SF’s New Plan for India Basin Waterfront Park
Bayview-Hunters Point community members with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and its partners recently announced a landmark plan to ensure a waterfront park will benefit current Bayview-Hunters Point residents while preserving the culture and identity of the historic neighborhood.
The India Basin Waterfront Park Project Equitable Development Plan (EDP) provides a blueprint for delivering a park designed by and for the community while improving economic opportunity and environmental health for its residents. India Basin is the most significant park investment in San Francisco history. It is a partnership between the Bayview-Hunters Point community, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, the Trust for Public Land, and the San Francisco Parks Alliance.
View the full India Basin Waterfront Park quitable Development Plan
It is the first time an EDP has been adopted in San Francisco. With this step, the city joins a burgeoning national movement with the goal of greening that keeps the economic and social benefits of a new park in the community and minimizes displacement. EDPs are a relatively new concept in urban planning—a document drafted with the community that allows neighbors to shape the future park and its programming to reflect their needs, desires and history. It lays out a series of commitments from the City and its partner agencies that allow community members to share in the economic benefits of the project.
“The Equitable Development Plan provides us with an opportunity to address social, economic, and environmental justice issues that have historically affected residents of Bayview-Hunters Point. This is truly a milestone, not only for the India Basin project but for all of San Francisco,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed. “The EDP provides a roadmap to achieving equitable development and economic progress through vocational training, jobs, and small business opportunities, and by incorporating the culture and identity of Bayview-Hunters Point, it allows the people of this community to decide what is important for the City’s next great outdoor space.”
Nationwide, EDPs have guided projects such as the Third Street Bridge Park in Washington, DC; the Atlanta BeltLine; the Riverline in Buffalo; and Harold Simmons Park in Dallas.
San Francisco’s plan was driven by a leadership committee of more than 20 Bayview-Hunters Point community members. Together, they identified six areas of focus: Arts, Culture and Identity; Workforce and Business Development; Transportation, Access and Connectivity; Healthy Communities and Ecology; Youth Opportunities; and Housing Security.
“It is fitting that as we kick off Black History Month, we are also outlining concrete steps to preserve the rich culture, identity and pride built by Black residents of Bayview-Hunters Point,” said San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton, who represents the neighborhood. “This plan is the culmination of two years of work by the community, the City, and project partners to ensure the investment to transform India Basin uplifts the neighborhood beyond park borders.”
“The India Basin Waterfront Project means jobs, training, and opportunities for small businesses. Ensuring these benefits are concentrated in Bayview-Hunters Point doesn’t happen by accident. The Equitable Development Plan is a commitment to the community that they will share in the park’s success in real, tangible ways,” said Jacqueline Flin, executive director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute San Francisco, a Bayview nonprofit focused on racial and economic justice.
The $150 million project’s first phase—the shoreline restoration—broke ground in June. The park will include miles of winding shoreline trails, acres of restored tidal landscape and an abundance of recreation opportunities to the heart of the Bayview. It combines an abandoned industrial site at 900 Innes Avenue, which the City acquired in 2014, with two existing parks that border it: India Basin Shoreline Park and India Basin Open Space, both of which will undergo significant improvements as part of the broader vision.
Once complete, the new park will include gathering docks for people to socialize along the restored shoreline; an accessible walkway and stairs to connect Bayview-Hunters Point with the expanded park, gardens and natural habitats; a public plaza for fitness classes, performances, and farmers markets; a lighted bicycle and pedestrian path that will close a gap in the Bay Trail, linking the Embarcadero to Candlestick Point; and an ecological education area where visitors can observe tidal mudflat habitats and native birds through small paths, decks and viewing platforms.
Some of the strategic initiatives outlined in the EDP include:
- Cultivating an array of performing arts, history, and cultural programming focusing on the neighborhood’s Black, Asian, Latino, Samoan and Ohlone communities.
- Mobile art showcases featuring art from residents of all ages.
- Ensuring neighborhood residents receive ample training opportunities for construction and post-construction jobs at the park, such as positions in engineering, labor and maintenance, vending, facilities and more.
- Improving neighborhood access to the park through safe bike lanes, bike share stations, and improvement of stairways that connect public and affordable housing complexes with the shoreline.
- Supporting and advocating for the creation of a free or subsidized park shuttle system connecting the park to neighborhood housing complexes and commercial and transit hubs in the neighborhood.
- Exploring channels for alternative and inclusive community-led public safety systems to ensure the safety of park goers.An array of environmental education programs and new community gardens.
- A youth docent program and paid internship programs for neighborhood youth.
- Partnerships with local high schools for workforce training programs and connecting local youth with Bayview-Hunters Point artists.
- As a part of the project’s $150 million budget, $15 million is earmarked to support the implementation of EDP initiatives including site activation, workforce development and other initiatives laid out in the plan.
“The goal of the India Basin project is to create a world-class park that serves as a model for equitable economic growth and provides opportunities for all residents. The EDP is a map of how to get there,” said San Francisco Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg. “We are incredibly grateful to our partners: the Bayview-Hunters Point community, the Equitable Development Working Group, our Francisco State University advisors, APRI, the Trust for Public Land, and the San Francisco Parks Alliance.”
“With the creation of the Equitable Development Plan, San Francisco is establishing a national model of how cities should look at major green infrastructure projects like India Basin,” said Alejandra Chiesa, Bay Area program director for The Trust for Public Land. “This plan is setting an example that park developments can have positive economic, workforce, cultural, artistic, and housing elements that benefit the whole community.”
“The Equitable Development Plan puts the existing community and culture at the heart of the India Basin Park Project,” says Drew Becher, CEO of SF Parks Alliance. “India Basin is going to be a more welcoming and vibrant space because of this extensive community outreach and engagement process.”