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Greenway upgrades outlined

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In an ideal situation, anyone walking the 13-mile stretch along the waterfront from China Basin to the southern county line should run into open space every
six minutes.

And that person should find it easy to kayak, swim in the water or lay on a beach along Mission Bay and other southeast shores, in what’s turning into a continuous stretch also known as the Blue Greenway.

It’s a formula calculated specifically for The City’s developing southeast portion of the Bay Trail, a 500-mile fluid path for bicyclists and hikers across 47 cities in the nine-county Bay Area. City planners are working out how to divvy up $22 million from a 2008 parks bond reserved specifically for this area.

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“Generally, it’s amazing,” said Jill Fox of the India Basin Neighborhood Association, who was part of the original Blue Greenway Taskforce that started in 2005. “It is entirely along the waterfront, and I wish it could have included more of India Basin.”

However, there are several unique snags along the path that would connect to more than 30 open spaces along the way.

For example, the man-made shoreline at Tulare Park — from the 1970s when the Port of San Francisco wanted to create more open space — is now too soft for public access. Untreated sewage runs out into Islais Creek during storms, and there is minimal habitat for wildlife, according to Port documents.

On Wednesday, Port officials held their first in a series of community workshops to talk about development and planning. They have set a rough timeline that would finalize the conceptual design and start implementing it by next spring.

But the planning is not just up to the Port. It also involves several stakeholders, such as major developers, the Recreation and Park Department and some private property owners.

Meanwhile, more than half the Bay Trail has been paved since then-state Sen. Bill Lockyer authored a 1987 law requiring the Association of Bay Area Governments to plan a “ring around the Bay.”

The Blue Greenway would be the last piece of The City’s chunk of it, but could take decades to finish, according to Port documents.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com



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