What prompted us to get going? We got tired of living in trash. The site is a half a block long dead-end street on the southern end of the 1100 block of Tennessee Street. It is one of these rare spots in San Francisco labeled ‘unaccepted’ street. It means that the city does not maintain the area. The hillside was eroding and drug deals took place in the bushes. Especially at night the dead-end street was a bit scary. Neighboring residents did what they could in battling trash and overgrown weeds, but it just was not enough to make a difference and felt like a hopeless uphill battle. We needed to boost efforts and the larger community came to help. Dogpatch Neighborhood Association, other local street park heroes, and SF Community Challenge Grant program gave us the help to beat the inertia.
How did it get the name Angel Alley? All babies get a name, so did this. We thought that Angel Alley name would honor the site history and accent the exciting night and day life in the alley. The overall goal was to create a green and pedestrian friendly area, which would add life quality to the old residents and be welcoming for the new residents… job of an angel.
Why does it matter? Angel Alley is a key access point and an active community of people from all different walks of life. The buildings along the alley house homes, offices, studios and meeting places. The street-end has pedestrian and bike access to the next block, and that makes the area a natural shortcut between south Dogpatch and the main street of Dogpatch – 22nd Street. It will be the fastest walkway between T-line and Caltrain. Pedestrian traffic on Angel Alley is expected to grow over 10 times after new developments are completed in 2018. Click Angel Alley Proposal 2014 to read more about our vision, goals and plans.
Is this sustainable? All the upgrades are environmentally friendly. We have taken measures to curb erosion and all the plants are xeriscape. We have used recycled concrete in the retaining walls, upcycled old curbsides, and used solar power. Our water fountain is solar powered and recycles water. Maintenance will be taken care of by Dogpatch & NW Potrero Hill Green Benefit District (GBD).
Empowering the community. Even more than on environmental sustainability, we have focused on creating a space to support our living and working lives. We have created solutions for different needs the community has at different times (day and night) at this location: place for privacy, place for relaxing, place for checking your phone, place for a chat, place for passing by, place for just going about your life. For example, at lunch and coffee break times, people used to stand on the street or just sit on the side walk. Now with the new retaining wall, and upcycled granite benches, people enjoy their lunches and phone calls sitting and relaxing.
Parking, oh parking. People used to park their cars on tree roots and mud piles on the sides of the alleyway. One of our project goals was to define more clearly parking spaces without loosing any of them. With the growing amount of cars in Dogpatch, we have ways to go still, but having the cars aligned is a good start…