Deadline Extended to Apply for Free Street Tree Planting


If you’d like Friends of the Urban Forest to plant a tree in front of your glamorous Bernal Heights home, then you’re in luck: The deadline to apply for a tree-planting has been extended until January 18.

Esmeralda Martinez, a volunteer coordinator with the fabulous Friends of the Urban Forest says:

Exciting news! Our next big tree planting in Bernal Heights is just around the corner, coming up on February 25th.

We need more trees requests! The deadline for neighbors to apply to green your street has been extended one more week. The new deadline to submit forms is Wednesday January 18th. If you know anybody interested in getting a new tree, please have them contact me at 415 268 0772.

Your neighbors can sign up for a free, no-obligation site visit from our arborist team here.

Check out our community pages for more information.

Thanks for all your help greening your neighborhood!


Hat Tip: Neighbor Vitaliy.
PHOTO: Tree planting, courtesy of FUF

Hard-Working Bernal Heights Storm Drains Need Your Love and Attention


It’s another rainy, wet day, which begs the question: Have you given your nearest storm drain some love today?

Keeping storm drains free from obstruction and debris is an important way to prevent local flooding during heavy rains. Neighbor Susan tells Bernalwood about San Francisco’s adorable Adopt-a-Drain program, and how you can help keep our streets flood-free. She says:

I’m not sure how I heard about – it has a nifty website that shows where storm drains are as you move through a map o the city. Of course I moved the cursor south to check out Bernal Heights. Drains everywhere! – and some adopted, on Banks Street. Upon inspecting the drains at the intersection nearest to my home, I decided this would be a good civic responsibility to take on. (Some people will argue that “the city should” but I prefer action to waiting.)

The photo above shows my “bad” drain, on the northwest corner of Banks, along with the implements I use to give it care – a broom, a dust pan with a long handle, and a bucket. The third photo is my bad drain, cleaned. The activity took about ten minutes and afforded me some pleasant conversation with people walking by – always good to find a new way to connect with others in the neighborhood.

A couple of keys to success: Check on street sweeping days to be sure that stuff near your drain is in the street to be swept. If rain is coming, clear the drain ahead of time. It doesn’t take long, and you’ll look at all drains differently from now on. As an added plus, no one will have to jump over or wade through a giant puddle caused by your drain being stopped up!

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Neighbor Susan

Thursday: Neighbors Wanted to Discuss How to Make the Tompkins Stairs More Lovely


There’s a community meeting happening on Thursday night, November 17 to begin mapping out a plan to make the Tompkins Stairs vastly more sexxxy. Neighbor Vicky has all the details:

Just wanted to call to your attention to a community meeting to envision an improvement to the Tompkins Stairs (on Tompkins between Putnam and Nevada).

We would love to get as many members of the community to this meeting. We’re excited to make another great park like the Esmeralda Stairs, so we hope that folks who care about the stairs will show up.

This property is owned (but not maintained!) by DPW. Come meet with DPW staff and share your thoughts. We need a good turnout to let them know this neighborhood cares!

Many thanks,

Neighbor Vicky
(on behalf of the Tompkins Stairs Beautification group)



Thursday, November 17, 2016, 7:00 pm
Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center
515 Cortland Avenue, across from the Library

The purpose of the meeting, which will be facilitated by representatives of the Department of Public Works, is to sketch out a community-driven vision for the stairs. What would you like to see this space look like going forward?

  • A clean, safe open space?
  • A relaxing and beautiful green space?
  • Public art?
  • A pollination garden?
  • A children’s play space?
  • Community gardens?
  • Something else??

Please join your neighbors and help envision the future of the Tompkins Stairs!

For more information, visit our new website or contact us at

PHOTO: View of the Tompkins Stairs, courtesy of Neighbor Vicky

Bernal Heights Is Getting a New Street (With No Muss, No Fuss)


Oh hey. Bernal Heights is getting  new street.

Don’t worry: There won’t be lots of messy construction, weeks of temporary parking restrictions, and cumbersome detours that make it harder to get around. No, there won’t be any of that, because our new street already exists — but until now, it didn’t really have a name.

Yesterday the City’s Land Use and Transportation Committee approved the creation of  Martin Avenue on the east side of Bernal Heights. Our friends at CurbedSF broke the story and provide the essential background:

It’s a humble affair, just a short stretch of pavement in Bernal Heights, near the Dogpatch Miller Garden.

Previously, these blocks were home to a messy, confusing triangle, as Brewster Street splits into two before terminating at Mullen Avenue, creating a weird, nameless stretch on city-owned land.

Today the Land Use and Transportation Committee is set to approve a measure conferring the name Martin Avenue on the corridor.

Why Martin Avenue? Well, that’s where this story gets downright charming.

According to the relevant paperwork, the name honors “Martin Ron, a land surveyor whose admiration for his adopted city inspired him to dedicate his career to achieving expertise in San Francisco land surveying.”

Ron established a firm in 1969 (although the city says 1968) that’s done survey work for almost every major project in the city for decades, including the likes of SFMOMA, Millennium Tower, AT&T Park, and even fix-ups on landmarks like the Cliff House and the Golden Gate Bridge.


To be honest, it wasn’t easy to figure out exactly where our new Martin Avenue is located. The maps provided in the official documents are a bit disjointed, and Google Maps makes things a little more confusing by labeling the previously unnamed street as an offshoot of (the otherwise contiguous) Brewster Street. As shown:


Don’t blame Google; the current street signs also indicate this is was part of Brewster:


But no. That’s not Brewster Street; it’s now officially Martin Avenue.

Once you find it, Martin Avenue turns out to be a lovely little lane. This is Martin Avenue, just west of the point where it connects with Mullen:

martinstreetviewIt’s not clear if any Bernalese humans will have a Martin Avenue address, but earlier this year, I actually (and unknowingly) visited Martin Avenue with Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter to capture a sighting of a coyote hiding in an adjacent thicket:


Very fashionable!

Accident on Coleridge Highlights Concerns About Speeding Traffic


A weekend car accident on Coleridge Avenue (at Heyman) accentuated the concerns that several neighbors have expressed about new traffic patterns that may stem from the creation of the Muni “red carpet” on MIssion Street, one block to the west.

Neighbor Stan tells Bernalwood:

Traffic has increased on Coleridge since the changes were made to Mission. Traffic is heavier, and cars often speed. Looks like it resulted in a fairly serious accident Sunday  morning.

I don’t know for sure, but it appears that the car in the rear was speeding down Coleridge while the car in the front was turning off of Heyman onto Coleridge. I don’t believe anyone was seriously hurt, but a little girl in the front car was very traumatized.

Just wanted to share this, to get feedback from the community on the need for traffic calming on Coleridge.

PHOTO: Car accident on Coleridge, Nov. 13, 2016, by Neighbor Stan

How Neighbor Lisa Got a Stop Sign and Crosswalk Installed Near Holly Park


Through persistence and some savvy nagging, Neighbor Lisa recently arranged to have a stop sign and proper crosswalk installed on the east side of Holly Park near Highland. Now, Neighbor Lisa tells Bernalwood how she did it:

Recently saw your post / community update about some new neighborhood street lighting, and all that went into making that happen. Crazy, but success. Yay! Inspired me to reach out to you all to tell you about our exciting new-ish crosswalk to Holly Park, pedestrian signage, and new stop sign on Highland.

It was installed during late spring to connect Highland Avenue and Holly Park Circle walkers headed to the east side of the park (main entrance with ramps, playground, dogs galore). Before this crosswalk, there was only one on the entire circumference of the park, connecting to the elementary school on the west. I was always worried about my toddler son and his preschool crossing that crazy circle everyday with cars whipping around the curves, so I made a 311 request.

This is an exciting community safety improvement that hundreds use every day, but more importantly, it’s a way to show other neighbors that this crosswalk (and the stop sign) came about simply because I completed an online 311 application and then made a few follow-up phone calls to SFMTA. I have also called 311 for more urgent requests, like a huge pothole on Appleton at Mission where I almost flew over my bike handlebars, and a massive trash dumping on the sidewalks behind the Safeway.

PHOTO: New crosswalk at Highland, courtesy of Neighbor Lisa

Tuesday: Community Meeting About Prospect Community Garden Water Pipeline Plan


Planned repair work to a pipeline that carries water from the College Hill Reservoir near Holly Park will bring change to the Good Prospect Community Garden that runs between Santa Maria St. and Cortland Ave.

Roberto A Lopez from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission invites Bernal residents to learn more about the project on Tuesday evening:

Notice that has been mailed out to residents who live near the Good Prospect Community Garden on Cortland Ave. regarding a community meeting being held at the Bernal Heights Branch Library (Bernal Heights Room) on Tuesday, September 20 at 6:00 p.m.

This is the 2nd meeting to discuss a project that will impact the Good Prospect Community Garden.  We (SFPUC) have met already a couple of times with the members of the community garden as well as residents that live nearby.

The project will replace two existing pipelines that supply water to SF General Hospital and City Hall.  The existing pipelines run from the College Hill Reservoir and underneath the community garden.  The project is tentatively scheduled to begin construction in late 2017/early 2018.


PHOTO: Good Prospect Community Garden, as seen from Cortland via Google Maps