A new car-free space coming to the Great Highway Extension

Photo rendering courtesy of SFPUC.

On May 14, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to finally pass a new park code to permanently close the Great Highway Extension between Sloat and Skyline Blvds to allow for the Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaptation Project. The closure will take place this month and the city will begin construction to address the significant erosion that has occurred here and turn the road into a community space. 

The Ocean Beach Master Plan, an inter-agency effort beginning in 2010, outlines a managed retreat from the coastline in consideration of impending sea level rise and will also protect the SF Public Utilities Commission’s wastewater pipes underground.

Climate change and sea level rise are continually eroding away our shoreline and we’ve seen significant damage in the last 15 years, threatening the Lake Merced Tunnel and wastewater treatment plant that hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans rely on daily. The project protects critical infrastructure and creates new space for coastal access and recreation. This managed retreat will protect our city, making it more resilient to the effects of climate change while also providing key opportunities for improving active transportation.

The Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaptation Project will be incredibly transformative for people walking, biking and rolling across the city and region. Currently, accessing this part of the city on bike can be difficult and safety improvements are necessary. Once completed, this project will draw more bicycle, foot, and bus traffic to the southwest corner of the city. 

The proposed improvements will be exponentially more beneficial when paired with the new Lake Merced Blvd Quick-Build, the Sloat Blvd Quick-build, the Great Highway Pilot Project, the Lincoln Blvd Quick-Build, the 29-Sunset Improvement project, and other improvements to the active transportation network in the area. We want to encourage more people to take sustainable modes of transportation to enjoy the attractions in this area, including the SF Zoo, Ocean Beach, Fort Funston and Lake Merced. 

The approval of this project is completely separate from the Great Highway Pilot Project which is halfway through piloting a weekend promenade on the Upper Great Highway and will conclude at the end of 2025. After the pilot, the Board of Supervisors will determine the long-term future of the Upper Great Highway between Lincoln Way and Sloat Blvd.

We look forward to seeing the Ocean Beach Climate Change Adaptation project completed and more projects like it to create safe spaces for people taking active transportation. 

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