Little City Gardens is situated on a three quarter-acre lot between San Jose Avenue and Alemany Boulevard and operates amid the residences of Mission Terrace. Established in April 2010, LCG represents the idyllic farm-to-table story, as the produce they grow is all organic and sold to local restaurants like Bar Tartine, Tartine Bakery and Mission Pie. Neighbors and passersby are encouraged to visit whenever the gate is open and public tours are available.
But all of that will be gone if Golden Bridges School, a private, Waldorf-inspired educational facility, has their way. The organization purchased the land in 2014 to construct four school buildings for up to 200 students.
The move is entirely contradictory to their mission statement, which in part reads, “…we are preparing children to be productive global citizens and stewards of the Earth.” There are a number of reasons why a school at this location is a bad idea and why concerned residents want to see the project stopped.
Traffic: The school’s proposed site is on Cotter Street, which is a narrow, one-way, one-lane street. During key commute hours, the street already has numerous cars traveling down from San Jose Avenue, a key commute corridor. With the addition of a school that includes 200 students and more than a dozen staff, this congestion will grow exponentially. And because there is no parking for parents, they will end up blocking the street as they bring students in the morning and collect them in the afternoon.
Flooding: Built on top of the Islais Creek, the Mission Terrace neighborhood began after the 1906 earthquake when the San Francisco Supervisors had the earthquake debris fill in the area and began to build homes. The property sits directly on top of the creek.
The neighborhood has flooded multiple times, memorably twice in December 2014. There has been a great deal of press, including this newspaper, about the sewer system failure that flooded multiple homes in the area, including mine, which is right across the street from the farm.
Increasing green space is among the recommendations the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission recommends to help mitigate future flood damages. If the land is developed as envisioned, there is a very real likelihood that significant flooding will be made worse in the future, since adding 200 students and associated faculty will further overburden the sewer system.
Safety: The unusual shape of this property makes school fire safety a major concern. The property is unique in that it directly borders 35 private homes and the very narrow entrance to the property, completely blocked by the proposed buildings at the front of the property, provides no means of egress for students in the event of a fire or other natural disaster.
Additionally, if there was a major disaster toward the back of the lot, there is no feasible way for a fire truck to go there. This is a dangerous situation for any children who would be there and causes undue risk to the 35 homeowners who immediately border the property.
How you can help: Neighbors against the development have formed the Mission Terrace Land Preservation Committee to educate the public and stop the development process. The organization’s website, www.savethefarmsf.com, has additional information about the committee and ways you can help the cause, including signing the online petition.
Community Voices is a forum for neighbors to address an issue in the neighborhood. Send a proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your own. This article first appeared in The Light’s February 2016 edition.