Mariposa Park

The fences around the majority of the new Mission Bay park at Mariposa and Owens, between Interstate 280 (as it currently stands) and UCSF’s Medical Center, have finally been removed.

And the two-acre Mariposa Park, which includes a great lawn, picnic area, play zone for children and gabion rubble wall benches throughout, is now open for picnicking and play.

Mariposa Park Lawn

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Orland

    And yet, not a person in sight!

    [Editor’s Note: Keep in mind the park literally just opened and the opening has yet to be (officially) announced.]

  2. Posted by Adam

    Less a neighborhood than a corporate campus… No shops or restaurants fronting the park either, and probably never will be. It will be interesting to see how much use this park does end up getting.

    • Posted by Dave

      Mission Bay was a huge missed opportunity. The buildings surrounding this park are institutional in design to a fault with little variety and nothing of architectural interest. No street-life and no sense of neighborhood. Hopefully this park will get some use.

      • Posted by Futurist

        It’s not built out yet, Dave. and just to be clear the buildings surrounding this beautiful park are, in fact, institutional: hospital, UC research and teaching facilities to name a few. The architecture is all interesting, modern, fresh, understated and designed by some of the best local and national firms.

        There is plenty of street life: walk around any day. Neighborhoods evolve; more housing is happening, especially along the channel. More housing is happening in Dogpatch and very large developments being completed very soon just a short walk away to the west near and around the Design Center district; literally hundreds of units.

        That park will soon be getting plenty of use.

      • Posted by donjuan

        This is totally wrong. Yes the brand new park sitting between UCSF and the 280 is empty on opening day, but if you go to any of parks in the residential areas, they’re literally packed full of families. There are only 2 restaurants open so far on the 4th street retail corridor (between channel and MB boulevard), but they’re getting tons of traffic already.

      • Posted by an architect

        there needs to be a place in every city for institutional facilities, and UCSF made their claim long ago. we should proud of this institution. designing it like a housing project would not be true to its nature. we should be proud of this institution – it’s one of the leading medical campuses in the world. not everything should look like a victorian.

    • Posted by Hunter

      Walked through Mission Bay for the first time this weekend (closer to the new playground) and while there were lots of people heading in / out of condo buildings, dog walkers, and plenty of parents with kids in the park, I was really shocked there was not a single small business to serve them. I didn’t see a single dry cleaners, coffee shop, or corner store in all of the housing / office buildings I passed. What gives?

      • Posted by SFRealist

        There are several along 4th Street. And the new Spark Food Truck park thing looks pretty cool.

        I assume there will be more as people move in.

      • Posted by donjuan

        Retail is coming in slowly but surely. Like another commenter mentioned, Spark Social is great and always full. Cafe Reveille is packed during the day and weekend brunch hours. More shops will come in as the area gets built out. Still about 1000 units of housing coming to residential area in MB.

    • Posted by Orland

      Don’t wonder, this park will get plenty of use. I can’t believe there will not be daily organized outings of the ambulatory patients at the adjacent CHILDREN’S hospital.

      • Posted by lemon obrien

        right next to the highway so they can suck fumes

        • Posted by Dr. House

          If you’re afraid of car fumes I can’t believe you have survived this long in a city literally covered in…gasp… STREETS! Just as much exhaust there.

    • Posted by more housing please

      All the ground level commercial spaces in the area say they are leasing. Likely they are asking for too much rent for shops.

    • Posted by Brian M

      How much use do parks in mid-day get? A lot of neighborhood parks are empty at many hours of the day

  3. Posted by 101

    So much for water rationing. That lush green lawn certainly will be watered daily.

    • Posted by Frisco

      My first thought, too. I hope/assume it uses recycled graywater.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Actually a compact shared public space is a great way to use irrigation water. Look at private lawns or expansive golf courses as water wasters.

    • Posted by an architect

      what’s wrong with using a little bit of irrigation for grass on public parks? these spaces are not what should be “rationed-out”. we have to be smart, not draconian.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        there are about 8000 wandering zombies who would be happy to make this lawn home and water and fertilize it on a regular basis. Im sure they will be making their way there shortly anyway

        • Posted by Brian M

          sort of how some park districts now use goats for vegetation control? Maybe local zombies can be gathered and controlled using portable electric fencing-like the weed control goats?

      • Posted by Frisco

        To be fair, grass in parks is a specific cultural assumption carried from England to the East Coast to California. It’s not “draconian” to have public parks (or zocalos, or piazzas) without grass.

  4. Posted by DM

    Mission Bay was/is a huge missed opportunity. It all boils down to soil conditions. Too expensive to go high-rise so we end up with suburban office park in the city. I’ll believe Treasure Island redevelopment when I see it.

    • Posted by Jake

      MB wasn’t allowed to rise high because one resident of Potrero Hill exercised his oversized political power to set a limit, which the Giants are now allowed to exceed.

      MB may be a mud flat but not that much different than the old Yerba Buena Cove a mile north where the Millennium luxury tower sinks into the soil.

      The catalog of missed opportunity that is MB is nothing that a 5-meter sea level rise can’t wash away.

      • Posted by Dave

        The situation with the Millennium should give pause to plans for towers on TI. Which too can be inundated by a 5 meter rise in the sea level. Much less actually.

        • Posted by more housing please

          I hope or expect all other tall buildings are already drilled into bedrock. If not, we have problems.

          • Posted by Dave

            You’d think it would be a code requirement.

          • Posted by ohmy

            All UCSF and Med Center building have pile foundations down to bedrock, in some cases down 220’+

          • Posted by more housing please

            You would think it’s code. I was shocked to hear Millennium is just floating on landfill. 181 Fremont has stated they’re attached to bedrock. I’m waiting for other buildings like Lumina, Infinity and those tall apartments to also make statements. The next quake is coming, the Millennium thing is horrific. The height of negligence.

          • Posted by ciparis

            One Mission Bay is a tower that’s going up now, and it’s in bedrock.

          • Posted by primeminister

            There is no drilling INTO bedrock; the piles rest on the bedrock.

          • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

            Though some building’s piles do not reach all the way to bedrock. They rely on friction to maintain stability. The Millennium is one such building set on floating piles.

          • Posted by more housing please

            I was reusing the terminology that 181 Fremont provided in their statement.

            “anchored by the deepest construction shafts ever drilled in San Francisco, measuring over 260 feet down into the bedrock”

      • Posted by SFRealist

        This may be John Burton’s longest, and most unfortunate, legacy.

      • Posted by Futurist

        Not true. It was planned from the beginning to be a low rise community.

        And for the record, there are several 15-18 floor buildings already completed in MB, near the channel and opposite much of the UC campus. And so tell exactly when this 5 meter sea level rise is about to happen, or is this just pure fear mongering once again?

        • Posted by Jake

          Of course it is true. How can you not know this? The height limits in MB were fought vigorously numerous times and concessions were made to the powers that be upon Potrero Hill. There is even a famous story of how John Burton personally and single highhandedly saw to it that UCSF cut down their student housing so as not to block the view. Something about a more than implied threat toward their budget delivered with less than gentlemanly expressions.

          As for “planned from the beginning”, well, which “beginning” do you mean? MB has been planned and unplanned and replanned since at least the early 1980s. More than one of those very seriously “planned” beginnings by the property owners included 30+ story towers, which the Potrero Hillers fought until they got them cut down, way down.

          The eventually approved “planning” was done under the authority of the Burton-Brown political machine, not by a committee of virgins. How do you think the SF big boys make sausages, err “decisions”? How did the Giants get Jane Kim to agree to back their project? Were there years of extensive public “planning” meetings and a thorough open vetting converging on a consensus plan or was the deal driven by months of threats and counter threats leading to a backroom deal and smiling for the cameras?

          And the approved plan is not for a “low rise community” by SF standards, that would be more like your neighborhood or Potrero Hill. FWIW, two other major ingredients in the approved final but not fine MB kielbasa are the acres of open space and an enlarged share of affordable and low income housing. All wrapped in a tight casing by the determined hands of Willie Brown, the honorable, or so they say.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          it was not planned to be low rise. many people wanted it to be 30+ story community and it wouldve been much nicer if not for those NIMBYs. Imagine talll skinny building instead of these 2 block wide monoliths they are installing.

    • Posted by cwilly

      @DM Can you point me to a suburban office park where every building is built out to the lot line and is at least 6 stories tall? That sounds pretty urban to me. Don’t be fooled by the remaiing empty lots, they will be built in due time and this will be one of the densest neighborhoods outside of downtown.

  5. Posted by Steve

    Just drove by the empty park on the way to dinner on 18th and Connecticut – which reminds me that I’ve always wondered if the fact that 18th on Potrero is the only commercial district in the City that I know of without parking meters is also related to the fact that John Burton lives there.

    • Posted by Accounting

      John Burton is very old.

      • Posted by Neighborhood Activist

        I have no idea how his health is, but he’s 83, which isn’t necessarily “very old.” I know people that age who have seemingly boundless energy and have not lost a single one of their marbles. (Not all are so lucky, of course.)

        I forgive the rather rude comments as you’re probably too young to know better.

        • Posted by Lurker

          It’s only in this country that it’s an insult to call someone old. Other countries have greater respect for older people. I think of 83 as pretty old, but I don’t think of it as a bad thing.

    • Posted by Orland

      I’ve often wondered why there are no meters through there myself.

  6. Posted by unlivable city

    Because parking meters — versus resident parking permits and 2 hour limits for everyone else — are the least elegant solution to parking in the age of Uber et al. Or hasn’t any of our absolutists noticed that things change and change makes dogma bark like a maniac.

    • Posted by Orland

      More deception from the commitedly self -deluded. What fraction of trips within SF do you think are “ride-shares”… 4%?

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      yup, the Uber “Godwin’s Law” strikes again.

  7. Posted by HousingWonk

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with mid-rise buildings. You people are obsessed with high rise as some imaginary lost opportunity. These mid-rise buildings are lot cheaper to build – which means the area gets built out faster and sooner – and over time rents will more affordable to middle income renters than anything would be in a high-rise. It also goes further in providing housing that is actually providing housing for locals. As compared to the Rincon Hill luxury high rises which have comparatively high rates of ownership as second, third, or fourth homes for the global elite & are often rarely lived in. Turning San Francisco into a Vancouver is not a solution – a city core of residential high rises that are primarily functioning as one giant real estate fund for the wealthy elite, surrounded by miles of single family suburbs. Vancouver is increasingly becoming evidence of how NOT to plan a city – most unaffordable city in the North American continent when measured in terms of median housing cost vs median incomes.

    5, 6, 7 story mid-rise density can get us to the overall density we need in San Francisco. Its the density paradigm of Haussmann’s Paris and has proven to be the sweet spot nexus of density and urban livability.

    • Posted by scott f

      That density citywide would certainly suffice. But I don’t see us redeveloping Westwood Park, Sea Cliff or the Haight as 5 to 7 story. Or really any neighborhood built out as single-family residential. When we’re looking only at areas where increased density is politically feasible (and won’t require tearing down large numbers of nice buildings people are attached to), I don’t know that mid-rise is enough long term. We could always have a mix. Perhaps we reevaluate the zoning in MB and a few later developments go higher.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Absolutely. Even in NYC, some of the most sought-after and walkable neighborhoods are 5 and 6 stories, not the midtown highrise areas – e.g., Hell’s Kitchen, the Village, SoHo, etc. The fact is that a lot of people *like* shorter buildings that cause minimal sunlight and wind impacts on pedestrians. And I say that as someone who loves tall towers – but tall towers *everywhere* is not an appropriate planning scenario.

      • Posted by more housing please

        The comparison with Manhattan is not accurate. A large chunk of SF is single family homes. We are not even close to the “tall towers everywhere” scenario.

        • Posted by Brian M

          But much of New York City is also single family homes and rowhouses.

          • Posted by Fishchum

            Wait, what?

          • Posted by worried

            You’re likely talking about NYC as a whole, the five boroughs. That’s way bigger land area than SF. The better comparison is either SF Bay Area vs NYC or SF vs Manhattan. Manhattan itself has very, very few single tenant structures. And it’ll likely cost you tens of millions to buy like a townhouse in Upper East Side or West Village.

            Either way, the comparison in urban planning is stark. Manhattan has over a century of forward thinking urban planning. First NYC Subway opened in 1904. Wow. SF is orthodox, obstructionist and stuck in the past. SF is the far right wing when it comes to housing policy.

      • Posted by sfcommie

        Those are established neighborhoods. Show us a new one with 5-6 stories. Even new buildings going up in those neighborhoods are tall. Hell’s Kitchen in particular.

        Even if MB were taller, we still have Western SOMA, Mission, Noe, Castro, Sunset, Pacific, to name a few. Nobody is proposing to raze them all and build taller everywhere, I don’t think. But there are places where taller (and more interesting) buildings are suitable, and it seems to me that MB was one of them.

      • Posted by Dr. House

        Everywhere? ha ha ha.

        Nobody is asking for tall towers “everywhere.” As it stands, only the Rincon Hill area has had anything truly tall built post-“Manhattanization” freakout.

        Supporters of density want tall towers “in more than one tiny area” but far, far, far less than “everywhere.”

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Are there any actual statistics on how many of the units in Rincon Hill are 2nd, 3rd, or 4th homes?

      I know plenty of people who live there, which makes them, by definition, locals.

    • Posted by Futurist

      I actually agree with you strongly on your comments. The 5-7 story scale of MB is very livable, humane, walkable and feels “residential”. Even the few taller complexes in the area are not of a super-tall scale, but they fit well within the mix. So many people like “Jake” simply see MB as a complete failure and not as a unique new neighborhood that serves a wide variety of people and uses.

      Like your analogy to Paris, when will citizens here begin to see the value of low rise buildings as an overall positive approach to our growth (yes with some high rises at specific locations and urban transit hubs)?

      Great comments!

      • Posted by Jake

        MB isn’t a complete failure, it is a political compromise. SF wasn’t willing to spend the money to create an amazing park to serve the increasingly compressed masses of the eastern hoods or restore even a modest portion of the wetland. The children’s hospital and the medical complex are excellent, at least functionally if not aesthetically. The housing was much needed, esp the low income portion. The general plan that did not center an otherwise naturally isolated hood and built surface rail when they could have relatively cheaply cut-and-covered it underground are enduring failures that will dog MB for many decades.

        FWIW, I’m glad they didn’t build taller to increase the density there. The circulation is bad enough already. If the Giants and Warriors complete their plans and the Pier 70 and Showplace buildouts all go through, then we we surely see traffic congestion in and around MB similar to contemporary SoMa and FiDi.

        The planning mistakes for MB are so obvious and so glaring that few people are able to stomach them even when coated in your “unique new … serves variety” pollyanna best of all possible hoods speak.

        • Posted by Futurist

          Well, you choose to use the “glass half empty” approach to MB, when I see it as a “glass half full”.

          MB will only get better and better.

        • Posted by Orland

          Probably no planning error more glaring than Berry Street west of Fourth. With the maturation of the street trees, it has generated a very pleasant ambiance. Except, there is absolutely nothing to do but walk along it!

          A couple of lounges, restaurants, maybe a sidewalk cafe are very sorely missing. I’m not talking W 46th St Theatre District level amenities, but just a little something maybe?

          And, of course, the lack of any public facilities except benches for sitting along the creekside expanse is just inexplicable.

  8. Posted by aerel

    Sigh, I miss those beautiful chain link fences already… Mission Bay is ruined forever, this parktrification of SF is really getting out of hand.

  9. Posted by MDG399

    Can’t wait ’til the army of homeless with their shopping carts show up…..

  10. Posted by AnonAnon

    Man that is some righteously green and dense grass.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      That long grass on the corner is a special variety and different from the bluegrass/fescue blends normally used for lawns. The landscape architect was brilliant using it on a corner of paths. It discourages shortcutting without explicitly prohibiting it.

  11. Posted by dullasdulldoes

    Wait till they build the Warriors toilet bowl. That place will host more drunks than Delores Park on a sunny Sat. afternoon!

  12. Posted by dullasdulldoes

    Wait until the professional dog walkers discover a green, tax payer funded, dog run. Angry herd of wild beasts run by corporate welfare subsidy hipster meet passive worker eating a sandwich during lunch break.

  13. Posted by jamesjr

    Can anyone explain the foundation code? I thought all buildings taller then eight stories had to have foundations hitting bedrock. Apparently, that is not the case, the Millennium being the prime recent example.

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