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Powell Street Promenade Transforms Union Square

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A busy pedestrian corridor in the heart of San Francisco's Union Square has been transformed into a high-tech space that is now open to the public.

The two block stretch of Powell Street near the famed cable car turnaround is one of the most traveled in the nation.

With the removal of street parking, the space has become more pedestrian friendly, filled with landscaping, lighting and environmentally sustainable items such as aluminum railings and solar panels.

KCBS' Margie Shafer Reports:

"Right now, in most of our cities, the pedestrian is given the least amount of space," said project designer Walter Hood. "What this does is give back some of that space to the pedestrians."

Low-energy Light Emitting Diodes (LED) lights have also been installed and people will have access to free Wi-Fi.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was part of Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony and said that two-thirds of the annual visitors to San Francisco visit the area, with Union Square accounting for 10 percent of the city's sales tax revenue.

"I hope it invites even more people to enjoy Union Square, Powell Street and the cable car experience," Lee said.

The Powell Street Promenade is privately funded by Audi of America.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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