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Wednesday Guest Blogger: Greening the N Route

One of my absolute favorite streets in San Francisco is Noe between Duboce and Market. Step off of the N at Noe, just East of the East Portal of the Sunset Tunnel, and within a block or two, you start to feel like you’ve entered a secret special world.

From above, mature trees shade the street with graceful branches. At ground level there are planters with flowers and herbs running up and down the sidewalk. Every block or so, there are even little dedicated garden areas with more plants and benches where you can take a moment to sit and chat with a friend or just revel in all of the greenery. Not to mention there’s also a friendly guy who sells flowers out of a garage. I find just walking this little stretch of Noe on the way to run an errand in the Castro can have an incredibly soothing effect.

Well, get ready, Inner Sunset, you’re getting a greenified block of your own. I recently had brunch with Lisa Gelfand, principal in Gelfand Partners architecture firm and a longtime Inner Sunset resident. Lisa told me that a number of her 8th Avenue neighbors have gotten together and developed a proposal for a beautified block between Lincoln and Irving. With Lisa’s firm drawing up the plans pro bono, the group applied for a City matching grant; those funds are going to pay for extensive tree planting and concrete removal to create little square garden areas.

Residents on the block agree to care for the trees or any other planting in front of their house. If I understood correctly, a separate traffic calming project will create a “bulb-out” part of the sidewalk jutting into the street. I don’t know if there are plans for seating areas like they have on Noe Street (but I hope so!). In any case, they should break ground on this project sometime in the next month—I’ll definitely be watching to see how it all comes together.

Debra Solomon lives in the Inner Sunset with her husband and baby girl.

Comments

Agreed that those few blocks of Noe are wonderful.

Wow, I used to live on Walter Street at Duboce, and then on Noe by 14th. Haven't been back from the east coast in a few years now; good to know my neighbor the flower guy is still there. I was just Google Street Viewing it the other day. Thanks for the great reminder of my old stomping grounds.

Anyone interested in helping "green" our public sidewalks might consider give Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) a call.

FUF helps homeowners and landlords remove sidewalk pavement and plant trees and gardens. They always need volunteers and, well, money to help green the city streets. If you're lucky enough to own a house, you can call for information about getting a tree planted.

Tree plantings generally occur in a single neighborhood on Saturday mornings. Volunteers tend to get free breakfast and a potluck lunch (organized by the community.) Plus you get to learn how to plant and care for a tree.

(Full disclosure: I've volunteered with FUF several times and really enjoyed it, but I'm not involved with the organization in any other way.)

Their website is here: http://fuf.net/

It would be great if the city could develop a plan to allow blocks with narrow sidewalks to plant trees. My entire Sunset block is mostly concrete and could use a few trees to beautify and soften it. ADA compliance makes sidewalk trees illegal, but someone must have a solution. Anyone?

And yes, I've called FUF several times.

The FUF has been making regular rounds through the Inner Sunset, particularly up 9th ave from Irving to Judah having had dozens of new trees planted this year. The FUF is great, sadly I was unable to plant a tree in front of our place due to having a PG&E "tree" already in place :)

The FUF has been making regular rounds through the Inner Sunset, particularly up 9th ave from Irving to Judah having had dozens of new trees planted this year. The FUF is great, sadly I was unable to plant a tree in front of our place due to having a PG&E "tree" already in place :)

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