Clean California / Caltrans awards Yerba Buena Gardens and SFMTA funding for cleaning and beautification

Funds awarded to Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy will provide new landscaping, public art, and additional cleaning, beautifying the surrounding public space

San Francisco, CA — Today, Mayor London N. Breed, City Administrator Carmen Chu, Caltrans District 4 Director Dina El-Tawansy, and the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy celebrated a $1.8 million grant to activate and clean public space near the Yerba Buena/Moscone Center Station, scheduled to open this Fall. The grant, provided by Clean California, a $1 billion Caltrans initiative to remove litter, create jobs, and beautify communities across the State, will be matched by Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy, bringing the project’s total funding to $3.6 million.

“We know that clean streets and beautiful public spaces are essential to our city’s health and economic development, and as we continue to bounce back from the COVID pandemic, we need to ensure that we are making the necessary investments in all of our communities,” said Mayor Breed. “Thanks to the generosity of Caltrans and the work of the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy, residents, visitors, and convention-goers will have a new opportunity to experience what makes San Francisco so special.”

“The SOMA Transit Gardens Connection project is a win/win for all of us. The Clean California Local Grant helps beautify the exterior of this space with drought-tolerant landscaping while connecting with the community through murals created by local artists drawing the public into the interior,” said Dina El-Tawansy, Caltrans District 4 Director.

The project design incorporates numerous features, including the planting of drought-tolerant landscaping along 3rd and 4th streets and two artist-led community murals painted along concrete buildings on 4th Street. Additionally, the funding will allow the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District’s Clean Team to double their current frequency of cleaning and power washing of sidewalks throughout the broader area and will also be used to launch a new volunteer program to clear the streets of litter.

“As San Francisco emerges from the pandemic, the Moscone Center continues to play an important role in bringing visitors and economic activities back to our city. Investing in the neighborhood surrounding our convention facilities helps us stay vibrant and compete in the national and international convention market,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. “We are honored to be part of this state-local-nonprofit partnership. It marks a big step forward in refueling our city’s once $10 billion tourism industry.”

“We’re honored to receive the grant, which was secured in partnership with the SFMTA, and with the support of the Mayor’s office, YBCBD, Moscone Center, neighborhood groups and many others. The beautification of the area, volunteer programs, public art and restoration will all be uplifting to the community,” said Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy Executive Director Scott Rowitz. “As we emerge from the pandemic, beautification and cleanliness is more important than ever to make people feel safe and encourage their continued use of public transportation.”

“Yerba Buena/Moscone Station will create a daily impression about the neighborhood and our City for downtown workers, residents, and visitors. This grant provides basic, common-sense measures to ensure that cleanliness is a priority, so we create a welcoming gateway that is a source of pride,” said District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney.

Yerba Buena is home to renowned museums, convention space, and public gardens, as well as residences, small businesses, dining, shopping and entertainment venues. The SFMTA submitted the grant application on behalf of the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy and the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District.

“Muni’s new Yerba Buena/Moscone Station is at the center of a vibrant neighborhood that includes the Convention Center, thousands of low-to-moderate income residents, thriving senior housing, and the Filipino Cultural Heritage District,” said SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin. “We’re so grateful for Caltrans’ support in beautifying the station area, and making it easier and safer for residents and visitors to walk to and from our station.”

Today’s announcement builds on Mayor Breed’s commitment to attracting workers, visitors, and residents back to the City’s downtown core. As part of Mayor Breed’s Downtown Recovery Plan and Welcome Back to SF initiative, the City is working to provide a welcoming environment that offers a range of activities through the activation of public space. Additionally, through a $12.2 million investment by the City, Welcome Ambassadors have been stationed throughout San Francisco’s office core, including transit hubs, the Moscone Center, and popular congregation points, to provide a welcoming atmosphere for returning office workers, residents, and tourists.

Clean California

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) developed the Clean California Local Grant Program through which funds will go to local communities to beautify and improve local streets and roads, tribal lands, parks, pathways, and transit centers to clean and enhance public spaces. Through the combination of adding beautification measures and art in public spaces along with the removal of litter and debris, this effort will enhance communities and improve spaces for walking and recreation.

Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy

The mission of the Yerba Buena Gardens Conservancy is to program, operate, maintain, and improve the publicly owned open spaces, cultural facilities, and related components of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Gardens. The Conservancy works in conjunction with the Garden’s nonprofit cultural organizations, commercial tenants and the City and County of San Francisco, for the civic and public benefit and enjoyment by the City’s visitors and residents.