Golden Gate Bridge Connector Landscaping Plan Inches Forward

A significant amount of green finally may be coming to the Presidio Parkway — now largely a stark and barren amalgamation of gray concrete.

More than 120,000 vehicles a day use the structure during the work week. Formerly known as Doyle Drive, it’s the primary route in and out of downtown San Francisco for Marin commuters who drive or take Golden Gate Transit buses.

Work on the project began in 2009 and was finished in 2015. Landscaping via native plants and a tunnel-top park were supposed to be part of the finished product as envisioned by landscape architect Mill Valley’s Michael Painter, who submitted a design on his own time that inspired the project.

But aside from weeds fed by winter and spring rains, there has been nary a sliver of green since it opened three years ago.

Now a $54 million funding plan is being assembled to bring the structure’s promised landscaping to life. Caltrans will contribute $37 million, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission $15 million and the San Francisco Transportation Authority $2 million under a tentative $54 million funding agreement for the landscaping. But a precise timeline and landscape plan has not been outlined and that has raised some concerns.

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE > MORE COVERAGE

This week the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Programming and Allocations Committee was asked to review the project. The full commission board will take up the issue in the coming weeks.

“There will be park lands on top of the tunnels,” explained San Francisco County Transportation Authority representative John Fisher to MTC’s Programming and Allocations Committee. “There will be a lot of drought-resistant plants there, but some irrigation is part of the work. ... There will be a magnificent regional park.”

The Presidio Parkway rose out of what was known as Doyle Drive. That “seismically challenged” structure built in 1936 had been given a safety score of 2 out of 100 in a state rating system, reflecting its poor condition. Part of it was pulled down during a two-day weekend closure in April 2012; another section of the old Doyle Drive was demolished in 2013.

“This was a project decades in making, now there is one last element, the landscaping part,” said Ross McKeown, programming and funding manager for the MTC. “It was an ugly structure for many decades, now it’s a nice parkway and they are trying to make a nice enjoyable environment for everybody.”

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But some of the commissioners were less than thrilled with the cost of the project and the lack of specifics.

“I thought I heard you say $54 million in landscaping?” deadpanned Scott Haggerty, a Alameda County supervisor.

Santa Clara representative Jeannie Bruins of Santa Clara wondered who would assume the role of upkeep.

“With these kind of dollars going into it, how are we assured we can maintain this?” she asked. “Fifty-four million sounds like a heck of a lot of money.”

The Presidio Trust will assume the maintenance role, although a final plan had not been developed for landscaping, Fisher told the committee.

Anne Halsted — who represents the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission on the panel — also wondered aloud about the cost and specifics.

“I think it’s really hard to look at that number, that dollar number and not know what you’re getting for it,” she said. “It would be great to distribute some description of it. I think it’s very important to the whole ecosystem of that portion of San Francisco that connects to the Golden Gate Bridge to have this done well. It would be nice to understand it.”

Source : http://www.marinij.com/article/NO/20180412/NEWS/180419940

Golden Gate Bridge connector landscaping plan inches forward
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