letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Open the Upper Great Highway to Motor Vehicles 24/7

As Outer Sunset/Parkside residents for 20+ years, we feel it is incumbent upon us to share our concerns about the current Upper Great Highway (UGH) policies and closures.   

We are in favor of opening the UGH to motor vehicles 24/7, and here’s why:

1)  Having the UGH open reduces traffic and pollution on residential streets.  It increases safety and reduces the strain of excess traffic on Sunset Boulevard and 19th Avenue; 

2)  We are avid walkers and over the years have hiked and biked throughout the area regularly. What we have observed is that the number of pedestrians and cyclists is miniscule compared to the number of motorists who need to use this route.  Recreational users already have the upper and lower promenades, plus the whole of Ocean Beach for their use.  Also, the UGH has bike lanes;

3)  A small but vocal number of cyclists are pushing for closure of the UGH, except for recreational use by cyclists and pedestrians. One of our main objections is that all but a very few of these cyclists do not obey traffic signals or yield the right of way to pedestrians. Crossing the UGH by foot can be a game of wait-and-dodge. Got kids or a pet in tow? Even worse. We’ve seen or experienced plenty of close calls. This has not been the case with motorists on the UGH, and;  

4)  A new and disturbing development we’ve seen since Thanksgiving is the appearance of a coffee vendor truck on the UGH at Taraval, complete with a loud generator, a line of customers and, more recently, tables and chairs for lounging beside a parked car. This commercialization of public space mars the beauty of the natural setting and is particularly offensive.  What’s next? Food trucks and parklets?  Why not hold a referendum on the questions of closure and usage of the UGH by the districts affected? That would be more fair than the autocratic decisions of the head of the SF Recreation and Park Department Phil Ginsburg and the influence of small special interest groups that we’re dealing with now.  

Chris Gray and Susan Chen

8 replies »

  1. The entire Entitled motorist kvetch ad nauseum loses any vestige of credibility and integrity with the outlandish and absurd, not to mention dishonest, claim that a Car has never threatened your well being on the approach to The GreatWalkway

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  2. Thank you for a great letter. You speak for many of us. It’s heartbreaking to see the crass commercialism that is starting to hover over the Great Highway. So far, it’s only a coffee hut, but actual food trucks are in the works. In fact, a vegan food truck was supposed to set up at the foot of Judah, but a new vegan restaurant just opened on Judah and someone made the decision (I don’t know who) that the vegan food truck move to Lincoln. If Ginsburg has his way, though, there will soon be food trucks at every intersection. It’s time to put an end to this nonsense and return the Great Highway to its original purpose – a safe and efficient route for commuters, with great foot paths and bike paths to accommodate everyone!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree with all points made in this letter to the editor by Chris and Susan, and thank them and the editor for getting the word out. The Great Highway needs to be reopened and shared with everyone wanting and needing to use it. Thousands of vehicles using the safe highway day and night when it’s open are off our high injury network corridors. Commercialization of this 2 mile stretch of pristine beach and wildlife sanctuary would be a tragedy. Already, food trucks and vendors are selling there on weekends competing with our poor local coffee shops and restaurants a block or two away, who have struggled to endure through a pandemic, vandalism, construction at their front doors, and permanent removal of parking spaces for their customers. Let’s get back to sharing, caring and helping each other. There is room for all of us without banning the nearly 3/4 million vehicles per month from driving on the Great Highway instead of winding their way through our populated neighborhoods.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Chris and Susan – Could not agree with you more! Thank you so much for voicing what so many of us are currently feeling, and have been complaining about for months (with the exception of the new coffee truck). All of your points are 100% spot on. Now that this is getting more publicity, I fully expect a LOT more support for opening – and keeping open – the Great Highway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To the point The vexatious litigation brought forward by The Entitled will be vigorously defended by the City and County of San Francisco’s City Attorney. Who will pay the legal bill? The San Francisco taxpayers. I hope all The Entitled motorists who are paying this Redwood City attorney thought about it. Probably not. Why? Driving anywhere anytime anywhere without these pesky people fighting for a healthier San Francisco looking through their windshield is more important. Good. Y’all can pay twice. Your Lawyer and The City and County of San Francisco. Hope you’re happy to see your tax dollars, and mine, being spent in such a wasteful manner to fend off a bunch of petulant, spoiled Faux Entitled motorists.

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      • Many of us drive electric & hybrid vehicles that we charge at home where we have solar panels on our roof! Get over your delusion that motorists do not care about health & the environment! One of the main issues here is that taking away our road is being done without input from residents & without assessing the environmental impact of diverting 18,000 cars/day. All you really care about is being able to ride your bike.

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