I am a bedside nurse at a hospital in the Mission District, and I have lived here in the Outer Richmond District for 15 years. The Great Highway was my work commuting route. I liked the Great Highway because I didn’t have to drive through town, on streets lined by houses, streets with bicyclists, or near GGPark with all the pedestrians crossing Lincoln. It was Great Highway to Sloat to Portola to Clipper- basically a ring around the Sunset.
The closure of the Great Highway hasn’t gotten me out of my car because there is no workable timely public transportation option for me, a shift worker that has to actually punch in a timeclock.
Thanks to the closure, though, I have discovered a new route, one that I never would have taken before. Unfortunately it’s lined by homes and there are alot of bicyclists on it, but it’s way quicker than the untimed lights of Sunset. And it’s not too hard to veer past the cyclists, although it can be narrow at some spots. Now I take Lincoln to 7th Avenue to Laguna Honda to Woodside to Portola to Clipper. It is so much faster, which really surprised me! I was leery about driving into town, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
I have previously called in to comment at the public forums, written letters to my supervisor, been as vocal as I can about the completely unnecessary and incompetent closure of the Great Highway and its impacts on me and my neighbors. I even have a sign in my window to open the Great Highway and I have signed petitions. But the proponents for closure were right- I just needed to get out of my routine and used to something new. Thirty years in the City and I had never driven up Laguna Honda. Now that I have found a new quicker route across town the pedestrians can have the “Great Walkway.” Since there is still no reasonable public transit option for me, I’m now driving 7th Ave to Laguna Honda/Woodside, even on weekdays.
Robyn Bartell-Calara RN
Categories: letter to the editor
It is gratifying to know that Car addicted folks, when presented with a viable alternative to destroying the environment, are able to acknowledge Car Free spaces are a benefit.
The lights are timed on 19th Ave, Sunset, Oak, Fell, Van Ness, Gough and Guerrero, Valencia, and many other streets. The fact that you fail to adhere to the timing is your issue, not ours.
Always have been, always will be.
OPEN THE GREAT HIGHWAY TO ALL
I appreciate the candor and open mind of this writer, not to mention the courage to write about the experience publicly. This gives me hope that our City, and our country, can resolve matters peacefully and gracefully.
When’s the last time you drove South on Sunset or 19th avenue. Not all the lights are timed perfectly (especially 19th) and then when you drive behind folks who drive over the speed limit and stop all the time – it doesn’t matter whether the lights are timed, because you are going to have to stop even if you time the lights because other people are not timing the lights.
So I hear ya, but the reality on the ground is quite different than what you portray.
I personally would prefer the Great Highway to stay open during the weekdays — at least to Sloat — but I am willing to accept the will of the voters and deal with it. It’s nearly an extra gallon of gas per week if I re-route to Sunset and 4 or 5 more minutes of commute time, but I can live with it if I have to.