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Bay Bridge Base Beautification (B4) Project Meeting

Josh and Marty continue to do an excellent job involving neighborhood residents in this project to work with Caltrans and the City and County of San Francisco to make the 2 acres of land on the northwestern corner of Beale and Bryant Streets an open space that can be used by residents rather than just admired from afar.

More neighbors than expected showed up at last night’s meeting at Watermark. I believe there were 11 of us all together from buildings nearby in South Beach and Rincon Hill plus Ahmad from SFConnect’s Project Green Connect non-profit group.

The unanimous goal of meeting attendees was to make sure the area was green and appealing from a visual perspective. A lot of the conversation focused on what functions would be most beneficial to folks living in the area. Here are some of the thoughts I recall from the meeting:

  • Any new green, enclosed area might serve the community well as a kids (toddler) playground. However, the noise and proximity to the bridge may not make it ideal for a seating area (think benches, picnic tables) or for a toddler play area. It was also pointed out that a toddler play area already exists by Pier 40 and the South Beach Harbor building.
  • A good number of the attendees believed it makes good sense to try to make a portion of the land an enclosed area for dogs to be liberated from their leashes, exercise, and do their business (with the owners picking up after the dog, of course). The image above shows what the area may look like if there were an enclosed area for small dogs (red dotted boundary) and another enclosed area (the longer, more narrow portion of the land – blue dotted boundary) for larger dogs to stretch their legs with some runs.
  • One concern about a dog run is that some people do have allergies that may be aggravated by a concentration of dogs. However, the area is not directly adjacent to any residential living space.
  • A plaza that notes the historical significance of Rincon Hill was also well-liked by the group attending the meeting. Seating may exist in the form of cubes spread around … as opposed to benches that may attract vagrants and discourage folks from using the park for fun activities.
  • There were some other ideas under consideration, but they would be subject to the Americans with Disabilites Act, requiring literally millions of dollars to build accessibility ramps that make those ideas cost prohibitive for a grassroots, neighborhood effort.

Regardless of what the area becomes, neighbors expressed a desire to make sure the land does not become yet another full-time home to vagrants or used for other purposes that negatively impact the community.

Other issues that need to be addressed down the road include working with the City and County to assume responsibility for the park, in effect leasing the land from Caltrans for a nominal fee (say $1 a year) and figuring out how we will fund the maintenance of the park after the initial 3 years that Caltrans will likely pay for maintenance. I’m hopeful that we as neighbors can provide the labor, if that’s legally feasible for the City, if we can just get supplies to perform the maintenance from the funding source. These details are yet to be determined …

Please keep your eye on the project’s website for further information and upcoming events:

Hat’s off to Marty, Josh, and everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to show up for this important discussion about how we can make better use of this 2 acre lot of land, our collective backyard if you will. If you weren’t able to attend, please be sure to attend the next meeting! Get involved in your neighborhood!

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