Back in June, we reported that the large pepper tree at the center of Hayes Valley's Patricia's Green had died, and was slated for removal. The tree was officially removed on September 7th, and people are still wondering what will replace it, a fact brought to our attention via tipster Alex P.
The Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association (HVNA) led the charge to remove the dying tree, so we reached out to them to shed some more light on the situation.
"My immediate priority was to remove the safety hazard presented by having a dead tree in the center of a very heavily used public seating area," said Jim Warshell, co-chair of HVNA's greening committee. "I am very happy that Rec and Park responded so quickly."
It's still going to take some time to replace the tree, as the HVNA is exploring a variety of plans to improve the space. Bill Bulkley, a registered landscape architect and former HVNA president, told us he's discussed the issue with a number of people, and in his opinion, Rec and Park should grind down the existing stump so that it is ground-level, install a power outlet, and temporarily replace the tree with a large (60") boxed tree.
Bulkley is the co-chair of HVNA's art, culture, and entertainment (ACE) committee, which he told us is working with the SF Arts Commission to bring one or two new sculptures to the area.
However, he noted that the tree's removal provides an opportunity to address other issues on the north end of Patricia's Green, including greening, seating, and pedestrian and biker optimization. "Given that the central tree at Patricia's Green has died, we should look at the [park's] design as a whole," he said.
Calming traffic along Octavia, "including at the edges of Patricia's Green, has been, and continues to be, of community concern. HVNA is working with MTA on this."
One idea would be closing Octavia to automobile traffic between Linden and Hayes streets, which "would reduce auto conflicts at the edge of the Green and along Hayes Street," Bulkley said. "It would also provide expanded plaza/public space for park users, pedestrians and bicyclists."
To this end, Bulkley hopes to start a "Friends of Patricia's Green" group to get the community involved in the decision-making—and fundraising—process.
If you are interested in learning more or voicing your opinion on the matter, head over to the HVNA general meeting, which will be held on September 29th at 6:30pm (We're still waiting to hear back about the exact location of the meeting, and will update this post as soon as we know.)
How do you think Patricia's Green can be improved? Let us know in the comments.