letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Follow the Ocean Beach Master Plan

Editor: 

I just read Supervisor Gordon Mar’s article in the June 2020 Sunset Beacon titled “The Road To Safely Reopen SF” in which he solicits transportation recommendations from readers. There is so much we can do on this topic in San Francisco. Specific to the Sunset, I wanted to share some input, and ask for action.

Years ago I participated in the Ocean Beach Master Plan public input sessions paid for by the City and orchestrated by SPUR. With COVID, and the closing of the Great Highway, it has been difficult to see the detrimental effect of increased traffic flow from the Great Highway onto the lower Great Highway in the Outer Sunset.

With the current arrangement, it can be dangerous to cross the street on 48th Avenue. Cars speed along impatiently, sometimes in the opposite lane to get ahead, while pedestrians and children navigate the intensity in order to access the open Great Highway. Parking along the lower Great Highway and in the neighborhood has gotten worse for those who live and recreate there. On the other hand, it has been wonderful to see people enjoying running, walking, skating and enjoying the Great Highway without cars on it. It has become a picture of how wonderful the Ocean Beach scene could be, except for the traffic problems highlighted. There is a middle ground solution.

This brings me to the Ocean Beach Master Plan implementation and recommendations solicited by the supervisor. During the SPUR public input period it was recommended to take two of the Great Highway northbound lanes between Sloat and Lincoln, and turn them into one lane north & one lane south to move cars through that zone, albeit more slowly. Additionally, the two beach-side southbound lanes were proposed to be turned into walkways, bathrooms/showers, and some limited parking, with very slow beach only access traffic flow. The goal was to create a world-class beach experience to match our beautiful City, while addressing a managed retreat from rising seas, and allowing for the need for traffic flow. What has happened to this plan? I am aware of the South Sloat proposed changes, but what about those just mentioned, and highly favored by all SPUR contributors?

If the city executed on this provisionally during COVID, the pilot could reduce neighborhood dangerous traffic by diverting some slow flow back to the Northbound Great Highway, while continuing to offer recreational opportunities in the Southbound lanes. Right now the city could greatly improve the quality of life for those who live in and around the western edge of the City by implementing the recommendations of SPUR, while maintaining some traffic flow for those who must pass through that way.

This vision was well thought out, solicited tens of hours of public input, and would elevate the experience of all those who love this part of the city. This is the time to act on it.

Harper Lindstrom

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