Join us June 18th for our College Hill Mural ribbon-cutting party


Beetle the dog chills out after greeting many neighbors at the new College Hill Mural. Photograph and mural designs by artist Josh Talbott 

Artist Josh Talbott is two-thirds done painting our College Hill Mural, so we invite you to save the date for our official ribbon cutting: Saturday, June 18th.

We’re still finalizing the details for the day’s festivities, but expect cake, bubbles, and quite possibly a neighborhood potluck after the monthly Third Saturday Clean-Up of the Bernal Cut Path. Stay tuned!

Josh is on another quick surf break in Big Sur, but he’ll be back this weekend to start painting the third side of the mural, on the Bernal Cut Path side of the building. Drop by the mural (Mission at Appleton) to say Hi to Josh and Beetle—or catch them most evenings at St. Mary’s Pub. They both love meeting neighbors.

College Hill Mural: Coming soon to Mission Street!

We just received our City permit, which means that artist Josh Talbott can get started painting Discovery 2the design that neighbors selected—and the SF Arts Commission approved—for our College Hill Mural at 3600 Mission Street.

Expect to see plaster master James Quinn and team working early this week to give the cinderblock shed a smooth coat that Josh can paint. After a couple of days of work and a week of “curing” time, the three sides of the building will be ready to act as a giant canvas for Josh’s photo-realistic art.

Josh plans to begin painting by April 25. We’ll post when he and sweet dog Beetle are set up and starting to sketch out the mural’s three-sided template—they love visitors and are eager to meet neighbors!

Dec 5th & 6th: San Jose Ave. closed (for Highland Bridge work)

Update: San Jose Ave. will indeed be closed Dec 5th and 6th from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. … with the possibility of work needing to extend through Dec 10th during those same hours. From Public Works on Nov 25th:
San Jose Avenue (Rousseau St to Randall St) week-end closure due to Highland Avenue Bridge Traffic Railing Replacement Project: Week-end work December 5th and 6th

On Saturday, December 5 and Sunday, December 6, 2015 we will begin removing the temporary scaffolding that was erected this summer for the traffic rail replacement work on the Highland Ave Bridge. The Highland Avenue Bridge spans over San Jose Avenue which provides connection to downtown and the 280 freeway. We want to ensure safety during our construction, not only for the construction crews but also for users of San Jose Avenue below.


Scope of work
The contractor will be removing the scaffolding that was erected for construction. Plywood deck and debris net removal work will occur over the Muni tracks on San Jose Ave. and over San Jose Ave. New streetlights will be installed; two on each side of the bridge.

Traffic Impacts:
· San Jose Avenue traffic will be detoured at Randall St and at Rousseau St.
· A bus bridge will be provided Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Work hours (San Jose Avenue Closed from Rousseau St. to Randall St.):
· Saturday, December 5, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· Sunday, December 6, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Highland Avenue Bridge will re-open December 2015!

Grace L. Moore
Public Affairs Officer
Office of Communications & Public Affairs
San Francisco Public Works
Ph (415) 558-5282

Original post, updated to reflect that SJA will remain open to bikes and pedestrians during bridge work:
Grace Moore of SF Public Works reached out to say that the Highland Bridge contractor has requested another closure of San Jose Avenue through the Bernal Cut on the weekend of December 5th and 6th.

All southbound and northbound lanes of SJA will be closed between Randall and Rousseau to all vehicles (but NOT bikes or pedestrians) so that the contractor can work on the Highland Bridge scaffolding without fear of debris dropping onto the roadway below.

Because area traffic was so snarled during the last SJA closure, Public Works is mailing road-closure info to all nearby neighbors to give them advance notice.

And since SJA is used by more than just Bernal and Glen Park neighbors, electronic signs announcing the road closure have been requested as well.

We’ll post more info as we receive it. For additional details on the Highland Bridge railing-replacement project, visit this Highland Bridge project page that Public Works public affairs officer Grace Moore maintains.

Coming soon: College Hill Learning Garden

Site plan for the College Hill Learning Garden. (SFPUC)

SFPUC’s site plan for the new College Hill Learning Garden (click to enlarge). Plan courtesy of SFPUC

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) reached out to share that the long-planned College Hill Learning Garden is breaking ground next to the College Hill Reservoir (on Elsie Street, just west of Holly Park):

“The SFPUC will begin the installation of landscaping and educational site features for the College Hill Learning Garden. The College Hill Learning Garden will educate students about San Francisco’s water, wastewater, renewable-energy and energy-efficiency systems as well as provide hands-on exposure to healthy food cultivation and sustainable living practices.

“The project will also demonstrate a variety of cutting-edge, site-specific, ecologically based strategies known as green infrastructure on a micro-scale accessible for kids, so that tomorrow’s generation of environmental stewards can learn how to care for infrastructure systems today.”

The construction notice was posted by the SFPUC on September 11th, with no projected opening date announced yet—but the project coordinator promised to invite neighbors to a ribbon-cutting ceremony when the garden is ready.

Here’s some more info about the garden—from a meeting held this past summer at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center:
• Initially, the garden will only be open to K–5 elementary school students on field trips and only Mon-Fri during daylight hours. (Bernal residents have asked that the garden also be open to volunteers who want to help garden and to the wider community who’d like to learn more about composting, waterwise gardening, and other techniques that will be demonstrated at the garden; these are possibilities down the line, after the SFPUC and the garden’s immediate neighbors assess noise levels and traffic impact.)
• Local schools will be the anchor schools; they’ll walk or take public transit to get to the garden. Other visiting schools will use the bus zone in front of J. Serra Elementary. There will be no longterm dedicated parking or bus zone at the site; only 2 or 3 parking spots.
• Funds have been secured to hire an on-site garden educator and a maintenance person.
• The garden will be ADA-compliant, including the chicken coop and rabbit hutch that are planned down the line (the animals will be introduced later, and SFPUC staffers understand the threat of raccoons and have a sophisticated system to keep them out).
• The on-site bathroom will have a composting toilet that’s designed to be non-odorous because it’s biologically active (and it will have a maintenance agreement to keep it clean).
• Construction is projected to take 6 to 8 weeks of construction plus 2 weeks of set up and breakdown. Part of the construction will be removing an old Monterey pine on the site; an arborist discovered that it’s diseased and stressed by drought, so the garden plan was updated to remove it (it’s the only tree that will be removed from the site).

Sep 26th: Planting Party on the Bernal Cut Path — join us for pancakes, a BBQ & slope greening

From our awesome greening grant winner, neighbor Sophie on Richland:

Hello, Neighbors and Friends,

My dream has finally come true! We are doing a big planting of trees and drought-tolerant natives along the Bernal Cut (the path by our home) from Richland Ave. to St Mary’s Ave. A barren stretch of our neighborhood, soon to be covered with love and greenery.

Come one, come all: Saturday, September 26th, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. All ages welcome!

If you come with the start-up crew at 9:30 a.m., Tony will be flipping pancakes on the camp stove and pouring SF’s best coffee; if you come midday, we will have a potluck BBQ lunch thanks to neighbors Patrick and Lia.

The planting has been funded by a Carbon Sequestration grant from the SF Department of the Environment and brought to us through the amazing Parks Alliance. The Department of Public Works and The Clean & Green crew will supply us with tools and support, and Friends of the Urban Forest will train us on correct tree planting techniques.

Please RSVP here if you can make it, and please let us know if you can contribute to the potluck.

But feel free to come by and plant just one tree—every hand helps.



Sep 26th: Planting party on the Bernal Cut Path

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 10.40.07 PM

The rough planting plan that neighbor Sophie submitted to win the grant. Click to enlarge.

Join us on Saturday, September 26th, for a huge planting party!

Thanks to neighbor Sophie on Richland’s work with the SF Parks Alliance, our neighborhood was awarded an SF Carbon Fund grant by the City’s Department of the Environment. The grant money enables us to green 450 feet of the Bernal Cut Path between Richland and St. Mary’s with 600 plants and 15 trees, all native and locally appropriate.

With that many plants and trees to get in the ground, we’ll need plenty of volunteers throughout the day on September 26th. We’ll get started at 9:30 a.m. and will soon post a link so neighbors can sign up to help in the morning and/or afternoon.

Midway through the planting day, volunteers and the Parks Alliance’s Clean & Green Crew will take a break for a backyard barbecue that Lia and Patrick on College are kindly hosting. All neighbors are welcome to join—bring a side dish and something to throw on the grill! We’ll post a link soon to RSVP for the BBQ address.

After the planting, a group of neighbors on Richland, College, and St. Mary’s has kindly volunteered to help with upkeep, including watering until El Niño arrives and as the plants and trees develop deeper roots and get established. Thank you, neighbors!

More info coming soon—until then, please save the date:
Bernal Cut Path Planting Party
Saturday, September 26th, 2015
9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Aug 25th: SFMTA to host an Open House on San Jose Ave. road diet

The SFMTA has organized a series of community meetings to provide updates on the northbound San Jose Avenue road diet, and everyone—no matter where you live—is invited to the next one, an Open House on August 25th at Glen Park Elementary.

At the Open House, expect to learn initial data from the narrowing of the I-280 north off-ramp onto San Jose Ave. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions of SFMTA staff from this project and to speak with Caltrans, which is responsible for the off-ramp (and its lane configurations and conditions).

You’ll also get a first look at an upcoming SFMTA Muni Forward project that will study the intersections of San Jose Ave. at Randall/Mission and at Dolores and propose changes for better traffic flow and increased pedestrian safety (for accessing the J-Church Muni stop and Fairmount Elementary School).

Here are meeting notes from SFMTA’s August 13th presentation to the Glen Park Association. And here’s the full Open House meeting notice from SFMTA:

Please join the SFMTA on Tuesday, August 25th, 2015, for a community open house to share information on the Northbound San Jose Avenue and I-280 Off-ramp Road Diet Pilot Project.

Staff will be available from 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM at Glen Park School to guide members of the public through the project’s purpose, need and implementation. Updates will be provided on historic collision data and traffic observations, as well as next steps.

San Jose Ave. Road Diet Pilot Project Community Open House

Hosted by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Glen Park School

151 Lippard Avenue

For more background information, please visit the project pageAn interim update will be posted to the page in the coming weeks.

Highland Bridge: Closing 6/11 for 6 months (they mean it this time … really!)

Photo by Flickr user Hamner_Fotos.

Photo by Flickr user Hamner_Fotos.

We just received an update from Public Works: The Highland Bridge is set to close on June 11 or soon thereafter (bridge closure signs are scheduled to go up on June 11). Complete project details here.

Yes, we know we’ve been told time and time again and yes again that the bridge would be closing, but Public Works assures us that their subcontractor is really ready to proceed this time.

So please expect the 1-99 “unit block” of Highland Avenue to be closed to through traffic between Mission and Arlington, and please expect the Highland Bridge to be completely closed to cars, bikes, and pedestrians for up to 6 months while its crumbling railings are replaced.

Please allow enough time to follow detour signs. And if you’re driving across the Richland Bridge as an alternative, please remember that Richland Avenue is both a neighborhood street and Bike Route 66.

College Hill Mural: The winning design

Meet your winning College Hill Mural design, Discovery 2:

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Between our online voting page and our printed ballots trotted around to Mission Street businesses and College Hill residences, we received more than 130 votes from neighbors in College Hill and Bernal as well as some votes from surrounding neighborhoods. Discovery 2 was selected 2 to 1 over its closest runner-up, the original Discovery design.

Next steps: We’ll gather your letters of support (please message us at collegehillneighbors [at] gmail [dot] com if you’d like to write a letter of support!). Then we’ll present the winning mural design and those letters of support to the SF Arts Commission with artist Josh Talbott.

If all goes well, Josh should be painting our mural at 3600 Mission Street this summer! We’ll keep you updated as we move through the Arts Commission process, and we thank you again for voting and voicing your support for a neighborhood mural!

College Hill Mural: Last chance to vote for a design!

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Big thanks to all of you who’ve voiced your opinions on our 4 neighborhood mural design choices. We’ve extended the voting deadline to this Sunday, May 10th, at 5 p.m. If you haven’t already voted—or if you voted when we had just 3 design choices—please visit our voting site to help pick the winning design. Once we have a clear winner, we’ll elevate that design to the SF Arts Commission for approval, with the goal of putting a brush in artist Josh Talbott’s hand this summer.

When you vote, you’ll have a chance to add Comments. Here are some questions that neighbors have asked:

How did you choose the mural location?
The drab cinderblock shed at 3600 Mission St., on the north slope of College Hill, seemed like a natural blank canvas for a colorful mural and a welcoming, neighborhood-identifying sign that doubles as wayfinding to the Bernal Cut Path. So we researched the owners of the building, learned it was City property, and asked for permission to paint it. Then we set about finding funding and an artist.

How did you choose the artist?
About 2 years ago, when we were thinking about applying for an Invest in Neighborhoods Initiative grant to paint a neighborhood mural, we reached out to muralists whose work we’d seen in SF. Josh Talbott, who painted the mural at SF Community School in the Excelsior, immediately expressed interest and has been patiently working with us through the relatively long City process.

How did you choose the designs?
We asked Josh to create 3 eye-catching designs for neighbors to choose from, and he kindly painted a 4th design to delve more deeply into the concept of “discovery,” as that—plus bringing more color to Mission Street—was our goal for a neighborhood mural.

Will the designs look exactly like they do on the voting site?
The artist used photos to illustrate his source material for each design mock-up. He will adapt the winning design—and logo size—to fit the wall space and then hand-paint the mural. So the look will be more naturalistic. And yes, the “grubby fingernail”—Josh’s own painted-covered hand, reaching for the marble in the Discovery designs’ source photo—will definitely be cleaned up if it’s part of the winning design!

Will the top of the shed—the peeling wood part above the cinderblocks—also be part of the mural?
No, just the cinderblocks will form the mural’s canvas, as they can be coated with plaster to make a smooth painting surface. But the wood won’t be left in its sad state; Josh will paint the wood a solid color that fits with the mural’s 3 sides.

What if the mural gets tagged?
The finished mural will receive an anti-graffiti coat, which helps protect the mural and allows for tagging to be scrubbed off. We’re also developing a maintenance plan with Public Works, the City agency that uses the shed.

Have other questions? Please leave them in the Comments box when you vote: