SF Tops Nation In Residents' Proximity To Parks

SF Tops Nation In Residents' Proximity To ParksMayor Ed Lee and Phil Ginsburg of SF Rec and Park (front), and San Francisco Public Land Urban Parks Director Adrian Benepe (back) with children from Faces SF. I Photos: Meaghan M. Mitchell/Hoodline
Meaghan M. Mitchell
Published on May 17, 2017

Yesterday, at Hilltop Park in Bayview, Mayor Ed Lee and city officials announced that San Francisco is the first—and only—city in the nation where all residents have access to a park within a 10-minute walk. 

The announcement was based on an assessment from the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL), which looked at the nation’s 100 largest cities.

Children from the nonprofit Faces SF playing at Hilltop.

According to Adrian Benepe, urban parks director at TPL, the trust "measures how cities provide parks for the people who live there." Factors such as financial investment, the percentage of parkland, playgrounds, dog parks and rec parks are all considered in the TPL assessment.

"The most important factor is how many people have a park within a ten-minute walk," Benepe told us. That standard is considered standard for accessibility for urban dwellers as most people can walk a half-mile in about 10 minutes.

Hilltop Park in Bayview recently underwent a significant renovation and upgrade.

The city became the first to reach that goal in part by building new parks, including SoMa's West Skate and Dog Park, Tunnel Top Park and Progress Park in Dogpatch, Playland at 43rd Avenue in Outer Sunset, and more.        

Since the mayor took office, $355 million has been invested in parks and open space projects. The city's future two-year budget will include $84.4 million for San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Department.

"For a number of years, San Francisco has been in the top five, but this year the city took the lead—and it’s a big deal," said Benepe. "San Francisco should be proud. We look closely at data — and had it not been for your visionary mayor who advocates for open space and secures funding — this would not have been possible."

Mayor Ed Lee with Adrian Benepe of the Trust For Public Lands (L) and Phil Ginsburg of SF Rec and Parks (R).

The mayor noted that Bayview is a prime example of how the quality of life can be improved by park upgrades. Hilltop Park had recently been upgraded and renovated, at an estimated cost of $6.9 million, with a recreational facility with a state-of-the-art skate park and playground.

“I know that in the past, many people felt we didn’t pay enough attention to this community, but we are now," he said. “Bayview has had its fair share of trauma, and building open space and parks is part of the infrastructure in creating a quality life for its residents."

"All of our partners want to make sure that there are the same amenities in Bayview," he added, "that there are for people in the Marina, Chinatown and Mission.”

The next cycle of funds allocated for open space and parks will cover Golden Gate Park CommUNITY Garden, Interior Greenbelt, Geneva Community Garden, Noe Valley Town Square, 17th and Folsom Streets Park, Francisco Reservoir, and 900 Innes Ave. (also known as Indian Basin), to the city's list of new parks.