The Presidio's 'crowning jewel' set to open next spring 🏞

11.23.21 * Circulation 3,244 * 152 members

Hey there, San Francisco. 

Have you ever driven through the tunnels on Presidio Parkway near the Golden Gate Bridge and wondered why they exist? Well, they’re actually a critical piece of a vision that’s over a decade in the making to connect the Presidio area to Crissy Field with a park fittingly named “Tunnel Tops.”

Recently, I visited to check out the park’s progress. 

Construction of the Presidio Tunnel Tops began in 2019, four years after Caltrans turned Doyle Drive into Presidio Parkway and installed the tunnels. So far, the team led by James Corner (designer of NYC’s High Line) has sculpted the area above the tunnels into a gently-sloped hill equipped with wide terraced steps, scenic overlooks, and a sprawling natural playground space called the Outpost. 

Personally, I’m most excited for the large propane fire pit in the area called “Campfire Circle,” which, Presidio Trust spokesperson Lisa Petrie told me, is meant to evoke “a real national park experience” in the middle of the city. The Presidio, after all, is one of the country’s few urban national parks. 

When I walked around the property, some of the plants were already taking root. Petrie told me that most of them were native and all came from the Presidio Conservancy’s nursery. A couple of the natural play structures were set up in the playground area as well, including a latticed climbing structure called the Birds Nest. 

Presidio Tunnel Tops was originally scheduled to open fall of 2021, but it’s been pushed back a bit given the complexity and sheer scope of the project. It’s now slated to debut the last weekend of April 2022. And when it does, Petrie says, it will be the Presidio’s “crowning jewel.”

Written by Natalie Mead 

And with that...onto some news… 

Top story: One thing you should know 

On Monday, Hoodline reported that a plaque has been added to a Dolores Park bench to honor transit activist and former Twitter employee Courtney Brousseau, who was fatally shot while walking home from the Mission-area park in May 2020. 

The plaque reads: “I just ate a delicious burrito in Dolores park and for a brief moment everything felt okay,” which was the tweet Brousseau wrote just 10 minutes before the deadly incident. 

Quick bits: Bite-sized news stories from across the city 

  • 🏗 San Francisco city officials have 30 days to provide the California Department of Housing and Community Development with “reasoning and evidence” for why it stopped two recent projects that would have resulted in over 800 units of housing. Both projects, 469 Stevenson St. and 450 O’Farrell St., were approved by the city’s Planning Commission but “effectively turned down” by the Board of Supervisors, the Chronicle’s JK Dineen writes. (Chronicle

  • ⛺️ On Tuesday, The Frisc said that 26% of the 177 positions at San Francisco’s Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing were unfilled as of earlier this month. As reporter Kristi Coale writes, “That’s one major complaint from advocates for the homeless, who are increasingly fed up with the slow pace of housing people despite a record $1.2 billion budget and new leadership.” (The Frisc

  • 🌿 Arcana, a plant shop on Mission Street (near 21st), opened this summer, and recently it started doubling as a natural wine bar from 5:30 pm to midnight. Importantly, as the Chronicle’s Elena Kadvany confirms, the plant side of the business “remains open at night so customers can have a glass of wine while shopping.” (Chronicle

What else I’m reading: Links to browse at your leisure 

'It's Going to Make it Worse': Parents Wary of SF School Board Recall (KQED

Why Giants’ Gabe Kapler sees Alyssa Nakken as a possible future MLB manager (Chronicle

How San Francisco convinced thousands of people to adopt storm drains (SFGATE

SFMOMA show unveils 85 years of photography (Examiner) 

And finally…

As we head into Thanksgiving, I’m just feeling super thankful for all you readers here. When I started The SF Minute earlier this year, I really wasn’t sure if it would catch on. But you all embraced it, told your friends about it, became members, and gave me a shot at actually making this a full-time gig. I’m so thankful for that.

As a reminder, I’ll be off the next few days and back on Monday (11/29). If anything totally out of the ordinary should happen, I’ll let you know. 

In the meantime, have a fun (and safe!) Thanksgiving weekend, y’all. And talk soon.

- Nick B.