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A Digital Journal - San Francisco Public Works

In the Works

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June 2021

Ambulances stand at the ready below the facade of Fire Station No. 49, the new 58,451-square-foot, four-story Emergency Medical Services facility. See this month's feature story to learn more.


SF Fire Department’s 
Ambulance Team Gets New Seismically Safe Station

This month, we celebrated the opening of Fire Station No. 49, a new state-of-the-art headquarters for Emergency Medical Services staff and hub for ambulance deployment when responding to calls for medical emergencies and health crises. 

The Rebirth of a
Neighborhood Park

A neighborhood park less than an acre in size opened in a Bayview-Hunters Point redevelopment area more than four decades ago to serve residents living nearby and fell into neglect over the years. Today, a new neighborhood oasis has emerged for the enjoyment of the surrounding community.

A Rock-Solid Effort
to Shore Up a Hillside

San Francisco is famous for its hills and the panoramic views they offer. But some of the undeveloped slopes are prone to rockslides and pose public safety risks. One of those spots with a history of trouble is a steep hillside that rises above O’Shaughnessy Boulevard across from Glen Canyon Park.

The Wind Blows.
We Push Back.

Crews – using earth-moving trucks – redistributed approximately 30,000 cubic yards of sand, moving it from the side of the Great Highway toward the Pacific Ocean. 

Viva Los Árboles

This month, the Lower 24th Street Tree Removal and Replacement Project wrapped up.

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The new Station No. 49, home base for the City’s ambulance fleet, operates around the clock.

SF Fire Department’s
Ambulance Team Gets New Seismically Safe Station

Each year, the San Francisco Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services Division responds to approximately 90,000 calls. That averages 250 high-octane runs on a given day. 


Until recently, the City’s crew of 200-plus paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians and fleet of ambulances deployed out of a cramped, rundown and seismically vulnerable warehouse. 


Ambulances remain parked at Station No. 49 until crews start their shift and hit the streets.

Today, thanks to a voter-backed health and safety bond, the critical first responders are headquartered in a new facility with state-of-the-art technologies designed to meet the specialized needs of Emergency Medical Services staff, allowing them to better prepare their ambulances for deployment when responding to calls for medical emergencies and health crises. 


Known as Station No. 49, the new 58,451-square-foot, four-story facility, is located at 2241 Jerrold Ave. in the Bayview. The previous Emergency Medical Services headquarters was housed in a logistics warehouse a little over a mile away at 1415 Evans Ave.


The roof of the four-story building provides a birds-eye view of the parking bay.

The new facility, which was built from the ground up, is seismically safe and designed to withstand a major earthquake or other natural disaster. Its design achieved sustainable LEED Gold rating for new construction and will allow ambulances to provide optimal operations for first responders across the City. 


The interior of the station provides plenty of room to store supplies, hold meetings and grab a bite.

The building is equipped with parking for the City’s ambulance fleet, storage for crucial ambulance supplies and restocking, Emergency Medical Services offices, conference and training rooms, locker rooms and communal space for first responders. There also is an on-site fueling station, an emergency 72-hour generator and solar panels.


The new facility is equipped with solar panels.

“This new Fire Facility is a crucial investment for the future of emergency response in San Francisco,” said San Francisco Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson. “As the first facility solely dedicated to the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services Division, our paramedics and EMTs will be better prepared for the job and able to more efficiently serve San Francisco residents when they need us the most.”

The San Francisco Public Works Building Design and Construction team managed the $50.1 million project on behalf of the Fire Department.


We hired MEI/MarJang Joint-Venture Architects to design the building. S.J. Amoroso Construction served at the general contractor for the project. From the start of construction in fall 2018, the project has provided 77 jobs, resulting in nearly 100,000 working hours. 

Mayor London Breed joined City officials and community leaders at a June 23 ribbon-cutting celebration to mark completion of the new complex that houses SFFD’s Emergency Medical Services headquarters and fleet of some 50 City ambulances. 


Assistant Deputy Chief Sandy Tong oversees the San Francisco Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services Division. On June 23, she delivered remarks at the grand opening celebration for the new Station No. 49 that serves as division headquarters. She poignantly captured the important work of the City’s paramedics and EMTs assigned there. They’re known as 49ers.

Next time you hear the wail of an ambulance siren in San Francisco, consider what Tong said:

“Right now, as we stand here celebrating this milestone, the women and men of Station 49 are out there serving the people and doing the work.

Right now, a 49er is holding a patient’s hand as they face pain, sadness, or dis-ease.

Right now, an ambulance is racing across the City to manage a resuscitation, a shooting, a choking, a childbirth.

Right now, a 49er is attending to a miracle or a tragedy. They are bearing witness to loss, grief, and pain in the rawest of circumstances.

Right now, they are serving as a clinician, social worker, counselor, arbitrator, custodian, advocate, and much more.

They are on the streets bringing order to chaos, comfort to fear, soothing to pain and calm to tension.”


Assistant Deputy Chief Sandy Tong

Station No. 49 is unique in the SFFD system. Everyone assigned to the station starts and ends their shifts there but otherwise spend most of their time in the field. After changing into uniform, they’re briefed by their commanding officer and then head out to prepare their ambulances and ensure they are ready to handle patients.


They make sure the ambulances are clean and that all equipment is on board and in working order. They also restock supplies – everything from tourniquets and trauma shears to bandages and oxygen. There are IV kits, medications, plenty of latex gloves, splints, blood pressure monitors, defibrillators, splints and a lot more. They even keep cute teddy bears on hand to help calm young patients. The ambulance gurneys, used to transport patients in the field, are put to work before the ambulance rolls out of the yard to help ferry supplies from the warehouse to the rig.


At the start of their shifts, ambulance crews restock their rigs and make sure teddy bears are on board for their young patients.

The skilled crews respond to a huge array of medical and traumatic injuries, including but certainly not limited to pedestrian and cyclist injuries, heart attacks, car crashes, stabbings and gunshots, near drownings, behavioral health emergencies, falls and seizures. The cases are exceedingly diverse, said SFFD Emergency Medical Services Capt. Craig Gordon. "You could list just about anything you’ve heard of,” he said, “and we’ve run on it.”

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New landscaping at the park includes native plants and wildflowers.

The Rebirth of a Neighborhood Park

A neighborhood park less than an acre in size opened in a Bayview-Hunters Point redevelopment area more than four decades ago to serve residents living nearby. But the open space showed its wear over the years, wanting for maintenance, upkeep and a more welcoming design.

This month, the City marked the rebirth of Shoreview Park, which underwent a $3.3 million renovation that includes a new lawn, landscaping, synthetic turf surfacing, new seating, outdoor fitness equipment and a picnic and barbecue area. The showcase feature is a custom skywalk that connects a net climbing structure to a 25-foot slide. 


The Public Works landscape architecture team provided design services and our Building Design and Construction team oversaw construction.


In 1979, the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency opened the park at 1 Lillian Ct. to serve residents of the newly constructed Shoreview Apartments subsidized housing complex. In 2012, the state dissolved the Redevelopment Agency and the park became part of the City’s new Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure. The Recreation and Park Department took over the property five years later and made modest upgrades, including new fencing, irrigation and picnic tables.


Fay, foreground in pink shirt, and Ilithya make dizzying spins on the new play equipment; Fay checks out the new skywalk.


Young fans of the new park explore the 25-foot slide.

The City – and especially the community – wanted more, however, and crafted plans for an ambitious makeover that would transform the space into a fun and welcoming family-friendly destination for play, exercise and get-togethers.  


The project team delivered.


Funded with $2.6 million in federal and state funds and an additional $749,000 in City funds dedicated for open space improvements, the newly imagined Shoreview Park came to life. Mayor London Breed presided over a community celebration on June 7.

Our recent "Snapshots Live!" webinar highlights some of San Francisco parks and playgrounds.

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Crews ready O’Shaughnessy Boulevard for the work taking place on the adjacent rocky hillside.


A Rock-Solid Effort
to Shore Up a Hillside

San Francisco is famous for its hills and the panoramic views they offer. But some of the undeveloped slopes are prone to rockslides and pose public safety risks. One of those spots with a history of trouble is a steep hillside that rises above O’Shaughnessy Boulevard across from Glen Canyon Park.

This hillside’s profile may not make it unique in San Francisco, but its proximity to a heavily used street and a record of instability warrants special attention.

Portions of the O’Shaughnessy slope gave out during a severe winter storm in 2017, causing a rockslide that temporarily necessitated the shutdown of the roadway. Crews worked for weeks to clear debris, remove loose rocks from the slope and install additional catchment fences and barricades. 

Though these measures were crucial to the immediate safety of those who live near and travel through the corridor, they did not provide the type of permanent reinforcements needed to make the slope reliably stable over the long term. 


Top: Before work to shore up the hillside begins, the contractor and Public Works team scopes the site to finalize the game plan.

Bottom: Specialized workers are secured with ropes as they knock away loose rock.

Now, Public Works is teaming up with Drill Tech Drilling and Shoring Inc. to perform the stabilization work. Public Works is overseeing the geotechnical engineering aspects of the project and managing construction. 

The Recreation and Park Department, which has jurisdiction over the land, will ensure the area’s plant and animal life are not disturbed or displaced during construction. The California Department of Transportation is helping fund the improvements.

The project team is focusing on the hillside’s central slope – a particularly steep and rocky area that has proven especially problematic in the past. Crews are using a variety of different stabilizing and reinforcing techniques. Their first task was to excavate and clear loose rock that had built up at the bottom of the slope. Next, they knocked away the remaining loose rocks that presented a falling hazard under a process known as rock grubbing. 

After that work was completed, crews drilled a series of holes into the central slope. Some of these holes are part of a process called rock bolt drilling. This is where holes are bored into a hillside and filled with grout and steel rods, which then are connected to a steel plate or block at the hole’s entrance. 


 The hillside work requires rock-climbing skills.

The remaining holes will be used to anchor a combination of wire mesh and cable nets that will be installed directly over the central slope’s surface. These nets are designed to prevent rocks from breaking off and sliding into the roadway during future incidents. 

Once all heavy work on the slope is complete, new catchment fences will be installed at the slope’s base to serve as a final barrier between the hillside and the road below. 

The driving force for the project is enhanced safety, but when we work in undeveloped, natural areas like these, we also aim to preserve the City’s plant and animal life. If any areas of the hillside are significantly disturbed during the safety upgrades, the project team will re-seed the sites with a mix of California-native plants. 

Barring any unforeseen delays, the project should be wrapping up by August, which means that the O’Shaughnessy hillside will be secure and prepared for any storms headed our way this coming winter and for years to come.

Drone footage captures the work site.

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Crews use heavy earth-moving trucks to redistribute the sand.

The Wind Blows.
We Push Back.

Unusually gusty and prolonged winds led to a lot more sand piling up on the Great Highway this year, adding to the workload of our contractor crews during the annual sand relocation operation at Ocean Beach.

This month, crews – using earth-moving trucks – redistributed approximately 30,000 cubic yards of sand, moving it from the side of the roadway toward the Pacific Ocean. The aim of our work is to reduce the likelihood of sand buildup on the Great Highway during windy weather. Last year, by comparison, crews shifted some 18,000 cubic yards.

While the Great Highway has been closed to vehicular traffic during the global pandemic, it has been used for walking, biking and other recreational uses. 


This year’s operation resulted in the redistribution of 30,000 cubic yards of sand.

In addition to the removal of sand at the seawall between Noriega and Santiago streets, the project addressed the sand accumulation at Judah and Noriega streets. 

Public Works has a small window to perform the annual work; it must be timed to make sure crews do not disturb the Western Snowy Plover, a small shorebird that is protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The plovers can be found at Ocean Beach about 10 months out of the year but take off in the spring or early summer to nest in other coastal areas and inland salt flats. Monitors with the federal Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) confirmed that the plovers had left Ocean Beach and that it was safe to begin relocating the sand. 

The work was done in coordination with the GGNRA and under a special-use permit for activities that occur on federal parklands.


Public Works hired Yerba Buena Engineering & Construction, Inc. to perform this work.

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Crews pruned or removed 77 ficus trees along 24th Street to protect public safety.

Viva Los ÁrboleS

Lower 24th Street, one of the most heavily traveled corridors in the City, is now safer and greener. 

The improvements are the result of the Lower 24th Street Tree Removal and Replacement Project, which wrapped up this month. Stretching along 24th Street from Mission Street to Potrero Avenue, the project removed the worst tree-related safety hazards, smoothed out damaged sidewalks and planted trees to replace those we lost. In addition, we took the opportunity to add more trees along 24th Street and on surrounding streets. 


The project boasted one of the largest scopes the San Francisco Public Works Bureau of Urban Forestry has ever taken on, and the level of community engagement amplified the importance of a well-executed plan. From the first tree removed to the last tree replanted, the actual project work took place over three months, an exceptionally quick turn-around for an operation of this magnitude. 

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As part of the project, Public Works planted more than 100 additional trees along 24th Street and nearby streets.

But before the project even started, there were two and a half years of discussions, hearings and negotiations on how to best balance public safety with the least amount of impact on the Lower 24th Street tree canopy. 


The 24th Street corridor in the Mission is lined with the infamous ficus tree. Many of them were reaching the end of their lives and posing immediate safety concerns in the public right of way. A heavy branch falling from one of these mature ficus trees could seriously injure those walking, cycling or driving. The Bureau of Urban Forestry – charged with maintaining San Francisco’s street trees under the voter-approved StreetTreeSF program and maintaining public safety related to tree issues – proposed the removal of 77 ficus trees along Lower 24th Street because pruning in accordance with City standards could not mitigate the risks. 


Recognizing that the removals would be a significant impact to the neighborhood, our staff reached out to the community and supervisor’s office prior to posting the trees for removal.  As expected, and almost instantly, protests from the public began flooding in. People were concerned that the removals would leave Lower 24th Street looking barren and take away trees that the community grew up with and had significant ties to. 


Public hearings drew hundreds from the Mission community to advocate for the trees, and critics took their case to the City‘s Board of Appeals to preserve the 24th Street trees. After many more meetings with the community – a period during which we saw several limbs and an entire tree fail, as feared – a compromise was brokered: We reduced the number of trees targeted for removal to 33, focusing only on the most hazardous. The remaining trees got a pruning heavier than typical to reduce their danger potential, while allowing them to remain on the corridor. We will continue to monitor them for hazards.

The advocates then further proved their commitment and desire to keep the Mission green by creating Mission Verde. To outweigh the magnitude of impact the trees to be removed would have, the Bureau of Urban Forestry agreed to plant more trees along 24th Street, and even more in the adjacent neighborhood, once we received a commitment from community members to water the new trees, a critical, labor-intensive undertaking that Public Works doesn’t have the resources to do alone. From the larger group of advocates emerged a smaller, focused team that now leads Mission Verde, the community-organized contingent that has begun watering the new trees planted as a part of this project. 

Check out the photo gallery!

Public Works crews planted new street trees and repaired the sidewalk.

Which brings us back to nearly three months ago when the agreed-upon path forward began. The Lower 24th Street project resulted in the removal and replacement of 33 hazardous street trees, the repair of 24 blocks of tree-related sidewalk damage and the addition of 27 additional trees along the 24th Street corridor, plus the planting of another 80-plus trees nearby. The thoughtful, detailed strategy relied on skilled workers from all three Bureau of Urban Forestry trades – arborists, cement shop and landscape crews – in partnership with the community.


There are many people to thank for the success of this project, including Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, West Coast Arborist, Supervisor Hillary Ronen and her staff, Public Works tree, cement and landscape crews, Friends of the Urban Forest, Mission Verde and the entirety of the Mission community. We appreciate their passion and love for the neighborhood trees, and we admire the care they are extending to the new trees that have joined our City's urban forest.


To learn more about the Lower 24th Street Tree Removal and Replacement Project visit our website.

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Glen Park

Neighborhood Dream Team

Armed with power washers, brooms, paint brushes, weeding tools, rakes, scrapers, mechanical sweepers and flusher trucks, our crews delivered deep cleanings in four more San Francisco neighborhoods this month as part of our special CleanCorridorsSF operation.

Each week, we send a large contingent of street cleaners to a different commercial corridor to provide a coordinated deep-cleaning blitz to create a more inviting environment for residents, merchants and visitors. May's targeted neighborhoods: Lakeside, Potrero Hill, the Mission and Glen Park. 

Potrero Hill



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