July 13 at HANC: Plazas, Paths, and a Playground - Three Big Projects Plan Changes to GGP and Panhandle

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By Rupert Clayton, HANC Board

HANC's monthly (except August) general membership meeting is held downstairs at the Park Branch Library, 1833 Page Street (between Cole and Shrader) on the second Thursday of the month, beginning at 7 pm.  Our meetinngs are open to the public and free to attend.

What do you want at the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park: Bocce courts? A plaza? A restroom? What components will best serve all children’s needs in the rebuilt Panhandle Playground, and should these include a sand pit? What does the city plan to do with the $2 million it will spend building new trails through the oak woodlands in the north-east corner of the park?

stanyan edgeOne option for the eastern edge of Golden Gate Park


At HANC’s member meeting on Thursday, July 13, project managers and executives from the Recreation and Parks Department (RPD) and from the Parks Alliance will present plans and answer questions on three RPD projects in our neighborhood: the Stanyan Street Edge Project, Panhandle Playground Project and Oak Woodlands Trails Improvement Project. These three projects will make significant changes to the parks nearest the Haight-Ashbury and the meeting is an opportunity for you to understand these changes and get your questions answered.

The Stanyan Street Edge Project has four components:

  1. The closed public restroom near Alvord Lake will be converted into some type of commercial kiosk with a single restroom available for park users during open hours. The 440-sq-ft kiosk dates from the 1930s and has been used for storage for the past 20 years. RPD has not determined what type of business will use the kiosk, although a café seems likely. The plan also includes a paved plaza around the kiosk, a bocce court on the north side and, possibly, a pétanque court on the south side.
  2. RPD will construct a new sidewalk along the west side of Stanyan St, from Haight Street to Kezar Drive, in placed of the trampled grass edging. This would also include a slightly bigger plaza at the Page Street entrance.
  3. At the Haight entrance, the large semicircular planter will be removed and the bike rental concession relocated to the Stanyan sidewalk south of Haight Street. In place of the planter, RPD is offering either a broad plaza area or more grass between the paths.
  4. The small oak woodlands area between Alvord Lake and the closed stub of Waller Street will be reconfigured to add trails and nighttime lighting and replace the Alvord Lake staircase with a sloping path. The current proposal includes making one of the trails through the oak woodlands wide enough for police or park patrol to drive cruisers between the trees to “discourage illicit behavior”.

This project is being funded with roughly $5.5 million from the 2012 Parks Bond. RPD project manager Dan Mauer plans to begin detailed design this month, with contracting in early 2018 and construction during the second half of 2018. As well as these permanent changes, RPD is partnering with the Exploratorium on a two-year temporary installation at the east end of the park, similar to the one now at Civic Center.

The Panhandle Playground Project aims to rebuild (and slightly relocate) the children’s playground at Oak and Ashbury, which contains arsenic-treated wood. The $3.2 million project is one of 13 playgrounds that will be renovated under the Let’sPlaySF! joint venture between RPD and the Parks Alliance, with major funding from the 2012 Parks Bond. One controversial issue is the possibility that the new playground may not include any sand areas. Representatives of RPD and the Parks Alliance will join us to outline their plans. RPD project manager Melinda Stockmann will be running several design workshops during July with a target to start construction in April 2019.

The Oak Woodlands Trail Improvement Project, also managed by Melinda Stockmann, is funded from 2008 Park Bond funds. Originally this was expected to cost $300,000 (plus an additional $94,000 from Coca-Cola), but the scope has since increased substantially and the budget is now projected to be $2 million. RPD had suggested that they might be ready to solicit bids for this work in summer 2017. The meeting will provide an opportunity to understand what work is now planned and when it might happen.

Come to 1833 Page Street at 7pm Thursday, July 13 to find out more about these three projects in our parks.

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