Pasadena Velasco

Open SPace Project

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Proposal Introduction: The Pasadena-Velasco project site is a steep hillside segment of Pasadena Street in the Visitacion Valley neighborhood. Once a rocky mound jutting up from the floor of Visitacion Valley, this isolate landmark was slowly surrounded and encroached by development. Homes were built along its rocky flanks, and in time Pasadena Street crested the barren summit. Due to the steep slope of the hill’s northern face, a segment of this street could not be built. This this 100’x60’ unaccepted street is regularly used as an illegal dumping site. It’s overgrown weeds and litter is a source of blight within the community.

The Pasadena-Velasco Hillside Open Space Project will transform and restore this neglected and unusable hillside into an attractive and functional community open space. This project will create a gathering space for the neighbors and visitors.

The blighted site will become a place where native plants will provide habitats for birds and butterflies. When complete, the site will be a place that improves visual and pedestrian connectivity within the neighborhood.

Core Project Goals:

  • To create a gathering space that the community will be proud of.

  • Create a place that will inform about and preserve about the unique history and ecology of Visitacion Valley the Neighborhood.

  • Create a habitat for birds and butterflies with native plants

  • Increase connections in the neighborhood with paths, platforms and a possibly stairway

  • Provide views of the valley with elevated platforms and seating areas

Proposal Location: The Project is located in San Francisco’s Visitacion Valley (D10) neighborhood, exactly one block North of the Cow Palace and directly across the street from the massive Sunnydale Housing HOPE SF site. The site is owned by San Francisco Department of Public Works (DPW). DPW considers this site an ‘Unaccepted Street’ due to the dramatic grade change between Pasadena Street and Velasco Avenue. Pasadena Street ends about 100 ft from what would have been an intersection at Velasco Avenue if not for the steep grade change. There is a Public Utilities Commission easement running along the centerline of the site.

Velasco Ave (97’ above sea level) is approximately 40 feet below the terminus of Pasadena St (137’ above sea level). The site is approximately 6000 sq ft (100ft deep x 60ft wide). The site is unfenced and is overgrown with weeds and prone to illegal dumping. The sidewalk fronting the site is incomplete. Illegally parked cars, trash, and the slow erosion of the hillside leaves the path in front of the site impassable for pedestrians.

Design Devlopment and Community Input Process: The concept began in 2019 when a neighbor and his family took an interest in tackling the overgrown and blighted lot. They started regular Saturday work parties and through this they met their neighbors. Talk of improvement to the lot soon began. A social media post in early 2020 featuring a concept sketch (done by one of our Project Team members) illustrated a landscaped site with a long run of stairs generated interest throughout the neighborhood. This simple act began a series of messages and shared ideas about how the concept could become a reality. The Community Challenge Grant was identified early on as a potential source of funds. Understanding the competitive nature of the CCG, a core team organized and began to develop a formal project scope and design.

Our goal is to create a space that the community will be proud of.

Visitacion Valley Connections in partnership with blocs design Groups applied for and was received a Community Challenge Grant to begin reimaging this site, but we will still need your help.