Bengal Alley

  • Neighborhood: Sherwood Forest/Mount Davidson
  • Location: From Miraloma Drive between Juanita Way and Yerba Buena Avenue to Lansdale Avenue between Dalewood Way and Casitas Avenue
  • Height: 75 feet

Two stairways built at separate times. The upper half consists of older cobblestone steps, while the lower half was rebuilt with landscape timber steps zig-zagging around planter beds in 2013. Prior to the rebuild, there were concrete steps at Miraloma with a dirt path connecting the two stairways.

The stairway was completely closed from 2004 until 2013 due to the poor condition of the lower steps and a fallen tree blocking the path. Two Chronicle articles from September 2004 report on the deteriorated condition of the stairs leading to the closure:
Chronicle Watch: September 5th, 2004
Chronicle Watch: September 22nd, 2004

Another Chronicle article from March 2008 reported on the continued closure:
Chronicle Watch: March 21st, 2008

The issue preventing the stairs from being repaired was that the neighboring property owners are responsible for the costs, and not the city. Despite being a public street, Bengal Alley appears to be what is known as an "unaccepted" street, meaning the city's Department of Public Works has never agreed to take over responsibility for maintenance after the Sherwood Forest subdivision first defined the street 1930. Most of these unaccepted streets are either maintained by other government agencies (Such as Recreation & Parks or Caltrans) or are not built to the city's standards in some way. Other stairways have also had problems due to being unaccepted streets: The Tompkins Avenue stairs in Bernal Heights had problems with trash and a lack maintenance until neighbors organized to take care of it.

A series of articles from the West Side Observer further details the work towards getting the stairs rebuilt.



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