letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: UGH ‘Slow Rides’ Don’t Help the Environment


I’m writing in response to the request for word from one of the weekly bicycle protesters on the Upper Great Highway (UGH). I sincerely hope you talk to others who feel differently!

Full disclosure: I live on the Lower Great Highway (LGH). In addition to a car, I walk, bike, roller skate, scoot, you name it. This closure has been extremely detrimental to our neighborhood and yet our voices have been ignored and drowned out. We’ve been called liars, ‘pro-car’ people who don’t believe in climate change, etc. it has been very frustrating, especially when one wakes up one day during a pandemic to find that they don’t live next to a highway, but IN it. 

Climate change is real and change MUST happen, and fast. However, closing a highway does not make the vehicles disappear. They’ve just moved into the neighborhood. Some of us have used car counters to get before-and-after car counts of the closure, to prove our point. Yet again, we are ignored. 

These bike protests do nothing to help climate change. If anything, they cause a traffic jam that spews more pollutants into the air as cars idle. We’ve heard from people who are late to night shifts, late to a family emergency, and who have an 20 minutes added to their commute due to these protests. These are simply people who are trying to get to and from work and necessities and shouldn’t be tied up. At present, there is a compromise-use in play and that should be respected. 

Real climate change solutions require more transportation options, the ability to live closer to work, greener transportation methods (think of grocery delivery trucks for example), etc., not forcing cars to idle in place or go through a residential neighborhood. 

In any case, whatever side one is on, these “slow rides” do not help the environment, disrespect the compromise, and make every other bicyclist look bad.

Thank you for listening, and I hope you print all sides to the story.  

Madison C.

25 replies »

  1. Stop this whining. Entitled motorists have 1200 miles in San Francisco to continue polluting the Planet.
    Great Walkway is a grain of sand in the tsunami of spoiled drivers who want it All for all time. Sorry. Change has landed. Deal with It


    • Actually, the whining seems to be coming from the cyclists. The Mayor created a perfectly fair situation by closing the highway to motorists on Friday afternoons and the weekends. Unfortunately, the few spoiled self-appointed “vigilante” cyclists who continue to obstruct traffic on the weekdays are clearly throwing tantrums because they didn’t get the highway (built for cars) all to themselves. That’s not only entitlement, but incredible selfishness.

      Deal with that.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes you are correct! We want it all as it was before closure, for cyclist, walkers, and people in cars.
      Seems to me you all want it all.
      Let’s live in harmony Again ❤️


      • A true compromise would be taking cars off of half of all streets in San Francisco. The small 2 mile stretch of UGH is a rounding error next to the 1200 miles of streets utterly dominated by cars here. For true harmony we’ll need drivers to be 49% less selfish.


  2. Yes we the people are being ignored. Cyclist have taken over not only the roads but our city government (including a Bart Director). Close to 15,000 people have voiced their opinion and want the road opened.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If cyclists have taken over they’re really bad at running things. Last I checked there were a half million registered vehicles in SF and 1200 miles of roads where they have full priority. Our cyclist overlords are terrible, ineffectual villains.


      • There are no officially registered bicycles. If so, the city would be making a fortune from bike riders while they consistently run stop signs and red lights all day… and then complain about how unsafe cars are.


  3. Bike riders have an equal amount of streets and walkers have a greater volume of sidewalks. There is a pathway 20-feet east of the roadway that ENTITLED bikers and walkers – you know, the NON-NATIVES that feel you can dictate policy to the people who were here when it was built – to enjoy and still get the views and salt air.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love some virulent nativism in the morning. Sorry to inform you Americans have freedom of movement and can live where ever they like. Maybe you’d prefer a gated community somewhere.


  4. leeheidhues the bicyclists are entitled to use that same 1200 miles of roadway that you want commuters to take. While I bow to your self-proclaimed moral superiority, I cannot admire your reasoning skills as evidenced by your proposed solution to climate change. There is not one iota of carbon being lost nor recovered by shifting commuters from one roadway to another. Are people commuting because they’re spoiled? I don’t think so. Do you honestly believe they would be commuting back and forth daily if they had any choice? People work because they have to. If you really want zero driving, what would you have people who need to drive to get to work do? Quit their jobs? Your “take it and like it” attitude just makes you the one feeling entitled. The change that has landed is the compromise, and that is the reality that you should be dealing with.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Dear Editor,

    Re: Madison C’s letter to the editor. Madison C lives on the Lower Great Highway. I live on 45th Avenue, one of the first streets without right turn barriers for vehicle drivers heading east on Lincoln.

    To me Madison’s most important points are about climate change and how to reduce the number of people driving unnecessarily.

    In addition to a car, I walk, bike, roller skate, scoot, you name it….

    …Climate change is real and change MUST happen, and fast. Real climate change solutions require more transportation options, the ability to live closer to work, greener transportation methods…etc.

    Thank you for listening, and I hope you print all sides to the story.

    Nancy Buffum nancybuffum@gmail.com 415/845-2584 (cell) *Children are a kind of indicator species. If we can build a successful city for children, we will have a successful city for all people – Enrique Pe*ñ*alosa*

    On Fri, Nov 12, 2021 at 4:40 PM Richmond Review/Sunset Beacon wrote:

    > Sunset Beacon posted: ” Editor: I’m writing in response to the request for > word from one of the weekly bicycle protesters on the Upper Great Highway > (UGH). I sincerely hope you talk to others who feel differently!Full > disclosure: I live on the Lower Great Highway (LGH). In addi” >


    • Honestly, if we want climate change, the random City dweller makes no difference. Neither do the back-slapping Norwegian countries that hold summits and protests. It’s the countries across the Pacific, save for a handful, that spew crud into the air from every imaginable source that nobody wants to address because they’d be accused of some -ism. Travel to Bangkok, of Shanghai or Kuala Lumpur or any large Indian city and you’ll see 60’s era LA smog. That’s where the change needs to happen.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t understand how people can seriously believe that closing one small highway is going to have any impact on climate change. We are but one drop in a 200,000,000 gallon bucket. It is the big players that need to be targeted first – big oil and big agra – if you are really serious about climate change. I assure you that members of organizations such as Green Peace, Sierra Club, Earth Justice and hundreds more (charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=8636) are not screaming to close a two mile highway in order to save the planet. The “protesters”, instead of alienating hundreds of people, would do much better if they became involved with one the organizations named above. It is there they will learn the most crucial steps that they can take at this time to save the planet. Chances are, it won’t be closing the Great Highway.


    • The Great Walkway gives people the chance to experience a small sliver of the city without cars. Children can ride bikes and feel confidence in a safe environment. It’s a chance to imagine another future where our streets are not kill zones filled with death machines spewing poison. It’s sad that the haters here have lost that part of themselves that values anything other than their own convenience.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Real cyclist ride for miles! Either ride the road to Marin or south to San Mateo County. If you ride the dirt you have miles of car free dirt roads and trails all over the bay area. Shoot across the bridge and ride the headlands. The crybabies are the ones who still want to ride their bicycles in a playground. Learn to ride and use bike lanes. Before injuries I used to log 2,500-4,500 miles a year on my bicycles. The Great Highway moves traffic and car fumes away from our homes. Asphalt is toxic and a carcinogen and not a place that kids should crawl around on and play. Try going to the any of the 220 parks that are already exist in the city. If you live here learn the city! Well done Madison! Thanks for your article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nobody cares about your macho gatekeeping, anyone who can ride a bike deserves to feel safe doing it. If you want to make riding a bike illegal go for it, until you succeed I’ll be fighting for safe places to ride for ppl 8 to 80.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve offered to speak to the Sunset Beacon/Richmond review to supply the perspective of one of the bike riders which I am one. We started on August 16th, after a backroom deal btwn the Mayor and Supervisors Mar and Chan opened the roadway to drivers again, subverting an agreed upon public process. The majority of SF residents favor the full restoration of the Great Walkway. The roadway sits on public Rec Park land and residents of the Sunset have no more say over it’s future than any other citizens. Also the sentiment expressed here that only “natives” should have a say is beyond offensive, I’m shocked anyone would put their name to such a statement in 2021.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “Climate change is real and change MUST happen, and fast. However…”

    Tell me you’re not serious about tackling climate change without telling me you’re not serious about tackling climate change.


    • Printtemps: Then you are an arrogant entitled bicyclist that is hurting your cause more than helping. You are entitled to SHARE the road which by law means you pull to the side of the road if you are not maintaining traffic speed. You are not entitled to take two full lanes and go substantially under the speed limit, trapping hundreds of cars behind you including making one health care provider late to work and a woman trying to respond to a relative’s call for help with a health issue who both were stuck on the GH with no way to get off. Readers, if you are one of the motorists trapped by these few dozen people who feel entitled to take over the entire GH for their alleged “protest” please sign the change.org petition to open the Great Highway even more and include Friday afternoons to be opened to cars.


  10. Yes, forcing many hundreds of drivers to spend 30-40 minutes traversing the 2 miles between Lincoln and Sloat in gridlock conditions undeniably is the direct cause of massive amounts of additional greenhouse gasses being released into the atmosphere. No question about it. But the bigger problem with the Great Highway closure is that forcing 18k-20k drivers every single day to detour out of their ways accelerates climate change on a far grander scales. The GH is by far the most fuel efficient route for drivers to traverse the two miles (if you hold your speed steady at 30-35 mph, the lights are timed and you have a smooth ride with no stopping and starting, braking and speeding up, etc.). When the Highway is closed, drivers must spend more time behind the wheel and go .8 miles out of their way to Sunset or 1.8 miles to 19th Avenue. More time with the engine running and more miles on the odometer means tons–literally; we’re talking double-digit numbers of cubic tons–of additional carbon emissions every day the Highway is closed. Some drivers instead cut through the residential streets, with slowing/stopping and then accelerating at every block due to the 4-way intersections, and slowing and stopping over the many speed bumps that have been installed to try to reduce some of the safety hazards the closed Highway creates, which, along with gridlock, is the LEAST fuel-efficient way to drive. Not to mention (speaking of gridlock) the MANY new congestion points the close Highway causes (including through Golden Gate Park), which, again, is about as bad as it gets in terms of environmental harm. And the closed Highway directly causes this; that’s not even debatable.

    Climate change is here, now, real, and dire. It is inexcusable that these selfish bicyclists are fighting for a result at this point in history that without question undermines all legitimate efforts to combat climate change and, instead, exacerbates the problem, just so they do not have to share the road with anyone. Fight for better bike lanes. Fight for improved public transit to the west side of the City. Fight for improved electric vehicle infrastructure throughout the City and incentives to purchase these cars. But it’s indefensible at this moment in time to pursue such a selfish result that causes huge amounts of greenhouse gasses to needlessly be released into the atmosphere every day the Great Highway is closed.


  11. Completely bogus and self-serving argument. I can show you any number of photos of cars bumper to bumper on Chain of Lakes Drives during rush hour since The Great Walkway opened to climate killing cars. Beyond that is the fact The Entitled know full well there are myriad options to travel north to south on several thoroughfares. The Entitled are only upset because they have to spend a bit more time reaching their destination. Too bad. The arguments pitched by The Entitled on Next door, The SF Richmond Review are the worst kind of sophistry imaginable.


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