San Francisco Better Streets Plan

San Francisco, California

City of San Francisco Planning Department, Public Utilities Commission, and Department of Public Works

Lead Consultant

2006 - 2008

Community Design + Architecture was the lead consultant of a twelve-firm, multi-disciplinary team of designers, planners and engineers in developing the San Francisco Better Streets Plan. The Better Streets Plan is a unified design guideline for San Francisco's streets that addresses all street types with standards that are pedestrian- and transit-oriented, ecologically high-performance and balance the needs of all of the City's users.

The CD+A team began with extensive research into best practices in street and streetscape design and stormwater management from peer cities, and the opportunities and constraints of existing San Francisco policy, plans, and codes. Following this, the team developed a street typology matrix to categorize San Francisco streets into twelve categories based on factors that affect the pedestrian realm, including adjacent land use character and scale, transportation context, and existing and recommended geometries, amenities, and ecological characteristics and opportunities. CD+A completed conceptual designs for the twelve street types including a list of standard improvements and a recommended kit of parts appropriate to each.

The Better Streets Plan serves as a toolkit showcasing technical, contextual, and design considerations related to implementing best practices on San Francisco's streets. The tools are designed for easy use by a variety of city departments, design professionals, and public advocates. The team also developed a maintenance and management study elaborating upon practices for keeping new streets and infrastructure in good condition to preserve the value of the city's investments. Additionally, CD+A compiled a list of targeted code revision recommendations to enable future implementation of the plan.

The Final Plan was adopted by the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors in December 2010, and took effect on January 16, 2011. In 2011, the Better Streets Plan received a CNU Charter Award, an APA California Chapter Award of Excellence, and an APA California Northern Chapter Best Practices Award.


  • APA-CA Northern Section - 2011 Best Practices Award
  • Congress for New Urbanism - 2011 Charter Award, Award of Excellence
  • APA California Chapter - 2011 Award of Excellence