Who are We and why are we raising Money?
The Open the Great Highway is an organization comprised of residents dedicated to seeing normal vehicular traffic returned to the Upper Great Highway in San Francisco, California, a vital roadway and main thoroughfare in and out of SF. This group was created after residents learned that city officials are trying to make this closure permanent. The closure has created many problems and issues while ignoring the fact that there is an entire beach and a surplus of city parks available for recreation. Let's all do our part and keep San Francisco safe and accessible to ALL.
The money raised would contribute to:
1. Helping spread the word to all communities/districts impacted by this closure
2. Having the ability to take any and all measures necessary to re-open the highway
3. If necessary, work with other groups/organizations to help further the mission
4. Helping promote the online petition (LINK)
During the Covid pandemic, the Upper Great Highway was closed to vehicle traffic so residents could be outdoors while practicing safe social distancing. City officials are using this opportunity to shut it down for good even though life in the city is starting to return to normal. City officials have clearly exhibited that they will skew data and surveys to deceive the public into thinking shutting down the highway is the best thing for their constituents when in actuality they are only helping themselves and/or special interest groups.
Why do we need the city to re-open the Great Highway?
The Great Highway is one of the primary arteries to traverse the two-mile stretch on the west side of town between Sloat and Lincoln. 18k-20k cars use it every single day. Exceptionally safe: No cross-traffic, no turns, etc.
With the closure, 18k-20k cars must divert onto residential streets and other, far more dangerous routes, which necessarily means that the risk and incidence of accidents involving cars go up. There are far more hazards on these streets, to begin with, intersections at every block, etc., and they now have become more impacted; an extremely dangerous combination. The closure of the Great Highway, which inevitably leads to more accidents, injuries, and deaths is antithetical to everything Vision Zero is trying to achieve. The closure undermines Vision Zero.
By causing drivers to detour out of their way, they are forced to spend significantly more time behind the wheel, driving, as they must detour using less direct routes, which results in large amounts of additional greenhouse gasses being pumped into the air every day. At a time when climate change presents a cataclysmic threat to our planet, the closure of the Great Highway is truly indefensible. And not only must drivers go further distances, the driving conditions through the neighborhoods are far less fuel efficient than the "smooth sail" the Great Highway provides. Not only must drivers stop and start at just about every intersection now, but funneling 18k-20k cars off the GH onto other routes has created significant traffic congestion and even gridlock in places that would not otherwise exist, causing even more emissions to unnecessarily be released.
The quality of life of the residents in the area has really taken a hit, as they've seen their once-peaceful streets turned into dangerous thoroughfares for cars. And many people from the Richmond and Sunset trying to take their kids to school, commute to their jobs on the peninsula, or just get from one side of the Sunset to the other for whatever reason, now must spend a significantly longer amount of times in their cars simply trying to get where they need to be, leaving them less time for anything else. The frustration level is real and significant. Richmond residents have reported that their commutes to jobs on the peninsula now take 30-60 minutes longer with the Great Highway closed.
All of this frustration, all of the significant added danger to the streets in contravention of Vision Zero, all of the additional greenhouse gasses that are pumped into the atmosphere, exist so that a small number of people can walk or bike on the Great Highway each day. Notably, virtually nobody uses the Great Highway at night, yet drivers cannot use it at that time. Same thing during inclement weather, which the west side experiences quite often. In addition to the many rainy and cold days, there are many days throughout the year when the wind is blowing so hard at the beach that it's nearly impossible to even walk. Yet even in the rain, or when the wind is howling, cars cannot use the Great Highway and must instead use residential streets and other routes, with all the attendant hazards. Even during nice weather, and despite what SFCTA will tell you, actual usage of the closed Great Highway is low, relatively speaking. All the while, 18k-20k drivers must detour, with all the associated dangers and harms.
And notably, the Great Highway is literally surrounded by wonderful recreation opportunities. There already are biking and walking paths on either side of it! And is bordered by the greatest urban park in the country, Golden Gate Park, Lake Merced, Ft. Funston, Land's End, etc. With the Great Highway open, people always had and always will have wonderful recreation opportunities. The recreational value-added of the closure is small, and certainly not worth a single additional injury/death because a car could not use the Great Highway, or the additional greenhouse gasses, or the lost quality of life to frustrated residents and frustrated drivers.
What can you do to help the cause?
1. Donate to the campaign! Any amount will help the cause. All members of the group are volunteers and all funds will go towards measurable gains with full transparency
2. Share this campaign! Forward this along to friends and family or share this via your social media
3. Email your city leaders. Ask for their support to re-open the Great Highway
4. Visit www.openthegreathighway.com and subscribe to our newsletter/mailing list to stay informed
5. Sign the online petition (LINK)