Exploring the city with Walk SF

The panoramic view from Tank Hill

Last month Metta staff had the opportunity to join grantee Walk SF for their Peak2Peak fundraiser hike. Carly, Grants and Administrative Assistant, and Catherine, Program and Grants Officer, joined the organization for a 13-mile hike around the northern part of San Francisco, seeing incredible views and learning about Walk SF’s work along the way.

Pedestrian Scramble

Along the way, the hikers visited San Francisco’s newest pedestrian scramble intersection, at Clay and Kearny Streets. In a pedestrian scramble, a new phase is added to traffic light cycles; all the lights turn red so pedestrians can cross in any direction, even diagonally. This reduces the risk that a pedestrian will be hit by a driver who’s making a turn during a red light, while the pedestrians have a walk signal to cross the street that car is turning onto.

This change is a great safety improvement at Clay and Kearny, on the border of Chinatown and Financial District neighborhoods. Nearby Portsmouth Square is a local gathering place for seniors, who are five times more likely to experience a serious or fatal injury in a car crash than younger adults are. This intersection is also one of San Francisco’s most dangerous street locations—70% of traffic injuries and deaths happen on just 12% of the city’s streets, and most of the Financial District is included in these dangerous areas.

Community Advocacy for Expanded Parks

Peak2Peak also took hikers through two parks that have been shaped by neighborhood advocacy. At the Joe DiMaggio Playground in North Beach, renovated in 2015, community activists helped transform one block of Mason Street into a park, enabling pedestrians to easily and safely move between the playground and the North Beach library branch.

Near Twin Peaks, community activism in the 1970s convinced the city to purchase Tank Hill using money from the Open Space Fund. Thanks to their efforts, the hill continues to offer San Francisco residents and visitors a beautiful panoramic view of the city and bay!

Golden Gate Park’s Dahlia Garden
A view of Alcatraz and the Bay from Russian Hill.