SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – A battle is waged over the future of the Great Highway in San Francisco as local residents argue over whether to keep it closed to cars or open it again to vehicular traffic.
The Great Highway was closed to cars back in March 2020 in the early days of the first COVID-19 lockdown. Over a year later, the city still has to decide what to do in the long term.
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The decision on the Great Highway is now creating a huge gap.
“I know more people who enjoy this as a communal space than I don’t,” said Angie Petitt as she led her dog on the sand-covered street. “Cyclists, skaters, hikers, runners, dog walks.”
Many consider the Great Highway to be more than a slow road for the city’s great new public space. The biggest fans are pedestrian and bicycle lawyers who want this section of road to remain car-free.
But not everyone in the avenues is completely convinced of this.
“My kid asked me today if I would please remove the sign because they fear it will somehow get them on social media,” said Hilary Passman.
Passman has been the owner of Devil’s Teeth Bakery, a Sunset device, for about a decade. She recently posted this sign encouraging cars to return to the Great Highway. In response, she received a barrage of angry phone calls, emails, and nasty comments on social media.
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“And then I found out that the person who started it was actually Janice Li, an elected BART officer,” Passman said of the sign’s setback. “So that was annoying. The fact that we got hate mail and personal comments all started with an elected official deciding to beat up a small business during COVID. That’s pretty annoying. “
Board member Li’s tweet sparked a number of angry responses. Some of them said they would never return to the bakery.
“I am sorry that people feel betrayed because my position is different from a local road closure,” said Passman. “This whole thing seems crazy to me.”
According to the city’s own polls, people almost equally agree on what to do with the Great Highway.
“It’s currently valued as a communal space, but I understand there are traffic issues that need to be addressed,” Petitt said of the neighbors’ concerns. “I think there are some great suggestions for compromise.”
Various options are considered. some with cars, some without and some without cars only on weekends. For her part, Passman says that a compromise would be okay with them.
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“I do not live or die on this matter,” Passman said. “I think the Great Highway should be open to cars. But if not, I’m still happy to be living in the sunset and being part of that community. It sure isn’t something I want to go to war over. “