As Gordon Mar’s “pilot project” moves through the city agencies and onto its eventual vote and passage by the Board of Supervisors, the Upper Great Highway’s closure will be allowed to continue without an environmental study through Dec. 31, 2025, for a total of five years and eight months since its initial shutdown, despite the escalation of erosion of our sand dunes and destruction of our wildlife sanctuary from unrestricted foot traffic when vehicles are banned and beachgoers ignore designated crosswalks.
Neighborhood traffic collisions are up and drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians young and old are in danger from the 20,000 vehicles/day diverted onto our neighborhood streets during the Highway’s closure. Toxic emissions from excessive traffic a few feet from our homes causes severe air and noise pollution endangering our health; all these are good reasons for an Environmental Impact Report.
Nothing about Supervisor Mar’s plan is consistent with our commitment to climate action or Vision Zero. The Upper Great Highway, when open to vehicles for all to simultaneously share, is San Francisco’s best example of Vision Zero. There has not been a death on it for the past 17 years, and the SFFD hasn’t responded to a collision on it since 2017. It has no cross traffic so it’s unusually safe. Bicyclists have been using the four-foot-wide road shoulders for years without a problem. However, the traffic now diverted from its four lanes is directed to drive instead on high-injury networks like Sunset Boulevard and 19th Avenue, which are super dangerous even without thousands of extra vehicles.
It is Supervisor Mar who created the incredibly contentious issue he seeks to resolve with his unworkable compromise. Nothing he or SFMTA has done to mitigate the extra traffic during the Highway’s closure has kept our neighborhood streets safe. He can stop the conflict among neighbors by keeping his word about only closing the Upper Great Highway “temporarily” during a shelter-in-place emergency. If he wants it closed permanently, a transparent, unbiased environmental study performed by an independent agency without financial connections to San Francisco should be done with the Highway in its original 24/7 open condition and compared to what has been studied during its full and partial closures. The use of this safe, Vision Zero, major transportation artery in and out of San Francisco should not be closed to continue to endanger our community and wildlife sanctuary.
Please help stop this by voting “yes’ on Proposition I and “no” on Proposition J.
Categories: letter to the editor