and Street Party
October 30, 2017 Community Workshop Number 2
May 5, 2018 Spear Street Cul-de-Sac Park Pop-up Party
Spring 2018 Soda Studio: Focused pop-up lunchtime outreach events for office workers
Spring 2018 Pop-up Planning Office at 160 Spear Street
Spring 2019 Focused Outreach Events to Property Owners, Tenants and Merchants along Corridors with Near-Term Streetscape Projects
May 16 & 18, 2019 Community Workshop Number 3
July 31, 2019 Minna/Natoma Art Corridor Stakeholder Workshop #1
June 23, 2020 Minna/Natoma Art Corridor Virtual Stakeholder Workshop #2

Minna/Natoma Art Corridor Virtual Stakeholder Workshop #2 – June 23, 2020

Minna/Natoma Art Corridor Stakeholder Workshop #1 – July 31, 2019

Community Open House 3 – May 16 & 18, 2019

Pop-Up Party to Explore Potential Future Park in Spear Street Cul-de-Sac – May 5, 2018

Community Open House 2 – October 30, 2017

Community Open House 1 – August 2, 2017