San Francisco officials Thursday announced plans to reopen the Great Highway to vehicle traffic after well over a year of closure.
The Mayor’s Office said in a press release that beginning Aug. 16, vehicles can again drive on the roadway Monday through Friday. On holidays and every weekend from noon each Friday until 6 a.m. on Monday, the roadway will be closed to traffic for pedestrian and bike use.
Officials said they are allowing limited vehicle return to support families and students who use the corridor to get to work and school.
Supervisor Gordon Mar, who represents District 4, applauded the compromise between vehicle and pedestrian use, adding:
“It’ll take new and robust investments in westside transit and transportation to truly address the traffic impacts, and it’s unreasonable to continue a 24/7 closure without them.”
Supervisor Connie Chant, representing the Richmond District, said in a statement that the Great Highway is key in the north-south access her constituents want.
She echoed Mar’s comments and elaborated on the need for public transit in the area, saying:
“The future of Great Highway must also include an increase of public transit routes and service frequency for the Richmond.”
However, advocates have already begun to sound off on the decision. Walk San Francisco’s Executive Director Jodie Medieros said:
“I am shocked that Supervisor Mar plans to take away this incredible oceanside park and promenade practically overnight – especially when a public process has been outlined to determine the Great Highway’s future.”
Despite SFMTA attempts to mitigate impact, residents who live in the area complain about increased traffic on nearby streets caused by the Great Highway closure.
Both the SFMTA and Recreation and Parks Department are working on near- and long-term recommendations based on a report adopted by the county transportation board. One report option includes a proposal that would keep the roadway open to the public on weekends and holidays, as is being floated.
An underlying factor in deciding the highway’s fate is increasing erosion and sea-level rise that compromises structural integrity in the area.
The Board of Supervisors ultimately decide on near- and long-term plans for the Great Highway.