SQUARE 064 | LAUREL HEIGHTS
In 100 words
Cars and trucks speed up on the freeway, immigrants run their errands on San Bruno Avenue. Where the exits of the freeways transform into neighborhood streets, the two worlds with totally different pace meet. Cars and pedestrians stare at each other, almost in disbelieve by the other's existence. Conversations in Chinese, Spanish, Arabic, and English can be heard, cars honk at each other, trucks buzz somewhere high in the sky on their way to leave the City. In the mean time, the neighborhood is quiet, peaceful, and unaware of the two corridors that have their own pace, only a few blocks away.
A neighborhood with diverse and high quality stairwells, that make the climb upstairs an exciting journey. Stairs turn and wind around trees, and the bright Californian sun shines through skylights and lights up the whole space. It feels like being in the Mediterranean, with yellow and white houses, a bright blue sky and a welcome cool breeze from the ocean. Most houses have a backyard with trees that provide necessary shade, while top floors offer great views on the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown San Francisco, Mount Sutro and the Pacific Ocean. Not so bad at all. Even palm trees seem to fit here.
The square containing Laurel Heights and Lonesome Hill with the majestic USF campus building on top of it, has many faces. Laurel Heights is an upper class neighborhood north of Geary Boulevard, with +2M houses that offer amazing views over almost all of San Francisco. South of Geary is Lonesome Hill, a former cemetery and now USF has its campus located on top of the hill. Geary Boulevard is diverse and messy, with the tunnel crossing Masonic Boulevard dividing the neighborhoods even more than the six lanes wide street already does.
The area around Geary Boulevard has much potential for densification, with a BRT that brings you in a few minutes to downtown, and being very near to destinations as Golden Gate Park, Presidio and USF. The tunnel on Geary Boulevard and Masonic should be covered and transformed into an inviting public space, while apartment and office buildings can create a new dense, lively area in the City, as well as depress the demand for housing and office space in downtown SF a little. Besides that, not everyone has to travel to the congested streets of downtown. The MUNI bus yard on Presidio Ave can be part of the densification of the area, and covering the yard and building on top can create a more convenient and cohesive neighborhood with amazing views.
See also the project San Francisco in 237 squares.