Belvedere Lanes Initiative
From Belvedere’s inception in 1890, public pedestrian lanes have been part of the fabric of the island. As the historic photos below demonstrate, the lanes have been well-used as shortcuts for getting to and from school or work, for exercise or dog-walking, and to provide entrances to the homes and private gardens built along them. During an emergency or natural disaster, they offer an important alternative to driving as a means of evacuation. Lanes also provide a means of access for first responders during a fire or other emergency. However, lane maintenance has often taken a back seat to other City priorities. As a result, many of our lanes suffer from the results of deferred maintenance, while others have disappeared altogether.
The Belvedere Community Foundation has contributed to lane maintenance over the last few years, providing funds for hand-rail replacement and the broom pilot project. These projects, while important, were undertaken as the need arose without a long-term strategy for maintenance and restoration. Now BCF is proud to support the Belvedere Public-Lanes Initiative, a City of Belvedere plan to repair some lanes and restore others that have been lost. While the City has suspended its five-year restoration plan due to COVID-19-related budgetary concerns, we hope that the City will reaffirm its commitment to lane restoration and maintenance once the pandemic is behind us.
Working through the Parks and Open Space Committee, the City has been identifying which projects to tackle. The first has been the restoration of Eucalyptus Lane, now renamed Golden Gate Lane, which originates in the 300 block of Golden Gate Avenue and provides sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge as it drops to Belvedere Avenue 180 steps below. Construction of Golden Gate Lane was completed in 2020, and landscaping will be completed in spring of 2021 after unsightly power poles are removed. Partial funding for this project came from the Belvedere City budget, with the remainder being raised through private donations and a grant from BCF. On February 14, 2021, BCF Board President Sue Hoeschler was pleased to present a check to the City for $194,500, the total of BCF’s $50,000 grant and private gifts contributed through the BCF for this lovely addition to our community.
Photos courtesy of the Landmarks Society