The Trust for Public Land released the latest ParkScore Index today, which ranked Francisco number four among the top ten city park systems in the country.
The ranking, which evaluated cities based on a number of criteria, also ranked Oakland as number 11 and San Jose as number 29 out of 75 U.S. cities.
“Our goal is for every American to live within a 10-minute walk of a park and ParkScore is a good snapshot of how America’s largest cities are doing in meeting that goal,” said President of The Trust for Public Land Will Rogers.
The national organization, which strives to protect land and parks for the public, based the ParkScore criteria on park access, which measures residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park, park size, which is based on a city’s median park size and the percentage of total city area dedicated to parks.
Additionally, the ParkScore ranking measured facilities and investments, which combines park spending per resident with the availability of four popular park amenities per resident. Those amenities include things like basketball hoops, off-leash dog parks, playgrounds and recreation and senior centers, The Trust for Public Land officials said.
“You can’t have a great city without great parks,” Senior Vice President and Director of City Park Development for The Trust for Public Land Adrian Benepe said.
“Parks provide places for children and adults to be physically active, and they serve as community meeting places where friendships are built and a sense of community is strengthened,” Benepe said.
According to the ParkScore Index San Francisco led all cities for park access, with 99 percent of residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park. San Francisco also received a high score for reserving 19 percent of the city’s acreage for parks.
However, San Francisco’s overall rating was lowered by the city’s small median park size of 1.9 acres, which is less than the national ParkScore median of 5.0 acres,
Similarly, organization officials said Oakland received good marks for park access, with 85 percent of its residents living within a 10-minute walk of a park. The city outscored San Francisco for park size, with a median park size of 2.5 acres.
However, organization officials noted that Oakland reserves slightly less land for parks when compared with San Francisco and also spends less on parks per capita.
San Jose, with its 29th place finish, trailed both San Francisco and Oakland on park access, facilities and spending. However, it offers the largest median park size of all Bay Area ParkScore cities, at 3.9 acres, organization officials said.
The index used advanced geographic information system computer mapping technology to create digital maps to evaluate park accessibility, making it the most realistic assessment system available, according to the Trust for Public Land officials.
For more information on the ParkScore Index, residents can visit the website www.parkscore.tpl.org, which provides extensive data and analysis that pinpoints the neighborhoods where parks are needed most critically.
Daniel Montes, Bay City News