We love our stairways in San Francisco. No, not the ones in our homes — the ones that show up on maps as streets and in some cases provide the only access to homes tucked into the hillside on which they are situated. We rate them on Yelp (Lyon Street steps, Filbert steps), we dedicate websites to them (although this site seems to forget that the city exists west of the Castro), and we photograph them. Repeatedly.
While the Filbert steps might be the most famous, there are dozens if not hundreds of others scattered throughout the city. One of my favorites is that 16th Avenue steps located on Moraga between 15th and 16th Avenues in Golden Gate Heights. No mere concrete stairway to Grand View Park, this set of 163 steps was transformed a few years ago into a mosaic masterpiece with a huge outpouring of help from the community and sponsorship from the San Francisco Parks Trust.
The project was completed in 2005 and celebrated its fifth anniversary in August 2010 with Senator Leland Yee in attendance. Because those first 163 steps are such a hit, the neighborhood is planning to transform another 148 steps, on 16th Avenue between Kirkham and Lawton.
So, if you’re feeling the need to sponsor a section of steps to be prettied up with a mosaic of a Queen Anne’s lace, or perhaps a snail, check out HiddenGardenSteps.org for sponsorship information. If the price tags on those are too high for you (who knew Queen Anne’s lace could set you back $10,000?), you might consider sponsoring an individual tile, starting at $150 and going up to $1,000.
In the meantime, take a walk up the already-tiled Moraga steps and check out the view from the aptly named Grand View Park. Then pick your tile or set of steps, and plan many return visits to your piece of San Francisco public art.