Market Octavia Living Alleys Program

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Market Octavia Living Alley Pedestrian Network Project

Program Overview

Cover image of Living Alleys Toolkit manual
The Market Octavia Living Alleys Program includes a design and implementation toolkit to facilitate the creation of Living Alleys. The toolkit builds on elements of other programs such as the Better Streets Plan, the Parklet Program, Green Connections and the City's Public Works Sidewalk Landscape Program to create a network of active, safe, and walkable alleys. But living alleys go further by claiming and re-balancing entire streets for both bike and pedestrian-priority zones, and by providing a range of public open spaces. Find out more about the Toolkit here.

The San Francisco Planning Department City Design Group is initiating a two-year community-based program to design and implement a network of Living Alleys in the Market Octavia Plan Area.

The Market Octavia Plan identified alley improvements as a means of creating shared multipurpose public spaces – traffic calmed environments that contrast the heavy traffic on the surrounding arterial streets. The plan also called for the development of prototypes and a process where residents can participate in the design and implementation of improvements to their alley.

The Market and Octavia Living Alleys Program will take advantage of underutilized alleys to provide pedestrians with a respite from heavy urban and regional traffic to create a secondary pedestrian network in the Market and Octavia neighborhood.

What is a "Living Alley"?

A Living Alley may be defined as a narrow, low-volume traffic street that is designed to focus on livability, instead of parking and traffic. Typically, this means creating a street primarily for pedestrians and bicyclists as well as space for social uses. Vehicles are typically still allowed access but with reduced speeds.


The main goal of Market and Octavia Living Alleys Program is to enable residents to engage in place making -- to create a public realm that strengthens the community, creates a sense of identity, and makes a more useful, safe, and attractive neighborhood.

Part of the strategy is to make alleys more usable and connected in many ways: for active and passive recreation, socializing, walking and bicycling to name a few. To do this the Planning Department, working closely with community members, CalTrans, San Francisco's Department of Public Works and the Municipal Transit Authority, envisions the following steps:

  • Design three conceptual living alleys as prototypes;
  • Identify and ally with organizations, property owners, and other community partners that may fund, collaborate, and participate in the design and implementation of a living alley network;
  • Create a tool kit of design elements, relative costs, and maintenance guidelines;
  • Develop an Implementation plan that includes cost estimates and funding sources;
  • Identify opportunities for mid-block alley crosswalks that link the living alleys together.


Living Alley Community Challenge Grant Program Meeting
Tuesday, July 19 from 6:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Octavia Court Gallery, 261 Octavia Boulevard


Download Materials

Past Event - Workshop #4 - Open House Materials: February 25, 2015

Past Event - Workshop 3 Materials: November 19, 2013

Past Event - Workshop 2 Materials: October 9, 2013

Past Event - Workshop 1 Materials: July 9, 2013

Other Documents


For more information on the project, please contact:

David Winslow
Project Lead
SF Planning Department
(415) 575-9159

Jessica Look
SF Planning Department
(415) 575-6812