San Francisco, CA

Awards: Award of Excellence in Community Service, ASLA

Honor Award, ASLA NCC

2014 - 2016

Ridge Lane is one of the 1,500 vacant public right of way owned by the city of San Francisco. This site is approximately 15-feet wide located in Ingleside neighborhood. A trail of trampled plants and exposed soil are testimony for the need of a convenient five-block pedestrian thoroughfare from the top of Howth Street to San Jose Avenue. This informal path provides a short cut that allows pedestrians to navigate between neighborhoods, shopping areas, and public transit hubs. Unfortunately Ridge Lane is only accessible to the most agile walkers due to steep hills and treacherous paths. In fall 2012, the realization that proper design can lead to a reduction in crime as well as improve the neighborhood life, catapulted a small but committed group of neighbors to form the “Friends of Ridge Lane” (FRL) whose common goal was the revitalization of their neighborhood. Partnering with the San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW), the Parks Alliance, and with the oversight of the District 11 supervisor, John Avalos, FRL began the process to revitalize this “neighborhood linear green.” The project was phased out due to availability of funding. The neighbors decided to start with the first parcel with highest elevation which stretches for 160 feet between Howth Street and Louisburg Street since it’s the most flat segment with an average slope of 4%, it can be a great pilot project for remaining parcels.

This parcel sets a precedent to inspire and engage neighbors as well as to serve as a testing ground where a post occupancy evaluation can be used to analyze performance of materials, planting and community use. Monthly meetings took place in order to keep track of the process and to share comments and suggestions. In addition there were cleanup days to maintain the space and to gather additional interest in the project. On April 9, 2016 the construction of the first parcel took place In order to achieve this goal, public outreach will be explored in the form of monthly public workshops, monthly meetings, engaging with local communities in a variety of ways. Working with different people and their input not only makes the design process more relevant, but also has the potential to empower the citizens to have a sense of community and belonging that improves their stewardship of the land they inhabit. Ridge Lane is much more than just a pedestrian connection. It is an opportunity to connect the neighbors with each other. It also provides a safe environment where younger generations can experience nature and learn about the power of their voices. Safe neighborhoods can best be achieved by the amount of care and love that neighbors contribute to their environs rather than having installed security gates and cameras.

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