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View table of contents: RECREATION AND OPEN SPACE

 

 

INTRODUCTION

The Plan for Recreation and Open Space is composed of several sections, each dealing with a certain aspect of the City's recreation and open space system. The Plan sections are (1) The Regional Open Space System, (2) The Citywide Open Space System, (3) The Shoreline, (4) The Neighborhoods, and (5) Downtown. Some aspects of the sections are interrelated, they should be read together to more fully understand the whole plan.

The Citywide System

San Francisco can achieve an outstanding recreation and open space system. We have a legacy of many fine parks and opportunities, and the potential for significant new ones.

In the last century, far-sighted San Franciscans reserved large sections of undeveloped land for parks. Golden Gate Park was created out of sand dunes. Nearly half of the City's shoreline was preserved in parkland and military forts, and many parks have been created on the City's hilltops.

The Open Space Acquisition and Park Renovation Fund, created in 1974, has provided much-needed funds to acquire and develop many new parks, as well as to renovate and maintain parkland and recreation facilities throughout the City. However, this funding source will expire, and another mechanism is needed in order to accomplish many of the Element's objectives and policies.

Maintaining the City's existing open space system is a continuing challenge. Maintenance continues to be a problem due to rising costs and limitations on staffing and equipment. In addition, many of the parks are old and both park landscapes and recreation structures are in need of repair or renovation. Heavily used parks and recreation facilities require additional maintenance. However, the number of recreation facilities has increased and their use intensified, often without a corresponding increase in the budget necessary to maintain facilities and offer the desired recreation programs.

Opportunities to acquire new parkland and develop much needed recreation facilities are limited due to the scarcity and high cost of vacant land. Existing facilities therefore represent a major city resource. The degree to which the City maintains the quality of its recreation facilities and open spaces will in large part determine the desirability of the City as a place to live.

The Shoreline

The shoreline holds the greatest potential for new parks. The western and northern shorelines are primarily undeveloped, and have been retained largely as public open space. The eastern shoreline is largely developed and devoted primarily to maritime and industrial uses, some of which are obsolete or underused. But development pressures are mounting. In the years ahead, changing land use patterns will create opportunities to improve access to the shoreline, and provide new parks along the Bay.

The Neighborhoods

Although San Francisco's neighborhoods have remained relatively stable, the demographics of the City's population are changing in ways that effect the demand for recreation and open space resources. For example, many of the City's seniors as well as a large number of children live in downtown areas and neighborhoods with few recreation facilities. Similarly, a large number of the City's low-income residents tend to be concentrated in high density districts with little access to private or public open space. In general, these are the groups with limited mobility and therefore little access to recreation and open space resources outside their neighborhoods.

Access is a key factor in park utilization. If people can not get to parks easily, their recreational value is reduced. Every San Franciscan should be served by a park within walking distance of their home.

San Francisco has over one hundred parks and recreation facilities which function mainly for neighborhood use. While the number of neighborhood parks and facilities is impressive, they are not well distributed throughout the City. Over the years there were more opportunities to build new parks in the less developed parts of the city. The older, more densely populated areas contained few sites suitable for parks, and those which were available in built-up areas tended to be more costly compared to land in outlying areas. The result has been an unequal distribution of facilities throughout the City. The inequality merits correction where neighborhoods lacking parks and recreation facilities also have relatively high needs for such facilities.

Downtown

The downtown holds special problems and opportunities for open space. Here, appropriately designed and managed open space is particularly important, both to provide spaces for people to interact, and also to provide visual relief for intense development. However, the high cost of land downtown has limited provision of public parkland and open space, and the economics of office development has favored full site utilization; together, these factors have limited the amount of open space for public use. A combined public and private effort is required to create attractive, sunlit open spaces downtown, as part of new building projects as well as the addition of new public parks.

Regional Open Space

Fortunately, San Francisco does not have to rely entirely on the recreation and open space system available within its borders. It can benefit from the regional open space system, composed of public and privately-owned open space. Public park and open space agencies manage a significant area devoted to public open space uses. The East Bay Regional Park District manages lands in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The National Park Service manages the Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, in Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. State park and recreation areas are scattered throughout the region. In addition to property managed as regional parkland, water and utility districts preserve and manage thousands of acres of watershed lands throughout the Bay Area. In addition to large amounts of publicly-owned open space, a large percentage of private lands throughout the Bay region are retained as open space and managed as vineyards, orchards and ranch land.

While the accomplishments in retaining land as open space in the region are significant, they do not satisfy the region's long term open space needs. In a rapidly developing region with a myriad of legal jurisdictions, there is no single entity to resolve conflicts between growth, development, and open space preservation. Without a single agency with the power to raise money and preserve open space land uses, it will be difficult to preserve an adequate amount of open space for the future. Until such a regional agency is formed, the City will have to coordinate its planning efforts with other open space planning agencies throughout the region.


OBJECTIVES AND POLICIES

THE BAY REGION

OBJECTIVE 1
PRESERVE LARGE AREAS OF OPEN SPACE SUFFICIENT TO MEET THE LONG-RANGE NEEDS OF THE BAY REGION.

The Bay Area has developed to the point where an extensive regional open space system is needed. Such a system should preserve undeveloped or predominantly undeveloped land or water area which has value for 1) conservation of land and other natural resources, 2) recreation and park land, 3) historic or scenic purposes, 4) controlling the location and form of urban development, and 5) agriculture.

Areas which should remain in open space because they have one or more of these characteristics have been identified in the Association of Bay Area governments (ABAG) Regional Plan and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) Bay Plan. Some areas include major natural features of the region such as coastal plains, beaches, portions of the Bay and its shoreline, vineyards and grazing lands, or forests. Other areas have been designated as open space because of the natural resources they contain, or because of their proximity to urbanizing areas. Taken together, the areas designated in these plans provide a sound basis for developing a city-centered metropolitan region surrounded by a comprehensive system of open space. As additional plans are completed for the coastline and other areas, they should be used as a basis for acquiring open space.

POLICY 1.1
Protect the natural character of regional open spaces and place high priority on acquiring open spaces noted for unique natural qualities.

Unlike urban parks, which usually are man-made, regional open spaces often encompass delicate ecological systems which are strained when subjected to intensive recreational use. Since natural open spaces are not easily obtained in the city, it is in San Francisco's interest that new regional parks are acquired as needed and that existing open spaces are not over loaded or environmentally damaged. The city also has a special interest in seeing that the regional open spaces acquired supplement the types of recreation offered in the city.

In general, recreational activities in regional open spaces should be oriented around the natural qualities of the area. Natural site characteristics should be the primary determinants of the types of recreational activities allowed. Construction should be limited to facilities which support these activities. Fire and access roads and parking facilities or other necessary improvements should be designed for minimal environmental impact. Use of the automobile should be carefully limited. In most cases, the automobile should be relied upon for initial access only; for internal circulation, emphasis should be on foot trails or some form of public transit. However, vehicular access should be permitted in appropriate areas, when required by senior citizens and handicapped individuals. When supporting facilities are required, they should be thoughtfully designed, inconspicuous, and in keeping with the surrounding environment.

POLICY 1.2
Make open space lands already in public ownership accessible to the public for compatible recreational uses.

The City and County of San Francisco owns over 60,000 acres of open space lands in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa and San Mateo Counties. These lands are managed as watershed lands and serve as the city's major water source. Because of the need to protect water quality and the filtration capability of the existing system, the watershed property has not been open to large-scale public recreational use.

Public access should be provided by the San Francisco Water Department to portions of its watershed lands which have high recreational value, subject to restrictions required to protect water quality and water production, rare and endangered plant and animal species, and preserve wildlife habitats, archaeologic, and natural resources.

Future leases and lease renewals on watershed lands should be consistent with protection of existing natural values. Watershed lands should be managed to limit potential fire and erosion hazards. Access should be consistent with the legal rights of existing tenants, and with the intent of existing scenic and recreational easements. If San Francisco Water Department property becomes surplus, appropriate land areas should be dedicated for use as public open space.

POLICY 1.3
Increase the accessibility of regional parks by locating new parks near population centers, establishing low user costs, improving public transit service to parks and creating regional bike and hiking trails.

Many state and national parks are located a considerable distance from densely populated urban areas. Automobile access is usually required. Most of these parks are excellent for vacations, but they are often impractical for weekend or day use.

While overloading parks should be avoided, cost or inconvenience should not in itself exclude people from parks. Rather, user costs should be held low, accessibility improved, and new regional parks located close to cities. At the same time access is made easier, recreational activities in parks should be carefully managed to prevent overuse and environmental damage.

Public Transit

Improved public transit is key to increasing the accessibility of regional parks. Frequent and convenient transit service will make it easier for people who do not own cars to reach these areas, encourage people with cars to leave them at home when going to the parks, and reduce the impact of the automobile on the natural landscape. Transit can also be used to shift demand from crowded parks to lesser known facilities.

Hiking and Bicycle Trails

A regional hiking and bicycle trail system should be developed for the San Francisco Bay area to increase recreational opportunities throughout the area, and to link parks and public open space of local and regional importance. Hiking and bicycle trails can provide access to regional parks and open spaces, and link these to communities throughout the region. These trails can provide another alternative to the automobile for access to regional open space areas at minimal cost without adverse effects on the community or open space. Creation and maintenance of a safe and convenient trail system would also foster hiking and bicycling as recreational activities. Trails that tie population centers to regional parks and open space are particularly appropriate.

Three trails should be developed. One trail should encircle the Bay. Another trail should be aligned along the major ridgelines in the Bay Area. A third trail should follow the coast line. Trails should be designed to appeal to a wide range of users, including children, the elderly, and the disabled, to the extent feasible.

Two regional trails are currently being planned. The Association of Bay Area Governments, ABAG, has proposed the alignment for a 400 mile long Bay Trail, a bicycle and hiking trail that would travel around the perimeter of San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council has been planning a Ridge Trail alignment that will connect parks along the major ridgelines circling the Bay. The Ridge Trail is designed to accommodate hikers, bicyclists, and equestrians, where safe and desirable. When completed, the Ridge Trail will be approximately 400 miles long. A trail along the cost line should also be planned in the future.

The City should coordinate planning for the Ridge Trail and Bay Trail alignments within San Francisco (see Objective 2, Policy 8, and Objective 3, Policy 3), so that they link up with the trails in San Mateo and Marin Counties. Creation of the two recreational trails should be given high priority for implementation in the years ahead. In addition, the potential for developing recreational trails along stream corridors, the coast line, and abandoned rail rights-of-way throughout the region should be investigated. The City should work with other local municipalities, public agencies and interested private organizations and individuals to develop a comprehensive regional trail system for the Bay Area.

The City's bicycle trail system, identified in the Transportation Element of the General Plan, should tie in with the regional bicycle trail system. Better linkage is needed between the City's bike routes and suggested regional trails.

Provision for Bicycles on Transit

Better coordination with regional public transportation networks could increase potential bicycle usage with little public expenditure. Efforts should be made to improve recreational bicycle access to regional transit routes, including ferry systems, which directly serve regional parks and regional trails. The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system already permits bicycles on the system during non commute hours. Brochures or maps that provide information about and directions to nearby parks and regional open space should be available at appropriate outlying BART stations and other transit terminals. Bicycle racks should be added to bus carriers that serve regional parks as a primary destination. Provision of bicycle racks on buses serving these routes would provide recreational bicyclists with better access to regional parks and open space. People should be able to use the regional public transportation network to reach a regional park or trail. They could hike or bicycle a portion of the park or trail, and should be able to return home using the regional public transportation system.

National Historic Trail

In 1775, the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista De Anza set out northward on an overland expedition from Sonora, Mexico, through Arizona and California to the San Francisco Bay Area. The National Park Service is working with other public agencies and private groups to establish the De Anza National Historic Trail. The City should coordinate work with these groups to designate a trail route within the City and Country of San Francisco that follows the route of the De Anza Expedition as closely as possible. The City should encourage installation of trail markers, and provision for a route map and public information to enhance public use and enjoyment of the trail.

POLICY 1.4
Coordinate with existing regional park districts, open space agencies, private sector and nonprofit institutions to acquire and manage a regional greenbelt.

Public agencies and private organizations and individuals are working to maintain open space in the Bay Region. These bodies include the Federal Government, the State of California, a multitude of local governments, several sub-regional open space agencies, as well as public nonprofit organizations and private landholders. Preserving a regional open space system is beyond the scope of the seventy-odd local governments in the nine county Bay Area. Valuable open spaces cross city and county lines and individual municipalities have neither the regulatory powers nor the funds to retain them. Preservation of such spaces will depend upon regional action.

Ideally, regional open space should be handled by a regional agency with the authority to 1) enact an official regional plan and have temporary permit powers over all open spaces of regional value until the plan is adopted, 2) acquire open space through the eminent domain process, and 3) raise money to purchase, manage and develop the regional open space system through methods such as grant application and taxation.

Until a regional open space agency is formed, the City should facilitate efforts of existing agencies and organizations working toward regional open space goals. The City should encourage and work with these groups to secure additional land for open space retention and management, and to maintain existing open space areas in their current undeveloped open space status. The city should also support use of selected areas of open space lands within its jurisdiction for appropriate recreational uses.

CITYWIDE SYSTEM

OBJECTIVE 2
DEVELOP AND MAINTAIN A DIVERSIFIED AND BALANCED CITYWIDE SYSTEM OF HIGH QUALITY PUBLIC OPEN SPACE.

Public open spaces serving the entire city offer a variety of opportunities to city residents and visitors alike. Unlike neighborhood facilities which aim at a basic level of service in every community, city serving facilities tend to be larger and provide specialized programs, activities or recreation opportunities. Because of this specialized nature of city serving open spaces, diversity and balance are important objectives.

Golden Gate Park is the keystone of the citywide system because of its size and the specialized landscape elements and recreational opportunities available within it. Other highly visible landscaped city parks, hilltop open spaces, waterfront parks and plazas are also important elements in the citywide system. Although primarily undeveloped at present, John McLaren Park because of its size has the potential of becoming a major component of the citywide system.

All parts of the citywide system should supplement each other by providing a wide choice in recreational activities. New facilities should not duplicate services offered in other city serving parks unless demand for some facilities warrants duplication to prevent overcrowding at existing locations. As new program and facilities are proposed, their locations should be selected to correct any imbalance resulting from popular attractions located in a few open spaces. Landscaping and capital improvements projects, over and above those required to maintain the existing system, should be aimed at improvements which will make certain spaces or programs more attractive so that overload may be eased.

A balance should be maintained between city serving and neighborhood facilities. Although modest expansion of the citywide system is called for in this plan, particularly on the shoreline, this expansion should not be achieved at the expense of neighborhood facilities and programs. Resources should be allocated in such a way that citywide and neighborhood facilities are maintained at an equally high level.

Achieving a balanced and diversified citywide recreation system also depends on citizen participation. Just as neighborhood groups help determine what programs and activities are to be offered in neighborhood facilities, so should citizens play a major role in determining additions, improvements, and changes in the citywide system.

POLICY 2.1
Provide an adequate total quantity and equitable distribution of public open spaces throughout the City.

There are two components to this policy. The first is that there should be enough public open space in total to serve the City's population. The second is that public open space should be evenly distributed throughout the city so that people do not have to travel too far to reach them.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department currently owns and manages over 3,300 acres of open space. In addition, the State owns approximately 171 acres at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, and the Federal Government owns approximately 619 acres, which is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). This open space is shown in Map 1. The Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is subject to the provisions of Chapter 203 of the Statutes of 2009 ("Granting Act") as it may be amended from time to time.

Map 1MAP 1 - Public Ownership of Existing Open Space


The City, State and Federal property permanently dedicated to open space uses total approximately 4,090 acres, or 5.5 acres per 1,000 San Francisco residents. This is about half the standard of National Park and Recreation Association (NPRA), which calls for 10 acres of open space per 1,000 population in cities. Given the City's existing development patterns, high population density, and small land mass (28,918 acres), the NPRA standard will not be possible to achieve within the City limits. Nevertheless, to the extent it reasonably can, the City should increase the per capita supply of public open space within the City.

About half of the City-owned acreage is composed of a few large open space areas which are used by residents throughout the City. The other half is made up of smaller open spaces which are distributed throughout the City and used by residents of the area surrounding the open space.

Although taken as a whole, the City's open space is generally well distributed, some parts of the City have deficiencies. The City should work toward eliminating these deficiencies and improving the distribution of open space throughout the City.

The "neighborhood service area" concept is key to providing equitable distribution of public open space. The "neighborhood service area" is based on the distance most prospective users from adjacent neighborhood areas are willing to walk to reach an open space. The neighborhood service area varies by the size and type of open space and the nature of the surrounding topography.

Depending on its size and features, the space may accommodate organized field sports and other forms of active recreation, more passive recreational pursuits, or a combination of activities. These features may attract different user groups from the service area. Preschoolers, school age children, teenagers, adults, and senior citizens are the user groups which are relevant for planning purposes.

A large public open space with many features generally has a larger service area than a small one. However, in some instances, a small but well designed and maintained open space or one offering specialized programs may serve people travelling from a greater distance than a larger open space with less desirable features.

Depending on their size and the facilities they offer, open spaces can be categorized as city-serving, district-serving, neighborhood-serving, or neighborhood-serving.

City-Serving Open Spaces

City-serving open spaces vary in size, from small areas with unique features to large parks. Examples include Golden Gate Park, Twin Peaks, and John McLaren Park. City-serving open spaces exist throughout the City. Characteristically, they contain unique features which may include forested areas, fields and open landscapes, water features, and vista points. They may also contain facilities for specialized active recreation requiring large areas, such as for day camp, golfing, boating, horseback riding and bicycling.

Because of the size or specialized nature of city-serving open spaces, they may attract people from the entire city and beyond, who come by car or public transit. City-serving open spaces that have facilities such as playfields, recreation centers, playgrounds and totlots may also be heavily used by nearby neighborhood residents who walk to the space.

Neighborhood area within one half mile of a city-serving open space are considered to be within its neighborhood service area. This is about a ten minute walking distance.

Hilltops and shoreline open space are categorized as city-serving open space because of their unique locations. However, because these types of open space offer specialized and more limited recreation options, they are assigned a smaller neighborhood service area.

District-Serving Open Spaces

District-serving open spaces are usually larger than ten acres, and serve more than a single neighborhood or community. They usually contain playfields and recreational facilities for active use. The playfields are designed primarily to accommodate students and adults, and provide facilities for organized team sports. District-serving open spaces may also include indoor recreation facilities for swimming, basketball and other active, as well as more passive, pursuits.

Neighborhood areas within 3/8ths of a mile of a district-serving open space are considered to be within its neighborhood service area. This is about a seven and a half minute walking distance.

Neighborhood-Serving Open Spaces

Neighborhood-serving open spaces primarily serve a single community or neighborhood and are usually one to ten acres in size. Preferably their minimum size is four to five acres to afford a variety of landscape and recreation experiences. They are usually landscaped, contain areas of scenic interest that are natural or man-made, and provide for passive and/or active recreational pursuits, not requiring organized programs.

Neighborhood-serving open spaces are generally designed to accommodate all user groups, from pre-school through seniors. They usually have playground areas containing a playlot, apparatus area and turf play area. They may also contain playfields and/or athletic facilities to accommodate school age students as well as adults. However, some squares, plazas, hilltop and shoreline open spaces also act as neighborhood serving sites.

Neighborhood areas within one-quarter of a mile of a neighborhood-serving open space are considered to be within its service area. This is about a five minute walking distance.

Subneighborhood-Serving Open Spaces

In most cases subneighborhood-serving open spaces are less than one acre in size and are used primarily by people from the immediately adjacent area. In these small spaces, which are often called mini parks, athletic facilities are usually not available. They frequently include a totlot or playground. Totlots are designed primarily for children of pre-school age and may contain a sandbox, play apparatus, and sitting areas for adults. Playground facilities are designed primarily for children of elementary school age and contain a playlot, apparatus area, turf play area, as well as areas for active sports, games and landscaped parklike areas. They also generally provide a small landscaped space with seating areas for all users to enjoy. Neighborhood areas within one-eighth of a mile of a subneighborhood-serving space are considered to be within its service area.

Open Space Distribution

Existing public open spaces and their neighborhood service area boundaries, which have been adjusted to take into account the surrounding topography, are shown on Map 2. Neighborhood areas that fall outside these service area boundaries are not adequately served by public open space.

Map 2MAP 2 - Public Open Space Service Areas

POLICY 2.2
Preserve existing public open space.

San Francisco s public open space system is fairly extensive. It ranges from large parks to undeveloped street rights-of-way. Much of the system is park land and other public open space under the jurisdiction of the Recreation and Park Department. In addition to this land, a significant portion of the public open space in San Francisco is only informally part of the city s park and recreation system. This open space is held by a number of public agencies and is also either used for recreation or appreciated for its natural qualities, but is neither a public park nor a playground. Open Spaces in this second category include certain shoreline areas under the jurisdiction of the Port of San Francisco shown in Maps 4 - 9, certain reservoirs, grounds of public institutions, forts, land for slope and view protection, roadway landscaping, alleys, dedicated public walkways and undeveloped street rights-of-way. Open spaces such as these are a very important part of the city s open space system. They supplement playgrounds and parks and are a major visual asset.

Development sometimes threatens public open spaces regardless of whether or not it is a formal part of the City' s park and open space system. While few public open spaces have been lost in their entirety to other uses, almost all public open space at one time or another has been viewed as a source of vacant land for new construction. The shortage of vacant sites and the intensity of development in San Francisco produce pressures on the city s public open space. These same factors generate considerable demand for open space and leave few opportunities to expand the open space system. Consequently, it is essential that the City preserve the public open space which remains.

Despite general agreement on the need to preserve public open space, over the years developments may indeed be proposed on public land designated as open space in this plan. It is anticipated that the most persuasive arguments in favor of development will be based on the "public value" of the proposed development. The public value will differ among proposals, and a determination, of this value as compared with the value of open space will be difficult. In order to assist in this determination, four types of potential development proposals have been identified. If proposals for these types of development occur, the following policies should be applied:

Nonrecreational Uses

Proposals for nonrecreational uses in public parks and playgrounds may arise in the future. Some may be for public facilities such as parking garages, streets and buildings, and for private or semi-public facilities. Development of this kind in parks and playgrounds should, without exception, be prohibited.

Recreation and Cultural Buildings

Many San Francisco neighborhoods need more gymnasiums, swimming pools and other indoor facilities. Citywide recreation and cultural facilities also require new buildings and room to expand. The scarcity of sites and the high cost of land, together with the recreational nature of such facilities, make parks and playgrounds frequent candidates as sites for recreation and cultural buildings.

This situation is often in conflict with the need to retain outdoor open space. The value of parks and playgrounds in a highly developed city like San Francisco is immeasurable. San Francisco s neighborhoods are densely populated, and many residents have no access to open spaces other than that provided by the City. Even in those areas with private yards, city parks make neighborhoods more livable. San Francisco s parks and playgrounds are a great asset to the City. Building in them results in a loss of open space which can rarely be replaced.

The City s policy should be made clear: where new recreation and cultural buildings are needed they should be located outside of existing parks and playgrounds. When new indoor facilities are needed, the City should allocate funds for land acquisition as well as for construction. Outdoor space in parks and playgrounds should not be diminished except in a few unique cases such as the Zoo, which requires special indoor facilities, and John McLaren Park, which is underdeveloped and may provide a good site for new recreation facilities designed to relieve pressure on overused facilities.

This policy is not intended to disregard the importance of indoor recreation facilities. It is recognized that a properly balanced system combines both indoor and outdoor spaces and programs. San Franciscans, however, should not be put in the position of developing indoor facilities at the expense of valuable outdoor open space and the amount of outdoor open space in parks and playgrounds should not have to be reduced in order to avoid buying land for new indoor recreation or cultural facilities.

Proposals for additions to existing recreation and cultural buildings in parks and playgrounds should be evaluated by the same process as that outlined below for supporting facilities. Additions to cultural and recreation facilities should be limited to the existing footprint and to that which can be accommodated on the site without creating a negative impact on the surrounding area by reason of excessive height and bulk. A goal of planning should be to limit the size of any necessary additions. Additions should be limited primarily to publicly accessible recreational and cultural uses, or facilities which directly support them. Alternative locations for non publicly accessible functions should be carefully explored. When additions are planned, careful planning should limit the size of the required enlargement.

Supporting Facilities

Many of the sites designated for open space in this plan are under the jurisdiction of public agencies other than the Recreation and Park Department and are intended primarily for public uses other than recreation. Here open space use is secondary to the prime use. Examples are: underdeveloped street rights-of-way, property on or adjacent to reservoirs and grounds of public institutions, and certain Port shoreline property shown in Maps 4-9.

In these cases it is anticipated that requests for supporting facilities of various types may arise. These proposed facilities may be necessary to perform the public function of the particular agency holding the land designated as open space. In order to provide a basis for a decision in these cases, the agency proposing the supporting facility should make public the following material:

  • Information demonstrating that the facility proposed is necessary to provide the public service of the agency holding the site in question;

  • Sufficient proof that alternative sites have been studied and that the proposed facility can be located only on the site in question;

  • A study which assesses the effects of the proposed facility on the site in question and on the surrounding neighborhood.

Since the purpose of the policy is to preserve public open space, the city should not approve projects which are not demonstrated to be necessary by the information submitted, nor should it approve projects whose effects have not been thoroughly assessed. Approval should be based upon the information submitted and on conformity of the project with the General Plan. Upon approval, the city may request the agency to meet certain design criteria and performance standards which insure such conformity.

Surplus Public Land

Occasionally public agencies find some land surplus to their needs. When public land becomes surplus to one public use, the General Plan states that it should be reexamined to determine what other uses would best serve public needs. The General Plan gives priority to direct public uses that meet either immediate or long-term public needs. One of these uses is open space.

In cases where the land that is declared surplus is designated as open space in this plan, the policy is clear: open space should take priority over other public uses. In cases where surplus land is not designated for open space, the site should be evaluated on a case by case basis for its usefulness for a number of public or public serving uses, including open space. Where necessary and desirable, jurisdiction of surplus land which meets open space criteria, such as land with high natural, recreational, or open space values, should be transferred to the Recreation and Park Department.

POLICY 2.3
Preserve sunlight in public open spaces

Solar access to public open space should be protected. In San Francisco, presence of the sun's warming rays is essential to enjoying open space. This is because climatic factors, including ambient temperature, humidity, and wind, usually combine to create a comfortable climate only when direct sunlight is present. Therefore, the shadows created by new development nearby can critically diminish the utility of the open space.

This is particularly a problem in downtown districts and in neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the downtown core, where there is a limited amount of open space, where there is pressure for new development, and where zoning controls allow tall buildings. But the problem potentially exists wherever tall buildings near open space are permitted.

Properties under the jurisdiction of the Recreation and Park Department or designated for acquisition are now protected by a voter-approved Planning Code amendment. It restricts the issuance of building permits authorizing construction of any structure exceeding forty feet ion height that would shade these properties from between one hour after sunrise to one hour before sunset, unless it is determined that the impact on the use of the space would be insignificant.

A number of other open spaces designated in this Element or elsewhere in the general Plan are under the jurisdiction of other public agencies, or are privately owned and therefore not protected by the Planning Code amendments. These spaces should be given other forms of protection to assure they are not shaded during the hours of their most intensive use. Any new shading should be remedied to the extent feasible by expanding opportunities for public assembly and recreation in indoor and outdoor settings.

POLICY 2.4
Gradually eliminate nonrecreational uses in parks and playground and reduce automobile traffic in and around public open spaces.

Nonrecreational Uses

The City should gradually eliminate nonrecreational uses in its public open spaces. In the past parks and playgrounds have been used as sites for public facilities such as libraries, fire and police stations, sewer plants and schools. Undoubtedly, the public need for them was great at the time of their construction and many are still essential. But as nonrecreational facilities such as these become obsolete, the City is faced with the decision to renovate them or to relocate them altogether.

In cases where it is possible to provide services elsewhere it should be the City's policy to eliminate nonrecreational uses in parks and playgrounds, demolish the facility and return the site to open space use. If the facility can be successfully converted to recreational use, then reuse could be an alternative to demolition. The City should not, however, permit the reuse of such facilities for other nonrecreational purposes. The same policy should apply to the reuse of obsolete recreational facilities.

In cases where it is not presently possible to provide services elsewhere, the City should simply maintain the facility and not permit its expansion.

Automobile Traffic

Roads in and around San Francisco's public open spaces are used both by through traffic and by people enjoying the parks. As demand for each intensifies, the conflict between the two uses grows. This conflict should be resolved in favor of open space users because heavy or fast traffic endangers pedestrians, cuts access to open space, damages plant life and reduces the pleasure of being in the open space. The following methods of reducing traffic in and around public open space are consistent with the urban design and transportation elements of the General Plan and should be applied where possible:

  • Discourage nonrecreational travel in and around public open space by diverting through traffic from open space roads onto major and secondary thoroughfares located at sufficient distance from major open space.

  • Reduce the capacity of roads in public open spaces and redesign existing roads for leisurely, scenic driving. Permit continued use of existing roads for recreational driving where it does not limit pedestrian use and enjoyment.

  • Close off roads to automobiles on a part-time basis in order to return open spaces to recreational use. Expand into full-time street closing where possible. Increase weekend street closings for use by pedestrians and bicyclists.

  • Prohibit construction of new roads and parking lots in developed public open spaces.

  • Encourage walking, and the use of bicycles and public transit for recreational travel.

POLICY 2.5
Preserve the open space and natural historic, scenic and recreational features of the Presidio.

The Army's military mission in the Presidio is important to the city's economy, as it is to the nation's security. A number of the Presidio's structures are physically and/or functionally obsolete and need to be replaced. The City should support the Army in its efforts to provide modern facilities for its troops and their dependents. At the same time appropriate actions should be taken to preserve open space and enhance the unique historic, scenic and recreational qualities of the Presidio.

The Presidio is among the most important and historic open spaces in the City. Some of the Presidio lands are managed by the U.S. Army and some by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) or the Fort Point National Historic Site. Both the National Park Service and the Army are responsible for preserving the Presidio's natural setting, and protecting against development that would destroy its scenic beauty and natural character. The Presidio is shown in Map 3.

Map 3MAP 3 - The Presidio of San Francisco

Much of the area under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army is maintained as open space, a substantial part of which is accessible to the public. Most of the shoreline area has been transferred to the National Park Service. As mandated by the terms of the enabling legislation, jurisdiction of a 10-acre area just east of Long Avenue, currently being used as a motor pool and storage area, should be transferred to the National Park Service to be managed as pat of Fort Point National Historic Site. If the Coast Guard station is closed and its function relocated, this property should also be transferred to the GGNRA.

Because of its proximity to the GGNRA and sensitive shoreline resources, the area north of Old Mason Street should be maintained as open space. As opportunities present themselves, developed areas within the shoreline zone should be converted to open space use by relocating existing buildings and uses to other developed areas.

Large portions of the Presidio, including the historic parade ground, have been developed as surface parking lots, much of it for commuters working in the Presidio. The Presidio should develop a transportation management program to expand use of transit, carpools and vanpools, and to reduce the amount of needed parking. Needed parking should be converted into parking structures wherever possible.

The following guidelines should apply to new development and land use changes in the Presidio:

  1. No new structures should be built that would adversely affect the scenic beauty and natural character of the Presidio.

  2. No additional housing units should be constructed in the Presidio.

  3. Except for expansion of facilities of Letterman General Hospital and Western Medical Institute of Research, new construction should be limited to replacement of existing structures with an improvement of similar size.

  4. New construction should occur only within the existing developed areas with one possible exception. In order to create more open space for public use in developed areas in the shoreline zone, existing structures in the shoreline zone could be removed and replaced in an existing open space area with less public use potential, if such replacement would not result in the degradation of the Presidio's overall scenic beauty and natural character.

  5. The Presidio shoreline should be developed as stated in Shoreline Policy 5 of this Plan, and development should be subject to shoreline guidelines as stated in Shoreline Policy 1.

  6. Historic structures and sites should be preserved. The Presidio has been declared a National Historic Landmark and 300 historically significant structures have been identified.

  7. A mixture of naturalistic grassland and forest should be maintained in existing open space areas. The Presidio's forestry management plan should promote a balanced approach to maintenance of the forest resource and restoration of the native vegetation communities.

  8. The recreation trail system should be maintained and improved. The system should include well designed and marked hiking and bicycle trails through the Presidio. Points of historic interest should be marked. A shoreline trail should link Seacliff with the Marina.

POLICY 2.6
Make open spaces accessible to people with special needs.

The City should ensure that public open spaces are accessible to all San Franciscans, including persons with special recreation needs. These may include seniors, the very young, people with disabilities. In order to achieve this policy, park and recreation facilities should be planned and programmed for people with special recreation needs in mind.

Standards contained in the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) should be reviewed and employed for all construction in order to facilitate use and enjoyment by persons with disabilities. Design standard for the elderly, and for young children should also be employed to accommodate the specific needs of these user groups. In all new construction, facilities should be constructed consistent with the appropriate design standards. Similarly, as parks and facilities are renovated, these same design standards should be applied. Facilities which do not meet the standards should be identified and necessary modifications should be programmed as priority items, and implemented as funds become available.

POLICY 2.7
Acquire additional open space for public use.

San Francisco already has an extensive system of public open space owned by the Recreation and Park Department, other City agencies, and the State and Federal government. Nevertheless, additional public open space is needed in certain areas and should be acquired and/or developed for public use and enjoyment.

Various parts of this Plan describes open spaces that would be desirable to acquire. Map 4 in the Citywide section identifies some of these areas. Policy 13 in the Citywide section also identifies the criteria to be used in determining which natural areas to acquire. The Shoreline section of this Plan identifies areas along the shoreline, particularly on the eastern waterfront, which should be made into usable public open space. The Neighborhood section of the Plan discussed some specific sites and some general areas where additional public open space is needed but where specific sites have not been identified. Similarly the Downtown section of the Plan discusses where additional open space is needed.

Map 4MAP 4 - Citywide Recreation & Open Space

In some cases a parcel or parcels indicated for acquisition may be in active use. In those cases, acquisition may be delayed until change in use or tenancy occurs, or the property could be acquired and leased back to the user until development for open space use would be beneficial. In this way, public ownership of properties identified in this plan could be assured while limiting financial impacts to current property owners or tenants.

Priority should be given to acquiring sites which are threatened by development. An application to develop a privately owned site cannot legally be denied solely on the ground that it is proposed for public open space use in this Plan. Therefore, if the owner of a privately owned site proposed for acquisition wishes to develop the site it should be determined whether the Recreation and Park Commission is prepared to proceed with acquisition or whether there are alternative means to acquire it, and if not, processing of the development proposal should proceed. If development does occur, the situation should be examined to determine whether the site should remain in the Plan for some possible future acquisition or whether it should be dropped from further open space consideration and the Plan amended accordingly.

Open space acquisition should not be limited by the City's inability to maintain additional parkland. However, the City should recognize that acquisition will require an on-going commitment of additional resources for maintenance. In appropriate cases, the City should acquire the property, and develop low cost maintenance techniques and programs for open space that is not used for intensive recreation, or should hold the land vacant, until development and maintenance funds are available.

POLICY 2.8
Develop a recreational trail system that links city parks and public open space, ridge lines and hilltops, the Bay and ocean, and neighborhoods, and ties into the regional hiking trail system.

A recreational trails system should be created on streets, public rights-of-way and park land, providing interesting pathways to link city parks and public open space with the neighborhoods. Three trails are currently envisioned. One trail would be part of the San Francisco Bay Trail. The second would link up with the Bay Area Ridge Trail. The third would be a Coastal Trail route along Ocean Beach. The trails should accommodate hikers and bicyclists. They should be designed to appeal to a wide range of users, including children, the elderly, and the disabled, to the maximum feasible extent.

In San Francisco and other highly urbanized areas, the primary trail users would most likely be hikers and bicyclists. The Ridge Trail, in addition, may be planned to accommodate equestrians, where feasible and desirable. In some instances, pedestrians, bicyclists and equestrians would have separate trail routes. The trails will be part of the regional trail system, linking up with the trails in San Mateo and Marin Counties.

Route Selection

The objective in route selection should be to select interesting routes along the Bay, Ocean, and linking the City's primary ridgeline and hilltop parks, in areas that provide information about the city's history, frame vistas of the City and Bay region, and permit the opportunity to view and visit interesting cultural, architectural and natural geographical features. In the future, a system of trails connecting the Ridge and Bay Trails should be created. It may also be necessary and desirable to make minor changes in trail alignments. The trail system should link city parks and public open space with interesting historic, natural, and man-made features that may attract and accommodate a variety of users.

Trails should be planned and designed to avoid impacting environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands, and in a manner consistent with the policies of the land management agency through which the trail traverses.

The Bay Trail

The Bay trail should traverse the eastern edge of the City including the Herb Caen Way/Embarcadero promenade, and should be oriented along the Bay from San Mateo County, to the Golden Gate Bridge. The Bay Trail alignment within San Francisco should link the following parks and public open spaces, as shown on Map 4.

  • Candlestick Point State Recreation Area
  • India Basin park (Planned)
  • Pier 98
  • Warm Water Cove
  • Islais Creek
  • Aqua Vista Park
  • Pier 52 Boat Launch
  • Mission Bay Wetland & Park (Planned)
  • South Beach Harbor & Park (Partially completed)
  • Brannan Street Wharf
  • Rincon Park (Planned)
  • Justin Herman Plaza
  • Ferry Building Plaza (planned)
  • Ferry Plaza (Ferry Service to Marin, East Bay)
  • Pier 7 Public Access and Fishing Pier
  • Pier 39
  • Pier 41
  • Fisherman's Wharf Triangle Plaza (planned)
  • Aquatic Park and Fort Mason (GGNRA)
  • Marina Green and Crissy Field (GGNRA)
  • The Presidio (GGNRA)
  • Fort Point National Historic Site (GGNRA)

POLICY 2.9
Maintain and expand the urban forest.

Trees planted in city parks, on public open space, on city streets and on private property, collectively form the "urban forest". This urban forest contributes substantially to the quality of life in the city. Trees impart a sense of nature, provide shade and moderate the microclimate. Strolling through a grove of trees in a City park, a private yard, or along a public sidewalk, or viewing a forest on a distant hilltop, are experiences that enrich one's enjoyment of the city.

A number of City agencies have authority over San Francisco's urban forest. The Recreation and Park Department plants and maintains trees and other landscape materials in City parks, and on some other public land. The Department of Public Works Urban Forestry Division has permit jurisdiction over all street trees, and plants and maintains trees along certain public streets.

Street trees contribute to the streetscape environment and can be used to visually screen unattractive and incompatible land uses.

Private property owners should be encouraged to plant trees fronting their property consistent with an overall street tree planting plan. Street trees should be required in new development in residential, commercial, and neighborhood commercial districts with provision for substitution of other landscape material or waiver of the requirement in those limited instances where street trees would interfere with pedestrian circulation.

The City plants trees in city parks and public open space, and along certain major city streets. These are maintained on a regular and emergency basis by the city. However, maintenance of most of the City's street trees, and all trees on private property, is the responsibility of the abutting property owner. This obligation should be enforced.

Many of the city-maintained trees have reached maturity, and need to be replaced. This is particularly true in the city's older parks, where many trees are dead, or visibly decaying. A major reforestation effort should be undertaken by the City in many of the larger parks, on other City properties and some major public streets. The magnitude of this effort is beyond the current scope of existing tree maintenance programs and budgets. A farsighted program should be developed to adequately maintain San Francisco's urban forest, and to ensure a legacy of green in the century ahead.

A reforestation program should include the following major program elements:

Systematic Inventory

A systematic inventory of the urban forest should be undertaken. The database should be both comprehensive and easy to update. Data elements should include geographic location, tree species, size, age, and disease classes, and other information as may be necessary or desirable.

Planting, Tree Replanting and Maintenance

A reforestation and horticultural maintenance element should provide a framework for program implementation. Principles of urban planning, landscape design, and horticulture should be employed to determine appropriate form, texture, color and scale of trees to be planted. The diversity of species planted throughout the city should be increased. The species or variety planted in any area should be chosen for design objectives identified in the Urban Design Element of the General Plan, as well as the tree's ability to thrive in the area's microclimate and soil conditions.

The City should continue to plant street trees. A program to ensure the availability of trees of the species, age, class, and form required for planting should be developed. This could take the form of developing propagation and nursery facilities, or contracting with private sector nurseries.

Consistent use of recognized planting standards should be used to reduce transplanting shock and ensure the highest viability of all trees planted. Such standards should include guidelines for planting depth, placement, staking, watering and maintenance through the first years of growth.

Trimming and pruning standards should be developed appropriate to different tree forms, and should be consistently adhered to. Proper pruning practices and tree maintenance should result in healthy and well-formed tree canopies that require a minimum of maintenance.

Guidelines should be developed, as appropriate, for required tree removal. Removal of large areas of naturalistic tree plantings will require treatment significantly different from that used to remove over-mature or diseased street trees. When large or overmature trees have been removed, reforestation should proceed as soon as practical. However, a certain number of dead trees should be left standing for their habitat value, if they are not a safety hazard.

Wood Waste Management and Utilization

Tree removal and reforestation will generate a significant amount of wood and waste products. A program should be developed to utilize the wood and effectively manage the waste generated. Sale of merchantable timber, cord lumber, wood chips, and bark chips could help to offset the cost of the reforestation program, and reduce the solid waste problem that tree removal and maintenance generates.

Interagency Coordination and Public Information

Currently the responsibility of maintaining San Francisco's urban forest rests with several city agencies, and private property owners throughout the city. Tree planting, maintenance and removal standards should be prepared by the Department of Public Works and Recreation and Park Department, and made available to other City agencies and the public. The same standards should be used by everyone responsible for maintaining the city's urban forest. Equipment and trained professionals could be shared by the implementing agencies. Nonprofit corporations, such as the Friends of the Urban Forest, can also provide assistance to neighborhood groups and individuals.

POLICY 2.10
Develop a master plan for Golden Gate Park.

Golden Gate Park plays a key role in the public recreation system in San Francisco. With 1,017 acres, it is the largest and most diverse park in the city system and provides places for active recreation, cultural institutions, as well as landscaped areas of pastoral character. The park is enjoyed by city and Bay Area residents, as well as national and international visitors.

The park is over one hundred years old. Some of its infrastructure needs to be replaced or renovated. Some buildings and recreation facilities no longer serve the purpose for which they were intended. Forested areas and woody vegetation are overmature or diseased. Conflicts exist between the need for additional recreational development, maintenance of the park's historic and naturalistic character, and the preservation of its valuable open space. Transportation problems have developed, including excessive through-traffic, all-day commuter parking, and unsatisfactory pedestrian access and circulation.

To address these problems, work on the Master Plan has begun. The overall goal of the Golden Gate Park Master Plan should seek to retain the integrity of the park's original design while having sufficient flexibility to accommodate society's evolving needs. In 1979, the Recreation and Park Commission, adopted "Master Plan Objectives and Policies for Golden Gate Park," to guide any necessary changes, act as a blueprint to guide maintenance of the park's rich landscape, and steward Golden Gate Park through the next century. The objectives are to:

  1. Acknowledge Golden Gate Park's contribution to the diversity of cultural and recreational activities available to residents of San Francisco and the Bay region; recognize the park's importance as an American cultural resource.

  2. Provide for the protection and renewal of the park landscape.

  3. Preserve the open space of Golden Gate Park.

  4. Create and maintain a park-wide system of recreation roadways, pathways and trails. Minimize vehicular traffic.

  5. Foster appropriate use of park recreation resources.

Consideration should be given to establishment of a separate public advisory committee, supported by a professional staff consisting of planners, landscape architects, recreation specialists, and horticulturists to prepare the plan. This advisory committee should report to the Recreation and Park Commission.

The objectives and policies serve as the basis for five master plan elements which should carry out the adopted policies, and address specific issues and park features. The five elements are:

  • Forest Management
  • Circulation-Transportation Management
  • Land Use
  • Landmarks and Structures
  • Landscape Design

The first two elements, Forest Management and Circulation, have been adopted by the Recreation and Park Commission and are being implemented. The City should provide the necessary resources to complete the remaining master plan elements. The five elements are described below:

Forest Management

The Forest Management Element addresses the problems of the park's forest and vegetation. It includes an extensive tree inventory, reforestation program, and management and design guidelines.

Circulation - Transportation Management

The Transportation Management Plan focuses on all forms of access to and circulation throughout the park. This element is designed to create and maintain a park-wide system of recreational roadways, pathways and trails while minimizing vehicular traffic. Key elements include the restriction of through-traffic to designated roadways and reduction of the number and impact of such roadways. The plan encourages use of public transit, development of a safe and inviting pedestrian system, and accommodation of bicycle and equestrian trail systems.

Land Use

The land use element should update the existing inventory of land uses, facilities, structures, and recognized landmarks and identify appropriate areas for required land uses throughout the park. All activities, features and facilities should be subordinate to the present design and character of the park. The plan should preserve the park's valuable open space and not permit construction of new recreation or cultural buildings within Golden Gate Park unless incidental to enjoyment of the Park's open space. No additional roadways should be allowed to encroach on the park. Emphasis should be given to activities which do not diminish open space.

The primary function of the park is to serve the recreation needs of all San Francisco residents. Neighborhood serving facilities should be located in the adjacent neighborhoods themselves.

Landmarks and Structures

The landmarks and structures element should evaluate historic values, and physical and structural conditions, and current and required maintenance levels of the park's landmarks and structures. An inventory of existing structures and recognized landmarks should be updated. The plan should encourage restoration and reconstruction of landmarks and require that any modification or replacement of existing buildings be compatible with the landscape character and historic features of the park.

Restoration requirements should be identified and programmed as part of the capital improvement budget, or other funding sources. While advocating the provision of park amenities and visitor services, the plan should prohibit any construction which would detract visually or physically from the character of the park.

Landscape Design and Features

The landscape design element of the master plan should provide for the protection and renewal of the park's unique landscape areas. The size and form of the park's major pastoral landscape elements, its meadows and wooded areas should be retained and renewed. Similarly, the overall evergreen landscape character of the park should be maintained as the dominant design element. This element should closely coordinate with the forest management element.

Existing formal gardens and colorful horticultural displays should be retained, in areas designated in early park plans; however, new colorful horticultural displays should not be introduced into predominantly evergreen areas. Landscape design standards should be employed to guide restoration and maintenance of meadow areas, lake and water course edges, park entrances and pedestrian pathways, intensive recreation use areas, and roadways and other paved areas.

POLICY 2.11
Develop McLaren Park into a high quality, city serving park.

McLaren Park, primarily undeveloped parkland, should be developed into a park of high quality. A master plan for the park should be adopted by the Recreation and Park Commission. A variety of landscape features and specialized recreation facilities could be accommodated on the 318 acre park site. McLaren Park should become a citywide resource, because of its large size, varied landscape, and the specialized activities and programs that may be suited for developments within the park. McLaren park should also offer uses which satisfy the recreation needs of adjacent neighborhoods. Neighborhood-serving uses should be sited primarily along the park's periphery.

Development of the park should capitalize on the site's natural conditions, including topography, existing native vegetation, and views. Natural areas of the park, including open grasslands and wooded areas, should be preserved. When adding new features simple forms, and natural appearance should be emphasized. New plantings should be added in the park to act as windbreaks, to define subareas of the park, and to provide visual accents. Plant species should be hardy, wind and fire resistant and provide for and enhance wildlife habitats. Existing wildlife habitats should be preserved and a management plan should be developed to insure their long-term viability.

The existing trail system should be retained and missing linkages completed. Any new development should build on the existing infrastructure including roads and parking areas, the irrigation system and drainage structures, lighting and electrical installations. New recreation areas should serve active, as well as passive, non organized recreation needs. The park should include the following specialized features: a renovated amphitheater, meadows, overlooks, picnic areas, a park office and community center building and a community garden.

POLICY 2.12
Expand community garden opportunities throughout the City.

Community gardens are a valuable use of open space in dense urban areas. They improve the quality of life in the city by revitalizing neighborhoods, and stimulating social interaction and neighborhood cooperation. In addition they provide opportunities for recreation and exercise for those who work in the gardens, and provide visual interest to the general public.

There are many existing community gardens in the City. They are located on private property, undeveloped street ROW's and underused (vacant) public property, public parkland, rooftops, etc. Acknowledging the values community gardens have for the City, the Board of Supervisors passed a resolution encouraging a minimum of 100 community gardens to be established in the City by 1996.

City departments should fully cooperate with neighborhood organizations and non-profit organizations, such as the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, SLUG, to establish, maintain, and administer community gardens at sites throughout the City. The City should also investigate opportunities to preserve existing gardens, in order to maximize the opportunity for San Franciscans to use, enjoy, and benefit from community gardens.

POLICY 2.13
Preserve and protect significant natural resource areas.

A number of publicly and privately owned open spaces exist throughout the City which have not been developed, are relatively undisturbed and remain in a nearly natural state. Some areas, although partially modified, provide habitat or natural features that make them unique and valuable.

Natural resource areas include forested areas, woodlands, grassy open fields and hilltops, chaparral, coastal scrub, mud flats, beaches and sand dunes, as well as wetlands, fresh water lakes and streams. They also include natural resource areas and naturalistic areas within existing developed City parks.

The following criteria should be used to determine what constitutes a significant natural resource area worthy of protection:

  • The site is undeveloped and relatively undisturbed, and is a remnant of the original natural landscape and either supports a significant and diverse or unusual indigenous plant or wildlife habitat or contains rare geological formations or riparian zones.

  • The site contains rare, threatened, or endangered species, as identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or California Department of Fish and Game, or contains habitat that has recently supported and is likely again to support rare, threatened, or endangered species.

  • The site is adjacent to another protected natural resource area and, if protected from development, the two areas together would support a larger or more diverse natural habitat.

To protect from development those natural areas which are in private ownership, public acquisition would be desirable. However, all parts of all areas meeting these criteria may not be equally worthy of protection. Nor, given limits to funding sources, is it likely that there will be the means to acquire all of them. Furthermore, there may be other uses of the site that may take precedence.

Therefore, whether or not a specific natural resource area, or a portion thereof, should be acquired will depend on:

  1. The availability of funds.

  2. The relative importance of the site as a natural area.

  3. A determination at the time acquisition is proposed regarding whether or not, pursuant to other policies of the General Plan, there is a higher priority use, to which the site should be devoted. For example, a site proposed and needed in its entirety for permanently affordable housing, as defined by the Residence Element, should not be acquired for open space.

If development is proposed for a natural resource area which is not to be publicly acquired, the City Planning Commission may require any development that is approved, to preserve the most important portions of the area, if it is feasible and consistent with the Planning Code to do so.

Natural Resource Area Management Plan

Once protected from development by public ownership, the natural resources of the site should be protected and enhanced through restrictions on use and appropriate management practices. Native plant habitats should be preserved and efforts undertaken to remove exotic plant species from these areas. Natural area management plans should be developed for publicly owned land throughout the City which would identify potentially significant natural areas, inventory them, and identify the presence of natural resources. The plan should establish a consistent set of management policies and practices to protect and enhance the resources. It should also identify policies governing access and appropriate recreational use and enjoyment of protected natural areas to ensure that the natural resource values are not diminished or impacted by public use. The plans should include those portions of public lands, such as parts of Golden Gate Park, which have been made to look naturalistic and which support a diverse plant or wildlife community.

Acquire additional open space for public use.

San Francisco already has an extensive system of public open space owned by the Recreation and Park Department, other City agencies, and the State and Federal governments. Nevertheless, additional public open space is needed in certain areas and should be acquired and/or developed for public use and enjoyment.

Various parts of this Plan describe open spaces that would be desirable to acquire. Map 4 in the Citywide section identifies some of these areas. Policy 13 in the Citywide section also identifies the criteria to be used in determining which natural areas to acquire. The Shoreline section of this Plan identifies areas along the shoreline, particularly on the eastern waterfront, which should be made into usable public open space. The Neighborhood section of the Plan discusses some specific sites and some general areas where additional public open space is needed but where specific sites have not been identified. Similarly the Downtown section of the Plan describes areas where additional open space is needed.

SHORELINE

OBJECTIVE 3
PROVIDE CONTINUOUS PUBLIC OPEN SPACE ALONG THE SHORELINE UNLESS PUBLIC ACCESS CLEARLY CONFLICTS WITH MARITIME USES OR OTHER USES REQUIRING A WATERFRONT LOCATION.

The Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay and their respective shorelines are the most important natural resources in San Francisco. Their open space potential is considerable. Together they offer unlimited opportunities for water oriented recreation. They are the pride of San Francisco's views and the source of the city's agreeable climate. Furthermore, most of the property adjacent to the thirty-two mile shoreline is in public ownership. This offers an unparalleled opportunity to provide a variety of open space experiences.

The western and northwestern shoreline should function as a long unbroken stretch of open space; its natural qualities should be preserved and should complement the more urban character of new open spaces along the Bay.

On the northeastern and eastern shoreline the objective is different. Here the challenge is to provide more open space along the Bay and public access to the shoreline while maintaining active maritime and other essential waterfront uses.

Significant progress has been made in opening the shoreline to the public. With the advent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area the shoreline of the Presidio and Fort Mason have been made available to the public. Sutro Baths has been acquired and Ft. Funston and Lands End have been developed with trails making them more accessible. The creation of the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area in the southeastern corner of the City has added 171 acres and 3 ½ miles of public shoreline. The India Basin Shoreline Park has added another 0.4 miles of shoreline access. In addition, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency Commission will acquire the 493 acre Hunters Point Shipyard from the U.S. Navy. Much of the shoreline not required for maritime industrial use will be retained for shoreline open space. Details are contained in the Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan.

In the Central Waterfront, Warm Water Cove and Agua Vista Park have been made accessible developed by the Port as mitigation for maritime fill projects. The Port also is improving the public boat launch and creating a new public access area near Pier 52.

On Port property in the northeast waterfront, the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway and construction of transportation and landscaping improvements, and the 2.75 mile shoreline Herb Caen Way/Embarcadero will link existing and future waterfront activities. Pier 7 has been redeveloped as a public access and fishing pier. A 2.5 acre shoreline park (3.25 acre including the existing promenade) is planned at Rincon Point south of the Ferry Building, and the first phase (four acres) of a 6.8 acre South Beach Park has been developed at the base of Second Street adjacent to South Beach Harbor as part of the Rincon Point-South Beach Redevelopment project. New plazas and open space amenities in the Pier 1 - Ferry Building - Agriculture Building area will be developed based on public planning efforts for the Mid-Embarcadero/Ferry Building area, and the Port's Downtown Ferry Terminal Project.

In addition, the Port proposes three major new open spaces in its Waterfront Land Use Plan. The Brannan Street Wharf would be a large open space involving the removal of two piers along The Embarcadero Promenade at the base of Brannan Street. The Northeast Wharf would be sited between Piers 15 and 29. The Fisherman's Wharf Triangle Plaza with accessory commercial development is planned to replace surface parking. Finally, the Port's Waterfront Land Use Plan promotes the creation of pedestrian walkways, (the "PortWalk"), to connect existing and proposed public access areas on piers with Herb Caen Way/The Embarcadero Promenade.

Of the approximately 16 miles of shoreline on the eastern shoreline, about 4-1/2 miles are or will be publicly accessible, primarily on Port property along The Embarcadero between Aquatic Park and China Basin (including the new parks and open spaces located in between). Of the 11-1/2 miles of shoreline which is not publicly accessible the U.S. Navy owns about three miles in Hunter's Point Shipyard, private property owners own about 1-1/2 miles, and the Port owns the balance. After Hunters Point Shipyard is transferred to the Redevelopment Agency beginning in 2004, the Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan and its accompanying Design for Development document calls for portions of the shoreline to be made publicly accessible, as conditions permit.

On the western and northwestern shoreline while a significant amount of public open space has already been retained, permanent preservation of a few prime open spaces has not been insured.

Despite this progress, there is room for further improvement as described in site-specific policies in the Western, Northwestern, Northeastern and Eastern Shoreline sections below.

POLICY 3.1
Assure that new development adjacent to the shoreline capitalizes on its unique waterfront location, considers shoreline land use provisions, improves visual and physical access to the water, and conforms with urban design policies.

In order to protect the shoreline and safeguard the public interest in it, the following policies should be applied to new shoreline developments.

Land Use

The Elements and Area Plans contained in the General Plan together define appropriate land uses for the City. Below is a general summary of these land use policies as they relate to shoreline areas. This general summary must be read in conjunction with the appropriate Elements and Area Plans to fully determine acceptable land uses on the shoreline.

Priority Land Uses. The most important uses of the shoreline should be those providing substantial long-term public benefits that cannot be provided on other sites within the city. Maritime shipping and freight handling facilities, ship repair: water-related public recreation, open space including shoreline public access and water-dependent habitat areas; commercial fishing; and commercial and recreational maritime activities (e.g. ferries, excursion boats, water taxis, historic ship and visiting ship berthing, recreational boating) and maritime support services are included in this category.

Restricted Land Uses. Office, residential, public assembly and recreational sports facility with associated commercial uses, water oriented commercial recreation and public assembly uses such as restaurants, hotels and shops , museums, visitor centers, theaters and other activities such as non-water-oriented community facilities and industrial uses are appropriate in the areas designated in the General Plan. These uses may provide limited public benefits and should be restricted to areas which are not needed for priority uses. Parking accessory to these uses should be in structures or otherwise screened from view. Recreation-oriented commercial services should be permitted where appropriate on land adjacent to open space areas.

Prohibited Land Uses. All developments which do not fall in the previous two categories are not acceptable shoreline land uses. More specifically, industry or commercial uses that are not dependent upon use of. or proximity to the water, or which do not further maritime, commerce, or public recreation or enjoyment of the waterfront, should not be permitted. Airports and at grade or elevated freeways should not be permitted. Uses such as these should be located away from the shoreline. Parking, unless it is accessory to a permitted use, should not be allowed at or near the waters edge. Finally, all land uses which do not comply with applicable water quality environmental laws and regulations should be prohibited.

Open Space

All new non-maritime developments, on property abutting the shoreline, should provide and maintain on their sites ground level open space, well situated for public access and designed for maximum physical and visual contact with the water. Maritime uses may substitute overlooks or open space on another part of the shoreline if public access is clearly inappropriate because of public safety considerations or significant use conflicts.

The size of the open space provided should directly relate to the size of the new development; the larger the development, the more open space it should provide. Along the water, a generous and well maintained shoreline strip should be reserved to provide public access and accommodate development of a continuous pedestrian and bicycle shoreline trail system, consistent with plans shown on Maps 5-8. Once fully implemented, the Bay and Coastal Trails will achieve this objective and provide enjoyable visual, educational and recreational experiences for many users. In addition to providing space for pedestrian and bicycle movement, the trails should also provide inviting seating areas and viewpoints of waterfront activities.

The types of open space provided in new developments will depend upon the nature of the sites; however, to the extent feasible they should meet the recreational needs of adjacent neighborhoods, especially those deficient in recreation facilities and open space, and add to the variety of recreational facilities along the entire shoreline.

Urban Design

In urban design terms, new developments should make maximum use of their shoreline locations and complement the shoreline as San Francisco's most important natural resource. More specifically, new developments should:

  • Maximize direct physical access to the water;

  • Preserve and enhance the natural shoreline, where it exists;

  • In windy areas incorporate design features which will make shoreline open spaces more pleasant and usable;

  • Avoid shadowing areas of public use;

  • Maintain visual access to the water from more distant inland areas by preserving view corridors and lowering the profile of buildings; higher buildings should provide such associated amenities as publicly accessible overlooks;
  • Restrict uncovered parking beyond the seawall (over water) that is visible from adjacent public areas;

  • Screen development from view from the shoreline if it will detract from the natural setting of the shoreline;

  • Provide ample natural landscaping;

  • Meet the more specific design policies and principles in the Urban Design Element and Western, Northeastern, Central Waterfront and South Bayshore Plans of the General Plan.

These policies governing land use, open space and urban design should be applied to new non-maritime developments within the Shoreline Zone designated in this plan. They should be applied to maritime uses only to the extent they are comfortable with the nature and operation of the Maritime facilities.

The Shoreline Zone covers the city's entire shoreline but varies in the degree to which it extends inland depending on the quantity of existing open space and public recreation facilities in the area, the pattern of land ownership, and on the amount of new development anticipated. For the most part, development at the water's edge is of primary concern. There may be developments further inland, however, which affect physical and visual contact with the water or affect the use of the shoreline for open space. Shoreline policies on open space and urban design should be applied to these developments as well.

In locations where major new public open space areas designated in this Element or other parts of the General Plan are to be established, active and passive recreation should be the major use. Some limited commercial recreation uses may be integrated with the open space area, subject to the following conditions:

  • The proposed use should be directly related to waterfront recreation activity and compatible with the primary function of the recreation area;

  • Development should be designed to preserve view corridors and create open views to the water and provide usable open space accessible to the general public free of charge;

  • Development should be in a concentrated area and strictly limited in coverage as further defined in this plan or other Elements of the General Plan to result in a small-scale, pedestrian-oriented facility that adds interest, variety, and amenity to recreational use of the shoreline;

  • Land should be retained in public ownership.

POLICY 3.2
Maintain and improve the quality of existing shoreline open space.

Most of San Francisco's shoreline open spaces are located on the headlands and on the western and northern shorelines. For the most part they are now incorporated as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and administrated by the National Park Service which has made them much more accessible to the public. However, the National Park Service must be adequately funded to assure they are adequately maintained and policed.

Existing open spaces on the northeastern waterfront should be improved to promote increased public use. Simple public improvements such as effective signs, well marked trails, safety features, landscaping and general cleanup are needed to promote greater use of these and other shoreline areas.

The beaches and tidal flats in the Warm Water Cove, Agua Vista and Mission Rock areas have been dumping grounds for tires, auto parts, concrete slabs, and other debris that limits public use and enjoyment. In addition, severe winter storms have eroded sections of the shoreline. While periodic shoreline clean-up efforts and shoreline stabilization at Warm Water Cove have occurred, regular maintenance should be improved and should include repair and stabilization of any future erosion along these shoreline areas.

Several city agencies, as well as the State and Federal government, provide public open space along the shoreline. Additional coordination and cooperation between agencies could result in more consistent maintenance and result in increased public use and enjoyment. Plans for improvements and renovation should also be coordinated by the affected agencies.

POLICY 3.3
Create the Bay and Coastal Trails around the perimeter of the City which links open space along the shoreline and provides for maximum waterfront access.

The Bay and Coastal Trails should be developed linking all waterfront open spaces from Ft. Funston to Candlestick Park. The Coastal Trail is largely developed from Fort Funston to the Presidio. The Bay Trail should have continuous waterfront access unless the shoreline location clearly conflicts with active maritime use. At these locations, the trail should be routed inland around the maritime activity and then linked up with the shoreline.

The Bay and Coastal trails should be designed to provide amenity along the waterfront by installing trees and vegetation that can thrive in the marine environment. Sturdy paving and well designed street furniture should be installed in appropriate locations and design elements employed to provide scale, frame views of the ocean and Bay, and create a consistent and distinctive shoreline trail. Existing underused open spaces on the eastern and northeastern waterfront should be improved for public use and enjoyment as part of the shoreline trail development.

The trails should provide for pedestrian and bicycle movement. The trails should use consistent design elements, maintain visual continuity along the waterfront and create a variety of water-edge experiences. The trails should also encourage fishing and other active water-oriented recreational uses along appropriate areas of the shoreline. This may be achieved by installing and maintaining water taps, and basins to facilitate cutting bait and cleaning fish.

From Bay Street to China Basin, Herb Caen Way/The Embarcadero Promenade and bicycle route have been or will be created, which will implement a part of the Bay Trail for this part of the shoreline. In addition, two new transit systems (the F-Line and MUNI Metro Extension) when completed, will improve access along the waterfront from Fisherman's Wharf to China Basin.

Water Taxi Service

At some point in the development of the shoreline the potential to establish a water taxi service between shoreline parks, recreational and commercial developments, residential neighborhoods and places of employment should be investigated. Such a service, when added to the City's ferry system, could provide a desirable transportation service as well as another recreational amenity.

POLICY 3.4
Create a visually and physically accessible urban waterfront along the Embarcadero corridor between Fisherman's Wharf and China Basin.

The Embarcadero Corridor is becoming one of the world's great public waterfronts. With the removal of the Embarcadero Freeway and construction of new surface roadway, transit, landscaping and promenade improvements, the transformation of The Embarcadero is stimulating revitalization efforts along the waterfront. However, in certain locations waterfront views are blocked by bulkhead and connector buildings built in the nineteen-teens or later to accommodate breakbulk cargo handling and other maritime uses.

Removal of bulkhead buildings and piers, and installation of a pedestrian promenade between the Agriculture Building and Pier 24 has opened up views of the bay and the Bay Bridge and in a very real sense returned that part of the shoreline to the city. Selective removal of bulkhead buildings elsewhere along the Embarcadero corridor can have the same result. Those bulkhead structures that remain can be visually opened so they can be seen through and around and public access can be provided through, around and behind them.

The Port's Waterfront Land Use Plan in its Waterfront Design & Access policies and criteria identifies which bulkhead and connector buildings will be retained, and calls for creating views and access openings without significantly affecting historic resources.

POLICY 3.5
Provide new public open spaces along the shoreline.

The City cannot meet all its shoreline recreation potential simply by improving existing public open spaces and by applying the guidelines governing new development. Certainly, shoreline access in private developments and places to fish or view port operations will help realize the shoreline's recreation potential. But some new larger public open spaces are also needed.

Development of planned shoreline open space on the northeastern and eastern edge of the City should continue to be given high priority, particularly south of China Basin, which is the area most deficient in shoreline open space. It also has the most potential for meeting the recreation needs of neighborhoods in the eastern half of the City. The needs north of China Basin Channel will be met through the development of South Beach and Rincon Parks, new and expanded public open spaces in the Ferry Building and Mid-Embarcadero area adjacent to Downtown, and the Port's planned open spaces at the Brannan and Northeast Wharfs and Fisherman's Wharf. The Recreation and Park Department should continue to work closely with the Port of San Francisco and Redevelopment Agency to provide these new parks, and provide additional recreational opportunities and public access along the Bay Shoreline.

Active recreational uses should be promoted along portions of the waterfront. These could include, but not be limited to, water oriented uses such as shoreline fishing, swimming, and boating. New shoreline park land and public open space as identified in Maps 7 and 8 in this Element should be acquired and/or developed. In addition, some underused or undeveloped space on the Bay Shoreline that is not now in maritime use, or planned for such use, should provide public access when new shoreline developments occur.

Although the Bay shoreline should have priority for new public parks a few parcels on the western shoreline should also be acquired or preserved for public open space.

More specific policies for open space development at specific locations along the shoreline appear below.


WESTERN SHORELINE*

*The Western Shoreline Plan, which is part of the General Plan, is the City's plan for the Local Coastal Zone established by the California Coastal Commission. This plan includes objectives and policies pertaining to open space in the area covered by the plan (see Map 5). A summary of these provisions is included here. The Western Shoreline Plan should be consulted for details.

Map 5MAP 5 - Western Shoreline Plan

Olympic Country Club

Retain as open space. If private golf course use is discontinued, acquire for public recreation and open space, if feasible. If not, cluster permitted development in order to preserve major portions of the area as publicly accessible open space. Maintain trails in the bluff area west of Skyline Boulevard and encourage granting an easement of this area by the property owner to the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA).

Fort Funston (GGNRA)

Maximize the natural qualities of Fort Funston. Develop recreational uses which will have only minimal effect on the natural environment. Support creation and continued development of an environmental education center. Permit continued use of existing hang glider decks, and picnic areas.

Great Highway

Develop the entire Great Highway right-of-way from Sloat Boulevard north to P.t. Lobos as a recreational parkway. Emphasize slow pleasure traffic and safe pedestrian access to the beach. Create and maintain bicycle, pedestrian and equestrian trails along the corridor and link them to Golden Gate Park and regional coastal trail systems. When a new seawall is constructed, extend the pedestrian promenade and provide convenient beach access stairs at regular intervals.

Design the seawall, promenade, and beach access system to afford maximum protection to the dune ecosystem. Provide safe access to Ocean Beach by installing signalized crosswalks which are well lit after dark. Provide and maintain trail linkages between Golden Gate Park and Sutro Heights park by creating a landscaped recreational corridor adjacent to the former Playland-at-the-Beach site. Where possible, create new playgrounds for adjacent neighborhoods.

Ocean Beach (GGNRA)

Continue as natural beach area for public recreation. Improve and stabilize sand dunes where necessary with natural materials to control erosion.

Golden Gate Park

Strengthen the visual connection and physical access between the park and the beach. Improve the western end of the park for public recreation and when possible eliminate the sewer treatment facilities. Extend the reforestation program, which has been established to replace dead and dying trees at the windbreak along the ocean, throughout the park to ensure vigorous forest tree growth and maintain high visual quality. Emphasize the naturalistic landscape qualities existing at the western portion of the park, and encourage increased visitor use in the area. (Golden Gate Park is more fully discussed in the Citywide System section, policy 11.)

Seal Rocks (GGNRA)

Maintain Seal Rocks in public ownership and protect the marine wildlife habitat.

Cliff House-Sutro Baths (GGNRA)

Develop the Cliff House-Sutro Baths area as a nature-oriented shoreline park. Permit limited commercial recreation uses if public ownership is maintained and control development to preserve the natural character of the site. Selectively develop historic bath ruins with stairs, walkways and ramps, seating and landscape improvements to permit increased public use and enjoyment.

Sutro Heights Park (GGNRA)

Continue use as park and preserve historic and natural features. Restore selected landscape elements and improve overlooks. Protect the natural bluffs. Keep the hillside undeveloped in order to protect the hilltop land-form, and maintain views to and from the park. Acquire the former Playland-at-the-Beach site north of Balboa if funds become available.

East and West Fort Miley (GGNRA)

Develop public open space area for continued recreational use and preserve natural and historic features in conjunction with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Maintain picnic areas and create an historic interpretive center and facilities for day camp use. Fort Miley Veterans Administration hospital parking should be provided on the hospital grounds.


NORTHWESTERN SHORELINE

Map 6MAP 6 - Northwestern Shoreline Plan

Lincoln Park

Continue to provide public recreation facilities in areas that have already been developed. Maintain the remainder of the park as naturalistic open space. Limit improvements to those necessary to ensure access and adequate public safety. Take measures to control erosion where it is a problem and to restore bluff land-forms to a stable naturalistic condition.

China Beach (GGNRA)

Facilitate continued use for ocean swimming and as a public recreation area.

The Presidio Shoreline (GGNRA)

Provide, maintain and identify with appropriate signage, a continuous shoreline trail from the southwest edge of the Presidio (Seacliff) to its eastern end in the Marina.

Attractively maintain the significant open space on each side of the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. Provide for recreational access through the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District's staging and maintenance areas.

Develop the Crissy Field area to permit more intensive recreational uses without significantly altering the character of its open landscape. Enhance existing beach and lawn areas to accommodate varied active and passive recreational uses, and enhance views of the Golden Gate. Integrate the landscaping, design, development and use of the portion of Crissy Field under jurisdiction of the US Army with the portion managed by the National Park Service. Reduce the profile of any development near the National Recreation Area so that it may be screened from view from the shoreline.

The Presidio is more fully discussed in the Citywide System section, Policy 5.

Marina-Presidio to Gashouse Cove

Maintain the quality and character of the Marina Green. Enhance public access to boat marinas consistent with reasonable marina privacy.

Fort Mason (GGNRA)

Protect natural vegetation and marine wildlife habitat at the northeast portion of the site. Maintain the existing cultural center in renovated pier and warehouse structures, and use for educational and cultural facilities and activities. Encourage continued programming of special events and activities. Introduce landscaping in parking area. Develop the Burton Memorial amphitheater. Preserve historic gardens and adapt historic buildings to community uses as current use is discontinued and structures are made available by the U.S. Army.


NORTHEASTERN SHORELINE*

*The Northeastern Waterfront Plan, which is part of the General Plan, includes objectives and policies pertaining to open space for the area it covers (see Map 7). A summary of these provisions is included here. The Northeastern Waterfront Plan should be consulted for details.

Map 7MAP 7 - Northeastern Shoreline Plan

Alcatraz (GGNRA)

Maintain as public open space for recreational use. Preserve historic structures and gardens and provide interpretive exhibits describing the island's history. Remove non-historic structures and develop landscaped areas to increase public use and enjoyment. Protect bird and marine wildlife habitats.

Aquatic Park (GGNRA)-Hyde Street Pier

Repair and maintain municipal Pier. Encourage continued use of the basin for swimming. Maintain and enhance public access to the swim clubs. Expand public recreation opportunities, including passive and active water-oriented recreation. Add new seating, paving, and street furniture to landscaped areas, and use landscape features that enhance and emphasize the historic maritime character of the area. Provide space for an expanded collection of historic vessels at the Hyde Street pier in a manner that will not impact continued use of the basin for swimming.

Shoreline Access

Provide shoreline access (the Waterfront Land Use Plan's "PortWalk") primarily north of China Basin. Extend these new public access walkways and amenities extend onto piers, where feasible, as major new mixed use pier developments occur. Develop the PortWalk, together with public sidewalks and rights-of-way and pedestrian improvements under construction along Herb Caen Way/The Embarcadero, provide continuous pedestrian access through waterfront activity areas and, where feasible, to south of China Basin.

Fish Alley And Vicinity

Maintain the existing authentic character of Fish Alley and lagoon areas north of and parallel to Jefferson Street, which historically has supported the commercial fish handling and distribution industry. Improve public access along the wharves, where compatible with concerns for public safety and fishing operations. Maintain and improve view corridors from public rights-of-way into fish handling areas, the outer lagoon, open waters of the Bay, and back to the City. Consider providing widened sidewalks to accommodate heavy pedestrian use if they do not interfere with the fishing industry or other maritime activities.

Because of the fish handling activities along Hyde Street pier and Fish Alley, do not provide a pedestrian promenade along the shoreline between Hyde and Jones Street. Rather continue the promenade along the north side of Jefferson Street. Widen the sidewalks to accommodate the high volumes of pedestrian traffic, and deal with the problem created by the existing buildings which encroach on the sidewalk area.

Pier 45

Seek to create a continuous pedestrian promenade on the east side of the pier with wind protection, providing outlooks to the Bay. Create an open plaza adjacent to Wharf J-3, if feasible, and if it does not interfere with fishing industry operations.

Fisherman's Wharf Plaza

Develop a public plaza with associated commercial development on Seawall lots 300 and 301 bounded by Jefferson, Taylor, and The Embarcadero (the 'Triangle' site, Assessor's Block 4), which would involve relocation of the existing surface parking. Work with the Fisherman's Wharf community in developing the design and operation of the open space, and construction management program for the new uses on this site. Extend open space between the Triangle site and the water's edge on Pier 43 ½ if funding becomes available and long-term lease issues can be resolved.

Piers 9-35

Overlook areas between piers should be improved with attractive areas for sitting, fishing, and viewing maritime activates wherever they can be provided without interference with Port operations. Visual access to the water should not be restricted by trash containers or storage of non-cargo materials at overlook areas. If and when all or a portion of the area between these piers and the Embarcadero is released from cargo-related maritime use, develop a major open spaces between Piers 15 and 27, which may be in concert with other maritime uses (e.g. cruise terminal, excursion boats, historic ships), and commercial recreation, assembly and entertainment activities identified in the Northeast Waterfront Plan and the Port's Waterfront Land Use Plan.

To the extent that it is compatible with continued active maritime use of the piers, allow portions of the existing wind protected pier apron between Pier 31 and 33 to be used for public access. Provide seating and maximize physical and visual access to the water in a manner that will not interfere with the existing and continued maritime use of the area.

Maintain the pedestrian promenade north from the Ferry Building along The Embarcadero to provide maximum access along the water's edge.

Maintain The Embarcadero between Northpoint Street and Broadway as an attractive landscaped roadway with bicycle lanes, and an exclusive transit right of way.

Pier 7

Maintain Pier 7 as a public open space pier, which should be served by restroom facilities in the pier's vicinity. Uses of the pier should include fishing, pedestrian circulation, and other appropriate uses.

Pier 1-1/2, 3, 5

In conjunction with redevelopment of Piers 1-1/2, 3, and 5, provide public access and views through or between bulkhead buildings and on piers, consistent with the Port's Waterfront Land Use Plan and its Design & Access policies and criteria.

Ferry Building Area (Between Pier 1 and the Agriculture Building)

Develop a grand plaza on the west side of the Ferry Building by realigning The Embarcadero roadway and removing surface parking. The Ferry Building Plaza should create a strong urban design setting for the Ferry Building as the terminus of Market Street.

Enhance visual and physical connections between the City and the Bay. Improve physical access to and along the waterfront by linking the open spaces in the Ferry Building area, including the Ferry Building Plaza, the Ferry Plaza (bayward of the Ferry Building), Herb Caen Way/The Embarcadero Promenade, and public access features to be created as part of new developments on Piers 1 and ½ and between the Ferry and Agriculture Buildings. Develop and improve these open spaces to promote recreational use and enjoyment of the waterfront. The spaces should be designed to accommodate high volumes of people using waterborne and landside transit services located at and near the Ferry Building. Provide a mixture of commercial and recreational maritime activities, such as ferries, excursion boats, historic ships and water taxis.

Rincon Park

Create a new 2.74 acre public park at Rincon Point at the Base of Folsom Street abutting the seawall and 0.5 acre pedestrian promenade by rerouting the Embarcadero to Steuart Street between Howard and Harrison Streets. Orient the park to the Bay and provide large grassy open areas, hard surfaces, and a restaurant to of serve nearby residents, downtown office workers and visitors.

South Beach Harbor and Park

Create a new six or seven acre public park at South Beach east of The Embarcadero, adjacent to South Beach Harbor and Herb Caen Way/The Embarcadero Promenade. Provide broad lawn areas and landscaped grounds. The greatest portion of the park should be gently sloping, well landscaped lawn area designed to accommodate individuals and coordinated group activity, and permit a variety of recreational opportunities.

Maintain Pier 40 to provide facilities required to support South Beach Harbor, which provides 700 berths and public access for viewing, fishing, and other activities along the pier.


EASTERN SHORELINE*

*The Central Waterfront Plan, which is part of the Master PlanGeneral Plan, includes objectives and policies pertaining to open space. A summary of these provisions is included here. The Central Waterfront Plan should be consulted for details.

Map 8MAP 8 - Eastern Shoreline Plan

The eastern shoreline, shown in Map 8, is one part of the waterfront likely to experience significant change in the years ahead. It can provide the space for expanding working Port and maritime facilities, and for new and expanded public open spaces and public access along the water's edge. Redevelopment of the Eastern Shoreline should be balanced so that adequate space is planned for public open space as well as for expanded port and maritime use.

Mission Bay

The area known as Mission Bay is governed primarily by the Mission Bay North and Mission Bay South Redevelopment Plans. The two Redevelopment Plans and their companion Design for Development Documents provide for a balanced program of active and passive recreational opportunities within strategically located open space sites throughout Mission Bay. They also provide that the open spaces within Mission Bay will seek to utilize and enhance the existing natural amenities of Mission Bay, such as the shoreline, China Basin Channel and public vistas.

The concept for the open space system for Mission Bay is to provide opportunities for local, citywide and regional recreational usage. The intent is to develop: (1) flexible/multiple use spaces that can accommodate heavy, active recreational uses as well as a balance of active and passive uses; and (2) spaces that will accommodate the immediate as well as the long-term/changing needs of the local community and the City

China Basin Channel

  • Provide approximately nine acres of new recreation areas for the public along the channel shoreline. The recreation areas should be clearly marked and conveniently accessible to the public. Channel waterfront development should increase the opportunities for public access to the water's edge with a maximum interface of land and water.

  • In the future the area south of the channel may be converted to a large, multiple-use development. Should this happen, the channel should play a major role in the new development and a new plan for the channel as a recreation assent should be undertaken. Shoreline designated for open space should be stabilized with bank reconstruction, running piers or quays. In the interim the channel area's special amenities should be preserved and priority given to incremental development that will be compatible with long-range objectives for the shoreline.

Mission Rock Boat Ramp

  • Repair and improve the public boat ramp and allow ancillary boat launching facilities (e.g. hoist, dry boat storage). Stabilize the shoreline as required. Provide informational signing to encourage maximum recreational use of the existing area. Regrade and landscape the areas to promote increased public use and enjoyment. Permit ancillary commercial services (e.g. food sales, bait and supplies) to enhance the use of the boat ramp. As opportunities arise, enlarge the area along the shoreline for public access. Provide adequate parking designed for vehicles and boat trailers inland of Terry Francois Boulevard.

  • If development of port facilities require use of this site and alteration of the existing open space, replace the Pier 54 public boat ramp with equivalent or enhanced facilities elsewhere on the eastern shoreline. Provide adequate parking designed to serve vehicles with boat trailers.

Central Basin—Agua Vista Park

Maintain and expand Agua Vista park. Allow some fill, using materials such as beach sand, if necessary for public recreation. Plant and maintain landscape materials suitable for the waterfront setting. Provide additional informational signing, and seating areas, to encourage additional use.

As opportunities arise, expand the area into a major public waterfront park, providing large waterside areas for beach, park and picnic facilities with continuous, safe public access.

In the event it is determined that this area is needed for Port maritime expansion provide comparable open space elsewhere on the eastern shoreline.

Warm Water Cove

Improve the park site and cove shoreline along the Bay at the end of 24th Street with shoreline fishing as the primary recreation use. Any fill placed at or adjacent to the cove should retain and enhance the natural and man-made factors that make the cove desirable for fishing. These factors include maximum open water and circulation into and out of the cove to prevent stagnation. Create a more interesting park landscape by regrading the site to maximize Bay views, and improve the soil as required to permit more vigorous vegetation growth and install marine tolerant plant species.

As opportunities arise, improve the waterfront picnic area west of Maryland Street. Continue to provide public access to the cove from Twenty Fourth Street and improve visibility of the park from the street. Provide a consistent level of maintenance for landscaped and developed areas. As opportunities arise, extend the park to the north bank of the channel along the shoreline in front of the PG & E facility. When and if that facility is deactivated, give priority to expanding the public open space along the shoreline.

In the event it is determined that this area is needed for Port maritime expansion, provide comparable open space somewhere else on the eastern shoreline.

Islais Creek

Continue to provide well defined public access to the banks of Islais Creek at the Third Street bridge. Contingent upon development of a train trestle along the channel, construct a broad public access boardwalk along Islais Creek that provides areas for fishing and public enjoyment. Maintain and enhance view corridors along Islais Creek to the Bay.

Pier 98

Pier 98 is a narrow eleven-acre spit of land extending about 2,400 feet into the Bay at India Basin and consists primarily of fill placed there for a new Bay bridge, the Southern Crossing, that was once proposed for the site. Consistent with the Port's needs for a portion of the area to support maritime terminal operations, make the Pier south of Jennings Street available for public shoreline access, as long as it does not interfere with wildlife habitat. Include a trail system, seating and picnic tables, and wildlife observation areas. Maintain support of the a significant seasonal shorebird and wildlife population and restore and enhance marsh and tidal mudflats.

India Basin

Retain existing privately operated boat maintenance and repair yard uses. Give priority to development of marine oriented industrial and commercial recreation on property inland of the shoreline. Acquire and develop the mapped area as a continuous waterfront park. Permit development of a small boat marina with related facilities, including a public boat launch facility. Provide well-marked pedestrian and bicycle trails. Create grassy picnic areas and reserve vistapoints with good views over the Bay and to the downtown area. Investigate potential to reintroduce marsh and mudflats to restore these habitats for native flora and fauna.

Hunters Point Naval Shipyard

The Hunters Point Shipyard Redevelopment Plan and its companion Design for Development document would provide a balanced open space system with sites strategically located throughout the Shipyard. The Plan enhances the Shipyard's existing natural amenities by retaining portions of the Bay Shoreline, vistas from hilltop sites, as well as reserving relatively flat sites for development of athletic fields and shoreline area for a small boat marina. The plan would reserve land and develop a mix of parks and open spaces distributed throughout the Shipyard that would accommodate active and passive recreational users. The intent is to accommodate residents and workers, as well as Shipyard visitors and residents of the Bayview Hunters Point District. The plan also calls for the possible location the 49ers Stadium and its associated dual-use playing fields / parking lot.

Candlestick Point

Encourage and facilitate implementation of the master plan for development of the 171 acre Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, which extends from the County line north to Shafter Avenue along the Bay shoreline.

The State's master plan was last updated in 1987 and is slated to be revised in 2010. The Candlestick Point State Recreation Area is subject to the provisions of Chapter 203 of the Statutes of 2009 ("Granting Act") as it may be amended from time to time.

Improvements currently call for the restoration of Yosemite Slough, replanting of indigenous vegetation and construction of hiking and bike trails throughout, enhancements of picnic areas, and active recreation among other things. Concessionaire for a food service is also considered.

Bayview Hill

Improve and expand Bayview Park. Make it more accessible to the public for recreational purposes by providing better vehicular and pedestrian access. As private development occurs along the periphery, orient that development in ways that will activate the park.


NEIGHBORHOODS

OBJECTIVE 4
PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR RECREATION AND THE ENJOYMENT OF OPEN SPACE IN EVERY SAN FRANCISCO NEIGHBORHOOD.

Every neighborhood should be served by adequate public open space and recreation facilities. Neighborhood parks and recreation facilities are essential; many people are unable to use citywide facilities if they are not located nearby. This is especially important for the very young and for the elderly whose mobility is limited.

High land costs and a shortage of vacant sites restrict opportunities to provide new open space in many neighborhoods. For this reason, it is important that the city maximize use of existing facilities. Making the best use of parks and recreation areas can help offset the limited opportunities to create new ones and can bring the most immediate improvement in services to San Francisco neighborhoods.

This section has general policies for neighborhood open space and recreation. More detailed plans for neighborhood open space are included in Special Area Plans which have, or will be adopted as part of the General Plan. The general policies in this Element are applied in the preparation of the Special Area Plans, and more specific recreation and open space proposals are developed. The more specific proposals may be found in the following plans: Western Shoreline, Central Waterfront, Northeastern Waterfront, Chinatown, The Downtown, Rincon Hill, Market Octavia, and South Bayshore.

POLICY 4.1
Make better use of existing facilities.

All public open space and recreation facilities should be adequately maintained and staffed so that they can meet standards which ensure maximum use. Such standards should specify optimal levels of staff, safety, maintenance, coordination and information. Other relevant factors and the exact levels of adequacy for each standard should be determined by the Recreation and Park Department.

Figure 1Figure 1 - Location of Public Swimming Pools and Beaches

Staff

All recreation facilities should be adequately staffed to carry out needed recreation programs and services. Proper supervision and leadership are one of the best means of ensuring maximum use of facilities. In all neighborhoods, diversified recreation programs should be offered, hours of operation should be sufficient to meet the neighborhood needs, and facilities and equipment should be well maintained and supervised. This cannot be accomplished unless adequate staffing is provided.

Supervisors and instructors should be trained and qualified in recreation and should be responsive to the particular neighborhood to which they are assigned.

Safety

Recreation facilities should be designed and protected to ensure safety. Lack of safety seriously inhibits full use of existing facilities. Large parks, and even some small spaces, present special problems of personal safety. Methods of ensuring safety in the parks without destroying the features which make them pleasant environments should continue to be developed.

Vandalism of park property is a serious problem which obviously decreases the extent to which existing facilities can be used. Several factors contribute to this problem including a shortage of equipment and inadequate supervision. The Recreation and Park Department should be provided with the resources it needs to improve safety and eliminate vandalism in problem areas.

Maintenance and Capital Improvements

Neighborhood parks as well as citywide facilities require regular maintenance in order to carry out effective recreation programs and permit maximum public use and enjoyment. The City's operating budget must provide the necessary resources for the city-owned open spaces to ensure a high level of maintenance if neighborhood needs are to be met by intensified use of existing facilities. Frequency of maintenance and the extent of capital improvements should relate directly to intensity of use. For example, low cost, efficient maintenance techniques could be used in parks and open spaces that are relatively undeveloped.

When new city parks are acquired and developed, they create demand for additional annual operations and maintenance funds. Some of this demand may be met through use of existing staff and equipment. However, additional qualified staff may be required in order to maintain new parks and provide optimal recreation services.

A comprehensive program to assess capital improvements needed in existing parks and recreation facilities, as well as for proposed new parks and open space should be developed. Certain facilities may require replacement or extensive renovation at regular intervals; this is the case with a majority of playground structures and equipment. Given the limitation of available capital improvement funds for renovation, the sequence in which improvements are made should be identified, giving priority to those areas which have the fewest parks and facilities, and where renovation would permit increased public use. Maintenance and capital improvements are further discussed in the section on renovation, neighborhood policy 2.

Access

Easy, safe and convenient access should be provided to all recreation facilities. In some cases, nearby parks are not accessible to potential users, particularly to the elderly and small children because access to them would be dangerous or inconvenient.

Distance itself is an obstacle to the use of recreation facilities. In San Francisco topography imposes special problems. In some areas, open spaces have smaller service areas because of the increased difficulty of traversing steep slopes to reach them. Specific standards should be developed to improve access through better design, special public transportation and other means.

Information

Public knowledge of recreation opportunities should also be increased. To encourage participation in recreational programs and use of available facilities, information regarding recreation programs should be widely distributed to neighborhood residents. Information should give a comprehensive view of recreational opportunity in the neighborhood, including activities sponsored by public, private, private nonprofit, and semi-private agencies.

An effective system of distributing information should be developed. In those neighborhoods where there is a language barrier, special attention should be given to translating information into the language of the community.

POLICY 4.2
Maximize joint use of other properties and facilities.

Many City departments, including the Port, DPW, MUNI and Water departments, own land and facilities which, although originally acquired or developed for nonrecreational purposes, have become important citywide and neighborhood recreational resources. Because of the growing importance of recreation and the increasing demand for recreational space and facilities in and around San Francisco, recreational uses should be developed in conjunction with other primary uses on many of these sites. Departments other than the Recreation and Park Department, therefore, should be increasingly involved in public recreation.

Streets, alleys and undeveloped rights-of-way throughout San Francisco should be looked to for development of small outdoor open spaces for the elderly and for young children. These kinds of spaces are an important resource common to all high need neighborhoods. Streets and alleys should be considered as opportunities for providing useful recreation space which, with the installation of sitting areas and planting, can significantly improve a neighborhood at little cost to the City. Unused rights-of-way and other unused public land can be used as community gardens, providing recreation and amenities for the surrounding neighborhood.

School yards, gymnasiums, auditoriums should be used to their fullest extent as recreation resources. The Board of Education now uses Recreation and Park Department pools and sports fields on a scheduled basis. Similarly, several properties under the jurisdiction of the Board of Education, including the Bessie Carmichael school playground, have been made available for public use on a limited basis. Increased coordination could result in making more recreational facilities and open space available to the public without duplicating costly facilities. This would be particularly desirable in areas that are not served by existing community recreation facilities, athletic fields, or gymnasiums. These areas are shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2Figure 2 - Location of Public Gyms and Recreation Centers

Joint Use of School Gyms and Play Areas

A renewed cooperative effort is now underway between the San Francisco Unified School District and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. Under this effort, the Recreation and Park Department provides supervised recreation after school hours at a number of selected Unified School District gyms and schoolyards. This program should be augmented, especially in areas with a high number of school-age children who have limited after-school access to existing Recreation and Park Department gyms and recreations centers, or other available recreation programs.

POLICY 4.3
Renovate and renew the City's parks and recreation facilities.

Many parks and facilities have been in continuous public service for decades without having been restored or renovated. Many parks and recreation facilities require complete or partial restoration of infrastructure, as well as landscape elements and plantings. Recreation buildings, landscape features, as well as play equipment also require restoration.

Some parks and recreation facilities have been developed with a single user group in mind, or have been developed with specific facilities or landscape features that make them more attractive to one or two groups and not all potential users within the service area. In other instances, open space needs have changed over time because of residential population shifts. When parks and recreation facilities no longer meet the needs of the surrounding neighborhood, they should be considered candidates for renovation in order make necessary improvements.

In the years ahead, major ongoing efforts will need to be continued to assess the renovation needs of parks and recreation facilities and to restore them. Once renovated, parks and recreation facilities that are now marginally useful may support increased use.

The Open Space Acquisition and Park Renovation Fund has been a major resource of funds for renovation. However, renovation will be an ongoing priority and will outlive the current life of the fund, which terminates in 1989 by the terms of the charter amendment which created it. The fund should be extended or another appropriate program created so that funding is not interrupted.

POLICY 4.4
Acquire and develop new public open space in existing residential neighborhoods, giving priority to areas which are most deficient in open space.

While most of the City is well served by public open space, there are some areas that are deficient. The deficiency may be due to one or more of the following factors.

  1. The area may be outside the service area of existing open space. These areas are shown on Map 2, and in Figure 3.

  2. Although within the service area of an existing public open space, the area's population may exceed the capacity of the public open space to accommodate it. These high density residential areas are shown in Figure 4.

  3. The facilities provided in the existing public open space may not correspond well with the needs of the surrounding neighborhood. Renovation of existing public open spaces may help correct this deficiency.

Figure 3Figure 3 - Service Areas

Figure 4Figure 4 - High Residential Density (Persons per net acre)

All deficiencies do not warrant immediate attention, although in the long term they should be addressed. Some of the deficient areas may be well served by private open space, as is the case with some low density residential districts. Residents in some deficient areas may have a high level of mobility and be able to travel to reach more distant parks and open space. Still other areas, such as the low intensity industrial areas of the City, may have very low user populations.

On the other hand, open space deficiencies may be exacerbated by the limited social and economic and demographic characteristics of the area's residents.

In the improvement of neighborhood open space throughout the City, priority should be given to areas with the highest needs and the greatest deficiencies in parks and recreation facilities, and programs. These are generally the more densely populated, older areas of the City where low-income, minor group populations are concentrated, where there are large numbers of children and elderly people, and where people have less mobility and financial resources to seek recreation outside of their neighborhood.

Figure 3 identifies areas that are not within existing service areas of existing public open space. Figure 4 shows areas with deficiencies based on high population density. Figures 5 through 8 show areas with a high percentage of low income residents, and areas where a large number of young children and senior citizens live. The areas of the City which should have the highest priority for creating new open space, and making recreation improvements are shown in summary Map 9.

Figure 5Figure 5 - Low Household Income

Figure 6Figure 6 - High Density, Senior Citizens (People over 65, per Net Acre)

Figure 7Figure 7 - High Density, Children Under 5 (per Net Acre)

Figure 8Figure 8 - High Density, Children 6-12 (per Net Acre)

Map 9MAP 9 - Neighborhood Recreation & Open Space Improvement Priority Plan

These factors should be used by the Open Space/Park Renovation Citizens Advisory Committee in evaluating proposals for funding from the Open Space Acquisition and Park Renovation Fund. They should also be used in assessing the needs of specific neighborhood as individual neighborhood plans are prepared in the future.

These factors may change over time. As this occurs priorities should be shifted accordingly.

In all cases where new public open spaces are being considered, their precise location should be determined by such factors as proximity to population concentrations, neighborhood need, topography, ease of access, visibility and the desirability of the property for open space use.

POLICY 4.5
Require private usable outdoor open space in new residential development.

In order to improve living conditions in each residential building and the quality of environment in San Francisco as a whole, the City should continue require that all new residential development provide usable outdoor open space. This space need not be accessible to the general public; rather it should be designed primarily to serve the residents of the development in which it is located.

The amount of open space provided should increase with the size and density of the development. In lower density districts this open space can generally be provided in the form of a required ground level rear yard, or front and side yard setbacks. In higher density residential development, some of the required open space could appropriately be common usable space, provided in building courtyards at grade level, as well as at terrace, and rooftop level locations. Common open space should be available at no cost to all building residents. Balconies can also provide some usable outdoor space directly accessible to dwelling units. Recreation facilities developed in residential developments should be selected to meet the primary recreational needs and preferences of the residents.

In some cases, factors such as topography, wind or sun access may make open space in the form of decks or solaria or atriums open to the sun and air more useful than ground level back yards. These open space alternatives should be encouraged only where they will not diminish light and air to adjacent properties or views. The guidelines in Figure 9 should be used to guide the design of various kinds of residential open space.

Figure 9Figure 9 - Residential Open Space Guidelines

POLICY 4.6
Assure the provision of adequate public open space to serve new residential development.

Several areas throughout the City may experience substantial new housing development in the future. A number of such areas are shown on Map 1 of the Residence Element. Some areas are already somewhat residential in character and provide opportunities for infill housing. Some of these areas are served by existing park and recreation facilities and may not require additional facilities, even with increased residential density. In other areas, new public open space will be needed and should be included as part of the plan for the area.

Some other housing opportunity areas are under-utilized, Predominantly industrial areas which could be redeveloped and provide sites for a significant number of new dwelling units. While the lack of public open space has not been a problem while the areas remained low-intensity industrial areas, these areas will require new neighborhood parks and recreation facilities if they are converted to high density residential areas.

A major open space or several smaller sub-neighborhood serving open spaces should be provided if such open space is not currently located nearby. Much of the needed open space may be achieved by requiring private sector action. However, direct public involvement may be necessary to ensure that adequate public open space is reserved, acquired and developed where it is most desirable.

The acreage of new neighborhood serving parkland and open space should be related to the size of the potential population and the availability of other nearby open space. As plans are made to redevelop these districts into high density residential areas, they should include adequate provision of neighborhood-serving open spaces. In areas proposed for infill housing, sub-neighborhood level parks may be needed, because existing parks there will serve more people and get more intensive use. In these cases, open space sites should be identified, acquired, and developed to serve the new residents.
Major new residential development should be required to provide open space accessible to the general public. This will compensate for the pressure the increased population will put on existing public facilities.

The requirement of providing publicly accessible open space could be satisfied in a number of ways. Land on a site that is suitable for recreation purposes could be improved and maintained by the developer and made available to the general public. Such land could also be dedicated to the City, with a fee to cover development costs or with the land improved by the developer prior to dedication. Alternatively, the developer could pay a fee in-lieu of land dedication based on the fair market value of the land that would be required for land acquisition, plus development costs. The City would use the funds to provide the open space at some other location.

POLICY 4.7
Provide open space to serve neighborhood commercial districts.

Most neighborhood commercial districts would benefit by improving the streetscape for pedestrians and providing public open space, however small in size, that can be used by shoppers and employees as well as neighborhood residents. Typically, neighborhood commercial districts combine residential and commercial uses and the residential units have little private open space. Street and sidewalk areas, which traditionally perform some public open space function, are heavily used and have many competing uses. Nevertheless, careful planning can produce opportunities to create useful open space. For example in certain areas sidewalks can be widened and seating and landscaping can be provided.

In new development building setbacks from the street, if done in a way that will not adversely affect the continuity of the retail frontage, can provide snippets of useful open space.

New recreational space can also be created in existing development. Rooftops, adjacent properties, and portions of parking areas can often be converted to usable open space areas. This kind of conversion furnishes useful space to a variety of users and should be encouraged by the city whenever possible, just as it is in new developments.


DOWNTOWN

See "OPEN SPACE" Section of the Downtown Area Plan.




Amendment by Resolution 12040, adopted 9/27/1990,
Amendment by Resolution 13038, adopted 3/14/1991,
Amendment by Resolution 13149, adopted 8/15/1991,
Amendment by Resolution 13411, October 1, 1992,
Amendment by Resolution 13506, adopted 4/15/1993,
Amendment by Resolution 13676, adopted 4/28/1994,
Amendment by Resolution 13868, adopted 5/4/1995,
Amendment by Resolution 13963, adopted 9/28/1995,
Amendment by Resolution 14103, adopted 4/25/1996,
Amendment by Resolution 14146, adopted 6/27/1996,
Amendment by Resolution 14194, adopted on 9/19/1996,
Amendment by Resolution 14288, adopted 1/23/1997 by the Planning Commission and by Resolution 165-97 adopted 2/18/1997 by the Board of Supervisors,
Amendment by Resolution 14363, adopted 5/1/1997 by the Planning Commission and by Resolution 565-97 adopted 6/2/1997 by the Board of Supervisors,
Amendment by Proposition F approved by San Francisco Voters 6/3/1997,
Amendment by Resolution 14400, adopted 6/26/1997 by the Planning Commission and by Resolution 277-97 adopted 7/8/1997 by the Board of Supervisors,
Amendment by Resolution 14427, adopted 7/24/1997 by the Planning Commission and by Resolution 802-97 adopted 8/18/1997 by the Board of Supervisors,
Amendment by Resolution 14429, adopted 7/24/1997 by the Planning Commission and by Resolution 802-97 adopted 8/18/1997 by the Board of Supervisors,
Amendment by Resolution 14467 adopted 10/16/1997 by the Planning Commission, and by Ordinance 26-98 adopted 1/5/1998 by the Board of Supervisors.
Amendments by Resolution 14698 adopted on 9/17/1998.
Amendments by Resolution 15068 adopted on 5/25/2000.
Amendments by Resolution 16900 adopted on12/2/2004.
Amendments by Resolution 17009 adopted on 5/25/2005.
Amendments approved by Planning Commission Resolution 17408 on 4/5/2007 and the Board of Supervisors Ordinance 246-07 on 10/30/07.

Amendments by Resolution 18098 on 6/3/2010.

 

   

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