I live in District 4 and I am a member of the group called Open the Great Highway. I am writing to express my opposition to the two-year pilot program for the Upper Great Highway, not only because it has disrupted our quiet and safe neighborhoods by directing thousands of cars onto what were once minimally used streets, but because this pilot program is being requested, recommended and justified based on false and unethically obtained “facts.”
First of all, the survey that seems to have become the primary authority for this pilot program is nothing more than a sham. Almost everyone I have talked to, and to whom others have talked, knew nothing of the survey. It claims that around 4,000 people took this survey and of that, around half of the people in the Sunset District and a few in the Richmond District approved of the closure. The population of the Sunset is around 62,128; for the Richmond it is 59,297. This is a combined total of 121,425. Therefore, according to SFMTA, et. al., around half of the four thousand surveyed, half supported a full closure. So, ultimately, 1.5% spoke for 121,425. This is hardly a mandate. What an insult.
Secondly, the manner in which the “statistics” were gathered were equally unethical and false. For example, SFMTA set up “echo counters” on both sides of the Great Highway at Judah Street to record average use, which it claims is 4,000 on weekdays and 6,000 on weekends. This information is now being used to justify a two-year pilot; however, it does not take someone with a degree in engineering to understand how biased these counts are.
First of all, these counters undoubtably counted every person entering the Great Highway at least twice. This definitely calls into question the accuracy of the count. If someone enters at Lincoln Way, they will probably exit at Lincoln Way; therefore, they are going to be counted twice. That means a group of five people counts as ten. Furthermore, many of those on bikes – or even those walking or running – do laps. I know of one person who did six laps every time he rode on the highway. That single person counted as 12. Just in these examples, six people are counted as 22. If one where to use this same formula over the course of a day, one can see how unreliable and inaccurate the claimed 4,000 a day is.
SFMTA’s recent attempts to collect information on current traffic patterns was also done in a fraudulent and unethical manner. SFMTA has blocked right turns off of Lincoln at the Lower Great Highway, at La Playa, at 48th Avenue, and at 47th Avenue. The traffic has been redirected to 46th Avenue. However, the most recent counters were placed at La Playa, 48th Avene and 47th Avenue (I have photos to prove it). All of the traffic headed south off of Lincoln takes 46th, yet no traffic count was done there. The same is true on the south side of the Outer Sunset. traffic on Sloat Boulevard can no longer turn left on 47th Avenue to head north; instead, it is directed up to 45th (which has now become one of the most dangerous left turns I have ever encountered). No counters there, either. Instead, they were placed at the Lower Great Highway between Cutler Avenue and Vincente Street, a route so little travelled that many people don’t even know where it is (again, I have photos to prove this).
Lastly, anyone who has lived in this City for any length of time knows that “pilot programs” almost always become permanent. SFMTA and the SF Recreation and Park Department believe the pilot will appease an angry public. Additionally, and most disgustingly, they are doing this to bypass required authorizations, such as permits from the Coastal Commission, that are required for a permanent closure.
Please do not approve the two-year pilot program. It not only destroys the quality of life for many of us in the Sunset, but approval will tell the SFMTA and Rec. and Park that the immoral and underhanded methods in which they obtain information are not only OK, but are sanctioned as well.
Categories: Upper Great Highway