A 17-block ‘Yellow Brick Road’ is coming to the Tenderloin

A 17-block ‘Yellow Brick Road’ is coming to the Tenderloin
Image: Envelope AD
By Joe Kukura - Published on March 16, 2022.

There’s plenty of judgemental discourse about homelessness in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood wherein the last homeless point-in-time count showed that nearly half (46%) of San Francisco’s homeless population is concentrated. There's also plenty of discourse about drugs in the Tenderloin, as a recent KGO report estimated that 85% of San Francisco drug arrests are in that neighborhood.

Yet there is very little discourse about children in the Tenderloin, even though the neighborhood has the highest contraction of children and families of any other in SF. The city estimates that “3,500 youth and children” live in the Tenderloin, and that there are “11 schools in the neighborhood.”

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors took a golden opportunity to do something for those kids Tuesday night. The board unanimously approved a measure from the district’s supervisor Matt Haney to install a 17-block Yellow Brick Road in the Tenderloin, a sort of permanent sidewalk mural which the legislation says will create “a network connecting schools, after school programs, community centers, youth program sites, and parks.”


You can see a map of where the Yellow Brick Road will go in the right-hand image of the above tweet, which was posted when the architecture firm Envelope proposed the idea in December.


And there has been a Yellow Brick Road in the Tenderloin before. That version was installed in 2008 by La Voz and a group called Tenderloin Safe Passage, though it faded over the years. 

But there should be no goodbye for this Yellow Brick Road. “The proposed Yellow Brick Road is to be made of a durable thermoplastic, commonly used in traffic markings and having a lifespan of five to seven years with little to no maintenance, eliminating the issues that caused the pilot project to be removed after two years,” according to Haney’s legislation.

While the board unanimously approved the project Tuesday, that legislation only “directs the Planning Department and Department of Public Works to take all actions necessary to implement” the Yellow Brick Road. But we’ll keep an eye out for its timeline for installation, because, because, because, because, because, because, because.