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That No-Mow Fescue ‘Furry Grass’ Again

October 1, 2014

In 2010, I wrote about the  no-mow fescue planted on the side of Junipero Serra, right where it turns to Portola.  Here’s what it looked like at the time: a dramatic green, with a furry texture.

furry grassA year later, it was dry and looked more like hay, and I wrote about it again as ‘shaggy grass‘ in 2011.

furry grass aug 2011

Since I pass that way a lot, I have often thought of doing a follow up – especially this summer, when the whole thing had an interesting patchy look. It was brown for the most part, but green in the shadow of the big tree growing there.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get round to taking a picture until a few days ago, when the contrast was less dramatic. But it’s still evident. This is the grass where it’s dry.

brown grass no mow fescue

And here’s what it looks like under the tree. I can’t figure if the tree is helping the grass by shading it, or by watering it by harvesting fog, or something else. But within the outline of the tree, the grass is green.

green under the tree

I also found a bunch of mushrooms nestled in the grass, like these here.
mushrooms in the grass

Even at that busy intersection, the scent of the moment was the honey fragrance from the self-seeded sweet alyssum.

sweet alyssum

I love how nature fills in gaps with life and beauty.

Here’s another picture of the grass under the trees. You can see where it turns patchy outside the tree’s dripline.

green grass and patchy grass - no mow fescue

I was delighted to see a row of trees planted all along the sidewalk here.

When they’re grown, they’ll help the homes back there,  fighting the pollution from the heavy traffic on Junipero Serra. They’ll absorb some of the traffic noise. They’ll provide a pleasing visual barrier.

And they’ll shade the no-mow fescue grass and it will be green.

UCSF’s 15-Minute Public Hearing – Sept 2014

September 23, 2014

UCSF held a meeting for public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) on Sept 22, 2014. About 15-20 neighbors showed up. No one (including me) had any comments ready. The meeting started at 7p.m. and adjourned at 7.15 p.m.

DEIR for UCSF LRDP 2014

I picked up a copy of the DEIR; it’s roughly 2 inches thick. The electronic version on UCSF’s website is HERE.

UCSF are accepting written comments until October 14th.

It was surprising that no one commented. It was such a contrast with a similar meeting last year for DEIR comments about cutting down trees in Sutro Forest. There, 250 people showed up, 50 spoke (with over 70% opposed), and it ran to 9.15 p.m.

WHAT’S HAPPENING ABOUT SUTRO FOREST?

This EIR was for the Long Range Development Plan, which is mainly about construction and changes in usage in Parnassus as well as UCSF’s other campuses. They have said that Sutro Forest is specifically excluded, since it will have its own Plan and will presumably have another EIR.

(As of now, we understand that UCSF has a new plan for Sutro Forest that focuses on fire hazard and commits to not using herbicides. We actually think the plan will increase, not decrease, the fire hazard by drying out the forest and making it windier. Anyway, the only information we have about the plan came from a Powerpoint presentation. There’s no EIR yet, but UCSF has said the new plan would need a new EIR when they can devote resources to it.)

Meanwhile, what UCSF has been doing is cutting down trees first for “fire safety” and then for “hazard reduction. More trees are expected to be felled before year end. This is considered routine maintenance and doesn’t require an EIR.

As far as we can gauge right now, the LRDP still affects the Forest in three ways:

  • A new trail is to be built from the Inner Sunset side, which is good; but it is likely to cost trees, which is bad.
  • They are removing Aldea Student Housing from the space ceiling, with the immediate effect of preserving some buildings scheduled to be knocked down, and a long term impact of – who knows?
  • They plan to knock down two small office buildings in the forest – just off the parking lots. It’s a Space Ceiling issue.

HOW IS FOREST KNOLLS IMPACTED?

We will possibly be impacted by UCSF removing Aldea Student Housing from the Space Ceiling. The immediate effect is that they will keep three buildings they had planned to knock down.

In the longer term, it could mean expansion at Aldea, which would of course impact our neighborhood, since the only thing between the student housing area and Forest Knolls is a strip of trees – which was thinned last August, so the housing is now clearly visible from Christopher.

At present, UCSF has said the LRDP includes no plans to expand in Aldea.

If I figure out any other impacts, I’ll post about it here.

 

Free Fitness Festival at UCSF Parnassus on Sept 25, 2014

September 19, 2014

UCSF sent around this message to all the Parnassus neighbors (broadly defined). The event is open to all.

aerobic dancerNext week, the fitness center in UCSF’s Millberry Union is hosting a festival with complimentary workout classes and fitness consultations.  The free activities are open to the UCSF community and to neighbors.

September 25, 2014
Millberry Fitness & Recreation Center
500 Parnassus Avenue, Level B1

Body Composition Testing
Personal Trainer Consultations
Event Specials

Mid-Day Schedule
11:00 am-2:30 pm            Free body composition testing and fitness consultations
11:15 am-11:45 am          GRIT™ CARDIO
11:50 am-12:35 pm          ZUMBA®
12:45-1:15 pm                    CXWORX™
1:30-2:20 pm                      BODYFLOW ™

Evening Schedule
4:30-7:30 pm                      Free body composition testing and fitness consultations
5:00-5:45 pm                      ZUMBA®
5:50-6:20 pm                      Motown Moves
6:25-7:15 pm                      BODYCOMBAT ™

For more information, call 415.476.0348 or visit http://bit.ly/UCSFFitnessFestival2014

THERE’S PARKING (FOR A FEE)

Three convenient sites serve our 107-acre Parnassus campus, located south of Golden Gate Park.

  • Millberry Union Public Garage: 500 Parnassus Avenue, located across from the Medical Sciences Building
  • Westside/Kirkham Surface Lot: 707 Parnassus Avenue, located behind the School of Dentistry
  • Beckman/Koret Surface Lot: 5th Avenue at Kirkham

Public parking rates at Parnassus garages are as follows:
0-1 Hours = $3.75
1-2 Hours = $7.50
2-3 Hours = $11.25
3-4 Hours = $15.00
4-5 Hours = $18.75 (24-hour comp sticker rate)
5-6 Hours = $22.50
6-7 Hours = $26.25
7-24 Hours = $30.00 (daily maximum)

The parking rate for motorcycles is a $5.00 daily maximum.

Disabled parking rates are as follows:
0-1 Hours = $3.75
1-2 Hours = $6.00
2-3 Hours = $6.00 (daily maximum)
Weeknight (6:00 pm-7:00 am) and weekend parking is available at the Westside/Kirkham Surface Lot and Beckman/Koret Surface Lot at a rate of $3.00.
– See more at: http://campuslifeservices.ucsf.edu/transportation/services/parking/public_parking#sthash.zZSBtQfS.dpuf

New Yahoo Group for Forest Knolls/ Midtown kids

September 17, 2014

Midtown Terrace Playground

Lesley Aiken of Forest Knolls is starting a new Yahoo group for families with kids who live in Forest Knolls and Midtown Terrace neighborhoods in San Francisco.

If you have kids and would like to join, here’s the link:  Forest Knolls and Midtown Terrace Kids Yahoo Group

It’s intended to bring families of children together to arrange playdates and discuss issues relevant to children in our neighborhoods. (It’s a restricted group, as it should be since it’s about kids. )

STAYING IN TOUCH WITH OUR NEIGHBORHOOD

neighborhood-housesWhether or not you have kids, if you would like to stay in touch electronically with our neighborhood, we have four ways:

1) Nextdoor group

2) A general Forest Knolls Neighborhood Yahoo Group, and

3) A Facebook group.

4) And of course, this blog/ website. If you’d like to get an email whenever there’s a new post, you can enter your email address in the box at the top right of the page.

This post: Forest Knolls Neighborhood on the Web has all the details, including how to sign on to each one.

Inner Sunset ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge Sunday 14 Sept 2014

September 13, 2014

bucket[Sorry, sent out a draft with the wrong date. Here’s the correct version.]

We’ve all been reading about the ice-bucket challenge – where you agree to have ice-water poured over you in exchange for a donation to the ALS Association. Inner Sunset neighbor Barbara Oleksiw asked me to let everyone know about the Inner Sunset one, tomorrow.

 Take the Inner Sunset ALS Ice-Bucket Challenge *THIS* Sunday, 1-2:30p at the Big Lunch, 9th & Irving

If you’d like to participate but don’t have funds to contribute, please come.

If you’d like to participate and make a donation, please come.

If you’d like to simply watch these ice-crazed stalwarts, please come.

We have a sponsor who’ll donate $50 to *each* person willing to get dunked, but who can’t contribute.
Plus, we have a sponsor who’ll match the funds of *each* person who gets dunked and also contributes.
We’re planning to make this as fun, water-conserving and creative as possible. And, if you’re not interested in getting wet or donating, we invite you to simply cheer us on!

If you haven’t heard of the ice bucket challenge, here’s what Wikipedia says about it:
people small rt“The Ice Bucket Challenge, sometimes called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. It went viral on social media during July–August 2014. In the US, many people participate for the ALS Association, and in the UK, many people participate for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, although some individuals have opted to donate their money from the Ice Bucket Challenge to other organizations.

“The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and then nominating others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated participants have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.”

September Supermoon Series

September 10, 2014

pics49 034a

Last Sunday wasn’t a full moon night, but it was close. I found myself on Treasure Island at sunset, viewing the rising moon above the new bridge. The old bridge, with a gap where a span’s been removed, lay behind. I wasn’t the only one who was fascinated by the sight; there were perhaps half a dozen photographers out there, mostly with fine cameras, large lenses, and tripods.

pics49 025a
pics49 016a

My camera is my trusty Nikon Coolpix. It lives in my pocket or my purse. But whatever the camera, it was hard to go wrong on such an exquisite evening.

pics49 012a In fact, in some ways it’s easier to get a moon shot on a not-quite-full moon night. It’s a little less overwhelming for the camera.

pics49 037a

The next night was the Supermoon – and the clouds rolled in to San Francisco. But still, I got a shot from nearby Twin Peaks.

pics50 001aa

I’d hoped to get one behind Sutro Tower, but the alignments didn’t work out. Another night, another time.

UCSF Meeting Report: Aldea Update, Sutro Forest, Other

September 5, 2014

ucsf CAG meeting sept 2014I attended the UCSF quarterly Community Advisory Group meeting on Sept 3, 2014.  The two topics of immediate interest to the Forest Knolls neighborhood are Aldea Student Housing and Sutro Forest.

ALDEA

Recently [Aug 12, 2014], UCSF had a meeting specifically to discuss removing Aldea student housing  from the Space Ceiling. I reported on that HERE.  At this meeting [i.e. the Sept 3rd meeting], they said they will go ahead.

Here’s the background:

In brief – following UCSF’s massive conflict with neighbors about its expansion plans, in 1976 the University of California Board of Regents passed a resolution that introduced a “space ceiling” that prohibited UCSF from expanding to more than 3.55 million sq feet of space in the Parnassus campus. The ceiling (which has been exceeded years ago, but still serves as a target and benchmark) does not apply to housing. However, Aldea Student Housing, which is next to Forest Knolls along Clarendon Avenue, was specifically excluded from the exclusion, meaning that it does count toward the space ceiling. UCSF wants to remove the restriction on Aldea Student Housing.

In Aldea housingAt the August 12th meeting, nearly everyone present opposed removing Aldea from the Space Ceiling. Here’s why:

  • Removing Aldea Housing from the space ceiling could trigger an expansion, limited only by funding availability. (Technically, UCSF as a state organization doesn’t even have to follow city codes – though they usually do try to comply.)
  • It would set a poor precedent in which the Board of Regents could remove any restrictions despite prior agreements with the community.
  • It ignored earlier commitments. When UCSF built the Stem Cell Research facility, it used about 0.5 acres of the Forest; it was going to demolish two dorms in Aldea Student Housing and return the area to the forest in compensation. Under the new proposal, this would not happen.

As Rick Osmon said in a comment to my earlier report:

“I was at the meeting on August 12. After it became clear that the neighbors who were at the meeting were in agreement that the Aldea housing should not be removed from UCSF’s overall space limits, Lori Yamauchi proposed adding language to the LRDP [Long Range Development Plan that would restrict any increase in density of units at the Aldea housing site. The biggest fear expressed by those at the meeting is that UCSF would embark on intensive development of the Aldea site. The [Associate] vice-chancellor’s proposal was welcomed by everyone I heard speak.”

At this CAG meeting, Associate Vice Chancellor Lori Yamauchi said they will ask the Regents to remove Aldea from the space ceiling. They think only a minority of the community oppose it. However, they were not asking for the repeal of the space ceiling as a whole.

They also said they would not increase the density of units at Aldea beyond existing levels. They only wished to retain the buildings they had earlier undertaken to knock down.

I found this reassuring. However, I met Lori later as we were leaving the building, and mentioned I’d be writing a report to the neighborhood on this website.

“You can say the LRDP has no plans to build more housing at Aldea,” she said.

No plans to build isn’t the same as will not build,” I said. “Can you give a letter saying will not build?”

“I’m not prepared to negotiate that with the neighbors,” she said. (In all fairness, it was reasonable she wouldn’t give an undertaking then. It was an informal chat, as we were leaving the meeting.)

“But,” she added, “You can write a comment from the neighborhood.” She said they would be taking comments on the LRDP to the end of this month, and on the Environmental Impact Report until October 14, 2014.

You can email Damon Lew at dlew@CGR.UCSF.EDU and Lori Yamauchi at lyamauchi@planning.ucsf.edu

CREDIBILITY

One issue that was discussed was UCSF’s credibility. We’re all supporters of this great medical school. However, we have had numerous occasions when we thought we had a commitment… and found we didn’t.

I don’t think there’s a huge problem with retaining the dorms as they are. But I do think there’s a problem when UCSF undertakes something, and then pretty much decides to waive its decision. Situations do change, and there may be reasons to revisit earlier decisions. But it has to be done in consultation with the broader community.

OTHER ISSUES DISCUSSED

  • UCSF presented their ten-year capital plan (2014-15 to 2023-24), which included projects greater than $750,ooo in size. It totaled $1.6 billion, and included $460 mn of seismic safety work as well as some major building projects.  (The presentation UCSF made, including these details, is HERE.)
  • They discussed minority hiring goals, and the EXCEL program that trained people from areas surrounding Mission Bay campus. There was concern about the African-American hiring goals specifically, and whether UCSF was doing enough.
  • They hope to build a new building behind SF General Hospital (which is not seismically upgraded) to move staff currently in the old building.
  • They discussed the new helipad at Mission Bay, which will be commissioned in October/ November.
  • They are in talks about the Warriors planned stadium, which will be right behind the Mission Bay campus (and close to the pediatric Emergency Room), regarding traffic flows and security issues.

MOUNT SUTRO FOREST

  • ForestThere’s been another evaluation of the trees for hazard. They said they do a hazard evaluation every two years, and they will be removing trees by year end. They did not know how many trees they would remove. (This would be in addition to around 1200 trees removed in the last 13 months.)
    • Why this is concerning – go HERE.
  • They will putting in signs for mountain-bike riders, informing them that they must yield to hikers and joggers.
  • A new trail – “The Sunset Trail” is being included in the capital budget. (I think that’s the black line near the top of the map.) It will likely be built this year or next. They did not say how many trees (if any) they would remove now – or later, in consequence of the trail’s existence.

UCSF will be holding a meeting on September 22nd, 2014, to further discuss the Long Range Development Plan.

UCSF LRDP Feb 2014 -1

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