Nearly one hundred volunteers from the San Francisco community gathered to plant trees and urban gardens in the Tenderloin neighborhood on Saturday, June 13, 2015.
UC Hastings volunteers joined District Six Supervisor Jane Kim, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, San Francisco Department of Public Works, Friends of the Urban Forest, Tenderloin Community Benefit District and the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation, along with nearly a dozen technology companies and neighborhood organizations in an effort to green up the Tenderloin and enhance its livability.
“I’ve been living here for 10 years now. The Tenderloin is my home and I want to participate in every effort to improve this community,” said Lorenzo Listana from the Tenderloin Filipino-American Association.
“I walk through this area a lot to go to work and I’m excited to have a part in improving the ambiance here, making it a more pleasant area to walk through,” said Kelly Huang, who works at the Mid-Market Twitter HQ.
“I think it is really important to be involved in the community, especially with projects like this one where you can actually have a part in beautifying the neighborhood,” added Sarah Presant from Google.
But adding greenery to the sidewalks has more benefits than just making the streets look more appealing. According to Friends of the Urban Forest, the new trees will also help calm traffic, reduce pedestrian injuries, clean the air, and reduce polluted stormwater runoff.
“This project completion is an amazing milestone. It will not only make our neighborhood more beautiful, but a lot safer,” said District Six Supervisor Jane Kim in her opening remarks. “These widened sidewalks and trees dotting the street will signal to people driving through this neighborhood that this is a thriving community where people live, work and go to school.”
This celebratory planting event marked the final step in the $2.5 million McAllister Streetscape Project, which was launched to improve the streetscape to help San Francisco achieve its Vision Zero Policy of eliminating traffic related fatalities by 2024. Seventy-five percent of the funding was provided by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority with Proposition AA vehicle registration fee money. The remaining balance was funded by UC Hastings College of the Law.
“Our campus is sited in a world class cosmopolitan city in the gritty Tenderloin neighborhood,” said David Seward, Chief Financial Officer at UC Hastings. “We are a public school with a public mission, providing access to affordable and practical legal education. So we know that efforts to make the Tenderloin a neighborhood that people want to live, work or learn in will improve our urban campus and help create a vibrant and active community of learning in partnership and collaboration with our neighbors.”