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Dear Supervisors: We need the Great Walkway for so many reasons

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Yesterday, Walk San Francisco was a co-sponsor of a rally to save the Great Walkway as part of our continuing advocacy for making this oceanside park and promenade permanent. We sent the memo below to the Board of Supervisors today. The Board of Supervisors will vote on the Great Walkway’s future this fall.


Date: August 16, 2021
To: San Francisco Board of Supervisors
From: Jodie Medeiros, executive director, Walk San Francisco
Re: Your vote on the future of the Great Walkway this fall

This morning, an incredibly popular new 17-acre oceanside park and promenade was taken away from our city.

No longer are people of every age and ability enjoying the ‘Great Walkway’ as they have for the past year and a half. Now, traffic roars by.

At the rally to save the Great Walkway on Sunday, hundreds of people marched in support of a seven-day-a-week, permanent space for all San Francisco residents. The voices of youth and climate leaders were the loudest of all at the rally. But their voices were not heard.

We are counting on the Board of Supervisors to right this wrong when the vote on the future of the Upper Great Highway is before you this fall. Whether you support a two-year pilot of a seven-day-a-week, car-free Great Walkway will shape our city’s future and define your legacy as a city leader.

The reasons for you to support a Great Walkway now and forever are many. Here are a few that are especially timely.

1. The latest IPCC report on climate change is reason alone to save the Great Walkway.

Vehicle emissions are the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco. The City must take bold steps now to support significantly more low carbon trips. The kind of shift we must see with people walking, biking, and transit for many more trips won’t happen without embracing solutions like the Great Walkway.

2. Vision Zero and a Great Walkway go hand-in-hand.

The most successful Vision Zero cities around the world have significant amounts of car-free and car-lite spaces. These spaces create a complete network of safe streets, plus makes walking and biking inviting for all ages with people-first spaces. This supports the safety gains we need badly here in San Francisco – and why the Great Walkway and Vision Zero are integrally connected.

3. The pandemic is far from over.

Children under 12 are still unvaccinated. COVID variants present unknown challenges ahead. The Great Walkway has been a refuge and resource for people from across the city for nearly a year and a half. We need this space for our health, both physical and mental, now and into the future.

Sunday’s rally showed how quickly the movement for people-first spaces is growing. There is so much support for the city to make leaps toward its climate, equity, transit-first, and Vision Zero goals. Please vote for a seven-day-a-week pilot for the Great Walkway when this reaches the Board this fall.

CC: Mayor London Breed, SFMTA Director Jeffrey Tumlin, SF Recreation and Park General Manager Phil Ginsberg

“To combat the climate crisis, we should be prioritizing access to green spaces versus commuting cars that pollute our air through emissions. San Francisco can be the climate leader we need right now.” - Megan Nguyen, an organizer with Sunrise Bay Area, a youth climate change movement