Pedestrians walking across Walter U Lum Place in San Francisco's Chinatown

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Walter U Lum Place is an alley that borders the west side of Portsmouth Square in Chinatown. The alley hosts the street carnival during the Chinese New Year’s celebration. Walter U Lum was an activist and was the first Chinese American to have a street named after him.

The Walter U Lum Place Public Space Study will examine various scenarios for a people-first Walter U Lum Place. Design concepts will include options for a shared street, traffic-calmed street, and time-restricted vehicle access. The project will also develop an urban design strategy to cohesively connect Walter U Lum Place with other cultural destinations in Chinatown and improve the public streetscape.

Each street design concept will be subject to a traffic feasibility study that will look at traffic management and mitigation needs for these options, as well as community and economic impacts, construction risks, and cost. The alternatives will be evaluated against an evaluation framework that responds to community goals. The most feasible alternative that meets the most evaluation criteria will be the preferred concept.

Key project tasks include:

  • Development of the vision, goals, and objectives for the project based on community feedback, along with an evaluation framework and metrics that respond to community goals.
  • Public outreach, which may include in-person and virtual events such as workshops/charrettes, site walks, pop-ups, interviews or focus groups, surveys, and meetings with stakeholder groups.
  • A traffic management feasibility study.
  • Development of a phasing plan for implementation of the preferred Walter U Lum concept and urban design strategy.

Project/Study Partners

This project is led by the Transportation Authority in partnership with the SFMTA, Department of Public Works, and the Chinatown Community Development Center.


  • Promote pedestrian safety
  • Improve multimodal access
  • Improve the public streetscape
  • Connect Walter U Lum Place with other cultural destinations in Chinatown

The Transportation Authority’s Neighborhood Program is intended to strengthen project pipelines and advance the delivery of community supported neighborhood-scale projects, especially in Equity Priority Communities and other neighborhoods with high unmet need.

Timeline and Status

  • Evaluation Framework

  • Community Outreach - Round 1

  • Urban Design and Traffic Study

  • Community Outreach - Round 2

  • Implementation Strategy

  • Final Report

Cost and Funding

This project was funded by the Transportation Authority’s Neighborhood Program at the request of District 3 Supervisor and Transportation Authority Board Member Aaron Peskin.


Prop L Transportation Sales Tax Funding Request (PDF)


Alex Pan, Transportation Planner