Who we are:
The Friends of the Santa Fe ROW is a new organization whose goal is to foster the realization of a multi-use public greenway along the Santa Fe Right of Way (SF ROW) in South Berkeley. We anticipate that this greenway would include a continuous path, along with park and community garden/linear farm and orchard features.
Our vision for the Santa Fe Right Of Way is as a vibrant community commons – complete with a greenway and a linear “urban farm.” It’s a vision that will transform this vacant land that has been owned by the City of Berkeley since 1977. This empty corridor, from Channing Street to Oregon Street, is fenced in and has been unused since its purchase by the City, while the remainder of the corridor north of Dwight Way to the city’s border with Albany has been developed into a combination of parks, community gardens and the Ohlone Greenway.
We enlist your support to transform this empty space into a green and growing corridor, a template for a sustainable Berkeley and the final link in the thriving 7-mile long Ohlone Greenway.
PLEASE SIGN OUR E-LIST BELOW to show your support for the transformation of this vacant public corridor into a vibrant one!
Project History and Partners
Over the past few years our leading partners, Berkeley Partners for Parks and Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative, have co-sponsored several community input meetings in near-by San Pablo Park, to solicit ideas and visions toward this land’s future from people in the neighborhoods surrounding the SF ROW. We designed and painted a participatory mural that both enlightens and beautifies this South Berkeley area, and provides a vivid and durable expression of the community’s vision for the SF ROW as a multipurpose greenway. Indeed, the mural’s intent is to inspire and mobilize the greater community toward planning and creating a multi-use pathway and linear, urban farm/community gardens through their neighborhood.
The planning of the Berkeley SF ROW has been ongoing since May 2006, when two U.C.B. landscape design classes presented their two semester’s work of how they proposed to enhance the SF ROW as the last, available open land in the city.
In mid 2009 Berkeley Partners for Parks (BPFP) and the Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative (BCGC) were awarded a UC Chancellor’s Grant to implement the South Berkeley Santa Fe Right of Way (SF ROW) “Mobile Mural” project, which when completed in late 2010 offered a community based mural that now hangs where the ROW crosses Ward Street west of Sacramento Street. John Steere (President, BBPFP) and Beebo Turman (Coordinator BCGC), managed this project as a creative forum for a green and neighborhood vision for the SF ROW; the participatory painting of the mural to beautify this South Berkeley neighborhood and provide a vivid and durable expression of the community’s vision for the ROW.
BPFP and BCGC are presently working with the City of Berkeley and National Parks Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program to create an opportunities and constraints analysis and schematic plan for the South Berkeley SF ROW.
Santa Fe ROW Partners:
Existing partners include a diversity of organizations. These organizations and agencies include:
• Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative (a lead sponsor of this initiative under the leadership of Beebo Turman, co- coordinator of the SF ROW).
• Berkeley Partners for Parks (a co-lead sponsor, + a 501c3 advocate and fiscal sponsor for numerous friends of parks groups, under the leadership of John Steere, President and cocoordinator of the SF ROW).
• The Berkeley Ecology Center
• City of Berkeley Public Works Department and Parks and Recreation Department
• City of Berkeley Public Health Department
• Rails To Trails Conservancy
• Berkeley Youth Alternatives or BYA (maintains Strawberry Creek Park in the north end of the Project area.)
• Center for Eco-literacy
• The Berkeley Pathwanderers
• San Pablo Park Neighborhood Council (resident association near the southern terminus of SF ROW)
• Spiral Gardens (non-profit nursery located at the southern terminus of the SF ROW)
• Friends of Westbrae Commons (non profit coalition, maintains the “Ohlone Natural and Cultural History Corridor)
• Livable Berkeley (organization that advocates for sustainable development in Berkeley)
• University of California (Art Practices Department, Department of Environmental Planning and Landscape Architecture)
• National Park Service, “Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance Programs”
Support of a Greenway Concept for the Santa Fe ROW in prior initiatives.
The Santa Fe ROW is formally recognized in the Open Space Element of the Berkeley General Plan (2000), which includes two policies related to the protection of the undeveloped portions of the SF ROW by indicating that no segments should not be sold off for housing, but rather should be entirely retained as public “open space” in a multipurpose manner, “including for greenways, parks, and community gardens”.
Future planning shall build on and serve to provide more visible plans and implementation measures for the recently completed Berkeley Santa Fe Right of Way: An Overview, History and Opportunities (“Vision Document”; November 2010) which was prepared by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in partnership with Berkeley Partners for Parks (BPFP) and the Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative. The document was sponsored by the City of Berkeley and overseen by the City’s Parks and Recreation and Waterfront Department. The Vision Document contributes to baseline and conceptual design studies that have been prepared to date on the ROW. This baseline has been accomplished largely through the work of UC Berkeley students: in 2003, by a City Planning Department class, and in 2005 and 2006, by a graduate Landscape Architecture class, in addition to several individual student reports and theses over the past 20 years.
The Rails to Trails Conservancy worked with the City, and the leading advocates for the SF ROW – the Berkeley Partners for Parks and the Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative to establish the “Vision Document” . The Berkeley Community Gardening Collaborative and Berkeley Partners for Parks have collaborated these past three years on our shared vision for the SF ROW. Spiral Gardens has the last block on the SF ROW; it is a nursery, community garden, and produce stand, and along with the Ecology Center have written letters of support.
Our health partner for this project is the City of Berkeley’s Health Department, which is very supportive of our efforts to engage youth in outdoor activities like gardening in and walking along this future greenway. Beebo Turman works with the youth at the gardens maintained by the BYA, two of which occupy lands along the SF ROW. BCGC will engage them and high school youth in the mobile mural project previously described; BYA will be a partner in the planning process for the SF ROW.
For further information or to get involved, please call or email Beebo Turman (510-527-3773; ) or John Steere (510-849-1969; ) and/or sign on to the Friends of the Santa Fe ROW e-list!