In clever reuse of urban space, a 14-acre park will be built in San Francisco near the water over two freeway tunnels within sight of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The $110 million project will include thousands of native plants, trees, meadows, trails, gardens plus a community plaza and youth education center. It is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
The project called Tunnel Tops, is part of the popular Presidio area, which is a former military base overlooking the bay and Golden Gate Bridge.
Tunnel Tops is another park project in a similar vein as the famous HighLine in NYC, the Beltline in Atlanta or the just started Underline in Miami.
All of these projects make clever use of existing space in the middle of urban environments.
The Tunnel Tops park is being built on tunnels that were constructed to replace Doyle Drive, a stretch of road along the water that was considered very hazardous.
Funding for the multi-million project is mostly from private donations from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
The park will link with Crissy Field, another reclaimed area that was an abandoned military runway covered with old metal buildings, fencing and concrete.
The area also connects with the Presidio’s Main Post with its parade grounds and visitors center.
All of these locations have stunning views of the bay and bridge and are sure to be a hit with the public.
The trend of using old abandoned city land for new parks
This use of vacant spaces in the middle of urban areas is a trend that is quickly gaining ground.
In fact, the Tunnel Tops project is being designed by James Corner Field Operations, the designer of the super-popular HighLine park in New York City. That park was built on 1.5 miles of an abandoned elevated railway that cuts through the center of the city.
Even though it is a relatively small park, the HighLine is a big hit with city residents and visitors. This small stretch of elevated trails with foliage and several open areas attracts an incredible number of visitors every year – about 5 million.
What’s also happened with the HighLine is that it has elevated housing prices near the park, resulting in more tax revenue. The unique park has also attracted more housing development to be built, estimated at $1 billion.
The Beltline in Atlanta is built on old railroad tracks that surround Atlanta.
In Miami, the Underline recently broke ground on a series of linear parks it will be building in the shade of the Metrorail line. That 10-mile long park will also include artwork, jogging trails, bike trails and other amenities that will be sure to be the talk of the town and attract its share of visitors.
This movement is certainly encouraging with these efforts nationwide to reuse abandoned land and at the same time, provide more green space for urban residents.