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Full-Time Great Highway Park to go on November Ballot

Seems politicians are paying attention to the polling on how popular safe-streets issues are with the San Francisco electorate

Screen capture from a promotional video from the Great Highway Park advocacy group

San Francisco voters will be asked to approve a permanent, full-time, car-free Great Highway Park this November.

From KidSafeSF's statement on Tuesday's ballot submission:

Supervisors Joel Engardio and Myrna Melgar, along with Matt Dorsey, Rafael Mandelman, and Dean Preston, submitted a ballot measure to turn the Great Highway into a permanent full-time park. The measure will be on November’s ballot. We’re fully supporting it and already mobilizing!

Streetsblog readers will recall that earlier this year auto-uber-alles forces tried to use the Coastal Commission to end the weekend, car-free compromise. But now with the success of the JFK Promenade and the results of recent polling, it seems many politicians are realizing that supporting car-free spaces is a winning strategy.

"I believe that an oceanside park is good for our city," wrote District 4 supervisor and bill sponsor Joel Engardio on social media. "And I’m purposefully putting this on the ballot so voters have the final say."

More from KidSafe:

Over the past 4 years, the Great Highway park and promenade has drawn more than 3 million visitors – attracting nearly 10,000 people every weekend, making it the city’s third most visited park. 

As advocates are already pointing out, despite the positive polling, this will be a battle that's going to take a lot of grassroots work. But advocates have been champing at the bit for this fight. From "The future of the Great Highway: A coastal park for all or a road to nowhere?" an op-ed by advocates Lucas Lux and Heidi Moseson that ran in May in the San Francisco Standard:

San Franciscans owe an incredible debt to past generations who took bold action to give us the natural areas and coastal access we enjoy today. They turned an abandoned military site into Crissy Field. They tore down a double-decker freeway to create the Embarcadero promenade. They converted the Presidio into a national park. 

These were hard-fought victories that we now take for granted. Now it’s our generation’s turn: Let’s seize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform the Great Highway into a world-class coastal park for future generations to enjoy 365 days a year.

Streetsblog expects to see the usual car-brained, shameless, nonsensical objections, such as "recreational redlining" or that this will somehow increase pollution. But, if the recent past is prologue, this is a fight advocates can win.

Read more about the background from KidSafe. Join the Great Highway Park mailing list. And check out the the text of the measure here.

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