Announcement coincides with the first anniversary of the park destination.
San Francisco, CA (July 12, 2023) – The Presidio Trust today announced it will expand the iconic Presidio Tunnel Tops by adding new parkland for a picnic and gathering area along with high demand visitor amenities.
The announcement comes as Presidio Tunnel Tops marks its first anniversary. Since opening on July 17, 2022, the hugely popular destination has hosted nearly 1.8 million visits, welcomed 100 community-based organizations, and featured a dozen large community-curated events drawing thousands from across the Bay Area. The Outpost playground itself has been a major attraction, with 400,000 visitors coming to climb, crawl, and swing over the last 12 months. The new gathering space will be just yards away, providing much needed seating and amenities for families and other visitors to that area of the park.
“Every day we see the joy on people’s faces at Presidio Tunnel Tops,” says Presidio Trust CEO Jean Fraser. “We’re excited to be expanding the picnic and gathering areas so more families and friends can comfortably enjoy the magnificent views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the San Francisco Bay.”
Presidio Tunnel Tops was created following years of planning during which the Presidio Trust, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and National Park Service hosted public workshops around San Francisco and solicited online comments to learn what would make the national park site welcoming and accessible to everyone.
More than 10,000 people participated in the process. Picnic areas consistently ranked at the top of the list of needed park amenities. Not surprisingly, the existing picnic areas at Presidio Tunnel Tops have been overwhelmingly popular, demonstrating the demand for more group gathering space, especially near the playground.
“This new phase of expansion for the Presidio ensures that the park remains an inclusive and welcoming gathering space for the entire San Francisco community,” said Lyslynn Lacoste, former director of Bayview Hunters Point Mobilization for Adolescent Growth in our Communities (BMAGIC) and a decade-long Presidio community partner. “The Presidio continues to offer a place of healing and wellness, which is critical to many and needed across the city.”
Outpost Meadow will be created by transforming a 1.5-acre section of the parking lot east of Sports Basement into a public gathering space with views toward the bay and Golden Gate Bridge. The area will be located just west of the Outpost.
The site will feature multiple picnic tables and large picnic “banquettes” with a combined seating capacity for almost 240 people. Tables will be wheelchair accessible with companion seating and ample accessible parking nearby. The picnic tables will be partially shaded, and some will offer grills. Picnic areas will be surrounded by drought tolerant vegetation which will provide shelter from the wind and offer a buffer to the roadway and parking lot. Additionally, Outpost Meadow will include lawn space for visitors to gather and play, and easier access to the popular Presidio Pop Up mobile food trucks and carts. The space will create a new entrance for the nearby Outpost playground, offering a safe and welcoming trail that can accommodate wheelchair users and strollers, making it easier for people to get to Presidio Tunnel Tops and enjoy the day comfortably. In response to feedback and use patterns at Presidio Tunnel Tops, other amenities – including expanded bike parking, drinking fountains, trash receptacles, and shade – will be incorporated.
In addition to visitor amenities, Outpost Meadow will deliver critical environmental benefits and help the park be more climate resilient. The meadow will replace asphalt with coastal habitat for native plants and wildlife. The permeable surface will absorb water during heavy rains, reducing the flooding that was seen during the recent severe winter storms. It will also improve water quality in the San Francisco Bay by redirecting some of the stormwater away from storm drains and into on-site retention basins. In total, park managers have converted about 180 acres of asphalt in the Presidio to permeable surface over the past two decades.
Sports Basement, the popular retailer and community destination, will remain in its current location and be open during construction. The parking lot next to Sports Basement will be improved and a second lot added on the north side of the building.
Construction will begin in August with the removal of a small non-historic building connected to Sports Basement to prepare the site. Outpost Meadow is expected to open to the public at the end of 2025.
The Outpost Meadow expansion is made possible through grant funding from the State of California “Outdoors for All” initiative, designed to expand outdoor and recreation opportunities for all Californians regardless of zip code or income.
“The Outpost Meadow is an exemplary project in line with Governor Newsom’s focus on equitable access to green spaces for urban communities,” said Katherine Toy, California Natural Resources Agency Deputy Secretary for Access. “We’ve seen this vision come to life at the nearby Presidio Tunnel Tops and are happy to help to expand that good work.”
Design for the Outpost Meadow was completed by James Corner Field Operations, the team that designed the award-winning Presidio Tunnel Tops and the High Line in New York City. Plant Construction will serve as the general contractor.
The Presidio is one of America’s most visited national park sites, located within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Spanning 1,500 acres next to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio is among the most biologically diverse parks in America. Historically a home to native peoples and a military post under three flags, its facilities have been reinvented as museums, restaurants, hotels, homes, and offices. The Presidio Trust is the federal agency that stewards the Presidio, in partnership with the National Park Service and with support from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. The Trust sustains the Presidio by leasing homes and workplaces and offering visitor amenities.
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