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A Digital Journal - San Francisco Public Works

In the Works

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November 2021

Energetic second-graders inaugurate a 176-foot-long interactive sidewalk mural titled “Hop, Skip and Play on Omar Way” that aims to spark the imagination of young people and get them moving.

FEATURE STORIES

New Sidewalk Mural Paves the Way for Oodles of Fun

A colorful dragon design freshly adorns a Miraloma Park sidewalk, providing kids with a new opportunity to get outdoors and do what they love: play.

 

 

A Feather in Our Cap

Our street cleaning team flocked to the scene of the Sanchez Street steps to respond to an unusual service request regarding feathers. MANY, MANY feathers.

Building Bridges
with the Community

A 1960s-era pedestrian bridge over Portola Avenue just got a bit of love!

#LoveOurCity

This month, volunteers across the City helped make our public spaces more welcoming and cleaner. Such good work, conducted in partnership with Public Works, is happening every day in the City, with San Franciscans stepping up and pitching in to improve their neighborhoods. 

All Vitals Now Good for
Maxine Hall Health Center 

Work began in 2019 on the Maxine Hall Health Center and wrapped up this month after a $15-million makeover that includes seismic upgrades, expanded exam rooms for families and a much-needed elevator to improve accessibility of the two-story facility. 

What’s up, dock?

This month, we celebrated the completion of a new metal gangway and dock that extends approximately 130 feet into Lake Merced to improve accessibility to docked boats.

Partnering for Success

Public Works and five sister agencies in San Francisco launched a partnering program with private contractors working on City projects to ensure their successful completion. Since then, this initiative has blossomed and become an industry standard. To recognize its success, we host an annual awards ceremony to honor exemplary projects.

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New
Sidewalk
Mural
Paves
the
Way
for
Oodles
of
Fun

A colorful dragon design freshly adorns a Miraloma Park sidewalk, providing kids with a new opportunity to get outdoors and do what they love: play.

A 176-foot-long interactive sidewalk mural titled “Hop, Skip and Play on Omar Way” aims to spark the imagination of young people and get them moving.

Corridor worker Felipe Preciado.

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The sidewalk art installation depicts a painted dragon hatched from its egg, motivating kids to travel from a water/lava area to a land area to find the dragon flying in the sky – with spots along the way that encourage them to gambol.

The interactive mural can be found on Omar Way, between Rockdale Drive and Sequoia Way.

Conceptual rendering of the dragon.

The project got its start during the 2019 participatory budgeting process in District 7 that gave neighbors an opportunity to suggest projects for the City to fund. Eligible projects were placed on a ballot for a community vote.

 

Residents, led by the Miraloma Park Improvement Club, and students from Miraloma Elementary School located on Omar Way, provided the vision for the imaginative sidewalk mural; the Public Works communications design team refined the design. 

The mural is made out of thermoplastic, which was laid out on the sidewalk in pieces and then melted into place with a mobile heater. The Public Works Community Engagement Team managed the project; and our construction management team for infrastructure coordinated with the contractor, Asphalt Impressions, which installed it.

“What a wonderful transformation of a public space – to benefit our youngest residents and to promote fun!” said District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar, who emceed the project’s ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 18. “It is exciting to see this community-driven project come to life.”

That was evident at the event when a class of energetic second-graders from Miraloma Elementary School not only hopped and skipped on the mural, which is located just down the block from their campus, they also ran, galloped, rolled and twirled – with lots of joy-filled whooping and giggles.

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Our street cleaning team arrived at the Sanchez Street steps and found them covered in feathers.

A Feather in Our Cap

Our street cleaning team flocked to the scene of the Sanchez Street steps to respond to an unusual service request regarding feathers. MANY, MANY feathers.

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Public Works crews used brooms, rakes and a power washer to clean up the feathery mess from the public stairway near Dolores Park on Nov. 4.

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We still don’t know the origin of the piles of feathers or whether fowl play was involved. But we didn’t grouse about the assignment and got the job done. 

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Neighborhood volunteers help paint the pedestrian bridge.

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Building Bridges
with the Community

A 1960s-era pedestrian bridge over Portola Avenue just got a bit of love! A group of neighbors lobbied Public Works, the City’s Real Estate Department and the San Francisco Arts Commission to paint a mural on the bridge that connects the West Portal and Mount Davidson neighborhoods.

San Francisco has a long history of public murals – with subjects from the political to the decorative, from local heroes to neighborhood history, and sizes varying from full building facades and garage doors to fences and retaining walls. As the champion and protector of the public right of way, Public Works closely collaborates with neighborhood groups on beautification projects – such as the new mural along the Kensington Way pedestrian bridge.

Neighborhood residents organized a fundraising campaign and were able to hire local artist Darin Balaban to design and execute the mural. His geometric design based in earth tones brings a sense of delight and beauty to an otherwise utilitarian span.

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A neighborhood work party brings to life the bridge mural, designed by local artist Darin Balaban.

“The new paint and the artwork have made this mid-century modern structure an outstanding addition to our community and to the City,” said Carol Dimmick, who marshaled the project.

Public Works sees these community-driven projects as key to greening, beautifying and keeping our City clean. In fact, we have several other community murals located in the public right of way currently in the works, including the Richland Bridge in Glen Park/College Hill, Burnside Drive in Glen Park and Sisterhood Gardens in the OMI.

In order to make the permitting and preparation of these murals more user-friendly, for both neighborhood groups and City agencies, Public Works is collaborating with the Board of Supervisors to draft new legislation for public murals. We look forward to more public art and beautification projects!

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Lick-Wilmerding High School students and teachers remove ivy from a chain-link fence as part of a campus beautification project.

#LoveOurCity

This month, volunteers across the City helped make our public spaces more welcoming and cleaner. In the Portola they planted trees, repurposed old tree trunks into public seating and removed illegal dumping. Neighbors and merchants in Pacific Heights, the Mission, NoPa, Little Hollywood and Hayes Valley picked up litter, filling dozens of bags with trash. 

Such good work, done in partnership with the Public Works Community Engagement Team, is happening every day in the City, with San Franciscans stepping up and pitching in to improve their neighborhoods. 


Public Works has street cleaning crews on the job around the clock, removing an average of 900,000 pounds of litter and debris from the public right of way each week – amounting to nearly 47 million pounds a year. Despite the effort, it’s not enough to keep San Francisco clean. That’s why we’re grateful for our volunteers. 

The work they do not only improves the cleanliness of the City, but it also embodies teamwork, and that leads to a culture of community-building and caring. Eventually, of course, we’d like to get to a place where people don’t trash San Francisco in the first place. It’s a theme championed by the Shine On SF initiative that aims to boost civic pride and stewardship.

“We work hard to keep the City clean and do our job, but we can’t do it alone,” said DiJaida Durden, who oversees Operations for Public Works. “We need residents, schools, business owners, nonprofits – everybody, hands-down – to help clean our city.”

She made her comments during the kickoff of a big volunteer workday in the Tenderloin on Nov. 8 that drew Mayor London Breed and nearly 100 employees from Nextdoor, which recently moved its headquarters to the northern edge of the neighborhood.

Our Community Engagement Team partnered with TogetherSF to organize the Tenderloin event. We supported the cleanup by mapping routes for the volunteers, removing filled trash bags and providing tools and safety gear.

We’re ready to help individuals and groups get plugged into volunteer opportunities. Please visit sfpublicworks.org/volunteer or email volunteer@sfdpw.org.

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The Maxine Hall Health Center, a neighborhood institution for more than 50 years, underwent a $15 million renovation. 

All Vitals Now Good
for Maxine Hall Health Center

For more than 50 years, the Maxine Hall Health Center has served the Western Addition, providing residents access to health care in a community setting. But the time-worn facility no longer met today’s needs, necessitating a major renovation.

Work began in 2019 and wrapped up this month after a $15-million makeover that includes seismic upgrades, expanded exam rooms for families and a much-needed elevator to improve accessibility of the two-story facility. Mayor London Breed led a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 10 attended by City officials, clinic staff and patients.

Maxine Hall Health Center, located at 1301 Pierce St., provides care to nearly 4,000 patients in the Western Addition and surrounding areas. The center is part of the San Francisco Health Network, a San Francisco Department of Public Health group of clinics, hospitals and other programs that connects San Franciscans to health care, regardless of immigration status or insurance. 

The clinic offers patients primary care, such as regular checkups, behavioral health care, short-term counseling, podiatrist and clinical pharmacist visits, lab testing and other medical services – all in one location. 


During construction, Maxine Hall’s services were moved to 1181 Golden Gate Ave., near the Ella Hill Hutch Community Center. 


San Francisco Public Works provided project management, construction management and design services for the Maxine Hall renovation, and The Build Group served as the general contractor. 

“The Maxine Hall Health Center and its staff have been serving residents for more than five decades and it gives Public Works tremendous joy to deliver a renovation and seismic retrofit that brings this facility into the 21st century to meet the community’s changing demands,” said Carla Short, interim director of Public Works. “Public Works takes pride in partnering with other City agencies and skilled contractors to construct and renovate these vital facilities on behalf of the people of San Francisco.”


The project largely was funded by the voter-backed 2016 Public Health and Safety Bond. Maxine Hall Health Center is the first of three primary care clinics reopening this year after undergoing major building renovation. The three capital projects, Maxine Hall Health Center, Castro Mission Health Center and Southeast Health Center, total $65 million worth of construction cost and will improve health care services for more than 12,000 San Franciscans. 

The Maxine Hall improvements create a more user-friendly environment for patients and staff.

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California Dragon Boat Association members prepare to launch from the new dock.

What’s up, dock?

Lake Merced, a natural spring-fed body of water tucked in the southwestern corner of San Francisco, serves as an important habitant for wildlife and a popular recreation destination for people. 

The 4.4-mile route around the waterway gets a lot of use by walkers, runners, cyclists and skaters. The lake itself also is a favorite spot for boaters powered by muscle – not motor. 

This month, we celebrated the completion of a new metal gangway and dock that extends approximately 130 feet into Lake Merced to improve accessibility to docked boats. The replacement gangway has a gentler slope, and the dock is slightly wider to meet today’s Americans with Disabilities Act standards and provide everyone safe and equal access to the water.

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A flock of gulls takes refuge from the water on the wider dock.

Additional improvements as part of the $1.6 million project include new landscaping with native planting that blends with the existing vegetation along the water’s edge. Also added were an accessible parking stall, a concrete path leading to the new dock, a light pole and an asphalt driveway. 

The new dock and gangway are located on the North Lake, across from the Lake Merced Boathouse.

The bucolic setting attracts many species of birds, among them California gulls, American coots, Canadian geese, mallards, marsh wrens, double-crested cormorants and pied-billed grebes. To protect our feathered friends, construction was off limits during the nesting season.

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New landscaping includes rocks, boulders and native plants to blend into the natural terrain.

City officials and community members joined together on Nov. 13 to officially inaugurate the upgrades, highlighted by a special demonstration by dragon boat racers, who train and race on the lake.

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Public Works staff joined with elected and appointed City officials, community activists,

boaters and contractors to celebrate the official opening of the new gangway and dock.

Public Works provided construction management, landscape architecture and engineering services, which were supported by our accessibility coordinator. The Public Works Materials Testing Lab performed soil, compaction and concrete testing to ensure construction standards were met. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission owns the lake, and the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department manages the resource.

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Partnering for Success

Public Works and five sister agencies in San Francisco launched a partnering program with private contractors working on City projects to ensure their successful completion. Since then, this initiative has blossomed and become an industry standard. To recognize its success, we host an annual awards ceremony to honor exemplary projects.

The 2021 Collaborative Partnering Awards ceremony was held virtually on Nov. 18 and recognized 12 of the City’s infrastructure and building projects that best demonstrate the principles of structured collaborative partnering – a process that brings together owners, designers and construction teams throughout the life of a project to maximize timeliness, economic efficiency and quality. Projects were judged by a panel of six City and industry professionals.


Awards were given to projects affiliated with six City agencies: Public Works, the Port, San Francisco International Airport, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Recreation and Park Department.


Congratulations to this year’s winners!


Infrastructure Projects (greater than $20 million)

  • San Francisco International Airport International Terminal Boarding Area A Gate Enhancements: San Francisco International Airport

  • San Andreas Pipeline No. 2 Replacement Project: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Infrastructure Projects (less than $20 million)

  • Upper Haight Transit Improvements and Pedestrian Realm Project: San Francisco Public Works

  • Bayview SAFE Navigation Center Project: San Francisco Public Works

  • San Francisco International Airport Boarding Areas D and G Electrical GSE Charging Stations: San Francisco International Airport

  • Baker Beach Green Streets: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

  • Mission Bay Ferry Landing Dredging and Site Preparation Project: Port of San Francisco

  • Crane Cove Park: Port of San Francisco

  • 19th and Georgia Streets: Port of San Francisco

  • Margaret S. Hayward Playground Renovation: San Francisco Recreation and Park Department

 

Building Projects (less than $20 million)

  • 1247R Presidio Bus Lifts Project: San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

  • San Francisco Police Department Marine Unit Dock Replacement 2831: Port of San Francisco

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Tree-mendous!

A Public Works Bureau of Urban Forestry crew delivers this 23-foot fir tree to City Hall. Now festooned with holiday lights and decorations, the Oregon-grown conifer stands majestically at the top of the grand rotunda staircase and is a favorite backdrop for photos.

Thanks for reading!