The Lower Polk Alleyways is a creative placemaking project and is based on the Lower Polk Alleyways District Vision Plan. in 2015, Lower Polk Neighbors worked with INTERSTICE Architects to create this  comprehensive vision and strategy plan for the community’s ideas and aspirations for the future of the neighborhood.

The Lower Polk Neighborhood is a distinct and vibrant part of the unique collection of neighborhoods that characterize San Francisco’s celebrated urban heritage. It is a diverse, richly textured mixed-use neighborhood with an unusually porous fabric of alleyways that are underutilized midblock open-spaces. This “found ground” was the impetus for the Alleyway District Vision Plan.

By reframing the perception of these alleys from “backstreets” into active contributors, these smaller streets are re-scripted and physically re-programmed to support the busy street-life activity that extends late into the evenings. Six alleys extend outward from the Polk Street commercial spine forming a finer urban grain at the core of this changing neighborhood, which has no access to open space. Reclaiming them as “living streets” was a crucial component to creating enjoyable civic places dedicated to high-quality pedestrian experience within the neighborhood, as well as contributing to a healthier city. The Alleyways now take front stage, shifting the focus from “back of house” access-ways to a new green infrastructure of ‘place’ at the heart of the district.

The Lower Polk Community Benefit District is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit that works to improve the lives of ALL people in our Lower Polk community. They do this by keeping our neighborhood clean, by performing street outreach, by doing beautification projects, and by providing other much-needed services.

Lower Polk Neighbors (LPN) is a neighborhood association, made up of both residents and merchants, located in the lower part of the Polk Gulch district in San Francisco, California. They meet to discuss neighborhood issues and then follow up on those discussions with action. Their principal issues are crime, cleanliness, beautification, and strengthening of our community.

With generous support of LPN, the Lower Polk CBD is able to help steward the alleyways and make the Vision Plan a reality for our neighborhood.