Dec 18, 2014

Pathway accessibility work at Cole St

The curb ramps leading into the park from Cole Street are under reconstruction. Two of them look complete (one on the north and one on the south). The other two are still underway.
one of the entrances on the north side at Cole

And one of the entrances
on the south side at Cole
Similar work was completed at Clayton last year. And curb ramps were rebuilt at Fell/Baker in September at the start of the PUC's stormwater project. Accessibility is important, but I sense that photos and posts about curb ramps aren't very stirring. Watch for more interesting news about the Panhandle coming out soon!

Rainstorms fell a Monterey Pine near Central

A tree toppled a few days ago - this morning it still remained just off the bike path on the north side, at the intersection with Central Ave. Monterey Pine are increasingly scarce in the park. The larger pine tree (shown in the picture) is still standing directly across the path, but shows some signs of stress, such as losing needles and producing large number of cones.

Oct 29, 2014

Next workday: Saturday, November 8

Our next workday will come up quickly, on Saturday, November 8. You're all warmly invited to join fellow neighbors in the park for a workday involving raking, weed-pulling, and mulch-shoveling to keep the park looking good. This month, we'll be joined by one of the honor societies from the University of San Francisco. 

Panhandle Community Workday
Saturday, November 8, 2014
9 am - 12 noon
Meet at the bulletin board (near Ashbury/Oak)

Tools and gloves are provided, but feel free to bring your own work gloves if you have a pair that you like. 

Oct 1, 2014

Oct 11 is the next community workday at the Panhandle

Our next Panhandle community workday is coming up in just 10 days: 

Panhandle Community Workday
Saturday, October 11
9 am - 12 noon
Meet near the Panhandle playground, Oak @ Ashbury 
Gloves and tools provided 

Join us for a morning at the park, working to keep the Panhandle beautiful and accessible to all.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass starts Friday, so enjoy a ride through the Panhandle on your way to the music this weekend.  Click here for the schedule.

Sep 15, 2014

September workday photos

Thanks everyone for the great work at our monthly community workday! We were happy to be joined  at the Panhandle by a terrific group of people from Americorps

Sep 11, 2014

Panhandle Park is on Twitter, too

If you want more updates on the Panhandle Park, you can check us out on Twitter:

September Workday coming up on Saturday

It's our last workday of the summer. Come out and join people from the community working together to improve our neighborhood park! 

Panhandle Park community workday
Saturday, September 13
9 am - 11:30 am
meet near the playground (Ashbury @ Oak)
Tools and gloves are provided 

Throwback Thursday: March 2013, initial planting @ Panhandle rain garden

Aug 18, 2014

New sign displays park hours and park rules

Close on the heels of installing several signs displaying the new park hours, the parks department has installed a more prominent sign next to the bike path at Ashbury. In addition to the park hours, the new sign displays a litany of park rules pertaining to camping, smoking, dogs, and pathways.

August workday report

A huge thank you to volunteers, both regular and returning, for making the August Panhandle workday so successful. We accomplished a couple of challenging tasks, in addition to general care and tending to the rain garden. First, we dug up some yarrow, which, since our initial planting just a year and a half ago, has grown prolifically. The yarrow that had grown up too near the sprinkler heads had to be removed so that it would not block the spray from reaching the other nearby plants.

What can we do with some extra yarrow? 
Next, a group of volunteers was dispatched to Lyon Street to work on weeding and trimming. This particular bed, planted by students from the Day School, is full of some native plants that are gradually becoming well-established and should continue to mature and flourish. Until they grow a bit more, they still need some protection from the kikuyu grass that so quickly infiltrates the beds from the surrounding turf. 

The planting located behind the playground has grown this summer.
This planting outside the playground is taking off since our rainy planting day last September, especially the penstemon and currants.
This dedicated group worked near the playground until the very end.

Jul 17, 2014

Photos from our July Workday in the Panhandle

On Saturday, 20 volunteers turned out to be part of our monthly community workday in the Panhandle. A group of alumni of the Truman Scholars program helped to fill out our ranks. 

About half of our group got to work raking the lawn between Ashbury and Masonic. 

The other half of the group went to work planting a selection of new plants purchased with funds from our program sponsors. The new plants are still small, but as they grow they will fill in the edge areas of our rain garden.

Like the plants previously selected for the rain garden, the new plants are California native plants that typically grow in this region. Our new species included the following:
Berberis repens (Creeping Mahonia, aka Creeping Oregon Grape)
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. repens (Creeping Blueblossom)
Lupinus albifrons (Silver Lupine)
Artemisia pycnocephala 'David's Choice' (Coastal Sagewort)
Woodwardia fimbriata (Giant chain fern)
Satureja douglasii (Yerba buena)

Jul 10, 2014

Workday coming up this Saturday, July 12

This Saturday, we've got more native plants ready to add to our rain garden next to the children's playground. We're also expecting to welcome a special volunteer group to supplement our numbers and get more good work done for the park.

See you this Saturday, beginning at 9 am!

We'll be at the normal time and place:

Saturday July 12
9 am - 11:30 am
Meet at the Panhandle Bulletin Board
Tools and gloves will be provided

Jun 17, 2014

2003 article sheds light on path upgrade

It's been hard to recall exactly when the multi-use path was last rebuilt. Thanks to a local archivist, the answer was recently placed in my hands: it was 2003, and I wrote an article about it for the July/August issue of North Panhandle News.

Highlighted by some bicycle clip-art and accompanied by ads for Car Los and Club Waziema, the article led with a comment about "seven months of stop-and-start construction." (San Francisco public construction projects were as slow 11 years ago as they are now.) The article also references DPT (now MTA), and the recent approval of Fell Street bike lanes. There's an intriguing mention of signage and stencils that would be "designed to steer walkers to the south pathway and cyclists to the north pathways," but that are, mysteriously, "still in development."

Glancing through the rest of the newsletter brings back memories of District 5 Supervisor Matt Gonzalez, Annie Bourdon doing outreach for City CarShare (which then had a fleet of 85 cars), and Leila Fakouri's application to open Madrone Lounge, "primarily an art space."


Jun 16, 2014

New Park Rules

Two sets of signs were installed in and around the Panhandle this month. 

The first set of signs is directed to those arriving at the park pathways from Oak and Fell Streets. They advise visitors that park hours are 5 a.m. to midnight. The new park hours were codified this year in Park Code 3.21, a change that was approved amid a great deal of controversy. The legislation specifically permitted travel through and across the Panhandle, though that exception is not noted on the signs. 

The second set of signs was installed over the weekend by SFMTA. Although they are much greater in number, they'll mainly be noticed by people parking their vehicles on the park's perimeter. They impose No Parking for vehicles over 22 feet long or 7 feet high, from 12:01 a.m. to 6 a.m., everyday. The "oversize vehicle" rule restrict people's ability to park campers, RVs, and other large vehicles overnight next to the Panhandle. While overnight habitation in vehicles was already prohibited, enforcement was never very effective. The no parking rules for oversize vehicles have been implemented in specific locations around the city, and the Panhandle is part of the second batch of locations.

Jun 8, 2014

Panhandle workday coming up next weekend, Sat June 14

Our next Panhandle workday will happen next weekend, on Saturday, June 14. Come join us for fresh air, community, and a great start to your weekend.

Saturday, June 14
9 am - 11:30 am
Panhandle Community Workday
Meet near the Playground (Oak @ Ashbury)

Also, enjoy a few pictures from yesterday's picnic - a great way to complete the Panhandle Park Action Project. We feasted on Guillermo's tacos, set up a tent and some extra benches next to our rain garden, and enjoyed our neighborhood park.

RPD gardening crew that keeps the park in shape: Guillermo, Charlie, and Daniel

May 18, 2014

May workday report

At the east end of the Panhandle, a double row of Cherry trees and Chestnut trees have grown large and healthy since being planted in 2010. The focus of last week's community workday was to give these young trees some routine maintenance. 
Step 1: cut and place cardboard
In order to supplement their soil, protect their roots from trampling, and suppress weeds, our basic method was sheet mulching: laying down a layer of cardboard, followed by composted fines, and then a layer of wood chips.
Step 2: many wheelbarrows full of soil
Step 3: Spread wood chips
Our small group of dedicated volunteers wrapped up that project and went on to give the same treatment to a few more trees, too, going on to the magnolia, one of the redwoods, and the Giant Sequoia.

Meanwhile, cyclists gathered nearby for a tour of dim sum

Apr 14, 2014

April Workday report

Volunteers from the neighborhood joined with Rec and Park gardening staff on Saturday to work in the Panhandle around Lyon Street, spreading wood chips around the pair of arbutus close to the redwood grove. Volunteers also worked to shape some fast-growing shrubs bordering Oak Street, and then spent time with some detail work tending a long bed close to the multi-use path, where perennials like ceanothus, yarrow, sage, and sticky monkey are getting well-established (they were planted by students from the Day School about a year ago).

Additionally, one volunteer teamed up with a Rec and Park employee for a special project by the playground. Cobblestones now line the bed at the west side of the playground and look beautiful.

Photo by Leah Hickey. See more photos of the work by USF students at NOPNA's Facebook page
Meanwhile, Saturday was also a day of service for students from University of San Francisco. Dozens of students chose to perform service in Golden Gate Park, and a group of them was assigned the vital duty of lifting mud and weeds from pathways. Thanks to the labor of more than a dozen students, the cross-over paths at Shrader and Cole were cleared and cleaned. We've done this job before and we know it's hard work. Thank you, USF!  

Good results at the first workday of the spring season. Pictured: Horse Chestnut in bloom

Apr 7, 2014

Spring is breaking out! Workday is Saturday, news from Branch and the Bike Coalition

Coming up this weekend:
Panhandle Workday
Saturday, April 12
9 am - 12 noon
Meet at the Bulletin Board by the Panhandle Playground (near Oak @ Ashbury)
Gloves and tools are provided. 

More park news:
1. Bike Coalition's D5 effort increases its focus on the Panhandle 
The Bike Coalition has been organizing its members living in District 5, and one of the early results is a decision that their focus should be to make the Panhandle better for biking and walking. The group is meeting next week and will plan out ways to make this happen, such as support for the neighborhood's proposal to the Community Opportunity Fund for capital improvements in the Panhandle. Contact Janice Li ( for more information. 

2. branch schedules 2014 Urban Ecology Summer Camps
Many of you have met the Panhandle locals of branch, during our community workdays and at the special ecology event that was part of the Panhandle Park Improvement Project. branch has a new schedule of summer camps for 5-10-year olds, and though none of them will be at the Panhandle, they have other awesome locations in San Francisco farms, gardens, and other green spaces. 
Inline image 1

Mar 17, 2014

Our March Workday

At our community workday last Saturday March 8, a bunch of new plants provided by SF Rec and Park were ready for planting into our rain garden (a variety of California native plants) and around the perimeter of the playground (different exotic plants). The western end of the playground, in particular, got a thorough re-planting in order to create a planting design that should be pleasant year-round. At the end of the workday, many other people from the community gathered to learn about and offer input into plans that are being prepared for submission to the Community Opportunity Fund. The plans respond to requests for capital improvements in the park such as an improved pathway, more benches, and better signage.

Max lays out new plants for planting in the rain garden
The western edge of the playground got a complete re-planting 
Beneath the big eucalyptus behind the restrooms, volunteers spread mulch and raked leaves from the grass
Volunteers swept sand and leaves from the playground boardwalk
Mike makes comments on the big, beautiful renderings prepared to show ideas for the new proposal

Feb 26, 2014

It's a planting day for March 8, followed by community meeting

Our next community workday for the Panhandle Park is coming up in ten days. March is still planting season, and a bunch of plants are being provided by Rec and Park and intended for our rain garden. It'll be the biggest new addition of plants since our initial planting there last March! 

Gloves and Tools will be provided, but feel free to bring your own gloves if you prefer. The forecast shows rain this week and next, followed by a clearing for the it'll probably be muddy in the park. 
Local Radar
current radar of the bay area precipitation.  

Panhandle Community Workday 
Saturday, March 8 
9 am - 11:30 am
Meet near the Playground (Oak @ Ashbury) 

Near the end of our Workday, back at the Bulletin Board at 11 am, everyone is invited to participate in a community meeting regarding a proposal that is being assembled to improve the Panhandle Park. The outline currently includes:
- better signage, 
- a re-paved south pedestrian walkway, 
- better lighting, 
- more, better fixtures like benches and trashcans, and bike racks

A flyer about the meeting and two other subsequent outreach meetings can be downloaded directly from the NOPNA post about these meetings. The proposal is being developed to submit to Rec and Park's Community Opportunity Fund. 

Feb 7, 2014

Saturday Workday called off. Enjoy the rain!

With a forecast for 100% chance of rain covering most of Saturday, our monthly community workday is called off. The prediction for San Francisco is 1-2 inches tomorrow.

We worked through one rainy morning last September, so it's not like we've got anything more to prove...

Jan 29, 2014

Workday coming up Saturday Feb 8

Our regular monthly workday happens on the Second Saturday of each month, so the next workday is sneaking up quickly. All are welcome for hands-on park care:

Panhandle Community Workday
Saturday, February 8, 2014
9 am - 11:30 am
Gather near the Panhandle playground (near Ashbury @ Oak Street)

Meanwhile, the special event that had been scheduled for Sunday, 2/9 has been been postponed. As part of our 2013-14 Panhandle Park Action Project, we had scheduled a special community event to bring together people interested safer travel to and through the park. I'll announce the new date as soon as we are able to.

Jan 12, 2014

January workday pictures

Rain was in the forecast yesterday, and so many of us showed up for the community workday in our rubber boots. The rain held off until the afternoon, but the boots were perfect for working in the damp and muddy Panhandle park. A big group of volunteers set to work with the park's gardener, Guillermo. 

Our main task yesterday involved raking up leaves in the area Lyon and Central next to the south path. Many of these were big elm trees, and we also worked through the grove of pittosporum.

Leaving a pile of leaves around the base of the tree creates a nice blanket to protect roots and also suppresses weeds. The leaves of most trees (eucalyptus excepted) will decompose pretty quickly. Each year we've been able to assist the other park workers in bringing this improvement to more parts of the park.   
Another group of volunteers trimmed back burl growth from the redwoods at Baker Street. 

Meanwhile, graffiti was removed from the McKinley Memorial by city workers on Friday.