Tenderloin wins San Francisco’s “Most Greenified Block”

April 21, 2016–On Saturday April 23, Friends of the Urban Forest (FUF) will present the fourth annual “Most Greenified Block” award at the Earth Day San Francisco street festival to representatives of a coalition of organizations responsible for greening two blocks of McAllister Street in the Tenderloin neighborhood.

The award recognizes the area of San Francisco 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 throughout the city, 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.

David Seward of UC Hastings College of the Law and Julie Doherty of the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation will accept the award from FUF executive director Dan Flanagan. Participants in the greening project also included the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, San Francisco Public Works, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Tenderloin Community Benefit District, San Francisco Clean City Coalition, Supervisor Jane Kim, and dozens of volunteers and neighborhood residents.

With the assistance of Friends of the Urban Forest, this coalition planted 16 new Ginkgo trees, and replaced 260 square feet of concrete with new sidewalk gardens, on McAllister Street between Larkin and Leavenworth streets.

With only 4.1% of its land area covered by trees, the Civic Center/Tenderloin area is the least leafy part of the city (tied with SoMa) — and San Francisco is one of the least leafy cities in the nation. Despite its “green” reputation, San Francisco ranks only 17th among the 20 most populous U.S. cities in its tree canopy coverage. Worse yet, our urban forest is shrinking, because tree mortality is currently outpacing tree planting; the San Francisco city government has allocated very little funding to its own tree planting program in recent years.

“The distribution of trees and gardens in San Francisco and in other cities is far from equal; there’s more in affluent neighborhoods and less in poor neighborhoods,” Flanagan said. “But last year, thanks to a terrific community effort, the Tenderloin became greener, and all who live and work there are benefiting.”

Urban greening projects beautify the city, reduce stormwater runoff, 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 at 11:55 a.m. at the festival stage at Valencia and 22nd streets.

For high-resolution images of the Tenderloin Greening Project, see http://bit.ly/tenderloin-greenified.