The two long-awaited new park areas being constructed atop the Presidio Parkway tunnels, near the Golden Gate Bridge, are set to open to the public this spring, and we have a preview.
Back in the innocent, albeit more Trump-infested days of November 2019, a "ground-making ceremony" was held in the Presidio to kick off the dirt-moving and construction project known as the Presidio Tunnel Tops. Situated atop two sections of the now ten-year-old Presidio Parkway tunnels, two new green spaces were envisioned, with space to linger and frolic with terrific views of the Bay, Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate.
Now, in just a couple of months, we'll all get to enjoy these 20 new acres of national park, which are known as Battery Bluff (the space over the northern section of tunnels that leads directly down to Crissy Field), and Presidio Tunnel Tops, a collection of meadows, paths, play spaces, vistas, and gathering spaces overlooking Crissy Marsh. The opening date, per the website, is currently set for April 29, 2022, with countdown clock and all — but, UPDATE, the Presidio has reached out to say this date is going to get pushed back. (The Tunnel Tops will open July 17, but the Battery Bluff section will separately be open April 23.)
Here's a drone image from December of the progress on the Tunnel Tops area, which was designed by the firm of landscape architect James Corner — best known for designing the High Line in New York.
And here's where they were in March of last year:
Below is the plan for the park, which you can see taking shape above. It includes two lawn areas, Golden Gate Meadow and Anza Meadow, a grass-covered amphitheater area called Presidio Steps, a Campfire Circle, a Bluff Walk, and more.
Also, the new Field Station will host workshops and classes for kids in arts and sciences.
The Battery Bluff section will provide a direct link between the Presidio and Crissy Field for the first time since the freeway was built. It will include picnic tables, overlooks, and a multi-use, accessible section of the Presidio Promenade trail extending from the Korean War Memorial to the Cavalry Bowl, Crissy Field, and the Golden Gate Bridge. And, for the first time in some 80 years, the public will have access to the newly restored historic batteries — Slaughter, Baldwin, Sherwood and Blaney.
We have the Presidio Trust and fundraising by The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to thank for all this — as well as the need to pull down the seismically unsafe, elevated highway known as Doyle Drive, a decade ago.
"It’s just incredible," said Michael Boland, the Presidio Trust's chief park planner, speaking last month to NBC Bay Area. "It’s like being in the wilderness right in the middle of the city."
Boland added, "It is going to be one of the most interesting places for the public to visit in the Presidio and, frankly, in the Bay Area."
The project began back in 2014, and in total is costing $118 million — $98 million of which is coming from the ongoing fundraising campaign.
Stay tuned for more details as the opening events get closer.
Previously: Presidio Tunnel Tops Project Kicks Off With Pelosi In Attendance, Completion Due in 2021
This post has been corrected to show that the April opening date is being pushed back.