Visualizing Bernal Heights After Lots and Lots of Sea-Level Rise



Burrito Justice, chief spokesblogger for the La Lengua separatists, recently joined forces with Brian Stokle to provide a detailed examination of what San Francisco would look like following significant sea-level rise caused by global climate change.

As you may recall, Burrito Justice took an initial pass at this project earlier this year, with a whimsical map that envisioned the “San Francisco Archipelago” following a colossal 200-foot sea-level rise. The new maps add a detailed street grid, as well as a visualization of what Our Faire City would look like following a somewhat less apocalypic (and somewhat more Sandy-like) 25-foot surge.

The resulting maps of the City are both hilarious and alarming. Yet because we are very vain here in Bernal Heights, let’s just focus on what they tell us about potential scenarios for the future of our own neighborhood.

Let’s start with the eminently possible 25-foot scenario:


As you can see, Bernal fares relatively well in this scenario, with fashionable views to the east overlooking Islais Bay. Bayshore Avenue simply becomes part of the bay, which means that Lowe’s, the Silver Crest Restaurant & Bar, and the (New) Old Clam House are lost to us.

Things look very different if the waters rise by 200 feet:


In this scenario, Bernal Heights is an island. The issue of La Lenguan sovereignty becomes moot, since all of La Lengua is underwater. My house on Precita is underwater too (but lives on via an eponymous marina). Happily, the Cortland retail strip survives, no doubt having morphed into a string of Nantucket-style boutiques selling nautical art, chocolate fudge, and nostalgia-themed t-shirts.

I’ve been giving some thought to how Bernal might adapt to the 200′ scenario, and I’ll have more to say — and show — about that in the new year.

19 thoughts on “Visualizing Bernal Heights After Lots and Lots of Sea-Level Rise

  1. Curious to see if the map people could overlay the projected 25′ rise with an early map of SF circa 1840’s–it seems like we’d just be reverting to what was there before landfill?

  2. I am happy to report that my house’s second story will project out of the water just off the northern shore of Bernal Island in the ritzy Coso Marina district. Ample boat parking…

  3. Looks like treacherous navigation between Potrero and Bernal Islands, we will definitely need our own foghorn…there’s no cozier sound to fall asleep to on a socked-in night. Maybe a cute old lighthouse at Peralta Point too.

    • Seems that I lose my house somewhere between 40 and 50 meters, but if it even gets to 30 meters, I’d be surprised that someone would want to live that close to the rising tide.

    • Oh nice, looks like I won’t be buying sandbags until about 30M. Cole Hardware, you might want to start looking for empty space on Courtland to relocate to, I’m kinda last minute with these sorts of purchases.

    • For all of you who want to own some prime bay-front property in 100 years, check out the glorious future that beholds the central valley! You too could get in on that as an early investor! I can see the new slogan for Chowchilla already…”no longer just for the incarcerated women”

  4. I’m just happy the Alemany Farmer’s Market stays intact. Deliveries may have to come in by boat, but the market stays dry with a 25′ rise.

    Investing in the Sunset District now looks like a solid investment – most of it is above 200′!

    • Those six foot high pipes from the Valencia Street sewer construction site are actually going to be used to make a 200 foot vertical ventilation tower for the La Lengua GIF facility.

      • I’m already pitching the television show. Some sort of Waterworld meets C.H.U.D., but with a Full House vibe the kids can get into.

  5. I’d be really interested in you guys plotting what it would look lie vis a vis impact with no sea walls at what scientists think it’ll be by 2100 – 1-2 meters; 3-6 feet which generally ends up twice that much for storms so 6-12 feet (think Holland).

  6. “Dear neighbor, you once again have parked your dinghy in front of my slip. If you do not remove it I will be forced to call in the coast guard.”

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