Home > General Plan > Recreation and Open Space Element
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 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
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
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.
Coordinate with existing regional park districts, open space agencies,
private sector and nonprofit institutions to acquire and manage a regional
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
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
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.
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.
1 - Public Ownership of Existing
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
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
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
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
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
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.
2 - Public Open Space Service
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:
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.
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
- 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.
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
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
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.
Gradually eliminate nonrecreational uses in parks and playground and reduce
automobile traffic in and around public open spaces.
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
In cases where it is not presently possible
to provide services elsewhere, the City should simply maintain the facility
and not permit its expansion.
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.
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.
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
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:
- No new structures should be built that would adversely
affect the scenic beauty and natural character of the Presidio.
- No additional housing units should be constructed
in the Presidio.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Historic structures and sites should be preserved.
The Presidio has been declared a National Historic Landmark and 300
historically significant structures have been identified.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
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
4 - Citywide Recreation &
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.
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.
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
A reforestation program should include the following
major program elements:
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
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
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
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.
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
- 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.
- Provide for the protection and renewal of the park
- Preserve the open space of Golden Gate Park.
- Create and maintain a park-wide system of recreation
roadways, pathways and trails. Minimize vehicular traffic.
- 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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
- The availability of funds.
- The relative importance of the site as a natural
- 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.
PROVIDE CONTINUOUS PUBLIC OPEN SPACE ALONG THE SHORELINE UNLESS PUBLIC
ACCESS CLEARLY CONFLICTS WITH MARITIME USES OR OTHER USES REQUIRING A
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
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
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.
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
In order to protect the shoreline and safeguard the
public interest in it, the following policies should be applied to new
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
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
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
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.
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
- 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
- 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.
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
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
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
Create the Bay and Coastal Trails around the perimeter of the City which
links open space along the shoreline and provides for maximum waterfront
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
*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.
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
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,
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
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
6 - Northwestern Shoreline
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
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 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
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.
*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
7 - Northeastern Shoreline
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.
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.
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.
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
Maintain The Embarcadero between Northpoint Street
and Broadway as an attractive landscaped roadway with bicycle lanes,
and an exclusive
right of way.
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
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
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.
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.
*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.
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.
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
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
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
- 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 BasinAgua 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
As opportunities arise, expand the area into a major
public waterfront park, providing large waterside areas for beach, park
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
1 - Location of Public Swimming
Pools and Beaches
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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 - 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.
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.
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.
- The area may be outside the service area of existing
open space. These areas are shown on Map 2, and in Figure 3.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
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
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
9 - Residential Open Space
Assure the provision of adequate public open space to serve new residential
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
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
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.
See "OPEN SPACE" Section
of the Downtown Area Plan.