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article imageSan Francisco offers platform to replace clear view of 'Ladies'

By Nathan Salant     Jun 10, 2016 in Travel
San Francisco - San Francisco officials promise to open a viewing platform this week after being bombarded with complaints over a chain-link fence blocking views of the city's iconic "Postcard Row" of Victorian homes across Steiner Street from Alamo Square Park.
The fence went up around the park last month while it undergoes a seven-month renovation project, but tourists and others have continued to visit the area to take photos of the colorful homes known as "The Painted Ladies."
“I’m very happy we found a way for neighbors and visitors to enjoy our beloved Alamo Square while we’re making necessary improvements,” Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the city's parks department, told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper
But with the park is closed, even more people than usual block neighborhood streets trying to take photographs, and many find the iconic views marred by construction equipment and bright orange warning signs and traffic cones.
The newspaper said the viewing platform was built after San Francisco Supervisor London Breed, who represents the district that includes the park, asked the parks department to come up with a way to accommodate the visitors, and officials decided to build the raised 4,900-sq.ft. viewing area.
“The renovation is important, but I did not want it to completely close off the park to neighbors and visitors, or force tourists into the street while taking pictures,” Breed said.
The park is being upgraded for the first time since 2004, and the $4.3 million voter-approved project calls for the addition of new restrooms and landscaping, including native drought-resistant plants.
The park is expected to reopen in November.
All the construction and noise drew mixed reviews from visitors who came by the park last week.
Joel Olivencia, 35, visiting San Francisco with his wife from Puerto Rico, said he was disappointed by the look of the park.
’We came all this way and had no idea it would look like this, like an eyesore -- It’s very disappointing," Olivencia said.
"We know renovations are probably needed, but I don’t see why they didn’t do construction in phases so people could experience the park,” he said.
Isabel Rico of Miami was visiting San Francisco for the second time this year and had already seen the iconic Painted Ladies view.
“We didn’t quite expect it to look this disheveled," Rico said.
"Luckily we were here in March, too, and got some perfect photos without all the orange signs,” she said.
But frequent visitor Kasey Hanna of Sacramento said the renovation in progress looked terrible but that she would return when it was completed.
“It’s a little bit of a disappointment right now," Hanna said.
"I'll just come back -- they can’t keep the fences up forever.”
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