I was grateful to see Heather Murdock’s commentary in the Sunset Beacon pointing out that plants in the SF Botanical Garden purify the air, produce oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, etc.
The fact is, plants have been processing carbon and oxygen for eons, and people have shared and enjoyed the park since it was established in the late 1800s for those purposes.
This didn’t just happen in the last two years because the Upper Great Highway (UGH) and JFK Drive were closed to motor vehicles during the pandemic. All of the events listed in Ms. Murdock’s commentary have been going on for years, even before she moved here.
When I could, I would bike or walk everywhere; in the park, on the beach and in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Not once did I think that the cars using the roadways in the park or along the UGH should be eliminated for those who wanted to go for a Sunday drive, go to work or just take in the magnificent Pacific Ocean from their car. Some of those people are elderly, and the elderly are the ones who are less likely to get on a shuttle – or should get on a shuttle during a pandemic.
Since you are a biologist, Ms. Murdock, you know how germs, bacteria and viruses spread. I have no doubt that a large percentage of these elderly own or owned homes and pay or paid property taxes. Conveniences, such as roads and highways, were part of the deal.
Look at the mess that the SF Recreation and Park Department has created here along with the SFMTA. Traffic used to flow in the park and on the UGH, resulting in less carbon emissions versus cars stuck in stop-and-go traffic, not to mention the general ugliness of traffic jams in the park. Traffic congestion is now everywhere due to these closures and there is unfair diversion of cars. This City had been perfectly designed so that all could benefit from the outdoor space that has always been plentiful even without the road closures.
Most importantly, the Outer Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods are shouldering the burden of having a highway diverted into their neighborhood, not to mention the noise. All created and decided by one person.
There is space for everyone. This self-centered narrow-mindedness which you have coined “forward thinking” for those who think roads made for cars, especially the UGH, should be closed to cars is disturbing and unempathetic. It’s pathetic that a bunch of “me, me, me” bicyclist brats decide to obstruct a highway “for a cause.”
Ms. Murdock: You missed the point of Paul Kozakiewicz’s article. There is a procedure to follow if someone wants to close a highway or a road in the park. That procedure is what Kozakiewicz pointed out; one person should not singlehandedly make the decision for the whole, like the tyrant Putin, deciding to invade Ukraine.
He also mentions that Ginsberg’s decision is based on questionable data generated by “the few.” Sounds like Kozakiewicz did his research.
Tracy Thompson, resident of the Sunset for 30 years
Categories: letter to the editor