Nov 30, 2013

Entry ramp work completed at Clayton

After three months of work, the entry ramps and paths into the park at Clayton have been completed.

A similar project to modernize the curb ramps was completed at Lyon Street last year, but this project has a longer curbed ramp leading into the park on the Fell Street side. The cement ramp then connects to a new, straight, pancake-flat stretch of asphalt to reach the east-west pathway.  

The work at Fell and Clayton follows the removal of a eucalyptus tree there last year. Now, the curb cuts at Baker St are the only remaining entrances into the park without the yellow-dot treatment. 

Nov 18, 2013

A great new way to experience Second Saturday

Our community workday is featured in this brilliant new video from the neighborhood artists at Panhandle Productions.

The next chance to join us in person is Saturday, December 14, starting at 9 am. Let's keep this project growing!

Nov 11, 2013

Saturday's workday and pictures from today

During our workday on Saturday, a couple of willing volunteers stayed near the park's central area to rake leaves from the sand in the playground and trim the hedges around the borders. The larger part of our group traveled east to the area between Lyon and Baker street to offer some help to the park's gardener with managing the area. Besides raking leaves, this also meant weeding a bed of perennials - mostly California natives - planted last year by students.

The first graders from SFDS and their families turned out in good numbers to lend us a hand. Besides weeding and raking, another big task was to remove mud from the bike path and from below park benches. That's a pretty challenging job for folks of any age, especially when tree roots are infiltrating the mud. Volunteers also trimmed the burl growth from some of our redwoods on the east end.

I didn't take any photos during Saturday's workday, but here are a couple taken today during some free time on this Veteran's Day Holiday.

It's the time of the year to see full-grown orb-weavers. Here's one that had its web in a yew tree. 

Soulmates forever
The fall drought continues, but the park has been amply irrigated and is green and puddly.
Stadium seating
Clayton Street curb ramp project, month 3
Park lovers 
A walk in the woods

Nov 5, 2013

SF PUC to install rain garden near Panhandle

It will be wet - very wet - in San Francisco, starting sometime next week if the forecasts are right. Some of the rainfall will soaking into the dry earth, but a great amount of it will pour from our roofs and streets, surge into rain gutters, and rush towards our water treatment facilities.

San Francisco's Sewer System Improvement Program aims to build new infrastructure that can infiltrate more water down into the ground, thus shaving off the peak flow. SSIP has plans for the streets east of the Panhandle. On Saturday morning, Raphael Garcia of the SF PUC led about 40 residents, as well as other employees from PUC and SF MTA, on a walking tour of Oak and Fell Streets, starting at the east end of the Panhandle and extending three blocks to Scott Street. At Baker and Oak, just in front of Mt. Zion Baptist Church, a rain garden will be installed in the curbside lane on Oak starting at the northwest corner of the intersection and extending about 16 feet long. The plants in the rain garden will be maintained by the PUC and will be planted with colorful California native plants, chosen for medium stature (not above hip level) and for habitat for creatures like the tiger swallowtail and black phoebe. 

Rather than installing rain gardens directly adjacent to the Panhandle Park, the south side of Oak Street was chosen as a site to optimize the effects and capture a greater flow of water. Other factors taken into consideration were the potential for shading, leaf debris, and impact on tree roots if the city were to implement rain gardens directly next to Panhandle Park. The material that goes beneath the new PUC rain gardens will not just be regular dirt; it'll be "engineered media" that can handle the "urban slobber" coming in with the water flowing from the city streets while supporting the mycorrhizal fungi that begins to filter and clean the water as it percolates down to our ground water, far below the surface.  

Since there are expectations for extensive engineering changes to improve traffic safety at the intersection of Baker and Oak, SF MTA staff on the tour explained that bulbouts will be constructed on the park side of this intersection. 

Construction of the rain gardens is expected to start in early summer 2014.  
Raphael Garcia of PUC speaks at the location of another planned rain garden

Want a safer Panhandle? Come out Sunday November 17

Our next special event is coming up in just a week and a half. On Sunday, Nov 17 from 11 am - 1 pm, join neighbors for a picnic with a dose of dialog and networking. We're working with local agencies and community-based organizations that can help show ways we can all create a safer environment in the park.  

It's the next event of the Panhandle Park Action Project, a project of the North of Panhandle Neighborhood Association supported by a small grant from the San Francisco Parks Alliance.

Waking up Sunday to Fall Back into Nature

With the end of daylight savings time Sunday morning, we had an extra hour to prepare for a special free event that brought community groups together to celebrate nature in the Panhandle. It was the second of the special events planned for the Panhandle Park Action Project.

Dozens of kids were excited by the free face-painting and everyone was treated to fuji apples donated by Earl's Organic Produce. Here are some photos to show you more of the highlights.
Families from New Traditions Elementary School offered native and edible plants along with expert advice. New Traditions is located a block from the Panhandle and has a dynamic green schoolyard program.
branch, a group of nature educators, offered a scavenger hunt that got dozens of kids running around the park.
Learning about lemons with Just One Tree
The rain garden was available as a spot for planting a young dogwood, generously provided by the Recreation and Parks Department and planted with the help of four young ladies. Cornus sericea supsp. occidentalis is the species of dogwood found locally, typically in wetlands. Its red stems are most apparent in winter, during its dormant season, and in the summer it has clusters of small white flowers.