Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Walk in the Park: Buena Vista's New Eastside Path

Those of us who live in NOPA get so accustomed to "the Park" or "our Park" being the Panhandle and the Golden Gate that we forget another green treasure just a few blocks up the hill. Buena Vista Park is a perfect outing for these November days with just enough sun to counter the chill in the air. Check out the new eastside path in Buena Vista Park, an ambitious undertaking to making the park more accessible to all neighbors.

Keep a little history in mind as you approach San Francisco's first park in the city's publicly owned park system. Known as "Hill Park" in the 1860s when the Committee on Outside Lands selected the nearly 600 foot high, 36 acre hill for public use.* By the way, those "Outer Lands" that civic-minded San Franciscans discussed is right where NOPA is situated today along with the rest of city blocks west of Van Ness Avenue.

Buena Vista Park rivals Golden Gate for its history and reputation: colorful certainly, controversial for its earlier thick-brush activities, and inspiring for the dedication of neighborhood organizations -- the Buena Vista Neighborhood Association and the Friends of Buena Vista -- the Recreation and Parks Department, and the Neighborhood Parks Council to protect and make this somewhat wild expanse more accessible.

Don't settle for an armchair visit, but North Panhandle resident Dale Danley provides a preview of what you'll see with the new eastside path at Buena Vista. Take a look at Dale's Scene here. What do you think of the path: a huge improvement or a bit overbuilt? Leave your comments on Dale's blog or here too.

* For more history of the park, see this summary provided by Jeanne Alexander of the Neighborhood Parks Council and for a cool 1948 overhead view of the BV area, see this other article written by Alexander. (Be sure to note the roadway the length of Panhandle Park in this shot).

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