What happened & what’s next for the Great Highway (we need you June 22!)
Yesterday’s public hearing about the future of the Upper Great Highway was an incredible six hours long.
But no wonder. The future of what has been a widely-used, car-free oceanside open space for the past year is being debated.
Yesterday’s joint meeting of the SF Recreation & Park Commissioners and the SF Municipal Transportation Agency’s Board of Directors didn’t yield any decisions, but rather some guidance for SF Rec & Park and SFMTA in designing a pilot to continue to study and extend a car-free Great Highway beyond the COVID emergency.
More than 150 people called in to give public comments. I want to thank so many of you for sharing why the ‘Great Walkway’ matters to our city, our climate, and our children. This is part of moving our city toward a more climate-friendly, community-focused, and equitable future.
(We’ll need your voice again on Tuesday, June 22, so sign up now if you plan to speak and we’ll send you the details!)
Unfortunately, Supervisor Gordon Mar proposes re-opening the Upper Great Highway to vehicles on weekdays or on one half of the road. Walk SF does not support either of these options. We believe the pilot should maintain the Upper Great Highway as a car-free space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Anything else will be more complicated, expensive, confusing and potentially more dangerous.
I’m grateful to many Commissioners and Board members for echoing similar concerns. SFMTA Director Eaken stated, “Partial closure is too complicated, seasonal or weekend.” Said SFMTA Director Fiona Hinze, “I think a full-time closure will be the easiest for the public to understand.” It also leaves out people.
A fully car-free 24/7 pilot also allows SFMTA to focus on their work to improve traffic safety in District 4 and find more solutions to help westside residents get around, while more people from every corner of the city have the chance to discover and experience the Great Walkway.
So what’s next? The Board of Supervisors will discuss this at the next SFCTA meeting on Tuesday, June 22 from 10:00AM – 12:00PM. Since the Board will be the final decisionmakers on this, it’s a great chance for us to continue to push for a fully car-free, 24/7 pilot before the closure expires 120 days after the COVID emergency ends.
Thank you again for using your voice for this defining issue for pedestrians and San Francisco’s future!