THE TIME FOR CHANGE IS NOW
Now that we've all had the pleasure of experiencing a car-free Great Highway, let's never go back
Ocean Beach is one of San Francisco’s greatest natural treasures. We should stop wasting so much of it as a throughway for people passing by our neighborhood.
What’s great about the Great Highway Park is the variety of uses that the wide, smooth and flat surface enables. On any given day you’ll see:
Bicycling, roller skating, walking and running
Persons with alternative mobility devices & aids enjoying ocean views
Parents teaching their children to bicycle without the danger of cars
These kinds of uses, at the high level we’re seeing them, are encouraged by and only possible due to the broad, smoothly paved and level surface of the Highway. “It’s easy on the Great Highway!”
We've finally had the opportunity to experience a car-free Great Highway for months. It's obvious how much use it gets, and the enjoyment it provides.
Because of changes brought on by the global pandemic, many more people will work from home in the future. In the future we expect less daily commute traffic on an already under-utilized throughway.
Cities are experimenting with slow streets, pedestrian-only streets, and mixed-use streets without vehicles. The benefits are clear. Many cities have decided to keep these streets carless permanently.
The Park is attracting an incredible number of people to the Outer Sunset to enjoy the weather, get exercise outdoors and experience nature. A permanent park will further this trend and help create a vibrant destination for residents of the city and beyond.
As shelter-in-place is lifted, businesses can expect an uptick in activity from these visitors. As more people explore the Outer Sunset, many will discover the fantastic eateries, bars and shops on offer.
Park events such as pop-ups, parades or gatherings can also encourage local commerce. Park signage can also direct visitors to local businesses.
The Department of Public Works, who manages the Great Highway, has suggested that the Great Highway is closed an average of 25% of the time!
Today, when the Great Highway is closed, traffic routes to the Lower Great Highway and outer Avenues, resulting in aggressive drivers that had hoped to get where they were going quicker. This is a bad situation, but also one that will never be resolved if the city can always say "it'll open back up soon".
A permanent closure of the Great Highway is HOW WE GET SAFER STREETS - the city will have to put in measures to deter north-south commuters and to calm traffic. Help us make the streets safer by filling out our survey.
Outer Sunset Mobility
Open public spaces are often used for public good - we've seen evidence recently as many peaceful demonstrations have taken place on the Great Highway. This promenade is a perfect gathering place for a variety of activities - parades, protests, art exhibits, meetups - the list goes on!
Without the Park, there is not a single road to travel north-to-south in the Outer Sunset without cars. Providing a safe transportation corridor to link areas of the Outer Sunset together, as well as with other parts of the city, has obvious benefit.
Kids At Play
Where do kids go to learn to ride bikes? The western half of city is critically lacking in smooth, safe stretches of pavement. Today, the park is full of children scooting, biking and skateboarding in a safe environment.
Adapting to Climate Change
Experts have already recommended a "managed retreat" from the dunes and eventual shutdown of the Great Highway to counter the effects of climate change and protect the city's critical infrastructure.
In a few short years, the road linking the Great Highway to Skyline will be removed because of erosion near Sloat. If the Great Highway is still used for cars, this will result in a significant reduction in speed of transit for commuters that use the Great Highway, further reducing it's usefulness as a throughway.
Nowadays, a proposal to create a new highway along the dunes of our coastline would be ridiculed - and for good reason. Redirecting cars away from the beach not only makes the beach safer - it also makes it cleaner, quieter, and better for the local wildlife.