Thank you for sharing this letter:
I am in the process of deciding whether or not to attend the meeting on the future of the Upper Great Highway (UGH) scheduled for June 10, or keep the dentist appointment I have scheduled for that same day. So far, the dentist appointment is sounding more and more appealing.
I simply can’t see any benefit to attending the meeting and waiting for two hours on hold in order to talk for one minute about my objections to a permanent closure of the UGH. I believe the future of the UGH has already been decided, and that it will soon be known by the name already given to it on the Rec. and Park website: “The Great Walkway.”.
I must admit, I was encouraged to learn that MTA finally decided to collect some fresh data on both the usage of the Upper Great Highway, and the impact the closure of the UGH has had on neighborhood traffic, rather than relying on data that is more than a year old. However, I became skeptical when I learned of the location of the counters. When I saw for myself the placement of the counters, chicanery was the first word that came to mind. How clever of you to place counters on La Playa, 48th Avenue and 47th Avenue between Lincoln and Irving when you know that cars are prohibited from making a right turn off of Lincoln onto any of the aforementioned streets. However, at 46th Avenue, where cars are permitted to turn right, there is not a counter in sight – from Lincoln all the way down to Sloat. And based on my personal observations and the observations of numerous others, the traffic on 46th has been heavy and non-stop since the diversion began. In other words, that’s where the numbers are.
I won’t even bother discussing counters on the south side, except to say there are no counters where the traffic has been diverted: 45th Avenue. Chicanery seems to be the name of the game on the southside as well. I’m not sure whether I am more insulted, more offended or more furious that you think so little of residents of the Outer Sunset and Outer Parkside as to believe we aren’t intelligent or observant enough to figure out that this “new data” is clearly and unabashedly skewed in favor of a permanent closure. It is astounding how little regard you show for those of us who pay your salaries.
Why does MTA even bother to pretend our opinions have any influence on your decisions? You obviously worked with no non-profit organizations other than the Bicycle Coalition in making your decision to keep the UGH closed permanently. You ignored the two groups of people who are the most unlikely to be able to use a bike on a regular basis (if at all) and are, therefore, most reliant on cars: seniors and those with disabilities. Seniors currently make up 36% of San Francisco’s population, and that number is growing rapidly. (Conversely, those who ride bikes on a regular basis make up around 7% of the population.) According to the San Francisco Human Service Agency, “…One in ten San Franciscans…reports a disability. Almost half of the people with disabilities are under age 65.” Yet no organization that represents seniors or people with disabilities was consulted about the closure. (I am a former employee of Senior & Disability Action, and I had lunch with two of my former co-workers yesterday who had heard nothing about this, nor have any of the other organizations with whom they work).
Additionally, you have not worked with anyone representing Concerned Residents of the Sunset and there is no indication that you worked with those in the Richmond District who are most impacted by the closure of the Upper Great Highway. I know for a fact that you have not consulted with anyone from the Open the Great Highway Facebook group that has been actively recording daily usage of the UGH by way of photographs taken by different people at different times at different locations over course of the last several months.
You have provided nothing to show that you consulted any groups who represent the working people of San Francisco who need the UGH for purposes of commuting to and from work. There is no indication that you discussed this with anyone from the San Mateo County peninsula or the North Bay, even though there are thousands from those regions who rely on the UGH for commuting as well. You have not consulted with veterans who use the UGH as the easiest route to the VA. You have not consulted with any group representing motorists in general. If you had, you would have been forced to conclude that re-opening the UGH to cars serves a greater purpose and a greater good than a permanent closure. Instead, you have simply decided the Upper Great Highway is now The Great Walkway, slap hands, done deal, and the 7% of those on bikes count more than seniors, more than those with disabilities, and more than any of the other people mentioned above (i.e., the vast majority of the population).
In writing this, I have come to the conclusion that the meeting will be nothing more than a sham. You have wasted hundreds of thousands of tax-payer’s dollars in what ultimately amounts to fraud. Pretending to care about our opinions is your pathetic but worthless attempt to make us think we matter. As a result, I can think of nothing more to say to you than this: Shame on you.
Alyse Ceirante, Outer Parkside
Categories: letter to the editor