SF Rec & Park Decides to Close Half of Presidio Wall Pickleball Courts

The San Francisco Rec & Park Department (RPD) has announced changes to public access to the Presidio Wall Pickleball and Tennis courts.  Per their dictate, the Pickleball Community will need to remove the rolling nets on January 19 from tennis courts 3-4 (the south court pod), and by Spring the Pickleball court lines will be painted over to make these courts “tennis only”.  This change removes 6 Pickleball courts as community play spaces despite the continuing explosion in popularity of the sport.  It feels a bit like punishing folks for having good clean healthy fun.

RPD’s case for deciding to reconfigure these hugely popular Presidio Wall courts is based on trying to maintain a “good recreation balance” and sensitivity to neighborhood concerns. (CLICK HERE TO READ the full text of their e-mail response to pickleball players in the community).  Valid and commendable.  However, for an agency obsessed with solid outreach processes, like notification postings and neighborhood meetings, RPD has failed to host any such public forum for Presidio Wall’s neighborhood, which includes a fair share of both pickleball and tennis court users. This sends the message that influence, rather than outreach, seems to be the basis for this closure decision.

Furthermore, while it’s true that expanded access to these PW courts was originally an interim plan tied to the Larsen Court project, it is also clear now that Larsen will NOT attract players AWAY from Presidio.  Meanwhile, RPD has NOT developed a plan for Pickleball site/facility expansion to deal with Pickleball participation growth as part of the exchange for a moratorium on sport court conversions as pledged during the Rec & Park Commission’s January meeting last year.  New issues have been revealed since (noise, neighbors) that require consideration before building new dedicated pickleball court venues across the City.  RPD has made short-term suggestions for alternate dual-lined courts in nearby tennis venues like Moscone Park, but only the naïve think the tennis community will roll over and quietly accept more court sharing.

So, bottom line, we recommend that RPD:

  1. Delay all PW deadlines and host a neighborhood public outreach forum
  2. Defer the Presidio court closure until alternate sites are painted and access rules established

The engagement of any community is required to create public policy that results in sensible decision-making.  The loss of courts for the Presidio Wall community will be felt on deeply personal levels.  Pickleball has been life changing for many players, especially during Covid.  And RPD ‘s goal of providing recreational space for fun, health and recreation have been fully achieved at Presidio Wall.  So, whether they realize it or not, RPD is actually tearing up an achievement of their own mission statement.

We ask that community members step up and contact officials by voicing your opinion. Make sure to include our two recommendations above.  If you’re so inclined, also participate in any of the many advocacy actions being discussed in various emails, texts, and social media posts and help to make sure that Presidio Wall thrives as a quality recreational space for everyone.

Here are some important e-mail addresses for reaching out to government officials:

SF Rec & Park:   rpdinfo@sfgov.org, parkrec.commission@sfgov.org, phil.ginsberg@sfgov.org,

District Supervisors:  D1: ChanStaff@sfgov.org  D2: Catherine.Stefani@sfgov.org D3: Aaron.Peskin@sfgov.org

Thanks and keep on dinking.