Tired of looking at power lines and the glare of asphalt streets? of breathing the freeway exhaust of 101 and 280? of the din of Muni buses and poorly muffled motorcycles? There is an antidote, and it doesn’t necessarily mean checking into a bed and breakfast up in Williams Cafe.
Last month dozens of neighbors got together to bring a bit of the country to the city— by planting trees. Bright and early on a Saturday morning, over 50 people were gathered around a small portable forest on Oak Street, munching on muffins, chugging down orange juice and coffee, and blowing up bright green balloons. Next, they were preparing bags of gravel for irrigation and planting the trees. They all go to the waiting pickups. Soon small teams could be seen all over the west side of the city, carefully placing the trees into their new sidewalk homes.
When the planters gathered together later for a picnic at Anna Park, the sense of delight was palpable. Derek Greenberg of Spring Street pronounced his block an “instant improvement! The street looks great!”
Joy White, a proud new owner of a yellow magnolia, helped to organize the event and has lived on Oak Street a year and a half. “Now it’s one of the cutest streets,” she declared. “It was emotional for me. It’s such a huge improvement.” Plus it was simply fun. “I was driving one of the pickup trucks. When I looked back I’d see the neighbors with these huge grins on their faces. It was great to be out there with your neighbors, to get to know them better.”