Space is a precious commodity in San Francisco. Finding room for new urban parkland in the densely developed, water-surrounded city requires some ingenuity.
On Sunday, a long-awaited creative solution opens to the public and gives tourists another thing to add to their San Francisco to-do list.
Called Presidio Tunnel Tops, this new federal parkland has been built in an unusual place — right on top of a busy highway tunnel, the Presidio Parkway.
Years in the making, the 14-acre park is an urban oasis with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The park is designed by James Corner Field Operations. That’s the firm behind New York City’s popular High Line, another project that creatively repurposed unused space into an urban escape and an effective, fun way to connect parts of a city.
“Great cities have great parks, and Presidio Tunnel Tops is a new green centerpiece in the context of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the world-class city of San Francisco,” Corner told CNN Travel through a representative from the Partnership for the Presidio.
“The iconic setting is perfect for transforming highway infrastructure into a vibrant new public space.”
Tunnel Tops will be part of the Presidio of San Francisco, which was used as a military base before being turned into a park. And the Presidio is one site in the sprawling Golden Gate National Recreation Area, made up of 80,000 acres of national parkland that stretches across numerous locations north and south of the landmark bridge.
While those Golden Gate views are going to be a certain highlight, the park plans other features for the city’s residents and many tourists.
First, Tunnel Tops connects two of the Presidio’s four main areas: The Presidio’s Main Post section to the Crissy Field waterfront area below, with its beaches and beautiful 2.3-mile waterfront promenade.
So what was once a raised freeway has been replaced by paths that connect the two for the first time in decades, according to a news release from the partnership.