I’m writing to add to the voices objecting to bicycle blockades on the Upper Great Highway. Thank you for giving our impacted community the opportunity to be heard. It’s greatly appreciated.
As most of us in San Francisco are aware, the director of SF Rec. and Park, Phil Ginsburg, filed a directive stating that as of Aug. 16, 2021, the Upper Great Highway would be again available for vehicles to drive on it Mondays through Fridays. However, his directive is being ignored by a weekly blockade of bicyclists during the evening rush hour commute who claim they are protesting to keep cars off the two miles of highway because we should only be riding bicycles on there 24/7. They demand exclusive use of the highway for only themselves in the name of climate change.
There has been no Environmental Impact Report to support their claims. Science shows that moving the 17,600-19,900 vehicles per day (MTA’s figures) off the highway and redirecting them to endanger and overwhelm the residential streets of the populated community worsens noise and air pollution. The handful of bicyclists preventing vehicles from steadily driving the speed limit nonstop between Lincoln and Sloat on the Upper Great Highway, forcing them to stop, restart and idle in gridlock, directly cause an increase in greenhouse emissions. It defeats their stated purpose to protest on behalf of a cleaner climate.
Leading their bicycle blockade at their last “protest” were two of their cars ironically driving on the highway adorned with signs for a car-free Great Walkway. The bicyclists yelled at the commuting drivers they had trapped to get out of their cars and ride bicycles instead. Many of the imprisoned drivers being yelled at, who had no way to pass them or exit, were driving in hybrid or electric cars, and probably also ride bicycles and support environmentally healthy causes. Their hypocrisy is out there for all to see, as most bicycle riders coming to the Great Highway for weekend recreation transport their bicycles to the area in their private vehicles. They falsely claim that vehicles on the highway make it unsafe for them to share it, yet the last fatality on the Upper Great Highway was in 2005, and the last time the SF Fire Department was called to a collision on there was in 2017. A “great walkway” currently exists. It’s the 16’ wide pedestrian and jogging path that runs the entire length of the east side of the highway. Bicyclists also safely ride on the 4’ wide shoulders on each side of the highway’s lanes.
It should not be an unpleasant, irritating, nearly impossible task to drive and park in, around and through San Francisco. The Great Highway has always been a safe, shared space among drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians and others. Keep it open to everyone and demand an end to what is clearly not a protest, but a refusal to share our streets.
San Francisco Resident, District 4
Categories: letter to the editor