URGENT ACTION ITEM: Save Fridays on Great Highway Park

Photo: Robin Pam's twitter.
Photo: Robin Pam's twitter.

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This past election, San Franciscans spoke up loud and clear in favor of car-free park spaces. Roughly 65 percent of voters rejected Prop I’s car-first vision for Great Highway and Golden Gate Park, and embraced Prop J’s car-free promenade through Golden Gate Park. They also made it clear they want to keep the current car-free days on Great Highway, giving San Franciscans an option to enjoy our parks and public open space free of danger and pollution from cars.

This is a mandate from voters.

So why are we hearing that Supervisors are planning to remove Fridays at Great Highway Park? Didn’t voters just decide this issue?

Right now, Great Highway Park exists only under the COVID emergency order. When that order expires, so does Great Highway Park. That’s why outgoing Supervisor Gordon Mar drafted legislation this summer to authorize a formal pilot of the park. The legislation would extend the “compromise” of weekend park hours, starting at Noon on Fridays, through 2025. During the pilot, City agencies would study park usage and traffic impacts, culminating in a recommendation on a long-term configuration. The Board of Supervisors will hear that pilot legislation beginning on Monday, Nov. 28.

Some have privately stated a desire to remove Friday afternoon park time – undoing the “compromise” that has been in place since August 2021 and ignoring the clear voter mandate from only a few weeks ago.

Which leaves us wondering: if the compromise is getting thrown out the window, what exactly are we piloting if we don’t include a full weekday?

The idea of a pilot is to study park usage and corresponding traffic patterns, with the goal of making improvements to traffic flow before the Great Highway Extension south of Sloat closes in 2023, forcing drivers to adjust their route inland regardless of what is done with Upper Great Highway between Lincoln and Sloat. If we’re serious about conducting a meaningful pilot, why not include a full weekday — opening the park at 6 a.m. on Fridays — to give agencies an opportunity to study new conditions and design better traffic management proposals to address them? Plus, voters love the park — why wouldn’t we give them more of it?

Great Highway Park is one of our City’s most visited park destinations, with over 2.8 million visits logged by Rec and Park since it opened during the pandemic. And it’s also beloved by voters, who just made their preference clear.

In politics, 65 percent is a slam dunk. Can the Board of Supervisors make this shot?

Please help us save Fridays at the Park by sending an email now: http://tinyurl.com/GHPpilot

And sign up to get a text when it’s time to comment HERE.

The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 28. PUBLIC COMMENT CALL IN: 1 (415) 655-0001 / Meeting ID: 2482 454 3737 # #
(Press *3 to enter the speaker line)

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Lucas Lux is President of the Board, Friends of Great Highway Park

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