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drafting group

Sustainability Plan / Parks, Open Spaces and Streetscapes / Strategy

 goal 1   Provision of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces

To provide parks, recreation facilities, open spaces, streetscapes, waterfronts, and shorelines

  • For the benefit, enjoyment, health and well-being of San Francisco’s residents, visitors, and wildlife and

  • To celebrate San Francisco’s unique sense of place.


   long-term objectives    1-A. Parks and Recreation Facilities
            1-B. Recreation
            1-C. Streetscapes
            1-D. Private Gardens
            1-E. Diversity of Settings
            1-F. Life-Long Learning
 goal 2   Maintenance
        To maintain our parks, open spaces, recreation facilities and streetscapes through practical, economic, creative and collaborative means to achieve clean, safe, inviting and inspiring spaces for people and wildlife.
 goal 3   Participation
        To promote and strengthen community participation in the planning, creation, management and stewardship of our parks, open spaces, recreational facilities and streetscapes.
 goal 4   Funding
        To build and improve the financial and other resources to adequately provide and maintain the quality, quantity and equitable provision of our parks, open spaces, recreation facilities and streetscapes.

 goal 1  Provision of Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces

To provide parks, recreation facilities, open spaces, streetscapes, waterfronts, and shorelines

  • For the benefit, enjoyment, health and well-being of San Francisco’s residents, visitors, and wildlife and

  • To celebrate San Francisco’s unique sense of place.
 long-term objectives 1-A:  Parks and Recreation Facilities
  A neighborhood park or open space is within a ten-minute walk of every home.

Parks of city-wide interest are easily accessible to every resident by foot, bicycles, or public transit.

Parks, open spaces, and recreational facilities have been made safe enough to allow use by all residents.

Parks are no longer used as through-ways, and auto parking that is not park-related has been eliminated.
     5-year objectives

1-A-1. Development of five new parks in under-served areas has begun.

1-A-2. Appropriate unused or underutilized spaces have been reclaimed for public use.

1-A-3. Existing pedestrian, bike and public transportation linkages to and within city-wide parks have been improved to increase accessibility to under-served areas.

1-A-4. Safety issues in parks, open spaces, and recreational facilities have been identified and are being addressed.

1-A-5. A community-based safety program for parks, open spaces, and recreational facilities has been implemented.

1-A-6. Auto traffic within parks has been reduced by 25%.


1-A-a. Inventory all existing parks, open spaces and recreational facilities (including lands administered by public schools, private schools, the San Francisco Water District, Caltrans, the Department of Public Works, San Francisco Port Authority, private developers, and other institutions) to:

  • Reveal which residents cannot reach a park within a ten-minute walk.

  • Identify opportunities to create new parks or open spaces for broad public use.

  • Compile census data on use of habitats by wildlife and plants.

  • Diagram linkages between parks and open spaces. (An example is the downtown pedestrian plan.)

1-A-b. Expand parks and recreation facilities (identified by inventory) for broader public use to create new opportunities in under-served communities.

1-A-c. Define what “easily accessible” means in the context of public transit travel time to citywide parks.

1-A-d. Analyze frequency, convenience, trip length and crowding of existing transit connections between under-served neighborhoods and city-wide parks.

1-A-e. Propose immediate and long-term modifications to the existing public transit system to improve transit linkages to major parks, including a shuttle system to and within Golden Gate Park.

1-A-f. Create pedestrian trail linkages for the Bay Trail, San Francisco Bay Area Ridge Trail, and Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail; and between major parks.

1-A-g. Designate a network of safe bike-ways connecting and within major parks.

1-A-h. Expand the downtown pedestrian plan to include neighborhood park linkages; make the information available to the public.

1-A-i. Determine baseline statistics for crime and injury in all parks and open spaces.

1-A-j. Analyze programs (both within San Francisco and in other areas) that have successfully increased safety in parks. Assess their applicability to San Francisco and develop a program to use their experience.

1-A-k. Develop and fund a city-wide effort to improve park access for residents with all degrees of mobility.

1-A-l. Undertake measures to reduce vandalism.

1-A-m. Analyze options and choose roadways in parks that will be closed to auto traffic or on which auto traffic will be restricted.

 long-term objectives 1-B:  Recreation
  All recreation facilities are safe and usable by the public.

Safe play areas are provided throughout the City.

Passive recreational opportunities are promoted (including gardening, bird-watching, and wildlife appreciation).

Adequate public property for all recreational activities has been acquired.
    1-B-1. 50% of identified unsafe recreational facilities have been made usable to the public.

1-B-2. Five recreational facilities in previously under-served neighborhoods have been added and the others have been improved.

1-B-3. Parks with high crime rates and vandalism have safety improvements and extra services and patrols using innovative approaches to crime.
      1-B-a. Create community-supported, safe play areas in housing developments.

1-B-b. Establish a dialogue between government agencies, schools and the general public about opportunities to open school facilities for recreational purposes after regular school hours.

1-B-c. Develop a priority list of recreation facility needs in under-served areas.


 long-term objectives 1-C:  Streetscapes
  Streets have been improved to make pedestrian, bike and transit use safe and efficient, and make neighborhoods more livable by reducing noise, visual clutter (such as utility lines), traffic congestion, and air pollution, and by introducing landscaping to all neighborhoods.

Street plantings use site-appropriate species designed to increase biodiversity.

The total number of trees planted has increased by 50,000.

All business projects allocate green space.

1-C-1. Five major arteries have been newly landscaped to create safe and comfortable pedestrian, bike and transit routes connecting neighborhoods to each other and to large open spaces.

1-C-2. The number of street trees has been increased by 4,000 trees per year.

1-C-3. Planting areas have been increased by 2,000 square feet per year.

1-C-4. Streetscape improvements have been implemented on ten miles of neighborhood streets.

1-C-5. The number of streets that have their utility lines undergrounded has doubled each year.

1-C-6. All new business projects have a dedicated amount of green space.


1-C-a. Work together to develop a vision and a plan for the Cityís streets. (Suggested for government agencies, community organizations and the public )

1-C-b. Enforce regulations against parking on sidewalks. (Suggested for Department of Parking and Traffic)

1-C-c. Prepare landscape plans on major streets and boulevards, including both engineered features (for instance, widening sidewalks) and planting improvements. (Suggested for Department of Public Works)

1-C-d. Provide information about selection, planting, and maintenance of trees and other landscape materials that are native, drought-resistant or wildlife-supporting and appropriate for streetscaping.

1-C-e. Coordinate an increase in tree planting by

  • Securing additional funding or

  • Working with other organizations such as Friends of the Urban Forest.

(Suggested for Department of Public Works)

1-C-f. Install flower boxes and planters. (Suggested for merchant associations and neighborhood groups)

1-C-g. Amend the planning code to require sellers of homes to plant street trees, if trees are not already present.

1-C-h. Provide new homeowners with information concerning street tree maintenance.
(Suggested for the Board of Realtors)

1-C-i. Plan streets to accommodate rest and respite by providing appropriate seating.

1-C-j. Enforce city regulations requiring green spaces in all business projects.



 long-term objective 1-D:  Private Gardens
  Front and back-yard open spaces act as havens for wildlife and provide opportunities for gardening.
    1-D-1. An additional 10% of backyards have been revegetated.

1-D-2. A backyard wildlife sanctuary program has been developed.

1-D-3. A “heritage tree” ordinance has been enacted that allows people to self-nominate trees on private property.

1-D-a. Enforce zoning requirements concerning lot coverage and planting in front of residences.

1-D-b. Provide information to the public about the incorporation of diverse plantings on back-yard mid-block open spaces to reduce water and chemical use, lower maintenance costs, and increase biodiversity.

1-D-c. Encourage local nurseries to provide and promote wildlife-supporting, drought-tolerant and San Francisco-native plants.

1-D-d. Establish a media campaign to promote the benefits of gardening, street trees and wildlife sanctuaries to the community.

1-D-e. Give landlords and property owners incentives to maintain, plant, and provide access for building residents to vegetated back yards.



 long-term objectives 1-E:  Diversity of Settings
  Parks, open spaces, and recreational facilities reflect the diversity of San Francisco residents.

San Francisco residents experience and create natural settings in parks and open spaces.

Every neighborhood throughout the City has settings that are quiet “refuge” open space without automobile traffic and typical city noise, odor, and ambiance.

San Francisco has a diverse array of park settings and recreation opportunities (including play, passive recreation, wildlife habitat, community gardening, and local cultural programs) that satisfy a wide range of community and ecosystem needs.

A measurable increase of habitats suitable for a diversity of wildlife and plants has been achieved.

A greater diversity of temporary use and activities in public space occurs.
    1-E-1. Two open spaces have been converted into quiet “refuge” open spaces.

1-E-2. Civic Center open space (UN Plaza, Fulton Street, and Civic Center Plaza) has been revitalized to showcase the international, cultural, ecological, and technological diversity of the City.

1-E-3. At least three areas have been restored in the City to natural conditions, per Policy 13.

1-E-4. Ten mini-parks have been converted into community gardens.
      1-E-a. Identify and inventory “refuge” open spaces.

1-E-b. Develop and design guidelines for “refuge” open spaces.

1-E-c. Convert a “non-refuge” open space into a “refuge” space or develop a new “refuge” open space.

1-E-d. Support the restoration of open spaces to their natural condition with wildlife and plants, in coordination with existing programs.

1-E-e. Promote San Francisco ecological resources to visitors.
(Suggested for San Francisco Visitors and Convention Bureau)

1-E-f. Encourage appropriate temporary community events in a variety of open spaces, with careful management to assure a minimum of negative impact.

1-E-g. Establish a community-wide process to revitalize Civic Center.

1-E-h. Restore dunes at Ocean Beach and wetlands at Crissy Field.

1-E-i. Re-evaluate use of mini-parks based on community needs and interests.

1-E-j. Establish an aggressive program to create new opportunities for community gardens.


 long-term objectives 1-F:  Life-Long Learning
  Life-long learning is promoted within our parks, open spaces, and recreational facilities.

Each school is linked to a park or open space for learning and stewardship purposes.

Parks are used as outdoor classrooms to create community research and teaching teams that promote stewardship of nature and understanding of local place.

Outdoor spaces are used to educate the public about nature and horticulture (including tree care and gardening).
    1-F-1. State environmental education requirements are met for all youths graduating from high school.

1-F-2. Where appropriate, features of open spaces are interpreted through signs and other media.

1-F-3. Maps showing all the natural habitat areas in San Francisco have been developed.

1-F-4. A nature trail at Golden Gate Park with interpretive signs to teach the public about natural features has been developed (possibly the area along the chain of lakes).

1-F-a. Add educational content to the work of volunteers and paid staff in maintaining parks.

1-F-b. Add gardening to school activities.

1-F-c. Establish a program to train children and youths to act as docents of parks.

1-F-d. Use interpretive signs and other media in parks describing park resources; both natural and cultural.

1-F-e. Develop a program about wildlife for schools.

1-F-f. Promote outreach to neighborhood organizations to describe wildlife in their areas and encourage citizen participation in promotion of diverse habitat.

 goal 2  Maintenance
To maintain our parks, open spaces, recreation facilities and streetscapes through practical, economic, creative and collaborative means to achieve clean, safe, inviting and inspiring spaces for people and wildlife.

2-A. Action-oriented maintenance and management plans are completed for every open space area. These plans are based on community input and are flexible to reflect changing community needs and interests.

2-B. All parks, recreational facilities, streetscapes, and open space areas are maintained to ensure long-term health, sustainability and biodiversity.

2-C. Reforestation and revegetation plans are complete and implemented for all parks, open spaces and streetscapes.

2-D. Only integrated pest management (IPM) techniques are used.

2-E. Biodiversity considerations are integrated into all open space management decisions. (For example, certain areas within parks and watersheds are managed for wildlife habitat.)

2-F. Maintenance is promoted as a form of recreation and education.

2-G. The feral cat population in the city has been significantly reduced.

2-H. 120-140 street trees are present per street mile.

2-I. 200 community gardens are maintained.

2-J. Appropriate landscaping is maintained for all public facilities including parks, schools, housing developments and public buildings.

2-K. Stewardship is provided for all street trees.


2-1. Condition assessments have been completed for 25% of all parks, streetscapes and other open spaces to provide guidelines for reforestation, recreational uses, natural habitat preservation, horticultural maintenance, facility maintenance, and safety. Assessments involve on-site staff, specialists and neighborhood support groups.

2-2. Effective and responsive maintenance programs have been established to provide annual maintenance for each park and recreation facility.

2-3. All (approx. 21,000) public street trees are inspected annually.

2-4. 7,000 street trees are pruned and serviced annually.

2-5. Naturalist and biological capabilities of public agencies that deal with public open spaces have been expanded.

2-6. IPM measures are used in park and landscape maintenance.

2-7. Sustainable landscape guidelines are implemented.

2-8. 150 community gardens are maintained.

2-9. Landscaping plans for all public facilities have been completed.

2-10. Recreation and Parks Department staff have been trained to work with community volunteers to help with maintenance of parks and open spaces.


2-a. Identify recreation facilities that are currently unsafe or unusable.

2-b. Develop new and implement existing policies to bring biodiversity stewardship considerations into all management decisions affecting open spaces.

2-c. Develop public-private agreements to improve San Franciscoís unique and historical parks, open spaces, and street trees.

2-d. Increase staff capabilities in natural areas management in all City departments that have a relationship with parks and open spaces.

2-e. Build staff volunteer coordination skills in order to incorporate volunteers into maintenance programs.

2-f. Train gardeners, foresters and other landscape maintenance personnel in sustainable landscape guidelines.

2-g. Increase biological and naturalist training for staff who maintain public open spaces.

2-h. Develop legislation to reduce the feral cat population in parks.

2-i. Thin, cull and replant trees to ensure a diverse forest.

2-j. Invite community-based agencies to assist park personnel with maintenance and management of parks, open spaces and street trees.

2-k. Incorporate environmental concerns into the mission statements of those departments involved with the maintenance of public open spaces.

2-l. Maximize the use of volunteers and schoolchildren as partners with maintenance personnel in parks, open spaces and streetscapes.

2-m. Promote volunteer habitat restoration work parties in public open spaces.

2-n. Utilize trees and plant material that will attract birds and other wildlife.

2-o. Maintain shrubbery and tree snags for birds.

2-p. Encourage public and private schools to participate in tree planting and maintenance programs.

2-q. Recycle and use city-generated organic material in landscape programs.

2-r. Maximize use of gray water in landscaping.

 goal 3  Participation
To promote and strengthen community participation in the planning, creation, management and stewardship of our parks, open spaces, recreational facilities and streetscapes.
  3-A. Neighborhood park groups play a leading partnership role with public agencies in stewardship, planning, programming and creating open spaces, parks, recreational facilities, and streetscapes.

3-B. The general public has a heightened awareness about and involvement in open space, park, and recreational issues.

3-C. The business community is a major participant in providing staff and volunteers to assist with park and recreation programs.

3-1. Public-sector commitment to park and open-space stewardship as well as recreational facility management and maintenance is expanded and formalized.

3-2. Private-sector commitment to provide volunteers and expand participation in all aspects of park, recreation, open spaces and streetscapes has been expanded and formalized.

3-3. A park coalition or council is operating to provide technical assistance to neighborhood park groups to:

  • Gain access to funds and resources,

  • Assist with design and management questions, and

  • Link educational programs (such as native plant protection and habitat creation) to neighborhood parks.

3-a. Empower neighborhood park councils/ support groups to play a strong role in the design, creation, and ongoing management of parks.

3-b. Provide training in volunteer management to public employees.

3-c. Provide flex-time for public and private employees to be able to accommodate weekend volunteer activities in public parks.

3-d. Provide a business-tax reduction incentive for companies that donate at least 20 hours per year of volunteer time per full-time employee to work in public park and recreation facilities or provide design and professional services to neighborhood park councils.

 goal 4  Funding
To build and improve the financial and other resources to adequately provide and maintain the quality, quantity and equitable provision of our parks, open spaces, recreation facilities and streetscapes.
  4-A. A permanent, dedicated source of funding for parks, recreational facilities, open spaces and street- scapes has been established.

4-B. Financial solutions have been created through a collaborative process that includes stakeholders: government, labor unions, citizens, non-profit organizations, and businesses.

4-C. Public sector staffing has been expanded and the mission of public sector employees in park, open space, and street tree management has been revised to reflect opportunities to work with volunteers and to develop creative partnerships with non-profits, private business, and private donors.

4-D. Additional funding has been secured to move utilities underground.

4-1. Adequate city funding for basic services and maintenance has been ensured.

4-2. Additional private funding for improvements of parks, open spaces, streetscapes has been generated.

4-3. A streamlined and consolidated system for site and resource utilization among city departments, including equipment pooling has been created.

4-4. Cooperation has been increased among agencies to coordinate and streamline available public funding.

4-5. An Open Space Plan reauthorization process has begun.


4-a. Create a mayor’s task force with representatives from all stake-holder groups to draw up an “options list” of financial solutions aimed at creating and maintaining a first-class park, recreation and streetscape program in San Francisco.

4-b. Secure City endorsement and private funding for planning and implementation to revitalize Civic Center.

4-c. Execute a joint powers agreement between the Recreation and Park Department and the School District to utilize school sites for after-school program and community use.

4-d. Create an equipment pool among city agencies with landscaping functions to avoid duplication and reduce costs.

4-e. Create a labor pool of environmental service workers (an existing classification) to be used in gardening activities by any city agency with a landscaping function on an as-needed basis.

4-f. Establish an earmarked fund for park and recreation fees with access only by the Recreation and Park Department.

4-g. Require that a movie fee be paid to the Recreation and Park Department Fund from any movies shooting scenes of or in city parks, squares, and maintained open spaces.

4-h. Establish neighborhood outreach to maximize the use of PG&E funds for moving utilities underground.

4-i. Initiate a joint City/community-based fundraising and maintenance pilot for neighborhood parks.

4-j. Create a vehicle for a major civic campaign to improve city park and recreation facilities to a first-class level and to endow their long-term maintenance.

4-k. Launch an outreach and education plan for renewal and possible expansion of the open space fund to be in place for voter renewal in 2004.

4-l. Allocate 1% of the hotel tax for parks, open spaces, and street trees.

4-m. Create a sports-star sponsorship campaign to encourage Bay Area sports figures and sports franchises to fund related recreation activities such as tennis, baseball, softball, soccer, and basketball.

4-n. Terminate the practice of using the Open Space Fund for maintenance of existing parks.