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SF Nonprofit Wants To Permanently Close Tenderloin Street for a ‘Green Oasis’

Written by David SjostedtPublished Feb. 23, 2023 • 11:03am
A rendering shows the proposed Golden Gate Greenway on the 100 block of Golden Gate Avenue. | Courtesy St. Anthony's Foundation

A nonprofit in the Tenderloin is planning to permanently close off a block of Golden Gate Avenue from regular vehicle traffic to build a "green oasis" of parklets and event spaces.

In collaboration with 20 nonprofit organizations that operate in the area, the St. Anthony's Foundation says it's using $200,000 in city funding to begin building the "Golden Gate Greenway," which will feature three parklets, a bike lane, a lane for delivery-vehicle traffic and a space for events.

"The block will become a welcoming hub for events, neighborhood gatherings, and outdoor activities for families, children, and individuals,” said Nils Behnke, CEO of St. Anthony Foundation, in a press release.

Google street view of the 100 block of Golden Gate Avenue

The funding comes from a $3.5 million allocation in the city’s budget set aside for improvement of the beleaguered Tenderloin neighborhood, which is one of the city's most densely populated neighborhoods and home to thousands of children despite serving as a "containment zone" for the city's twin crises of homelessness and drug addiction.

The project, set to be located between Leavenworth and Jones streets on Golden Gate Avenue, is on a street that's home to eight community organizations including social service nonprofits, churches and a school. Moveable barriers already close the street to regular vehicle traffic between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.

"Kids in the Tenderloin deserve safe, open, green spaces to play just as much as kids anywhere else in the city," said Supervisor Dean Preston in a press release. "There should be no more delays on the Golden Gate Greenway."

The Golden Gate Avenue project is one of a few efforts to promote a peaceful environment in the Tenderloin and Mid-Market neighborhoods, which also includes a “serene graphic of majestic redwood trees” at U.N. Plaza and a musical playlist piped over speakers near Civic Center.

A website for the project envisions the street becoming a safe gathering place for residents and visitors to the Tenderloin, calling it "a place where wonderful things can happen."

The nonprofit aims to complete the project by the end of 2024.

David Sjostedt can be reached at

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