Access to the garage of the little Bernal Heights home at 237 Ripley Street was blocked when Ripley, which had been a dirt street, was re-graded and paved in the 1960s to facilitate access for emergency services and fire trucks. While a curb cut was provided when the street was paved, a retaining wall was also built between the new sidewalk and the home’s front property line. And a tree has since grown there as well.

With the blessing of the Urban Forestry Department, plans to remove the tree and restore access to the home’s driveway have been drawn. And yes, the Palm tree is to remain in a terraced planter.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by DAA

    Oh wild, I wonder why that’s the only house on the street in this situation? Did all these homes go through the process to restore garage access or was this address just unlucky?

    • Posted by SocketSite

      According to the owners of the home, the house was actually built elsewhere and moved to this location in order to make way for freeway construction elsewhere, prior to the regrading and paving of the road. And with a garage on the uphill side of the property, unlike the others that were built on the slope, restoring access is more difficult.

      • Posted by thielges

        Maybe there was never garage access after the house was relocated to Ripley. Siting the garage on the uphill side presents a grade challenge even without a retaining wall in the way.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          Possibly, but according to the owners of the home, the house did have a usable garage prior to the street, which likely wasn’t so consistently sloped at the time, having been regraded and paved.

          • Posted by Notcom

            The 01/18/66 ‘Examiner’ contains this story: Postponed for a week action on assessment levies to pay for $27,655 job of improving Ripley St…a project that has deprived some residents from using their garages.

            I’m not sure if that $figure is a typo or not: even for 1966 that seems ridiculously low.

      • Posted by DAA

        Very interesting. That’s one hell of a hill to relocate a house too.

        • Posted by Notcom

          Truly a Ripley Believe it or not !

      • Posted by BobN

        I wonder which neighbors will insist they move the house to the other side of the street.

  2. Posted by Raul

    1. It’s their property, let them do what they want.
    2. We should move that tree, or plant more in existing underutilized road spaces.

  3. Posted by Never In Doubt

    TIL San Francisco had dirt streets in the 1960s!

    • Posted by Richard

      There were dirt streets on the eastern slope of Bernal Heights (an area then nicknamed “Little Appalachia”) as recently as the 1990’s. There were also houses that hadn’t yet been hooked up to the city sewer system and still had septic tanks.

      • Posted by DAA

        I can still think of a few sections of unpaved public road on Bernal—Nevada south of Bernal Heights blvd springs to mind, but I know there’s a few more short sections I’m blanking on..

      • Posted by oldays

        Who knew? Palm trees in Appalachia!

  4. Posted by Neighborhood Activist

    Cynical side of me wonders if restoring the garage access isn’t just step 1 before the property is sold for redevelopment. The six story building that could replace it will need some parking access and it might be more politically palatable to restore access to the existing home rather than try to gain curb cut access and permission to remove a large tree for a new McMansion.

    I’m probably exaggerating about six stories there, but one never knows. Four wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    • Posted by Alai

      If someone was doing a redevelopment for profit, would they really benefit much from building (say) 3 condos + 3 parking spaces over 4 condos in the same space?

      Seems to me that this is part of remodeling a small old SFH into a much more expensive SFH.

  5. Posted by c_q

    this is a picture of this section of dirt-road era ripley street, you can see the subject house and the one to its right on the left side of the picture readily.

  6. Posted by Dan

    Ripley Street (with palm tree) by Thiebaud.

    Painting sold for $3.3 million, which would get you a remodeled SFH on Ripley.

    • Posted by Notcom

      It looks like there’re now two palms…I wonder which is the one in the painting.

      (I’m guessing the one further up – i.e. the one not on this property – it seems like a closer match)

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