Overview

Background
The street medians on Diamond Heights Boulevard between Duncan Street and Berkeley Way (roughly six tenths of a mile) make a visible statement about how the neighborhood views itself. Anyone passing through the area by bus, car, or foot—residents and visitors alike—forms an impression, consciously or not.

Opportunity
Many current plants have lived long past their maturity. Expeditious and infrequent maintenance has resulted in ungainly plants, diminished visibility for drivers, compacted soil, and the collection of windblown trash.

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Scope
The DHB Median project intends to inspire neighborhood residents to replant and maintain the medians through donations and volunteer hours. The project is under the fiscal sponsorship of the San Francisco Parks Alliance’s “Street Parks” program and approved by the Department of Public Works. To date, 29 stakeholder groups in Diamond Heights have been identified, and a contact database has been created.

Steering Committee
A Steering Committee will lead the project, collect and evaluate neighborhood input, solicit volunteers and contributions, manage finances, and coordinate all related activities/decisions with DPW. Committee members are Jeanette Oliver, Betsy Eddy, and Paul Matalucci.

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Design Considerations
The project will be carried out in phases over several years. Design choices will anticipate plant life expectancy and site maintenance requirements for at least the next decade. Preliminary design criteria include:

  • pedestrian/vehicle safety
  • driver visibility
  • pedestrian access to cross the median
  • irrigation, low-water usage
  • long-term maintenance
  • site-specific plant selection
  • return to historical Modernism landscaping style
  • visual appeal/aesthetics

Desired Outcomes
Active residents strengthen a neighborhood. Public displays of cooperation signal an area that’s alert and ready to act. In addition to the aesthetic benefits, the median project will bring neighbors together to form relationships, create unofficial disaster response networks, increase property values, and give residents a chance to build something together and enjoy the neighborhood community.

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