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Making Hellstrips

Harrison Street Greenway 2007 Harrison Street Greenway, plantsf.org

We went to a planting party in the Mission this weekend. I hadn’t noticed before, but many parts of San Francisco don’t have hellstrips, the strips of dirt between the sidewalk and the street. Whole neighborhoods are wall to wall concrete with only an occasional little cutout for a street tree. It’s not good; all that concrete causes various problems, especially with stormwater management. Stormwater has nowhere to infiltrate during a storm, so it ends up in the city sewer system where it sometimes overloads the system and causes sewage to dump into the streets and the bay. Yuck. Much better to have a hellstrip, which allows the water to infiltrate instead of running straight into the sewers.

Plantsf.org is a non-profit in the city that encourages and helps people to remove concrete and create planted areas on their streets. Their website has demonstration photos and information about the process; there’s a permit to apply for and grant money is sometimes available to help pay for materials. If I live in SF and had a sidewalk seven feet wide or wider, I would go to their website immediately.

Thirty different homes were getting plantings at the project we helped with, enough to to make a big difference in the neighborhood. A lot of volunteers showed up, the weather was great, and I got a free ice-cream cone.

ryan 1/14

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One Response to “Making Hellstrips”

  1. November 21st, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    DryStoneGarden » Blog Archive » PlantSF says:

    […] went to a PlantSF planting party last year (according to the article, that particular project was called ‘Mission […]