Dec 8, 2022 - News

Bikers and walkers add another win with Great Highway closure

People walking and biking on the Great Highway.

People walking and biking along the Great Highway. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

A yearslong debate over the future of the Great Highway has been resolved, at least for now.

What’s happening: In a 9-2 vote on Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors decided to keep the southern stretch of the Great Highway (from Lincoln Way to Sloat Boulevard) closed to auto traffic on weekends through 2025.

  • West side Supervisors Myrna Melgar and Connie Chan, who both voted against the measure, wanted the closure to start at 6am on Saturdays.
  • Instead, it'll be blocked off from Friday at noon to Monday at 6am.

Why it matters: The Great Highway closure is among several recent wins for bike and recreation advocates, including the SFMTA board's Tuesday decision to make its Slow Streets program permanent and residents voting in November to keep 1.5 miles of JFK Drive car-free.

The other side: Neighbors who opposed the weekend closure argued the road is one of the main thoroughfares running north-south in the Sunset.

What they're saying: "Today we voted to imagine a better future for our western waterfront," outgoing District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar, who crafted the legislation, tweeted. "We found common ground on a contentious issue, and took a meaningful step forward."

What's next: The resolution will remain in place over the next few years, while Rec and Parks and the SFMTA study traffic patterns to determine a permanent plan.

  • Mar told Axios it'll be especially important to "evaluate the new circulation patterns" once the 0.8-mile stretch that connects Sloat and Skyline boulevards is shuttered for good sometime late next year or in early 2024.
  • The closure of that stretch, known as the Great Highway Extension, is due to coastal erosion, and the city has plans to transform it into a recreation area, complete with new biking paths and stairways to the beach.

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