Site Use (before)

How was the Kezar Triangle being used when we first started to consider improvements to the area back in 2012?

The best way to find out about a place is to spend time there and talk to those who know it well and listen to their stories. It also helps to listen to the land itself.

Here’s what we learned:

Major Meadow

This is the Kezar Triangle as it was before any improvements. A significant landscaping feature was a nice patch of native plants in the SE corner planted by Greg Gaar (formerly) of the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council Native Plant Nursery. A few other features were also notable, such as the nasturtium patch just West of the discus cage, the eroded entry the trails crossing through the park, the busy intersections and the many Cypress and Eucalyptus trees, etc. Plenty of other creatures too, live there, red-tailed hawks that eat the many gophers, as well as butterflies and native bees that pollinate the wildflowers and many hidden friends too.

main features

(Note: The initial area of the Triangle was said to be 1.6 acres -as in the graphic above. Subsequently we learned, once we began the landscaping process, that it’s 2.8 acres.) One of the main features of the Kezar Triangle is how many people pass through and around it.  Not only is it bordered by two busy streets but we learned that on a sunny day some 1,500 people a day pass through and round this little wedge of Golden Gate Park.

site traffic

And here’s how it broke down in terms of people and actual numbers.  Note that these observations were made over several weeks through careful observation throughout the day. Foggy and rainy days and evenings see considerably fewer numbers of people, of course. Special events at Kezar Stadium or occasionally at the Triangle itself can attract more people.

site usage statistics

Some interesting patterns emerge after a while…

Conclusion:  We learned the Kezar Triangle had a lot of potential!  Initial questions included: Can simple improvements help make the intersections and general area safer to pedestrians and support bicyclists? Can the area be made more of a place and less of a pass-through destination?  Can simple improvements support neighborhood access without adding to the local traffic burden?

observationsThis brings us next to some of the key features in the Kezar Triangle itself as we found it.  Notably, the large chainlink structure in the lawn area.  Surprisingly, most people don’t really know what it is.  Turns out it’s a discus cage for use by local high schools students. There’s a lot to discuss about whether it’s the best location for such a thing and even if it is properly designed for the purpose it’s supposed to serve (note the flooded cement pad below that renders it unusable after a rain or when the fields are irrigated). We’ve been informed that it is an immovable feature (perhaps that will change?). Often, when the pad is flooded, students can be seen along the walkway above the cage tossing discuses down the slope into the lawn.

discus cage

Here’s a bit about the cage itself that we’ve been able to find out.

discus cage facts

Here’s a perfect image of the way the Triangle was experienced by most people: just walking by or passing through. Students throwing the discus come for a specific purpose. The many dog walkers and their dogs probably spend the most actual time there of any group, yet it’s mostly the people walking or bicycling past who define the space as it currently is. Two busy streets with sidewalks and one not so busy street on the other bordering a large open lawn with two main trails going straight across and joining at one end. What would inspire people to stay a bit longer? Connect with place and other people just a bit more?

So this gives a taste of where we first began to consider improvements. To see how it’s changed visually, here are a few before and after views of the areas we felt were most in need of love.

After a year or so, we’d like to do a similar survey of the Triangle to see how people are using the space differently if at all. There’s the traffic and the numbers and perhaps more importantly, there are the stories and anecdotes that come from experience. Please share your comments on this site. We’d love to hear from you!

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