Today marks a historic moment for The Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, as the Presidio Tunnel Tops project was formally launched this morning with a âgroundmakingâ ceremony to kick off the construction phase of this highly anticipated phase of the development of The Presidio.
Set to open in 2021, the ambitious Tunnel Tops project, designed by James Corner Field Operations (the firm behind New Yorkâs High Line), will create an entirely new 14-acre park atop two freeway tunnels just east of Crissy Field. The new multi-use public park will have unparalleled views of the Golden Gate Bridge and, more importantly, it will re-connect the San Francisco waterfront to the Presidio Main Post, a passage that was broken some 80 years ago when Doyle Drive was built to create access to the Golden Gate Bridge.
Corner says, âThis has been an extraordinary experience to create a new green centerpiece for the Presidio in the context of the larger Bay Area and the world-class city of San Francisco. The iconic setting is perfect for transforming highway infrastructure into a vibrant new public space.â The final design was informed by the input of more than 10,000 community members to ensure that residents would be happy about the ways in which their neighborhood would be transformed.
Funding efforts have been led by campaign co-chairs Lynne Benioff, Mark Buell, and Randi Fisher, along with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
When Tunnel Tops opens in 2021, it will include gardens with native vegetation, walking pathways, scenic overlooks, a campfire circle, picnic areas, and a three-acre interactive play area designed to connect urban kids with nature. The hope is that this âYouth Campusâ will encourage environmental stewardship among the cityâs youth population, setting in motion education and awareness about the state of our immediate environment and our planet, in general.
Younger kids will have access to âThe Outpost,â a multi-sensory, inquiry-driven space for place-based learning and adventure. Geared toward toddlers up to age 13, The Outpost will also offer activities for teens involved in the youth mentorship programs run by the Crissy Field Center.
The Presidio is one of San Franciscoâs most exciting neighborhoods right now. It has always been rich in history and a compelling area for hiking and other outdoor activities, but now itâs a full-blown destination for both day-trippers and visitors from afar, with excellent restaurants, museums, a new visitor center, a free shuttle, a brand-new theatre, and some of the most exciting programming in any U.S. city. Tunnel Tops will also be an impressive green space in the heart of urban San Francisco.
The park has 12 trails for hiking and biking, from wooded paths to coastal cliffside walks, each offering a different ambiance, length, and level of difficulty.
Two hotels â The Inn at the Presidio and The Lodge at the Presidio â are affordable and comfortable, a rarity in San Francisco these days.
To learn more about Tunnel Tops or to contribute during its construction phase, visit the projectâs website.