Broderick/Hayes wins “Most Greenified Block”

Award to be presented at Earth Day event, Saturday April 19

April 17, 2014 — Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) will present the second annual “Most Greenified Block” award to Gisela Schmoll, representing the residents of the 500 block of Broderick Street in San Francisco, on Saturday, April 19 at the Earth Day celebration in the Civic Center.

The 500 block of Broderick Street before and after the installation of sidewalk gardens

The 500 block of Broderick Street before and after the installation of sidewalk gardens

The award recognizes the block that has undergone the greatest “green” transformation during the past year. FUF, a non-profit organization that helps individuals and neighborhood groups plant and care for street trees and sidewalk gardens in San Francisco, evaluates candidates for the award on the basis of their progress in planting and maintaining street trees and sidewalk gardens with the participation of neighborhood residents.

Schmoll, an architect, moved to the NOPA neighborhood in 1999 when she and her husband bought a house there. The residents of her block are a fairly even split of renters and owners, she said, and their stewardship of the block was mixed prior to last August, when she recruited her neighbors to participate in the installation of sidewalk gardens. Since then, she has seen an increase in neighborhood pride, cohesion and activity to keep the area clean.

Gisela Schmoll

Gisela Schmoll

“I’m out there weeding the gardens every weekend, and it’s amazing how many people come by and compliment the gardens,” Schmoll said. “It’s made the block more communal.”

“The residents of the Broderick and Hayes neighborhood have made the area a pleasure to visit,” Dan Flanagan, executive director of FUF, said. “They’ve created a beautiful example of how neighbors can come together to improve a neighborhood.”

Schmoll and her neighbors benefited from a grant from the Sidewalk Garden Project, a partnership between FUF and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission that funds the installation of sidewalk gardens to capture stormwater and reduce the burden on the city’s combined storm-sewer system. Heavy storms can overwhelm the system, resulting in neighborhood flooding and partially treated wastewater flowing into the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean.

The sidewalk garden installation on Broderick and Hayes streets last August replaced a total of 969 square feet of concrete sidewalk with landscaping. Friends of the Urban Forest estimates that over the next 30 years, this will reduce stormwater runoff by 80,000 gallons and will reduce the energy needed to treat wastewater by 143 kilowatt hours.


Drought-tolerant and native plants make Broderick Street a more pleasant place to walk

The species planted in the gardens include Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum), Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea), Rosy Buckwheat (Eriogonum grande rubescens), Sticky Monkeyflower (Mimulus aurantiacus), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and others. The gardens were decorated with Napa Wall Rock boulders and edged with Cold Water Canyon Stone. Permeable pavers were installed adjacent to the gardens.

In addition to reducing stormwater runoff, urban greening projects beautify the city, calm traffic, relieve stress, bring neighbors together, and increase the likelihood that people will walk rather than drive.

FUF will present the Most Greenified Block award to Schmoll between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m. at the Speaker Dome, located on Fulton Street near Hyde Street.

See high-resolution images of the sidewalk gardens on the 500 block of Broderick street.

Get information about the Sidewalk Garden Project here.

About Friends of the Urban Forest

Since 1981, Friends of the Urban Forest has planted more than 48,000 trees to reduce the city’s tree shortage. By greening the streets of San Francisco, FUF supports the health and livability of the urban environment.