Presidio Tunnel Tops
Two dozen parks have opened in San Francisco since 2020, including what The Chronicle calls "the spectacular Presidio Tunnel Tops," a triumph of imagination and generosity of Bay Area donors. Tunnel Tops cost $118 million — $98 million of which was raised by the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.
This headline was too easy. After all, the 14-acre Presidio Tunnel Tops, which opened on July 17, was three arduous decades in the making. How did a wrecked roadway — structurally compromised by the Loma Prieta earthquake — become a prodigious park?
"When they come to the Presidio Tunnel Tops," said Chris Lehnertz, President of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, "they’re just going to see the grand connection that all of this makes for parklands."
Chris Lehnertz, the president and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, explained that the 14 acres of new park was made possible through the support of many San Francisco philanthropists, in what was one of the largest fundraising campaigns for public open space in the city’s history — raising $98 million of the park’s $118 million budget.
“When the Highway separated that area, it really created an ecological disconnect,” says Lew Stringer, Presidio naturalist and consultant on the flora for Tunnel Tops. “We want these plants to create an inviting landscape that will feel like a gorgeous garden.”
“Once every couple of generations, you get to do a project like this,” said Christine Lehnertz, executive director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. The conservancy is a nonprofit partner with the National Park Service that raised $98 million in donations for the $118 million project.
Presidio Tunnel Tops, the long-awaited public park connecting the Main Post at the Presidio of San Francisco to Crissy Field and the Bayfront, will open on July 17.
More than three decades since early visions for the redevelopment of Doyle Drive, cutting through the heart of the Presidio, the 14-acre national park site known as the Tunnel Tops has a firm opening date for the public: Sunday, July 17.
The Presidio Tunnel Tops, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a brand-new outdoor space in the historic Presidio neighborhood, created by the designers of New York’s High Line.
“Seeing the return of natural landscapes is a very inspiring thing,” said Christine Lehnertz, president and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, which has worked to bring these and other projects in the Presidio to pass. “One piece at a time adds up to so much more.”